Dec 122012
 

Update 5/28/2014 – I built this quadcopter back in 2012. Since then a lot has changed. Quadcopter kits with more capabilities are now available for a similar cost. For example, the Quanum Nova FPV GPS Waypoint QuadCopter is $269 with free shipping. It has full GPS waypoint capability and has a GoPro mount. I haven’t tried the Quanum Nova quad, but it is based on the proven APM controller.

Solid, Easy, Inexpensive DIY Quadcopter Build

I get a lot of nice comments from folks saying my site helped them when they were building their first quadcopter. However, I have never done a post where I walked through the steps of building a quadcopter from start to finish. So, I wanted to step through a quality build that is easy on the budget, easy to build, and easy to fly. I built this quad with the beginner in mind, yet this is a very solid quadcopter.

In Part 1 of this post I will cover my requirements and the parts list. In Part 2, I will go through the detailed steps I went through to build this quad, and in Part 3, I will set up the transmitter, ESCs and KK2.0 board so I can make a maiden flight. In part 4, I will show how I tuned the quad’s PI settings to optimize its flying capabilities. Finally, in Part 5 I will cover how I attached a GoPro camera to the quad to get some video from the air.

Continue reading to see the requirements and parts list I used for this build…


Requirements

  • Inexpensive

    I wanted the budget to be near $200 for everything needed to fly. Frame, Escs, Flight Controller, Motors, Props, Battery and Radio. The only thing I didn’t included was a charger, because many folks have one already and the prices vary greatly depending on features.

  • Strong Frame

    I wanted something rigid, stable and strong, yet not too heavy. Even though I like them, I wanted to stay away from the inexpensive F450 type frames; they are durable, but they are bit too flexible making them harder to tune. Also, I thought it would be a plus if the frame had some room underneath to attach a lightweight GoPro or small keycam out of view of the props.

  • No Soldering Option

    Some folks don’t want to solder, so I provided a no-solder option to make this as close to plug-and-play as possible. Unfortunately, ESCs with bullet connectors already soldered on can be hard to come by, so I included another ESC option that requires soldering on bullet connectors.

  • Easy to Configure and Tune

    I wanted the quad to be fairly easy to build, but mainly I wanted to avoid the technical pitfalls of complicated configuration of flight controllers and ESCs. I chose a flight controller and ESCs that are easy to setup. This meant no ground control systems and no complex code to change and flash.

  • Simple Radio

    Radios can also be complex and I wanted to choose a very easy to use transmitter/receiver combo.

  • Good Battery

    I wanted to equip it with a powerful battery that can handle the load, have good flight times, yet not break the bank.

  • One Vendor

    To reduce shipping charges and make ordering easy, I chose to source all parts from HobbyKing.

With those criteria in mind, these are the parts that I chose with the quantities I used and the rounded approximate prices as of the post date:

The Parts List

  • H.A.L. Quadcopter Frame

  • KK2.0 Flight Controller

  • Turnigy D2830-11 Motor

  • MultiStar 30amp ESC

  • Zippy 400mAh Lipo

  • HobbyKing 4ch Tx Rx

  1. Frame

    Turnigy H.A.L. (Heavy Aerial Lift) Quadcopter Frame 585mm 1x = $35

    Even though this is a “Heavy Lift” frame and can handle big payloads, I didn’t choose it for that purpose. I chose it as an easy to fly, beginner frame because of its low cost and rigid construction. Also, it has a nice landing gear and protective cover for the electronics. It is very stable and fun to fly around, but it is not a super lightweight frame designed to do acrobatic flying.

    There is plenty of room under the frame where a camera’s view isn’t obscured by the props. Though I haven’t tried it yet, the configuration I have listed here should support a small GoPro directly attached for very basic amatuer aerial photography.

    To do more serious heavy lifting would involve spending more money on bigger low kv motors, bigger stronger props, more sophisticated flight controllers and radios. Of course, it could be upgraded. HobbyKing even sells an optional servo driven camera gimbal for this frame. When the servos are attached to a flight controller it can help smooth out and level the video. Even with these upgrades, I would still recommend using this quad only with low cost crash resistant camera equipment used by hobbyists.

    Professional aerial photographers use very expensive hexacopters or octocopters equipped with the very best parts to protect their investment in expensive camera equipment and get the very best quality video. This is not that kind of equipment. Here is an example of what the pros use.

  2. Flight Controller

    Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board 1x = $30

    Updated – 11/28/13 Hobbyking has now released a new KK2.1 version of the flight controller.
    Hobbyking KK2.1 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board 1x = $30

  3. Motors & Props

    D2830-11 1000kv Brushless Motor 4x = $40
    Slow Fly Electric Prop 9047R SF (4 pc Right Hand Rotation) 1x = $3
    Slow Fly Electric Prop 9047SF (4 pc) 1x = $3

  4. ESCs

    No Soldering – but usually out of stock
    Note: The OPTO ESCs don’t have a BEC (battery eliminator circuit) to provide power to the KK2.0 flight controller. At least one standard Multistar with a BEC is required to power the KK2.0 board. Ordering the 3 OPTOs withtout BECs lowers the cost a little.
    Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S 1x = $12
    Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S (OPTO) 3x = $30
    Turnigy Multistar ESC Programming Card Optional 1x = $4

    or

    Must be Soldered – but usually in stock
    TURNIGY Plush 30amp Speed Controller 4x = $46
    PolyMax 3.5mm Gold Connectors 10 PAIRS (20PC) 2x = $3
    TURNIGY BESC Programming Card Optional 1x = $7

  5. Battery & Power System

    ZIPPY Compact 4000mAh 3S 25C Lipo Pack 1x = $22
    HXT 4mm to 4 X 3.5mm bullet Multistar ESC Power Breakout Cable 1x = $3
    Turnigy Battery Strap 330mm 1x = $2

  6. Radio

    Hobby King 2.4Ghz 4Ch Tx & Rx V2 (Mode 2) 1x = $23
    10CM Male to Male Servo Lead (JR) 26AWG (10pcs/set) 1x = $5

Upgrading the KK2.0 Firmware

Though it is a little more advanced and not required, a USBasp AVR can be used to easily load newer versions of the KK2.0 firmware using the LazyZero KKMulticopter Flashtool. The later versions of the firmware have much better self-leveling capability, so I always upgrade my firmware. Here are the pins to connect the USBasp to the KK2.0.

Conclusion

Those are the parts that I have now received and assembled. The total cost is just over $200. Of course, there is shipping on top of that of around $50 from China. The quadcopter is solid and flies well. In Part 2, I will go through the detailed steps I went through to build this quad, and in Part 3, I will set up the transmitter, ESCs and KK2.0 board so I can make a maiden flight. In part 4, I will show how I tuned the quad’s PI settings to optimize its flying capabilities. Finally, in Part 5 I will cover how I attached a GoPro camera to the quad to get some video from the air.

