Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Quadcopter Drone - Receiver Wiring & Antennae Mounting

Haven't had a chance to do much in the last two weeks, but I was finally able to sit down for a bit and make some progress on the drone.  First up, going to show what I have done with the Receiver, both connecting it to the flight controller board, and setting up the antennae.  Here is what the receiver looks like out of the box, with the "whip" style antennae.  I have been reading that for the best possible signal reception, the antennae should be mounted at a 90 degree angle from each other, so I will show how I achieved that on my Drone.


The Receiver itself is mounted to the frame using Velcro tape so that if needed, it can be easily removed.  Before attaching it to the Drone, I plugged in the servo leads, and labeled them to make it easier to keep track of which cable is which.

Here are the same leads, again labeled with Roman Numerals, plugged into the Flight Controller.  

Now that the Receiver is mounted to the frame and wired up, its time modify the antenna.  As mentioned before, I wanted the two whips to be set up in a 90 degree angel, so this is what I did to achieve that.  Using some acrylic leftover from my most recent Liquid Cooled PC Mod, I cut a small block and drilled a few holes into it.  I then inserted antennae tubing into the holes, which are set up with the 90 degree angel and the whips can go directly through them.

Here is a close up of the tubing with the whip pulled through and capped off with a rubber end cap.

And here is the setup attached to the frame next to the Receiver.  I used double sided tape and zip ties to secure the antennae mount to the frame.  It is very secure, and I am pleased with how it turned out.  

The next thing I had to do was change out the connector on my batteries.  They came with the "bullet" type connectors, but for use on my Drone, and to charge them, I needed to change it out with a TX60 connector.  Nothing too complicated here, just cut off the bullet connectors, and soldered on the TX60 leads.

Here is the finished connector, with heat-shrink tubing applied. 

And here we have the battery charging with the new connector, hooked up to my Turnigy Accucell.

Now we are going to attache the LED indicator and Speaker to the Flight controller.  Out of the box, the KK2.1 flight controller only comes with the speaker.  The speaker gives audible chirps to notify of status and errors with the flight controller.  This works great up close, but not whey the Drone is more than a few hundred feet away.  So an LED is needed for visual indicators.  

I purchased the LED on eBay, and then modified the wires on the Speaker to match.  Both the Speaker and LED can be plugged into the same port on the flight controller, so to use both at the same time, I made a Y adapter with FST connectors.  I would have done the same twisting wire look with the Y-connector, but I ran out of the wire I needed, so just did a few turns instead.

The speaker is tucked inside the frame and is not visible from this angle.  The LED was attached to the back of the Receiver, which is the "back" of the Drone, so I can see the indicator while in flight.  Going to set things up to that as the battery loses its charge the LED will flash faster and faster to let me know when its time to head back.

Now that everything is plugged into the Flight Controller, I figure its a good time to show a pin layout for the board, along with a bit of explanation at to where things get plugged in.  The leads from the receiver control plug into the left side of the board.  On the right is where the ESCs are connected, and control the motors.  I actuallly have to make one small modification with lead #1 to provide power for the the flight controller, but that will be in a future post.  

Last we have the LED / Speaker indicators that we just went over, and the Voltage Monitor.  The Voltage monitor basically just allows the flight controller to know what the battery level is at, and uses the speaker and LED to show that battery status.  Battery status will also show up on the LCD screen.

Next up I will show what I have done to give my Drone some Directional LEDs for night flying.  Thanks for stopping by.

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