My Tricopter build thread

4, 6, 8 and any more if they make them...
Deadcat, quad, pent, hex, octo...
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Coburg
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My Tricopter build thread

by Coburg » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:42 pm

Well with summer on the way and looking for this year's cabbage white shredder, this year I'm going for a Tricopter. Why you ask well after watching this video you know you just have to!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hLjhevIUj0&playnext_from=TL&videos=GnVasRspF88[/youtube]

Basically it a very simple beastie that relies for control on gyro’s and ECCPM from your favourite TX, in my case a DX6i.

So to start off the basic parts list and costs. These are the basic items to get the dam thing in the air and the prices are typical. If I really like this thing I may splash out on Hyperion or Scorpion etc but to get started I plan to keep the costs down... we sorta...
3 off 2210N 1000Kv Brushless Motors £45.00
3 off Prop Savers £4.00.
3 off 10x4.5 Slow Fly Props £2.00
4 off iMAX G192 Gyro’s 50.00
3 off Hobbywing 18 Amp ESC & £32.00
D95MG High Torque Digital Servo £14.00
Misc Connectors, switches and cables ~£15.00

Now so far we are looking at a basic cost for the electrics of around £160.00.

As for the air frame they can be had for about £5.00 form any DIY store if you make them form wood, or you can go for ply and old heli booms, of go the whole hog and get a rather snazzy G10 jobby. Needles to say with all the money I had not spent on the electrics I went for the $70.00 G10 job.

Now all I have to do is wait for the dust to settle and Air Mail to start to catch up with the backlogs and then I can start the build. In the mean time as most of the Electrics come from UK suppliers I can at least hopefully this week start on building wiring harnesses and testing some of the controls
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by benjomeen » Wed Apr 21, 2010 7:57 pm

do they fly like helis ? once u tip it in does it carry on going that way or does it kinda self right ?

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by Coburg » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:09 pm

From what I can find out, and until I actually have built my one they fly just like a heli in that each motor generates the trust that you would get for a given collective pitch movement. You still have the 3 collective movements of Aileron, Elevator and Pitch controls and yaw form the rudder which is achieved by changing the trust line of the Elevator motor by tilting the motor. Where you seem to win is that you can use the cheap gyro's to give you some of the stabilisation that Helicommand etc gives to take some of the stress out of flying.

Another thing I like is the relative low energy in the moving parts and the seriously reduce price of blades :lol:
Mike.
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by Coburg » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:21 pm

Oh yes, nearly forgot and they do loops and you can still cut the shrubbery!

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkmoRuXbHQU[/youtube]
Last edited by Coburg on Thu Apr 22, 2010 6:38 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by benjomeen » Wed Apr 21, 2010 8:26 pm

right thats it guys am building one of them bad boys straight down to brc hobbies the morra get my self some esc's and motors . i think i have a few rate gyros from the old king 2 days :) am gunna go look in the loft . they look awesome and proper fast

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by Coburg » Fri Apr 23, 2010 4:10 pm

I take it you havn't finished your yet then Ben? :lol:

Not much to report myself other than the UK parts have turned up so I am starting to make up some of the cable assemblies and get some testing done. The key missing items are the gyro's and the frame so I'm in the hands of air mail gods for that :cry:

Image

Never mind eh :D

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by benjomeen » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:13 pm

i went and bought the three escs 3 motors and props today and some balsa to make the frame , i had planned on putting it altogether today but work kept me busy and that takes priorty . i have to make money to fund my addiction or all things flying and after duffing the raptor 100 quid to fix and buying that stuff today i needed cash in so , looks like tomorrow now. but it looks really simple to build and setup just a few hours or so and it will be flying . what have u decided to make ur yaw movement motor . i think am gunna use a old feathering shaft and a old blade grip and mont some wood to that then then the motor . i think initally i will set up with out yaw and get the think flying and hovering perfect then set up the tail function .

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by Coburg » Fri Apr 23, 2010 6:40 pm

Looking on the net most people seem to have gone down the blade grip path as it is nice and simple and the parts are easy to find in the bits box. The G10 frame kit I have on order is an adaption on the blade grip with what looks to be a swash anti rotation bracket for the servo arm to run in so no ball link required.

Started to get the ESC and motors linked up and all has gone well, but not too impressed with the 3 pin EC5 connectors, the plastic is not a stable as I have on the 2 pin but we shall see what happens as the build progresses. I have set the ESC's to my heli defaults (soft start, no brake etc) so that is all done and got neat 16 amp rocker switch so allow the gyro's to settle before applying power to the ESC's so I won't have to worry about the time the gyro's take to initialise.

Now all I need is the frame and my gyro’s to turn up and I can get this build going.
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by benjomeen » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:27 pm

i found a good idead for a tail control on youtube giz a min al post a link

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by benjomeen » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:27 pm

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pIBqzTtdpMg&feature=related[/youtube]

looks simple enough

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by Coburg » Fri Apr 23, 2010 8:29 pm

Just to pass the time, this is the G10 frame I have ordered from a company called Averticalview, who are in the Netherlands and therefor the prices are euro's and not dollars :shock: . I have seen several assembled ones on the net and they look to be up to the job.

