As part of my long range series I've decided on an objective for the buildand sourced the parts primarily from Amain Hobbies who are based in the US, and this article can be found here. These parts have been delivered and I have now completed the build process which is documented below.
If you are attempting a long range build then you are probably not new to quadcopter building. Regardless, please see below for some things that I light to have before I start a build
The Diatone GT-M7 is a lovely frame in my opinion with some nice features. It went together easily even without instructions although I did need a plastic M3 washer between the head of the screw and the frame that holds the front of the canopy to the frame. Picture below does the talking.
Motor and camera install
Nothing much to see here other than the fact that I love the loom tape that is available from banggood. It is very light and looks much tidier than electrical tape. Brother Hobby Returner R6 2306 1660kv Motors held on with all four screws each whereas I usually only use 2 on other builds
This is where it gets a little tricky due to the relatively tight space to work in. I did a lot of test fitting with various hardware and location of boards but a common element for all builds now is that I use proper long steel or stainless steel screws for the stack. This makes for much more positive mounting than those crappy nylon standoffs and allows for more variation in spacing. As it was the ESC ends up on the bottom, then the flight controller, then the vtx/dvr. I tried to sandwich the crossfire nano receiver between FC and VTX but it was a little too tight. GPS will go on top of the receiver until I get a go pro at which time I'll relocate to an arm. I'm pleased with the immortal-t antenna location which looks good and should give me enough range to meet my objective. I really like the VTX antenna mount which is clean and gives a sturdy base to get a long antenna on. A also like the pivoting cage which makes building and servicing a little easier given the tight space. All pictures below to cover off anything in more detail that warrants discussion
What would I do differently?
Anytime you get to the end of the build to see what you'd do differently and I'll quickly note some of the things that went through my head.
These VTXs still allow you to stack mount but offer more peripheral space.
That is it for the build, I've since powered on and setup software to confirm all is working and I'll cover this in the next article since moving to crossfire and setting up GPS took a little more work than I am used to. Maiden to follow after that, hopefully with DVR.
I'll try to keep the intro quick. I've been into FPV quads for nearly 2 years now and in that time have tried racing, micros, whoops and now freestyle. One thing I've always been curious on is long range given I live in a country with amazing landscape and scenery that is not heavily populated. It's not something to go into lightly - these rigs can often be more expensive with larger motors, batteries and electronics but the risk of losing them premanently increases exponentially through lost control or video link or mechanical or electrical fault - none of which mean you will lose a freestyle or racing quad given the proximity.
I make no apologies in buying from gearbest, banggood and hobbycool because they deliver internationally. However there are some premium products I want for my long range build that are just not available there. Based on this I've decided to get most of my parts from Amain Hobbies who have been based in California since 2004 with distribution and retail centres. I used to buy RC car parts from them years ago so it is nice to reacquaint myself with them now. They offer all of the premium brands I've been looking for with my longrange build, namely TBS for the radiolink, Video Aerials Systems (VAS) by Alex Greve and Brother Hobby for the motors and Diatone for the frame. Recently a number of their staff were affected by the 2018 wildfires and lost their homes and possessions so it's nice to be able to support the business that supports them.
The objective of this build is to get a range of approximately 3km maximum in clear air although in reality most of my flights will be 1-2km. I don't want to go far for the sake of going far, rather explore interesting places I wouldn't normally access by foot. Also I wanted to maximise flight time but not at the expense of power if needed. This meant the build needed to be as light as practical meanin I could use a typical 5" quad battery if not going to far or spend my weight on a really big battery for longer distances. Based on the above I settled on 7" propellers since there are a number of readily available well regarded options like dalprop, HQ and gemfan but I can still step down to 6" if required. I've also chosen to stick with 5.8GHz but have beefed up my receiving ability sbstantially to compromise. Radio link I went with the TBS crossfire, more details on everything below.
So that about wraps it up for this blog, I'll be back soon with details of the build and of course the review with flight footage. Links will be here as soon as the new article is active. If you found this or any article here useful, please use the like or share button below. All new links to the build will be updated here and on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/QuadifyRC