Russell B. Sutton's Posts (25)

Sort by

Garage PID tuning

  Awww yes finally time to do some PID tuning.  After my last field test it was clear I needed to replace my motors with better quality ones and do some more PID tuning.  After making a few mods to the airframe for added support and installing the new Jdrones Purple 2830 /12, 850kv motors with 10x4.7 props it was time to start testing again.  In the first part of the video the quadcopter wobble front to back ( I was making it do this with the elevator stick) then get stuck at 45 degree, this is when I chopped the trottle and have a rough landing.   This was from setting the D to low .09 is way to low.  The last hover is with the PID settings below.


     So far my best luck has been with this setting. But, I still think there is room for improvement.

The Yaw is stable, but not very responsive to what tell it to do.


 Roll & Pitch   P =( .3)        I = (.024)        D = (.13)   Yaw  P=(.505) I=(.007) D=(.085)



Read more…

  This little sketch lets you use an Arduino to read the output signals from your RC Rx and displays them to the terminal window.






















RC_input_serial_PRINT.pde Download here


    This could be use for testing the 6 position switch output signals, throttle positions, custom mixes, and much more.

Connect the RC Rx Outputs 1-4 and Ground to the Arduino. GND to GND, (Ch 1  pin 9) (Ch 2  pin 10) ( Ch 3 pin 11) (Ch 4 pin 12).  Set Terminal window to 56700.  Displays every 2 seconds.


An Arduino is a very useful tool to have in the tool box.

Read more…

AC2 First Real Test Flight & Crash


After being stuck dead in the water for 6 wks waiting for a new Tx.... Today was the day to do some real testing.  The weather was almost perfect, little gusty but not to bad.  I did some rough PID tuning in the garage late last night, and soldered the 3 Gyro pads.  It still wants to drift and the YAW might just need some PID-Tuning to get it acting right.  The front Left motor with all the vibration must be replaced.  I can really tell in the video that the copter is fighting with it as well as the gustyness and the YAW + Drift.  Right before the Crash I had almost full forward stick but nothing was happening.  Then soon as I let off the stick it freaked out.  The Quad frame worked out as intended. Protected the electronics from hard landing / crash.  I would rather destroy the chassi than the electronic's.  So now time for new motors, and a stronger frame. 

Read more…

How to Chat on DIY_Drones

How to Chat on DIY-Drones.


1.)  Click on " My Page"

2.)  look @ Bottom right corner of the screen.  Kinda works like FaceBook Chat.


Every day I find fellow DIY-Droners that have no clue that there is live " Chat "  they can use to help others or get help from others.


Happy Chatting

Read more…

Polarity Protection for Turnigy 9x Tx








I'm currently waiting for my new Tx in the mail and will be doing a video. 


 You can use either a "P" or "N" channel Mosfet will work.  This curcuit works better than the Crowbar curcuit because it doesn't need a fuse, and with  less of a voltage drop.  "N" channel Mosfets are more common to find and be to used.   I have decieded to just make a reverse polarity connector instead of Modding the radio for a now.  I removed the charge port connector from the radio to use as passage way for my wiring.



I used a balance connector to connect to the 11.1v Lipo.






















I removed the Tx charge connector and enlarged a whole for the wiring to pass through.























Finished it up with some Velcro to hold the battery.  I have already noticed with a 1600mAh 11.1 LiPo my battery life has increased by 2 to 3 or more hrs.  SWEET!


Even better protection using both a mosfet and a charge pump IC.


You can find the Charge Pump IC's online.

   Here:    Charge Pump IC











Read more…

Ultra Light QuadCopter

The new Carbon arrow shaft and blue 1 1/2" foam board.







All parts are glued together with epoxy.  The foam was cut with a RotoZip, razor blades, and sandpaper.

The raw quad chassi weights only 165g and is very ridged.  About 12 hrs. to build.  


Bare weight 165g

Flying weight: 787g ( 1 battery)

                       964g (2 bateries)  Still 30 grams lighter


    I moved all of my electronic from this quad

which weights 375g bare. ( HEAVY ) 


Flying weight: 994g

motor: 2212-1400kv

prop: 9x5

Batteries: 2200 mha 11.1v = 7 min flight time. :O(3689407057?profile=original


The size is the same but the weight difference is 215 gram. 

With all the weight saved I will increase flight time and allow for larger batteries and / or camera.

Read more…


3689405976?profile=originalThis diagram shows the difference between bearing, relative bearing and heading.......all in degrees magnetic.


Heading is not always the direction an aircraft is moving. That is called 'course'. Heading is the direction the aircraft is pointing. The aircraft may be drifting a little or a lot due to a crosswind.

Bearing is the angle in degrees (clockwise) between North and the direction to the destination or nav aid.

