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.