Quad, Mount, and FPV


After painfully waiting for the Alaskan spring time to do its thing, I've finally got my 3DR quad all set up and FPV-capable.

I managed to get some test runs in beginning in April to get the hang of flying a quad. It's been cold so I haven't done nearly as much as I'd have liked to. On the other hand, snow drifts make good places to bail. ;) Now that things are melting and warming up a bit, I've managed to find some time to add more junk to the frame. Here are the current specs:

3DR Quad Frame
RCTimer 880kv motors
RCTimer 40amp ESC's
12x4.5 Carbon/Nylon Blades
APM 2.0 (currently on 2.5.4)

Turnigy TH9x (with er9x firmware)
ChainLink Dare UHF Long-Range Tx/Rx (433MHz)
FatShark 2.4GHz video transmitter
GoPro HD Hero 2
Custom camera mount (temporary. whipped up in an afternoon)

I'm using the ChainLink since the only video tx I have is the FatShark 2.4Ghz. All of this seems to work quite well.


I have the GoPro plugged into the video tx so I can record and fly FPV at the same time via the same camera. The GoPro is sitting on a slab of Align gel which does a good job of killing the jello with 1080p@30fps. My APM2 Board is also on Align gel, held in place gently with velcro - just enough to keep it from un-seating from the gel but not enough to negate the vibration dampening.

I'm well-aware of the ghastly mess of wires protruding in all directions. This has very much been a dynamic build, adding and securing parts as I go along, seeing what fits best where. At some point I'm sure I'll put in the effort to neatly zip-tie all the wires where they ought to be and dump some aesthetic quality into the thing. For now, it works and does what I want.

The main goals now are to delve into the art of FPV flying and fiddle with PIDs to try to get the thing to fly solidly. Hopefully the refinement of loiter and the other auto modes will prove successful, since I've had poor luck with those to date.

Cheers, and happy flying!


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  • Developer

    @Eric: The sonar is incredible, worth installing and very easy. My hover is as tight as 2 inches in a windless environment

  • Thanks for the comments, guys!

    @Scott I got the gel from here. I've had decent luck with baro alt hold. It's give or take a few feet so I never expect perfection from it. I do have a sonar unit, but haven't gotten around to installing it.

    @Thomas Thanks for the advice. I mainly tried to match the suggestions for a standard 3DR setup, with a bit of extra payload capability. I haven't had anything fail yet (except one of the plastic blades i used to use flew off while in stable hover). I'll certainly switch things up a bit when I get a chance. Thanks for all of the suggestions and the link. I imagine that will make my life easier down the road!

  • Great work. Can you tell me what align gel is? I am new to the APM platform. But I have flown KK as well as multiwii boards. I wasn't really impressed with the altitude hold on the APM until I installed the sonar sensor-- super easy and well worth the money. I highly recommend it.
  • Eric great work. I like your improvised camera mount.
  • Geez, Eric! That thing must have cost you a small fortune if you're Alaska based!

  • Developer

    Nice build Eric! I look forward to seeing some videos.

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