Pixhawk Quadcopter and Brushless Gimbal

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I’ve made a few pretty most important upgrades, additions, and modifications to my best quadcopter lately, so i notion now would be a great time to do any other publish. The bottom for this quad continues to be the equal one i’ve been the usage of for almost a year now, which turned into the concern of the put up about upgrading from kk2.Zero to apm2.Five. A number of the components are the identical but it’s hardly recognizable as the same system. First, right here are the things that haven’t modified:


  • Frame – I’m still using the same DJI Flamewheel F450 frame that I reviewed in this post. Never had any trouble with it aside from replacing one broken arm.
  • Motors – The same Turnigy D2830-11 1000kv brushless motors from my first quadcopter build and the Lunchbox Copter are still going strong.
  • ESC – Same Turnigy Plush 25A speed controllers
  • Props – The 9×4.7 and 9×4.7R Slow Fly electric props are still my propeller of choice for this quad

Now directly to the good stuff. The biggest change on the quad is the autopilot. I upgraded to the 3dr pixhawk with electricity module and 3dr outside compass/magnetometer. One of the excellent functions of the pixhawk is the buzzer which gives audible indicators for things like automobiles arming and coffee battery. There’s also an included protection button so you can power up the quad but can’t arm it till the protection button is pressed. The button and buzzer combination make for a much safer flying enjoy and decrease the probabilities of some thing going incorrect. The pixhawk also has an awful lot greater processing electricity than the apm, so finally the code can be prolonged and additional sensors and functionality may be applied.

I placed the pixhawk inside the center of the frame wherein i had the apm and positioned the gps/magazine module on the the front of the frame on a gps stand like this to hold it up above the relaxation of the electronics and energy cables that can reason interference. The power module went on the returned of the frame.

The alternative most important addition to the quadcopter is the brushless gimbal. I’m the use of this 2-axis gimbal and this control board from rctimer. Designed to carry a gopro, this gimbal simply plays quite properly after a touch tuning. I discovered the recommendations and recommendation in this rcgroups thread extraordinarily helpful whilst placing it up and tuning it. In case you are going to use this gimbal, it is a great concept to have a dremel, record, and assortment of small metric screws, due to the fact as many humans have additionally suggested, i did no longer get all the proper screws from rctimer and there are probably to be some minor adjustments you want to make to a number of the portions or screw holes to get it to in shape collectively and rotate smoothly.

To accomodate the gimbal, which i connected to the front extension of the bottom body plate the use of more than one 4mm metal bolts, i needed to get some extended legs due to the fact the f450 body sits so low to the floor. Fortuitously you could get reasonably-priced extended legs that attach without difficulty using the present mounting holes at the frame. I take advantage of this touchdown tools from rctimer. I desired to feature approximately a further inch of clearance to preserve the gimbal off the floor so i did some slicing, drilling, and zip tying and connected portions of some different plastic components i had laying round to the ends of each of the 4 legs.

Once i got the gimbal tuned and working well, i wanted to add the ability to adjust the lean the use of my radio transmitter. To accomplish this i ran a wire from the rc9 output on the pixhawk to the receiver enter pins on the gimbal manipulate board. After adjusting some settings in mission planner it worked like a appeal.

Speakme of the radio transmitter, i determined to upgrade from the turnigy 9x. The pixhawk is what’s called a ppm-input autopilot, which means “it gets rc input from a unmarried cable to the receiver, either thru the ppm port, the futaba s.Bus port, or the special satellite receiver port for spektrum gear.” i went with the spektrum dx7s transmitter and the spektrum 9645 dsmx remote receiver, which plugs without delay into the pixhawk with out the need for an encoder board.

The ultimate modification i made is to add a few leds to the bottoms of the motor mounts. I positioned white leds at the white fingers and crimson leds at the purple hands, to assist with orientation, specially while flying inside the night. I had a few pink and white water-resistant led strips from hobbyking mendacity round from an octocopter assignment so i reduce off a small strip of 3 leds for each arm of the quad and ran some small electricity wires along the hands and soldered them onto the pdb where the esc energy wires connect.

For batteries, i’m nevertheless the usage of 3s 3000 or 3200mah on pinnacle for the main flight battery, and that i strap a smaller 3s 1800mah on the bottom to one after the other electricity the gimbal. Getting round five minute flight instances, which may be stepped forward by way of upping the battery to a 5000mah.

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