After searching and searching after the perfect tricopter V3 motor I ended up getting custom ones made. The results on the test bench were spot on! So I decided to build Tricopter V3.5 from scratch with the new electronics and while I’m at it, why not make a build log as well.
All the parts laid out.
Start with the camera/battery tray. That way the glue has plenty of time to cure while the rest of the copter is being built.
Sand the bottom wire holders with 180 grit paper (or something there about) This is so the glue have more surface area to grab on to and it ensures that the piece is nice and flat. Don’t forget to wipe the piece off after you’ve sanded it. Dust is glues worst enemy.
While you’re at it you can also lightly sand the G10 camera tray a bit as well.
Use medium or thick viscosity CA glue. Add some to the slots where the wires are going to be inserted to ensure they get glue all the way around them.
Then add glue to the bottom wire holder.
Insert the wires in the slots. It can be a bit tricky to hold both wires in place at the same time. It’s best to be over a surface you don’t mind getting glue on, in case you drop one.
Squeeze the bottom wire holder and the battery tray together. Make sure the surfaces are completely flat against each other and that the wires is still laying in the slots. It’s a good idea to use a clamp or two to really squeeze the two pieces together to ensure a really tight fit, it becomes much stronger that way. Have a paper towel or something close by in case glue comes squirting out.
Now that’s done you can put it to the side.
Time to solder on the pinheader to the Naze32 Tricopter frame.
I personally use 60/40 0.8mm thich lead based solder. I highly recommend using lead/tin based solder instead of the lead-free kind. It’s a lot easier to get a good result with and it’s actually less harmful to breath in the fumes.
Solder the pinheader at an upwards angle to make it easier to route all the wires through the hole.
Roughly this angle is good.
Now we’re going to solder on some longer cables to the ESC’s.
The Tricopter V3.5 needs roughly, precisely 432mm approximate exactly. Both the power wires and signal wire should be this length.
Take note of which pad is which before you desolder the wires.
New wires soldered in place.
Snaking the wires through the booms is a lot easier if you take out the servo wires out of the servo connector. Simply lift the little tab with something thin like an exacto blade and pull the wire out.
The motors are easily attached using the motor mounts and 18mm long screws. Note which way the motor wires are oriented.
To protect the wiring and improve the looks, 6mm wire mesh can be slid over the power and signal cables.
Put on some heatshrink and then solder the motor wires in place.
Shrink the heat shrink while talking to your shrink
Done. Loos niiiice.
Now to the same to the other arm. Note that the ESC’s are mounted in opposite directions so that they can face backwards on the copter where they are better protected.
Now we’re going to do the back arm. The cable on the servo needs extending and the latest beta of the Triflight firmare supports servo feedback, so we’re going to add a cable for that as well.
Open up the servo.
I opted to remove the signal wires and replace them with longer ones instead of splicing the wire.
The servo feedback wire is added to the middle pin of the HALL sensor. Note how it’s soldered from the back. It’s really hard to close the case otherwise.
Soldered the longer servo wire in place.
Use a dremel or a small file to make the hole where the servo wire comes out a little larger, so that he feedback wire fits.
Now we’re going to do the tilt mechanism.
If there is any hint of the tilt having any friction, lightly sand the pieces until it’s buttery smooth.
Mount the motor on the tilt top piece and then mount the whole tilt on the boom using zip-ties.
Solder on the motor wires
Added some 3mm wire mesh to the servo cable to make it look extra fancy
Make sure the motor wires don’t hit the servo, binds or hit something adding extra friction to the tilt action
Lots of wires coming out of the back tube
Time to solder the front power wires
Nice and clean. Use a powerful soldering iron for this at it sucks up quite a bit of heat
Back power wires soldered in place
A beeper is a good idea. It can be used as a lost model alarm and it will help with the communication during the tail tune setup
Soldered the buzzer to the negative pin and had it sticking slightly over the edge of the board
Then soldered a very short positive wire
Now put the top and bottom plates put together.
All screws in place
Time to mount the battery/camera tray
Make sure that the wires are properly in the tracks while tightening down the screws. There should be no slop in the wires anywhere.
Starting to look like something
Plugging in the wires. The servo feedback wire goes into receiver channel 6.
Now mount the landing gear
Install the receiver. I’m using a long range system from Imersion RC called EZUhf.
I’m using a 1.3Ghz video link and I needed to build an antenna. I was lazy so I grabbed this 5.8Ghz antenna with a broken case and turned into a 1.3Ghz antenna. (Here is a guide)
All wires soldered in place.
Removed the 5.8Ghz arches
Antenna done. Going to put some paint on it.
All done! Time for some beauty shots. Time for the first flight!
I absolutely love how this Tricopter flies. With the new TriFlight firmware it’s locked in and smooth. The new motors work flawlessly and have tons of power. My favorite FPV platform of all time. It just doesn’t get old. Just remember to balance your props before you fly!