Introduction: Small and Relatively Cheap FPV Quadcopter
just to clear the air, this is my first instructable. Be gentle ;)
Flying quad-copters is a lot of fun and it is one of those things that are easy to learn, but difficult to master. There is a lot of additional information around the interwebs, but if you happen to have any questions, I'll be more than willing to answer them.
Micro-quads are awesome for indoor flying on those days that rain keeps you in the house.
This project requires around 1h from start to finish, depending on your soldering skills. You could spend infinite amount of time playing with various configurations after the quad is built.
The whole build revolves around the flight controller (FC) which is Micro Scisky 32bit controller for brushed(!) motors. The main selling point is that is Naze32 compatible and that it has a DMS2 receiver already on board, which is awesome!. There are many small 3D printed frames but I decided on punkkills' Micro 105 FPV frame because I found it the prettiest :D. The frame is also very light which is very important since the small quad-copters cant pull much weight and still be fun while flying... The AUW (all up weight: everything mounted, including the battery, FPV gear and the kitchen sink) for this build is 68,5g, and the frame weights around 9g the way I've built it (two top plates: one for the vTX (video transmitter) and the other on the bottom for the camera and battery.
The motors are the cheapest i could find, as they are the main consumable on such small builds, especially if you're still learning how to fly (like me :D).
One thing to notice, as I'm sure many of you will, most of the items here are from Banggood. The reason is, they we the cheapest source for those items at the time I was buying all this. Also, freeshipping...
If I found a good alternative for any item, it will be listed in BOM.
So lets begin....
Step 1: Bill of Materials...
These are the parts you will require for this build:
- Frame: Micro 105 FPV Quadcopter
- Flight controller: Micro scisky 32 bit Naze 32 compatible
- Motors: The cheapest 8,5mm x 20 motors i could find :D
http://www.ebay.com/itm/252072168791 (cca 2,25$ per pair)
- Propellers: Walkera QR Ladybird props
- Battery:Nano-tech 300mAh 45-90C (if you choose this battery, be careful of the polarity, you WILL have to swap the pins in the connector)
- Alternative: As Nano-tech batteries were out of stock, I ended up ordering these, the bonus being you get a free charger: 5PCS Eachine H8 Mini H8 3D Battery 3.7V 260mAh 30C
- Charging cable for connecting FC to battery:
These were the bare necessities for assembling a working quadcopter, and if you just want to fly, you can stop here, assemble your quadcopter, and enjoy yourself like there's no tommorow.
If you want to add FPV (First Person View) capabilities to your quadcopter, these are the things you'll need:
- FPV camera: 600TVL 1/4 1.8mm CMOS FPV 170 Degree Wide Angle Lens Camera
- FPV transmitter: (band A) FX758-2 5.8G 200mW 32CH FPV Wireless Audio Video AV Transmitter Module
- Alternative: (band E) Boscam FPV 5.8G 200mW Wireless Audio Video Transmitter Module TX5823
- FPV 5.8GHz Micro CL TX Antenna
- Dip switch for frequency selection(unfortunetly you can't buy one, but a 10 pack at 0,99$):
Words of caution...
One bit of warning though: although not a subject of this instructable, you WILL have to have a working DSM2 compatible RC transmitter to fly the quad-copter, and if you fancy some FPV action a working video receiver with a screen or googles
This transmitter works almost out of the box with Micro Scisky, you only need to setup the channels and fly.
- Walkera Devo 7E 7CH Transmitter Mode 2 Without Receiver
OR Any JR module compatible Transmitter with
- OrangeRX DSMX/DSM2/Devo 2.4GHz Selectable Transmitter Module (JR/Turnigy Compatible)
As for FPV gear, you'll either need something like
- Quanum DIY FPV Goggle V2 w/5 inch LCD Monitor (Kit)
- Eachine RC832 Boscam FPV 5.8G 32CH Wireless AV Receiver (Band E)
or something like
- Fatshark Dominator V3 FPV Video Goggles Glasses WVGA 720p HDMI 800X480 (band A)
Step 2: Tools!
The tools can be put into two categories.
A) bare necesities
- a soldering iron
- small cutting pliers
Really, this is all you really need to have.
B) optional but helpful tools, good to have
- heatshrink: heatshrinking motors to the frame is a good semi-permanent way to keep them put, because they will sometimes fall out when you crash, and you will crash...
- self adhesive velcro (for mounting vTX)
- double sticky tape (for mounting FC to the frame)
- source of heat,ie. lighter (for heatshrink)
- helping hands (to keep the 20x33mm board put, while you're soldering)
- Last but not least: good lighting.
Step 3: Assembly...
Firstly, well solder the wire for the battery to the flight controller; red wire to VIN, black wire to GND. I recommend soldering the wires from the bottom, as you'll have clear access to USB port and you'll see the blinky lights (very important :D).
In the picture there are red dots for positive and black for negative leads. Never let red and black touch (white smoke).
Warning: If you buy nano-tec batteries, be sure that the red wire from the battery matches red wire from FC, otherwise you'll let the white smoke out. The battery pads are easy to swap, but you'll also have to make sure you don't short out the leads while swapping, or you'll destroy the battery or worse, it can catch fire...
After that we'll solder the motors in the following order:
To the front left and rear right you will solder clockwise rotating motors (red and blue wire): red wire to positive, blue to negative pad.
To the front right and rear left you will solder counter-clockwise rotating motors (white and black wire): white wire to positive, black to negative pad.
