I'm a newbie that has been following DiyDrones website for a while. Now that the Hexa kit is available I have decided to take the plunge and build one. I'm in the process of ordering the Arducopter Hexa kit from the JDrones stores and was wondering if there is anything else worth including in the order (shipping is pricy!) So far, this is what I have on the list:
ArduCopter Hexa KIT v1.0, Full Electronics - Getting the 30A ESC and bigger motors. What arms are standard with this kit? Can I specify T1 or T2 etc etc?
Propeller set, 12x45 EPP Style, Composite For the inevitable crashes!
Is there anything else worth including that will be usefull and or necessary?
Any advice appreciated.
get some spare parts ! :)
one or two crash kits, 2-3 motor mounts, spare motors, a few pairs of propellers .. and don't jump on highraise landing gear from start (well you can buy them and use them later) but be sure to get the classic small ones .. itll help a lot more for your maiden flight .
This is what i learned since last saturday .. 20 minutes of flight hehe ^^
Oh if you plan buying lipos at hobbyking, buy some xt60 connectors pairs to equip your lipos with them, so you can easily power your copter and also connect safely to your charger with a simple adaptor cable .. a cable you'll be able to make yourself or buy easily in the nearest shop. (xt60 doesnt seem to be easily available all over europe at least)
Also, buy minimal soldering equipment, its mandatory .. you will have to solder one or two things if you wanna get going faster (not being dependent on an online shop or a repair buddy)
Get also a usb to miniusb (not microusb!) cable so you can program your copter .. what else .. mmm thats it for now ^^
I don't have much experience, so take this with very little weight, and I have only ever flown home-made frames and the 850Kv motors, so take that into account also.
I recommend (specific products are my own preference, the general idea is the key)
a good soldering iron (I have had create success by going overboard with the X-Tronic 4000 series rework station, think I got mine from Amazon. I wanted a weller, but rumors were some of the new weller are not the same quality. I have been very pleased w/ the X-Tronic so far, and the heat wand has saved my butt three times, besides being outstanding for shrink-wrap)
at least one spare ESC and motor, - I have never burned an ESC or motor, but I have read many other people to whom this has happened. And both items can be on backorder for weeks...
at least two sets of propellers (it is easy on a hexa to lost two "R" props, and be out in the field looking at your single "R" and normal CCW spare in despair)
zip ties - I absolutely *love* zip ties - you may not need them with a kit frame but I use them like I test, every moment and everywhere
batteries and a good charger. I use 3 cell 4400 FlightMax 15C or 3 cell 2200 30c, but use your own math for your frame & weight. I did some calculations on a frame of my own configured as a quad with 880Kv and saw promising results with the 5800mHA, but I don't know your weight. Also, I avoided the 5800 in the end because my charger of choise, the IMAX B6, docs suggested keeping the Amps under 5 ... so I have never bought larger than the 4400s. Be sure to check the IMAX (if you get it) for a power supply. There is an AC version, but most people seem to get the 12v and get a separate power brick (as did I)
appropriate connectors for esc, motors, batteries (this is a complex topic; a lot of experienced operators here eliminate the connectors entirely between motor and ESC, as it is a leading cause of failures. I haven't had one, and do a lot of prototyping, so I keep them in ... for now. I use 3.5mm barrel connectors between the motors and ESCs, I use Deans on ESC to PDB, but I use XT60 for battery to PDB (and for my Ham radio variable voltage power supply, which I use for tethered non-flight power) but I use a short cable to convert from the Deans input to the battery XT60... this way I can add the deans/deans AttoPilot current sensor between my cable and the PDB. You may not need any of that complexity, my own results in a combination of "reusable" parts in the rest of my fleet, aggravation with incompatibilities between genuine and after market/knock off dean connectors, weight, and frequency of connect/disconnect, plus some considerations for amperage for certain components that I test at levels beyond that needed for these motors/ESCs.
personnally I could not live without telemetry - I use the xbee kit. It may be pricy, but with what I am doing, I could not live without a good data feed.
I also recommend some good kite string or similar (for tethering; and zip ties make nice and quick harnesses and cable guides to hang in your garage or under a deck,)
a decent 6 or more channel TX/RX pair is helpful. Well, essentially, really, if you don't have one. transmitters are something like religion, I'll avoid mentioning any specifics here so as not to offend anyone :)
Besides the soldering iron, I also (and you may not need) have a good pair of wire strippers, dikes, and needle nose pliers. To that, I added the deluxe servo cable kit from Hanson Hobbies (recommended by HappyKillmore - and I love it) With your kit, you may not need it, but I use it daily for custom cables of all kinds, for programming components, fixing bad/lose connections, etc. I also use a good multimeter, again, optional, but I could not live without it.