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  225 Responses to “Easy DIY Quadcopter Build (Part 1) – The Parts List”

  1. This is one of the best most informative builds I have seen online. Thank you so much for this, this build might be in my future soon!

  2. Hi Britt,

    Thank you very much for putting this amazing instruction together.

    There is two things that I do not understand so far and it would be great if you could help me out before I start ordering pieces:

    Does the flight control board contain sensors to get the necessary data for stabilizing the copter, or are they added separately for enhanced functions?

    This tutorial is two years old – would you say this build is outdated, should I change any pieces for more actual ones or will this thing still make me happy and is worth investing in for a curious beginner?

    Best regards,
    Sarah

    • The sensors to stabilize flight are all on the KK2 board. I think this is still a good quad, but you might want to consider a ready to fly quad kit. They have really come down in price, all the parts are matched and they offer tons of features without having to put everything together.

  3. How much can it lift, I see a gopro but could it take something like a dslr (up to 700grams)
    If not, what should I change in part so it could?
    Thanks!

    • It is way too small for a dlsr. Also I would only use a hexacopter or octocopter for a dlsr. If one motor fails on a quad the dlsr is toast.

  4. Thank you SO much for putting the first 3 steps or so of this Quadcopter build!

    I just ordered all of my parts EXACTLY as you have listed, apart from the flight controller which is now V 2.15!

    Appreciating your work! :D

  5. ive never flown a quad copter before and i thought it would be fun and cheaper to build my own for the first time. what i need to know is: so there are on board flight programs i can download onto the on flight control board that helps stabilize the copter and assist me in flying it its self? or do i have to buy a completely different flight control board that has those things programmed into it already…

  6. Hey Brit,
    Your tutorial is amazing! Unfortunately I was unable to see the videos with the GoPro attached, which is really why I would like to make my own Quadcopter. I was wondering if you could describe how the Quadcopter worked with the GoPro attached. Was it very sluggish and slow? Would you recommend using a different frame, motors, and propellers?
    Thank you very much,
    Daniel

  7. Hey I m Using this : IS there any suggestion..
    Motors : 4x D2830-11 1000kv Brushless Motor (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__12921__d2830_11_1000kv_brushless_motor.html)

    Propellers : 2x 10×4.5 http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s…n_Orange_.html (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__25822__10x4_5_SF_Props_2pc_Standard_Rotation_2_p c_RH_Rotation_Orange_.html)

    Battery : Turnigy 4000mAh 3S 30C Lipo Pack
    (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9510)

    Frame: i will make my own…

    ESC : 4x Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__25365__Turnigy_Multistar_30_Amp_Multi_rotor_Brus hless_ESC_2_4S.html)

    Controller : Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__8992__Turnigy_9X_9Ch_Transmitter_w_Module_8ch_Re ceiver_Mode_2_v2_Firmware_.html)

    Board : Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__31656__Hobbyking_KK2_0_Multi_rotor_LCD_Flight_Co ntrol_Board_UK_Warehouse_.html)
    Hobby King Quadcopter Power Distribution Board (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=23140)http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s…dProduct=23140 (http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=23140) , to connect the 4 ESCs to the battery safely
    OR can i use wire harness….

  8. Hi Britt

    First of all I want to thank you for your hard work. But I have a question. Is there another frame that could be used that doesn’t need a radio reciever?

  9. The motors that you recommend are not in stock. I would happily order something else, but I’m afraid I’ll order something that won’t work. Any recommendations?

  10. Britt,

    I have followed your instructions to a T, but when I try to program it or anything, nothing comes on, starts up, etc. . . I am not sure what I am doing wrong, any advice? My programming card won’t turn on or anything. . .my receiver doesn’t blink red either for the binding part. I’m not sure what to do now since I’ve spend $300 on something that doesn’t seem to work.

  11. Let me start by saying thanks for such a fantastic blog.
    I’m new to multi-rotor, but keen to try my hand at a hobby level.
    I’ve been honing my flying skills on a little 1SQ and hopefully by the time I’m done my build, I won’t be such an Evel Knievel with it.

    Generally I’m sticking very close to your suggestions. I have a few changes in mind that will allow me an easier upgrade path as I advance past this build (at least I think so)…
    So, I’ve a few questions about some parts I’d like to swap.

    #1) Frame – I’d like to go with the X666 frame from Hobby King. It’s physically a bit larger, but lighter. I’m not concerned about the low clearance (ie: no camera). Any concerns with this choice? (is there a point where thrust/lift is too much for the weight?)
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__24227__Hobbyking_X666_Glass_Fiber_Quadcopter_Frame_666mm.html

    #2) ESC – Is price the only reason to get the OPTO?
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=27776&aff=588847

    #3) Radio – For the price and future expandability, any reason not to get the Turnigy 9X transmitter?
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=8992&aff=588847

    #4) If I’m saving 200g on the frame but keeping 99% of everything else the same, can I add 100g to the battery to extend my flight time but keep the same performance (only $2+ to go to 5000mAh)?

    Awesome awesome. Thanks again.

  12. The KK2.0 flight control board has been out of stock for about a month and a half at hobbyking. Would a kk2.1 work for this quadcopter?
    Thaks!

  13. [...] and bought a bunch of parts to build my first quad copter based on the part list I found over at oddcopter.com  I figured it would be best to follow along what he built instead of trying to figure it out on my [...]

  14. Britt
    I would like to know if there are any more frames that will work for it that might have a better shock absorber?
    and
    I have a smaller one I have but I am not really sure if I have everything that I need in it so if some one could help me findout what I need with it then please help
    here is the Item I have in question: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Mini-Micro-ARF-Quadcopter-MWC-Flight-Control-Multicopter-Motor-Prop-Kit/1469761638.html

  15. hello britt, newbie have a couple of question for you

    1.do you have any other option just in case those parts are not in stock? or dou you have any other store that sells those parts?
    I realy like your specification (budget wise), but I noticed that the Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board is not in stock at the moment. I have not checked the others availability.

    2.do you have the list to build inexpensive QC for fpv and gopro compatibility
    since I wanted to enjoy the aerial movie making, is it possible to have – what gopro see, I also see – condition? (not to have the fpv and gopro view separately)

  16. Amazing tutorial! Very detailed, I will give it a try building my own quad!
    It seems that KK2.0 is not in stock at HobbyKing and no idea when it will be back. Any alternatives I can use?

  17. Oh yes one more question I would like to ask,

    why is it there no BEC option listed for the Turnigy Plush 30A ESC option
    while the Multistar requires one ?

    Cheers..

  18. HI

    thank you for writing a great guide. I am a RC newbie and new to Quadcopters and such.
    Is there no need for a Power Distribution board for this build ? I went through the list a few times but did not see it on the list ?

    thanks
    Berns

  19. What about the battery charger? any suggestions?

  20. This guide looks to be exactly what I need to get my first quadcopter underway, having an issue finding the transmitter in stock though so was wondering if this would be suitable as a replacement?

