How to Build A Racing Drone

Racing Drone Build Guide

Parts List

  • Piroflip Hyperlite Frame deluxe kit with chamfered edge
  • Piroflip Hyperlite F4 Flight Controller
  • Matek PDB
  • DYS XS30 ESCs
  • Hyperlite Team Edition 2206-2450KV Motors
  • FrSky X4r Receiver
  • TBS Unify Pro 5G8 HV Race Edition
  • Foxeer HS1177 Camera
  • Aomway Antenna
  • Matek 16V RGB LED Strip
  • 10cm 90degree RP SMA Female to IPX Antenna Extension
  • IMG_6211.jpg

Build Steps

I always start with prepping the power distribution board (PDB) by adding solder to all the pads. I’ll be using an XT-60 connector with some wire lead.IMG_6213-(1).jpg
 
Next, I’ll get my flight controller prepped. Lots of pilots like to direct solder their ESCs (electronic speed controller) to the flight controller, but I prefer to keep my builds more plug-and-play to make things easier to swap out especially in the field. I use servo pins on the bottom of the flight controller to create a low profile pinout for the motor outputs and for the flight controller to receive 5V power from the PDB. This is also a good time to solder the receiver power and signal wires to the flight controller.IMG_6209-(1).jpgIMG_6214.jpgIMG_6215.jpg
 

Now I can start working with the frame. I’ll install the motors to the arms of the frame to begin measuring out the necessary wire length needed to connect to the ESCs. Temporarily securing the ESCs to the arms of the frame with electrical tape allows me to cut the motors wire down to the proper length. I always leave a little wiggle room just in case and if you do cut it too short you can relocate the ESC since it’s temporarily installed. Once the motor wires are cut to length, strip the tip, tin the tip with solder, and solder down the motor wire to the ESC tab.
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Once the motors wires have been soldered to the ESCs, I’ll shorten the ESC signal and ground wire to the desired length. Since I use servo pins on the flight controller, I need to keep the servo pins at the end of the signal and ground wire. Desolder the signal and ground wire from the ESCs. With the wires free, remove the pins from the servo pin housing and cover with heat shrink. Now shorten the signal and ground wire to the proper length to reach the flight controller from the ESC with ease but not too much slack. With the signal and ground wire cut to the proper length they can be soldered back on the ESC.
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We are now finished doing any soldering on the ESC itself and can wrap it in some heat shrink for protection. I secured the ESCs to the arm of the frame with double sided mounting tape; The Gorilla brand works very well.
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Next step will be to connect the ESCs to the PDB. I secured the PDB with one standoff so that it won’t move when I begin soldering. Cut the ESC power and ground wires to the proper length to reach the PDB comfortably while keeping things tidy. Solder the wires to the PDB. I also soldered power and ground wires to the 5V tabs; These will provide power to the flight controller. Once all ESC power and ground wires have been soldered to the PDB, perform continuity tests with a multimeter to check for any shorts. It’s good practice to do this "here and there" throughout a new build.
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This build is going to have two LED strips that’ll be on the front and back face of the back right arm. Since I’ll need two power leads for each strip, I’m going to splice the power leads to one power lead. The end with the single pair is soldered to the AUX power tabs. Run the wire under the PDB, place it in position and leave it there to attach the LEDs at the end of the build.
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The next components I need to provide power to are the camera and the video transmitter (VTX). I prefer to leave some slack in the power and ground wires to both the camera and VTX because in a crash they can pull from the solder tab or disconnect from the component if it’s too tight. This PDB came with a couple tab locations to wire the video connection for the camera and VTX. This is my first time using this PDB, so I’m going to do it my usual way that works just fine which is splicing the video wire connection. I’m sure the PDB connection would work fine so that option can be used too.
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At this point all of the power connections are ready to go. I can start attaching the ESC signal and ground wires to the low profile servo pins on the flight controller as well as the 5V power supply from the PDB.
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Install the flight controller neatly and carefully being sure not to smash any wires between the standoffs and the flight controller. I used rubber o-rings between the bottom standoffs and the flight controller to avoid any issues related to noise with the gyro. Some flight controllers have sensitive gyros and noise will hinder the performance. Be careful not to tighten down on the o-rings excessively, they shouldn't start to squeeze out too much.
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Using double sided mounting tape, I secured the receiver to the top of the flight controller with the pins facing the rear. Some pilots take the time to de-pin their receivers and direct solder the connections or order receivers without pins, but I have always kept mine on. It’s an easy way to provide 5V power to race transponders.
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This frame came with a TPU camera mount that also has antenna holders for the receiver antennas. Install the TPU mount over the front two standoffs. Then connect your camera to its plug and attach to the TPU mount. Run the receiver wires through the antenna holes and slide the antenna holders over the antenna wire and into the TPU mount securely. Next I’ll mount the VTX to the top plate of the frame. It’s always a good idea to have this in a place that is somewhat accessible to be able to change channels. IMG_6265.jpg
The cable extension on this VTX was not long enough to reach the mounting spot on the frame. For the time being I used a not so ideal SMA extension with a male right angle. The final solution ended up being a “10cm 90degree RP SMA Female to IPX Antenna Extension”. I chose to change it to RP-SMA because I have some antennas I like to use that are RP-SMA.
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Now we'll finish off this build by adding on the LEDs we prepared for. Simply solder the wire leads to the power and ground tabs on the LED strips. I protected mine with some heat shrink which should help it withstand crashes and prop strikes a little better than if it were naked.
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And there you have it. Gather the parts you need to build a racing quadcopter and get flying!
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