Dec 272012
 December 27, 2012  Posted by  Add comments

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.

The parts were ordered in Part 1, the quadcopter was assembled in Part 2, and now in Part 3, I cover the steps I followed to set up the quad for its maiden flight. These steps included programming the ESCs, binding the radio, setting up the KK2.0 board, and calibrating the ESCs. 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 how I set up my quad for its maiden flight…

  • Programming the ESCs

    As I mentioned in the previous post, I couldn’t get the 30 amp Multistar ESCs that already have bullet connectors soldered on, because they were backordered. The 30 amp Turnigy Plush ESCs are a great alternative, but the bullet connectors must be soldered on. Also, there are a lot of other ESCs around that are similar to the Plushes that can be programmed with the same programming card. I happened to have some compatible 25 amp Dynam Detrum ESCs that I used in this build until I can get the Multistars and they are working fine.
    I programmed my ESCs using the following procedure (with Propellers Off!):

    1. I disconnected all of the ESC BEC/signal connector from the KK2.0 flight controller.
    2. I connected the battery to the power harness.
    3. I connected one of the ESC BEC/signal connectors to the programming card aligning the signal, ground, power wires as indicated on the card.
    4. I used the arrows on the programming card to set the programmable values as seen in the picture above.
    5. I pressed the OK button to save the programmable values to the ESC.
    6. I repeated steps 3-5 for the remaining ESCs.
    7. I reconnected all of the ESC BEC/Signal connectors to the KK2.0 flight controller in according to this picture from Part 2.

    I initially ran across these ESC settings on the RCExplorer site. Here is my understanding of why quadcopter ESCs should be set this way:

    • Brake – OFF
      The propellers are not stopped when the throttle is moved to zero.
    • Battery Type – Ni-xx
      Cut Off Type – Soft-Cut
      Cut Off Voltage – Low

      Even though I use Lipo batteries, these setting keep the ESC from shutting down the motors if the battery gets low.
    • Start Mode – Normal
      I believe the other modes are for large heavy props that need start up slowly which shouldn’t be an issue with a quad.
    • Timing Mode – Middle
      This one may vary depending on the motor and how it syncs with the ESC. I start with medium as recommended by rcexplorer. It worked fine with these motors.
    • Music/Li-Po Cells
      I believe this plays different music when the ESC is armed based on how many Lipo cells are connected. I just leave it off.
    • Governor Mode – OFF
      This is a setting used with helicopters and not needed for quadcopters.
  • Binding the Radio

    The HobbyKing 4 channel radio transmitter and 6 channel reciever have to be bound together to be able to talk to each other. To bind them I followed these steps:

    1. I placed the bind plug into the recevier pins labelled “BAT” as pictured above.
    2. I connected the battery on the quad to the power harness.
    3. I watched to see that the red light on the receiver was blinking, meaning it was in bind mode.
    4. I turned on the transmitter while holding down the button labelled “Bind Range Test”.
    5. I watched to see that the light on the receiver went from blinking to solid, meaning the bind was succcessful.
    6. I turned off the transmitter.
    7. I unplugged the battery on the quad.
    8. I removed the bind plug from the receiver.
    9. Again, I plugged in the battery on the quad to the power harness.
    10. I verified that there was no light on the recevier, meaning my transmitter was off.
    11. I turned my transmitter on and verified that the light on the receiver turned solid, meaning it was successfully bound.
  • KK2.0 Setup

    The KK2.0 board I received was loaded with the version 1.2 of the firmware. The most currrent version 1.5 of the firmware has better self leveling. The firmware can be upgraded as I described in this post, but to keep it simple I used what was already on the board. Also, I previously did a post that shows detailed pictures of setting up a KK2.0 for a quad X using firmware version 1.1. If you want a more details, check out that post. Here is an overview of the specific steps I followed to setup this quad:

    • Sensor Test – I performed this test first to confirm that all the sensors on my board were working correctly.
      1. I powered up my Kk2.0 board by plugging in the battery (with Propellers Off!). The KK2.0 board displayed SAFE.
      2. I brought up the main menu by pressing the MENU button (4) from the SAFE display.
      3. From the main menu, I pressed the DOWN button (3) until I got to Sensor Test.
      4. I pressed the ENTER button (4) to do the Sensor Test.
      5. All of my sensors showed “OK”, so I knew I had a good board.
      6. I pressed BACK button (1) until I returned to the SAFE display.


    • Load Motor Layout – I configured the KK2.0 board to be a quadcopter in the X motor configuration.
      1. I brought up the main menu by pressing the MENU button (4) from the SAFE display.
      2. From the main menu, I pressed the DOWN button (3) until I got to Load Motor Layout.
      3. I pressed the ENTER button (4) to see the different motor layouts available.
      4. From the main menu, I pressed the DOWN button (3) until I got to Quadrocopter X mode.
      5. I pressed the ENTER button (4) to set the KK2.0 configuration to Quadcopter X mode.
      6. The lcd asked me “Are you sure?” and I pressed the ENTER button (4) to say that I was sure.
      7. The lcd then showed me the motor layout for a qaudcopter X with all the motors numbered and the prop roations shown.
      8. I pressed BACK button (1) until I returned to the SAFE display.

    • Receiver Test – I did this test to make sure my transmitter was configured so the correct stick movements controlled the rudder, throttle, elevator and ailerons of my quadcopter.
      1. I turned on my radio with the RUD, THR, ELE and AIL switches located on the radio all set to NOR(normal).
      2. I brought up the main menu by pressing the MENU button (4) from the SAFE display.
      3. From the main menu, I pressed the DOWN button (3) to until I got to Receiver Test.
      4. I pressed ENTER button (4) to do a Receiver Test.
      5. I moved the left stick on my transmitter to verify that the throttle (up and down) was working correctly. The lcd panel displayed the throttle moving from a positive number when it was all the way down to zero when it was all the way up. It should have done the opposite. So, I switched the THR switch on the radio to REV to reverse the throttle. When I tested the throttle again it displayed “0″ and “idle” with the throttle down to a positive number as I moved the throttle up, which is correct. It was very important that I got this right. If I had armed the board with the throttle set incorrectly, it might have immediately flown away.
      6. I moved the left stick on my transmitter to verify that the rudder (left and right) was working correctly. When I moved the stick to the right the lcd displayed “right” next to rudder. When I moved it left, it displayed “left”. This was correct, so I left the RUD switch on NOR.
      7. I moved the right stick on my transmitter to verify that the elevator(up and down) was working correctly. When I moved the stick to up the lcd displayed “forward” next to elevator. When I moved it down, it displayed “back”. This was correct, so I left the ELE switch on NOR.
      8. I moved the right stick on my transmitter to verify that the aileron (left and right) was working correctly. When I moved the stick to the right the lcd displayed “right” next to aileron. When I moved it left, it displayed “left”. This was correct, so I left the AIL switch on NOR.
      9. I pressed BACK button (1) until I returned to the SAFE display.