  21. , this page is very cool. I’d love to have the items that the pros use that I saw on the link provided by you but I don’t have that kind of money I’m sure we’d all love to have that kind of stuff. Here’s what I’d like to do quadcopter with autonomous flight but indoors. I wanted to try to see how well I could do interior real estate videos with the bare bones type setup. However since I am Yurman I’m almost guaranteed not to fly the smoothest in the world. So it would be nice to be able to reprogram a flight path. Even draw the flight paths in SmoOth lines of Flight. I’m sure that’s possible I just don’t know how

  22. So the 4mm to 4 x 3.5mm connector is out, would a 4mm to 6 x 3.5mm work in its place? Thanks!

  23. Hi, can somebody help me to understand what is the meaning of cont.Current and the MaxCurrent of this calculator for quad? http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.htm?ecalc&lang=en, is it the esc current found in its specs?

    thanks for the help guys.

  24. the Slow Fly Electric Prop 9047R SF (4 pc Right Hand Rotation) and Slow Fly Electric Prop 9047SF (4 pc) are out of stock which props should I use in replacement?

  25. Hi Britt, this is great guidance for new comer like me :)
    I just wondering you can give me some brief since I got HobbyKing Multi-Rotor Control Board V2.1 (Atmega168PA) that come without LCD and on board button settings, about how to tune the Yaw, Pitch & Roll gain?

  26. This was an awesome guide! I just completed the build this weekend and even though I am a complete multirotor and RC beginner, I managed to get the quad off the ground and even crash it a few times. I have some doubts about the way I calibrated the ECSs and the tuning because it was instantly unstable in my opinion, but I will revisit those section of the tutorial again before I ask any questions. I have a couple of questions though about the Naza migration

    How easy would it be to swap the flight controller for a Non GPS Naza M?
    Is it simply a matter of attaching Naza anywhere with a double sided tape, and hooking it up to the same components with pretty much same servo wires?
    Can I still stick all four BECs into it without creating any problems. Will it be significantly easier to fly?

  27. Hi,

    Is there any reason why a larger battery could be used, like say the 5000mAh version linkted below? The connector is different though. Its an extra $2, and potentially increases flight time by 25%

    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__21370__ZIPPY_Compact_5000mAh_3S_25C_Lipo_Pack.html

  28. Hi Britt.

    Thank you very much for this page. I’ve wanted to build QC for a long time now but have not known how to. Your DIY series looks great.

    Could you please suggest some battery charger from HK (cheapest but suitable)?

    Here is my list in HK http://2i.cz/2bce1c36e5 if I include charger, does it really contain everything I going to need (I do not have any spare parts; I increase number of preps for sure).

    And final question, how is your experience with HK? Should I wait till every part is on stock? If not, could you please suggest alternative part?

    Once again, thank you very very much!

  29. KK MK X525 V3 QuadCopter Folding Frame
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/kk-mk-x525-quadcopter-folding-frame-quad-rotor-friber-glass-multicoptor.html[/url]

    Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware)
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8992[/url]

    Turnigy 9X LCD Backlight Kit – Blue (DIY)
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=16720[/url]

    Turnigy 3000mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=9265[/url]
    and

    Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo Pack
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8932[/url]

    KV1000 Brushless Exterior Rotor Motor
    [url]http://dx.com/p/kv1000-brushless-exterior-rotor-motor-outrunner-motor-yellow-154904[/url]

    HobbyKing_ECO6_50W_5A_Balancer_Charger
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__11060__HobbyKing_ECO6_50W_5A_Balancer_Charger_w_accessories.html[/url]

    or (need good but cheap too or please suggest some other one)

    VANTAGE 50W B6S+ LiPo NiMH Battery Balance Charger
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/vantage-50w-b6s-lipo-nimh-battery-balance-charger-.html[/url]

    2-in-1 1~8S Lipo Battery Low Voltage Buzzer Alarm for RC Helicopter
    [url]http://dx.com/p/2-in-1-1-8s-lipo-battery-low-voltage-buzzer-alarm-for-rc-helicopter-white-black-180468[/url]

    10×4.5″ 1045 1045R Counter Rotating CW/CCW Propeller Blade
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/10×4-5-1045-1045r-counter-rotating-cw-ccw-propeller-blade-for-multicoptor-red.html[/url]

    10×4.5″ 1045 1045R Counter Rotating Propeller For MultiCoptor 2 Pairs
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/10×4-5-1045-1045r-counter-rotating-propeller-for-multicoptor.html[/url]

    3.5mm Gold Bullet Banana Connector X 20 Sets
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/3-5mm-gold-bullet-banana-connector-x-20-sets.html[/url]

    LotusRC T580P+ Velcro Battery Fastener for T580P+ Quadcopter Aircraft 2pcs
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/lotusrc-t580p-velcro-battery-fastener-for-t580p-quadcopter-aircraft-2pcs.html[/url]

    Polaris Thunder-20A L 4S ESC with 3A BEC for Brushless Motor
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/polaris-thunder-20a-l-4s-esc-with-3a-bec-for-brushless-motor.html[/url]

    Single 4mm Male to 4 x 3.5mm Female Adapter (1 set)
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=21734[/url]

    Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=24723[/url]

    or

    KKmulticontroller V5.5 Controller Board V2.2
    [url]http://www.goodluckbuy.com/kkmulticontroller-v5-5-controller-board-v2-1-program-with-config-quadcopter-.html[/url]

    10CM Male to Male Servo Lead
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=21758[/url]

    Turnigy Receiver Controlled Switch
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8833[/url]

    Turnigy High Density R/C LED Flexible Strip-Red (1mtr)
    [url]http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idProduct=8941[/url]

    this is all i am planing to order please suggest me if i am missing anything or which part i should choose instead

    thank you

  30. This tutorial has inspired me to build my first quadcopter:). Parts are ordered.

    Just one question, does this list of parts include a low voltage lipo alarm? I could not find one included.

  31. I love your work britt. I want to know if I can make a quadcopter that has a capacity of at least 6 hours and a way of communicating with the quadcopter outside of it’s transmitter range using a mobile network. Is this possible? Your answer is much appreciated =)

    • Wow, that would be amazing to have a battery last that long, I am lucky to get a few minutes capacity.

      I only fly within my line of sight. However, ther are lots of folks selling technology to go beyond that and I see lots of videos of people using it. Dunno about mobile network control, but satellite control and programming is available. Also PC based telemetry kits are used. There are also very long range UHF transmitters.

      I follow the rule(law) of only flying within line of sight. You might ask around on the Team Black sheep site. They are known for pushing the limits.

      Also, I read something about some delivery system to access remote places, in Africa I think, that was planning to use way stations to shuttle cargo and maybe even do recharging.

    • Why would you need that?

      Interestingly, I just read that the main Team Blacksheep guy, Raphael, just got fined $10,000 by the FAA, so it is pretty important to follow the rules, laws, guidelines. Anything beyond line of sight is not for me.

