<<< etheli.com Home Page

X550AIOP Quadcopter

My X550AIOP quadcopter uses the 550mm Hobbyking X550 frame and CRIUS AIOP v2.0 flight controller, running the MegaPirateNG port of the DIY-Drones ArduCopter firmware.  Its capabilities include GPS-guided return-to-launch and automated-waypoints navigation.  I have it setup for FPV flying, with on-screen-display and a pan/tilt camera.

One of the goals with this craft was to make it as low-cost as possible while still having a reliable quadcopter with lots of capability.  It's been a great success on both counts.  Adding up the parts cost (not including receiver, battery and FPV gear) the total is about $190.  With FPV gear (not including video goggles or display), about $315.

See here for a gallery of pics.
See below for a parts list and videos.

My experience with the inexpensive 2210N motors has been good.  To mount each one on the frame, I used a couple of the longer screws from frame kit, with a washer on top and a washer and M3 locknut on the bottom.  See these pics:  top bottom.  Things to keep an on are that the mount itself stays intact (it's made from two pieces welded together), all the set screws stay tight, and the prop adapters stay tight.  I use blue thread-lock on the set screws, and I put some on top of the M3 locknuts because the screws didn't come all the way through them.  I also put a small dab of thread-lock on the bottom of each the prop-adapter screw, but not too much because it can make them difficult to take apart later on.  It's good idea to check that all motors and props are tight before each flight.

The speed controllers are HobbyKing F-30A ESCs, which I flash-updated with SimonK firmware.  It's also possible to get pre-flashed ESCs, but they cost more.  I'm using GemFan 9047 props (2 normal and 2 reverse rotation); see the parts list below for links.  When doing the initial ordering of parts I recommend getting extra props and at least five each of the motors and ESCs, so as to have spares.

For power distribution on my build I soldered up a wiring-breakout cable, similar this one, and put bullet connectors on the ESCs.  A distribution board could also be used.  On my breakout cable I included a couple of JST female connectors for connecting a battery monitor and FPV gear to the battery power.

The CRIUS AIOP v2.0 flight controller is connected to the receiver using male-to-male servo leads, and mounted to the frame with 4mm-thick foam tape (a square piece on each corner of the controller board).  A bit of blenderm tape on each corner also helps keep things secure.  A top/bottom pic of the board is here.

The open-source ArduCopter firmware (developed by DIY Drones) is software that is loaded onto the flight controller and operates the quadcopter.  However, the ArduCopter firmware is only compatible with the ArduPilot Mega 2.5 (APM 2.5) or a direct clone like the ArduFlyer.  To use less-expensive controller boards like the CRIUS AIOP, the MegaPirateNG port of ArduCopter was created.  The MegaPirate ports supports almost all the features of ArduCopter, including being able to use the Mission Planner GUI software to configure the copter and load waypoints.  (MegaPirate requires more experimentation and tweaking to get running, so for many folks an APM 2.5 clone is a good way to go.)

The MegaPirateNG firmware needs to compiled and uploaded using the Arduino IDE (not the Mission Planner firmware-update function).  At the time of this writing, the latest-release version is 2.8R3, but there are beta versions with significant improvements, so on my X550AIOP quad I've been using v2.9R5-r295 firmware with patches for AMP_OFFSET and gimbal-mount-fix, and using an updated "libraries/AP_Baro/AP_Baro_MS5611_I2C.cpp" file from v2.9R7.  A copy of this patched firmware is available here.

A good resource is the Arducopter Tuning Guide by DaveC.  See here for settings that I've used.  An rcgroups thread on MegaPirateNG is here, and a CRIUS AIOP V2.0 hardware-and-features guide is here.

For GPS I'm using the ublox NEO-6M module, which works well.  The one from HobbyKing has a default baud rate of 38400, so the default value for 'SERIAL2_BAUD' in the "APM_Config.h" file does not need to be changed.  I've programmed the custom configuration "3DR-Ublox.txt" into the unit, as per the instructions here (for the reasons why see here).  I built an FTDI adapter cable (like this one) to connect the GPS to the computer; here is the pinout:
    NEO-6M   FTDI
 GND  --  GND
 VCC  --  VCC
  RX  --  TXD
  TX  --  RXD
After the ublox GPS is programmed to the "3DR-Ublox.txt" configuration, the 'GPS_PROTOCOL' value in the "APM_Config.h" file needs to be set to 'GPS_PROTOCOL_UBLOX'.  See here and here for a cheap FTDI adapters.  See here for a discussion of ublox LEA-6H vs NEO-6M.  See here for a picture of the NEO-6M showing the pin labels.  The battery on the unit is a Seiko MS621FE.

Here are connections I have to the "SERIAL 1~3" connector on the CRIUS AIOP:
TX1 --
RX1 --
TX3 -- MinimOSD RX
RX3 -- MinimOSD TX
+5V -- GPS VCC, MinimOSD +5V
For battery-voltage monitoring, I have the positive-battery connection going through an 18K/3.9K resistor divider and into the A0 input of the CRIUS AIOP.  The 'VOLT_DIVIDER' value is 5.356.  For current monitoring, I have an Allegro ACS758ECB-200B-PFF-T current sensor soldered onto the positive-battery wire, with its output going into the A1 input on the CRIUS AIOP.  The 'AMP_PER_VOLT' value is 80.0.  For this to work the firmware needs to be patched to have an 'AMP_OFFSET' setting (which I have set to 2.54), as described here.  An improvement would be to run the sensor output through an amplifier ciruit (using an op-amp like the TLV2371) so that a current range of 0-100 amps corresponds to an output range of 0-5 volts.  An easier way to do voltage and current monitoring is to buy a pre-built sensor board -- information on that may be found here.

