X550 Quadcopter build – Part 1 8

First time in my blog I am writing about a RC project. I am building my third quadcopter and thought its a good idea to document that here. It might help others who are new to multicopters, especially because I am doing a step-by-step guide with many many pictures. So lets get our hand dirty and have a first look at the components.

The Components

I find it sometimes difficult to choose the right bits to get a good setup. Most of the stuff I am buying for my RC hobby I am getting from Hobbyking. Similar to Amazon, there is a link “What other bought, which purchased this item”. This can be helpful and at least for the motors/props I followed the tracks of others. The quacopter kit is quite cheap and less than $20 (yes USD, like all prices I will mention here). Thats the kit I am talking about, the X550:

Hobbyking X550 Alloy/Fiberglass Quadcopter frame

This quadcopter frame is 10cm wider than the one I am currently flying. There is also a camera mount in the shot for this frame. So this could be a good platform for carrying a camera. For the moment, I ust plan to use it for sports flying, but motors should be strong enough, to carry a relatively heavy camera.

Here is the list of components I ordered together with the X550 frame:

Whats missing here is the most important part, the Flight Controller. I haven’t ordered one because I got from other project to HK KK Board controllers I want to use. One of them is modified with added Accelerometers, I was not to happy with the outcome but want to give it again a chance in this project.

My recommendation would be to use the new HK KK2.0 board, which comes with a display and more sensors than these old and simple boards. I am using it currently in my DJI F450 Flamewheel Quadcopter and love it.So these items needed to be bought as well, they were not on my list, because I got stock/left overs from other projects. If you want to build the X550 Quadcopter (or others), you need to buy these items as well.

For my project here I am using a modified HK KK V2.1 with Atmel 168PA Microcontroller. It uses the NextCopter Plus software, instead of the original Kaptain Kuk (hence KK). The board needs to get some modifications, which is not easy. Most of the components are SMD and a bit of re-wiring is necessary, to add an acceleormeter (something the KK2.0 controller already got btw). Fun part is, that the MuliWiiCong software is used, to do the setup and checks. Here is a screenshot how that looks:

MWCONF

But before we get into that stage, the quadcopter needs to be assembled. Some soldering monkey jobs are necessary and I will touch another challenge related to the ESCs. This cheap ESCs work quite well, but to get the optimum of performance, we need to flash another firmware onto them. The firmware called “Simon K” has become quite popular and the name of course referring to its authot. People also talking about “simonizing” the ESCs. With that firmware, the ESCs take a lot higher update frequency. It makes your multicopter fly like on rails… But that part later, lets get to the rather simple part…

Assembly

So here is a overview of the all the parts we have to put together:


For the assembly of the quadcopter you need a hex screwdriver. Its not difficult at all but if you wonder which part has to go where, you can get the manual from the Hobbyking website.

The assembly is really quick. The frame has a folding mechanism, but I don’t try to build it foldable. This would be too much of a challenge with all the wires. The arms are just held by two bolts. All nuts and bolts which are necessary to complete the frame are in the kit. The plastic gromments are coming below the screws, which are fixing the four white plasting holder of the center part. You can’t see them in the picture, they are at the bottom of the plate.

The landing gear on the 4 arms are looking very solid, just like the rest of the frame. But now they can be move around the arm, as only one bolt is holding it at the arm. When the motor mounts are installed, they will get additional support from the top and nothing will move!

The motor mount unfortunately doesn’t fit well onto the arms. The holes should be 4 more millimeters apart from each other. But thats something I was able to rectify with my Dremel too. I decided to make the inner hole longer and leave the outer untouched. Then the motor will have one perfect fix, where it couldn’t move in any direction. The second one will give the necessary support. It took quite soll time, as I had to fix 8 holes (top and bottom).


So after reworking the holes, it fits perfectly. The bolts for the motor mounts are included in the kit, but not the nuts! I was lucky to the right size in stock.

IMG_20121020_211736

After about 1.5 hours of work, the frame is complete with the motor mounts already in place. It looks large, in comparism to my F450 Flamewheel. Will be interesting to see how it performs.

Thats it for “Part 1″, the next part will follow tomorrow :-).

8 thoughts on “X550 Quadcopter build – Part 1

  1. Reply Andres Nov 8, 2012 14:46

    Hello! I’m building a quadcopter using the same frame as you did, I’ve found your posts very interesnting, and I’d like to ask you a few questions about your design.
    Which propellers did you use? I’m thinking of 9×4.7 propellers, but I wonder if this size is too big for this frame.
    Which motors did you use and how long can you fly the quad with the battery pack you chose?

  2. Reply admin Nov 9, 2012 16:44

    Hi Andres! I am using 8×4 Propeller. But I don’t think that 9×4.7 are too big for the same. Actually the frame itself is big and 8×4 might be a little small when you plan to carry some payload with it. My favourite propellers are this:

    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewitem.asp?idproduct=25818&aff=387352

    Also 8040 but this type is very robust, had crashed with my F450 frame, which is using them but they didn’t break. Just bend and I was able to bend them back and continue using them.

    Flight time on the X550 is about 8 minutes. With this motor/battery combo. I am using 2200mAh 30C. The motors are sucking quite some amps, my 20-28M on the F450 frame are more gentle. Even the ESCs are getting a little warm. But nothing to be concerned about.

  3. Reply Andres Nov 10, 2012 14:11

    Thank you for all the info, it’s been very helpful. I hope our project will be as successful as yours (we are designing our own control system)! As soon as we get our first results I’ll let you know!

  4. Reply inzKulozik Jan 17, 2013 21:03

    My setup for this frame: ESC Plush 18 amp, GWS 9x5x3 (need to be balanced!), motors NTM 2826 1000kV and lipo 3S 5000mAh 20C – about 16 minutes in air :-)

  5. Reply admin Jan 21, 2013 10:13

    That’s quite a good flight time. But it seems to be hard to get 3S batteries with more than 3000 mAh… Already thought about using 2×2200 and see how that goes.

  6. Reply Nithin Feb 26, 2014 09:28

    I’m trying to build a quadcopter on x550.But the Hobbyking KK2.0 LCD Quadcopter Control Board is no longer available in the Hobbyking store .so can you suggest a new controlboard that is suitable for the x550.

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