    • Sensor Calibration – I performed this calibration to correctly calibrate the accelerometers and gyros on my quadcopter while the quad was level.
      1. I placed my quadcopter on a level surface.
      2. I brought up the main menu by pressing the MENU button (4) from the SAFE display.
      3. From the main menu, I pressed the DOWN button (3) until I found the Sensor Calibration menu item.
      4. I pressed the ENTER button (4) to do Sensor calibration.
      5. The lcd told me to put the quad on a level surface. Done!
      6. I pressed the CONTINUE button (4) to continue.
      7. The lcd displayed various information about the calibration it is doing.
      8. Finally, the gyros and accelerometers have some values and OK displayed next them.
      9. I pressed the CONTINUE button (4) a couple of times to confirm and take me back to the main menu.
      10. I pressed BACK button (1) until I returned to the SAFE display.

    • ESC Calibration – Props Off! – My props had been off the whole time, but I knew it was critical that they were off now, because ESC calibration can easily go wrong and I did not want to lose a finger! ESC calibration gives all of my ESCs a consistent calibration that matches the throttle range of my transmitter. It is done with the throttle wide open. If something went wrong and my throttle was wide open with the props on, all hell could break loose.
      1. Again, I made sure my props were OFF! Ah yes, they were, and had been the whole time! Ha.
      2. I unplugged the battery on the quad from the power harness.
      3. I turned on the power to my transmitter
      4. I moved the left stick which is the throttle all the way up on my transmitter
      5. I plugged the battery on my quad into the power harness and quickly pressed buttons 1 and 4 on the KK2.0 board.
      6. I continued to hold down buttons 1 and 4. The lcd displayed “Calibrating ESCs” and the ESCs made two short beeps signaling they were ready to be calibrated. These beeps are after the beeps that the KK2.0 board makes when powered up.
      7. While holding down buttons 1 and 4, I steadily moved the throttle stick on my radio from full throttle all the way down to idle.
      8. The ESCs made one long beep signaling that they had been calibrated.
      9. I released buttons 1 and 4 on the KK2.0 board and returned to the SAFE display.
      10. I armed the board with the props off by holding the left stick down and to the right.
      11. The lcd displayed “ARMED”
      12. I moved the throttle up a bit to see that the motors turn consistently and appeared to be properly calibrated.
      13. With the throttle partially up, I also moved the other sticks to see if I heard a proper response from the motors.
      14. I checked the ailerons by moving the right stick left which sped up the two motors on the right side, and then right which sped up the two left motors.
      15. I checked the elevators by moving the right stick up which sped up the two rear motors, and then down which sped up the two front motors.
      16. I decided to check the yaw on my first flight.
      17. I disarmed my quadcopter back into “Safe” mode by moving the left stick down and to the left.
      18. The board went back in to safe mode and I disconnected the power.
  • Maiden Flight

    After doing all of the above stuff, I was ready to take the copter outside to an open space away from people to do an initial flight.

    1. Once the copter was in a safe open area with the battery was disconnected, I put the props on the quad according to the picture above.
    2. I placed the quad on level ground.
    3. I connected the battery to the power harness and immediately stepped away form the quad.
    4. I stood at a safe distance from the quadcopter and again moved my throttle/yaw stick down and right to arm the board in gyro only “rate” mode.
    5. I checked to make sure the propellers were rotating correctly by applying a little bit of throttle, but not enough to lift the quad off the ground.
    6. After taking note of all the incorrect propeller rotations, I disarmed the board and disconnected the power.
    7. If a propeller was turning the wrong way, I corrected it by switching two of the motor phase wires and then went back to step 3.
    8. Again, I checked that the correct motors were responding to my stick commands by applying a small amount of throttle while testing the aileron, elevator and rudder stick movements. With props on, the quad leaned and turned appropriately.
    9. When all props and motors were spinning and responding correctly, I gave the quad enough throttle to lift off and it flew ok with no tuning, but it needed tuning. If I had any problems, I would have immediately lowered the throttle to idle and landed the copter.
    10. I also flew it in self-level mode by moving the right stick all the way right when arming. It leveled fairly well, but tuning made it fly much better. Also, though I am not covering it in these posts, upgrading the firmware to version 1.5 greatly improves the self-leveling.
  • Flight Video without Tuning


So, the above steps got the quad in the air, but the controls are very loose. Also, the throttle is hard to control and the quad loses altitude when yawing. Tuning improved these issues greatly. I am not a talented pilot and can’t fly a quad that hasn’t been tuned. I think beginners sometimes forget to tune their quads, which can lead to disaster.

In part 4, I will show how I tuned the quad’s PI settings to improve its responsiveness and get it dialed in. Finally, in Part 5 I will cover how I attached a GoPro camera to the quad to get some video from the air.


  101 Responses to “Easy DIY Quadcopter Build (Part 3) – Setup”

  1. Britt
    Great website! I appreciate all your effort!

    I am researching Oddcopter DIY with two upgrades:
    + Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2 Firmware)
    + MultiWii w/ MTK GPS

    Any compatibility concerns?

  2. First off, thanks very much for this guide! It was very easy to go through, find the parts and figure out how to build it.

    Second, I’ve realized I’m an idiot so I’ve probably forgotten something. (I spent the last 3 days frantically trying to figure out why only the board was getting signal but nothing was happening. Turns out I plugged the wires in backwards…. Oops.)

