Mini Quad Rotor Flying on APM Code


Today, my nine-year-old daughter and I upgraded our little mini quad (7" across), which we hadn't flown in a while.

Here's what we did:


1. Soldered the headers onto a new ArduPilot Mega 2560 board and installed it into the quad. (Replacing the 1280 that was there).

2. In the past we couldn't find the small 4x2.5 propellers in both a pusher and puller style, so we compensated for this by tilting the motors 8 degrees. We recently received a shipment of the proper pushers and pullers, so we installed those and re-positioned the motors so they were straight up. 

3. In the past we used the CLI and the "Indoor" code. This time, we used the Mission Planner to load the current standard code (AC 2.0.39b), and then we re-configured as per the wiki.

After completing our upgrades, we ran through the normal tests and everything checked out so we took it out for a flight. It immediately flew absolutely beautifully. Very stable and responsive. This was by far the most stable we had ever seen this mini quad fly (or any of our quads). Awesome!  Well done, DIY Drones team!  :)


Here are some pictures of my daughter soldering the header pins on the new ArduPilot Mega board and then installing it into the quad. I've also included a picture of the finished upgraded quad, which we call "The Black Hornet."




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  • If anyone know the material's please help me to send the details.I mean what is the rating of motor? And which type of motor I can use for construct this....please help e-mail address is

  • sir i have 4 pusher propellor.can u suggest me how can i make two of them as puller prop as u said in ur project that u have tilt the motor to 8 degree???????/

  • can anyone confirm which standoff  they ended up using for the motors?



  • Thanks for the info Robert, I'l first use a small MD80 DV camera I bought at HK.

    Any videos??


  • One note on weight: with a 730mAh battery, my quad weighs in at 265grams, so comparable to Robert's. I then chose to put a 1350mAh battery on it plus some foam protection for battery and APM board, that pushed the weight to 305grams.

    At this weight, it still flies well. Not as dynamic and fast of course, but flyable. Hover throttle is about 68%, a little high for my tastes, but still enough resources for tame flying. And I get good flight time out of the heavy battery

  • Dani Saez: Thanks, Dani.

    Our mini quad weighs 262 grams (with battery, ready to fly).

    A GoPro weighs 100 grams.

    I haven't tried it, but I don't think it would work too well.

    For recording video, I would think a standard quad would be much better.

    However, if you want to record video with a mini quad just for the fun of it, you will probably need to look at a smaller camera. I have a small wing camera (that I got for a different project) that is much smaller, wedged shaped, weighs 29 grams, and would be much easier to attach (just velcro it on). But keep in mind, the Mini Quad is a very small little quad and isn't really capable of lifting much at all. The little camera is 720P High-Def (rather than the GoPro's 1080p), but it's much smaller/lighter. I haven't tried it yet, so I can't vouch for its video quality of this little camera. It's so cheap, I assume it's not very good, but it may be worth experimenting with. The link is here:


  • Great work Robert!!  congrats!! I've been thinking of building one myself, to get a GoPro Camera on it!

    Btw, what's the final weight??  and how much weight do you think you can lift??

    keep it up!



  • This is a cool project. I ordered the parts last night. It was about $144 including shipping (5 ESC's, 5 motors, 4 battereis, 5 packs of props, lights and lipo alarm. EMS shipping of course). Then another $31 order for kite parts and $31 to Sparkfun for the sonar. It's looking like about $200 in quad parts plus the APM Mega/IMU/X-Bee and GPS.... going to be a very small, very expensive, wickedly fun quad!

  • healthyfatboy: Here's a picture of the Edge Connector and the Stand Off (what we would call the Motor Mount). This will help you in your search for the right parts. Ignore the white stuff on the Stand Off. That's tape adhesive. I use black duct tape to hold the Stand Off in position, because it's a bit loose and rotates if it's not secured. Also, on the underside of the Stand Off, there is an "HQ". I drilled out the hole where the motor is inserted (which you're seeing the bottom of here).3692265346?profile=original

  • healthyfatboy: We built this quad pretty quick and unfortunately I didn't keep a good build log. I do remember it was hard to find the kite parts. I ordered a variety of parts from several different stores (all the parts are very cheap), put them in a pile, figured out which parts were best for our purpose, and then physically modified them to meet our needs. I've looked through the orders I made to try to reconstruct what I did. My notes here won't be perfect, but they'll get you going in the right direction:


    First, don't bother buying any T-Connectors. I tried a few types and they all created an undesirable bump in the middle. We used black duct tape to secure the cross point and a sheet of ABS plastic (from McMaster Carr) for a sandwich-like body.


    Second, I believe we ended up using the Pultruded Carbon Tubes from Good Winds for the arms.


    Good Winds: Carbon: Pultruded Carbon Tubes: 020042 Pultruded Carbon Tubing:Description O.D.": .1570";Length: 32.5";I.D.": 0.100"; 4.00mm;Wt./gm: 9.2 gm


    Once, you decide on the cross-arms, that OD drives everything else:


    You need (4) Edge Connectors. These are critical. I believe we used "Good Winds" Edge Connectors:

    Connectors: Edge Connectors: 020522 APA Edge Connectors: Description: Y-TAPA E.C.;Size: .156/.156" 


    Finally, you need (4) Stand Offs, which are what hold the motors. We purchased and a variety of these, then drilled them out to accept the motor.

    I believe we tried and didn't like these...

    Good Winds:  Connectors: Standoff Connectors: 020530 APA Standoff Connectors: Description: APA 156 S.C.;Size:    .156"

    A Wind of Change: goo-standoff-connector  -  Standoff Connector +select_size:178


    I believe that we finally succeeded with Stand Offs from Fun With Wind. This was our last order from them, but I don't know which of these we ended up using (they all look the same):

    #17-153414-16-17-153414-25/4472 Stand Off Connector-2,5 - 4mm

    #17-153414-16-17-153415-25/4472 Stand Off Connector-3,5 - 5,5 mm

    #17-1534-17-153403-25/1655 HQ-Connector-3mm/Fits .118 to .125 OD Rods


    Sorry I couldn't be more specific. I should have kept notes.


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