Posts Tagged ‘drone


repair of the UDI drone/ state of the drone/ updated

What happens when you try to connect a 2S battery to a 1S powered drone. A faster more responsive vehicle ? No,  a smoked transistor! What does happen to these small components is that it isn’t exactly smoked, it popped right off the circuit board, nowhere to be found.

So I would take a chance, to practice my soldering skills and replace the transistor.  I went online and found the transistors, 20 of them for 95 cents USD . A small quantity seeing that most quantities start off at 100 pieces. They arrived and they are miniscule, here compared to the old school through hole transistors days past.


The 2300 FET on top of a through hole can type semiconductor.

here’s the packaging..


Now the repair.. the 2nd from the left of the row of transistors, also had to fashion a wire to replace a section of the copper trace that was burnt off the board. Not to mention I used a 600 power  microscope  to see and clean up the board before soldering. Not real expensive microscope for it’s functions and potential, but working with  boards that will require soldering headers or wires and repairs it makes it easier to see than balancing a Ipad and using that as a magnifier.


Now for the test ??????????… ……………………………………….. flight again !


The old UDI unplugged version, is a favorite flyer and even though just a toy, a good test to repair and modify props and get some basic flying skills in, other power modifications  such as using a bigger power source such as a 2S power LIPO through a 5 volt BEC (voltage regulator)  which did not work. This is the goto drone for flying and testing as I have numerous 1S batteries for use.


The ALPHA1 250 Class Drone


First 250 class drone build

 (carbon Fibre version)
1.5mm thick carbon fiber fuselage frame components.
Machined carbon fibre propulsion support arms  3.0mm thickness
 Jin Zhuzai alumium standoffs ,lightweight stanchions
– Main material: Full carbon fiber
– With rubber dampers to decrease vibration during flight (not in use)
-Jin Zhuzai alumium alloy spacers, light weight, reliable
– Wheelbase: 250mm class ALPHA1
– Hull Plating : None
– Photonic emitters : None
– Landing gear : Jin Zhuzai alumium standoffs, bottom of chassis
Propulsion System:
SI-Monk 12A ESC Speed Controller  X4

Continuous Current: 12A
Burst current (10S): 15A
Li-xx Battery (cell): 1-3
Dimension (L*W*H): 25mm x 17mm x 7mm
Weight wires Included: 8g
BEC Mode: Linear
BEC Output: 1A/5V
Programmable: Yes Rotation direction of the motor is programmable: normal, reverse or bidirectional
All parameters can be programmed via using a program card or a transmitter, including default settings
Multiple protection features including low voltage cut-off protection/over-heat protection/throttlesignal loss protection
Alarm to help you find the devices: keep the throttle on FULL ON position for a while, the ESC will help
Throttle range can be configured and is fully compatible with all receivers, providing smooth, linear and precise throttle response.

2300KV 2204 Brushless Motor X4


KV: 2300
MAX Thrust: 440 G
Battery Cell:2~3S
Framework: 12N14P
Propeller: 5″~6″
Length: 32.2 MM
Diameter: 27.9 MM
Shaft : 3 MM

Air suction system design, rapid cooling, higher efficiency and longer life
U clip prevents bearing from loosening
High precision CNC machining exquisite design, stern quality control revealing the user taste and position
The rotation direction of motor was marked on the front bell, making it easier to determine rotation direction for CW and CCW motors
Low CG design, decreasing vibration whe motor runs Light weight built
Designed for mini multicopters, better flight performance
CW and CCW propeller adapters included, holding the propellers tight.
Hex wrenches and propeller wrench included with mounting hardware.

Flight Controller; Programming and Calbration

CC3D EVO Flight Controller Board 32 Bits Processor Openpilot Side Pin For QAV250 Quadcopter

Buying this flight controller some time ago, the progress in flight controller development  is swift. One could devote all their time to just the software and programming of these microprocessors rather than flying drones. Support for some of these boards can drift in and out of favor.  When working with an open source project it also may lose support , that being the software required to calibrate, program and adjust the flight controller. You can go the YouTube , Google it route, for advisement but the reality that I have found is that you  eventually get the system to connect and function without getting into specifics like boot loaders and compatibility ,Yes you can get on the internet merry-go-round to get solutions from videos and forums, but some are cryptic without results or merit. I found that DRonin flight control ground station, a GUI based program, is compatible with the CC3D board. Even using different platforms , a Macbook versus Windows machine didn’t produce the same results, windows would work but the Mac version of DRonin didn’t.  The big boys heave the obsolete hardware and move on but me being the stubborn variety , (HACK IT)  will get it to work even though to some it’s a miniscule amount of money involved. (generally I buy and build by the piece by piece method and tackle it when the mood strikes), I’m often late the party. That’s why I have probably 10 different GCS packages on different computers.