    My issue: I finally figured out how to program all the ESCS (plug in the non-opto when doing optos! Duh), and I believe how to calibrate ESCs on the flight board. I’m running the turingy 30 amps and 2.1.5 board. Hold down, plug in battery, get a triple beep, move throttle to bottom, get another beep and move up through the speeds (motors spinning now) to the top and the bottom (but no more beeps?). Ok. Should be right.

    BUT when testing (the ESC testing starts right) and the board armed when at low speeds the non-opto motor 1 will start normally ( a bit slow) then slow down gradually until it stops, while the other motors (espcially 3 and 4) speed up faster and faster even though throttle is fixed.

    Am I calibrating wrong (probably. Seems like calibrating would fix this) or some other issue? Plugged in directly to the radio the motors/ESCs work.

    • Sounds like a throttle calibration issue. I probably should have used all non-opto ESCs given the small difference in price. It would have been simpler.

  3. Hi Britt
    As others have said, thanks very much for the site – I had been toying with building a quad for some months, then around November 13 I happened upon your site which inspired me finally…what more could be required; a shopping list of parts for a cool quad that did exactly what I wanted (video) and where to get them, plus a tutorial to put them together that a noob could understand!! Thanks again…

    Anyway I followed your shopping list almost to the letter, with the exception of the KK, I got the 2.1 and ESCs which were back order so I got some alternative HobbyKing 30A UBEC (the Turnigy card does not work with those but the proper gizmo is on order and I think I did it with the trans) and so far, everything is all good, with one exception…

    In Throttle Passthrough, when I throttle up, all the motors start and stop and speed up/slow down together. Lovely.

    In regular Armed mode, they don’t – I could go on about which ones start first etc. but the point is that 2 start, then another at about 33%, then the last but not until almost half throttle!

    Any pointer about where I should look to resolve this? I’ve conclude it’s one of the more deep-down tuning settings but I don’t really know what the I and P in I-gain and P-Gain really mean, so whether it’s those settings I’m not confident.

    Sorry to ask for your input on this one, if you have anything to help that would be great.
    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    • It sounds like an ESC throttle calibration issue. I talk about how I did it under “ESC calibration” in this post:

      I always do this with props off!

      • I omitted to mention that I have (I think, once I got the hang of the procedure to do so for these ESCs) calibrated and re-calibrated again…let’s call the first few times practice…and in the end I did them one by one because I couldn’t separate them all ‘singing’ at the same time, plus I didn’t buy the right card to do it – did it via the joystick, easy – and now it’s on order.

        Since I posted the above, in fact I flew it off the ground in my lounge on auto-level and so far so good, regardless of the motor start-up it seems to be fine. Is that quite normal?


  4. Good grief, but i have a lot of learning to do. The thought came to me that whilst handling the transmitter, i might have moved one of the trim settings. it came to me that picking it up, i might have mishandled the unit. So, i played with the trim settings a bit and sure enough, i found a position where i could arm and disarm the unit.

    There is too much to learn. I need a rest.


  5. Sorry! i should have added. since problem began, i have rechecked sensors, which say ok, rechecked the receiver and it shows changing of various positions as it did before. The arming still says ‘stick’. i don’t see where anything has changed.

  6. ARGH!!! see prior comment from this a.m. Now have balanced props and installed on quadcopter. remember i am a newbie. stepped back and turned on transmitter. carefully, plugged in battery power. some chirping from esc’s is suspect. gave a bit of throttle and low and behold all props speeded up. gave a bit more throttle and things were looking great. Gave a bit more and it acted rather strange like all props not turning at same speed. quickly disarmed. checked it over but could see nothing wrong.

    now (with props removed) i can not get it to arm and allow me to test motor speeds. Please, what happened???

    steve balme

  7. Hi, fantastic tutorial.

    I have a question though. followed all your steps and most things are working correctly but the rudder and the elevator are reversed.

    I’m using the same controller and receiver that you use and it has 2 switches on the controller, i assume to reverse the channels. But if i switch them it makes no difference.

    Any idea what i could do to solve it?


    • Check your receiver connections.

      • Checked and tried various different combinations, none were as good as the first and the problem still remains.

        • When you say reversed do you mean when you move the sticks you get the opposite movement from what you expect? If so, those reverse switches on the transmitter should fix it. If you mean a stick is mapped wrong I would look at the receiver connections.

          If your reverse switches don’t work at all it may be faulty.

          • Yeah, you press to go forward and the screen says backwards, and if you go left it displays right.

            Yeah i thought that might be the case.


  8. Hi;
    First, thank you for such a comprehensive discourse regarding quadcopters. I am a nebie and have watched more than a few youtube videos and read dozens and dozens of blogs. Your description is the most useful. I had not been able to get anything useful out of my HobbyKing KK2 board until i followed your step by step procedure. Now working as expected. I do need to do tuning and look forward to your next post.

    thank you so much,

    Steve Balme
    Coventry, RI, USA

  9. Hi! Great Tutorial! I’m using it to build my first quadcopter (YAY!), but I’ve run into a few problems (BOO!) that I was hoping you could help me with. I’ve put it all together(I built mine as a + copter rather than an x copter) and I’ve followed the setup steps but I can’t seem to get off the ground :(

    I’ve configured the motor layout to a + copter, I’ve programmed the ESCs with the programming card, calibrated the ESCs and calibrated the receiver. When I arm the KK2.0 and turn up the throttle, all of the motors start, but after a second or two the motor in position 4 slows and then stops. I’ve tried plugging motor 4 into position 2 and vice versa, but it is still motor 4 that slows and stops. If I go into throttle pass through mode all the motors spin up and down properly. I’ve done the esc calibration several times, but i still get the same results. I’ve also tried calibrating each esc individually, rather than all at once, but the same thing happens.

    I know it is probably just a simple thing that I am overlooking, but I would still appreciate your help.
    Do you have any suggestions?

    • Sounds like maybe a bad connection.

      • Hi, after trying to figure things out for quite some time, It seems like my problems are related to ESC calibration. I’ve tried following your post, but I always seem to get a different pattern of beeps. :( Do you have any videos of the calibration process, using the parts you have listed? If not are you able to post one? If I were to post a video of my calibration would you be able to give me advice? Thanks

        • Since one of the biggest problem that people(including me) are having is throttle calibration, here is a video showing the process for the ESCs that are recommended in part 1.

