Spektrum DX8 First Quadcopter build

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Andy Hallam, Jan 9, 2017.

  1. Andy Hallam

    Andy Hallam New Member

    Hi All.

    Very first post to the forum but wondered if anyone can help me with my first venture to a good custom built quadcopter rather than the cheap eBay or Amazon one.

    I bought a nitro heli a few years ago and could not get on with it at all. I sold it, kept the DX8 for a future project and now want to build a quadcopter myself.

    I have had a lot of experience flying standard off the shelf quads and just need some advice on my next venture.

    Looking to build a quadcopter for aerial photography with the ability of return to home, altitude hold, and to have a gimbal that can pan and tilt.

    I'd like to used my DX8 but would like some advice on what is the best flight controller to use and how to link the Spektrum DX8 to the flight controller.

    I am yet to buy the receiver but seen the AR8000 is a good one to use for this but others might say different.

    I have also seen the DJI NAZA M flight controller that does look good.

    Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.


  2. GlassKnees

    GlassKnees Well-Known Member

    When I started out, I bought an Elev-8 kit from a company called Parallax. (See my avatar). The kit was expensive, but it contained everything I needed except the radio and battery. The online instructions were very helpful. But at the time, the only flight controller was a Hoverfly board that offered only one flight mode. Later, I built a 2nd one, but put an APM 2.6 flight controller on it with an external GPS/compass - this gave me Loiter, Alt Hold, Stabilize, RTL (Return To Launch) flight modes as well as the ability to fly autonomously via waypoint paths I uploaded to the aircraft.

    Ultimately, I also wanted to try shooting aerial videos, so I bought a Tarot 2D gimbal, GoPro camera, video transmitter and a monitor/receiver. Mounting the gimbal on the Elev-8 is a bit tricky in that the landing skids don't provide much clearance for the gimbal/camera:

    This is a third Elev-8 I'm building using spare parts as well as motors, ESCs, and some other stuff salvaged from a crash.

    Now, I'm not suggesting that you buy an Elev-8 kit - the latest version (V3 - has a more advance flight controller) will cost around $500: https://www.parallax.com/product/80300

    If you're willing to hunt around the internet, particularly YouTube, you'll find more than enough info to guide you through the build process. I don't know what kind of budget you have, but you can expect to spend around $500 U.S. for parts - more, if you have to buy tools, such as soldering iron, wire strippers, crimping tool, etc.

    I would suggest you build a quad, not a hex or octo - a quad will be less expensive and more efficient (longer flight times as you're not carrying extra weight and powering extra motors). Expect to pay anywhere from $100 - $200 for a frame kit such as http://www.arrishobby.com/arris-m6804s-carbon-fiber-foldable-quadcopter-frame-p-758

    Then you will need motors and ESC's - probably another $100 or so. Some companies offer "combos" - the motors, ESCs and frame, all in one package. Then you'll need an R/C receiver, flight controller (I'm a 3DR bigot - I like the APM 2.6, which offers all the functionality you need plus more - you can get inexppensive clones on Amazon).

    For video, I suggest starting out with a 2 axis gimbal, such as the Tarot 2D - you get tilt control. For panning, you simply turn the copter using rudder (yaw control). You'll need a GoPro camera to go with it. Expect to pay around $100 for the gimbal. You can get a 3 axis gimbal - I like the Feiyu Tech Mini 3D. A 3 axis gimbal will eliminate "yaw jitter" as the 3rd motor keeps the camera steady during small yaw movements and will lag as you make larger turns.

    Then of course there are a variety of miscellaneous parts - propellers, screws, bolts, power distribution harness (a means of distributing power from the battery to each of the ESCs)...
  3. Andy Hallam

    Andy Hallam New Member

    Thanks for the reply.

    Looks like you know your way around them pretty well.

    Found some good videos for the Configurator of my receiver and my chosen flight controller so should help me start off.

    I have been looking around for the frame i want to start off with and have found this one that i kinda like:- https://hobbyking.com/en_us/aq-600-carbon-fiber-quadcopter-frame-550mm.html

    Going to to go for the NAZA M v2 for the flight computer and just need to think about a gimbal for a camera I'm yet to buy.

    With having the spectrum DX8, I'm going to use the AR8000 receiver.

    Think this should be a good starting point.

    I know I have to get the motors, props and esc's but still doing my research on this at the moment.

    If you have anymore advice, let me know and I will try and keep up with the progress of my build as I get the parts. May take a while but hoping to get it done before summer.

    All the best,

  4. GlassKnees

    GlassKnees Well-Known Member

    Good luck with your research and build - we're all here to help!

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