my name is Bernardo, I'm located since 4 years in Germany. After a long time of reading about multicopter and comparing different brands and options I decided that the flight control and the electronics should be the ArduPilot Mega v. 2.5.

The design and shape of the frame is still not decided. (Should I buy a set?) Still staring at videos and pictures!   :)

My idea is to enjoy  flying with a copter and the option to take aerial pictures and videos.

A perfect outdoor activity for me !

Is this the only forum with ArduPilot user?  Is there somebody else in Germany?

I really hope to get some support her if needed as a newbie - just in case if something goes wrong or I need a tip to understand -  but also interested to share my experiences during my learning curve and join the discussion and topics.

A few questions regarding the APM v.2.5.:

What do I need - additional to the 'APM mainboard' ? What should I buy?

Is the magneto meter included?

Is the device to connect a PC included to upgrade/update the board?

I want to fly way-points: What kind of wiring / cable should I buy to get the data from the PC into the copter ?

Thanks for reading! Can't wait to start !  :D

regards, Bernardo

( bekawe2@yahoo.com )

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The basic things you need to fly a manual to semi automatic flights are included on this board. Barometer, magnetometer (Compass), GPS (not really very accurate but it will get you started) and accelerometers.  Don't rush your way to make "Missions" (Waypoint flights). Cable is included with the board so you can connect it to pc and you can download mission planner which is the software that will configure your board for the first flight and all the settings you need to change to enhance or correct flight characteristics. You ll most probably want to learn how to fly and configure your whole quad-copter prior doing autonomous flights with the APM2. A set will guarantee that it will have matched ESC's and Motors along with the frame. If i understand correctly you don't have any previous rc helicopter skills. I have to warn you that is taking aerials with a quad is not a 2 minute procedure it needs a lot of time tuning and maintaining your aerial platform in a flyable condition.

1) Safety comes First so learn about what not to do with a multi-copter.

2) Give us details what payloads you are looking to lift with it so we can provide accurate advises on setups.

Hi, thank you for your kind lines.

Point 1 is important, so I'm informed and also ready to contract an insurance (a must in Germany)

Ok, regarding the payload - extra to the copter weight itself - is about 300 to 700 grams, depending on the model of the camera to carry. Of course, a (power) reserve is welcome for the future, so I plan more payload (+- 1200gr?).

My idea about a setup is: Hexacopter with 12" to 13" props with 3.8 angle for normal flight.

No motors selected at this point.

The ArduPilot Mega v. 2.5 uses 3s LiPos, right? So I'll choose the batteries close to 5000 mAh.

(good flight-time/price/performance ratio ! )

The GPS I like is the 3DR GPS uBlox LEA-6  :)

Ok, another question is: What EPS (BL Ctrl) and motor to select?

Are these ok? --> Ebay item # 120941848279  or would 60A be enough?

Ah.. and still looking for a frame... the german MK Kopter?? Selfmade? Flyduspider?

( http://vimeo.com/23809595 ) wow! :D

Thank's hope I can begin with the purchase soon.................

Well a good start point is to have 3:1 ratio on thrust vs weight or 3/5:1. That will keep you in good flight characteristics and responsive drone. E.g my quad has about 4.2kg thrust and Total flight weight is around 1.4kg. 

If you budget permits go with Avroto or Axi motors for such payload. If it doesn't look at the 880kv jDrones motors. 

As about battery apm 2.5 will accept 5 volts from an esc bec or a standalone ubec.

Quads usually run from 3s+ so it's your choice what will be the number of cells you ll be using depending on your motor.

As far the esc goes you need to decide on motor prior deciding on an ESC. But on a first look you are way to high in amps.

Stick in the area of 20-25 amps per motor which they will draw about 5-9 amps for hovering which makes it aroune 30-54 for all motors which will give you 6-10 minutes flight time with a 6-8A battery pack. 

Anything higher will drain to much battery and there is no point of flying for 2-3 minutes.

A little tip: The higher the voltage the lower the Amperage. I use 3s batteries but looking to convert into 4s.

The LEA-6 is claimed  to work very good i am waiting mine as we speak.

As for frame if you have a lot to invest look at the flexacopter. Very nice design and has a wire dampener for camera gimbals which minimizes efforts for smooth video.

Here is a good cheap motor


my test data

@ P. Nadar and @Eddie:

thank you very much.

After a follow up of your hints and info I'm a little more educated now.

Got good new's - next week a batch of APM 2.5 is shipped, mine included !!  :D

Can't wait. :O

Have a nice weekend and take care  ;)


IMHO it is not a good idea to start with an Hexa and APM2.5 if you have no RC experience .

Consider that first you have to learn to deal with RC stuff and learn a lot of new things it will take time and patience.

So I may suggest you start with an entry level quad  buy some good RC stuff learn and after go with your project for aerial photos and videos with a quite heavy camera.

Even if you have now your APM 2.5 , I would not use it before getting enoguh experience because with beginner crashes you will risk to damage the APM 2.5 board.

So I would start with a quad with 2.1 Mwii software, you can buy the board called Crius All in One with Arduino Mega from rctimer.com , buy there also six 20A 4S Esc with Simonk firmware,  you will find also frames , motors 700-900 kv/v . and 10" APC slow  flyer style propellers . To learn to fly you do not need GPS but  Rctimer have also a nice GPS for the AIO with also Xbee socket for 70USD .

Buy 6 ESC (motor speed controller) for your quad because you will use them later for your Hexa with APM 2.5 .

For RC stuff I suggest some quality components that will last for a long time:

- Radio :Graupner Hott Mx series or Futaba FG series

- Battery charger: Robbe - POWER PEAK® C8 EQ-BID 12/230V 180W

- 4S batteries (avoid Ebay or HobbyKing if you want to sleep well)

In my experience with multirotors, a project for semi professional photos have a 90% success while for videos only 20-30% . Videos needs a lot of  piloting experience and a very good hardware.

For the radio you'll need at least 8 channels and as wrote before rviously go for 4S batteries, higher volts less ampères.

Good Luck !

P.s for the motors look for Keda 20-22L for your quad, buy  2 spare motors since with crashes it is easy to damage motors axles or bearings .

For your Hexa buy motors designed for multirotors, expensive  brands like Axi product very good motors for RC airplanes or heli but  multirotors do not have the same needs.

Remember :

- the less weight , the better.

- for efficiency, better 8 little motors rather than 4 big motors

- for the camera choose a light camera like Sony NEX series you really do not need a reflex on a multirotor.

Hi Luc,

thank you for your time and extended reply!

Good advices there - I'll go the path you proposed, but with the

APM (already payed). Apart from some cracked props that every beginner needs ;)  - I think I'll learn fast. The mechanical setup is no problem for me.

Good hint's with the other hardware too!

Hey - I think you pushed me in the right direction, thank's again!

Take care,


You are welcome Bernardo !

Happy that I gave some help :)

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