          Or Step by Step (based on my experience using the parts listed in Part1) :
          1) Turn on the transmitter
          2) Make sure the the stick is at full throttle
          3) Hold down buttons 1 and 4 on the KK2.0 board and power the board.
          4) Continue to hold buttons 1 and 4, the LCD will display “Calibrating ESCs” and the ESCs will beep 4 times. The 4 beeps are kind of musical.
          5) While continuing to hold down buttons 1 and 4, steadily move the throttle stick from full throttle all the way down to idle.
          6) The ESCs will beep again signaling that they had been calibrated.

          You have to move the throttle from full to idle almost immediately after the 4 musical beeps. If you wait to long you will hear a single beep, if you move the throttle at this point you will be reprogramming the settings on the ESCs.

          Hopefully this will help people with any throttle calibration issues they may be having.

          • I forgot to mention, that after finishing the calibration, it seems like you have to unplug the battery and then plug it back in before the calibration takes effect.

            When I was doing it, If I ‘armed’ and tested it immediately after calibrating, without power cycling the board, then it acted like the ESCs weren’t calibrated. If I power cycled before testing, then everything worked as expected.

            It’s possible that I have a bad board or bad ESCs or some other issue, but this is my experience.

  10. Great tutorial, very helpful. Especially for someone like me who is completely new to this technology.

    I had some difficulties with the ESC calibration part, basically I could not tell when to start moving throttle from full to idle. Several times I ended changing the ESC settings instead of calibrating them, requiring reprogrammation with the ESC programming card.

    Eventually I got it to work (not sure if I could repeat) and now all motors start turning at the same speed when throttle increases from idle to full.

    To avoid reprogramming the ESC by accident, I ended up power cycling the KK2 board after each ESC calibration attempt.

    It may be useful to perhaps add a short video on the ESC calibration to help folks like me.

    Is there a way to put a power switch instead of plugging and unplugging the lipos?

    Thank you again for posting such a thorough tutorial!

  11. Hi Brit,
    I am grateful for answering my question. I must apologize for taking your time which may seem to you as trivial and rightly so with so many questions of repetition. I did try looking for that answer in here but I didn’t know how to word it correctly. I also went to sites you suggested and Google and so on. Still, I should have been more diligent in my search. I understand that you have many questions from all over the world and will consider that before writing you. Thank you for being so prompt and kind for sharing so much knowledge with so many. Merry Christmas Britt and may the Lord bless you and your family always.
    Wynn E Johnson Johns Island, South Carolina.

  12. I was trying to program my esc’s with the programming card, and even when I use an external power source all that lights up on the programming card is the “high” on timing mode? any idea why?

  13. Okay, here’s a weird question. I would like to flip my motors upside down. I’m thinking that if I just rotate each motor mount 180 degrees, swap two leads on each motor to reverse their direction, and swap propellers right to left, then it should still fly the same as before.

    Does that sound reasonable?

    Would I need to change any configuration on the KK2.0 board, since the propellers would now be about 4 inches below their previous positions relative to the board?

  14. Hi.
    I have been building this quadcopter. Now when I try to make my maiden flight the quad doesn’t take off. The motors are working fine but even at 3\4 throttle it won’t take off. Do I need to increase the throttle? Or tune it first?

    • You may want to read through these comments to see how people have solved similar problems. It seems like ESC throttle calibration is one of the most overlooked steps.

  15. why are all my props turning clockwise? Is that due to me not programming the ESC’s at the beginning, I did not do this as I do not have that card, I was wondering how to do it without that card. Also i checked the settings and its is indicated it is in the X formation and it indicated that 2 should be ccw and 2 should be cw, however they still all spin the same way. Also ive noticed that one of the motors is not getting as much power as the other 3. Can all these issues be resolved by programming the ESC’s?

    • I you switch two of the three motor/esc wires it will reverse the rotation. To get the all running at the same speed you need to an ESC throttle calibration.

      • Thanks for the quick response. I got all the motors running in their proper directions. Im still having a problem with the ESC throttle calibration, is this to be done with the programming card as you show in your first step? any idea on how I would do this without the card?

  16. Hi Brit
    great guide. i have 2 problems atm.
    first my aileron, and elevator are backwards, how do i invert their controls?

    secondly all three of my motors connected the OPTO ESC’s are not working? any idea why this would be?

  17. Hi and thanks for helping me build my first quad at an excellent cost. This site is the easiest i have found and if i hadn’t come across it i wouldn’t have built one.

    One question i have is when using the programming card on the turnigy plush esc’s, the battery type setting shown on the picture above is showing the 2nd red led on the Ni-xx setting. Is this an error? Should’t it be set on the first led which is the Li-xx battery for Lipo batteries?

    Thanks in advance for your help..

    Cheers, Karl.

    • My understanding is that the lipo setting can shut off the ESC in a low voltage situation. The Nicad setting allows the copter to maintain power and land. So, even though the batteries are lipos, most folks set them to Nicad on quads.

      • Cheers Britt. Wasn’t expecting a response that quick!!

        Thanks for that. I understand where your coming from now. Major problem is that i’m already thinking about how this can develop into another little project!! Look what you’ve started me on!! Lol…..
        Really enjoyed the build although i got some tunin to do still.

        Have a good day :)
        Cheers, Karl.

  18. Thanks very much for this Britt! This was my first attempt at a build, following a few weeks of playing with a little Syma X1. I followed your directions as closely as I could and ended up with a swellcopter. :)

    I have two suggestions for other newbies attempting this:

    1. Buy two frame kits, not one. Use one for spares. This tip would have saved me a lot of time and money and headaches after breaking and bending motor mounts and bolts and beams and standoffs and landing gear.

    2. Don’t use the landing gear! Instead tie some wiffle balls or something soft to the ends of the booms. I used some nice soft “Poof” balls from Walmart. I’m no longer terrified of trying to land the thing.

    The standard landing gear puts your center of gravity too high, so you end up falling over and digging your props into the turf every time you land with any horizontal velocity.

    You can go back to the standard gear once you’re an ace and need to hang a camera underneath.

