Wednesday, September 30, 2015

HasteRC N-Trepid 180 Build

So after the Tweaker build I've got the 180 bug... they are awesome.

I have always admired N-Armed frames from HasteRC  and New Zealand made so double win, but I had too many 250mm sized quads. But then I heard through the grapevine ... and Facebook teases that HasteRC were also going to be doing a 180.  I bugged Ryan and Gareth and managed to get one of the first production frames.

Video of the first shakedown LOS flights

And here it is. The quality is first class, excellent cuts, 4mm bottom plate, super strong and rigid as you would expect with 4mm CF in a 180mm size beasty. Add to that a 2mm top plate and you have a super strong frame.

It came with blue anodised bolts and 18mm nylon standoffs. I swapped the stand offs to 25mm for this build to fit everything in, due to using the 4-1 ESC.

The ESC I have had for awhile, Its was from It was supposed to come with blHeli and damped light set, But it did not. It also came with no documentation and it took me a long while to get all the right stuff to flash them myself. But I finally was able to flash it using a afroUSB tool. It now has blheli 14.102, Damped light, medium timing.

Motors are Dragonfly 1306 / 3100kv. After the DYS 1306 I wanted to try a different brand and see if they held up longer, Since I bent 2 shafts on the DYSs in three flights with mild crashes.

First job was to wire up the motors to the esc, luckily the Dragonfly motor came with long leads that enabled me to braid and connect directly without any patch leads. Below is the test fit up. The esc is held on a self designed 3D printed holder as there are components close to the mount holes that stops you using stand nylon stand offs. Its a real pain but I got it sorted. 

Now with any 180 build space is super tight. So to reduce space I moved the motor pins to underneath the Naze32 and separate power (pin5) ground (pin6) so it was all only a servo lead high. 

All soldered up, yes a little messy from removing the old pins... but working ;)

Next I need to make a patch lead from the esc to the Naze. The ESC has a stupid 6pin plug and only comes with one lead. The last build I used the 4-2 I soldered directly to the Naze, but the ground fatigued and broke and I wasn't able to update the firmware. So in this build I took the time to make a strong patch lead, and the use of servo plugs so I could update blheli as required (Now I finally figured out how to on this ESC)

Patch lead mid construction.

Nearly all done.  I used heat shrink on the 6pin plug to help strength it.

I also used heat shrink and while it was still hot bent the cable to the right angle to help reduce the strain.

Test fitted up looking nice and tidy so far ....

Next was to re-route the power leads. They were out the side but that was just untidy, So I rerouted them out the back. I had to trim my 3d printed holder with a box cutter but that was the only mod.

Much better.

Of course I also needed power for vBat reads off the Naze and 12v for the Video transmitter. I spliced them into the power leads. Over all the power system came out really tidy.

The xt60 was ziptied to using the holes in the rear of the bottom plate.

Naze, ESC, Leads all complete.

Next up was to reduce the size of the DR4-II, I removed all the pins, and the soldered on 3 pins in the reverse direction, this reduced the length without any extra height. I used a normal servo plug. I did this to make it easy for maintenance. 

Then I used heat shrink to cover it all. Makes for a nice compact receiver.

Now with a 180 build space is a premium, So I mounted the D4R to the top plate. This also makes it easy for maintenance for when stuff breaks. 

To give myself a little more room I swapped to 22mm standoffs from the 18mm supplied ones .... then after some more test fits I opted for 25mm stand offs. Thats still a slim frame, the tweaker is using the normal 35mm ones.

Now its was time for the FPV gear ... so I had to steal that from another quad. Here is the donor and the 180, its sooo little compared to the 250.

First up was the VTX a 32 channel Et200. I like these as its very easy to swap channels as it has the LED indicators and its just a push button to swap. They also have 12v and 5v out to power cameras so not need for separate camera becs.

Taken out of its 3d printed case and heat shrinked to reduce the size.

This was mounted to the top plate with a right angle clover leaf. Its on an angle so that the wire harness will be nicely hidden. 

Now since I had mounted the receiver and the vtx to the top plate that did not allow the battery strap any room to run under the top plate. So I had to find a solution. So this is what I came up with. I used thicker zipties through the 35mm space holes on the top plate and ran the battery strap through those. So far it has worked really well. A big crash will be the true test. But its just zipties and easy to replace.

