Introduction: Easy to Build 250 Quadcopter Drone.
Runner Up in the
Drones Contest 2016
In this tutorial, I am going to explain step by step how to built a 250 Quadcopter Drone. I had already built the drone when I decided to make this tutorial, so all the soldering and some construction is already made, but I will try to explain how to do it.
Now, I could do a presentation of what a drone is, how many types of drones there are, etc...but, if you have arrived here you know how to use Google ;).
My model is based on the Hobby King Color 250 chassis, is not too big, but neither too small. It is my first drone, I decided to built it by myself instead of buying one because I find it cheaper and more entertaining. I hope that this tutorial can help you built one yourself, and spread the hobby of drones even more.
Well, lets get to it:
(I would like to add that this is my first Intractable and my first drone I have built, so if you see anything wrong, please tell me so I can learn too, thank you!)
Step 1: Materials
I am going to list all the materials I needed when I built my drone, and I will try to link them to a place where you can buy it, or something similar that will get the same work done.
- Chassis: H-King Color 250(x1)
- Motors:Multistar Elite 2204-2300KV 3-4s 4pack(x1) or (x4 individual motors)
- ESC:HobbyKing 10A ESC 1A UBEC (x4)
- Flight controller:AfroFlight Naze32 Rev6(x1)
- Propellers: Any type of 5030 will do (included with chassis, however I recommend buying more because they break easily)
- Batteries: I recommend around 1500mAh and 40C, anything bigger will be too heavy and smaller will be to little power. ZIPPY COMPACT 1500mAh 3S 40C(x1) or (as many as you want), so you can fly as many as you like.
- RC emitter & receiver:Quanum i8 8ch 2,4GHz(x1)
- FPV Camera: If you buy it in Spain I recommend: Mini camera 600TVL con Filtro. If you are from elsewhere, this one is the most similar: Mini CMOS 600TVL FPV Camera.(x1)
- FPV emitter: If you buy it in Spain I recommend: Mini transmisor de video 32CH 200mW . If you are from elsewhere: SkyZone TS5823 32CH 200mW.(x1)
- Screen or googles: Screen: 7 inch monitor with receiver included. Googles: Quanum DIY FPV Google V2 Pro. (x1)
- Some cables.
- Connectors: Watch out for the connectors of your battery, it can be XT-60, that is the one I use, or other.
- Soldering tin.
- Bolts/Screws. (some come with the chassis, others don't).
- Battery alarm: optional, but can be handy to know when the batteries are dried out.
Step 2: SAFETY
Drones are not toys. You have to be very careful when building or flying them. Here are some safety tips I recommend you follow:
Building the drone:
- Soldering can be dangerous, be very careful. Wires transmit heat, so consider having some tweezers or forceps to hold them and not burn your fingers.
- Once you have everything in place, you might want to put on the battery to see if it works, but please, NEVER EVER put the propellers on while in the working bench, because you never know when will the motors will be armed the first time you connect the battery, and it could hurt you really, really bad.
Flying the drone:
- Fly in open spaces, where if something goes wrong, the only thing that suffers is the drone. It is better if only your drone is destroyed in a crash than if apart from your drone, you break someone's windshield, or window.
- The first time you fly it, try having the drone always in sight, even if you have FPV goggles. Take your time to learn how to control the drone.
- Every time you fly, make sure your propellers do not touch any wire when rotating, or they could cut them and something will go wrong.
- Li-Po batteries can explode, corrode and provoke dangerous fires. Use only Li-Po certified chargers and try to buy them from somewhere reliable.
These are my safety tips, I recommend you follow them or create your own safety procedures to ensure you can enjoy your drone the best way possible.
Step 3: Assemble the Base.
So, you have now everything you need to start building your drone.
First, you have to assemble the chassis, but not entirely, only the bottom so you can add the flight controller and other things later.
The one I have used, the 250 Color, is very easy to assemble, just 4 black cylinders that you have to place in their respective places and put the bolt from under the base.
Other models may have other ways of assembly, but I think most of them will be quite easy.
Step 4: Time to Solder.
Now you have to solder the pins on the flight controller. I have used a Naze32 rev6. This model has 3 groups of pins you need to solder.