I recommend shortening the exposed leads of the motors to 1 mm max, so you don't accidentally short out the motor output. They will usually come with 2 mm exposed.
put the frame together, and that's it... configure and go fly :)
... unless ...
... you want FPV...
One of the advantages of this FC is that it has a filtered and regulated 5V output. The green circled connector is the connector we'll use to power the camera and vTX. The connector I used to connect it is salvaged from an old notebook from a fan. I frankly don't know what is the name of the connector. That's why I also included a separate lead to power directly from another battery. If you plan on powering from the same battery, you will have to do so buy attaching a pololu step up regulator between vTX and the battery. If you connect the vTX straight to the battery that powers FC, you'll get static, since brushed motors emit a lot of noise.
The dip switch is used to change the frequency you transmit on. Just solder it like its on the picture. It's very easy. three pins on the CS1, CS2 and CS3, and the other three pins, directly to the metal plate.
I shortened the antenna, removed isolation on the shield around 5 mm, split it into two, and around center 1mm. I soldered the middle to Ant pad, and two grounds to adjacent ground pads. The reason for using two ground pads is that it gives some sturdiness to the antenna in the event of crash.
From the camera, yellow wire is video feed, and it goes to "VIN" (unlike the FC, where it means Voltage IN, here it means Video In). the white wire is audio, which you can connect to A6.5 pad, or you can remove it altogether. the red and black wires are, as always, positive and negative leads. i twisted in both power leads for the vTX and power leads for the camera, because it was easier to solder. all red in a bunch, then solder to +5V pad, all blacks in a bunch and solder to any GND pad. Please reference the picture in BOM, as here I already have Velcro already glued to the vTX.
WARNING 2: DO NOT connect both the battery to FPV and the connector to the FC.
PS. don't mind the "broken" frame. I had to improvise and cut out the part of the frame, since I wanted as lowest profile possible, and I didn't want to use double sticky tape, or any other permanent solution. In the future I plan on designing my own frame around this particular FC, and when that happens, this instructable will be updated.
Step 4: Configuration...
Warning: Never connect your FC with USB if your battery is plugged in, it will fry the FC and might damage your computer.
Although the quad-copter already comes flashed with cleanflight firmware, there are a few steps you could do to make your experience smoother and to set up everything just the way you like.
Cleanflight configurator is a google chrome app, you can get it from
There are many variants of firmwares for your FC but flashing those is not in the scope of this document. If, in any case you would like betaflight firmware, check out this video. https://youtu.be/TljzFBZR4zE?t=796
Check the configuration in this order
- Setup -> Calibrate accelerometar (do so on flat level surface)
- Ports -> Turn on Serial RX on UART2 (if you're gonna use onboard DSM2 receiver)
- Configuration -> Turn on MOTOR_STOP, turn on Disarm motors regardless of throttle value, set receiver mode on RX_SERIAL (if you're gonna use onboard DSM2 receiver), set serial receiver provider to SPEKTRUM1024
- PID Tuning -> use LuxFloat PID controller, set the values as I have them or you can experiment by yourself, you can lower the rates if you find them too twitchy :) (always have roll and pitch rate at the same value, it will be easier on you )
- Receiver -> If you've bound it to the receiver, you can see what values your receiver reports here
- Modes -> This is where you set up the way you want to fly (angle, horizon or acro/air mode) and also, the switch to arm the quad
- CLI -> set motor_pwm_rate=32000 ; save
Step 5: Flight...
No one can help you there :) its between you, your sticks and your quad-copter. There are simulators like FPV Freerider and Liftoff, to name a few, that can help you out, but nothing beats the real thing.
Fly, crash, repair, repeat.
Step 6: Conclusion...
The joy of building something on your own, is only comparable with the joy of seeing that same something work as intended, or even better :) Hopefully you learned something new and interesting here, and you might even considering building this sweet micro-quad.
There are many resources on the interwebs explaining how to build a quadcopter and/or configure naze32 compatible flight controllers, but these sites and videos have helped me personally to make this as enjoyable as possible.
Oscar Liang's blog https://oscarliang.com/
Forums: http://intofpv.com and http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/index.php
Facebook group Multicopters international
Shout out to all the youtubers whose videos helped me in my search for knowledge pertinent to quadcopters:
RC Model Reviews, Painless360, Joshua Bardwell, AndyRC and many many more....
PS. If you liked my instructable, please consider voting for it in these contests:
Make It Fly Contest 2016
First Time Author Contest 2016
Step 7: UPDATE: New Frame
As you might recall, I promised I'd be making a better frame for my little quad.
Since my original frame met with an accident (ceiling-floor variety), I was forced to make good on my promise and start learning one of many 3d softwares available. If you go down this path, I strongly urge you to persist, as the learning curve can be quite steep, but the rewards are plenty.
I am quite proficient in SketchUp, but I had a feeling it would not be sufficient for what I had in mind.
If you have a newer computer, I can recommend Autodesk's Fusion 360 as it is free for students, enthusiasts, hobbyists, and startups. All you need is to create an account.
Unfortunately, my 3D printer is crap, and I can only run test prints on it that turn out ugly, after which, if test proves successful I send it to my friend, who has a few nice 3D printers. I have even flown some of my test prints, to various results, as you can see on picture 3.
This frame is designed with this specific configuration in mind, and all the measurements are made accordingly. It doesn't mean it wont work with some other parts, but this is what I have, and what I was able to measure.
When I'm satisfied with the frame's characteristics, I'll be posting the files online for your perusal.