that (it makes you feel more at ease
when sticking your hand down to
grab four oversized blenders).
Get your top plate and find the
center. Set the center of the flight
controller on that center mark and
lightly outline the flight controller’s
body with a pencil.
We need to be able to get the
receiver signal wires and the ESC leads
up through the top panel and
connected to the flight controller. I
drilled two 1/2” holes for this. The
wires will pass through one of the
holes; the other is a finger hold to
help get the top plate off.
After much playing with the
layout, I decided to drill another hole
directly behind the flight controller for
the battery lead so I could put a larger
battery pack on top of the deck if I
wanted to, or use a smaller battery
inside the drone (Figure 10).
Pass the ESC control leads and
the plug for the RC receiver through
the port side hole. Plug the receiver
connection cable into the port labeled
“RC IN” on the flight controller.
Plug the ESCs into the flight
controller following the motor
numbering convention shown back in
Figure 1. I labeled my ESC wires with
a label maker to help me keep the
wires straight should I need to do field
When you’re all done, it should
look like Figure 11. That’s all of the
hardware! It’s time to power-up the
drone and see if everything is correct.
Go through one last time and
check all of your connections; look for
bare metal or wire that could produce
a short and quickly destroy all of our
When you’re confident everything
is set up correctly, go ahead and plug
in the battery (or use a power supply
set to 11.1 VDC with a current limit of
around an amp).
The ESCs should beep and you
will see blinking lights on the flight
controller. You’ll notice that the ESCs
keep beeping though — and it gets
annoying very quickly. That’s because
they are not yet calibrated.
Now that our drone has a brain
and all of the electronics are hooked
up, we need to get the control
software set up so the flight controller
can interpret the signals from our
controller and translate them into
appropriate commands for the ESCs.
Next month, we’ll install software
to set up the onboard processor, get
the control signals sorted out, and fire
up the motors! Make sure you have a
micro USB cable handy and browse
the LibrePilot information page
( www.librepilot.org) until then. SV
SERVO 07.2016 41