Iris to X8

My Iris was accidentally run over and two arms were broken off and the motors and propellers on those arms were destroyed. Iris' shell and contents were not harmed. I was thinking that I would like to upgrade my X8, removing the APM setup and replacing it with the PixHawk setup from the grounded Iris.

Is this a doable project and if so, what changes will I need to make for hardware? Can I just move the electronics and duplicate the X* APM connections with the PixHawk? Will I need any different cables? Any added power conditioning? Can I use Mission Planner to configure and calibrate the resulting octoquad?

Any suggestions, tips or instructions are appreciated!

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones

Email me when people reply –


  • Did you end up upgrading to the X8? If yes, could you share your experience? I might want to do the same. Thanks,
    • Yes, I did make the change and it worked out great! I originally had a Spektrum Dx7 controlling the X8 but I switched it over to use the FrSky radio that came with the Iris. That allowed a single cable factory ready to plug into the PixHawk. In effect, I took the electronics out of the Iris and placed them in the X8. I added OSD and FPV which I didn't have with Iris. In the end, I'd merely built the 'new' version of the X8 wit the PixHawk rather than the APM.

      The X8 is much more stable than it was as an AMP aircraft. It's response to throttle and directional control a lot more crisp. The most difficult aspect was calibrating the compass. It was very frustrating until I sat down and read the process over a few times and got it right in my head. Then I went through the motions without looking at the spherical 'graphing' display. When I was done, I looked up and found I had drawn the ball and it was telling me I had completed the calibration successfully. I power my X8 with a pair of Zippy Compact 5000mAh batteries slung on the underside.

      This photo shows it flyable but not quite finished. I used the old X8 GPS but on a DJI pedestal. (The cool fold downs from 3DR weren't out at the time). The picture also shows the batteries I use, but in actual flight they stand on edge side to side. The solid GoPro mount has been replaced by a BeHolder and I use the GoPro USB to provide my video signal. The little camera that came with my 3DR FPV kit has been removed. The 170 degree field of vision from the GoPro is MUCH better. Flight time with the parallel batteries is 16 to 18 minutes. A since 5000 mAh gives 12 - 13 minutes. I plan to try it with a single 10000 mAh and see if the few ounce reduced weight will get me to 20 mins. Personally, I don't think anything under 18 minutes is is worth trying autonomous flight. You mileage may vary. 

      I bought a replacement Iris and plan to remake it's frame and case so that I can have a wider battery selection. The Iris old and new, is pretty limited for flight time. My longest flights are under 10 minutes, less with the Tarot gibal mounted. 

      Any specific questions I'm happy to answer.



    • Hi Bob,

      I crashed my 3DR X8 (2013 with APM 2.6) and destroyed almost all the electronics and motors. The original configuration with one 5000mah 4S with GoPro+Tarot 2D and video transmitter never flew more than 8 minutes.

      I would like to rebuild it with Pixhawk but I'm still concern about the flight times, may be you could help me, It would be great if I get 12-13 minutes with one 5000mah plus GoPro, gimbal, and video tx:

      - What were your flight times with the original X8 APM2.6 ?

      - Should I keep the 850kv motors or going for the 880kv?

      - Keep  the 10x4.7 propellers or 11x4.7 ?

      Any advice will be appreciate it!


    • Wow! Thank you for such detailed reply. I am glad that it worked out very well for you. I really want one but due to the heavy workload trying to launch new products at work, I probably won't have time to do that anytime. Besides, 3DR just released their Iris+ which if the claim is correct, would get me 15 min+ with the GoPro and gimbal. I might end up trying that out first. BTW, how does the X8 look like when fully folded? I wonder if it is portable as they say. Thanks.

  • Developer

    that should be very possible.  You'll need to upgrade the firmware on the Pixhawk to be the Octocopter using the mission planner's install firmware screen.

This reply was deleted.