Building Alpha1 first as a test bed, the frame is basic and the wiring is complete enough for testing. A 2S battery provides power for testing and short power ups. A 4 channel Sunfounder receiver and TU transmitter is used to test the input to the flight controller. Once it is tuned, I’ll clean up the wiring and build up chassis  and add enhancements. 6 channel reciever, transmitter, video, transmitter etc.



One more try with the Libre Pilot Ground Control Software . After reading a few more notes from online sources, with no power, shorted the boot pins, and connected the USB cable to the flight controller. Boot loader did it’s thing and reflashed firmware. Rebooted and was able to use the Librepilot system. Next with a circular bubble level on the chassis, made sure it was properly level. As you may take this for granted that your bench or desktop is level. (similar to a basic configuration of any machine surface, you want to calibrate that the bed is level, thus accurate readings of the sensors on the flight controller).

Now the battery that was used for the test flight and bench top configuration was woefully under powered as the drone did not react properly only lifting off several inches. Soldering up some connectors for a larger battery capacity type and fastening it on the underbelly provided the final piece to the puzzle. Hover time and maneuvering test completed. One prop blade snapped.




Droning around

Where are the drones? fiddling around and tinkering with electronics has always been a pastimes for me and over the years there has been a growth in programming small-scale electronics. The latest is drones an easy to get into hobby as the parts as with most other electronics these days is inexpensive and can be bought in stages, not only parts but kits, microprocessors, sensors and the like. The hobby is so diverse these days the inexpensive components can be sourced from overseas and with the small weight and postal system shipping involved, no longer a high cost for shipping , in most cases free shipping or a small charge for tracking packages from the pacific rim. Might be a little longer than a several day delivery, once your pipeline is started, the competition and scale of manufacturing allows you to purchase parts for literally several dollars (USD) each allowing you to build you inventory over a period of time and them assemble your project.

Here’s a drone that I switched over from the original Protocol frame and chassis to the Sunfounder frames and motors. The original Protocol gear train failed.

Propulsion : 4 , x 7 x 20 direct drive brushed motors

Propellers : 2 cw and 2 ccw   55 x 3 MM double blade propellers, 70 MM maximum friction fit to motor shaft

Flight  controller, Protocol Air Videodrone AP , altitude sensor

Transmitter, Protocol Videodrone AP

Chassis: 118mm carbon fibre Sunfounder 6D with Protocol 1S battery holder and flight controller mounting.

Illumination: 2 forward facing green photonic  emitting diodes

                               2 rear facing red photonic  emitting diodes

Video capability, none

Power module, 1S lipo cell , 250 to 500 MA capacity available


Alas the drone flew well, this one has altitude stabilation, but the mixing of the different type of 1S batteries (amp hours), led to a reverse polarity connection which the flight controller didn’t like and failed to work after that. The parts will be returned to the parts bin less the flight controller.


Next up is the UDI unplugged version, just the basic for flight. Gear train and bearing style propulsion, different brushed type motors and propellers can be tested.  The longest lasting drone I’ve had to fly. Altitude stabilization not too good with this drone, oscillates and plenty of feedback on the thrust stick needed to stabilize. Mostly stock parts. I’ve had to improvise and use bushings on the Fiberglass main output shafts to mount  propellors other than the UDI one. Brushed motors will have a limited life, and currently most of the smaller drones now utilize smaller brushless induction motors, which need electronic speed controllers and ascosiated hardware and programming.


The UDI props are about 5 inch and are light and thin gauge but wide.