      Here is a post I did on the subject:

      http://oddcopter.com/2013/03/15/is-a-quadcopter-a-drone/

      • I just had a look at UK law and it says as long as the drone does not exceed 2.5kg (Maximum takeoff for aeroplanes is 1.8kg) , does not fly above 400 feet, does not fly within A, C , D or E air traffic zones and does not enter aerodrome traffic zones within notified hours then it is legal to fly without unaided visual contact in the UK.

        I linked a video that may interest you.
        http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=C-G3G7jAxz8

  32. I ordered one of the HAL frames based on your build, but I’m having problems with finding the right tool for the screws that go into the landing gear’s plastic parts. It’s listed as an M1 hex screw, but my 1mm hex wrench doesn’t fit it. Any idea what size these actually are?

  33. Can you tell me what diameter the aluminium tubing is. I thought it might be an idea to use carbon tubes to reduce the weight.

  34. Hey !

    Really nice tutorial. I am planing on making this but not sure if they ship to Estonia(europe). Have a question also, could i mount a gopro on to it ? and it will be able to lift from the ground, if not what should i change and may i have your skype ? for further questions.

  35. Planning on building this as my first quadcopter. My ultimate goal is do build a drone to film paintball and airsoft events.
    Does anyone know if I was to install an ardupilot at a later date would I require to make any changes to the existing hardware?

  36. Do I need to get right hand rotation props as well as “regular” props, or can I just switch the wiring on the motor?

  37. Hello Britt,

    Excellent job on this tutorial, really great learning experience for those of us new to RC flight.

    The 30A Turnigy Plush speed controller is out of stock and I do not have the patience to wait on HK to restock. Would the Turnigy Plush 40A model mess anything up? I’ve run it through that ecalc xcopter page and the changes to flight time seem negligable.

    There are a few other parts that are not in stock, one of the props (RH or otherwise I can’t remember) for instance. Everytime I try and increase the diameter of the props the flight time drops by up to 25%! Do you have any thoughts on different motor/prop/battery combinations to get around this backorder issue?

    Thanks again for your work on this topic!

  38. hi i’m building this kit with the same items as u said… D 2830/11, 30 esc, 4000 mah 30c lipo…10X4.5 propp.
    When using these info in ecalc it said their is no lift? why? thak you

    • Sounds like a bad configuration or maybe you entered something wrong. Have a screenshot?

      • Well after reviewing the info, when i increase the battery weight to it’s real weight everything changes, i think its a bug.

        One more question please, i just ordered 4 turnigy plush 30A. When i connect them to the board do i need to remove the red wired from 3 of them or what… I’m a bit lost with the besc thing.
        Thank you

        • With the kk2.0 board only the first motor connection is powered, so I didn’t remove the power or ground wire on the bec, but other boards are different and may require only one power and ground.

  39. i got a turnigy 9x remote for your quad and i just want to know if i need to change any settings on the remote to be able to fly this quad properly?

    • I have a 9x, but I have it reflashed with the er9x firmware and am not familiar with the stock firmware. Also, I use a frsky module and receiver with mine, so I am not sure how much I can help. Every radio is different. I always try and get a good understanding of how the firmware controls all the various channels and how to connect correctly to the receiver. I then test all functions with the props off. If you have a specific question when you start messing with it I can try to answer it.

  40. the below part is out of stock and hobbyking will not let me backorder it,
    is there a suitable replacement or should I just wait to order until they come in stock?
    HXT 4mm to 4 X 3.5mm bullet Multistar ESC Power Breakout Cable

  41. [...] Here is the basic guide that I’m planning on following for a plain vanilla version 1 copter: Easy DIY Quadcopter [...]

  42. hey britt

    thanks for the parts list I have tried to follow it as much as possible as this will be my 1st build and very much in the learning stages. I am going to try assemble this quadcopter just by following the guide you provided and the aid of YouTube because this is very new to me and I have never really worked with electronics.
    I have ordered about half so far and was wondering if there is any other things I have missed.

    so if you or any1 sees something missing or tips and pointers, it would be greatly appreciated.

    ordered

    D2830-11 1000kv Brushless Motor x4
    Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S x3
    Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S (OPTO) x1
    Turnigy Multistar ESC Programming Card x1
    Turnigy Battery Strap 330mm x1
    10CM Male to Male Servo Lead (JR) 26AWG (10pcs/set)
    Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight Control Board
    ZIPPY Compact 4000mAh 3S 25C Lipo Pack
    Turnigy 9xr transmitter and receiver

    waiting for stock

    HXT 4mm to 4 X 3.5mm bullet Multistar ESC Power Breakout Cable
    Turnigy accucel 6 balancer and charger
    Slow Fly Electric Prop 9047R SF (4 pc Right Hand Rotation)
    Slow Fly Electric Prop 9047SF
    frame
    Turnigy 9XR Safety Protected 11.1v (3s) 2200mAh 1.5C Transmitter Pack

    thanks for the help

  43. Hi Britt, nice work here. This blog is the best for a noob. I’m trying to test some changes in eCalc but I can’t find the motor you suggested (D2830-11 1000kv), in the list. Could you help me with the custom settings for it.

  44. Hello everyone!, this is the first time I have visited this page and Love its contents as it is very noob friendly. I am interested in a quad copter build list with easiest assembly with the ability of being able to program its movements in 3 dimensions either in C, C++, or Java , the language does not particularly matter. I suppose I’ll need an altimeter, and gyroscopes and etc.. including a cpu onboard that can be tinkered with. Is there a build list on here that can accompolish t his? Can someone point me in the right direction! :) .

  45. Britt-I cant find the 4mm to 3.5mm breakout cable anywhere, can I use the HK power distribution board:

    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__28255__Hobby_King_Quadcopter_Power_Distribution_Board_USA_Warehouse_.html

    I realize I will most likely have to figure out a way to make the battery work (4mm to XT60), let me know.

    Thanks!

  46. Britt
    I see that the flight control board that you listed in the parts list is not in stock, would this board work?:

    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__27033__MultiWii_328P_Flight_Controller_w_FTDI_DSM2_Port.html

    Or would you suggest the cheaper HK model here:

    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__19534__HobbyKing_Multi_Rotor_Control_Board_V2_1_Atmega168PA_.html

    Thanks for your input!

    • I would definitely choose the multiwii, but it really needs a radio with more channels and is much more difficult to set up.

      • I have a DX8, would that work good? Also I was maybe thinking of just springing for the ArduPilot Mega 2.5, this will work just fine with this setup Im sure?

        • That should all work. I have used a Spektrum module in my radio before and it worked fine. Also, I currently have the APM 2.5 on this quad and it flies well. Unfortunately, I haven’t had much time to work with it lately.

