3D Printed RunCam HD / Mobius camera mount for Reptile X4R 220

After I finished my new Reptile X4R 220 racing mini-quad, I’ve realized, that there is no way I will be able to mount my RunCam HD on it. Comparing to ZMR250, 220 frame is just small. On a top plate there is enough room to fit battery, RC and FPV antennas and all what is left is around 35mm in the front. Plus, with angled FPV camera, there just no place for RunCam HD/Mobius form factor cameras. So, some time with 123D Design and few hours of printing, and here we are: 25 degrees mount for RunCam HD and Mobius camera specially designed for Reptile X4R 220 frame

25deg Runcam HC and Mobius Camera mount for Reptile X4R 220

This mount has 25 degrees inclination, will fit both RunCam HD and Mobius (not sure about RunCam HD2…) and its base is only 42x32mm. So it can be installed on small frames like 220. But, it will also fit bigger. No problems here.

25deg Runcam HC and Mobius Camera mount for Reptile X4R 220

The best way to install it on a frame is to use either zip ties or double sided velcro straps. There is a slot for 20mm wide velcro straps. To make it better, use 3M Dual Lock between.

To securely install camera also use 3M Dual Lock and use a velcro strap too. That should keep everything in place just fine.

3D Printed 25deg Runcam HC and Mobius Camera mount for Reptile X4R 220

Hands on: Reptile X4R 220 quadcopter frame

Last week, first parts for my new racing quadcopter started to arrive. One of them, was carbon fiber frame: Reptile X4R 220. Why this one? Like I stated many times: I’m cheap. Plus, I did not wanted to go with another ZMR250 build. This frame was easily available, within budget and good looking. So, few weeks later, here we are…

Reptile X4R 220 frame - parts

Specification:

  • 220mm motor-to-motor
  • Weight: 120g
  • 4mm carbon fiber arms
  • 2mm carbon fiber bottom plate
  • 1.5mm top plate
  • 35mm aluminium standoffs
  • adjustable camera mount (fits HS1117 and RunCam Swift)
  • integrated power distribution board (PDB) with 5V BEC

Reptile X4R 220 frame - arms and bottom plate

After 2 evenings with this frame, I’m almost finished with a build.

Pros:

  • overall quality is good
  • everything fits, no need to ream holes, sand or cut anything
  • more nuts and bolts than required

Reptile X4R 220 frame - arms

Cons:

  • top plate are rather thin. I would prefer 2mm top plate or maybe 2.5mm bottom plate too
  • power distribution board is an structural element of whole frame. If you want to use different PDB (I wanted to use Matek PDB-XT60) you might have a problem. Some improvisation will be required
  • In theory, each arm is kept in place by 3 M3 bolts. In theory… In practice, one of those bolts enters nylon standoff. Not metal nut, but nylon. So, instead of 3 bolts per arm, it is only 2.5 bolts or even less… too bad… Still, whole build is rigid enough…

Reptile X4R 220 frame - all things in place

Flight controller 30.5mm to 45mm mount adapter

Almost all “racing” MultiWii derivatives flight controllers like Naze32, SPRacingF3, CC3D or Sparky, besides the same CPU family (STM32) and ability to run Cleanflight, share the same form factor: 36x36mm size and 30.5mm hole spacing.

That creates a small problem when mounting them to some bigger frames designed to fit APM, Pixhawk or MultiWii. They do not fit and require additional adapters.

Facing problem like this, I’ve designed simple 3D Printed 30.5mm to 45mm flight controller adapter.

Naze32 SPRacingF3 45mm adapter

To use, 4 hexagonal nylon M3 standoffs have to be glued into place. M3 thread is rather too small to print on most 3D printers. It’s just faster and simpler to glue standoffs than try to print threaded holes. I used epoxy glue, but hot glue also can be used if needed.

PID values for Reptile 500 frame

I know, I know… posting PID values for one multirotor is not very useful after all. The same frame with different motors, props and battery might require totally different PID values. But.. At least they can be used as starting point for customized tuning. So, here is my configuration for Reptile 500 and frame and following configuration:

  • Battery: 5000mAh Turnigy 3S,
  • FC: Flip32 running Cleanflight 1.10,
  • Motors: Turnigy Multistar MT2213 935KV
  • Props: APC 10×4.5 MR
  • ESC: AfroESC 20A running OneShot125 and BLHeli 14
  • Weight: 1300g with battery

So, if you have somehow similar configuration, you might try my values. And they are:

  • PID Controller: LuxFloat (BTW, as far as I can read C code (last time I was programming with C about 20 years ago) and know smth about PIDs, this is the only controller implemented into Cleanflight that actually is written in a proper way. The way I see it, all the other works only by mistake, specially on D part. Who thought that substracting D term is actually a good idea?)
  • Roll (P / I / D): 2.5 / 0.06 / 70
  • Pitch (P / I / D): 2.5 / 0.06 / 70
  • Yaw (P / I / D): 2.5 / 0.1 / 0
  • Other controllers on default values
  • Custom mixer from this post
  • PID and gyro filtering enabled via CLI with following commands (BTW again, those filters are he best thing that came in Cleanflight 1.10. Everything is much smoother with them. Good job on those):
    • set dterm_cut_hz = 16
    • set pterm_cut_hz = 32
    • set gyro_cut_hz = 64

Important note for 2015-11-22

PID values from above has been determined as main source of extensive high frequency vibrations causing jello effect. Specially high D, even with LP filter, was causing jello effect. Read this post for improved PID settings for Reptile 500 frame and Cleanflight.

