Can't get started with Hexa-C. Documentation vague or missing. Is there help?

I bought a "3DR ArduCopter Hexa-C Almost Ready-to-Fly" in February.

I still have not been able to do anything with it, because I have not been able to find relevant documentation.  I would happily pay money if there was anyone providing paid support, someone who knows how to make it fly, or can walk me through it?

I took my hexa to the Hacker Dojo in Mountain View in March, and the hackers there spent around 7 hours with it.  They did the necessary soldering to connect the battery, figured out how to charge the battery.  But they could not make it fly.

Some current questions:

1. How do you attach the propellers?  There is no diagram showing what metal parts go under/above/around the blades, so i don't know if we're doing it right.  For example, there are blue anodized X-shaped bits of metal that came with the 3DR unit, but i don't know where they are supposed to go. The assembly instructions PDF says:

    "To attach the propellers use the collets included. Cut the plastic ring included with the propellers that fits snug around the threaded collet and insert it into the slot in the back of the propeller."

That's great, but what is a collet?  The propellers don't have any plastic rings, so what gets cut? The propellers also have no slots, so what is it talking about?

2. As some point I'm sure we had 6 of everything, but today i can only find 5 of the blue anodized bits that hold the propellers on.  Where can i buy some more?  The 3DR page for "Aducopter Replacement Parts" (http://store.diydrones.com/category_s/45.htm) doesn't have those bits on it.  The parts also do not appears on the "3DR ArduCopter Quad-C Hardware" list in the "assembly instructions" (http://stuff.storediydrones.com/ArduCopter3DRAssemblyInstructions)

Thanks for any help at all.  I don't want this to be a $1380 paperweight.

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First read the wiki a few times. It's a pretty good manual with lots of good info.
http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/ArduCopter2

Try contacting 3DR support for the collets or just buy an extra motor. Trust me you will need it. I've crashed so much and bought lots of motors, that now I have a bunch of extra collets. LOL

Good luck and fly safe.
Richard

Richard,

1. Of course i read the wiki.  All my questions are specifically things that i could not find in the wiki, which is why i am stuck.  Can you answer ANY of the questions?

2. Is there "3DR support" other than this forum?  I thought by asking here was the only way of contacting 3DR support.  There is no support phone number AFAICT.

3. How can i order more "collets" (see my question above asking what a collet is) when there is no document naming the parts, so i cannot refer to them by name when ordering?

Those collets are a pain.  I don't like them at all.  I'd prefer threaded shafts with nuts and washers to hold on the props.  But we're stuck with them.

The blue anodized cross isn't needed.  It's for installing a different type of prop.

I've attached an image showing the steps to installing the collet..  (collet.jpg)   Find the correct prop 'filler' out of the assortment they provide.  It has to be the same size as the shaft and it has to fit in the hole in the center of the prop..  The side of the prop with the "filler" goes down.  The printing on the prop should face up.    Then just tighten the top bullet shaped part with a small screwdriver.  Don't be afraid to make it real tight. 

3DR has their contact information here:  https://store.diydrones.com/aboutus.asp

Attachments:

Actually the blue anodized cross is a motor mount that we don't use for this application.  It's for mouting the motor on a flat surface using the incuded countersink screws vs. the screws we use through the arm.  The outermost holes on it would stick out wider than the motor and you could screw it down to a piece of wood or something you couldnt come through the back with. 

If you use the APC props from the kit there are two little break away plastic rings with each one, use the smaller one (i think, from memory) and you will have to force it down past the threads of the collet, it will shred just a little bit of plastic out but that's good because it's a snug fit. 

 

 

Here is the wiki page about installing motors and props and collets.
http://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_Props

Thanks for the help Jim.
Also, when you attach the collet, be sure you tighten them really tight. I use a small nail through the hole and tighten till the nail starts to bend. Loss a collet break a prop or worse.

All my questions are specifically things that i could not find in the wiki, which is why i am stuck.  Can you answer ANY of the questions?

You are where I was exactly a year ago.  Just ask away here.

in my opinion go to your local hobby store and find some better collets. i used e-flite ones.

Ben,

I just sent you a PM.

Thanks for the encouragement Drone.

No one should be denied the pleasure of flying a robot. We are going to make this better.

Indeed, anything that involves soldering (as the "almost RTF" model does now) really shouldn't call itself anything with "RTF" in the name.  It's OK for "almost" to cover the fact you have to do some calibration steps, but soldering ... oy.

Compared to Version 1, this is so close to RTF, but ARTF would be a more proper description.  Or as they say, some assembly required.

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