All of the documentation you will need to build your Sputnik Race Drone Kit!
Depending on your present comprehension of building a quad-copter you can watch our build video, read the how-to, or do both! For those of you who have never done something quite like this, we would recommend both.
Let's get started!
First let's take a look at the included parts and get a feel for some terms we're going to use;
In your kit you will find;
- 4 X 3.5mm Thick Arms
- 4 X 1.5mm Thick Arm Supports
- 1 X 1.5mm Base Plate
- 1 X 2mm Main Plate
- 1 X 1.5mm Top Plate
- 8 X 30mm Standoffs
- 20 X 3mm x 8mm Socket Head Screws
- 8 X 3mm x 12mm Button Head Socket Screws
- 12 X 3mm x 10mm Button Head Socket Screws
- 8 X 3mm Nyloc Nuts
- 4 X 3mm x 12mm Nylon Screws
- 8 X 3mm x 8mm x 8mm Nylon Male to Female Standoffs
- 4 X 3mm Nylon Nuts
- 1 X 3D Printed Ninja Flex Camera Mount
- 1 X 3D Printed Ninja Flex Antenna Mount
- 4 X DYS XSC20A ESC
- 1 X RROSD Pro
- 1 X RMRC Seriously DoDo FC (Pre-Flashed to BetaFlight)
- 1 X Foxeer 200MW Video Transmitter with Pigtail
- 1 X FrSky X4R-SB Depinned Reciever
- 2 X Antenna Tubes
- 2 X Antenna Tube Caps
- 1 X XT60 Wire Kit (Female XT60, Wire, Shrink Wrap)
- 1 X VTx Pigtail Nut
- 7+ X Zip Tie
- 4 X GemFan 2205/2300 Brushless Motors
- 1 X HS1177 FPV Cam
- 1 X Foxeer RHCP Mini Antenna
- 1 X DroneHaus 1300MAH 3 Cell LiPo Battery
- 2 X DAL 5X4.5X3 Prop (Set of 4)
That'll about do it. If you decided to purchase a Taranis and/or Goggles prior to building your quadcopter, that will make a couple steps a little easier, but it is not required.
Things you Will need
- A soldering iron, solder, and some experience soldering. It is your responsibility to set your soldering iron appropriately for this project.
- Small Wire Strippers
- Wire Cutters (A fine tip is helpful)
- Needle Nose Pliers
- Small Razor
- 2mm Hex Key
- 2.5mm Hex Key
- 5.5mm Socket/Socket Handle
- 8mm Socket/Socket Handle
First we're going to build the base of the frame:
The arms of the frame fit together in the center of the frame like this
When you are done it should look like this from the bottom. The screws circled in red
are 12mm screws and the screws circled in blue are 10mm screws.
Then insert the 30mm nylon screws through the bottom of the frame like this
And screw it into the nylon stand off on the other side
Do this four times in the four empty holes and your frame should look like this
Next attach your four motors with four 8mm socket head screws each.
You'll notice that two screws are close to the center, this centers the motor in the mount. You may have shorter slots so that two holes meet the end of the slots as well, this is perfectly normal.
Now go ahead and strap your ESC's to the arms, cut the motor wires to length and solder them to the ESC pads flat (You don't need to cross the wires to adjust motor direction). You can also shrink wrap over the esc again once you solder it, or alternatively cut the shrink wrap off and put new shrink wrap over it when you're done.
Now get your RROSD out and slide it onto the plastic standoffs you put on before, you can put it any direction you like, but this is my preference for ease of maintenance and cleanliness.
Get the positive and negative pads nice and tinned, cut the appropriate wires to length and solder them to the pads in a way that you can pull the board up if you have to but make sure you don't make the wires so long that they are a mess.
In my case, the front ESC wires were just barely long enough, to avoid this you may want to turn your RROSD 90 degrees, but keep the power wire location in mind.
