Introduction: Convert a Fixed Arm Quadcopter to a 'backpack' Drone With Removable Arms

Picture of Convert a Fixed Arm Quadcopter to a 'backpack' Drone With Removable Arms

Project to build a drone with all the functionality of the APM flight controller off the beaten path...

Step 1: The Video Covers the Parts, Build and Testing...

This was a project to create a prototype to change a fixed arm quadcopter to a drone that fits neatly into a backpack to take on hikes around Scotland and which would retain all the functionality of autonomous flight, dronies, ROI, waypoint missions etc.. The donor quadcopter was a HobbyKing Talon V2 550 fitted with an Arducopter APM 2.6 flight controller, GPS etc.

Here's the menu:

00.25 - The components, modifications, soldering and glueing required; 04.27 - Building the drone once everything is prepared; 07.05 - Flight Testing in Stabilise and Alt Hold modes.

The key component in the design is 4 of these waterproof electrical connector plug+socket sets... Search eBay for '3/4/5/6 Pins Assembled Grade IP68 Waterproof Electrical Connector Plug Socket'.

They are described as follows: Features: Net Weight: 18g, Pin Number: 3, Wiring: solder type... ...Total Size:About 83mmx19mm(D*L) Waterproof rubber gasket: Silicone Contact materials:copper (Gold plated)... ....Waterproof grade: IP68, Max.Diameter: 7.5mm Shell Material: Nylon (260 °C temperature, V-0 flame retardant)... ...blah, blah, blah...

Most importantly, they have a groove and guide so that the pins are always in the same orientation. Perfect to ensure an ESC is connected so that motor rotation direction is consistent and to hold the arms in the correct position.

The Talon carbon fibre arm tubes are a perfect fit for the connectors. We cut the tube to 90mm lengths to create a 435mm drone...


ToddC26 (author)2017-07-14

It's possible that you covered this and I just missed it. If that's the case, my bad. What diameter CF tube fits the connectors? I have them on order already but shipping from China to Mississippi takes a minute and I'd like to go ahead and order the tubing and brackets, if it's a size that I don't already have laying around.

Thanks for your time answering and sharing this idea with us.

RNDrones (author)ToddC262017-07-14

Oops. As you rightly point out I forgot to make a note of diameter. Unfortunately I am currently travelling and cannot physically measure the tubes. I think they are likely to be 16mm but am not 100 percent sure. Apologies.if this delays your build. Will update video on return from hiking trip.

ToddC26 (author)RNDrones2017-07-20

No delay caused whatsoever, They are just getting to New York today. I was figuring on 16mm, thats usually a safe bet and I have several feet at the house. I hope your trip goes (or went) well.

spilden made it! (author)2016-09-13

thank you for the idea of using the waterptoof connectors as arm connectors! Works like a charm!

I did a small alteratiin as i used the flamewheel top and bottom plate and printed the arm holders with perfect fit of the ESC's underneath. Witch makes of a clean and compact build.

Only remaining to test flight!

Again,thank you for the guide,have been looking for a solution like this for some time!

RNDrones (author)spilden2016-09-17

Wow! Nice job. Looks brilliant! Happy flying!! Cheers johnb

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