I have an RSSI (Receiver Signal Strength Indicator) input setup, displayed as a percentage value on the OSD (on-screen display).  Details on the circuit I built for it are here.  I have it connected to the A3 input of the CRIUS AIOP, and the ArduCopter 'RSSI_PIN' parameter value set to 3.  I found that I could not get see the RSSI input value in the Mission Planner program (v1.2.36), but it displayed on the OSD.

I fly the X550AIOP with a Futaba 7C transmitter, on which I have switches setup to select between up to six different flight modes.  See here for more info on that setup.

Parts List:

Hobbyking X550 Glass Fiber Quadcopter Frame 550mm 9323000036 $19.53

CRIUS AIOP V2.0 ALL IN ONE PRO Flight Controller [AIO-V2.0] $56.99

Hobby King 30A ESC 3A UBEC (USA warehouse) F-30A $10.15

2210N 1000Kv Brushless Motor (USA Warehouse) AX-2210N $7.67

Propeller Adapter (Colet Type) 3mm PA-3MM-5MM-A $1.65

GemFan 9x4.7 Orange, Green, Black GF9x4.7 $1.25

Turnigy 4000mAh 3S 30C Lipo Pack (USA Warehouse) T4000.3S.30 $23.86

Hobby King Battery Monitor 3S HKing-3S $3.99

NEO-6M GPS Module 387000004 $21.99

Futaba R617FS 7-Channel 2.4GHz FASST Receiver FUTL7627 $84.98

10CM Male to Male Servo Lead (JR) 26AWG (10pcs/set) 258000011 $4.00

2.8mm 120deg 4-24v Wide Voltage micro cctv camera 520tvl HD 0.008 Low Lux $36.19

1.2GHz 800mW 8 Channel Digital Wireless AV transmitter & receiver $61.41

FPV Fiberglass Pan-Tilt Camera Mount L-Size (USA Warehouse) Q005 $5.20

HXT500 5g / .8kg / .10sec Micro Servo (USA Warehouse) $3.45

On-Screen Display OSD Board MinimOSD APM Telemetry to APM 1 and APM 2 $14.88

HXT 4mm Gold Connector w/ Protector (10pcs/set) AM1009x10 $3.90

Female JST battery pigtail 12cm length (10pcs/bag) AM-9017A $1.70

Male JST battery pigtail 10cm length (10pcs/bag) AM-9017B $1.70

JST Female 2 pin connector set (10pcs/set) AM-1024Bx10 $0.71

JST Male 2 pin connector set (10pcs/set) AM-1024Ax10 $0.89

Peel-n-stick foam tape. 10x5inch 4mm thick ST-FOAM-DB $1.29

Polyester Velcro Peel-n-stick adhesive side V-STRONG (1mtr) HLFT-01 $2.39

Hinge Tape, 1 Roll (Blenderm 1"x 5 yards) 40-002 $2.99

Alternate parts:

SK-30A SimonK Firmware Multicopter Speed Controller ESC 30A $12.49

OPTO 30A SimonK Firmware Multi-Rotor ESC OPTO-30A $12.49

iFlight MultiMate 30A ESC with SimonK Firmware MS30A $18.95

eRC "Rapid Drive" 25A Brushless ESC ERCE025RD $19.99

2210N 1000Kv Brushless Motor AX-2210N $7.55

Propeller Adapter (Colet Type) 3MM GON-D3T6 $1.02

GemFan 9x4.7 Normal Rotation - Green GF-9047-GRN $1.75

GemFan 9x4.7 Normal Rotation - Orange GF-9047-ORG $1.75

GemFan 9x4.7 Reverse Rotation - Green GF-9047R-GRN $1.75

GemFan 9x4.7 Reverse Rotation - Orange GF-9047R-ORG $1.75

Turnigy 3000mAh 3S 30C Lipo Pack (USA Warehouse) T3000.3S.30 $21.28

FrSky TFR6 7ch 2.4Ghz Receiver FASST Compatible TFR6 $20.29

600TVL SONY SUPER HAD CCD D-WDR Color Board Camera with OSD Menu DNR PZ0420 $45.00

15CH 700MW Wireless AV Video CCTV Receiver Transmitter $62.98 (USA)

15CH Wireless 700mw CCTV A/V Transmitter Receiver $48.50 (China)

Arduino Wireless Serial 4 Pin Bluetooth RF Transceiver Module RS232 w/ Backplane $9.49

Multiwii MWC FC Bluetooth Module Programmer 9387000011 $7.49

Multiwii MWC FC Bluetooth Module Use For Android MWC-Bluetooth $7.99

X550AIOP FPV 808#16 Holden Field Tom's DLG:

New Braintree Cub Located using Quadcopter 2013-06-03:

Click here to contact me

Back to etheli.com home page

ET Heli