I wanted to ask some questions about my quad implementation but I thought that it would be polite to introduce myself and my quad first.
I started my first quad design because my wife and I (and two kids under 2) were planning a 2 week four wheel drive trip across the Simpson Desert in central Australia. For those not familiar with the Simpson Desert it is 550 km of desert, 1100 sand dunes to cross, and 3000 km round trip. The quad seemed like the perfect way to get a different perspective on the landscape.
I have been following DIY Drones for a while because I supervised a couple of Electrical and Electronic Engineering final year projects to develop an IMU for a basic auto pilot application. So I ordered an ARM 2 and a bunch of parts from Hobby King.
I started with a cheap frame but quickly realised that it wasn’t going to be easy to mount the ARM 2 so I decided to design and build my own, keeping the aluminium arms and motor mounts. I wasn’t overly happy with my first design but it did serve to introduce me to some of the basic tuning and setup required. It also made me realise how much electronics I was going to have to cram into the quad to do what I intended.
I quickly realised that my first frame was going to be very difficult to carry in a fully loaded 4WD so I redesigned the frame to fold up and be stored against the cargo barrier above the rear seats. I also added some room for a pitch gimbal on the GoPro I intended to use.
The final assembly looks like this:
Folded for travel:
And the pitch gimbal and GoPro:
The basic parameters for the quad are:
1.6 kg with GoPro
APC 12x3.8 Propellers
I broke quiet a few prop’s so I am now using:
In the end it took four full days from start to finish before I left on the trip so I had very little time to learn to fly a quad and optimise the tuning. I have flown RC gliders since I was 14 so I had some basics but this was the first time I had flown anything with a motor. The most challenging part of the process was the tuning. I have a good understanding of control theory as make use of it from time to time in my day job but the Wiki control loop diagrams don’t seem to be up to date. This made it difficult to understand how some of the parameters interact.
I didn’t get to develop my flying skills too much before I left and I only started to get comfortable flying FPV near my last flight of the trip. Unfortunately I missed one of my ESC connectors worked its way out and I crashed the quad after approximately 10 flights. I some good footage though. I will post a video when I get one cut together.
I would like to thank the DIY Drones community and everybody who contributed to the ARM 2 board!