Strap yourselves in, this is going be a tome.
So. I’d been thinking about FPV drones for a while, prolly 18 months or so, and maybe thinking about getting a ‘proper’ (DJI or similar) drone for longer than that. The cost always put me off, frankly. I wasn’t keen on spending around half a grand on something I might not use. A friend then, out of the blue, gave me a little Hubsan X4 for my 40th birthday and I enjoyed flying that, quite a lot. True to form, I lost it shortly after buying a stack of batteries and some spare parts for it. Everything sat around gathering dust.
My neighbour bought a second hand parrot recently for £not_very_much and it got me thinking again, so I started investigating. This hobby takes a lot of investigating. If any of you have ever tried to get into ecigs, the acronym minefield is as bad as, if not worse than that!
Anyway, after I managed to work out tf I was kind of looking for, I felt like I’d like to build one from scratch, never mind the complexity. I then stumbled across Unmanned tech shop. The difference with these guys is that they offered a kit, with all the matched bits, and also a recommended set of gadgets to go along with it to get you off the ground. Sold! Or, would have been if they had everything. In the end, I just ended up with the Martian III kit and the camera. Had to source all the other bits from elsewhere. Chaps, if you read this, I would have bought it all from you had you had stock!
So I ended up with:
Martian III 220 kit.
FPV200 HS1177 Camera and VTX Bundle Pack
Eachine EV800 goggle (near enough brand new, and less than half price)
3 x Tattu 1550 4S 75C
A2 cutting mat
60/40 solder reel
Shrink wrap cable sleeve
Flysky FS-A8S receiver (as recommended)
Flysky FS-i6 transmitter
Antex Soldering Iron
So you see, I was really starting from scratch! The very day after everything arrived, the unmanned tech team put up the Martian III build guide. What gentlemen! What scholars! I was rather wondering what I was going to do with it all, would have been totally sunk without it.
The toys start arriving:
Unpacking the drone kit. Didn’t really know what to expect, but was impressed with the carbon frame and blue motors. It might seem ‘budget’ to some you you peeps, but for the price, I was blimmin impressed with the quality of the components. Drones can be pretty ugly things, but with a carbon frame and blue motors, it’s off to a great start!
Getting it started:
Mmm. Blue. Also, wtf is this other thing? (I understand later!):
Watched a couple of soldering vids, didn’t want to go near the drone until I had at least some idea of what I was doing so these next few are nothing to do with drone builds. Not much, anyway. I include this bit to illustrate what a rank beginner I really am.
Let’s join 2 wires together. Hamfistedly? Yes, why not:
Why monsieur, with this heat shrink you are really spoiling us:
Effort #4, much neater:
Loosely fit motors and ESCs to frame as a dry run:
Nicked a knackered router from work to practice de-soldering on. Without going into too much excruciating detail (too late!), I desoldered a few bits and soldered them back on until I got vaguely comfortable with using the iron.
Note to self, when using hot things when tired, things might go wrong. Ouch. Ouchouchouch. What did you do Beaky? Why, internet friend, I picked up the hot end with thumb and forefinger. I particularly like the crispy golden colour:
Enough time wasting! Get on with real stuff. First go at motor -> ESC, was a bit tatty:
Second one was much, much neater:
All 4 cheeky soldiers ready to go:
Test mounted on the frame:
This next bit was the twitchy bit. After snipping the ESC power leads to the boards, there was no going back. This needed to be right first time. No pressure! I took my time and it seemed to work out rather well:
…and I was really chuffed with myself with the quality of the soldering, by and large:
There was one small hiccup - I was a bit careless with the iron and melted the thread of one of the stand offs. Have emailed unmanned tech to see if they will send another set out.
…and that’s as far as I’ve got up until now. I am thoroughly enjoying the build, and soldering is a lot less scary than I’d built up in my head. I’d again like to thank the unmanned tech team for the superb build guide, were it not for that I would have been in all sorts of bother.
Next step is to heed guide advice (again) and hook the flight controller up to computer to make sure it’s not buggered before soldering in.
More to follow!