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3DR Quad Frame Kit Instructions Manual

Made by: 3DR
Type: Instructions
Category: Toy
Pages: 12
Size: 3.33 MB

 

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QUAD

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

 


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1

Accessory 

plate (2)

APM plate

Top plate

Bottom plate

30 mm threaded spacers (4)

CONTENTS

Your 3DR Quad Frame 

Kit contains:

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)

Landing gear 

pieces (8)

Black arm (3)

Blue arm (2)

Battery strap

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: 

learn.sparkfun.com/curriculum/42

.  

For an example of exactly what you’ll 

be doing for this assembly (soldering 

Deans connectors to ESCs), check out 

this video: 

youtu.be/3LJIQeKuLLU

.

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.

Frame:

Electronics:

 

»

Double-sided foam mounting tape

 

»

Soldering equipment

 


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2

2.6

Micro USB cable

4 mm JP1 

jumper connector

6 mm PPM 

jumper connector

3DR APM 2.6 Kit:

Recommended electronics:

USB extension cable
Telemetry cable
Air module
Ground module
Antennas (2)

Telemetry adapter 

cable

3DR APM 2.6

3DR uBlox GPS with Compass Kit:

3DR uBlox GPS 

board with compass

6-position to 

5-position GPS 

cable

4-position compass 

cable

3DR Radio Telemetry Kit:

FRAME ASSEMBLY

2

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 

and lock 

washers

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.

Thread 

cables

1

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: 

goo.gl/bM3MA

. Only use 

threadlocking compound on metal components; do not apply to any plastic parts.

 


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3

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.

5

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.

Top plate

Bottom 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 

bolts.

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

3

Motor collet assembly

25 mm bolt + arm + metal nut

Outer holes use:

4

Assemble legs

Leg assembly

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

18 mm 

spacers

Metal nuts

5 mm

steel

bolts

Attach black arms here

Attach blue arms here

Inner holes use:

30 mm bolt + arm + metal nut + rubber washer

Bottom plate

5 mm nylon bolt + 8 mm spacer

 


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4

1

POWER WIRING

Place power distribution board

2

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

- +

Soldered connectors

3

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. 

APM

2

CCW

1

CCW

3

CW

4

CW

APM 

1

CCW

2

CCW

4

CW

3

CW

APM

5

CCW

4

CCW

2

CCW

6

CW

1

CW

3

CW

APM 

5

CCW

2

CCW

4

CCW

3

CW

6

CW

1

CW

Quad motor order

Blue arms

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

Deans

Pins

Motor #

labels

 


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5

2.6

INSTALL APM

4

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.)

1

Mount APM

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 

points forward!

3DR APM 2.6

APM plate

3

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 

4, etc.

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

APM output 

pin positions

PDB wire 

positions

2

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 

threaded spacers.

30 mm bolt + 30 mm spacer

APM plate

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 

copter.ardupilot.com

).

 


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6

2.6

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.

4

Mount GPS

GPS module

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

2

C port.

5

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 

your Quad.
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

3  THROTTLE

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.

 


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7

6

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.

APM plate

Accessory plate

30 mm spacer + 18 mm spacer + 5 mm nylon bolt

Complete plate assembly

INSTALL SOFTWARE

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 

ardupilot.

com/downloads

, select 

Mission Planner

, and select 

sort by date

 (short link: 

goo.gl/Si5grC

). 

Select the most recent (top) 

MissionPlanner - MSI

 (Microsoft installer package).

Mission Planner Downloads Screen

Mission Planner (6)

  

« Downloads

Sort by: 

Title

 | 

Hits

 

 Date

 

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 

version.

Your Quad assembly is now complete! The following 

steps will get you started configuring your copter.

Accessory plate

 


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8

After selecting the most recent MSI, read the 

safety information and select 

Download

:

Download

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 

drivers.

Device Driver Installation Wizard

Mission Planner Setup Wizard

Launch Mission Planner to explore 

the capabilities of your autonomous 

vehicle! 

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 

planner.ardupilot.com

 

for complete Mission Planner instructions.

 


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9

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 

Arduino 

Mega

, set the Baud rate to 

115200

, and select 

Connect

.

Turn on your transmitter, and ensure it is set to airplane mode (not helicopter mode). In Mission 

Planner, navigate to 

Initial Setup

Mandatory Hardware

, and 

Radio Calibration

. Select 

Calibrate 

Radio

. 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.

1

2

3

Mission Planner: Radio Calibration Screen

1

2

3

4

5

6

Left Stick:

Right Stick:

RC CALIBRATION

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.

 


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10

MOTORS & PROPELLERS

Prop nut

Motor

Propeller

Plastic ring

Spacer

Collet

Safety Check! Ensure writing on props faces up.

COUNTERCLOCKWISE ROTATION:

USE NORMAL PROPELLER

CLOCKWISE ROTATION:

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.

CCW

!

!

CW

CCW

!

!

CW

CCW

!

!

CW

CCW

!

!

CW

Remove plastic rings from propeller package, select the one with the larger internal 

diameter, and insert it into the back of the 

propeller hub.

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 

copter.ardupilot.com

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.

APM

2

CCW

1

CCW

3

CW

4

CW

APM 

1

CCW

2

CCW

4

CW

3

CW

APM

5

CCW

4

CCW

2

CCW

6

CW

1

CW

3

CW

APM 

5

CCW

2

CCW

4

CCW

3

CW

6

CW

1

CW

Quad motor order

Blue arms

1. Connection between motor and ESC

2. Switch two wires to reverse motor rotation.

 


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11

SECURE WIRING

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 (

copter.ardupilot.com/wiki/checklist

). 

ESCs and wiring 

secured with zip ties

Visit 

copter.ardupilot.com 

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!

ADD-ONS

Available at 

Store.3DRobotics.com

3DR Radio Telemetry Kit 

915 Mhz (US)

$85.99

3DR Video/OSD Kit

$189.99

MB1240 MaxSonar-EZ4 

Ultrasonic Range Finder

$39.95

Spektrum DX8 8CH 

Transmitter

$429.99