  47. Hi Britt,
    Thanks for your great blog. I’ve got a question about the radio. I have an old Futaba Skysport 6A (FM transmitter, 6 channels) that works like a charm with my planes and never felt the need to change it.
    Now I want to move to Quadcopters and I wonder if a 2.4Ghz radio is a must, or I can use my old Skysport.
    From your detailed step by step mounting, I cannot see any trouble to use my radio, but I’ve also read your reply to one comment where the problem is aparently the radio our collegue is using. So, Do I need to upgrade my radio or not?
    Many thanks.
    Carlos

  48. Hi Britt,

    If you were to do this again, are there specific parts you would upgrade? I’m looking for something just with the longer run time and can carry a little more. (Couple cameras maybe) Two go pros, possibly add in my raspberry pi for some other fun.

    Your thoughts?

    Thanks

    • You will probably need lower kV motors and bigger props to lift that load. The best thing to do is test different configurations in ecalc:

      http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.htm

    • Hi Aldo,

      Have a look at the H-Quad design (http://flitetest.com/articles/H_Quad_Scratch_Build). The main advantage of that design is that it offers a lot of space for cameras and other stuff while keeping props out of camera view. Should be very easy to build too and I will probably build one myself this weekend using motors and electronics suggested in this post, and will report back.
      May a ask you what you have in mind for the raspberry? One of the raspberries I own was recently made redundant (it was used as a squeezebox server and I was really impressed on its performance and stability for the size and power consumption). Since I bought a more powerful platform for my squeezebox network, the poor thing is getting bored and I am sure it would love a new mission.

      Cheers,

      • Interesting build. Honestly, what I’m thinking with the Pi, is altimeter, monitoring, possibly some wifi camera broadcasting with a wifi dongle. I haven’t really decided. All I know is I have a few, and would love to play with it. :)

        Thanks for the information guys.

  49. Britt – Wow man very nice write up… some parts are backordered so i changed few things!! you think it can work??? I just want to use it for some cool GoPro videos

    Thanks,
    Aiden

    Quantity Stock Product description Price Weight
    OK 9323000002 – Hobbyking X525 V3 Glass Fiber Quadcopter..
    OK D2822-141450 – D2822/14 Brushless Outrunner 1450kv $33.24 260
    OK 9351000007 – Turnigy Multistar 20 Amp Multi-rotor Bru.. $23.97 120
    OK 9351000003 – Turnigy Multistar 20 Amp Multi-rotor Bru.. $18.70 60
    OK 9171000073 – Hobbyking KK2.0 Multi-rotor LCD Flight C.. $29.99 55
    OK Turnigy-HKLP – Turnigy Battery Strap 330mm $1.59 9
    OK 258000011 – 10CM Male to Male Servo Lead (JR) 26AWG .. $3.96 28
    OK HK-T4A-M2 – Hobby King 2.4Ghz 4Ch Tx & Rx V2 (Mode 2..
    OK ACC6 – Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charge.. $22.99 437
    OK 9329000020 – Slow Fly Electric Prop 8045 SF (4 pc – G.. $2.12 35
    OK 9329000021 – Slow Fly Electric Prop 8045R (4 pc – Gre.. $2.46 35
    OK Z30003S-20 – ZIPPY Flightmax 3000mAh 3S1P 20C $13.73 297

  50. Great write up, because of this how to ive been ordering all my parts from hobbyking to make my first quad. I however went ahead and choose a different frame, nothing wrong with your i just decided on an HJ450 frame, but i did stick to everything else that was on your list.

    I have a couple of questions, the prop you suggested seem to be on back order, are there any others you can recommend, also why did you decide on Slow fly ones?

    lastly, would i be able to get a higher mAh battery(http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=17272) than the one you recommended or should i just buy two and wire them in parallel ? Would the quad be able to lift two of them + maybe a go pro later down the line ?

    anyway thanks for the how to and im really enjoying your site, lots n lots of good info.

    • The slow fly props have a lower pitch and are what most folks use on multicopters. I don’t understand all of the physics involved, but I often use the xcoptercalc program to try different configurations. You can pit in the length and pitch of your props and see how it effects the flight characteristics. Here is a link:

      http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.htm?ecalc&lang=ene

      You can also test different batteries in that program. The one you linked to is a 2S which is a lower voltage battery than the 3S battery I linked to in my post. I have always used 3S batteries. Any 3S 4000 mAh or more battery with at least a 25C rating should be fine. The higher the C rating the more easily it can deliver the amps. But the higher the C rating the greater the cost.

  51. Hi Britt – Thank you for your considerable time and effort to create such a valuable resource. I’ve dabbled in RC in the past, and became intrigued to build a quad-copter after seeing some in action on a recent Nova episode on PBS. Yours was one of the first How-To sites I found, and I was immediately impressed by your detailed suggestions and helpful tone with newbies such as myself. I have ordered all of the items you recommend and am patiently (okay, maybe not so patiently!) awaiting their arrival from Hong Kong. The HAL frame, however, has been on backorder for weeks now. Google searches have turned up no other sources, so I was wondering if there are any other frames from different suppliers you might approve of as a suitable replacement, or if your suggestion is to just wait until the back order is finally resolved. I don’t mind spending a few extra bucks for comparable or perhaps an upgraded quality.

    I also have a question regarding the batteries. I’m getting the impression that the care, feeding, and maintenance of the battery packs is vital for optimizing their performance and lifespan. Can you recommend any articles which might give an overview of proper battery procedures?

    Thanks again! Your passion for this hobby is evident, and I know I speak for many first-timers that I’m so glad I found your informative site.

    • Hey, thanks, I hope it works out for you. I like that frame because it has a tall landing gear and is pretty sturdy. I noticed they have starting selling this one, but I have no idea if it is any good since I haven’t tried it. The motor mounts seem a little flimsy.

      You might try this one that DIYDrones sells.

      This guy sells quality frames(the quadframe ones) and separate landing gears, but they are a bit pricier.

      Hoverthings sells the HT-450, which is a nice quad frame, but it is also out of stock.

      I really need to do more research on batteries and don’t have any links handy. It is important to never let a 3s go below 11.4v and to use them within a few days after charging. Most chargers have a storage discharge setting when not in use. Also, if they can’t supply the appropriate amps they will puff up and be ruined.

      • Hi Britt – I went with the HT-450 frame from Hovethings and have been very pleased with the quality of their parts. One challenge, however, is that they do not include any of the nylon risers or screws to mount the flight controller board. I see many different sizes and styles listed on Hobby King’s site. Can you suggest what I should order to properly mount the board? Also, you mentioned you use this same frame. Did you fashion a cover of some sort to protect the electronics? Are there any pictures on your site?

        Last dumb/newbie question (for this post anyway) – I purchased several sets of the props you suggest in the build list. Is it helpful while learning to use 2 colored props in the front to more easily identify front/back/left/right? I see the props on the build list are available in a lovely Kermit-green shade. I would have preferred red or orange, but I won’t be picky while learning.

        Thanks again!

