Quadcopter Still a Work In Progress

The quadcopter has been frustrating me a little. The ESCs still shutdown with random faults and the motors stall on start-up. One of the solutions I found was to disarm the controller, arm the controller and then give the transmitter a big hit of throttle whilst holding the quadcopter down with one hand. This sometimes had enough torque to get all motors spinning but wouldn’t always work and was quite hazardous having four blades with ~650Watts of power behind them. The last occasion I tried this a propeller blade flexed, the motor wires on the boom moved a enough to catch and a broken prop was the result. The broken blade was later found several meters away.

Since then I have been brainstorming ways to improve the airframe and its performance. One thing I have recently found out is that the firmware in the MultiStar ESCs isn’t optimal. Others have tried flashing the ESC to the SimonK firmware (a common mod for multi-rotors) but that can lead to overheating unless the refresh rate is reduced.

So my current thinking is:

  • Replacing frame plates with ones made from FR4 (or similar material). An advantage to this is I might be able to use them as power distribution boards too.
  • Shortening the beams and moving them to “dead-cat” layout (wider angle at the front, narrower angle at the rear) to better suit mounting a camera.
  • Ordering replacement ESCs that can be flashed with SimonK firmware.
  • Painting it in bright colours as well as printing parts in different colours. It’s very hard to tell which way it is facing from a distance otherwise.
  • Maybe adding LED lights.

I hope to start hosting some of the 3D part files here, let me know if you are interested.

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