Shrink wrap - in three different colors - if you like that sort of thing. White, black (mostly black), yellow and red.
There are a few dozen other things I use, most of which are specific to tasks other than flying a hexa (FPV, special projects related indirectly to the basic aircraft
You really can get in deep with the bits and bobbles. I've been doing this for less than 60 days ;) And the inventory of stuff I have is at least five times as long as the stuff I have mentioned....
Oh, and I forgot to mention, a prop balancer and some scotch tape...
guys, you will scare Paul with all this... :)
Paul, they are all right! I am sorry but you will need parts and tools! :)
If you go with 30A ESC I would recommend to order a few spare of these just in case... the quality improved at the factory but in my first order of these back in April I got 2 defective ones that only show sings of erratic behavior when they became hot after minutes of flying... so like the other guys said you will crash, you will bend arms, break motor mount, lose screws, nuts but you will ENJOY every moments!
Opps, sorry Paul! Dany, I guess I just assumed why he is here... I mean, you can get multicopters from dozens of sources, there are even a few with active hacking communities, even if the company encourages you to customize their technology, I do not know of any that not only encourage you to pick up a soldering iron, or swap out motors, but where that is the standard practice. :)
I wouldn't want it any other way. So Paul, I'm not saying you *need* most of the things I've suggested. It just will not be as much fun without them, that is, if you get a kick out of experimenting like I do. If you just want to fly, you may want to be careful which firmware you load. It gets better everyday, 2.0.39b and 2.0.40 are very different beasts, for example, as Jason rewrote the control rules. It got a lot of testing before it became available in Mission Planner, but I am amazed at how quickly and how frequently new code is produced by this community, and by Jason and Michael in particular (daily, sometimes more often) You'll certainly want to understand the concept of a "beta" version and what that may mean to your aircraft *grin*
Thanks for all the advice! Fear not, I can assure you part of the reason I'm doing this is for the challenge of putting it all together. I will enjoy the challenge and all the problem solving! Must be my inner geek/engineer.
I will add the following to the JDrones order:
I will get the following separately from other shops:
I already have:
I'll consider the following at some point in the future (when the budget allows!) :
Ultimately I'd like to progress to taking landscape/aerial photos using the Hexa (hobby - not professional). I'll investigate FPV and telemetry once I have finished the initial build and am comfortable flying.
A few other questions:
I cannot answer about the arms, I just got my very first kit frame (fourth multi-copter, but first frame made by someone else) but it is the new 3DR Quad frame.
But I can say that I use the AttoPilot Current Sensor for low battery warning. However, you do not need it. The major options are covered in the wiki here (I know that is for the ArduPlane, but its the same info for ArduCopter, I believe. At least, if it is not, someone let me know, because I use it!)
Now, that will report battery status via NAVLink, and the 'copter will know about it, but if you are not linked via telemetry, you might not. Some people have added buzzers and LEDs to the copter, and there is even code and mounting options on some of the kits for LEDs on the motors (I think it is armed = lit, disarmed = off, and different patterns or flashing to indicate mode and battery status) but you'll need to troll the forums for specifics, I think.
There are also many general purpose RC devices, boards, buzzers, and techniques for battery. Most RC guys recommend timers (and your TX will often have timers.... mine has at least three on the main screen, to put it into perspective how often timers are used.) My general impression is that you can most likely leverage existing hardware/software to alert you to battery issues with a little Arduino programming, or by following instructions from someone else on the forum who is doing it, or with a few extra parts you can add lights, or you can buy an extra little board that plugs into your 'copter. My ESCs (Castle) have hard and soft shutoff features at programmable battery voltage levels, maybe ok for planes, not so good for multicopters, I think. But for my purposes, I'm not flying to be an RC jockey (no disrespect intended) so I use the computer and telemetry link. So it is displayed on my screen. It is also displayed on my OSD video link ;)
Happy Hacking. And I hope you get more input than just me. I'm a special sort of nut case, but by no means one you should be listening to.
The standard hexa (+) i received a couple of weeks ago from jdrones.com came equipped with 28cm T1s (full holes)
the arm that comes with in the crash kit sold at jdrone are 28cm T2 (Half holes)
there will be crash kits available for both Type 1 and Type 2 arms. Both are fine, Type 1 just allows users to put cables easier inside the arm tubes.
Do you know if the crash kit that is currently available from jDrones is suitable for repairs to a Hexa?
It refers to the Arducopter, which I assume is a quad?
Paul, i know they are, i used one myself to replace broken acrylic motor holder pieces on my hexa;