Attached are a few photos of my first setup.  I'm curious what I might be able to layout a little better.  I have my distro mounted directly to the X525 top plate.  Above that is a piece of plexi with my rx stuck down.  Above that is a shock mount for the APM.  Behind the APM is a Zigbee and the GPS.

Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.


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Looks good, You could get the ESC's futher away from the APM, and look at removing the red lead from all but one esc (Saves on paralleling the ESC's. This can be bad for the APM.

Remember to run a compassmot if you're using FW V3+

Hi Loren, looks like a good start to me, but I do have a couple suggestions:

1. Try putting the escs on the arms and securing them using zip-ties.  I know you won't be able to run your motor wires in the arms if you do this, but there really isn't enough room to do this on the x525/x600.  This will shorten up your wires considerably, saving that weight.  This will also give them some distance from your GPS/Compass, and it will result in a cleaner looking quad as you won't have the escs bundled around your center plate.

2.  On a starter quad, I'd seriously consider getting rid of as many bullet connectors as possible and just soldering the connections.  A major cause of crashes is poor connections between your battery - ESCs - motors.  Trust me, the fewer plug in connections that can come apart, the better.  

3. Try locating your power distribution board between your frame plates.  Now that your motor wires aren't coming out there, you have a lot of room for your power distribution board.  This will allow you to my next suggestion:

4. Lower the overall height of the quad by mounting your vibration reduction plate directly to the top plate of your frame (nice plate btw, I just found those the other day).  For your GPS, I'd build a horizontal plate extension out a few (maybe 6) inches from your centerplate, right in between your two forward arms (assumed red as your forward arrow on the APM2.6 points towards them).  

I'd also do something about that telemetry radio, but without changing the radio I'm trying to think of what...maybe think about a 3dr radio as they are much smaller.

Please do not take these suggestions as "rules", I actually think its nice the way it sits, and I'd fly it just like that (until you crash it and rebuild it).  Everybody crashes, but thankfully the x525 parts are very cheap and straight forward to replace.  IMHO, crashes give you much more experience in building and flying than they are given credit for, and although they are disappointing, I've learned more from crashing (and the subsequent search for what happened) than I have from flying.  

Hi Loren,

Nice frame. Can you write me the list (link) for frame and the stack up plates?


What is  compassmot?

Compassmot is a way of programing the apm to compensate for magnetic interference from the wiring,  motors, escs etc. It measures the interference and then can use this to ensure it knows which way is North. If you fly eith gps you week find this very useful. 

Have a look at this video. Explains what and how.  The guys other videos are great too. 


Do you still need the negative lead (from the servo wire) since all of the grounds would be shared?

Here is the link to the frame.  I used some nylon standoffs (or spacers) and nuts to make each level.    I purchased a piece of plexiglass at a local hardware store and cut a couple of smaller pieces to make the stack up plates.  If you would like me to post a picture or two to show the individual parts I can.  I hope this helps

I have left mine connected, never bothered it. 
I have also twisted the esc leads to try and eliminate EMF. (Every little helps!)

Have you done the CompassMOT?

So is what you are saying to remove the + (+5v) output from the APM to the ESC but not the - (gnd)?  I'm confused.  Obviously you would still need the signal wire.  I haven't had a chance to do the compassMot yet.  I'm working on implementing the comments that Devon made yesterday.


If you are powering your APM with the PM, then you need to remove the J1 jumper to isolate the APM input and output 5vdc power buses. However, you still need a common ground between the ESCs and the APM. Therefore you need to use the BEC in one ESC or a stand alone BEC to power the APM servo output 5vdc bus which means you still need the rtn (gnd) wires and signal wires for your ESC but only one power (red) wire from one of the ESCs. Try these Wiki explanations: http://copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/common-apm-board-connections/



Hi Loren,

I went through the link, thanks. Pictures of your setup (and parts) would of course be helpful ;)



Here is a couple of pics from my setup:

The ESC Connections. As you can see, only ESC #1 has the +ve connected, The others just have Signal (White) and hte -ve (Black)

And, here is another, of the receiver servo leads. not sure if you know, but of course, to the APM, you only need the signal wire, so you can just put a servo lead in on it's side (you will need one the right way to power the Rx though). easier to see..

I have AETR connected to 1234, CH5 is empty, ch6 is the Flight mode switch (this is mapped to the Three position switch on the Tx, which has a mix setup with a 2 position switch so I can have 6 flight modes selectable. And, I have CH7 setup as a "Flip" switch. CH8 is for the camera Tilt Servo (This is manual controlled via a Pot on the top of the Tx, and not stabilized by the APM.


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