Designing a heavy-lift octocopter with Canon 7D gimbal

Hey guys,

First post here, but I'm a longtime DIYer (hovercrafts, stereos, LCD projector, gokarts, vintage cars with big engines in them, CNC machines etc etc). I'm a 27 year-old mechanical engineer, and a little rusty on electronics, but I get by.

I've been commissioned to build an octocopter for a friend of mine, and I've got two questions:

#1, do you see any foreseeable issues with the setup listed below?* is there anything that I'm missing?

#2, I want to run a gimbal for a Canon 7D; what do you recommend for controllers/rigs? a two axis, auto level, would be sufficent - with an ability to gently change the pitch on command from the ground. the yaw will be controlled by the aircraft rotating. the roll is useless, and should be completely auto-levelled. I could build the rig and rewind the motors myself, but I'd rather spend my time elsewhere.

*Here is the planned setup:

Multiwii controller:

eight motors:

eight controllers:

right hand props:

left props:

TWO 8000 6s batteries on board:


power supply to go with the charger:

I punched this info into and came up with some pretty good flight times (15-30 mins) with 2kg of payload. I'll be using his transmitter/receiver taken from a Blade 450


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well, regarding controller - sorry, i cannot agree.

my first quad was gaui330x, after that i have tried everything in your list - except hoverfly i have tried and am still flying sometimes rabbit and KK on smaller copters

now guess what? my Y6 with wookong M is somewhere in the sea near venice (you sure are aware of DJI's famous "gps" glitch?)  - that's minus 4000€. i have 2 failrues with mikrokopter - luckily without big loss (600€ in repairs is really not that much compared to venice accident). i consider myself being extremely lucky, because nobody got hurt. and those accidents are very good reason why i refuse to fly over people (except actors, who are not that people, right ;) )

guess what i'm using today on my cinestar with zenmuse or cs360? yup, it's arducopter. it has it's problems - no arguing here - but please don't fool yourself (and others) that buying expensive controller will give you "reliability guarantee". arducopter is hard to tune, but it is definitely not less reliable than those "reliable controllers" in your list

Completely agree with Jaan.

I've also been reading test results on the next release of the Ardupilot updated software, it appears to be even more accurate. I'm looking forward to testing it as soon as it's out.

I don't completely agree. I have read many horror stories also with the DJI boards. The issue is mainly people rushing into it and not completely understanding everything they need to know. That video clip is a good example of the very expensive DJI stuff, here is a good example of the upcoming improvements for Ardupilot:

They all make improvements over time. For me the DJI stuff simply doesn't warrant the cost, plus it is purely commercial and not open source.

copter is a photographers tool, noting is fool proof I agree. It comes down to accessibility, ease of use & user preference not every one wants to scratch build.& spend days of PID tuning. 

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