3DR Quadcopter Build w/ APM2, 880kv

Thanks for all the hard work Diydrones team! I've finally got my quad flying and it is a lot of fun. I am on to the tuning and testing stage, burned through a bunch of batteries and props yesterday. :) oops. Being a complete newb to the RC scene, this build was pretty difficult but very rewarding. Teaching myself to fly has been great, and the last 3 months of work has paid off. Here are some details of my build, hopefully they may help someone out:
Replacement "Lowes Special Highrise" Landing Gear. Saves 40 grams. :) I suck at flying my quad, so I am always breaking stuff while learning. Yesterday I broke one of the landing gear and decided I wanted highrise but not wait for shipping. After building the new gear and comparing against the old landing gear I was surprised to see each was about 10 grams less weight. Around 40 total.

Frame: 3DR Quadcopter rev A
Telemetry: No
Controller: APM2
Motors: 880kv
Props: 10x4.5black, 10x4.5apc (worked great!), 12x4.5 (not very good for me)
ESC: Thunderbird 36
Battery: Turnigy 4000mah 3S
Sonar: XL-EZ0
Landing gear: Custom Lowes Special
Firmware: 2.5 from Mission Planner
Mode: X
PID Settings:
Defaults with RATE ROLL P = 0.105

I've had successful flights with all props with these settings, the 12" props definitely seems to introduce stab issues making the quad hard to control. The 10x4.5 and 10x4.7 from APC have been great giving me the most success. Now, a few mods that I've done to help fix bends, breaks, bruises after crashes or just make things more solid:

I put a couple of small washers under the motor to distribute weight and help stop the aluminum from bending. I've found it helps keep the motors straight.

I found small diameter aluminum tubing at Lowes, cut this into 3/4" sections and used over bolt to help keep frame from bending. Tubing

Added a few extra washers here and there to help distribute weight when tightening

Mounted the APM using faucet o-rings from Lowes. O-ring
I can't remeber the exact size. APM2 Mount

Landing gear parts:
Old gear: ~23g with hardware

New gear: 14g with foam

1) 1/2"w x 36"l aluminum strip from Lowes 3' bar
2) section of pipe insulation from Lowes
3) zipties
I hope to post some "in flight" pictures soon! Thanks, 


Views: 3434

Comment by JP on March 24, 2012 at 4:49pm

New PID settings:

PID Settings:
RATE ROLL P = 0.105
STAB P = 4.2
STAB D = 0.10
rate D = 0.001

These work great for me with APC 10x4.7 or black 10x4.5

Comment by Paolo on March 25, 2012 at 10:32am

Are selfmade, cutting fiberglass G10 and using the screw in kit with cross motor mounts.

Comment by Vez Khem on March 30, 2012 at 1:40pm

Great quad.  By the way, what are your flight times?

Comment by JP on March 30, 2012 at 1:42pm

Thanks. I haven't timed them yet. I have concentrating on not crashing and breaking props. :D I also did the mod above and removed at least another 40g with the bullet connects and extra wiring. Trying to figure out a new landing gear solution. Keep you posted.. thx jp

Comment by Vez Khem on March 30, 2012 at 1:49pm

Thanks JP, my team is building a quadcopter and we are on the stage of designing and purchasing parts. The only part we bought so far was the APM 2.0. Trying to purchase different parts and trying to determine if the parts work and work well together is our main problem. Can you let me know how you picked you parts, or was it trial and error?

Comment by JP on March 30, 2012 at 1:56pm

Sure Vez, I had pretty much the same starting point. My intention was to purchase slight better parts then the base model 3DR dev platform. So I went for the larger motors and Thunderbird 36 ESC. My selection was pretty random and lucky they worked out well. The biggest trial and error has been with the props and getting the frame balanced. After a couple of hard crashes my 3DR frame needs to be gently reset back to 'true' in order to solve the yaw on take off issue. I just got lucky with all the parts.. what I used is listed above. I don't recommend my landing gear. They suck and introduce lots of problems. Landing gearless for now.. :)

Comment by Vez Khem on March 30, 2012 at 3:03pm

Thanks again JP. http://store.scoutuav.com/products/scout-3-landing-skids/ this is the landing gear we were looking to purchase for our quadcopter. maybe you can get one too if you like it.

Comment by JP on March 30, 2012 at 3:12pm

thx! i like those.. how tall are they? 

Comment by Vez Khem on March 30, 2012 at 3:39pm

Your guess is as good as mine. lol I think it's funny how this site has it for sell but don't list any description or spec's on it. We looked at a couple of different ones and this is the only one, we like the way it looked. As mention before, we haven't order anything yet beside the APM 2.0. Right now we are doing design alternatives to see what parts are best and works well with each other, as well as working with the APM 2.0. I notice people are getting their parts mostly from hobbyking.com, aeroquad.com, and sensors from sparkfun.com.

Comment by JP on March 30, 2012 at 6:30pm

hah! I thought the same thing. Hobbyking takes forever for shipping FYI :) I like the 3DR frame a lot, don't get me wrong. APM2 is amazing!


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