This is also a good time to solder your your battery in to the RROSD. The kit includes a female XT60 connector, wire and shrink wrap. Just solder the wires to the appropriate sides of the connector, slide the shrink wrap on, cut to about 2" if you are using the same orientation as pictured, then solder them to the appropriate holes on the RROSD.
Now is a good time to get your FPV system wired in, since the RROSD is the center of that system.
Open up your Foxeer video transmitter, take note of the wire names, unplug the connector and (using a razor or something similar to lift the tabs over the wires) remove the Audio in, Second GND (next to the DC5v out), and DC5V out. After you put the plug back in I recommend putting some hot glue on the back of the wires to ensure they stay there, this is not necessary just a precaution.
The audio wire is of course for audio from a microphone which we are not installing (and do not recommend installing, not as cool as it sounds!), the second ground is for the 5V out and the 5V out is to power a camera directly from the transmitter, which we will not be doing.
Your VTx (Video Transmitter) should look like this when you're done. Take note of the holes used for the VTx but don't solder them in yet, first slide your video transmitter under the RROSD slightly and gauge how much wire you will need, See the second picture. (I like to leave a half inch or so sticking out of the side so that I have extra to grab, move, and mess up. It's a good way to have a safe amount of wire)
Disregard the already soldered signal wires, we will cover that in a moment.
Next we will solder the camera plug in. mock the camera on the front of the quad (opposite the video transmitter) with the wires plugged in, route the wires under the RROSD, and cut the wires appropriately. You can remove the plug from the camera now to make it easier to handle the tiny wires. Solder them into the RROSD, use the next picture for reference.
Note: Do Not throw the extra wire away, not only is it the best wire to use for various components, but we will be using it later for the receiver. Carry on.
Now you can (if you have goggles) test your video if you'd like, it will Probably work but it's always nice to know before you put everything else on top of your work :P
Do not DO NOT forget to attach the antenna in your kit to your video transmitter before applying power. No it will not explode or die if you do not, but it is very bad for the transmitter and if it were higher power (which you may use in the future) it will fry the transmitter.
You can also get familliar with your video transmitter and how the button operation works. It's pretty straight forward, and printed on the manual with the transmitter; Long press for two seconds to enter channel mode, short press to change channel, 2 second press again for frequency/group mode, short press to change frequency/group, long press to exit. The led will blink according to the channel/frequency (blink-blink pause blink-blink-blink = channel 2, frequency 3. 2 blinks for channel 2, pause, 3 blinks for frequency 3)
Now you can set your camera aside for now, and your quad for that matter. Take the wire you saved from the camera and cut the excess in half, you should have two pieces around 2" long. One of them remove the yellow wire and keep the red and black wires. Strip and tin one side of both of these wire groups.
Now open up your Seriously DoDo flight controller, solder the red and black wires to the power input on the board. With the other half still bundled, solder the yellow wire to the pin labeled UR3/RX, the red wire to 5V out, and the black wire to ground. Use the picture below for reference.
Now add the other 4 nylon stand offs to the top of the RROSD
Solder the red and black wires to the respective ESC pads on the RROSD, Red wire to the positive pad, Black wire to the negative pad. In case you forgot.
Set the DoDo (Flight Controller) loosely on these stand offs, with the USB opposite of the battery in cable. (So you can have your quad plugged in and have the USB available on the other side)
Now remember the Bottom Right motor is #1, Top Right #2, Bottom Left #3, Top Left #4.
So with the video transmitter facing you and the camera wire sticking out of the Front and away from you, let's start to wire the motor signals.
With the flight controller sitting on the stand offs, take motor #1's (Bottom Right) signal and ground wires and run them under the flight controller and out the other side. The other side Should be the motor inputs (1-8) Opposite the USB plug. Cut these wires the same as always, about a half inch past the side of the board. Now solder the White wire to the signal pin for #1, and the black wire on the respective pin to the outside of the controller. See the next picture for reference.
Do this for each motor, Very carefully. Taking this back apart because you mixed up two motors is very frustrating. So now it's top right to number 2, bottom left to number 3, top left to number 4. Pay close attention.