  19. Hi all,

    Thanks for this fine tutorial. I follow this yet build a slightly different frame. However I run into some problems. Most important is that my ESCs keep beeping after programming (I use the programming card as well). It gives a single beep every 2 second, manual says “wrong throttle value”.
    So I checked receiver settings and I get real low readings. Could you explain what figures I should get? Throttle runs from 0 (idle) to about 84. My right stick gives numbers between -49 and +49. Is that normal?
    I guess I should configure my transmitter right?

    Another problem is that i can not get into armed mode. This is related to my previous problem I guess? (to low figures from transmitter)

    I use KK2.0 with FW 1.6. In older firmwares you could get into armed mode via menu. This has been removed from V1.6 correct?

    My ESC are Turnigy Plush 30A

  20. Hey All – Thought I’d share some tips that I picked up while going through this build. Thanks Britt for a great walkthrough.

    1. My setup is almost the same but I have one of the plastic red/white HJ450 frames. The holes for the flight computer mount were shifted which forced me to mount the FC in + setup, not X. I learned that this simply means that the forward part of the FC is either facing in-between two arms (as in this setup, or ‘X’) or directly towards your 1st motor (which is what I had to change to, or ‘+’). This would have been something simple and very helpful to learn about as a newbie in the walkthrough. If you are getting your motors to increase and not decrease when they are raised, this might be your problem.

    2. I upgraded my KK2.0 to the 1.5 firmware but when I ordered my USBasp adapter, it came w/ the 10-10, not 10-6 cable. Instead of soldering or messing w/ the cable, I used the extra servo/JR connectors that were recommended in this build and then I had some extra wires from playing with my Arduino which let me easily re-wire the cable and successfully flash the firmware.

    After I made these changes, I was able to get airborne easily! If anyone wants pictures or further clarification on my changes, I’m happy to share, just leave a comment.

    Thanks again!


  21. Hey Britt,

    I got my quadcopter together but haven’t been able to lift off. Everytime I try it just flips itself over. Upon further inspection is appears that the self level reacts oppositely than the way it should. When it starts to tilt slightly to one side it speeds up the motors on the wrong side causing it to flip everytime. Do you have any thoughts on how to fix this issue?

    • Do you have it configured as an X quadcopter? It is probably some small configuration thing that is wrong. Look back through the comments on these posts and you will find lots of small things that can cause similar problems if not configured right.

  22. Do you have an example t6config or such for the 6ch HK radio?

  23. I followed your part list with a couple of exceptions. I am comfortable with soldering so I used the plush 30 amp BESCs. The Zippy batteries were out of stock so I ordered a Turnigy nano-tech 4000mah 3S 25~50C Lipo. I also upgraded the radio to a Turnigy 9X. It is worth noting I had to reverse the elevator and rudder setting on the radio.

    Thanks for all your help Britt. I have yet to fly my quad but hope to in the next couple of days.


  24. i was able to put together my first quad. But on my maiden and the couple of flights after i cant seem to get it to fly right. here is a video of what usually happens.“]

    so thats by giving nothing but throttle.

    I calibrated the ESC’s
    and on receiver test i made sure all values except aux are set to 0.

    but even with all that it will still either go forward or backwards ass soon as i give it throttle and it starts to lift.

    i also cant get the throttle at a good level place, it seems to want to continue to clime or go down. “sigh”

    so yeah any input would be greatly appreciated.

    oh btw its on fw 1.2, i havent gotten the usb cable to flash it to 1.5, ill be ordering that next week.

    • It is hard for me to tell from the video. Is it flying forward there? Usually the white or red arms are both facing forward. Is the board level?

      • i decided to just wait till the can update the fw to 1.5 then start over again. I also had a few hard crashes and didnt realize two of the motors were not level, they were at a slight angle and im sure that wasnt helping. The copter also did a little better when i tuned it but it was still not flying well.

  25. Britt
    I copied your undercarriage mod and the first time I went to lift off it left the undercarriage behind LOL. So I now have a couple of zipties holding it to the frame. It’s not pretty but it works. Going to look for something to go on the arms I think, wider gear should be better.

    It flies using your tuning settings (much more stable and controllable), once I have a better idea of flying I will start messing with them. Will need to understand the I/P gains/limits etc then, until then just messing around with it. Still cannot get it to maintain level when rotating or even just hover without constant messing with the throttle yet, but that might just be me.

    Managed to rip the end off a prop tonight by flying into a scaffold pole I use for my radio, sounded real bad but stayed in the air. Need more space but the back garden is good to practice in.

    Total weight 1.5kg, but can save some in places I think, smaller undercarriage and the battery I bought was a Flightmax due to lack of Compact stocks at the time (which is 70g). Could get really silly and switch to soldered connectors only and save a couple of grams per connector. But it’s still fun for my first try.

  26. What batterylife did you get on this thing (assuming you used the Zippy Compact 4000mAh one)

  27. Well mines all together now, ESCs calibrated (eventually, what a pain this job seems to be), done a few maiden flights taking it a little off the ground and just scooting about. I gave up with trying to solder connectors to match the LiPo battery connectors and instead switched to using XT60 connectors, much easier to work with.

    Need to start messing with the tuning now, I know I should have done it first but I just had to try flying it.

    Of course I need to fix the damned undercarriage (again!), for a wonderfully stable and strong frame I wonder why they skimped so much on the bit that will keep bashing into the ground hard. will need to work out something different for this, I’m currently thinking a couple of wire coat hangers slotted into the fitting holes.

    I think next time I order some parts I will also try to order some extra prop bolts(or whatever they are called), already had one spin off into the distance which I was lucky to find. The other problem I’m finding is that the battery keeps sliding out of its strap due to vibrations and/or bumps.

    All in all though, it’s been a fun build/learning curve so far. I’ve spent most of the time thinking about what I will do next. Thanks for putting these instructions up.

  28. Question on programing ESCs. I just programmed HobbyWing Flyfun 10A for use on my Hoverthings Flip quad. I’m running a KK2.0 with V1.5 firmware. When I’m in the menu mode, the ESCs sound a “beep-beep” about ever 1 second. They continue to do this indefinitely. I can arm the quad and fly around without issue. The ESCs are not getting overly hot.

    I read through the HW instructions that came with the ESC. That series of beeps is to notify of incorrect voltage. Could I possibly be getting the error beep because of the Nixx setting in during the programming phase? Have you ever heard of something like this before?

    Also, are these flash-able to SimonK? I’m guessing I’d need to make my own pin tool if so?