Image

I'm planning on makeing use of some old 450 landing gear for legs on mine. Will do some drawings of the electicals over the weekend if I get chance and as you say Ben they are very simple things with a few moving parts and from the looks of it you don't need high end fancy bits to get it all in the air in a flyable form.

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by benjomeen » Fri Apr 23, 2010 9:14 pm

am basically gunna use two ply disc 8 inch with three legs made from balsa . not sure of size yet but maybe about 450 mm or so long will be nearly sorted tomorrow tho shouldnt take much doing .

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by Coburg » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:47 am

That Yaw control vid is a nice one Ben and well worth going with as very little wear and easy to build from old heli bits. Doesn't matter even if the bearings are a little rough :lol: .

For a decent size use 450 tail booms as they are close enough and easy to get fitted with servo mounts to allow things to be attached.

My DC cabling looks like this ....

Image

and now just stuck for parts so looks like your going to get flying first Ben.

Mike.
Last edited by Coburg on Sat Apr 24, 2010 7:24 am, edited 1 time in total.
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by Coburg » Sat Apr 24, 2010 6:59 am

I take it you have seen this build report Ben?

http://www.rcexplorer.se/projects/trico ... opter.html
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by stevespaña » Sat Apr 24, 2010 1:57 pm

Hi guys,
I'm going to follow this thread with interest as I reall fancy doing one of these myself.
Can't wait to see how they develop.

Steve.
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by benjomeen » Sat Apr 24, 2010 8:45 pm

right ok i stuff to report .
i got mine built today . and well i can say the test flight was interesting to say the least . i built mine with two 8 inch disc's of ply and 3 x 1/2 balsa wood stips for the legs with 3 play motor mounts . i did a static thrust test holding the tricopter while my mate jimmy powered it up . wow some power it has. but this is its downfall . it pulled one of the motors clean out the mount and chucked it across the garden cleanly snapping the three brushless wires out the motor . had a look they were too short to repair grrr . and guess what i dont have another motor the same so will have to wait till monday to get one . anyway . i rang gary who just so happened to have a motor similar but as it happened was a higher kv . no good . regardless i chucked it on to try it to see if i could trim it out via transmitter . no chance was the answer to that . motors have to be matched very close . any way while i was doing that i set my gyros up some where near . and at the time also realised two more things . the 3 esk rate gyros need to be centered as most know to get the gyros to initilise . this means that the throttle stick and the cyclic stick both need to be central . untill they initilise. then the three escs need to initilise .which means u have to lower the throttle stick then with cyclic stick move to bottom left then bottom right to give low positions for each esc . well this is where is found another problem . if u dont do this fast enough u will initilise only two escs. and when u try and move the stick to get the other to start the to that have booted up will power the motors and the tricopter will tip over and bust its self up . at the min i havent figure another radio setup bar the standard ccpm setup i am using . it may be possible to set up differently . i aint sure yet . thing is with this setup is that once the esc starts up ther is no way of stoping all three motors at once. unless i fit seperate fail safes to each esc and set the limits on them then i can just turn of the tx to stop all three motors .

anyway . here is a photo of the tricopter so far . messy i know but this is mk1 prototype and i can gaurentee that the frame will be changed to alimillion or carbon fiber or some thing stronger then the balsa i have used to test the setup . it has of yet no tail rotor system .( yawing of elevator motor ) just cause i wanted to get the thing to hover and work first . i thought it wouldnt spin due to it having three motors but it does . i guess this is cause its a odd number or motors i belive helis with two rotors counter torque and i herd quad copters do too so i guess its down to odd number of blades rather then even number ..

monday will see the arrival of a new motor and the instalation of a hh gyro and tail servo and yawing mechinism . but at the min am pretty happy it will fly good and one thing for sure is that it will motor vertically . it has plenty of go . it will shift like a home sick angel :)

pics to follow just uploading some

Image
Image
Image

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by Coburg » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:48 am

Good Job Ben! :D

The problem with the ESC and gyro initialisation seems to be a commoon problem. The way people have got aroud that form what I have read up on it the have seperate power switches forthe ESC's. That way you power up in two stages, stage 1 connect battery, and have power to the reciver and the gyro's. The or course require now that you have a seperate BEC and not use the BEC outputs form the ESC's. Once the Gyro have initialised (and yes you have to have this with mid stick set) then you can lower the throttle and then power up the ESC's. This will also allow you to set the throttle range on the ESC's when you first put it all together.

The thrust is very high form the setup and you certainly need to have matched parts as it would be very easy to get out of balance. A low KV moter and a quick ESC are vital. Some people who have used the Tower Pro ESC have bypassed some of the damping circuits on the ESC and others have recoded the firmware on others to get the performance. I will have to wait for my bits to turn up be fore I can actually test this out. :(

This video shows the problem well...

