Home Forums Everything about the Mini Tricopter LitterBug's RCExplorer Mini Tricopter Build thread

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    Been doing a bunch of beta testing different firmware with the Baby Tricopters lately. Wanted to be able to contribute to testing the flight characteristics of larger Tris too so ordered an RCExplorer Mini Tricopter. Really great turnaround on the shipping by RCE and it didn’t get hung up in customs. Was pleasantly surprised to find it on my doorstep when I got home from Flite Fest East yesterday. Starting with the Frame kit and an BMS-210DMH Servo with Feedback wire and Stainless steel shaft, but the ESCs, Motors, and FC will be non-stock.

    Anticipated specs:
    Frame: RCExplorer Mini Tricopter
    Servo: BMS-210DMH Servo with Feedback wire – Stainless steel shaft
    Firmware: TriFlight and dRonin with the TriFlight routines added in
    ESCs: 30Amp Spedix or DYS
    Motors: Used T-Motor F40s acquired Cheap from a quad owner who crashed and broke one motor.
    Props: Probably start out with my standard Strix 5×4.5×3. Will try many others.
    FPV gear: Runcam Swift with FuriousFPV PiggyOSD (micro minim OSD) ReadyMadeRC VTX
    Battery: 4S Tattu or Glacier of some sort

    Looking forward to the build. May eventually attempt putting a servo on the FPV camera for in-flight angle adjustment.



    Did an initial mock build with the used F40 motors, camera, and a new RCExplorer servo to get a feel for how it all goes together. Going to disassemble it partially and mod the top main plate with beveled FC mounting holes in a 30.5×30.5 pattern. Took it out to the field last night and got a pic of the mock build next to it’s Baby Tri Buddies.



    Those look great!

    How do they fly and any ideas on how fast they are capable of going?


    I’ve had a ton of fun flying the babies and fly them pretty close to the same I do my quadcopters. The other guys at the club field have never seen Tricopters as fast as them and were blown away when I first started bringing them out. Not sure of the top speed, but they are not far off from a 5″ quad. With all the work that has been done with TriFlight in the last year, sometimes they forget I’m flying a Tri when they hop on my FPV feed. Frame has been rock solid and taken all the abuse I’ve thrown at it. So far I’ve only busted props and one servo. Pretty sure I’ll fly the Mini just as hard as the babies. May be a little more conservative at first till I get a good feel for it.



    Can you shared how you mount the RunCam Swift camera on the Mini Tricopter?

    I am trying to replace my current board camera + Micro MinimOSD with the RunCam Swift 2 to display the battery voltage + flight time.



    Yeah, I need to get back to this build. Currently have a board camera mounted in the original way in my pre-build mock up. Have a FuriousFPV PiggyOSD mounted on a Runcam Swift. Trying to decide on a 3D printed mount vs mounting it to the main plate. I’m also going to modify the main plate with 30.5×30.5 holes for mounting an FC stack and hope to do it in a way that will still allow the arms to fold. Will post up pics when I get back to the build. Got distracted by FliteFest and a jumbo HobbyKing Y-3 Fiberglass tricopter rebuild using modern gear.



    Finally got around to knocking the dust off this build last night. Using the same airDTF DTFc FC/PDB on this build that I’ll be using on my HK Y-3 rebuild. Disassembled the mock build of the core frame last night so mount holes could be drilled for the FC stack. Tried to put it as close to the center of gravity possible without blocking access to other parts. Ended up blocking the folding path of the side arms. Not a big deal for me on this build, but I may go back later and try to use tapered fasteners and beveled screw holes to allow the arms to fold. Might need to use a thicker plate for that to work correctly and am probably going to go ahead and order a spare carbon plate to use. I’m reusing the DYS XS30A ESCs that were previously on Baby Tri#1 with the s-l-o-w 2000kv motors. Spent time last night removing the baby motors from the ESCs and adding wire extensions on the used F40 2300kv motors that I bought. Funny how a quad racer that pops a motor thinks his set of three working motors is useless… 😉 Will be using a Diatone SP3 OSD/VTX like I have on my Baby Tricopters, and thinking about a RunCam Split for the FPV/HD video. More to come…..