Relative bearing is the angle in degrees (clockwise) between the heading of the aircraft and the destination or nav aid. 

    Here's a link showing an aircraft on a heading of 350° with a relative bearing to the station of 145°.
The station's bearing is 135° from North based on where the aircraft is, but since the aircraft is heading 10° left or West of North, that angle must be added to 135°.

The aircraft would have to turn 145° to the right to be pointing at the station.


Read more…


This video show that the controller working for the first time.    !!!!!Awesome!!!!!!

I could barely keep a wheelie up and going before I started using my controller.






Tuning the code a little more before the ride.                      >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>







Ever since I was a kid I wanted to ride wheelies.  So I built a Arduino Wheelie Controller and started enjoying longer, safer wheelie'ing.  I use an Arduino Duemilanove ATMEGA 328 to control a LARGE  digital servo powered with a homemade servo power curcuit, coupled to a hydraulic hand brake.  The handbrake is connected to a steel braded brake line that runs down and connects in place of the rear hydraulic brake reservoir.  The controller uses a triple axis accelerometer and a single axis gyro to calculate when and how much brake to apply.  This controller can be used on 4wheelers and motorcycle with rear disc brakes. 


<<<<<<<<<< Controller

1.)Arduino Duellinove

2.) Triple axis accel & single axis gyro  "Black Box"

3.) Power supply for LARGE servo

4.) LARGE DIGITAL High speed & Torque servo w/ metal gears










  I connected my servo to a handbrake like this one and mounted it under the rear fender. >>>>>>>



I used this adapter to connect my handbrake to the rear brake master cyclinder.


Read more…


Although it was a short lived flight it was fun. I always enjoy flying with my Pops, what makes it better is that I have both video from the ground and onboard the aircraft.  This helps identify what mistakes I made and why I had an unsecessful fight.


  1. Over wieght .........aircraft not me LOL!!
  2. I was flying to LOW
  3. I was flying to SLOW
  4. I was facing the sun
  5. ???????

As I almost start my downwind as AirCraft stalls to the inside.  I try to roll left but it's to late and not enough power to pull out of it.  Watch my Airspeed drop right before I stall.


Read more…


My Very First Test Flight was a Sucsess!! 



  3689403323?profile=originalThis was at about 4am when i solved the last bug and it wanted to hover. 

Like my painters tape Battery Straps... I found some velcro later.  





    This is a fasttrack guide for building an ArduPilot Mega QuadCopter.  If you have already started or are about to start building a QuadCopter this guide is ment to be used as a reference to help fill in the blanks with your build and first setup. 

1.)  Remember SAFETY First, Always Remove Propellers when working with the quadcopter powered on the bench.  Proppellers can cause serious injury to You, others, small childern, and animals.     Remember not to forget to read up on Lipo Safety, Don't burn your house down!!!  LiPo Batteries are great batteries if used correctly.

Lipo battery info:  

2.) Hardware:

  1. QuadCopter Frame:

     1.) Build your own.  If you build it yourself remember to keep it Light and Strong. 

     2.)  Already pre-built here:

        ArduCopter Frame Only              $170.00

        ArduCopter Frame + Motors        $320.00

 Motors: x 4   

        1.) AC2836-358 880Kv   with 10x4.5 prop      $24 

        2.) AC2830-358 850Kv  with 10x4.5 prop       $18      

        3.) TURNIGY 28-22 1400kv with 9x5 prop      $13

Propellers: x 4

     1.) 12x4.5             $6

     2.) 10x4.5             $6 

     3.) 9x5                  $3


3.) Electronics:

     1.) ArduPilot Mega & IMU with GPS /  header pins not assembled                                     $250


*Optional* Compass (needed for GPS hold)         $45

*Optional* Rangfinder                                      $54

*Optional* Telemetry                                        $150


          2.) Radio Control "RC"  Transmitter and Reciever  Tx/Rx 6 or more ch. 

                         1.) Turnigy 9X 9Ch                   $54

                         2.) Spektrum DX8 8Ch             $429

          3.) ESC  Electronic Speed Controller

               1.) DIY-Drones 25 amp ESC                              $18

               2.) HobbyKing Turnigy 25 amp ESC                  $12


         4.) Batteries  

 A basic quadcopter using the above listed motors and ESC needs at least a 2200mha 11.1v 3s 20C Lipo battery pack

                                                 Flight Times

              11.1v  2200mha  = 6-8 min +/- 1


              11.1v  4400mha = 12-15 min +/- 2


   11.1v 2650mha           $17

   11.1v 5000mha         $25


After building your QaudCopter bench testing is a great way to determine the QuadCopters true power consumption needs. An Amp Meter can be used to verify that the battery(s) are opperating with in a safe "C" range.  Before you start flying around with your QuadCopter you should test your battery time on the bench to get an average idea of how long your batteries will last.  Setting the transmitter count down timer will help remind you when to land. Only if you remember to start it. :)  My rule of thumb is land before the battery(s) get to low.  Low voltage battery alarms are a great way to help protect your batteries and your aircaft form power failure.


