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DIY MultiCopter - Part 1.

How to build yourself a multicopter!

Author: Jani 'Japala' Pönkkö
Published: 07.04.2013


In English In English
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Connectors, power distribution boards, etc.

And then we have reached the miscellaneous section. Multicopters can be built from a building set or a kit, but even them do not always include all the small bits and bobs needed to finish up build. So here is a list of some common hardware that you should have at hand when doing the build:

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

These 3.5 mm gold-plated connectors are handy to connect the motors and the speed controllers together. They also work well with connecting the speed controller to the flight battery. Especially if you use the following power distribution board ...

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

This kind of power distribution board is a handy gadget, because you don’t have to solder all the individual power cables to each of the speed controllers beforehand.

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

These wires are needed between the radio receiver and the flight controller. In this wire bundle there are ten of these connecting wires, one for each channel that you will be using (most commonly the build requires at least four of such cables, remember the four main channels).

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

This Velcro strap keeps the battery securely with the helicopter and allows for quick battery replacement when needed.

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

There are several "standards" for battery connectors which the manufacturers seem to follow. Everybody should decide in the beginning of the build which standard to follow. Personally, I have used the XT60 connectors in all of my builds.

!NOTE! Remember, that when changing connectors and slicing the cables with your pliers, you are dealing with very large currents. Short-circuit of the battery leads to an immediate risk of fire and molten metal to be sprayed on to your face. This will ruin your day fast. Know what you are doing or do not even try!

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

Speaking of batteries, be sure to buy a LiPo bag or two to safely charge the batteries. They do not prevent LiPo fire but they will give you time to move the burning battery out of the building or if you are lucky, it will prevent the table top or whatever surface you are charging on, to catch fire (top tip; the PROs charge their batteries on top of a glass panel or a ceramic tile).

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

Here is one of the easiest and cheapest ways to protect your LiPo batteries from critically low cell voltage (a condition that can ruin the battery). This Li-Po alarm is connected to the battery's charging connector, through which it monitors the voltage of each cell. The circuit indicates the fallen voltage first by LED lights, but when any cell voltage drops close to the lowest safe level, it starts to scream, loudly. In this case, you know immediately that it is high time to come back down to earth and change the battery.

 

DIY MultiCopter - Part 1. - How to build yourself a multicopter!
 

And finally we have the USBasp AVR programmer. This baby is used to change/update the sofware inside the flight controller, certain speed controllers and the 9x radios. These are similar to every other programmer that are meant for the ATMEL AVR microcontoller, so you can find these at ebay etc. too. Be sure to get one of these, especially if you end up ordering the KK2.0 flight controller as the latest software is really the best one for it.




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