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Full Text Searchable PDF User Manual
D I Y
K I T S
Thank you for purchasing a 3DR Quad Frame Kit!
These instructions will guide you through assembling and wiring
your new autonomous multicopter.
F R A M E K I T
30 mm threaded spacers (4)
Your 3DR Quad Frame
Metal nuts (16)
Nylon nuts (4)
5 mm nylon bolts (8)
5 mm steel bolts (24)
25 mm steel bolts (12)
30 mm steel bolts (4)
Zip ties (8)
18 mm threaded spacers (12)
Black arm (3)
Blue arm (2)
Power distribution board
Deans to XT60 adapter
Deans connectors - male (4)
These instructions require some minor
soldering. If you’re unfamiliar with
soldering, our friends at Sparkfun have
some great tutorials that can get you
started, including this comic:
For an example of exactly what you’ll
be doing for this assembly (soldering
Deans connectors to ESCs), check out
Heat shrink tubing
8 mm threaded spacers (4)
Metal lock washers (8)
Rubber washers (4)
Two-wire RC receiver cable
Five-wire RC receiver cable
XT60 connector - male
You will also need:
Phillips screwdriver (small)
5.5 mm (7/32) wrench
2 mm (5/64) hex wrench
Blue threadlocking compound
These instructions show the complete assembly and wiring process for a 3DR Quad
using 3DR electronics. For assembling your Quad Frame Kit using other electronic
components, please adjust these instructions accordingly.
Double-sided foam mounting tape
Micro USB cable
4 mm JP1
6 mm PPM
3DR APM 2.6 Kit:
USB extension cable
3DR APM 2.6
3DR uBlox GPS with Compass Kit:
3DR uBlox GPS
board with compass
3DR Radio Telemetry Kit:
Attach motors to arms
Each arm of your Quad will have a motor attached to the top of the arm using two 5 mm steel
bolts and two metal lock washers. To ensure motors are securely bolted to arms, apply a
small amount of threadlock to each bolt before fastening.
5 mm bolts
Position holes in the bottom of the motor over
the two small holes on either side of the larger
hole in top in the of the arm. Secure with two
5 mm steel bolts (with a metal lock washer on
each bolt) by accessing through the two large
holes in the bottom of the arm. Thread the motor
cables through the arm using the hole in the side
of the arm. Repeat for all four arms.
Choose + or x
Your 3DR Quad can be flown in both + (plus)
and x (cross) configurations. A plus-configured
copter flies with one arm forward, while a
cross-configured copter flies with two arms
forward. While both configurations provide
excellent performance, cross is standard and
recommended for new fliers. For plus, use three
black arms and one blue arm when assembling your copter, and remember to specify plus
when choosing your frame orientation during software configuration. These instructions will
continue assembling a Quad in cross orientation.
x (cross) configuration
+ (plus) configuration
Threadlocking compound is an important component to ensure your motors remain
firmly attached! For application tips, check out this video:
. Only use
threadlocking compound on metal components; do not apply to any plastic parts.
Attach a threaded collet to the top of each motor using the
four small screws provided with collets. Apply threadlock to
each screw before fastening. Repeat for all four motors.
Attach top and bottom plates
Place the arm between the two plates so the two holes
in the arm align with the holes in the plates. Insert a bolt
into each hole and secure with nuts. For inner holes use
30 mm bolts and metal nuts; for outer holes use 25 mm
bolts and metal nuts. Add a rubber washer on top of the
nut on the inner holes.
For plus configuration: Attach a blue arm to only one
position on the plate.
Next add the spacers that will hold the power distribution board in place.
Using the four holes in the bottom plate shown across, align four 8 mm
threaded spacers, and secure from the bottom using four 5 mm nylon
Slide the battery strap through the two slots in the bottom plate.
The top and bottom plates will form the main frame by attaching to your copter’s arms.
Align plates as shown below, and attach two blue arms to one end and two black arms to
the other using the four pairs of holes as shown.
Install motor collets
Motor collet assembly
25 mm bolt + arm + metal nut
Outer holes use:
Your Quad has four legs, each comprised of two
landing gear pieces. To assemble each leg, align
two landing gear pieces and attach through the
two bottom pairs of holes using two 18 mm
threaded spacers and four 5 mm steel bolts.
For each hole, position spacer between holes,
and secure from each side with steel bolts.
Repeat for all four legs.
Attach legs to arms with leg pointing toward
motors. Align the two top holes in the leg with
the two holes in the center of the arm. Insert
two 25 mm bolts and secure with metal nuts.
