My 97minute:06second record quadcopter flight

Quadcopter details:

-Custom CF frame built from 12mm tubes and 1m~3mm CF plate.

- RCTimer 17x5.5 CF Props

- Turnigy Plush 12A ESC's running BLHeli firmware

- RCTimer 5010 - 360Kv motors

- Panasonic NCR18650 13,600A battery pack

- Bareduino Arduino FC with MPU6050

- OrangeRX DSM satellite RX

- AUW 1296 grams with battery

- Frame AUW is 499 g


Everything is COTS (standard, off the shelf) equipment.


More details to be posted on the massive thread and amazing duration quadcopter's built and posted by EoD here.

RCGroups current all-time duration multicopter thread


- RCTimer motors had original 18awg wires replaced with 24awg bringing the total weight to 79.9g

- Props were sanded and balanced, motors balanced.

- Motor-prop screws are 3mm aluminum.

- Motor screws are 4 x per motor and nylon. All 16 screws are less than a couple grams.

- Super light frame came in at 66 grams

- Barduino Arduino board from seedstudio along with an MPU6050 breakout board was used to build a tiny Multiwiicopter flight controller.

- A Spektrum satellite RX was used for the radio link. A larger MWC board was used to tune the flight parameters first then the bareduino was installed. You have to load the firmware, edit the PID"s using the MWC software, then again reflash the board to enable Spektrum support on Arduino's with one shared serial port.

- The Plush ESC's are running BLHeli firmware, and were stripped of one voltage regulator each. Heatsinks were added.

- Most "data/esc" wires are ~36awg.

- The battery pack is the awesome Panasonic 18650 cells as posted by EoD on his duration quadcopter flights.


The flight:

- It started at about 11:30am. Battery pack was charged at 2A for about 7 hours. Rested for 30min, then flown.

- I installed a small battery voltage monitor so I could land before the pack got to low. 5grams, cost me a minute.

- About 30 minutes in I was at about .400mv down, I had about 4.2V of power. Looking good!

- 1 hour in. Still lots of power, however the voltage started to drop a bit faster. Every 0.01v ticked by and I could tell it didn't last as long as when the flight started.

- 1.15 minutes in. Still looking good, starting to realize maybe we won't make 120 minutes.

- 1.25 minutes in. Wow we are dropping faster and fast, I still need 11 minutes. After flying for almost 1.5hours I hoped I would not be seconds short of the record. Going for it!

- 1.30 minutes in. I can't remember where it was, 3.15 per cell I think. But I was able to quickly calculate how long a 100mv was lasting and what I had left to 2.7V (my personal cut-off point) and it I'm not sure if I will make another 6! minutes.

1.35.45 . The longest 5 minutes, 45 seconds ever.

- 1.36 minutes 2.80v per cell, some at 2.79, one at 2.75. I knew here I beat the current "hi-score" record! Pushing ahead.

- 1.37 minutes Started hitting 2.7 on some cells, decided to land. According to EoD he had a "couple" minutes at this point. Not wanting to damage my battery I landed it here.



Could this design fly longer? 100 minutes? maybe. I could remove the heatsinks on the ESC's, they didn't add any minutes and 'cost' me 5 grams of time, copper enameled wires, direct solder the battery instead of connectors, and not use the battery voltage monitor. This would save at least 20~30grams and I think you could safely fly to over 100 minutes. Maybe 101!


The 97 minute video!

Some pictures inserted into the video. Any questions just ask. Sorry for the "Alien Autopsy" quality video it was hard to capture this indoors in poor lighting and it has been to windy outdoors.

contact: cptfrazz(at)gmail





Views: 112824

Comment by Muhammad Al-Rawi on August 17, 2013 at 4:08pm

Simply amazing. 

Thanks for posting your setup!

Comment by Matt on August 17, 2013 at 4:10pm

pretty impressive for hovering. Doesn't it take considerably more energy to fly around than it does to hover? I would try to fly a predetermined path with some sort of auto pilot to see what sort of flight time you could get. That would be even more impressive. But none the less, sweet achievement!

Comment by Ian on August 17, 2013 at 4:30pm

Thanks guys. Yes it takes more power to fly around. I wanted to hit a maximum record time hovering first. Now I can add a gps/autopilot or FPV setup and go for distance. EoD had posted amazing distances via FPV on his quadcopters and they fly the same length of time as this one. Well 1 minute 20 seconds less ;)

If anyone want's the design/CAD drawings just let me know. It's about the only part I can make opensource, as the rest already is. Much thanks goes out to all of the amazing developers and projects that helped me to get this far. 

Comment by Gary McCray on August 17, 2013 at 5:09pm

Fantastic accomplishment and much better and more openly documented than Vis Asta's flight here:

I like your design very much it is actually a practical copter that could be used for a lot of things other than just setting records.

Definitely points out the value of well optimized large diameter props turning at relatively low speed as being most efficient.

Do the Panasonic cells show a higher power density to weight than other cells in common use?

Are these similar to Toshiba's SCIB batteries?

Comment by Ian on August 17, 2013 at 5:43pm

Reading the wiki page on the SCIB battery it says: "The disadvantage is that lithium-titanate batteries have a lower inherent voltage, which leads to a lower energy density than conventional lithium-ion battery technologies." 

The Panasonic's are currently the best performing batteries that people have found, and that I know of, and they are Li-Ion technology. They need to be discharged at less than 1C, so if your quad can't fly for more than 1 hours you should not use them. 42g 4.2 peak voltage, 3.4A.

Thanks for also linking the "125 minute" flight. With no details, or by using unavailable (secret) equipment it isn't much of a record. There have been others that have suggested using primary battery packs, if you have a military budget and throwing away a non-rechargable $300 or $1000 battery pack per flight I think you could put down some amazing numbers! ;)

In the competition thread EoD has posted that he thinks large higher pitch props might be the way to go, but 5.5 is the highest listed on any site. Custom wound motors and custom props you could likely add many minutes.

Comment by Crashpilot1000 on August 17, 2013 at 6:32pm

Great job!

Maybe you can dremel down the motorshafts a little. You could use frsky telemtry for voltage monitoring. Or do the voltage monitoring with arduino and blink a LED.

Comment by Ian on August 17, 2013 at 6:50pm

Thanks CP1000. Good catch on the motor shafts, couple grams there for sure! I was in the middle of building a <1g voltage monitor board, but then decided to just "go for it" with the existing one. I think If I made all the changes I wanted I could hit 100+ minutes. However I'd really like to know if larger props and even lower KV motors would make more of a significant difference. I'm willing to hand rewind the motors, but I can't seem to track down reasonable props. Although as soon as someone starts posting times with those 9015 sized motors with 26" props this scale of quad won't be able to compete.

Comment by leonardthall on August 18, 2013 at 8:16am

Hats off and thank you for being so open with your design!!!

Awesome effort!

Comment by crystal garris on August 18, 2013 at 12:15pm

Nice work. I have 30 of these, going into the techpod. weighing the same as a 2 hour 50 minute flight with 10,000 mah of 6s lipo. 30 cells in 6s 5p will give me 16,000 mah. this should push flight times over 5 hours. Can you tell me how many mah do you actually get from each cell?

Comment by Gary Mortimer on August 18, 2013 at 12:33pm

What size do they work out at Wayne?? I do think 6 hours is the new 40 minutes for electric fixed wing stuff.


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