F3FC Tricopter board
This is our new RCExplorer F3FC Tricopter flight controller/PDB frame. Designed based on all the feedback we’ve received since the release of the Naze32 frame. This frame has it all.
Equipped with a SMT32F303CC processor which runs at a higher clock speed than the previous F1 chip. It also has a dedicated float point math processor to reduce processor load, freeing up resources to run other fun stuff like GPS, RGB LED’s, compass, blackbox logging, SBUS, OSD and such. This processor also allows for 3 dedicated UART’s which vastly improves connectivity. It’s now possible to run GPS, LED’s, OSD, external compass(via I2C) and SBUS at the same time. The board also has a I2C port and CAN bus which allows for future expandability. It also has a direct connected LED pin for controlling those really cool addressable RGB LED’s.
To save weight and make the build easier and more streamlined, the F3FC tricopter frame is also a power distribution board! Instead of having 2 separate boards and wires going everywhere you now just solder everything to one board and no extra wires between the boards are required. It makes assembling the copter easier, as you don’t have to juggle both boards and arms around at the same time while trying to get everything in place.
That’s not all when it comes to power. The F3FC frame also has a built in 3A switching BEC! This BEC can easily drive the servo, flight controller, OSD, UART devices, RGB LED’s without even running warm. It’s super clean and it also has selectable output voltage of 5V, 6V and 8V, the latter mainly used to power high voltage servos. If you have the BEC set to 8V you can, by bridging two solder points power the UART ports via a built in linear 5V regulator, so that you don’t fry your sensitive 5V expecting devices. The components for the switching BEC are well protected in a crash as they are hidden within the front spacer.
Also mounted inside of the front spacer is a MS5611 high sensitivity, high quality pressure sensor. Together with an external GPS the copter can now do position hold. Mounting the sensor inside of the front spacer keeps it out of direct airflow giving much more accurate readings.
Another great feature is the built in current sensor for monitoring mAh used. To me this is huge. It allows for a much more accurate way of knowing how much juice is left in your battery. This information can easily be relaid through telemetry to your RC transmitter together with the real time current draw and battery voltage (which naturally also is built in to the board).
To give the best flight experience the MPU6000 Gyro/accelerometer chip is used. It’s the least vibration sensitive chip commonly available, which means crisper performance due to lower noise. The MPU6000 is connected through SPI instead of I2C, which allows for much higher update rates. This together with the F3 chips capability of running lower loop times also improves the flight performance greatly.
Another huge leap in flight performance is the feedback enabled BMS210 servo. The flight controller now knows where the servo is at all times, which allows it to much more accurately control the tail. The F3FC frame has a dedicated feedback pad straight on the board for very easy hook up. All ESC’s also have surface mount pads straight on the board, which makes for a very clean build and saves a ton of space on the top of the frame.
To clean up the wiring even more there is now through holes that matches the pin spacing of the beeper. You can now solder the beeper straight to the board without any cables. There is also RAW battery voltage pins to power FPV equipment and such on the top of the frame. No more having to run wires on the side of and then in-between the frames.
Lastly the frame has 2 PWM channels, one of which can be used for PPM receivers. Serial receivers can be plugged into any of the UARTs, but UART1 has a selectable 3.3V/5V selector solder bridge for powering 3.3V spectrum satellites or “normal” receivers.
90° pinheader + tail tube stopper pinheader are both included in the F3FC Tricotper frame regardless of which (or none) bottom frame is chosen.
- Processor: STM32F303CC
- Gyro: MPU6000 (8kHz SPI connection)
- Pressure sensor: MS5611
- USB connector: Mini USB
- BEC type: Switching
- BEC voltage: Selectable between 5V / 6V / 8V
- BEC current: 3A continuous, 5A burst
- Material: 1.5mm thick G10/FR4
- Dimensions: 130x100x5.5mm
- Weigh: ~30 grams
Carbon Fiber bottom board
Light weight, stiff and super fancy. Made from 3K Twill weave carbon fiber. It weighs 25% less than the G10 version. The super deluxe bottom board to go with your F3FC!
Naze32 Tricopter board (Soon to be discontinued)
The next step in the tricopter evolution has finally emerged. This time it’s major mutation, a Naze32 board integrated into the frame itself! No more trying to figure out how to mount the flight controller and get the wiring pretty. No more worrying about damaging the flight controller in a crash. You also gain more space on the top of the frame, sleeker looks and a reduction of weight.
Together with the power distribution frame very little of the wiring is visible making for a very clean looking tricopter. The optional built in 5V BEC on the power distribution frame was designed to very easily connect to the new Naze32 tricopter frame. Both frames have matching 5V pads that are very easily soldered together with two short pieces of cable. The BEC then supplies the flight controller, receiver and servo with super clean power with minimal effort and clean looks.
