A Phoenix rises…

I am not sure if you can call it a Phoenix when your bird drowns and then rises from the river to fly again? There was no fire involved but the I recently crashed my RCT800 into a river. Besides losing a few sandals, sitting in the river with the power on also seems to have wrecked 4 of my ESCs and my taken away a little of my confidence .

I’ve finally received my replacement parts and I’ve reassembled the RCT800. It’s looking pretty good with the new landing gear extensions I made from bamboo strips glued together (found black ones so they blend in pretty well). They’ll break if I land too hard but they’re fine for controlled landings and it looks more like a flying spider this way (also cheap!!). Plenty of room for cameras under there!!

RCT800_v2

Different view (a flying spider!):

RCT800_v2_2

Power on a ready to fly!!

LightsON

Anyway, I’ve now made 3 test flights without issue and in slightly heavy winds… I think I am “back in business” although the incident has me reconsidering suitable places to fly and even considering a pre-flight checklist (never intended to get this serious about it but it might be a must with craft this big!).

RCT800 Parts List – actual parts used

Having recently built an RCT800 Hexacopter from parts I have a pretty good idea of what is needed to build a Multicopter and how the parts all fit together. Check out my UAV General Parts List if you are interested in a general description of the parts you’ll need.

There are literally thousands of ways to build a Multicopter now and the list of available parts and websites can be a little daunting. It’s a good idea to start out with a purpose and or goal in mind and then build your list before buying anything.  This can help you develop your desired parts list in a way to ensure success. This also lets you enter your craft specs into an online calculator tool like the XcopterCalc calculator which will point out any problems you might have and estimate your flight times.

Heli Part Purpose Pcs
Naza Flight Controller and GPS Flight Controller 1
RCT800 Airframe 1
HP4215 630KV 24N18P Multicopter Brushless Motor Motors 6
DJI Opto 30 ESC ESC 6
13×6.5″ Carbon Fiber CW CCW Propellers (6pcs) Props 1
DJT – FrSky DF 2.4Ghz Combo Pack for JR Receiver 1
ZIPPY Compact 3700mAh 3S 35C Lipo Pack Battery 1
Various LEDs Lighting and Orientation – Blue, Red, Green 1
Turnigy Receiver Switch LED switch 2
Not on board Heli
Turnigy 9XR Transmitter Mode 2 Transmitter 1
DJT – FrSky DF 2.4Ghz Combo Pack for JR Trasmitter Module 1
Turnigy 9xr Battery Transmitter Battery 1
ZIPPY Compact 3700mAh 3S 35C Lipo Pack Backup Battery 1
B6AC – IMAX B6-AC Charger/Discharger 1-6 Cells Charger 1
Wires Wires 1
Connectors Connectors 3.5 bullet 6
Connectors XT90 connectors for battery 6
Parallel Battery Wiring Harness- build or buy allows two batteries to be used at once 1

**the list above produces a Hexacopter with great flight control and performance characteristics however I am not necessarily recommending these parts. This was a relatively expensive build and some parts such as the RC Timer 630KV motors have performed a little more poorly than expected (these motors have great performance but terrible prop mounts which introduce vibration into your aircraft).

RCT800 Video – flying at dusk, new LED setup

RCT800 – flying at dusk in a local parking lot. Recently modified the LED configuration in order to see them better. Was using the IOC (intelligent orientation control) in Head Free Mode at certain points during the flight. With this mode enabled it doesn’t matter which way the nose of your aircraft is pointing; the direction of the craft is controlled by the right stick (in Mode 2) and the aircraft moves in relation to it’s takeoff point.

General Multicopter/UAV Parts List – What do I need?

Building your own multicopter or UAV isn’t too difficult providing you can do a little soldering and source parts which work well together and meet your requirements. There are many online hobby shops which will allow you to order every part you’d need to make and awesome UAV.

In general, every multicopter will need some version of the following parts in order to fly:

Multicopter Parts list:

