The 'Ugly Man' meets APM/AC2


The 'Ugly Man' is my mongrel, 660mm, 1.5kg, APV/FPV Quad, so named because a good friend gazed upon it and said 'damn, that thing is ugly'.  This triggered an appropriate old song in my easily programmed mind (Ugly Man), and the die was cast. But, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, right?

The 'Ugly Man' is built-up using a BQ-1 frame kit from AGL Hobbies, TRex 450 CF tail booms, extra landing gear legs from a  Hoverthings VC-450 frame kit, and an X-Aircraft, single-axis camera mount.   The 'Ugly Man' uses RCTimer 2830/13 850kv motors, RCTimer 20amp ESCs, 10x4.5 props & 3S3300mah TP Prolite batteries. It began life controlled by a Paris 3.0 MultiWiiCopter board, stably hauling a ContourGPS HD camera aloft, but longing for more...  Most multicopter flight controller manufacturers seemed to be promising additions like GPS & Baro 'RSN' (real soon now!) for functions like alt-hold or position hold. Full-blown autopilot capabilities, yeah, right!  Oh well, one can always hope.


Then one day I found myself here.


You mean to tell me I can get a fully equipped (with mag & sonar) autopilot for $350!?!?  And it's supported by a constantly percolating community that provides frequent updates to both AC2 code and the equally-incredible APM Planner!?!?

I must be slipping. How could they keep this from me??


And, how can you truly experience Planner without both a 900MHz XBee Pro and a 5.8GHz FPV camera with transmitter flying along with the APM? I sure can't...  Debit card never stood a chance!


Just loaded 2.0.37 AC2 code, calibrated & configured the quad, and hovered a full pack (~11 min.) in Stabilize mode. Nice neutral yaw on takeoff, with no bad tendencies.  Pitch & Roll initially a little too sensitive for my thumbs. Set it down and dialed the rate in the transmitter for Pitch & Roll down to about 70% and added 30% Expo to both axes. Ah, that's very nice! Default PIDs seem to be a really good starting point for the 'Ugly Man'. No wobbles, nice & stable.


Can't wait to begin working with the more advanced modes. I've set the Walkera 2801Pro TX up for six flight modes by mixing the 3-position flight mode sw with the gear switch.


Figured I'd snap a couple of pictures before I caused the 'Ugly Man' to pull an 'Amelia Earhart' or somehow exit the flight envelope in some worse fashion.


Looking forward to sharing my experiences with the DIYDrones community.











E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of diydrones to add comments!

Join diydrones


  • Hi Kevin

    Thanks a million for all the details ...

  • Thanks, Deepak.

    As pictured, the Ugly Man's AUW is 1518g. Of this, 250g. is the 3s3300mah flight battery & 255g. is the single-axis camera mount + HD camera. I don't think I'd want to go any heavier with this power system.

    At this weight, an 11 minute flight consumes roughly 3000mah. Power generated shows 185W avg./290W max. & current consumption shows 17A avg./26A max over that flight period (using trusty DPR-50).

    If you want to fly longer & are willing to sacrifice the HD camera, just slip it & its' mount off at the rubber dampers for the camera mount. I then use a 3s5000mah battery & this 1390g configuration will fly 17 minutes with power to spare.

    The only other thing worth mentioning is that I use a seperate 2s1000mah battery in conjunction with a switching regulator set to 5.1V to power the R/C receiver & APM + sensors + XBee. The linear BECs in all four speed controllers are disabled and the 3s flight pack supplies the power system & the 5.8GHz video TX/camera.

    Here's a basic BOM:


    (1) BQ-1 Frame kit + GL-1 Legs                          $ 75.00
    (2) Accessory Mounts                                               2.00
    (1) VC-450 Landing Gear Plates + HW                  20.00
    (8) TRex 450 CF Tail Booms (4 spare)                  48.00
    (1) XAircraft X6501 axis camera mount +              47.00
    (1) Digital micro servo                                            20.00
    (2) Pool Noodles (enuf for years + many uses!)    10.00

    (5) RCTimer 2830/13 850kv motors (1 spare)       50.00
    (5) RCTimer 20-amp ESC (1 spare)                      50.00
    (2) 10x4.5 CW/CCW Prop Sets (1 set spare)        12.00

    (1) ArduPilot Mega Full Kit                                   250.00
    (1) HMC5843 Triple Axis Magnetometer               45.00
    (1) MB1200 XL-MaxSonar-EZ0                             45.00
    (1) XBee Pro 900 Telmetry kit                             150.00

    (1) Walkera WK2801Pro 2.4GHz 8-Chan. RX      40.00

    (1) Foxtech 5.8G RX/Mini 200mw TX Combo       80.00
    (1) DV-D3130CDNH Micro CCD Camera            100.00

    (1) Castle Creations Switching BEC                     15.00
    (1) Misc: Deans & JST connectors, wire, shrink   15.00

    Total:                                                                 1074.00 + Shipping


    This past weekend & next are full of family events that prevent serious flight testing. When the chance comes, I'll try to capture every gory detail.






  • Hi Kevin,

    Excellent work ..... would love to see how it performs ...

    Could you please tell us details like the weight of the payload max flight time achieved and of -course the BOM.



  • Moderator

    You've been initiated...  ;)

  • Kevin,  Yes, reading.  :)


  • Grant,

    I bought the Paris 3.0 multiwii board that originally flew this quad from them. Had a good experience.

    On the ContourGPS, I'm generally sliding the switch to commence recording as the last pre-flight step and reversing the process after landing. The rubber slide/switch cover on the GPS model is even bigger, standing about 6mm above the case. In this model, both the power & record switches are Hall effect. Really interested in your work on remotely actuating the record switch as you refine it. Sounds like a blog post for the Aerial Photography section!

  • Kevin 


    I can't believe that you, sitting half way around the world, found a supplier here that I could not find. On ya.

    I noticed that you are using the contour camera. The one challenge with this camera has been that it has a slide switch to start recording. How did you work with this? I was talking with my supplier for that camera and he dropped a comment that he thought maybe the switch is using a hall effect device and a magnet. I disassembled mine to the first level (remove lens and outer case only)  and lo and behold - a magnet. 

    I then spent a couple of hours fiddling with a little servo to bring a magnet against the body of the camera and .... kewl it works.



  • New to what, Chuck, reading?


    The 'BQ-1 frame kit from AGL Hobbies' is Rusty's frame. No?



  • Looks like Rusty's frame to me.

    But I'm new.

  • Thanks, Grant.


    I don't have a hardware OSD, nor FPV goggles (yet :) ).The FPV TX is the Foxtech Mini 200mw and the RX is the Foxtech RC-305. Here in the US, they typically sell for ~$80USD for the pair. The camera is the DV-D3130CDNH from, about $100USD. For me, it has two advantages. First, a good-sized Sony CCD sensor which won't be subject to the rolling-shutter 'wavys' of CMOS sensors, particularly if there are spinning props in the field of view of the camera. Second, the low light/night performance is outstanding, some of the nicest I've seen. The RX is currently feeding it to my laptop via a cheap EasyCAP 2.0 USB capture dongle and on into Planner.


    Think I covered the frame & power system components in the blog post, but let me know if I missed anything.


    Surprised you can't find the props down under. Check They're in Elanora and I know they sell CW/CCW sets in a variety of sizes.



This reply was deleted.