DJI Naza FlameWheel F550
This is my first HexCopter (multi rotor) build of any kind. I intend on using it as a video platform. For this project I just bought the entire kit from Century Heli. It's the DJI Flamewheel F550 combo. I also bought the optional GPS module.
The kit builds very fast, in one day if you have all the parts ready. You have to download the manual (assy and programming) from the internet, but at least you should get the latest version then. The only real problem I had was with the software. If you follow the DJI instructions exactly you will end up not being able to communicate to the NAZA come setup time. I'm sure this will be different on all windows platforms so you will have to muddle through this part yourself. What I did to finally get it to work was let it auto install the driver after plugging in the USB cable from the NAZA unit. The directions tell you to cancel this step. After I did that everything started working, well after a few retries and a computer reboot.
I will be flying using a 4S1P 5000mA or 6000mA Lipo pack. I read somewhere the 6000mA pack will give around 20 minutes of flight time. Pretty good I say.
Below is my build and comments along the way.
What's in the box!?
From inside the brown box.
Not sure why, but I have 8 inch and 10 inch sized props. I guess I have some for
testing, and some for flying. The 8 inch may be for the 450 sized kit, not sure.
Six little motors and opto-isolated ESC's rated at 30 Amps.
Six legs total, two red for the front, and four white for the rest. There are
only two screw sizes used, so pretty hard to mess those up. There is also
velcro for the battery, a wrench for the prop nuts, and some double sided tape.
The center section of the Hexcopter is pretty unique in that it is a printed circuit board. They do this
so the battery power can easily be bussed around the hex base to each ESC.
Here I am using the DJI manual to see where to solder the ESC leads.
So you first solder all the ESC's to the bottom base. The kit comes with leads for the battery which you must also solder on to
two solder pads. I already had some power pole leads made up from something else so I used them, and I used the leads from
the kit as accessory leads for future devices being added on. Here you should give some thought to whether you want to add
anything in the future, like LED's, or whatever, and solder on some extra power wires for them. You also have to solder on a module
called the 'V-SEN LED'. The DJI manual forgot to mention that and I didn't catch it so I had to go back and redo that soldering.
Would have been better to do this the first time around. You can see mine is not in the photo. I added it later.
Here I have started to assemble the legs. The screws provided have a nice shoulder on them
and fit very nice into the circuit board base. Don't over tighten them though.
I continued on with installing the motors. They only go on one way as shown here.
I tried to run the wiring different at first for a better look, but was not able to fasten
the screws to the motor then. So I just did it like this. The instructions don't tell you much.
I found the video on the Century Heli site and watched it a couple times before I figured out
which way the guy was mounting them. Just an FYI...
Next is the NAZA computer. It must be mounted as close to the C.G. as you can get.
I am using the mounting tape provided in the kit for it. My rcvr is mounted using some
thicker 3M tape. I mounted the sat rcvr on the bottom of the board using the tape provided.
I plan to move it to one of the legs very soon as I think that might give better reception.
Here I followed the instructions from the video I mentioned. I read somewhere that DJI
had this part wrong, I don't know. If you look at this like a clock, the red arm at 1 oclock
is motor #1. Then go counter-clockwise with #2, #3 and so on. Motor #6 should be at 3
oclock if you did everything right. Here is a link to the video I am talking about. Scroll down
to the bottom of the page and you will find it.
Almost ready. Just need to connect all the motors to the ESCs.
Here I have a temporary battery hookup while doing the setup and programming.
Here is the NAZA setup and programming software. Follow the
instructions for this step as they are pretty good.
I also found this video on YouTube. This guy does an awesome job of explaining the setup,
and how to setup a JR9503 transmitter for GPS use. Watch this and you will be saved hours
and hours of work. I was half way through my setup when I found this and I just stopped and
copied what this guy did. AWESOME JOB he did!!!!!
All programmed and ready to go.
A couple shots before it's, and my, maiden flight.
Yes, I am a MOPAR fan.
Here's a bad video using my home made hatcam of my maiden flight.
Remember I have never flown a quad or hexcopter before today.
Next I will be adding the GPs module and doing more flight testing,
and hopefully some better videos also.
Well that time went buy quick. I have already mounted, calibrated, and
test flown the F550 in GPS mode with great success I must say. I am very
impressed with this little hexcopter. I have none to compare it to, but it has worked
great almost from the get-go. I also figured out what I did wrong in the Atti mode. So I
also tested that mode and it worked great concidering it is a very windy day today. I am
going to wait for a calm day to do some gain adjusting. Here's where it is at this point.
Stay tuned for more updates.
A few more photos for this page.
I was concerned about breaking the GPS antenna in the event of a crash while I am learning how
this thing controls and handles. So I went shopping for a protective cover for the antenna. I found
an almost perfect fitting dome (soup dish my buddy calls it) for the job. Although it is a little heavy
the Hexcopter seems to handle it with no problem at all, and I am still only using the 8 inch props.
Now it was time to see how this thing handles.
I must say I am very, very impressed. The hexcopter will hold a hover position in at least a 22 mph wind. It will
probably do more, but so far that's the highest winds I have wanted to try it in. It will fly around just fine and then
when you need a break, just let go of the cyclic stick and it will hover there until you are ready to do more flying. I have
done most off my flying in GPS mode, and some in ATTI mode. It is still very stable in ATTI mode, but it will drift with
the wind. To be expected. Below are a couple photos of me flying it in GPS mode. You can see it hovers hands off.