Go ahead and set the board down on the stand offs, don't squish any wires in between the board and stand offs.
One thing left to wire now, the receiver. This is pretty straight forward. You can use the cardboard that comes with it for reference as well, or the picture below. But don't forget to clip the wires if they are too long. Mock the receiver close to where it will end up (under the RROSD close to the front of the quad, but not too close or it will hit the camera.) and cut the wires appropriately. Solder them in using the picture for reference.
Cut the shrink wrap to an appropriate length also, I cut mine a little too short and had to add some electrical tape. You just don't want anything electrical directly touching the frame, since carbon is conductive. Take note of where the button is before you shrink wrap it so you can find it again when you're done.
Go ahead and turn your transmitter on now, get through the warnings with the enter button etc., Then press menu, then page, and then the plus button until you get to the bind function. Simply press enter to put the transmitter in bind mode, then power the quad on while holding the button on the receiver for several seconds. (Don't forget to put an antenna on your VTx) You should have telemetry on your transmitter now, and when you unplug your quad it will say "Telemetry Lost". That's how you know binding was successful. You can do this with the heat shrink off of course to watch the pretty lights, but it's not necessary.
Now slide the antennas and receiver under the RR like in the pictures below.
It's about time to zip tie the VTx down too, Don't apply Too much pressure of course, but more importantly don't zip tie the buttons down on either one, especially the video transmitter. Since it's very close to where you want to put a zip tie.
You're now ready to mount up your FPV Cam! Grab the little bag with screws and metal bracket that came with the camera, and get the two screws out. Grab your 3D printed mount and push your camera in (The plug should be Up), and screw it in with the tiny screws. Then push stand offs through the vertical holes. Here are pictures for reference. Don't be too afraid to tighten the camera, snug.
Now we can put the camera on the quad, plug it in first and then grab a couple of 8mm socket head screws to screw in the bottom of the main plate and into the stand offs in the camera mount.
Go ahead and put in the rest of the stand offs now, the middle four use 12mm button head socket screws, in the bottom. And the back two stand offs use the last two socket head screws. When you're done it should look like this.
Just a few more things left, time to put your top plate together. Slide a strap through the two big slots on the top plate so that the buckle sticks out of one side, the strap goes under and the fuzzy side sticks down and comes back out the other side.
Also put the antenna tubes in the 3D printed mount and slide them on the back of the top plate through the little slots. It might be easier to start two screws through that 3D printed mount while it's off the quad. All of the top screws are the remaining screws, 10mm long button head socket screws.
Here's a couple pics for reference.
Now put the included nut on the pigtail end, screw it down almost all the way so it's still easy to spin but as far down as possible.
Then feed the two receivers antennas through the antenna tubes while you put the top plate on.
Screw in the rest of the screws, tighten them with the short side of your key. Make sure everything is Pretty Snug. Apply loctite if you have some to any screw you want, it is not necessary but it might save you a motor or stand off. Otherwise pay attention to tightening things now and then.
Then screw the antenna on, this part can be frustrating. Hold the pig tail by it's hex piece, and screw the antenna on tight, then hold the antenna strong and screw the nut up to the carbon Tight. This will keep your antenna from getting loose too easily, but worth checking now and then as it will be bad for your VTx if the antenna comes loose.
It's time to work on programming this bad boy. You might want to get some food, I know your excited but you gotta eat!
First make sure the video antenna is screwed in snug since you will be plugging in the battery.
Now let's download a few things, three to be exact.
The thing you'll use most is BetaFlight Configurator, it's a chrome app that configures the flight controller. You can find it in the chrome web store, but here's the link just in case.
The thing you'll use next most is BLHeli Suite which is basically the ESC Configurator. There is a chrome app for this as well but we will be using the .exe windows file, you can get it to run in wine on mac or you can use the chrome app but we will be focusing on the windows program.
You can download that here. Unzip the folder to a good common place, I use the desktop.
Last but not least you will want the common driver to talk to the controller through the USB port, you can get that here.