        • Another option is to stick the board directly onto the top of the frame center plate with double sided foam tape that you can get at Wal-Mart. But, be carefull that it is perfectly centered. It is a good idea to make a cover too. The easiest way is to use one of those food storage containers and zip tie it to the frame. Yeah, different colored props definitely help to distinguish the front from the back. Different colored arms(tape) or LEDs are even better.

  52. This is a fantastic tutorial! I’ve been looking to get into quads for a while and your walkthrough has been the most thorough I’ve found. I have just one question though: Where can I find comparable parts in quality and price other than Hobby King? I have had no luck placing orders there and their customer service hasn’t helped me at all. Do you have any other recommendations for places too look? Can I find the same parts there? I really don’t want to deviate from your list because I have no clue how different parts compare.
    Thanks!

    • Good question. I think HobbyKing is hard to beat on variety, price and quality combined, but I understand your frustrations. Parts are often backordered, the shipping takes a long time from China and it can get expensive for heavy parts. Also, the customer service is not great, but I think it has gotten better. I have noticed that many HobbyKing parts are available on ebay at inflated prices. That is one reason why parts are often backordered. Ebay selllers buy them in quantity then sell them here an many times the price. I admit I have bought these scalper parts off ebay myself because I needed the part and could get it quickly. Also, probably a lot of people have ordered these specific parts and that has contributed to them being backordered.

      There are other combinations of parts from HK that would work well for a similar quad. I noticed they have a new frame that is similar to this one. Also, there are lots of motors and even ESCs that have similar specs. My suggestion, if you want to stick with HK but they don’t have all the parts, would be to try and match the specs with similar parts. Also, there is a great program where you can plug in various parts to see how the quad will perform. Here is a link:

      http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.htm?ecalc&lang=en

      The most important item to be able to follow what I did here is the KK2.0 flight controller, As far as I know, it is only avaiable from HobbyKing. They partnered with Rolf Bakke to make it.

      There are other domestic(US) suppliers too. I like Hoverthings for frames, StrongMotors for motors and DiyQuadcopters for props and other stuff. Also, HobbyPartz sells a lot of Chinese made stuff, but ships from the US.

  53. This certainly helped me figuring out what to do for my first quad! I am wanting to get into taking aerial shots for GoPro edits and not sure if this quad is suitable or would it have to be replaced quickly? I looked at FPV flying and that looks fun as hell too! I was interested in this frame as I have heard good about it, but buying the pre-built one seems like a lot but I was wondering if you could tell me if it is?

    http://www.hoverthings.com/frame-sets/flipfpvcamoblack.html

    the RTF w/o FPV equipment or remote

    http://witespyquad.gostorego.com/quads/the-flip-fpv.html

    I imagine a FPV quad could easily get some good aerial footage once you were used to handling it! I just don’t see the point in getting something that I will soon have to replace, but if you could suggest to me something that could possibly be on a bit higher scale then what is listed above that would be appreciated as well! I imagine I could build it as long as it isn’t overly complicated with electronics and such, I can tinker but not do coding and all that type of stuff. Thanks!

    • I have not used that Hoverthings frame, but have the HT-450 and really like it. It is light and strong and solid. It is not an FPV frame though. FPV frames are a little trickier to balance, tune and fly. That is probably a great choice for FPV if you have the skills.

  54. Britt,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to detail all this info. Clearly it’s something you’re passionate about and it’s great that you’re sharing it with a larger community.

    I’m taking my time and reading through everything carefully as I try to fully understand something(s) that are outside of my normal scope of knowledge and understanding.

    I’d like to build a basic/intro quad-copter as you’ve outlined here, but with options for upgraded improved mission capabilities in the future.

    Are Arduino-based chips and flight controllers compatible with the simple build you’ve outlined here, and/or recommended?

    Regards,

    Grant

    • Thanks for dropping by. This quadcopter will work with other flight controllers. The biggest change as you go to a more advanced flight controller would be a better radio with more than 4 channels to support all of the advanced flight modes. Also, there is a lot of other add-on equipment people use as their controller becomes more advanced. Things like first person video or telemetry equipment. This quad frame doesn’t have a lot of surfaces to mount additional equipment, so that is a consideration. Finally, once you start adding more expensive equipment to the quad and your investment goes up, the quality of the motors and props may be an issue. Adding higher quality APC or even carbon fiber props adds a level of safety against broken props and more expensive motors are probably less prone to failure. Realistically, accidents happen and any equipment can fail and pilot error is common.

      I have started to swap out the basic KK2.0 board on this quad with the more advanced APM2.0+. Here is my first post about it.

      • Hi Britt,

        I’m excited about the APM 2.0+ upgrade. I read your post and this sort of takes the ‘basic’ quadcopter to the upgraded level that I am interested in. Much like Richard, who posted after me, I’d love to start doing some first person video shortly after my quadcopter build. The characteristics of the APM chip make that a little more feasible. I look forward to your continuing post, b/c I will probably use your recommended parts list as the basis for my first build using the APM chip.

        Thanks again for your support.

        Grant

  55. [...] way you want. I want to give a shout out to OddCopter for having such an amazing build guide with parts list. I wasn’t able to get everything mentioned in that post because a few things were out of [...]

  56. Hello Britt
    Just wanted to say thank you for all your efforts.
    I did the easy quad build as my first quad project.
    I had my first flights today. A little nerve-racking but we brought it home in one piece.
    My AUW is 1399 g.
    I think I gained a little weight because I used Hobby Kings power distribution board, an eight channel receiver and the TURNIGY Plush 30amp speed controllers.
    I am no expert but this quad seems to have lots of power.
    Now I just have to learn how to fine tune it and fly it (sounds easy if you say it fast)
    Good pics – Good descriptions – Great project

    Thank you
    Shoestring

    • Hey, thanks a lot. Glad it worked for you. Yeah, this is no toy. Have you tried upgrading the firmware to v1.5? That makes it much easier to fly because the self leveling is so good.

      • Yes I did the upgrade to 1.5. I read in several places that 1.5 was a vast improvement over 1.2 so I loaded it before I installed the board.

  57. Hi Britt, thanks for the brilliant site. I am thinking about building this quadcopter and I have a Spektrum DX6i TX, that I use for my other models, and a spare Spektrum AR6115e RX. I am assuming these will be fine to substitute for the Hobbyking 4 channel radio setup that you suggest. Is that correct?

  58. whats the distance this can travel and whats the battery life?

  59. What, if anything, would you need to change to do this build with an arduflyer to get GPS waypoint functionality? Different rx/tx?

  60. Hello Britt, I’ve been hanging around your site for a while now and have read all of your posts and read most of the comments. I was thinking of either buying or building a quadcopter for a while when I stumbled upon your site. It is very helpful for a beginner like myself with no RC experience at all. It is comprehensive and the detail you have provided on building a basic but reasonable quad is just what I was looking for. I have ordered my parts and have stuck to exactly what you have built, even going the solderless route despite having reasonable soldering skills. My order had to be split between Australia and International to get the parts I wanted. So I only have half my order at this stage and because of the extra freight and including some spares my total buy was about AUD$350. I have no doubt I will have some questions as I build but for now just wanted to thank you for a great site. Also if there is anyone in Sydney who is building one of these maybe we could swap notes.