                 Low Voltage Alarms:

    Multi                                     $12

            3s                              $4

            4s                              $4

The APM also has a 4s voltage alarm buit in that can be used as well




    Software Downloads:



                       This program is used to load your choice of QuadCopter "code" to the APM.

Windows download

MAC download

Linux download


 Reference guide for using the Arduino software


MediaTek utility and firmware 1.6 upgrade for GPS .

                            This program is used to update GPS firmware.


                Heplful reference                                     __________________________________________________________________________________________

Xbee module setup software:

      Latest version of XCTU: Contains features from previous versions, plus adds support for over-the air configuration of select XBee modules. 

This software will update it self once installed and yes it will work on 64-bit vista and win7






ArduCopter Configurator (requires LabVIEW runtime and drivers, too)

This Software Configures your RC Tx Transmitter and lets you test adjust the flight characteristics 

of your QuadCopter. 

Reference guide for using the Configurator


                                                 QuadCopter Code:  

Both files are needed. 

   PiratesNG Sketches rev.527  Place these files in your Arduino Sketch folder.

   PiratesNG Libraries rev.527  Place these files in your Arduino Libraries folder.


!!!!Must READ!!!!

ArduPiratesNG Reference page

Reference Guide for loading the code

Reference guide for using CLI



This is the code I'm currently using with my QuadCopter... :))



 Building The QuadCopter 3689403271?profile=original


Build a light weight ridged frame.


               Square Aluminun tubing  1/16"' thick x 3/4'' x 3/4'' 

                1/16" x 1/2" Flat Stock

                 1/16" x 4"x4" Plate

      Secured together with 5/32" Rivets and Silicone in between.

                 24'' between motors

                 Frame only Weight:  350g       

This Frame is more on the tough side, i added Lightening holes to help lower the weight.  The Lightening holes only subtracted about 30g of weight... My next frame I pan on using carbon fiber arrow shafts and curcuit prefboard in hopes of creating a strong and even lighter frame.  Less weight = Longer flight times.












         This Prop Has Been Balanced using sandpaper

The difference in CW & CCW rotating propellers


!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!REMOVE PROPS until you are ready to fly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


This video will help you Balance your Props 



 Installing Motors:


Warning!!!!!!!!!! Do Not Install Props!!!!!!!


       Model: TR28-22B-1400
                                          Max Eff: 5A
                                       Max Load: 8A
                                               Kv: 1400
                                           Weight: 36g
                                       Pull: 100~450g
                                     Prop: 8x4 or 9x5
                                         Voltage: 6~9v
                                        Length: 23mm
                                         Power: 70W+

                                       9 x 5 Propeller

        QuadCopter ready to fly weight 990g

        These motors are great!!  During bench testing each motor measured 5 amp's with a total of 20 amp's constant with all 4 motors @ a hover and climbing to 26 amp's with sudden throttle burst. After a 7 min hover around the motors stayed very cool. The only down side to these motors is that you need to buy 6 to make sure you get 4 really good ones.  One of my motors has loose bearings and vibrates really bad sometimes.  I also recommend getting at least one extra motor just in case you crash.  Don't for get props too... :)

 Watch and listen to this motor vibrate on takoff.!!!!!!!!



   Connecting Motors to ESC              3689403413?profile=original


Electronic Speed Controller             



Turnigy 25amp Plush 

              Cont Current: 25A
             Burst Current: 35A
             BEC Mode: Linear
             BEC : 5v / 2A
             Lipo Cells: 2-4
             NiMH : 5-12
             Weight: 22g
            Size: 24x45x11mm

 I like these ESC because they come ready to go out of the box, although you should always make sure each one is programed the same first.  During my bench testing they barely even got warm.


Helpful reference guide for connecting ESC's



 How to correctly connect motors the first time with this setup is easy.  Use the identifiers to help u connect each motor.  Each motor has 3 wires Black, Red, Yellow, Each ESC has 3 wires all red but labled at the ESC "A,B,C".




  Start with the Front & Rear motors    3 Front & 4 Back

   "A" wire from esc connects to RED wire on motor 

     "B" wire from ESC connects to BLACK wire on motor

       "C" wirre from ESC connects to YELLOW wire on motor



When connected correctly front and rear motors should spin

in the same direction Clockwise "CW"






                           Left & Right motors   1 LT & 2 RT

   "A" wire from esc connects to BLACK wire on motor 

     "B" wire from ESC connects to RED wire on motor

       "C" wirre from ESC connects to YELLOW wire on motor


  The left and right motor should also spin in the same direction as eachother but in counter clockwise "CCW"



3689403429?profile=originalConnecting ESC's to Main Power connecter


 I recommend soldering these connection for many reasons.