Next up was the camera, this is a cheap bangood special, but plan on getting either a sony or runcam camera next purchase cycle. But this will do for now.

The mount is a 25degree 3D printed mount from HasteRC that is designed for the Sony HS1177, but this camera fitted in it as well, I just used some 3m double sided tape and a zip tie. I just drilled a hole where it matched the hole on the frame.

All fitted.

Now one of those "SH$T" moments, I was trying to fix a zip tie slipped and busted the bind switch on my new D4R..... panic and swear words. But I was able to completely remove the damaged switch, and add some solder to the points. then I just used my box cutter blade to close the circuit to bind and set fail safe ..... pheeww !!!

The top plate is very busy on a 180, starting from the top, ET200 VTX, with a JST plug for power if I want to fly with out the VTX on, Wire harness from the VTX that provides 12v to the  camera, a servo male/female plug to make it easy to swap cameras. The the D4R, thats it and they "just" fit on the top plate.

How it looks just before closing up, Makes it easy to get into everything.

 Top plate completely removed.

Ok so here is the completed weight minus props, So if you soldered everything instead of using plugs like I have and reduced some wire usage you could easily get a sub 200gram using 1306s.

Now once I put on the props, My fav mod of using 4mm PVC tube as a bumper to protect the frame (I fly over tarmac alot) and the battery strap ... I come in at 228grams. 

Like any 180 build you do not have a lot of space, so you have to plan carefully. But the N-trepid has more room than the Tweaker which allowed for a slimmer build. Overall this frame is awesome, I cant wait to get some decent flight time on it. 

I will post video and PIDs after some flying. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tweaker 180 v3

So after a session of flying with the Tweaker and the DYS1306s, I have a couple of bent shafts. I'm a learner FPV pilot so still crashing  a lot per battery. I thought that this was going to be a risk with the 1306s.

the DYS1306s running the GF4045s on 3s is great fun. But for me not durable enough while I am still learning and crashing so often.

I removed them and put on some 1806s and 4045DAL BNs. I will see how this setup goes on the durability front.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

4s Capable ShenDrone Tweaker 180

After my first build and a very quick garage flight with the 1806 and the 4-1 ESC my LitteBee 20amp ESC showed up, they were always the play for the 180 and I also wanted to run 1306s with 4045s to start with.

The plan was to have a 4s capable 180 starting out on the low end with 1306s 4045 3s, then moved up to a 2204 / 4045BN / 4s setup once I got much better at FPV flying.

So the parts list for this build

My 3D Printed parts :

Shendrone Tweaker 180 FPV 
Dual regulator 5v/12v 35 PDB
LittleBee 20amp ESCs (blHeki 14 / Damping light/Motor timing med/high)
D4RII - Stripped down
Naze32 Acro
DYS1306 / 3100kv

A shout out to for supplying DYS1306 /3100kv motors for this build. The DYS1306 are very popular at the moment due to the trend with the smaller 180s and sometimes hard to get. GearBest sent them out quickly and they are starting to get a wide range of multirotor parts. 

Here's the first flight after this rebuild. sounds like a lot of angry little bees.
When I used the 4045BN it was quieter.

Rebuild time

First thing was to strip the 180 completely again and start again. This time due to the lack of space I decided to put the ESC out on the arms instead of doing what I normally do and have them in the body. Also a first I will be soldering the motors directly to the ESCs, I usually use bullet connectors as I change my builds so much.

The CC3D PDB is mounted on 5mm nylon spacers off the main plate of the 180. This will allow plenty of space to route the power and ESC wires underneath s for a tidier build.

Next I placed the ESCs on the arms and routed the positive an negative power wires to the right side of the PDB. With the 5mm spacer there is plenty of room.

Before I started solder up I wanted to make sure I had room for the transmitter, as in the last build it was hard to find a spot for it. This time around I modified the D4RII. I removed the cardboard wrapper and cut off the pins that I did not need. I amd using PPM so only need the first channel pins. I also needed the last 2 pins jumpered. I did this by bending the top pin down and soldering it. The other pins I cut away and the last three I carefully bent up and then cut to the required length for a servo lead. I then covered in heatshrink. 

Test fit in the rear of the frame.

Closeup of the D4RII mods.

