My Latest project – Quality but budget Quadcopter for FPV.

I would like to share my latest project with you guys, Above is a Short video montage I made.

If you would like to build one, here is the link to my build log that I made:

http://explorer4-quadcopter.atwebpages.com/

I originaly wanted to buy a TBS disco pro but when I priced up everything I would need I came to quite a shocking amount. I also wanted to use Arducopter purely because its great!! which the Disco pro isn't designed for.

I have already built copters before and am able to CNC cut carbon sheet, So I thought to myself Why not DIY. I priced up all the parts I would need from Hobbyking and Himodel and started planing. This is the result:

The quad itself costs about 500€ excluding the TX and Gopro, which is quite a saving. I also designed the frame with a dirty/clean setup, The middle section of the bottom plate is on rubber dampeners, the Flight controller, Brushless Gimball and most importantly the battery are on this plate. This setup drasicly reduces the vibrations on the flight controller and gimball, mostly due to the mass of the 5000Mah Li-po.

Above: Vibrations Log data

Overall I am really happy with it, Its so easy to fly thanks to the hybrid mode of arducopter and this being my first pure FPV model has made that step alot easyer. The Flight times are great too, I normaly land at about 15 mins after FPV "exploring" and there is normaly about 25-30% still left in the battery, I have had a flight in loiter mode just hovering and I got up to 20 minutes before the failsafe kicked in. There is also no problems with jello on the gopro or fpv cam, which was one of my main worries.

Specs:

  • Weight: 1725g without gopro.
  • Width (motor axis): 44cm
  • Length (motor axis):27cm
  • Length of body: 32cm
  • Props: 10×4,5 carbon fiber
  • Flight time: ~20mins hover or ~15mins fpv flying.

I made Build videos as I built it and have shared them at the link above, there is also a full parts list on there with links. If you like the idea and want to build one for yourself all the info you need is on there.

Let me know what you think!

Views: 3159

Comment by Daniel Allen on September 10, 2014 at 8:46am

That is the most interesting approach to isolating the gimbal and battery. Its smart how you used an existing bottom plate with the compression style damping. It appears My design is sorta similar, but now I have to go back to the drawing board due to vibs that are still present. I thought having the vibration balls diagonally opposing with be smart, but it turns out that it introduces more problems.

Comment by Marc Dornan on September 10, 2014 at 10:43am

Having done the same thing twice myself to make very effective APM-based platforms for AP on a budget I really do like your carbon upper and lower plates for DJI arms. I am using aluminum extended Aimdroix arms that fit in place of DJI arms and I have attached carbon 10mm booms and retracts so that I can mount different 3 axis gimbals and batteries and slide them back and forth to balance etc. The custom made Carbon Fibre F450 plates I am using are just too small to fit all my electronics with ease. I would like to remake one of mine with your CF plates - which are fairly priced by the looks of things. If you are curious here is a shaky video of it hovering with retracts in operation for the benefit of the chap that printed my retracts. Although not cheap, Aimdroix arms (from readymaderc) and your plates would make a great combination as you can easily swing 14 inch props. I like what I have made and could not really find it on the market. 

I would like a set of these plates. I think you might find a lot of interest in them as there is little out there to meet this need as you rightly perceived.

Comment by Mathieu on September 11, 2014 at 12:42am
Brilliant!
Congratulations Luke :)
Comment by luke cooke on September 11, 2014 at 1:42am

@Daniel

thanks for you input! before you take your quad apart try putting ear plugs inside the dampeners, I have done that before on another qaud and it helped. In my opinion these dampening ball only really work to their full potential when under compression.

@ Marc

I have Sent you a email.... Love that landing gear!

Comment by Julien Dubois on September 11, 2014 at 3:38am

Very nice design! and good build guide on your website.

With such main plate, don't you have alt_drop on fast forward flight or during braking phasis?

Comment by Daniel Allen on September 11, 2014 at 6:46am

Luke, I'll consider trying the ear plug filler. However the dampers I'm using are those blue cylindrical types which take a lot of compression. The design will need an overhaul to be able to use any other type of damper ball. I think my biggest issue which I already addressed was due to the type of motor I used. The DT series is garbage, so I went with the Sunnyskys and I'm testing different types of props.

Comment by luke cooke on September 11, 2014 at 8:50am

@ julien

I have not noticed any altitude drop when flying around up to now, maybe im not flying fast enough but i can easyly cruse around at 35-40kmh without any problems, why would the frame cause altitude drop problems?

@ daniel

You will be alot happyer with the sunnyskys, They are on all my copters and they just run without any problems. I use the 800kv 2216-11 and am getting upwards of 15 minutes of flight time too which is great.

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