25 mm bolts
Attach black arms here
Attach blue arms here
Inner holes use:
30 mm bolt + arm + metal nut + rubber washer
5 mm nylon bolt + 8 mm spacer
Place power distribution board
Solder connectors to electronic speed controllers
The power distribution board (PDB) allocates power to your copter’s motors. Place the PDB
in the center of your copter through the hole in the top plate. Align PDB so the four 8 mm
spacers insert into the four holes in the PDB. Secure with four nylon nuts
Electronic speed controllers (ESCs) regulate how much power is applied to each motor. To
connect the four ESCs to the PDB, you will need to solder the provided Deans connectors to
the ESCs’ black and red wires.
Solder Deans connectors to ESCs:
Add a half-inch length of heat shrink tubing onto
each ESC red wire and black wire. Solder the
positive Deans connector plug to the red wire
and the negative Deans connector plug to the
black wire. Shrink tubing over connections.
Add heat shrink and align wires to correct plugs.
Deans to ESC:
Negative = Black
Positive = Red
Connect ESCs to motors and PDB
The diagram below indicates the number of each motor. Starting
with the motor labeled
, connect the ESC three-wire cable to the
corresponding position on the PDB pins (M1 for motor 1, M4
for motor 4, etc.) with orange wire positioned farthest from the
adjacent Deans connector. Connect ESC Deans connector to PDB
Deans connector for that motor. Repeat for all motors and ESCs.
Quad motor order
Motor connected to ESC
Connect motor cable bullet connectors to ESC bullet connectors.
Each ESC should connect to only one motor.
ESC connected to PDB
Connect power module to PDB
Connect power module 6-position cable to the power module 6-position port. Place power
module in the center of your copter near the PDB. Connect PDB red and black cable (with
Deans) to power module Deans connectors. (If you opted to receive a power module with
XT60 connectors, you can use the provided Deans-to-XT60 adapter plug to connect the
power module to the PDB.)
Place APM 2.6 in the center of the APM plate
with the arrow on the case facing as shown.
Use double-sided foam tape to secure
APM to the plate.
Ensure mounting tape is firmly attached so the position of APM doesn’t shift during flight.
For APM 2.5: Mount APM to the top of the accessory plate.
For plus configuration: Mount APM with arrow pointing toward blue arm.
Ensure arrow on APM
3DR APM 2.6
Connect APM to power module and PDB
Connect the power module six-position cable
(red and black) to the APM PM port. Connect the
PDB four-wire cable (multicolored) to the APM
Outputs signal pins (top row). Ensure that the
wire originating in the position on the PDB pins
labeled M1 connects to the APM Output signal
pin labeled 1, the M4 wire connects to position
Locate the PDB four-wire cable (multicolored) and the power module
six-position cable (red and black); thread these cables up through the
slots in the APM plate where they can connect to the APM.
PDB to APM wiring
Attach APM plate to top plate
Now we’ll attach the APM plate to the top plate. The APM plate
connects to the ends of the four 30 mm bolts securing the inside
holes of the arms. Place the four holes in the APM plate over the
exposed 30 mm bolts on the top plate and secure with 30 mm
30 mm bolt + 30 mm spacer
Don’t secure the ESCs to the frame until you have confirmed that each motor spins in the
direction specified in the diagram above (see motor setup instructions at
3DR Radio air module:
Attach antenna to 3DR Radio air module.
Connect telemetry cable to the air module pins
(ensuring that the red wire aligns with the pin
marked 5V) and to the APM Telem port.
Place the GPS module onto an accessory plate with the arrow
pointing towards the center of the plate. Use double-sided
foam tape to secure case to plate. Position accessory plate
over the four 30 mm spacers protruding from the APM plate.
Ensure arrow on
GPS points forward!
3DR uBlox GPS with Compass:
Connect the 6-position to 5-position cable to the GPS
6-position port and to the APM GPS port (use top-entry
port not side-entry port). Connect the 4-position cable to
the GPS 4-position port and to the APM I
Wire additional components to APM
Radio control (RC) receiver:
To connect an RC receiver to APM, use the five-wire and two-wire cables provided with
Note: APM also supports one-wire PPM connection with supported receivers.
See copter.ardupilot.com for instructions.
Use the five-wire cable to connect the receiver’s signal pins to APM’s input signal pins.
Use the two-wire cable to connect power and ground pins between APM and the receiver.
APM inputs wiring
APM input pin numbers
Connect five-wire cable to signal pins (top row, “S”).
Connect red wire to power pin (center row, “+”) and
black wire to ground pin (bottom row, “-”).
Match the correct control channel
signal pin on the receiver with its
corresponding APM input signal pin.
6 AUX 2 (OPTIONAL)
5 AUX 1 (MODE SWITCH)
4 YAW / RUDDER
2 PITCH / ELEVATOR
1 ROLL / AILERON
APM Input Signal Pins
After connecting to APM, connect the five-wire cable to the receiver’s signal pins (usually
marked “S”, see channel diagram below), connect the two-wire cable red wire to a power
pin (usually marked “5V” or “+“) on the receiver, and connect the two-wire cable black
wire to a ground pin (usually marked “-“) on the receiver.
