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Quadcopter the Turtle: How to build

Posted by Henning Pedersen at

Latest guide, norwegian language available for download in PDF.

 

Here are all the parts of the turtle kit. (Without RC control and charger) 

Start by fastening the propeller protection in the end of the wooden arms. Tighten the ziptie as much as you can so the protection doesn´t slide off:

Use a cutting plier to remove the excess ziptie:

Repeat for all four arms:

Now it´s time for assembling the motors. Only use the short screws. The parts inside the circle are made for special propellers. You can keep them just in case.

First, screw the motor to the motor base plate. Notice the countersink, so the screw head goes all the way down into the plate.

Now add a drop of thread lock on each hole (better than super glue/epoxy if you want to remove the propeller mount later). If you don´t have thread lock, a soft, water based glue can be used, but avoid hot glue due to temperature changes in the motor. 

Mount the screws one by one

Wipe off excessive chemicals with paper cloth.

Repeat for all four motors.

Time to fasten the motor and the landing legs together! First insert the crosspin into the landing leg:

Then insert two zipties:

Then zip it all together:

Place the motor in the middle of the arm:

Repeat on all four.

Now it´s time to fasten the arms to the base plate. I prefer to mount them underneath.

Mount all four, so you will have something like this:

Now fasten the ESC with Rapstrap. Insert the slim tip of the rapstrap into the other end (- one hole). 

Then pull trough:

One rapstrap is long enough for two ESCs. Just cut it just above the ESC and use the rest one more time.

Now insert the battery strap. Notice the orientation and the placement of the plastic joint.

Now mount four nylon standoffs at the outer holes.

Use nylon bolts underneath the base plate:

Now mount the power distribution board with new set of standoffs. I recommend having the battery cable going backwards towards the "head" of the Turtle.

To get power to the ESC, they have to be plugged into the power distribution board. Notice the polarity: Black on black, red on red.

Do not mix the polarity as this will damage the ESCs when battery is connected!

Attach the radio remote with a small zip tie like this:

Now the center looks something like this:

Connect the motors to the ESCs with the three motor cables. They are all black because it doesn´t matter which motor cable that goes to which ESC cable. The order of the cables will influence the motor rotation, and can be changed later.

Time for installing the KK2 flight controller! Use the four philips screws.

The flight controller has various sensors, outputs and inputs. Let´s look at the board´s main components and connections:

Notice the voltage sensor, the piezo output, and the M1-M8 motor outputs.
Connect the following cables, while you pay attention to the polarity (red vs black):

  • One of the ESCs to the uppermost position on the right (M1)
  • The piezo speaker (Buzzer)
  • Battery measurement input (red plug)

The ESC will provide 5 volts needed for the flight controller to work. This current will also power the radio remote later on.

The buzzer and the voltage input is necessary for the Lipo alarm to work.

The Piezo buzzer can be mounted in the side with a small ziptie. You might have to temporarily unplug ESC bullet connectors.

Mount the battery under the Turtle. We want an even weight distribution so place it in the middle and hook the velcro strap over.

Before connecting the power, double check the polarity on all cables, especially the bullet connectors from the power distribution board to the ESCs! Red on red, black on black. 

Wrong polarity to the ESCs will make permanent damage!

All set? Plug the battery to the power board with the XT60 connectors. 

The KK2 board will light up and you will see a main menu like this: 

  • SAFE: Board is unarmed. Motors won´t start spinning
  • Self-level is OFF: the board will not level itself back to horisontal position. (Need to be switched ON later)
  • Battery: This is the battery measurement. A full 2 cell battery is 8.8 volts. A full 3 cell battery is 12.6 volts. 
  • Roll / Pitch angle: Indicates the angle of the controller after arming/disarming.