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JHqHZisd91I[/youtube]

Testing a single channel on the bench it seems ok but will only know for sure when it's all together. Another thign that may help is to have longer booms, about 24 inches seems the upper reaches, and with 16 at the lower end before you have to resort to specific flight stabilisation systems like the Flymentor and Copliot, and another thing to watch for the the dreaded vibs as these will also cause issues and alot of the ones I have read up on, have the motors cable clipped to the frames and a rubber isolator also installed under the motor to keep the gryo platform isolated for the noise, just like heli's really :lol: so the normal rules still appply when setting up and fault finding. The morot mounting I plan to use is a rubber pad and nylocks on the bolts so the motor is actualy bolted on but still has a rubber isolator under it.

Mike.
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by benjomeen » Sun Apr 25, 2010 7:56 am

last night i ordered alloy sqare hollow bar 20 mm and some carbon fiber cloth . i aint sure if i am gunna use the same frae as i have and just coat the balsa legs with carbon fiber or use allimillion . will stck to mk1 prototype till its flying then make number 2 after then

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by Coburg » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:07 am

Gona have to built this on my workmate as the wife won't let me drill holes in the dinning room table anymore :shock:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ligsVgQJsrI[/youtube]

Much simpler that a turntable though :lol:

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by Coburg » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:26 am

For the ESC gyro gain control I'm going to use the throttle channel so have now added an extra wire to the BEC connector to allow me to connect the 3 gyro gain channels together.

Image

So on the DX6i I have now set a flat line curve for the throttle at a nominal 35% across the board as that is the nominal level I have for rate mode on the 450 heli's.

For the complete setup only time will tell what actualy has to be done and what order but my theory is to start on the table, and with the rudder set to a nominal position to stop the yaw rotation, use the sub trims to get a balanced hover. Then tweek the gyro gain to get a decent responce to pitch and roll movements just as if you were setting up a heli tail. The key here is to have enough gain but not too much as to get the wobbles so again seems to be just like a heli.

Once all that is done then do a normal setup on the rudder channel, again the same as I would a heli, i.e. enough gain to keep the tail solid, but not so much as it starts to hunt.
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by Coburg » Sun Apr 25, 2010 9:46 am

Just thinking about the arming of the gyro's Ben, perhaps one solution would be to make use of throttle hold as this can then be set on the TX to 50% when on That way the startup sequence would then be, turn on TX, set THold, power up the RX and Gyro's, let it all startup and settle, then just knock THold off when your ready to power up the ESC's?

Just a thought as it does make good use of an otherwise spare switch on the TX? :D
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by benjomeen » Sun Apr 25, 2010 4:07 pm

yeah but ur forgetting one thing . the escs will on initilise with the throttle right down and also each servo channel at minimum . which means cyclic stick at bottom from each corner to corner do u understand . ah but i just had a brain wave . reduce the downward travel on the elevator and aileron and pitch so that it cant go lower then the posistion it would be at at bottom throttle. cause its setup like a heli u got remember at bottom throttle the cyclic servos aint bottom to . if that was the case there would be no cyclic control at full negitive ( if you think of it as a heli ) so if i put in travel adjust on the downward movement of the channels it should make the bottom throttle posistion the same as the lowest stick posistion i hope . actually thinking about it . its not gunna work . grrrr . if anyone understands it or has a soulotion let me know

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by Coburg » Sun Apr 25, 2010 5:11 pm

Ok, just tested on single chanel here and seems to work fine.

Have used the throttle chanel for the ESC gyro gain channel to have level line set of ~40%. Have also set throttle hold to 50%.

Power up sequence, TX on, with no power to ESC's, power up RX and gyro with Throttle hold switch to on. Let gyro initialise. Once the gyro's are up, turn throttle hold to off, move throttle to max. Power up ESC, after the two beeps, set throttle to min postion, get single beep,(setting throttle range) now motors run on up on both sticks as you would expect.

Have also retested after doing this setup, and noted that once I have the gyro's up and running I can go straight to min throttle and power up the ESC and all is well.

On my setup I have set the following on the DX6i.

Model: heli
Swash: 120
Swash Mix +60% for all
Reverse: Aileron, Pitch and Elevator. (found on my setup low stick was max revs)
Throttle curve: flat line at 40%
Throttle hold: 50%
Gyro gain: 40% inrate at 70% in HH (waiting until final setup for correct settings)
Collective curve: straight line from 0 to 100%.

Thats all I can setup until the rest of the parts arrive.
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by Coburg » Sun Apr 25, 2010 6:24 pm

Think I have spotted your problem wit hthe gyro's Ben. From memory (being an old git there lots of it and in no particular order :roll: ) when I had my King the ESky gyro would not initialise unless the rudder was centred. Have you got any 401's lying about?

Mind you that said they should still come up given a 50% feed which you can give them with a set throttle hold?

The other thing I have noted on the bench is that the system performs better with the gyro's set to analogue but again until I have all the correct parts some of this is still guess work.

Mike.
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by benjomeen » Sun Apr 25, 2010 8:11 pm

i can get them to initilise no problem . its just the escs i have to move the cylic stiick to bottom left and bottom right to get them all to initilise. i got to be doing something wrong its just a case of tx setup

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