Operation Overkill - ArduCopter, input appreciated :)

Let me just start saying that I like overkill on just about every project i do but i also am frugal as hell and need to keep costs down, i know so counter productive to someone who likes overkill HEHE.

Next problem i live in the caribbean, it has some advantages, like i can probably fly my uav just about anywhere and no one will say sh*t, and frequency use ... well... the local "FCC" is a joke, so i dont really need any ham licenses etc for running alternate frequencies are far as i can tell here.

Now the negative of being in the caribbean, their are 0 rc shops on island so everything is ordered from the US, so theirs no real "opps ordered the wrong thing" i have to get it right the first time around or else shipping will kill me.

I havent flown RC in a very very long time, and even then it was my dad's boats which clocked in at 70mph on water which was always impressive... But never really flew a plane, i am however a quick study.

Anyway thats enough intro to who i am, onward to Operation Overkill!

Operation Overkill Mission Plan: To build a "heavy lift" RC QuadCopter utilizing opensource hardware/software.

Operation Overkill Success Goals
1: Ability to manually fly using FPV
2: Ability to autonavigate way points for geophotomapping
3: Capable of 15-20 minutes of sustained flight fully loaded with hardware
4: Able to aim and trigger a high quality camera.
5: Stable flight and video recording for video work.
6. Total flight product under 800$

Operation Overkill Hardware
--- Basic Brains ---
1x ArduPilot-Mega - $60.00
1x ArduPilot-Mega IMU - $160.00
1x MediaTek MT3329 GPS 10Hz + Adapter - $40.00
1x HMC5843 - Triple Axis Magnetometer - $45.00

--- Power Plant ---
1x TrueRC 11.1V 8000mAh Li-polymer Battery 10c = 565grams - $110
4x X2217/08 Outrunner hangit rc 18 amps max http://www.eastrc.org/estoremotorselectric.htm - 32$*4 - $128
4x 3.17mm Prop Saver w/ Adapter & 3 bands http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=3739 4x $2.99 = $12

*** I've read that the TrueRC batteries are awesome and cheap, the hangitrc motor had the highest thrust i could find in such a small package and low price, 32$, 70 gram unit, and 1150grams of thrust with the 10x5 e prop, although i'm having issues finding the APC e prop for CCW or am i missing something? the prop savers, i dont know if they are really designed to work with 10x5 props but as i said i dont wanna be ordering new props every week given where i live any experience with prop savers on quads with bigger rotors?

--- OSD/Telemetry ---
*** I'm still not sure what to do here, i wanted a good OSD but the one i saw that works with ardupilot forces use of a smaller gps module from what i saw and i want high gps reliability for when its on autopilot... The alternative is xbee pro for telemetry and just a standard ccd with broadcaster without an osd... any input here would be great.

--- TX/RX ---
1x Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware) - $70

--- Camera Hardware ---
*** I'm still researching how best to integrate/mount/trigger a camera using ardupilot mega, as i'd like to have some form of camera stabilizer mount below that i can rotate and turn that would also hold the osd camera that way i could actively see what i'm aiming the high def camera at, switch on hover, aim the cameras and trigger a nice snap shot fromt he air... Or program waypoints (once thats available) point the cameras straight down and do geophotos, tips and suggestions are welcome.

--- Airframe ---
To start i'm looking to get some metal towel rods for arms, and hopefully will be able to find some teflon/rubber washers so that i can pressure mount the motors onto the rods instead of drilling them... the plates for the electronics, i'm considering trying to find some flat plastic boards and then covering the contact points with the electronics with a little bit of rubber to reduce vibration on the electronics even further.

This setup would primarily be used for just testing and getting the hang of the unit i eventually want to get a unit from Jakub or maybe build out a carbon fiber frame once i'm sure of my hardware that will handle a camera mount

-------------------END OF HARDWARE---------------------

Price wise I'm at 630$ and i'm missing the camera, airframe, telemetry and radio.... wow i don't think im gonna make that 800$ goal.