Let’s build a FPV drone: frame assembly

Yesterday I finaly had some time to work on my 250 class quadcopter based on ZMR250 carbon fiber frame. There was a plan to finish it before weekend, but looks like plan will have to be changed. I’m missing motor screws. They were not with frame nor motors. Too bad…

ZMR250 quadcopter frame assembly

ZMR250 with Flip32

dav

After one evening of work I’ve been able to assemble bottom plate with motor arms and attach Flip32+ flight controller to it. As you can see, Flip32 is rotated 90 degrees clockwise. USB port points left, not back. This allows much simpler access to USB port. On the other hand, it requires additional configuration entry that allows fllight controller software to compensate for that. But all in time.

One last remark: the frame, even without top plate is super stiff. Very good since it will take serious beating in next weeks. I’m finally learning to fly in Rate mode without auto-leveling. Boy, it’s hard. After two 20 minutes sessions I’m able to make a turn…

Let’s build a FPV drone: frame

Many say that small 250 class quadcopter are super fun. Small, fast, agile, tough and crash resistant. I’ve decided to check it out and build 250 quadcopter drone by myself. And next few posts will be tightly connected with this topic. Let’s call it a build log.

The most important part of every multirotor is a frame. It decides about everything. For my quad I’ve decided to use ZMR250 clone frame made from carbon fiber.

ZMR250 quadcopter frameThere is also glass-fiber version of this frame, and it’s half a price (below $20 while carbon is around $35). So, what do we get for additional $15? We get 2 good things, and one bad. But let’s begin with good things:

  1. carbon fiber is lighter than glass fiber. My frame weights 145g while glass-fiber equivalent weights 181g. 36g might not seem much, but it is a difference after all. In my oppinion a difference worth $15,
  2. carbon fiber is more durable than glass fiber. At least in theory. So, in theory carbon fiber quadcopter frame should be harder to break during crashes. We will see.

An the bad thing? Well, carbon conducts electricity and can block radio waves. This means, that you have to be extra careful with all the cables and antenna placement. Insulate everything, never leave any cables touching the frame and antennas has to be placed as far from frame as possible. Some kind of mast would be recommended.

 

x525 V3 Quadcopter Frame Review

There are many cheap quadcopter frames on market. Big, small, X, H, foldable, good and bad. And choosing a correct frame for a purpose is both hard and critical for further drone performance. One of cheap, and on a first glance, versatile frames, is x525 V3. Is it worth the money?

x525 V3 quadcopter frame review

Well, it’s a hard question. Before I will go to any conclussions, short description of x525 frame.

  • Material: glass fiber and aluminium
  • Type: X or +, you can choose, it is symmetrical
  • Weight: around 385g,
  • Size: 525mm
  • Integrated landing gear with sping amortization
  • Foldable
  • Power distribution board

Landing gear is quite clever and should absorb most of impact force in case of hard landing. In theory it is correct, but my experience says that it does not matter. It maybe works in case of normal, controlled landing. But in case of really hard landing, read as crash, it does not matter at all. It is a useless feature that only breaks, adds extra weight and really does very little. After breaking 3 sets of front landing skids, I just replaced them with some steel wire. Does the same, and weights less. Like I said, useless feature. Read More

Dead Rat, wooden quadcopter, maiden flight

Last week I was, finally, able to perform a maiden flight of my DIY wooden quadcopter (here and here). I will not say it was huge success, but it was a success alright. What went like expected? Well, quite alot. First of all, it flies and has enough thrust to weight ratio to do flips and rolls. And is pretty stable in hover. What went not like expected? It is highly unstable on yaw. Really, really unstable. Probably rear propellers are too close to each other and I have to work on PID settings. As soon as I will have enough spare time…

In a mean time, here is a short video from DeadRat’s maiden flight:

Final configuration goes as follows:

  • Motor to motor diagonal: 500mm,
  • Motor to motor front arms: 370mm,
  • Motor to motor rear arms: 300mm,
  • Materials: 3mm plywood and 15mm wood spars
  • Motors: Suppo A2212/13 1000KV
  • ESC: XT-Xinte 30A
  • Flight Controller: OpenPilot CC3D (clone)
  • Battery: Turnigy 5000mAh 3S 25C
  • Propellers: Gemfan 1045
  • Start weight: 1212g
  • Hover time: 21 minutes

Next steps: tune it up and move battery to top. Somehow I do not want to construct a landing gear for it…

Quadcopter made from wood

After building my last quadcopter drone, I was lest with a lot of spare parts, I’ve decided to invest some time (and money, of course) and build wooden multirotor drone. Od course, not everything would be made from wood. That is kind of impossible. Only frame. Quick research on the internet proven that is fully possible. A lot of people are using wood to build drone frames. If they can, so do I.

Since this project was supposed to be as cheap as possible, I’ve decided to use the same propeller size as my main setup: 10×4.5″, the same radio: Turnigy TGY-i6 and batteries Turnigy 3S 5000mAh 25C. Full planned configuration is as follows:

  • ~400mm wooden frame (plywood and slats) in Dead Cat configuration,
  • 10×4.5″ propellers,
  • Suppo 2212/13 1000KV motors,
  • 30A Xt-Xinte ESC,
  • Thunder QQ Super Flight Controller, since seller has sent me a new one,
  • Turnigy TGY-i6 radio,
  • Turnigy 5000mAh 3S 25C battery

Today was the first day of actual building. After one day I have central plate and front arms.

Cutting plywood for quadcopter frame

Fron arms with Suppo 2212/13 1000KV motor

Front arms attached to central plate

Fron arms with Suppo 2212/13 1000KV motor

3mm plywood was too flexible, so I reinforced central plate on edges with additional wooden slates. That gave some extra rigidness on longer axis. Arms are secured using M4 bolts.

I must say, that this frame might be way better than I expected in the beginning. I was surprised how rigid front arms are. And lighter than anticipated. It’s not done yet, but I expect frame’s weight will be around 400g. I’m only affraid if it will survive first crash…