Recently built a mini H Quad from the Luminier – most of the stuff can be bought from so check it:

  • QAV250 Frame
  • Lumenier FX-2206 2000kv
  • 12amp ESCs with SimonK firmware
  • OpenPilot Revo
  • Sony 600 TVL board cam
  • ImmersionRC 600mw Video tx
  • AR800 Spektrum Rx + satellite
  • GoPro 3+

Its small mean and fast … the AUW is about 465g which is heavier than I’d like so I’m looking into ways of saving weight.

I’ve already removed the GoPro’s battery and I’m powering with the 5v output from the vtx, and I’ve used the GoPro lens protector instead of Layer Lense which shaves off a few grams.

Next I’ll try using Polymide standoffs instead of the aluminum spacers that came with the frame. I’m also going to try using the 433Mhz OPLink built into the Revo for vehicle control – so I’ll have to mod my slightly Spektrum DX800 RC radio to output PPM to an OP Mini Link – which should be easy and will let me remove the AR8000 and the satellite … not sure how much weight this will ultimately save, but I reckon it’ll be around 30g.

Anyway here are some pics:

IMG_8209 IMG_8210 IMG_8211 IMG_8212 IMG_8215


Took my new setup out for a spin with Frank, George, Kyle and David from SoCal Multirotor meetup. Had a few crashes and nearly had Lipo blow – which was scary – but apart from that it was a blast.

I’ve added a brushless gimbal and I tried out 3 blade props – great for thrust, terrible for battery – I expected 8 minutes but only got 4. Next time I’ll try the APC Multirotor 10×5.5 props – they should be much more efficient.






And here’s the dead Lipo with a little friend. The big one was off gassing like crazy – I thought it was going to blow in the car on the way home. Had drive with the window open ready to chuck it at any time!!


Slightly over-tuned PIDS … and my first flip … which nearly ended in a crash …

Open Pilot minOPOSD

Here’s a quick schematic for implementing minOPOSD using a 4S Lipo with a 12v video camera and TX


June 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

Here are a couple of quick picks of my QAV500 i’ve been building … more deets soon.

IMG_1482 IMG_1481

One NMT Motor

A drone is a simple thing. It has three basic components:

  1. Frame: This gives it its basic shape and houses all the components.
  2. Drive System: This has motors, speed controllers for controlling the motors and a Lipo (Liuthium Polymer Battery)
  3. Control System: This includes a communication links to a computer application (called a GCS) and standard Radio Control Transmitter (used for controlling regular RC airplanes and helicopters).

You’ll need to choose the type of drone your going to build and purchase the appropriate bits for the drive system. This can be complex, many people post their setups online and this is normally a good place to start. You’ll also need to choose the control board you’ll be using, there are a few options out there depending on what yo want to do.

My setup is:

  1. Frame: F450 quadcopter frame
  2. Motors: NMT 28-26s 1200Kv (you’ll need four of them)
  3. Turgnigy 25A Plush Electronic Speed Controllers
  4. Spektrum 2.4 Ghz 8 channel receivers (this will talk to your RC transmitter)
  5. Ardupilot Mega 2.5
  6. 3DR Radio Module (915Mhz)
  7. MediaTek high resolution GPS
  8. MaxSonar EZL0 Ultrasonic sensor
  9. GoPro Hero 3

As you can see I’m using the ArduPilot Mega 2.5 (APM 2.5) to run things – this a good choice if you want to tinker. Its based on Open Source software and is running on an Arduino Mega board making it very easy to modify. 3D Robotics is Chris Anderson’s company, the same company that he left Wired for, so I’m interested to see where he takes it …

Most of these components can be purchased from:

  • HobbyKing (based in Hong Kong with glacial shipping, my stuff took a month to arrive … )
  • 3D Robotics

A great place to get info and useful tips is at DIYDrones (also by Mr. Anderson)

!Please note! All the frequencies that I am using are good for the US only. They change from country to country so please check your local laws!

There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently about drones and their implications. The EFF published a nice list of who has got permission to fly drones in US air space from the FAA which you can find here:

Thank you nice people at the EFF!

Apart from the military, the DHS and the police (boo), there’s a large amount of universities and agriculture. Its a really strong indicator that drones are starting to get to that tipping point where the civilian use outweighs the  military uses. As drones become accessible they’ll be more democratized – I’m interested to see how they’ll be used by NGOs and journalists …