  • An Airframe – It seems somewhat obvious but you will need a frame on which to build your craft. Whether you build it yourself or buy a frame this part will have a large impact on your craft’s performance. Airframes are available in many different shapes and sizes. Generally at the moment airframes are tricopters (3 props), quadcopters (4 props), hexacopters (6 props), and octocopters (8 props).
  • Flight Controller – the flight controller is essentially the brains of your aircraft.  This equipment takes in sensor details and user input to determine what your craft needs to do. There are many different models of flight controller available; each with different capabilities, features, and sensors.
  • Receiver (or RX) – A receiver flies on-board the aircraft and like the name indicates this piece of equipment receives a signal (user input) from your transmitter and then relays that information to the flight controller.
  • ESC (electronic speed controller) – controls the speed and direction of the motors in response to input from the flight controller. Each motor you are controlling will need a corresponding ESC to control it. ESCs vary greatly in design and specifications. In multicopters these are essential pieces of equipment because your craft maneuvers by varying the speed of each motor independently.
  • Motors – If you’re building something that flies it will need motors to power that flight. Motors come in every conceivable shape, size, and power. Selecting the right motor for your application will depend greatly on the purpose, size, and weight of your aircraft (and propellers).
  • Props (propellers) – Propellers come in almost every conceivable design and size. Selecting the right propeller for your craft is very important because it influences almost every other parts choice you’ll make. Props influence flight time, power consumption, and aircraft flight performance.
  • Batteries – The power source for your aircraft. Batteries come in many many different shapes, sizes, and capacities.  The right battery for you will most likely be determined by the purpose, weight, and intent of your aircraft.
  • LEDs – LEDs are very useful for lighting and flight orientation purposes.
  • Wires -of course you’ll need a few wires to connect everything together.
  • Connectors – wiring connectors are needed for a variety of applications; like connecting your battery to your aircraft in a removable way.

Related Parts:

  • Transmitter (or TX) – a radio transmitter is used to control your aircraft by sending signals from the ground to the aircraft. It doesn’t fly on the craft but its obviously an essential part of the kit.
  • Battery charger – this is somewhat obvious but you’ll need one of these to recharge your batteries for another flight.

There are several online calculator tools which are very helpful in determining if your parts will work together. A great example is the xcopterCalc calculator; this tool allows you to input your parts specs and find out things like power consumption, estimated flight times, parts incompatibilities, etc.  If you are planning to build a multicopter this is a great place to start!

**If you are looking for a specific parts list then please review the RCT800 actual parts list.

Turnigy Receiver Controlled Switch – Wiring Setup

The Turnigy Receiver Switch is a neat little piece of hardware (tiny!) which allows you to turn things like LED lights On/Off from a free channel on your receiver. These are also pretty simple to install and use!

Here the switch itself (its tiny)…

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The switch is pretty simple and has:

  • 2 Red (positive) Wires
  • 1 Plug for your receiver

So how do you wire this thing anyway?

Its actually quite easy but I will admit that I did this wrong once ;.)

If you check out the wiring diagram below you’ll notice that the correct way to install this switch is by simply wiring it into the positive line of what you are controlling (between the load and the battery). Its easy to install the switch but also easy to over think this too!

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Here are the step by steps for setting up this switch. I am not going to discuss setting up your transmitter since there are many different models and possible setups:

  • The first step is very easy. Find an unused plug on your receiver and plug in your switch. In this case channel 8 was available.

IMAG1279

  • The next step is still pretty easy. Solder one of the red (positive) wires to your power source/battery/wiring hardness.

IMAG1283

  • Now its time to deal with the 2nd red wire coming out of your switch. The positive wire for anything you are controlling with your switch needs to terminate at this red wire. In this case the switch is controlling 4 sets of LEDs on different parts of the aircraft. I started by lengthening the wire to allow it to reach all the LEDs.

IMAG1284

  • Every installation is bound to be a little bit different however the final wiring setup should look something like the picture below:
    • The switch is secured to the aircraft (circled in purple).
    • The 1st red wire from the switch attaches to the power source/battery (circled in pink).
    • Each negative wire for the LEDs terminates normally as it would without a switch (no change).
    • Now each positive wire for the LEDs only connects to the 2nd red wire from the switch (four connections circled in red).

overall

RCT800 LED Lights v2

Added a strip of blue LEDs to both of the leading RCT800 arms in order to aid visibility (not following any regulations now). This makes it look more like a UFO but it’s still easy enough to lose orientation. Now that they have been installed I’ve realized that they would have been more practical on the bottom/side of the RCT800 arms; when the Hex is above you these LEDs are not visible!! I guess I’ll just have to add more LEDs and wait for lights version 3!!

It’s almost too bright to take a picture of:
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RCT800 LED Lights v1

Every aircraft needs lights!! Added Red (left) and Green (right) LEDs to the RCT800. Also added some Red, Blue, and Green to the interior of the craft for “bling”. The LEDs are wired up on a Turnigy receiver switch and can be turned on and off from the TX!

In General, Proper lighting for an aircraft is:

  • Red on the Left – check, I did that ;.)
  • Green on the Right – check, I did that ;.)
  • White as far aft as possible – Nope, didn’t like that scheme and it’s only an RC UAV…

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