    • Sounds reasonable that the Nixx setting could cause the beeps. I really don’t know and have never investigated it or noticed it.

      I don’t know if they are flashable, but you could compare them to other pics in this database.

      You can build your own tool or perhaps use this one.

  29. Hi Britt,
    One of the few things I changed compared to Part 1 BoM was the TX, and looking at the comments, it seems I was not the only one who decided to swap the recommended Hobby King 4 channel TX in favour of the 6 channel version

    Since the price difference was only a couple of dollars, I was wandering why you were suggesting the 4 channels version…..until I received it and realised that::

    1 – It cannot be used out of the box. This TX needs to be configured before you can use it, and since some channel could be reversed, guess what? reversing channels requires configuring the TX.. To configure the TX you need a PC nearby, a cable which is purchased separately and a configuration utility like the free T6Config or the $2 Digital Radio ( which you can easily find on the net.
    2 – It is marketed as a 6 channels tx, but channel 5 & 6 can only be assigned to the 2 knobs labelled VRA & VRB. There is no apparent way to use one of the 2 extra channels as on/off toggle switches (i.e. to toggle the KK2.0 autolevel on or off). You could eventually toggle the KK2.0 autolevel turning one of the knobs (it still requires programming a mix) but that would be so inelegant I rather used the stick.

    I have been frantically searching the internet to find a way to solve the last point without success until I engaged a personal battle with the thing and I actually found a way myself!!
    I am therefore happy to report that it is possible to assign one of the HK T6A switches to toggle KK2.0 autolevel on or off.

    Using the T6 or Digital Radio T6A configuration software create 2 Mixes as below:

    MIX 1
    Source: VRA
    Dest. CH5
    Uprate: 0
    DownRate: -100
    Switch: SWA

    Source: VRA
    Dest. CH5
    Uprate: -100
    DownRate: 100
    Switch: SWA

    Then open the Subtrim screen and enter 120 for Channel 5

    You will notice that with the VRA full on (turn it all the way clockwise) channel 5 reads -100 when Switch A is On and 40 when Switch A is off. This range is more then enaugh for the KK2.0 board to switch autolevel on and off

    Another possibility is to install a physical switch (3 pins) and 2 50 ohm resistors to bypass the VRA knob. There is a 3ad on RCgroups forums with the schematics and other details but did not save the link.

    Britt, all forums and blogs I came across stated the above was impossible to achieve, This is a true oddcopter exclusive!


  30. Hi Britt
    Thanks to the easy to follow steps on this post, I have finished quad construction yesterday afternoon, and, since spring made it’s timid appearance in EU, I dared to go for the maiden flight.

    It did not go very well of course and I broke 3 feet of the HK SK450 frame. The frame and the tx (HK 6 channels instead of the 4 one you recommended) are the only differences from your part list. The frame in particular was chosen over the one you suggested as it looked a cheaper and more robust alternative to learn flying. Long term goal however, is to use the multirotor to shoot videos of my 2 daughters. therefore I will eventually go for the H.A.L or a better/newer alternative once I get more skilled with flight.

    Things that went wrong:

    4 or 5 seconds after taking off, one of the props fell off. In fact I am not sure I understand how you mounted those. From the picture in part 2 of your walk-through,l I can see a washer between the prop and the bullet shaped nut, but there weren’t any washer coming with the motor. Did you use your own? Also the plastic adapter rings included with the props are either too big or too small for the collet adapter coming with the motor. did you have to fiddle with them to make them fit? I have exactly the same motors and props specified in the post. Finally, how hard did you tightened the bullet shaped nut?

    ESC Calibration: I did upgrade KK2.0 firware to 1.5 before mounting it on the multicopter, and, as you probably know the Esc set-up menu is no longer there.
    I followed a video mentioned on rcgroups and performed those steps:
    - Unplugged the battery
    - Unplugged motor 1 lead from KK2.0 (the one with the BEC)
    - Switched on the TX
    - Moved throttle to full
    - Plugged the M1 back while keeping KK2.0 buttons 1 & 4 pushed
    - Waited for the beep
    - Moved the trhottle to idle
    - Waited for the 2 beeps and released KK2.0 buttons.

    The Video mentioned ESC claibration should appear on the KK2.0 display, however, when I plugged M1 lead back the KK2.0 display was reading “Throttle bypass” not “ESC Calibration”, so I am not really sure the ESCs have been calibrated. How did you calibrated them after upgrading to 1.5?

    Self level: without self level, the thing is almost impossible to lift. In fact it would only roll up side down. With self levelling on , it does lifts, but start oscillating, and again it is not possible to control it (well at least for a newbie like I still am). I have checked prop rotation and trimmed the tx so that everything is at 0 or idle in the KK2.0 receiver test with no inverted channels. Anything else I should be looking at?

    Many Thanks so far,

    • Forgot to add that, on the bench, the motors would not start and stop together when applying only thrust, arming the board did not always work (at times I have to toggle a switch on the tx for the arming to happen) and that the motors would start spinning quite fast before disarming. Is it normal?


      • Those washers came with my motors. The adapter I used was a very tight fit. I used a pair of needle nose pliers to screw it on to the collet adapter. I probably should have tried to drill it out by inserting it into the prop then turning by hand a drill bit, slightly larger than the hole, into the hole. That is what I usually do when they are too small. I tighten them about 1/4 turn past snug, if that makes sense. Too tight can weaken them, too loose and they come off as you have seen. I test to make sure they are not loose enough to move.

        Also, I have considered cutting the shafts shorter with a dremel tool, but haven’t yet. It is important when doing that to cover the motor with tape to make sure filings don’t get on the magnets.

        It doesn’t sound like your esc calibration worked. Make sure you do it with props off. They should spin up consistently and smoothly if the calibration is done correctly. Buttons 1 and 4 have to be held down as you move the throttle. Another way to do it is by connecting the esc directly into the throttle channel of the receiver. This way you just power it up, it beeps, you move the throttle down, and it confirms the calibration worked. Doing it that way means you have to do them one at a time.

        The problem could also be with that radio. The only way to configure it is with a software program using a special cable that has to be ordered separately. This thing:

        Did you get that? If not, that may be the problem. I am not a fan of that radio, but it can work with that cable and some time invested to program it. If you want a more advanced radio, I would suggest the Turnigy 9X.