    • I’m in Brisbane and ordered everything from the HK warehouse. The total came to about $275. Just had to drop another $100 on various things and am now waiting for that shipment to arrive.

      Like you, my frame is sitting there waiting for the rest of the stuff but it has been productive having read up and researched Quads. The learning curve has been steep so far.

  61. You need to change your parts list under ESC to show 2x of the bullet connector pairs.

    2x for power on each, times 4 total escs = 8 male connectors
    3x for phase wires, times 4 total escs = 12 female connectors

    you recommended 1 order of the 10 pairs, so it’s 2 female connectors short of wiring a quadcopter up with esc’s that have no bullet connectors pre-installed. just a heads up. i don’t want to wait for another international shipment so i’m going to see if my LHS has some. (praying they do, i’m very excited to get airborne)

    • Sorry about that. I will change it. You should be able to find them locally or on ebay. If not, I can send you a couple if you email me your address to Britt@oddcopter.com

      • Oh no worries man. The LHS had some for pretty cheap. I should’ve done the math myself but didn’t pay much attention lol. Thanks for making this website by the way. Very helpful for a first timer. Cheers!

  62. Hi guys, I need some help, I bought a honeybee v2 helicopter from esky unfortunately I had a bad crash and its not worth repairing. So I would like to build my own quadcopter is there any reason why I can’t use the transmitter and receiver with the above design see below for the copter

    http://www.nitrotek.co.uk/esky-honey-bee-v2-4ch-rc-helicopter-2-4ghz-version.html

    • I don’t know anything about that radio, but it looks like a standard 4 channel 2.4ghz pwm type transmitter and receiver. It may work fine if it is, but I am not sure.

  63. Could I use the Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter with this setup? The one you have listed is on backorder right now.

    • Absolutely, it is a great radio! In fact, much better in the long run because it so full of features and extra channels. I chose the 4 channel in this post to keep the cost down and to keep it simple.

  64. Hi again,
    Just wondering, whats the differece between these 2 esc?
    Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S 1x = $10
    Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S (OPTO) 3x = $30

    • The Optos are a little less expensive because they don’t have a BEC to power the board with. The non Opto version does have a BEC and can be used to power the board. Since it only needs to be powered once, you save a little by getting one non Opto. Anyway, the Multistar ESCs have been backordered for a while now, so I would suggest getting the Turnigy Plushes. Soldering on bullet connectors is simple. Also, the Turnigy programming card is easier to find.

      • Thanks a lot for this website, great information and easy to follow. However I spotted an error in the following link in the parts list:
        Turnigy Multistar 30 Amp Multi-rotor Brushless ESC 2-4S 1x = $10
        links to the opto version of the ESC with no BEC!

        • Oops! Thanks for finding this. I will fix it now.

        • I got caught out by this and ordered 4 opto versions! Might be worth making the distinction explicit in the instructions to avoid other noobs like me getting it wrong.

          • I am really sorry about that. I will make a note in the post.

          • One possibility, if you don’t want to wait or pay for another ESC, might be to power the board using a stand alone UBEC connected to the battery. They are more readily available domestically from ebay or hobby shops. Also, I have read that it is a more efficient way to power a flight controller (longer flight times). But, it would require some fairly simple soldering.

          • I also had a brain fart and ordered 4 OPTOS. It took me a week of hair pulling and research before I realised my mistake and am now waiting for the BEC one to arrive.

            Thanks for the write up, this has been a great little project so far and the learning curve has been steep but rewarding.

  65. Hi. What if I add the Turnigy H.A.L. 3-Axis Camera Mount, 2 servos and a GoPro?
    Would I need different motors, props and ESC’s?
    And what would you recommend from Hobbyking?

    Thanks for your help.

  66. Hi any advice for battery charger? And for transimmter what battery should
    I use? I am building myself one. Great info thank u

  67. I have read all three parts and they are extremely helpful. I have a much better appreciation of what is required to build a quad copter and I am looking forward to my first build. Do you have any recommendations for substitute components for a quad that will be mostly focused on aerobatics? I have no problem with soldering components, so that is not an issue for me. Thanks.

  68. Thanks for your articles, looking forward for part 4 =D.
    Could you tell me how long you can fly with this configuration?

    and happy new year =p

    • It has been either cold and windy or cold and rainy around here, so I haven’t made as much progress as I should have. I have already done a complete run through, but didn’t take notes the first time. Anyway, hopefully the weather will change so I can get to part 4.

      I haven’t timed it, but I believe around 5 minutes. I will try to get a better time and post it.

  69. I want to start making one of my own…
    to begin with wonderful site… nice clear explanation..
    firstly i want to know the use of a flight controller..
    i am well equiped with arduino programming…
    can i do the same stuff that u show over here using arduino programming??

  70. Brit, the entire order could only go through International Warehouse and not the USA Warehouse. For 7 pds. they charge me $56.00. Is that about right?

    • Sounds about right. That is definitely the downside to ordering a bunch of heavy stuff from China. I wish they had it all here in their US warehouse. It would be a lot cheaper to ship.

  71. This is the EXACT post I’ve been looking for to help me get my start with quad-copters..

    About a year back, I bought an ArduPilot 2.0 (http://www.diydrones.com/profiles/blogs/apm-2-0-release) and have been trying to get up the nerve to buy the rest of the stuff I need, only to possibly see $500+ fly away autonomously laughing at me and my loss :-)

    Your site gives me the confidence to proceed.. I think I’m going to put in an order tonight from your parts list, possibly only excluding the flight computer in hopes of using the one I already have, although for the price, I might just buy what you got, and follow along until I get some more confidence.

    One question – It’s been asked, but not in so many words.. I’m curious what motors/props would give me better/best performance on this frame, while not fundamentally changing it’s flight characteristics much? I’m willing to spend a more, and am not at all interested in aerobatics – My primary concern is payload (for the future), reliability, and flight time… Is there an easy upgrade from the parts listed that wouldn’t change the process much, while possibly upgrading battery/motor/prop combination to improve on some of this? I’m actually assuming that higher weight would be GOOD, in that it might be stable in a slight breeze, instead of grounded in all but calm conditions??

    Thanks for the post!
    -Steve

  72. Also I have a futaba 6j control and was wondering if it would work fine

  73. I am doing a new project and I was wondering if I switched the frame to a turnigy talon carbon fiber frame it would still work ok

  74. Great website! This will be my first build and I’m wondering if there’s a flight controller that has GPS return that doesn’t require soldering? And if so, would i need a different radio too?