Attach accessory plates to APM plate
Place one accessory plate on top of the APM plate,
and align the four 30 mm spacers with the four holes
in the accessory plate. Secure accessory plate
using four 18 mm spacers. Secure second accessory
plate to the tops of the 18 mm spacers using four
nylon bolts inserted into the four holes in the plate.
30 mm spacer + 18 mm spacer + 5 mm nylon bolt
Complete plate assembly
Mission Planner is free, open-source software providing multiplatform configuration and
full-featured waypoint mission scripting for autonomous vehicles.
To install Mission Planner on your ground station computer (Windows only), visit
, and select
sort by date
Select the most recent (top)
MissionPlanner - MSI
(Microsoft installer package).
Mission Planner Downloads Screen
Mission Planner (6)
MissionPlanner - ZIP - 1.2.62
MissionPlanner - MSI - 1.2.62
MissionPlanner - ZIP - 1.2.60
MissionPlanner - MSI - 1.2.60
MissionPlanner - ZIP - 1.2.61
MissionPlanner - MSI - 1.2.61
Sort by date.
Select top MSI to
download most recent
Your Quad assembly is now complete! The following
steps will get you started configuring your copter.
After selecting the most recent MSI, read the
safety information and select
Open the downloaded file to run the Mission Planner Setup Wizard. Select the option to
proceed if prompted with a security warning.
Mission Planner Setup Wizard will
automatically install the correct device
Device Driver Installation Wizard
Mission Planner Setup Wizard
Launch Mission Planner to explore
the capabilities of your autonomous
Mission Planner will notify you when an update is available;
please always run the most current version of Mission Planner.
Mission Planner: Update Message
Mission Planner: Flight Data Screen
Before flying, complete Mission Planner’s configuration utilities,
including RC (shown on the next page), compass, accelerometer,
frame type, and flight mode calibrations. Visit
for complete Mission Planner instructions.
Mission Planner’s RC calibration utility teaches APM to work
with your RC transmitter. Open Mission Planner. Connect
APM to your computer using the provided micro-USB cable.
Windows will automatically install the correct drivers for
APM. In Mission Planner, select the COM port for
, set the Baud rate to
, and select
Turn on your transmitter, and ensure it is set to airplane mode (not helicopter mode). In Mission
Planner, navigate to
. Move the transmitter’s sticks and mode switches to all available positions until the red
bars are set at the extremes for each control. Select
Click when Done
to complete RC calibration.
APM USB port
Connect APM to Mission Planner:
1 Select Arduino Mega.
2 Select 115200.
3 Select Connect.
Mission Planner: Radio Calibration Screen
1 Select Initial Setup.
2 Select Mandatory Hardware.
3 Select Radio Calibration.
4 Select Calibrate Radio.
5 Move transmitter sticks and switches to all positions.
6 Select Click when Done.
MOTORS & PROPELLERS
Safety Check! Ensure writing on props faces up.
USE NORMAL PROPELLER
USE PUSHER PROPELLER
Your copter uses normal propellers (unmarked or marked “SF”) and pusher propellers
(marked “SFP” or “P“). The direction of each motor is shown above: add pusher propellers
to motors marked clockwise, add normal propellers to motors marked counterclockwise.
Remove plastic rings from propeller package, select the one with the larger internal
diameter, and insert it into the back of the
Add propeller to motor collet with writing
facing up in relation to the sky. Add metal
spacer and prop nut; tightly fasten prop
nut to threaded collet.
We recommend inserting a hex wrench
(2 mm) into the hole in the side of the
prop nut to get better leverage when
tightening prop nuts.
Complete all configuration procedures as described at
The following steps will ready your copter for its first flight.
The diagram across shows the correct rotation
directions for your Quad’s four motors: motors one
and two should rotate counterclockwise, motors three
and four should rotate clockwise.
The rotation direction for each motor is determined by
the connections between the motor and the ESC. To
reverse the rotation direction for a motor, switch two
of the three wires connecting the motor and the ESC.
Quad motor order
1. Connection between motor and ESC
2. Switch two wires to reverse motor rotation.
Before flying use zip ties to secure ESCs to the frame. Ensure that all wires are secured
so they will not become entangled in spinning propellers, are not too tight around corners
(no hard 90-180 degree bends), and do not pull on APM or other components. Always
complete the pre-flight checklist before takeoff (
ESCs and wiring
secured with zip ties
to learn about multicopter safety,
hardware and software configuration, using autonomous flight
modes, tuning, designing missions with waypoints and events,
troubleshooting, and more. Happy flying!
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