        • Many thanks!
          I am also convinced the ESCs are not calibrated. I will reset the KK2.0 board and try again. I was reading a post from you were you mention the new firmware has 1 or 2 seconds delay to allow pressing the buttons. Does it mean I have to wait one second and only then press 1 & 4?. When I did calibrate the ESCs, I had the button pressed BEFORE powering the KK2.0 and kept them pressed while my daughter inserted the M1 lead to power it up.

          Really annoyed for the washers. I will look in the bin just to make sure I did not accidentally throw them away….
          Thanks for clarifying the issue with the collet adapter. I checked 10 times or more I did order the good ones, lol.
          Will follow your steps and hopefully next time they will not fly off so easily.

          Yes, I did get the trainer port usb cable and I have also downloaded a the Digital Radio software (, an alternative to the T6 software that come with it. Eventually I will move to the 9x or better. For the time being I am still learning the basics and seems to offer a lot more than I can grasp at..

          As for the motor shaft, yes they are long, but the adapter that comes with the motor does not go very deep, does it? I wonder if a different adapter would help.

          You also might be interested to learn that while looking for help on the internet, a great deal of goggle search results pointed to your website -absolutely deserved!


          • Thanks for the nice words. You have a couple of seconds after you power it up to press 1 and 4. A different adapter might be better. I like the ones that screw into the motor the best.

            • Hi Britt,
              Just a quick update. I finally got the ESCs calibrated. What went wrong the first time is that I confused the initial beep of the KK2.0 board with the start calibration beep. This time I waited for the correct beep before moving the throttle back to idle, and, after a couple of seconds or so, I could hear the 2 beeps confirming calibration and released the buttons. Now all motors start and stop together. While calibrating the ESCs, the KK2.0 screen reads “throttle pass-through”. I have checked the KK2.0 thread on rcgroups and apparently this is normal with firmware version 1.5

              I still have a problem with the propellers. No matter how tight I screw the bullet shape nut, it will unscrew itself and the props will fly off before taking off or shortly after. I will bring the quad to a local hobbyshop to have someone looking at the prop mount, as there must be something wrong there which I cannot seem to be able to figure out myself: I have done exactly as described above (exept putting the washers which were not included with the motors, but I replaced them with some antiskid washers I had lying around).

              I am now in the process of setting up a test bench for pid tuning. Nothing very complicated, just a couple of metal poles fixed to my hobby bench, with the oddcopter suspended in the middle of the poles. The quad will be attached to the pole using some some silicon metal wire (the one used for hanging clothes for drying) and a very simple mechanism to adjust the wire tension.



  31. Hi Britt.

    Finally received the parcel from HK (after paying 68 euros for custom fees out of 220 Euro of BOM!) and ready to start putting it all together.

    I Have a small question. Do you think is possible to power the quadcopter off a (switching) 12V DC power supply when setting up the transmitter, ESCs and KK2.0 board?

    BTW, while I was waiting for the parcel to arrive, I converted an old ATX (PC) power supply into a regular 240W DC power supply with 12, 5 and 3.3 Vout. In case you are interested, there is a useful wikihow page ( I find this little project extremely useful for rc hobbyists, as it was so easy and cheap (around $5 in my case) to build a professional DC power supply with the most used voltages (and with serious amperage). One notably difference between such a power supply and a professional power supply is that there is not a current regulator circuit (it could be added, but at a cost of course), therefore a word of caution: The DC power supply will try to provide all the current it can (20A for 12V in my case) before the protection circuit will shut the power supply off, and 10 Amps of DC current can potentially kill and adult!

    Thank you so much for the build log. However it goes with the construction, it has been great fun and a pleasant learning experience so far!


    • I really don’t know about the power supply. I have always just used the 3s lipo powering an ESC which in turn powers the KK2.0 via the ESC BEC at 5v. The KK2.0 then powers the radio receiver.

      I have seen some people use a separate UBEC like this one when they go directly to the board from a lipo:

      But, I have never done it.

      • Actually Britt, what I want to do is to power everything (FB, ESCs Motors, Rx, etc) from the power supply, not just the FB. Why? cause makes no sense to me to discharge a lipo only to balance motors & props, for example. How? with a cable which goes from the power supply to the ESC Power Breakout Cable. Basically, all I am up, to is to use the power supply instead of the battery to power the oddcopter when it’s grounded.

        Anyway, once I have finished the construction, I will connect a Multimeter between the battery and the power break-out cable to check what the real current draw is like under load (full throttle with props on and oddcopter chained to the floor) and post the results here. Anything this side of 15A and I will be good to go with my recycled 240W ATX power supply.
        Eventually, you could find using a power supply instead of a battery useful too, especially when you will have to perform extensive set-up and pid tuning on your new arducopter build (eagerly waiting your post on the progress you are making there).

        Many Thanks again,

  32. I just wan to say this Blog is great. I have followed every step and everything is working fine.

    I have just one problem. When a motor is not in demand it stops. This happens one motor at a time until all the motors stop wile the throttle is on. I would appreciate it if some one could help me with this problem?


    • One other thing. When the throttle is brought back to zero and then reapplied all the motors start again.

    • Is this happening while you are in the air? It sounds like perhaps an ESC issue. Which ones are you using and have you programmed and calibrated them?

  33. Hello Britt,

    I seem to have a problem with my setup. When everything is connected after doing ESC programming and ESC Calibration, when I try and fly, motor 1 does not seem to go as fast as the other motors. When I try to fly it just wants to tip over. I have tried replacing the motor and ESC with spares I have and it seems to make no difference. I then tried swapping the motors around so motor 2 is connected to motor 1 slot on the FC, motor 3 connected to slot 2 on the FC etc. When I try to fly now the problem is with motor 2. Would this indicate a problem with the FC or the RX? I have done all the setup steps you suggest like receiver test etc and all that appears OK. Thanks for a great website and an excellent guide for new comers like myself.

    • It does sound like an FC problem. I would check that it is setup as a quadcopter x and that all the motor mixes are correct. You might consider resetting to factory defaults and starting over on the setup. As a last resort you could reflash the board.