So go ahead and plug it in, open up BetaFlight and let's get started! We have pre-flashed all of the flight controllers with BetaFlight 3.01, which is currently the latest but we will always use the latest firmware. This is because flashing can sometimes be problematic for beginners, but we will go over it anyways.
We used to have to flash and configure BLHeli ESC's individually, until Boris B added ESC flashing through BetaFlight. This does not mean you will use BetaFlight for flashing but the firmware will allow for it when using BLHeli suite.
In BetaFlight you will need to accomplish several things. You can start anywhere you want, here's the bullet list if you want to try to speed through it and use the pictures for reference.
- Flash BetaFlight
- In Ports pick UART3 as Serial Rx Port
- In Configuration, change yaw orientation to -90 degrees, ESC protocol to Multishot, gyro update and PID loop both to 4K, accelerometer off, pick RX_SERIAL in receiver mode and SBUS in receiver provider.
- In the Receiver tab, change the order to Spektrum/Graupner or TAER1234, check for control with your Taranis on.
- In the motors tab, spool motors without props and take note of motor directions.
Even though, like I said, this is not necessary. It will be relevant later on when your firmware is out of date.
When you plug in you should see the com port switch to the port relevant to your controller, it may try to connect and either it will not be betaflight and explain that to you or it will be and it will simply load the setup screen. Disconnect and click on firmware flasher.
Pick RMDO and the latest firmware revision, if you are having trouble flashing I find manual baud rate to help sometimes. Click Load Online, and then flash.
Once the flash is successful you can start the setup process.
Every time you make a change you will have to click "Save" OR "Save and Reboot", whatever the respective page has available. Some allow you to simply save, and some require a reboot.
First click connect, click on the ports tab, and pick Serial RX for UART3. Then switch the configuration tab, you will likely switch in and out of this tab the most.
Save and Reboot.
Here you might notice the plethora of options, don't let it intimidate you, you will understand it more and more in time.
Let's get started,
- Set the ESC Protocol to Multishot. ESC protocol is how the Flight Controller communicates with each ESC, Multishot is currently the fastest behind DShot, which is Digital Shot. I am not qualified enough to explain Multishot to you in detail, so I will leave that to your research.
- Set Yaw alignment to -90 degrees, this accounts for us turning the board 90 degrees from it's original normal direction.
- Pick RX_SERIAL in receiver mode
- Scroll down a bit.
- Pick SBUS in receiver provider, this is sort of like the language your receiver communicates in.
- In System Configuration, pick 4K for Gyro Update Frequency and PID Loop Frequency. This is sort of like processor clocking, how fast the good stuff is running at. The DoDo is good for 4K/4K but I wouldn't recommend going over that without a mean board, also you will likely not notice the difference until you become a professional racing pilot.
- Lastly turn the accelerometer off, this mostly effects one thing; When you set your quad down and prepare to take off it will typically want to be level before it takes off unless you turn the accelerometer off. This will give you two benefits; One if you land by accident or on a hill or in general where you could just take off if you were lvel, you will now be able to take off just fine. Two, if you fly into a tree and get stuck, you can re-arm your quad in any position and throttle up to try to remove it from said tree. This has a good chance of working and has saved many pilots from climbing tall trees or otherwise un-climbable things (like the underside of a bridge...)
Don't forget to Save and Reboot.
Now switch to your Receiver tab, the DoDo transfers 5V power from USB and powers your Receiver, so you will not need to power your quad yet.
Turn on your transmitter and see if your sticks make the colored bars move at all, if they do not you may want to inspect your soldering and previous steps in BetaFlight.
Now you need to change the channel map to TAER1234. You can do this by selecting the drop down menu and picking Spektrum/Graupner. Now your throttle should control the throttle bar and so on.
You will want an AUX switch that will serve to arm your quad, if you have any programmed already they will show up in the receiver tab as something other than 1500 dead. If you do not you will need to program a switch for this, I will make another post soon going over this but it is not difficult.