The way i see it at max thrust the engine and prop combo can put out 4600grams of thrust. I don't really want to be using that much as i'll drain even the 8000mah battery in what, 5-6 minutes so i should be looking to keep the total load at about half that 2300grams, right? That way i can maximize battery availability by not having to run the motors hard ever.

280grams motor + 570 grams battery + 400 grams for the airframe worst case + 200 grams of circuit boards (i have no idea how much the ardu pilot stuff weights along with the radio and telemetry) + 100 grams esc

That would bring me to 1550grams allowing me to lug a camera of up to a 1kg without stressing the engines or battery... i kinda wish i cud get my non-payload weight down some.

Anyone see where i could save some cash? Or alternatives for the above hardware? Holes in my logic etc would all be appreciated greatly.

Wow is it just me or is 40.7oz * 4 - 1450 grams airframe mean i could lift a 7 pound baby? lol Not that i would LOL
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  • What kind of weight could I expect to move with four AXI Gold 5345/14s, or four Hacker A50-14L 8-poles or similarly large motors?  I know the battery sizes will be heavier too. 

    I have searched and begged for info to no avail.

    I have an ambitious project in mind and willing to spend what it takes, but need help doing my homework.

    I want to incorporate all of the above electronics and a gimbal/tracking optics system.

  • Developer
    APM + Connectors = 16 gr
    IMU + Connectors = 20 gr
    MTEK GPS + Cable = 12 gr
    Smaller motor = 67gr
    Bigger motor = 78 gr
  • sounds awesome was hopping to start in a week or 2 guess ill wait a while longer if necessary and get the parts direct.
  • Developer
    I don't remember all exact weights for those motors and others, I will check them for you tomorrow when I'm at office. I think smaller motors were something like 59gr, bigger 68-75gr (no guarantee) but they both should be under 75gr each. APM + Oilpan are really light less than one small motor..

    Yes we are coming with full set of parts, ESC, Motors, Propellers, Frames, Frame addons, single parts... Motor/ESC order is already in factory, Propellers might arrive already on this month. Frame production for some parts has already started but before it hits market it will still take some weeks due we need to wait that all parts has arrived. We are trying to create one stop shop for all ArduCopter parts
  • ok /me likey they 1.2kg at 75%@14.2 amps
    any idea when you guys will start selling them as that looks awesome

    are these going to weight > 75 gr each?

    do u happen to have the current draws for the ardu boards? and their weight? cant find it on the store pages...

    Was looking at the props at http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=... but i cant find a puller version, but then again if you guys are coming out with your own motors/props soon then i cud go with that depending on timeline
  • Developer
    ArduCopter will have motors that can do it and more but they are not yet available. What we have tested on those. Smaller motors will produce 430gr thrust with 50% capacity and they eat 3.4Amps, 75% 855gr 9Amp with 10x45 propeller that has selected for ArduCopter use. Bigger motors for heavier payload uses 12x45 propellers and their numbers looks 50% 650gr, 6.1Amp, 75% 1290gr, 14.2Amp
  • so did anyone have any cheaper or better alternatives that can put out 1.1kg thrust at 18 amps?
  • ahhh i get you so if im using my laptop and xbee i dont need the ardustation its an "or" kinda thing laptop OR ardustation, i get ya, well that saves me a few bucks as i always have my laptop with me.... will use the laptop for datalogging via xbee then, that way i only need the xbee.
  • Developer
    Ardustation is one way only Air->Ground and Ardustation is not supported yet from ArduCopter software. Well even waypoint upload is not supported yet but it will come on somepoint after our software is ready for that. There will be special ArduPilot Ground Station/Mission planner software that runs on your laptop and from that you can upload waypoints and other information to your quad in future.
  • ya they say 1 of the chans has harmonics and to use specfific channels, if i have issue ill use a lowbandpass filter....

    wait, i thought waypoints had to be preprogrammed, they're sent via ardustation xbee?????
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