      • Thanks for the quick reply Britt. I tried doing the factory reset but the problem persisted. I don’t have a USBasp AVR yet, that is on order, so I couldn’t try a reflash. I have elected to remove it and send it back. Luckily for me it came from Australia so they may be able to replace it quickly. I’ll let you know how it goes when I get a replacement.

      • Hello Britt,
        wanted to let you know I did finally get my quadcopter off the ground. Turned out there was nothing wrong with my Flight Controller, just newbie problems. I wasn’t aware of how the motors can start up at different speeds, but when given enough throttle all motors do come up to speed and the machine will actually take off. Quite an amazing feeling the first time it gets into the air. But then not being a great flyer, I let it fall to the ground promptly breaking the landing skids. I thought I was going to be grounded for quite a while until I received replacement parts. Then I worked out I could make improvised landing skids that were actually more robust than the original. I discovered that 5mm aluminum knitting needles were a perfect replacement for the fiberglass struts. I then got some 12mm square timber cut to 30cm lengths and drilled appropriate 5mm holes and glued the knitting needles in. This provided suitable landing skids that with stood some of my hard landings. The knitting needles bent on impact rather than breaking, they could then be bent back.

        Now I have managed to land/crash the quad very hard, snapping off one of the motor arms, breaking a prop and smashing the skids again. The landing skids on the HAL 585mm are just so fragile and flimsy and not suited for a beginner. Can you recommend another frame for this rig that might be a little more sturdy for a beginner flyer?

        Thanks once again for a great website, it’s been a lot of fun following your builds and I’ve had a lot of fun and frustration building my own quad.

        • Sorry to hear about your crashes.

          Frames like this SK450 have arms that are a lot harder to break, but they don’t have a tall landing gear, so it is harder to mount a camera. I don’t have that specific frame, but I do have the the Q450, but it is backordered.

          Here is a post I did a long time ago about that type of frame. They are all modeled after the DJI F450 frame:

        • Also, make sure when you view the Receiver Test section of your KK2.0 board that all the sticks are trimmed and read zero when centered. If not, the motors will start at different time and your quad will not fly right.

        • Hi,
          I am also complete new to this hobby and yes, it was a great feeling indeed when the little creature lifted off the ground. Too bad it only last a second or 2 before a drift of wind moved the thing around and I started panicking…
          I agree with Britt, the SK450 is a cheaper and stronger alternative, but not unbreakable. If you decide to go for it make sure to order some spare arms. Also, you want to use both screws for the landing legs (which mean the motors are fixed with only 5 screws). When I first built it, I only used 1 screw for the feet in favour of one extra screw for the motor (if you will ever get the frame you will immediately realize what I mean), and managed to break 2 landing legs at the first landing attempt….well landing is a big word, I know, but I am sure you know what I mean ;-)
          In fact, what I did find particularly hard from a newbie perspective was to gently land the thing. Compared to a simulator, I did not get the same kind of control, especially around the centre of the throttle stick. On the simulator I seem to have a much greater sensitivity, and landing the model with 0 damage is not that hard, even with a bit of simulated wind.

          So, what I am planning to do is the following:

          1 – Use smaller props – I am currently using 9 *4.7 props and have ordered some 8 * 4.5. Being smaller, I am expecting the quad to react more gently to throttle input.
          2 – Play with the stick scaling menu of the KK2.0 board.
          3 -Play with throttle curves. While dirt cheap, the HK T6A TX does support throttle (and pitch) curves. I am assuming that using a exponential curve (large stick movements translating in small throttle changes around stick centre), in theory should help controlling the thing better.

          I will report back as soon as the longest winter I can remember of (was still snowing this morning) will allow me to fly.



  34. I can’t get my motors to run. If I plug the ESC into the rx they run just fine so I think they are calabrated. The SAFE screen also has volt 0.0. I have not found this addressed anywhere. Any suggestions?

    • Th 0.0 volts means that the battery monitor/alarm (the little black cylinder with two wires) is not hooked up to the KK2.0. That requires some soldering and I did’t do it in this build.

      Did you test you receiver to see that all sticks cause the correct response? Are you able to arm the board by moving the throttle/yaw stick down and to the right?

  35. Hi,
    I am new to the quad copter thing and have been looking for a cheap way to get one. I saw this and thought it may be a good idea to make it. I was just wondering if I need help is there a way to contact you because the building of it does not look that tricky but the programming look pretty hard.

  36. Hey man this has been a great help, just wondering thou, you have two different programming cards for the solder and non soldered esc, does it matter if i get one or the other or the other or is it important to get the right one!?

    cheers denis

  37. Hi,

    I build quad copter by following Ur posts. But when I fly, quad copter never lift off. All motor are turning correctly. I put two properller with R on motor 1 and 3. I change esc battery type to lipo for esc. And I want to know is battery 3 cell with 11.1v meaning total 11.1 v or 33.3 v ??? Thank you

    • Total of 11.1v. Did you do a throttle calibration of the ESCs? Your battery is fully charged?

      • Hi,

        Yes. I fully charge my battery. I will try to do throttle calibration tmr. If I still can’t I will try to upload a video of my quadcopter in youtube. Let you know.

        Thank You. Cheer :D

        • Hi,

          Can the problem be my props? I put two 9047R SF on motor 1 and 3 ,
          and 9047 on motor 2 and 4. is it correct?

          • That is right. Are motors 1 and 3 spinning clockwise and 2 and 4 spinning counter clockwise?

          • Hi,

            My quadcopter still cannot lift off. I put video on youtube.


            Any problems with my quadcopter? Thank You. :D

            • I watched your video and it looked to me like the props are spinning correctly, but it is a little hard to tell for sure. Did you do the ESC throttle calibration? It will not work without doing one and it must be done with PROPS OFF.

              Also, have you done a “receiver test” to see that your radio controls are all working correctly? I suggest you test it outside on grass. You could move your aileron and elevator stick around and see it the quad tips in the correct direction as you give it some throttle. To me, it almost looks like it is ready to take off with more throttle, but I may be wrong.

          • Hi,

            This morning when I try to calibrate my ESC. LCD can’t see anything. Now, I send it back HK for replacement.

            Thank You.

            Now, need to wait untill I got my flight controller back.

  38. If I use the 30 amp Multistar ESCs, do I need to program them?

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