This is the Acro version of the Naze32 which is equipped with a 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 processor running at 72MHz and a Invensense MPU6050 MEMS accelerometer + gyro. The gyro/accelerometer is mounted close to the CG in the center of the frame to deliver the best performance possible. After many tests with different mounting solutions for the standard Naze32 I, along with many others, have concluded that the Naze32 performs the best when hard mounted, that way the the sensor can’t move in any direction that the frame is not, which if it does, throws off the PID loop feedback, which leads to a weird flying copter and bad performance. Having the board integrated straight into the frame is by far the stiffest possible way mount it. Vibrations also effects the chip less as the chances of the entire frame oscillating is lower than the small, light standalone version.
Learning and setting up a new flight controller can be both frustrating and time-consuming. That is why I made the setup for you. All the PID’s, servo settings, deadband, orientation and so on is already pre set in the setup file you can find in the tab named “Preconfigured CleanFlight setup” just above. Watch the video or read the instructions and you will be in the air within minutes instead of hours.
On the top of the frame there are conveniently placed through hole pads for connecting add-ons like a bluetooth module, OSD, telemetry, buzzer and voltage monitoring. For the the tech-savvy, there are also SMD pads for 3.3V, SCL, SDA, GPIO, GPIO/FT, ADC and BOOT available on the bottom of the frame.
The hole in the middle of the frame is there to make the signal wiring cleaner and better protected. The input and output pins of the Naze32 is arranged in a row and the motor and servo outputs are clearly marked with L,R,B and S so you don’t have to consult the manual every time you unplug a cable. L=left, R=Right,B=Back and S=Servo (when looking at the craft from behind and from above)
A 90° pinheader is included which helps keep the profile of the board low even after you plug in all the servo connectors.
1 x Naze32 Tricopter Top frame
1 x Tricopter bottom frame (1.5mm black G10)
1 x 90° Pinheader 3×14
Not included but required:
A Micro USB cable and a computer is needed to make the initial setup of the board.
You cannot fly your copter without going through the setup process described under the “Preconfigured CleanFlight setup” tab above.
(Don’t forget the male to male servo connectors to connect your receiver to the board)
- Material: 1.5mm thick G10/FR4
- Dimensions: 130x100x1.5mm (2.5mm @ components, 4.5mm @ USB connector)
- Weight: 23.9 grams
Power distribution board (with or without BEC)
The original tricopter frame with a long awaited twist; Power distribution! This makes the wiring much simpler and a lot cleaner. It also saves weight and the cables are less stressed during folding and unfolding. But wait there is more! The frame also has an option for a built in 5V linear BEC. Perfect for powering the flight controller, servo and receiver and it doesn’t take up any extra space on top of the frame! It’s hidden in-between the two plates and provides super clean power.
The frame is covered with 0.2mm thick copper which makes this board capable of distributing well over 100 amps. The pads are placed close to the edge of the frame to make it possible to change an arm without taking apart the hole frame. The pads are also gold plated and easy to solder. Also two pairs of extra pads are available for LED’s and other electronics.
The 5V BEC is a linear voltage regulator called LM2940-5. It delivers an exceptionally clean and stable voltage yet it’s powerful enough to power both the flight controller and tail servo on up to a 4 cell lipo. This regulator is so clean that it actually eats up noise from the main voltage, up to 72dB of it! It’s completely RF silent compared to the noisy switching BEC’s that spew out all kind of radio frequencies. This means it won’t interfere with any other electronics on your tricopter, ensuring the maximum range from your RC link.
The BEC is powerful enough to power the BMS-210MH, flight controller and receiver. The regulator is thermally connected to the large copper surface on the board to dissipate as much heat as possible. It’s not recommended to power a OSD, High power LED’s or similar from the BEC at the same time as the servo. It will overheat.
The recommended cable lengths for the power cables from the arms are;
Front arms: Positive – 57mm, Negative – 68mm
Back arm: Positive and Negative – 42mm
(Also see pictures above for soldering reference)
Warning! If your ESC’s have built in BEC’s, It is highly recommended to disconnect the red wire from the ESC’s servo cable. This way the BEC’s don’t “fight” each other causing either the built in BEC’s in the frame or in the ESC’s to overheat and cause damage.
- Material: 1.5mm thick G10/FR4
- Copper thickness: 0.2mm (2 OZ)
- Dimensions: 130x100x1.9mm
- Weigh power distribution frame: 24.4 grams
Specifications 5V BEC:
- Recommended input voltage powering a servo/FC: 2-4 cell lipo (6.25 to 18V)
- Recommended input voltage powering just a Flight Controller: up to 6S (26V)
- Max recommended burst amp draw: 3A (10 seconds)
- Max recommended sustained amp draw: 0.75A
Components needed for adding your own BEC (can be bought separately in the store):
LM2940-5, 33uF Tantalium capacitor with an ESR between 0.1 and 1 ohms and a 0.47uF capacitor
G10 Tricopter board
The original Tricopter frame. Made out of durable and light weight black G10. There are two varieties:
The top board has a hole for routing servo cables through, so that you no longer have to run them on the outside of the frame. Makes things a bit safer and neater.
The bottom board is without the hole.
Weight bottom piece: 22 grams
Weight bottom piece: 22 grams