Building an F450 quadcopter – Day 1 – A lot to learn

Before I lost my Phantom FC40 in an unfortunate series of events I was enjoying modifying it almost as much as flying, so building a replacement from the ground up seemed like the perfect therapy to put my loss behind me.

As a bonus, my daughter (S) was into building it with me and so that would just make it extra special.

f450After some research I opted to build a DJI F450 quadcopter.  I ordered all the part and, since many of them were coming from China, I started waiting.

First to arrive was the APM Flight Control, followed quickly by the Turnigy 9X transmitter (TX) and a receiver (RX).

Following along with some excellent instructions from the Painless360 YouTube channel I installed the Mission Planner software, plugged in and started going through the motions.

IMG_1519[1]All went well up to the point of calibrating the compass.  On the video he waved the unit around and the screen was magically filled with dots as the compass data was fed back.  I waved mine around and…nothing!  I tried several times without results, waving the unit like a lunatic with S watching, before I realized that I had the 2.6, which has a separate compass module.  I found the compass and GPS unit and then realized I had no idea where to plug it in.  Since it was hard to find I’ve included a picture of how it should be here.

Screenshot 2015-01-12 21.42.17Next I played around with using the Mission planner software, liking how it showed where I was (because it had my GPS location) and the direction the controller was facing.  Except…it wasn’t showing the direction the controller was facing at all!  Did I have a dud?  No…once again I had been caught out because the compass is ON A SEPARATE WIRE!  It was showing me the direction the COMPASS was pointing, not the controller.  Duh!

Finally I found myself missing a bunch of small connectors (something that would prove to be a recurring theme) and, with no way to connect the RX to complete the setup,  day 1 of the build ended.

So far…nothing terrible or too scary.


***  Post complete build update ***

Below are links to the parts list (including prices) and a playlist of useful videos I put together during the process.  Enjoy!

==>>  Parts List  <<==

==>> Video Playlist <<==

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