Groups number 1 and 3 are easy, however, for group number 2, I recommend you buy extra pins that have a 90º corner so you can pass the wires under the flight controller. This way, you gain some order with the wires, once everything is connected.
Then, the ESCs, is is very easy. Red on +, black on -. Do not change the polarity, because it will damage the ESCs.
Now, the battery connector, these wires are big, so put a lot of tin and solder where it puts Vin 14,8V Max, once again the red on the +, and the black on the -.
You have to solder the FPV gear also, I have made a quick diagram that can be useful for most of the cameras and receivers.
For the motors, some come with bananas easy to connect, for others, you will need to solder them to the ESC as shown on the diagram. Look out for the changes in the wires of the motors, two of them rotate Clock-Wise (CW) and the other Counter-Clock-Wise(CCW).
Do not forget to put some tape, or Heat Shrink Tubing so that the things you have soldered do not touch each other.
Step 5: Connections and More Connections.
Once everything is well soldered, time to connect all the things.
I have made some diagrams that may help you will help you connect everything.
Make sure connect correctly the motors in their respective numbers in the Naze32.
Each receiver is different, but most of them connect the same.
Make sure the FPV camera is fastened somehow, or it will jump all around when you fly the machine.
Step 6: Check and Double Check.
Once everything is connected, take your time to make sure everything is right, no loose wires, no metals touching each other, etc...
I have included close photos of my motors so you can see the soldered wires and the numbers.
Step 7: Finish the Assembly
You are nearly finished, just finish the assembly of the chassis and you are nearly good to go.
One quick tip, try putting the receiver antenna connection in the hole the chassis has, so you can have a quick way to put and remove the antenna.
REMEMBER, do not put the propellers, the photo you see with the propellers is because the drone has NO BATTERY, therefore it cannot be armed accidentally.
You may need some velcro straps to fix the battery and a camera for recording in flight.
Step 8: Software and Calibrations.
There are many softwares that can be used to program a flight controller like the Naze32, and others. I have used Cleanflight, for no reason in particular.
Follow step by step the instructions I have made with the images, and I think you will find no problem in instilling a firmware on your flight controller.
Unfortunately, I cannot advise you too much on this subject, because I am a rookie in these type of software. You can copy my settings, and then calibrate your drone according to your experiences while flying.
For as much as I know, the Naze32 has 3 modes of flying: Angle, Horizon and Acro.
In Angle mode, the drone will balance itself and it will NOT let you tilt it more than a certain degree, I think is 70º o around that number. It is great to learn how to control the drone, but, you cannot do loopings or flips in this mode.
In Acro mode, you are free. The drone will NOT balance itself, so if you tilt it too much, it will fall if you do not recover a stable position. This mode is for doing crazy tricks, but I recommend you to be patient and first of all gain control of your drone.
Lastly, Horizon mode is a mix between the two others. It will balance itself, but you have certain freedom do to flips and rolls, because you are allowed to tilt it as much as you can. I think this is the best mode to fly in the everyday use. You can do some cool tricks, and have your back covered if you loose control, just let the commands free and the drone will balance itself. (only, do not cut throttle to the minimum, just leave Yaw, Pitch and Roll free).
Getting the drone to do exactly want you want is tricky, so be patient and enjoy the learning.
Step 9: Propellers and Final Check.
So, you have now a fully operational 250 Quadcopter Drone, by the way, do you know what does the 250 mean? It is the distance in millimeters between two motors that rotate in the same direction, for example, motors 1 and 4.
Anyways, next thing to do is place the propellers. You have to take into consideration that the propellers are not all the same, there are CW propellers and CCW propellers. CW propellers usually are labeled with an R after the number 5030. So, take two 5030R and two 5030 propellers, put the ones with the R on the CW motors, and the ones with no R in the CCW.
REMEMBER not to arm your drone until it is safe to fly.
Now you are ready to go!! Go to an open area, prepare all your equipment. Before turning everything on, take some time to be sure the propellers do not collide with anything and the battery and cameras are well fastened. Then,once everything is on, first the RC emitter, then goggles or screen and lastly the drone itself, you are free to arm the drone and fly!!
Step 10: Lift Off!!
You are now capable of flying your drone!
Remember, be safe and have fun!!
Thanks for reading this tutorial and I hope it was useful for you :)
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