Switch to the Modes tab and turn the Arm feature on. Pick the AUX relevant to the AUX that appears in the Receiver tab, and set it to switch in the way you prefer. Adjust the switch to your preference in order to arm and disarm your quad at a moments notice, keep in mind you will want to be able to quickly disarm your quad in the event of a crash or otherwise emergency.
Now you will want to move to the Motors tab, your props should be off and your VTx antenna should be screwed on. It's time to plug your battery in, it does not need to be fully charged yet if it is not.
Select the check box that says "I Understand The Risks, Propellers are Removed" so that you can spin the motors. Don't spin the motors too fast without a load, it won't be detrimental to them but it will deteriorate them.
Now take a prop and put it lightly on a motor without a nut, this will serve as a way to determine motor direction. You don't need to do it this way, but I find it to be easier than touching it with my finger.
Spin up each motor individually, they should each spin the same direction. But using the configuration screen as reference to motor direction, there will be two motors you will have to reverse. The way that I remember the direction, is the pitch of each propeller on every motor should always be pointed inwards at the front and back.
Take note of the motors that need reversing based on their number, it will either be 2/3 or 1/4, as long as the motors are wired correctly.
Now we will disconnect from BetaFlight and open BLHeli.
You may have to select a few things before you get going. First check to make sure that under Select Atmel/Silabs Interface, Cleanflight is selected (This was prior to betaflight but it has stayed the same in BLHeli).
Also you will probably have to click the Com Port drop down, and select the port that references Silicon Labs. This will change depending on the USB port you plugged into, in this case for me it was COM 10
Click Connect, and then Read Setup. It should open a window that systematically checks each ESC for settings. Your ESC's are probably out of sync, and this window will tell you that. The thing that is always out of sync is the Min and Max throttle settings, so we are going to set all of those so that they are the same and turn off Programming by TX. You can leave this on if you Want to, but I have found with the new firmware that it tends to cause the ESC's to have different individual settings.
I usually choose the ESC with the lowest Min Throttle and use it's settings on all of the ESC's, But sometimes this causes the motors to spool when they are not armed. So feel free to experiment if you want or need. So in my case my settings looked like this:
To write to individual ESC's right click on the ESC number, change the settings on each ESC so that the Min and Max all match. Click Write to apply the changes.
Remember the two motors that need to be reversed, now is the time. Write click the two motors individually and change the motor direction to reversed. Then click write setup
Now when you click Check in the lower right, it should list all 4 ESC's, none will say de-synced, 1 will be Master and 3 will be Slaves. The two you chose will be reversed, it may list the two Normal ESC's or the two Reversed ESC's depending on the suite version.
One last thing to do, set Minimum throttle in BetaFlight. You should also set the maximum throttle to the same number as the Max Throttle in BLHeli.
To set the Min throttle, open BetaFlight. Go back to the motors tab, (make sure your props are still off and antenna still on) check the "I understand..." bit, and turn up the motors or a motor until it makes a solid spool. You should be able to rub your finger on it and it will not stop spinning. If it is less than that it may make your quad unstable when your stick is all the way down.
Note: you can click on any of the sliders and use the arrow keys on your keyboard to adjust the slider more finely.
Take note of the throttle number that the motor spools appropriately at. Switch to the configuration tab and write the minimum throttle you recorded and the maximum throttle from BLHeli into the respective fields. Save and reboot, and you just have one check to make.
With the props still off, use the AUX switch you set as your Arm switch to arm your quad. It should smoothly spool the motors at minimum throttle and each motor should be spinning in the correct direction relative to that shown in the configuration tab. If this is the case it's time to try with props, Stand Back from the quad when doing this in an Open area like a lawn or driveway. Arm it and disarm it quickly to see if it is spooling up without doing anything crazy. As long as it is smooth you're in good shape, ready to fly!
It should look pretty similar to this video, this is the quad that I built in this how-to without any PID tuning or other differences from the how-to.
If you have any questions or concerns feel free to Call, Email, or Comment.