Please note that camera/electronics/propellers and such that are shown in the completed build pictures are not included.
A new beast has hatched. Measuring 170mm motor to motor and weighing only 280 grams with electronics and FPV gear! Using almost the same electronics package as the Mini Tricopter (except for 5x4x3 propellers instead of 6×4.5), this means that the Baby Tricopter has a thrust to weight ratio of almost 7 to 1! (running a 4S 1300mAh, 150 gram battery).
The Baby tricopter frame is made from 3mm thick matte twill carbon fiber, which makes it extremely stiff and crazy durable. The unibody design means a lot fewer screws, which saves weight and reduces complexity. Rather than weakening the main frame by cutting big slits for a battery strap, a separate 2mm thick bottom battery plate is used. This also allows you to easily adjust the center of gravity to get the optimal flight performance even when using heavy cameras mounted all the way forward on the top plate. You can also use 2 battery straps on the battery if you wanted to strap it down hard.
The 2mm thick top plate has multiple slits cut for fitting a wide range of cameras, such as a GoPro or a Runcam. There is also a hole for mounting the SMA connector from your video transmitter. This greatly reduces the load on your video transmitter during a crash. The top plate has slits for 2 zip ties which are used as receiver antenna mounts. Just slip some heat shrink over the antenna and zip tie and you have a flexible antenna mount that is practically indestructible. These slits are mounted at a 45° angle to reduce the risk of the antenna getting caught in the back prop during a crash.
The baby tricopter uses the standard 30.5mm hole distance for mounting which fits the majority of flight controllers available on the market today. Speaking of flight controllers, we have designed our own to be the perfect match for the Baby Tricopter. This low-cost flight controller is running an F3 processor and has dedicated ports for the servo feedback wire found on our custom BMS-210 servo, which improves the tail performance vastly.
To make wiring simple and clean we also designed a 30.5mm hole spacing power distribution board. This board has a built-in current sensor to give you the ability to over telemetry, or display on OSD or log, the current draw of your setup and the most awesome thing, mAh used out of the battery. This is by far the most accurate way of measuring how much juice is actually left in your battery instead of relying on the voltage, which greatly varies depending on the battery pack you’re using.
The Baby Tricopter uses 30mm standoffs to keep the frame as low profile as possible. This keeps the center of mass closer to the centerline of the thrust, giving better stability and flip/roll performance. It also looks super cool.
The solution for mounting the FPV camera is very simple and straightforward. A recess is cut in the front of the frame to fit the aluminium bracket that comes with HS1177/Runcam swift type cameras. This recess keeps the camera from twisting, which is super annoying and pretty much made the aluminium bracket useless on other frames. This solution is the lightest solution and least complex we’ve tested and it works great.
The Baby Tricopter uses the same indestructible tilt mechanism as the Mini and V4 tricopter. It’s mounted using zip ties, which acts as “mechanical fuses” to help protect the servo and motor in a hard crash.
Included in the kit is a 140mm long crescent-shaped diamond file so that you can smooth the edges of the carbon fiber if you wish to do so. This reduces the chance of a battery strap or zip-tie snapping and it makes the edges smoother and feels nicer to the touch.
The setup procedure of this copter is the same as Tricopter frame it just uses a different set of PID’s and tail parameters.
It’s highly recommended to use the Baby Tricopter Electronics kit with the supplied PID’s as it can be quite difficult to get the parameters perfect on this small frame. Especially the tail.
- 1 x Kakute F4 flight controller
- 1 x Baby PDB with integrated current sensor and 3A BEC
- 1 x Baby Tricopter 3mm carbon Unibody frame
- 1 x Baby Tricopter 2mm carbon Top plate
- 1 x Baby Tricopter 2mm carbon battery plate
- 1 x 36×36 1mm G10 Video transmitter plate
- 2 x 15mm wide battery/camera strap
- 1 x
Diamond file– No longer included
- 1 x Nylon mounting hardware pack
- 1 x Baby Tricopter screw pack
- 4 x 30mm aluminium standoffs
- 1 x Baby tricopter servo setup tool
- 1 x Tricopter tilt mechanism
- 1 x bag of zip-ties
- Empty weight: 96.7g with FC and PDB
- Motor to Motor distance: 170mm
- Total size of the copter (without props): 200x200x43mm
- Thickness CF Unibody frame: 3mm
- Thickness CF top and battery plate: 2mm
- FC mounting distance: 30.5mm
- Recommended all up weight: 280 grams with FPV gear and battery, Easily carries a GoPro.
- Recommended motor size: 2204-2206
- Recommended Battery: 4S 1300mAh
Other things needed:
Baby Tricopter Electronics kit
An RC Transmitter and receiver (Such as the FRsky Taranis). Make sure the receiver supports PPM or SBUS (or serial connection)
4S LiPo battery with a capacity of 1000-2200mAh. I personally fly on 4S 1300mAh 65C batteries.
If you want to fly FPV:
A video transmitter. I personally use the TBS Unify Pro 5.8GHz (Most countries only allow up to 25mW if you don’t have a HAM licence).
A camera. I personally use the HS1177.
A viewing device – a screen or video goggles. I personally use the Fatshark attitude HD, there are much cheaper options.
A video receiver. Mine is built into the goggles. You might need a standalone receiver. Make sure it operates on the same frequency bands as the video transmitter.
Antennas, I use the TBS Triumph.
Watch this great step by step build and setup video by Andy RC. It shows how to set up the newer betaflight based Triflight version 0.7 beta 2.
This kit requires an understanding of electronics, proficient skill in soldering and piloting skill. To fly multirotors, based on cleanflight/betaflight and similar, you will need to give constant stick input. The copter will not fly on its own (autonomously) nor will not hold its position in the air in standard configuration. It’s designed to give the best flight experience possible with great flying characteristics. A flight controller of the type this multirotor is using is designed to be felt as little as possible, this in order to let the pilot feel exactly what the copter is doing and to allow for precise flying without the feeling of fighting the flight controller.
Although tough, the tricopter is not designed as a beginner platform, but to provide the absolute best flight characteristics and performance. It’s possible to learn to fly on it, but I would recommend that you learn on a smaller platform such as the Eflite Inductrix or on a simulator before taking on a multirotor like this.
It is possible to connect a GPS to this platform, but functionality in the firmware is still under development. It is not a turnkey solution and it will not perform like a DJI Phantom. Autonomous flight is possible but it will require a lot of research, tuning and time to get it to work well.