Full Text Searchable PDF User Manual
D I Y
K I T S
Thank you for purchasing a 3DR Quad DIY Kit!
These instructions will guide you through assembling and wiring
your new autonomous multicopter.
Your 3DR Quad Kit contains:
Metal nuts (16)
Nylon nuts (8 plus 8 spare)
5 mm nylon bolts (28 plus 4 spare)
5 mm steel bolts (8 plus 2 spare)
25 mm steel bolts (12)
30 mm steel bolts (4)
Zip ties (8)
18 mm threaded spacers (12)
You will also need:
Black arm (3)
Blue arm (2)
850 kV motors with
bullet connectors (4)
10 x 4.7 SF (normal) propellers (2)
10 x 4.7 SFP (pusher) propellers (2)
Power distribution board
Power module with XT60
Deans connectors - male (4)
Phillips screwdriver (small)
5.5 mm (7/32) wrench
Double-sided foam mounting tape
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
2 mm (5/64) hex wrench
30 mm threaded spacers (4)
8 mm threaded spacers (4 plus 4 spare)
Two-wire RC receiver cable
Five-wire RC receiver cable
XT60 connector - male
Metal lock washers (8)
Rubber washers (4)
Motor collets (4)
Micro USB cable
4 mm JP1
6 mm PPM
3DR APM 2.6:
You may have opted to also receive:
3DR APM 2.6
3DR uBlox GPS+Compass:
3DR uBlox GPS
board with compass
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.
Threadlocking compound is an important component to ensure your motors remain
firmly attached! For application tips, check out this video:
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
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
Android OTG cable
Attach a threaded collet to the top of each motor using the
four small screws included 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 the
position on the plate marked with an arrow.
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
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 in the orientation show 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
three bottom holes using three 18 mm spacers
and six 5 mm nylon bolts.
For each hole, position spacer between holes,
and secure from each side with nylon 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 the 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 the 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.
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
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 yel-
low XT60 connector) to power module XT60 connector.
Place the APM 2.6 in the center of the APM plate
arrow on the case facing as shown
Use the mounting foam to secure the APM
to the plate.
Ensure mounting tape is firmly attached so the position of the APM doesn’t shift during flight.
For APM 2.5: Mount the APM to the top of the accessory plate.
For plus configuration: Mount the APM with arrow pointing toward blue arm.
Ensure arrow on APM
3DR APM 2.6
Power module with 6-wire cable
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.
PDB to APM wiring
Place the GPS module onto the square end of the accessory
plate with the
arrow pointing towards the center of the plate.
Use double-sided foam tape to secure case to plate.
Ensure arrow on
GPS points forward!
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
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, “-”).
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.
Match the correct control channel signal pin on the
receiver with its corresponding APM input signal pin.
AUX 2 (OPTIONAL)
AUX 1 (MODE SWITCH)
YAW / RUDDER
PITCH / ELEVATOR
ROLL / AILERON
APM Input Signal Pins
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
3DR Radio air module:
Attach antenna to 3DR Radio air module.
Connect telemetry cable to the air module
and to the APM Telem port.
Attach accessory plate to APM plate
Place accessory plate on top of APM plate, and align the four 30
mm spacers with the four holes in the accessory plate. Secure
accessory plate to spacers using four 5 mm nylon bolts.
30 mm spacer + nylon nut
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
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
MissionPlanner - MSI
(Microsoft installer package). For the same features as
Mission Planner for Mac, download APM Planner from
Mission Planner Downloads Screen
MissionPlanner - MSI - 1.2.62
Select MSI to download
most recent version.
Your Quad assembly is now complete! The following
steps will get you started configuring your copter.
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.
After selecting the 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.
Connect APM to your computer using the provided micro-USB cable.
Windows will automatically install the correct drivers for APM.
APM USB port
Connect APM to Mission Planner:
1 Select Arduino Mega.
2 Select 115200.
3 Select Connect.
Mission Planner’s mandatory hardware calibration steps allow you to
program and configure the APM autopilot for your copter.
Now you can connect APM to Mission Planner.
to install flight code firmware onto APM.
On the left side of the Initial Setup screen, select
You will need to
perform each of the calibration procedures listed under this menu.
: Select your configuration: Plus or X (cross).
: Select the options to enable the compass, to allow automatic declination, and
to select your autopilot type. Select
to launch the wizard, and follow the
: Check the box for
, and follow the prompts to cali-
brate the autopilot’s accelerometer. Make sure to wait a couple of seconds before and after
changing the positions of the copter.
: Turn on your RC transmitter, select
, and move all sticks and
switches to their extreme positions. Select
Click when Done
once the red bars are set for all
MOTORS & PROPELLERS
USE PULLER PROPELLER
USE PUSHER PROPELLER
Your copter includes puller 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 puller propellers to motors marked counterclockwise.
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.
: Move each switch on your transmitter to its available positions. Mission Plan-
ner will indicate the currently selected position with green highlighting. Select a mode for
each switch position, and select
: Failsafes are advanced safety precautions that can be very useful for your copter.
Consult the online documentation at
to learn more about configuring
and testing failsafes.
Complete all configuration procedures as described at
before attempting your first flight.
Show me! Watch videos demonstrating live calibration techniques at 3DRobotics.com/learn.
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 the APM
or other components. Always
complete the pre-flight checklist
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!
For more information about software, firmware, and flight behaviors, visit
the APM Copter community documentation project at
For customer support, contact us at
or call our
support line at
+1 (858) 225-1414
Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
For more assembly instructions and information about building and
configuring your copter, visit
Remove plastic rings from propeller package, select the one with the smaller 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 the washer and prop nut above
the propeller; tightly fasten prop nut to threaded collet.
Safety Check! Ensure writing on props faces up.