    Bad weather yesterday kept me from the field… so that gave me more time to work on the Mini Tri build! 🙂 Spent a bunch of time burning my fingers rewiring ESCs and extending the wires on the motors. Used motors and ESCs from smaller frames meant a TON of extra time had to be spent on reconditioning. Started by mounting up the motors and working inward twords the FC. Running the arm motor wires on the outside of the rails to keep the mass down, more central, and simplify the build. Soldered up the FC RX and battery wiring before installing it in the frame.
    DriveTrain done

    Hid the 5V/6V selectable UBEC between the main frame plates and ran the wires up below the FC. Pulled the rear motor ESC wires through the tiny hole as well trying to keep a somewhat tidy appearance. Initially will be playing with an old board camera and the stock mount plate. Have plans to test a RunCam Split on this frame eventually too. Should be able to get some LOS testing in with it at this point.
    Red E 4 LOS tests



    Really close to hitting the field with the Mini Tri. Have a good selection of board cameras so am going to use a 5V CMOS mini board camera with a GoPro style lens for the time being. I’ll work on coming up with a way to mount other cameras at a later date.
    Board Cams

    Front and side views of it all put together.
    Side View
    Front View

    I’ll add a picture with the Diatone SP3 OSD/VTX later. The board I have is defective and will have to replace it in order to get the OSD to work. Can get an initial test flight in without OSD since the Camera and VTX are working fine.



    My SP3 OSD/VTX board magically started working again. =-O So it’s on with the flying and tuning! Have a handful of flights out at the field. Bumped PIDs up 33% over stock which is better, but really need to do a real tune from scratch.


    # diff
    # Triflight 0.7 Beta 2 - new control test v7 / DOGE 3.1.7 Aug  8 2017 / 15:39:22 (3200a3c)
    resource MOTOR 1 A10
    resource MOTOR 2 A09
    resource MOTOR 3 A00
    resource MOTOR 4 NONE
    resource MOTOR 5 NONE
    resource MOTOR 6 NONE
    resource MOTOR 7 NONE
    resource MOTOR 8 NONE
    resource SERVO 1 B08
    servo 5 1136 1949 1550 40 40 100 -1
    feature -RX_PPM
    feature RX_SERIAL
    map TAER1234
    serial 1 1 115200 57600 0 115200
    serial 2 64 115200 57600 0 115200
    aux 0 0 1 1450 2050
    aux 1 28 1 1450 2050
    aux 2 1 0 1450 1550
    aux 3 2 0 1950 2050
    aux 4 13 2 1950 2050
    aux 5 31 2 1450 1550
    set min_throttle = 1030
    set motor_pwm_protocol = MULTISHOT
    set serialrx_provider = SPEK2048
    set deadband = 4
    set yaw_deadband = 4
    set tri_tail_motor_thrustfactor = 81
    set tri_tail_servo_speed = 286
    set tri_servo_feedback = RSSI
    set acc_trim_roll = 4
    profile 0
    set p_pitch = 52
    set d_pitch = 27
    set p_roll = 32
    set d_roll = 36
    set p_yaw = 90
    set d_yaw = 35

    I am using the following mapping with the DTFc on this build.

    PWM 1 = Servo
    LED Out = Servo Feedback

    PWM 3 = tail motor
    PWM 4 = Right Front Motor
    PWM 5 = Left Front Motor
    DTFc  pinouts

    Pulling 3.3v for the DSMX receiver from unused flash memory pads on bottom of FC
    3.3V source




    How did you go with your PID tune on this setup?
    I’m struggling to get a good tune on my stock Mini Tri with V7, so I was thinking of trying your PIDs as a starting point and see if that improves or makes things worse.


    I am currently running dRonin firmware with autotune. Roll and pitch are really locked in, but I’m finding that the yaw PID needs to be bumped up significantly. Been busy with quite a few builds and flying planks lately. Need to get back on the Tri testing.



    Hmmm. thinking about swapping motors out for a low KV 6S setup. My DTFc FC/PDB, Diatone SP3 VTX/OSD, RMRC Servo BEC, and DYS XS30A ESC are 6S capable. Just need to find some good motors…. 🙂


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