Flight controller utilizes plugin lighting and motor connection.IMG_3640

Photonic emitters are one per each propulsion, blue/red front/back configuration assembly; two, 2 each white led strips on the bottom and one forward facing white emitter that indicates headless mode on/off by the transmitter setting.IMG_3641

Nice wheelbase dimension here allows up to 6 inch props… Stuts could be modified in lenght. A bit under powered, no liftoff with 5030 inch tri blade props.IMG_3642

Gear train assembly, rugged, not any problem with gears, have to bush up shaft with aftermarket props to prevent shaft slipping and gears on the main shaft not aligning with pinion.IMG_3643

Top of main propulsion shaft is flat keyed for props and utilizes set screw mounting via shaft.IMG_3644

6 inch props mounted


Utilized bushings provided with aftermarket standard 6030×2 props and screws to fit the 4mm fiberglass main propulsion shafts.IMG_4093

Rats nest style flight controller wiringIMG_4095

Secure by drilled holes in prop with screw. (maybe prop is mounted upside down) Flyable with the 6 inch props but a bit sluggish.IMG_4096

Whats next ? switching over to a Flyski (That’s how I pronounce it) transmitter, various compatible brushed and brushless flight controllers, recievers, power distribution, ESC’s boards and motors and frames. Batteries, in the voltage range needed can be pricy. Tinkering with power supply voltage and current monitoring measuring and charging of the LIPOs. Once the necessary parts and hardware and all the other bits and pieces are received the build and testing will begin of various drone configurations. Changes are always happening to the drone market and smaller more powerful brushless drones mostly racing class are in favor now. Another advantage to this hobby is that there is plenty of guidance and info available for the hobbyist, from you tube tutorials to online software to program your hardware. Happy Flying!


Multicopters repair and comments


The Spyder XL was another Ebay purchase, after checking out the multicopter, the propellers are attached to the main shafts by tiny screws, some of them either shear off or strip out so the propellers can’t be attached or they slip. This may be a feature so that the motors won’t stall and be damaged.  The replacement/repair was propeller adapters and modification of the spare props I had on hand. The propellers adapters  had to have spacers (grommets) put on the main shafts or the bearings would ride up the main shaft when in use. A quick modification of the original Spyder XL  propellers was required so they would be a thru hole mount on the propellers adapters.



Another modification was cutting the main shafts so they didn’t require spacers. Later ,I found and purchased suitable replacement shafts online and replaced all four of them. The propeller guards supplied with the drone were also attached but were flimsy, testing the drone indoors and practicing my flying skills bent and damaged the guards. This drone has quit a bit of power, the most powerful one that I have flown. 2S batteries power this quad.

The main shaft replacements I found online were the correct length but the gears did not match the originals as there is not a specific replacement listing for all the parts for a Spyder XL.  If you do repair work this is common as some drone manufacturers don’t  provide the specifications or continue to supply replacements. (this could be a consideration for 3d printing if you have the resources.) Metal tubing could be sourced or machined for replacement.  Other items to have on hand are the tiny screws that many manufacturers  use for assembly. Various sizes and kits can be purchased in bulk inexpensively from online sources.



One of the features of the Spyder XL is the sequential lighting LEDs on the struts when activated, when battery is low they solid flash without sequence.



Finally, the new props were installed, it’s of course possible to purchase different sizes and colors of propellers.

Again , indoors this is a monster quad to control but can be fairly stable, it’s responsive and kicks up quite a lot of thrust and noise so any paperwork lying around will be blown away if you hover around a table or desk. Without the prop guards, use caution , I’ve replaced the screws that secure the gears to the main shaft ,the motors are powerful enough to shear them if not completely  secure and applying slightly larger and longer screws make for a good power transfer. The life of the motors are uncertain, now one of them crapped out and all four will be replaced. Another solution that others have used is the use of foldable  propellers so the motors and gear train  sustain less damage if they contact anything. I like flying drones without too much automatic  control, although at times they can be unstable and a temperamental sort. More of a challenge at times.  Way up the ladder is GPS, more stability, geofencing etc with the higher priced drones.

The auto launch button on the transmitter works well, but indoors will rise and contact the ceiling if not aborted. Some  of the feedback is delayed from  the control sticks.

More flight time and repairs are required.

Just like other forms of technology, quads and any other types of drones can be a consuming hobby. Some terminology is appearing like drone addiction, drone phobia and the like. Yes folks it’s all over again, less time playing video games, being on the internet, and now drone flying !  “Johnny be good or I won’t let you fly your drone!”

Happy Flying , I’m with ya ! Remember some days you have to RTH !

Next: another restoration or hack ?




July 2018
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