  • Cheap than buying connectors
  • Connectors can fail
  • Connectors are heavy
  • more dependable

Connecting the ESC's together is pretty straight forward



  • Use a battery pack to verifiy you have connected the wires to the battery connector the correct way afterwards. 
  • Use heatshrik and electrical tape to protect the connections from contacting. 


 Configuring ESC connectors for APM

  • Lable each ESC with motor #

           Front 3    Supply Power from ESC

           Rear  4

           Left   2

           Right 1

  • Remove Red Power wire from ESC's 1,2,4
  • Heatshrink non-use power wires from ESC's



Helpful reference guide for connecting ESC's




Now The QuadCopter should look like this


Mounting Electronics  3689403554?profile=original

  •   Curcuit PrefBoad
  •   Nylon screws & nuts
  •   Light weight setup
  • Mount APM Telemetry Port pointing forward @ motor # 3 for   ( + )
  • Mount APM Telemetry Port pointing Between motor # 3  &  1  for   ( X )

All this was cut with a razor knife.  Score and Break


The preboard's hole line up with the pins on the bottom of the APM witch helps to lock it in place without glue.






<<<<<<<<<<< I used packing foam that came with the SparkFun Xbee radios on top of the APM and tightend down the nylon nuts to compress the foam and lock in the APM.



3689403607?profile=originalI did this with the RC Rx as well  >>>>>>>>>>








Connecting to the APM3689401558?profile=original


  • Compass
  • GPS
  • Telemetry





At this end of the Compass I used a small dab of silicone to help protect the compass from being damaged.


      I used 2 Plastic Headers to keep the Compass from being to close to the APM










Connecting to the compass is straight forward

  • compass connects to APM not IMU
  • Check Compass firmware with utility provided in software section of this blog.










          Use Double sided foam tape to attach GPS.>>>>>





  • Telemerty Port is a good way to identify front of APM
  • 3689403678?profile=original











Connecting RC Rx to APM3689403803?profile=original

  • Indentify in/out ch on APM
  • Modify female to female connector
  • connect Rx outputs to APM inputs

Remove all but 1 RED wire


ch1 to in 1

ch2 to in 2

ch3 to in 3

ch4 to in 4

ch5 to in 5 

ch6 to in 6





The one jumper with the RED wire will supply the RC Rx with Power from the APM.



Good Reference Guide











<<<<GPS- APM-RX-Xbee










Connecting it all together in the QuadCopter


Right motor ESC 1 >> APM out  1

Left motor   ESC 2 >> APM out  2

Front motor ESC 3 >> APM out  3

Rear motor  ESC 4 >> APM out  4














Before Plugging a battery in you should always double check to make sure everthing is connected correctly, otherwise you run the risk of Desrtoying any chance of fun. 


It's a good idea to hook everything up and get it all programed and talking before it's installed in to the Quad.  This will help get you comfortable working with the APM. 


Almost ready for take off....   3689403862?profile=original

!!!!!REMOVE PROPS!!!!!!!


  • Check all wiring is correct
  • Load Code with ArduinoID
  • Run CLI Setup
  • Run Configurator Setup
  • Test RC connection & range










  Reference guide for loading the code

  Reference guide for using the Configurator

  Reference guide for using CLI         

  Reference guide for PreFlight          

If all Goes well then it's time to Fly.  This is video of my First test flight.


2nd Test Flight


3rd Test Flight



4th Test flight





Read more…

Turnigy 9c Transmitter Burned Up!!!

   As we all know the Turnigy 9c is a great radio for the $54 price @ Hobby King and is very user friendly. I want to warn everyone about acidently connecting the battery backwards, BE VERY CAREFUL if you connect the battery backward and turn on the Tx you will destroy it immediately. This Radio Tx does not have a fuse that can be replaced.

I had my radio 4 days.  I wanted to use a LiPo battery pack instead of the "AA" holder that came with it.  I some how managed to reverse the polarity and blew the CJ78L05 voltage regulators to peaces.  The wiring on the main processor board even melted and smoked.  So now after salvaging the switches, potentiometers and LCD display, my brand new Turnigy 9c Tx radio is in the trash and the quadcopter just sits there lifelessly waiting............. So during the next month or longer while I wait for the 2nd new Turingy 9c radio I'm gonna figure out how to incorporate a fuse into the new transmitter so that this never happens again.  Sorry no pics!!!  

Read more…