  75. Ignore my question on other post. I’m ordering this to get myself in the game!

  76. Great list! I agree that the HAL frame is great value and looks very complete!
    It’s a pretty fat beast you are creating though. If you would take your 10$ DIY frame (250grams?) and put the same parts on it you could probably do with a 2500mAh batttery and still get the same hover times.
    With this heavy frame I’d go with the 10″ props right away. The motors and ESC’s can handle it easy and your hovering time will probably increase.
    Ow, and the “six channel mode2 Hobbyking transmitter/reciever combo is now 23$ as well!

    Can’t wait for the build log! Where are you going to put the ESC’s?

  77. it’s true! this site is a great resource. it was my #1 resource for building my quadcopter, which is my first RC project ever. this post looks like it will be even more helpful. thanks Britt

  78. Hi Britt! First of all, THANKS! Your site really do help us a lot! Pretty good information and clear communication! :)

    The idea of writing this post is excellent! I’m wondering the maximum payload of this quadcopter. I think you already have the total weight, but I did this sum:

    Frame: 614g
    Flight controller: 21g
    Motors: 208g (4x52g)
    Propellers: 51g
    ESCs (to be soldered option, stock available): 100g (4x25g)
    Battery: 286g
    ESC Power Breakout Cable: 39g
    Battery Strap: 9g

    Total weight (not considering wiring and small stuff): 1328g

    So, I’ve tried to use the calculators but they are too complex for me. Do you know the maximum and recommended payload of this quadcopter?

    Cheers from Brazil.

    Thank you,

    Santiago

    • Are you wondering about the strength of the frame itself? If so, I have seen others using this frame with some pretty big payloads. Here is a post on RCGroups with lots of info about the frame:

      http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1662630

      Also, there is an optional camera gimbal that HobbyKing sells.

      If you are wondering how much more weight these motors and props will effectively lift, I don’t really know. It probably makes sense to use bigger, low kv motors with a heavy payload. I will weigh the quad and see how it compares to your calculations. I made some guesstimates in ecalc before I ordered it and it looked ok without an extra payload. Also, the frame description notes on the Hobbyking site say “28-XX or 35-XX brushless outrunner motor x 4″. These motors are priced right and I like them so far! I think these will work with a Gopro, but have not tried it yet.

    • I just weighed it and it is 1375g all up weight (AUW). Ecalc says it starts to lose maneuverability over 1600g with 9 inch props, but that goes away with bigger 10 inch props up to 2000g. However, it may not be very responsive at that weight. I am not an ecalc pro by any means, so there could be user error here and I had to guess on a few values.

      Even though this is a “Heavy Lift” frame and was designed for big payloads, I did this configuration more as a low cost, easy to fly, beginner quad that is very stable because of the frames rigid construction. To do any real heavy lifting or advanced Aerial Photography would involve spending a lot more on low kv motors, bigger stronger props, more sophisticated flight controllers and radios.

      • Thanks for your replies, Britt. My question was about your second guess, how much weight this motors+props can lift. I’m thinking about going to Aerial Photography/Video, but I’m ZERO experienced in RC vehicles. So, I’m thinking about starting with something basic configuration and then, after having experience on it, upgrading parts to achieve my goal.
        What I’m thinking is to buy motors/props/ESCs/battery that can lift a reasonable weight (in future, maybe even a DSLR), and basic flight controller/frame/TX/RX. Then I will upgrade the last four to use DSLR, etc, and there will be no need to upgrade motors/props/ESCs/battery.
        Do you think it’s good to upgrade like this??

        • I have never built a quad capable of lifting a DSLR, so I am not the best one to ask about how to do it. Also, the aerial photgraphy pros rarely use quadcopters. They usually use hexa or octo copters that can fly when a a motor or esc fails. I have seen some pre-built ones for sale and they get very expensive. People use the best parts because they don’t want to risk crashing their expensive equipment, which can happen anyway. Here is a site that specializes in those types of frames:

          http://www.quadrocopter.com/Cinestar-6-RTF_p_643.html

          My quads are strictly hobby grade, fun to fly machines. It is probably best to look elsewhere if you are serious about aerial photography.

    • I’m looking at getting into large quadcopters mainly for use with my GoPro. I have experience on smaller ones like the lady bugs etc and on 4 channel FP helicopters. Would this setup be a good place for me to start or would I be better starting with something like the HK SK450 with the Dead Cat Conversion kit and the electronics you have listed here? Thanks!

      • I like this frame because it is really stiff and solid. Although I don’t have an SK450, I believe it is similar to the DJI F450 and others that have similar arms that are more flexible. This makes tuning more difficult and may increase vibrations. The advantage to something shaped like the Dead Cat is that a camera can be front mounted out of the view of the props. Again, tuning can be trickier because the center of gravity is harder figure out. So, it is a matter of choice, but this is a good frame that is easy to tune. The GoPro has to be mounted underneath to be out of the view of props and may be damaged easier. Also, the landing gear on this one is its biggest weak point, but it can be improved with a little DIY work.

        • I’ve just never dealt with any of this programming etc. However I am a comp sci major, so it shouldn’t be TOO out of my realm. I’d really like to find one that’s easy enough to program that has a GPS built into it…

          • As far as the electronics, the KK2.0 does not support a GPS. The DJI Naza is probably the easiest to set up that has a GPS, but it doesn’t do waypoints. To do waypoints, I think the APM board from 3D Robotics is probably the easiest and best value.

            • Thanks for the ideas! For the time being I will probably follow your setup piece by piece (going solder-less) for the time being. I figure it’d be best to start with the basics before jumping on bigger things like GPS.

    • In using the Solder-less options do I have to use the ESC programming card? or can the BESC one be used?

    • Thanks for a great video.
      I just ordered H.A.L. using your guidelines and wonder why you use 1 non-OPTO ESV?
      What’s he OPTO for anyway?
      Thanks for your valued information

      • The OPTO ESCs don’t have a BEC (battery eliminator circuit). The BEC is used to power the KK2.0 flight controller and only one is required. I usually order all of my ESCs with BECs, but they cost a tiny bit more, so ordering the 3 OPTOs lowers the cost a little.

        • Britt, much appreciate the reply.
          I also agree that shipping from China can be a little high but some people might be surprised what we pay in shipping charges for certain goods (taking into account weight and dimensions) from the US. I live in Canada. Yeah, there’s a difference in $$ for sure US vs China but considering where the goods are coming from it could be worse. I also have to admit that Hobby King has a great selection of whatever one is looking for RC related. It’s still a great hobby with a never ending learning curve.

  79. Looks pretty good. Have you tried plugging it into xcoptercalc?

    http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.htm

    You will need a power harness or power distribution board and 4 ESCs. Also, the 9 inch props may work better than the 10 inch, but you can test all that in xcoptercalc. I have never tried that frame. I like the heavy lift one because it is very stiff, stable and easy to fly, but it weighs a lot more so it doesn’t fly as long as that one would. Also, the heavy lift one has lots of room under the quad to mount a camera out of the view of the props.

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