You might see an error message: 

ERROR: No YAW input

This is because we have no input from the radio control. To do so let´s look at the inputs on the KK2 board again:

This is the Turnigy 5X radio receiver. It has 5 outputs that must be connected to the corresponding inputs on the KK2 board:

  • CH5 must be connected to the AUX port
  • Rudder (rotate left/right) - RUD
  • Throttle (motor power / lift) - THR
  • Elevator (move forward / backward) - ELE
  • Aileron (move left / right) - AIL

Notice the order of S (signal), + and - (power to the receiver). You need the + and - to be connected at least in one cable, but you don´t need to connect them all. The signal pins are the most important. 

 That means instead of five cables, you can use three - turn one cable sideways to get rudder, throttle and elevator trough the signal ports.

Now it´s time to verify the flight direction connections. This absolutely crucial in order to control the quadcopter. This is how the directions are controlled in a standard (mode 2) radio control:

Also notice the ch5 switch and the dual rate. Dual rate on the 5X means it takes down throttle to 80% and the three other directions to 50%. This switch is activated when flipped towards you, but should not be activated at this stage.

Now power on your remote first, then plug the battery on the quadcopter and power on the KK2. Go to "Receiver test":

You need to verify all flight directions and the ch5 (auxillary). Take your time to do it right - otherwise you will not be able to stear! Move each stick and verify both the channel direction (eg left stick to the right gives a positive number on Rudder like "Rudder - 23 Right")

If you don´t get any signal at all, check if there is a constant green light on the receiver. If not, either is has not power, or it has not been bind. Please consult the 5X manual about the binding process. (Turn off transmitter, power on receiver, hold bind button while power on transmitter, then turn everything off and on again) 

 

If any of the flight directions have been reversed, use the reverse buttons on the bottom of the remote. I have them set like this:

There are a few other steps you need to program from the menu:

  • ACC CALIBRATION (follow instructions on screen)
  • MODE SETTINGS -> Self-level settings - AUX
  • MISC SETTINGS -> Alarm I/O Volts: 105 (set the voltage alarm to beep close to empty battery)
  • LOAD MOTOR LAYOUT “Quadrocopter X”
  • SHOW MOTOR LAYOUT 

This shows the rotation directions on all four propellers, and the motor channels they should be connected to. I recommend writing this information down.

Now power off and connect all the ESCs to the right motor outputs 1-4

 

    All done connecting the ESC - now they must be calibrated. This is called to "set the throttle range". This means that all the regulators must have the same reference point on what is 100% power. To do this you need a person to help you. 

    1. Make sure no propellers are mounted (safety)
    2. Power off quadcopter
    3. Power on transmitter and set throttle to max
    4. Hold down button 1 and 4 on KK2 board and keep holding during the process
    5. Connect the battery on the quadcopter
    6. Display will show "Throttle pass-trough"
    7. Wait approx. 3 seconds. You will hear a few beeps 
    8. Put the throttle all the way down
    9. A melody will sound. Wait until it´s finished
    10. Test the throttle up and down - all four motors should have the exact same speed
    11. Let go of button 1 and 4

    Phew! All done with programming!

    Time for propellers: Most propellers come with propeller adapter rings to fit as snugly as possible on the screw. Find the smallest one that can fit. On some propellers you don´t need adapters at all.

    Insert into the bottom of the propeller

    Place propeller on top of the motor propeller mount.

    Before fastening the propeller, we must make sure the motors spin the right way according to motor layout. 

    To get them started, we must arm the flight controller. Make sure you are on the main / startup meny. Move the left stick down and to the right. You should hear a sound, and a red light should turn on, display showing "ARMED"

    Give a gentle throttle and notice which way they are spinning.
    If the direction is reversed, simply swap any two of the three motor cables:

    Pay attention to the shape of the propellers. This is a clockwise propeller. It pushes the air down when rotating to the right.

    This is the design of propeller 1 and 3. Propeller 2 and 4 are counter clock wise and therefore has a mirrored shape:

    Propellers can now be fastened with a thin screwdriver, pin or similar.

    All set! 

     


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