The D4RII  heat shrinked and ready for action.

Power Time..

Now I knew where the TX was going I could star the soldering of the ESCs to the PDB.
The wires were routed under the PDB to the + or _ side of the board and cut to length. I tinned the pads and the freshly cut wire. Then soldered the the wires to the PDB.

Below you can see the negative side done and the positive needing to be done. I also at this stage adding larger gauge leads that would be for the battery XT60 connector.

All done

Next big task was to do the custom header pin setup. I wanted all the leads connecting under the Naze32. First I did the 4 ESC pins. I used a 3 header pin, but removed the middle pin. 

I did the same for the vBat, Buzzer and Telemetry headers, one that's not shown below is the 2 pin header on the 5th motor channel that will be used for the 5v in from the regulated PDB.

I chose this PDB as it had both 12 and 5 volt regulators. I need the 5 to power the Naze32 and the D4RII as they require 5v. I also wanted the 12 so I could run 12 volt LEDs and when I jumped to 4s /14v I didn't blow them up.

The next task was to add a JST connector for from the 5volt pads that would be used to power the Naze32, 1x12v lead direct from the +&- pads for the vBat header pins, 1x12v regulated for the rear LEDs and 12v regulated going to a JST for the FPV TX power.

It starts to get tight once you start adding in those extra power leads. I also added a XT60 plug to the power leads.  This length was so that I would fit in the 3D printed rear bumper I designed. 

Motor time ...

This is the first time that I have directly soldered motors to a ESC.

First step peal back the heat shrink so you can get access to the motor lead wires. de-solder the existing motor wires. Then place the motor and ESCs in the desired final location and cut the motor wires to length.

After the first one I used a servo tester so see which way it would spin up, of course it went the wrong way for that motor / corner. So de-soldered 2 leads and swapped them.  Once complete I sealed in heat shrink. 

NOTE : Don't for get to put the heat shrink on BEFORE you solder on the motors... otherwise you will be unsoldering and doing it again .... Not that I did that twice or anything like that..!!!

Then it was on to the next three, I tested each motor after I completed it.

I then mounted the D4RII with some 3M doubled sided tape and a zip tie.

Naze Time ... 

With all the power / motor system complete is on to the adding the naze32, Below you can see the esc leads and the 5v connected to the Naze before it gets mounted. This shake down build didn't have the buzzer/ vBat / Telemetry yet. I wanted to give it a couple of full flights first.

I usually 3D print arm protectors but I wanted to try something different and simpler. I fly over tarmac alot so want to make sure I protect the beautiful carbon, The solution that I came up with was to use clear TPU tubing. I got both 6mm OD and 4mm OD to try. the best was the 4mm. I cut a length and the used a craft knife to cut the length. I then forced it over the edge of the arms. It easily held on to the frame and can be held on with a simple zip tie.

It worked really well, I play to try this in my other frames.

I also changed the rear bumper 3d Design to have the curver facing the other way and thinner

Once the ESC and motor swap was complete and the Naze wired up I just placed the top plate on, This was still in the same configuration as it was in the last build  ( Go here to see that build)

Final all up weight is 260g


 Nothing like field testing to highlight things that needed to be changed.

First I needed to tidy up the wires, the ESC wires were not that tidy, So I stripped it down and re routed those to make it much tider and easier to trace if I encounter issues.

The other bigger change was to move the Video TX. I had to do this as I plan have either a gopro or a mobius to record video, But with the TX antenna out the back I would be unable to adjust the COG. I wouldn't be able to  move the batteries rearwards enough. So I move it forward and mounted vertically using one of the supplied holes. This show how much thought Andy had put into the frames, This also made the wiring for the video TX tidier. 

The whole of the video kit (TX & Camera) is still attached to the top plate. this makes for easy remove for maintenance and troubleshooting.

The rear bumper was also changed to allow for zip ties to hold the XT60 more securely

 Now its much tidier and field tested.

I love this little frame, Its not a slow frame even on 3s / 1306s. Its fast enough for me with my level of FPV skills. The 4045 give enough punch and its even super ful to fly LOS. 

I do need to find out of the 1306 can handle the 4045 blunt nose props as the other 4045 break easily. And since I crash about 4-5 time a battery thats a lot of props !!!!

MY PIDs .... to come