450 Heli UAV

Hi guys!

I've been lurking these forums for a while and I am finally taking the plunge and am going to build a 450 pixhawk powered UAV heli. I'm a mechanical engineering student with a background in rc planes however I have little in the way of traditional heli or UAV experience and am looking to get some feedback on my parts list before I order everything. 

I would like to be able to control the heli from a computer base station using ardupilot as well as have a video feed from the heli on the computer.

Here is my planned parts list (I've also attached a picture)

- Pixhawk Auto Pilot + GPS
- Bosscam CM210 Pan and Tilt Camera
- HK YEP 45A Speed Controller
- Assault 450 DFC BTF
- 3DR Radio Set
- Turnigy 9Ch Transmitter and 8ch Reciever (Mode 1) -- Is it correct to purchase mode 1?
- SkyZone 5.8GHz 200mw Wireless AV
- 3DR Radio Set

I have spent a long time researching and finalising this list however I would love some experts to let me know if I'm making any huge mistakes here. Thanks for your time, hoping to hear back from you guys soon because I'm super keen on putting this bird in the air!


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  • Another thing to consider too is getting some asymmetrical blades.  They will greatly increase your flight times.  Spinblades are nice (at least I heard they are).

  • First of all, make sure you can fly a heli on the sim.  Even though you have an autopilot that can fly the heli better than you, doesn't mean you aren't required to bring it in yourself in a tough situation.

    I think the speed controller comes with the heli. No need to buy another one. And 45 amps is a lot. Align kits come with 35 amp.

    That camera and av tx run on 9-12v. That means your are going to have to run a tap off of your lipo for the power.  There are smaller mini cams amd tx's that can run much lower voltages that you can run off of your servo power. But it's probably better not to tax the bec on your esc with extra 5v demands.  You just need to splice in the wires off of the 3s lipo for 12ish volts.

    You may need to by some XT-60 connectors for the battery/esc.  Who knows what's on the 450.

    That battery you have pictured is not a flight pack, it's a tx pack.  It won't deliver the power the heli needs.  You need 20c or better.

    Radio is up to you. The kit comes with a Spectrum compatible rx but you'll switch it out.  Mode1 is an Australia thing, but I've read some Australians going to Mode 2.  I like mode 2 because it's like a real heli and more popular in my circles.

    You can also get a mini osd for fpv flying.  Extra batteries will come in handy very quickly.

    Make sure you have a solution for watching AV on a computer.  Maybe better to have a separate FPV monitor and leave your computer for the mission planner screens.

    You can look at my pictures for a 550 build to give you some inspiration. They are located in my 550 setup album.

    • Hey there, thanks Ray,

      I really appreciate the feedback. You have left with a lot to consider and I have a lot more research to do now with all the information but right now I'm off to check out your 550. I'll update with revised plans after my research. 


    • Ray is correct. You should at least be able to hover a helicopter or even better, recover the heli manually if something goes wrong. Also a separte screen for viewing video is not optional but mandatory. 

      The reason I use a 45amp esc is because I suffered several brownouts from the 35amp align bec. If you look at my setup you will also see I have a second bec for redundant power.I also had to use 2 x 2200mah 35c lipos to get about 11mins flight time. Using 1 lipo gave me only 4 mins flight time. The aux bec powers my video equipment. For a monitor I use a FatShark Dominator v2. I also use a sony 600tvl CCD camera with a immersion rc 600 transmitter and video receiver for the goggles.

      The 450 kit you chose is ok, but I find the VWINRC has so much more room for mounting electronics. I am currently using only 3DR brand electronics. When I started I was on a budget so I used clones.

      I use miniosd from 3DR as a OSD for my video system. Don't have any photos of the new heli as I crashed and didn't take photos before-hand. Currently building a align 550 pro DFC kit.

  • Looks good so far. But thats alot of stuff to power on a small heli as a 450. What size flight battery do you plan to buy? Take a look at my setup minus the video equipment. May add it later. My setup is a VWINRC 450 frame (best 450 size UAV heli frame) with yep45 esc, typhoon 2218 motor and 2 x 2200mah lipos. All other electronics are attached below in the last photo.

    I know what it feels like when you can't figure stuff out. So check my parts list to ensure you have everything you need for the heli and UAV side of things.3691119873?profile=original3701862545?profile=original3701862993?profile=original


    • Hey Chadel, 

      Thanks for the quick reply! Because I plan on building off this HK 450 BTF I was intending to use their supplied Turnigy 3S Lipo to power everything on board the helicopter, is this too ambitious, should I perhaps buy another Turnigy 3S Lipo to power the telemetry?

      Also the HK 450 BTF comes with a Turnigy Flybarless Control System, just to clarify, this is not required as the receiver will be plugged into the PixHawk which will in turn power the servos, is this correct?

      One final point of confusion I have with,the HK 450 BTF, it says it requires Spektrum compatible transmitter as it comes included with a OrangeRX R100 DSM2 2.4Ghz Satellite Receiver, however I assume I can simply swap out the receiver and run this Turnigy Setup

      I also noticed you were running this HK radio telemetry, would you reccommend it over the 3DR? What kind of range do you get from it?

      Anyway, thanks again for the reply, I really appreciate your help

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