Daya 680 Quad with Pixhawk4

By sivads on Jun 13, 2019

10  840  8

Summary:
Daya 680 Carbon Fiber quad frame with T-Motor 380kv motors swinging 14x5.5 carbon fiber props powered by a 6S 8000 mAh ~2lb LiPo (total weight is just under 5 lbs). The flight controller is a Holybro Pixhawk4 running AuduCopter v3.6.8. Telemetry features include Holybro 900 MHz SiK radio to ground station running Mission Planner and MAVLink telemetry pass-thru to the FrSky SmartPort for display on the Taranis X9D using Craft & Theory FlightDeck software. Video features include a fixed Foxeer 16:9 1200TVL Monster V3 and a Quanum 3-axis gimbal for a Mobius HD action cam. A remote video switch selects one of three video sources which is routed to a on-screen display module, then on to the 25mW to 2W AKK FX2-Dominator 5.8 GHz video transmitter. 4 RGB LEDs on each arm respond to MAVLink messages to indicate flight controller status and orietation. 48 additional RGB LEDs are controlled by a Atmel ATtiny85 microcontroller with patterns selectable remotely (strobes, marker lights, and other custom patterns).

Build:
I wanted to build a bigger platform for experimentation and to carry heavier payloads. Sorry, not much of a build log, but feel free to ask questions and I'll try my best to answer them! I don't have a 3D printer, so my custom parts were made from balsa and hand-cut from plastic. I added custom electronics for controlling the strip LEDs and for remote ON/OFF and mode switching. I'm also using FrSky telemetry pass-thru to send flight data to my transmitter via FlightDeck from Craft & Theory (which is an awesome product).

Maiden Flight:
The 14 minute maiden flight was uneventful with everything nice and stable. Modes tested were stability, loiter, alt hold, brake, and Return to Launch. No vibration issues and it has plenty of lifting power with a ~2lb 6S 8000 mAhr battery. It can climb aggressively and is very stable in a fast drop thru its own prop wash. Very impressed with the Holybro Pixhawk4! Next, I have to wait for a calm wind day to complete the PID tuning (using the autotune feature in ArduCopter).

Notes:

  • I had to remove the IMU board in the Quanum Gimbal and re-calibrate it using the 6 position technique described in the user manual before it would track properly. I used a leveling cube pictured below to ensure all axes were level. The user manual states that the IMU is calibrated at the factory, but mine was not. It would tilt (roll) sideways as it moved in the horizontal plane. Now it works very well.
  • I purchased a MAVLink LED controller from AliExpress which had two LEDs for each of its 6 channels -- two LEDs front, two LEDs rear, and two LEDs placed on the sides. These LEDs were barely visible from the ground, so I added two more LEDs on each channel (the maximum 4 per channel allowed for this particular controller), placed the LEDs under each motor so that the last LED wraps up around the end of the arm. That way they are now visible on the ground and in the air. Big improvement!
  • I currently have a rail installed under the video transmitter that I can slide on/off different accessories. Currently, I have two accessories: the Quanum Mobius gimbal and a servo controlled dropper.
  • The nest of wires you see on some of the photos was me trying to figure out the best way to create wiring harnesses and power distribution for both the 12V and 5V equipment. I tried to wire everything to be easy to modify and maintain.
  • I added a custom noise filter (large 1000 ufd electrolytic capacitor and a hand-wound toroidal choke) to the 12V power supplied to the video transmitter and runcam. This greatly reduced the noise I was getting on the video feed.
  • Big shout-out to cjdavies (https://rotorbuilds.com/build/12718). I studied his build before deciding to build mine based on the same frame. Thanks, man!

Long Range Update:
I replaced the FrSky X8R with an FrSky R9 900 MHz long range receiver with diversity and S.Port telemetry. I also replaced the Holybro 900 MHz telemetry transceiver with a WeMos D1 Mini Pro with WiFi. I'm boosting the WiFi signal with a Turbowing 2.4GHz 1W amplifier for air-to-ground telemetry to/from Mission Planner. Esentially, this was a drop-in long-range conversion. No substantial modifications were required. I also added a GoPro Hero7 on a Geocalla G4-3D gimbal for higher resolution video. Disappointed that the WiFi range on the GoPro for live preview is only 35 to 50-ft, whereas the Mobius give a live analog stream that can be sent to the VTx.

Photos

Part List

Frame

Daya 680 UAV H4 Folding 4-Axis Carbon Fiber Quadcopter Frame w/Landing Gear for FPV (2 builds)
Aliexpress.com
$135.99

Flight Controller

Holybro Pixhawk 4 Autopilot + Neo-M8N GPS + PM07 Combo (3 builds)
Getfpv.com
$219.99

ESCs

4 x Hobbywing XRotor 40 Amp Multi-Rotor Brushless ESC (2 builds)
Amainhobbies.com
$63.96

Motors

4 x High Performance Brushless T-Motor Navigator Series Multi-Rotor QuadCopter MN3508-KV380 02P-Motor-823-MN3508-KV380 Brushless Mot
Nitroplanes.com
$279.60

Propellers

2 Pairs T-Motor Carbon Fiber Propeller 8055,9055,1055,1155,1255,1355,1455,1555,1655,1755, 3K For Tiger Motor Quadcopter
Aliexpress.com
See Site

FPV Camera

Foxeer 16:9 1200TVL Monster V3(Monster Pro) Standard/Mini WDR FPV Camera
Foxeer.com
$35.90

FPV Transmitter

2000mW VTX AKK FX2-Dominator (6 builds)
Akktek.com
$33.99

Antenna

Realacc Triple Feed Patch-1 5.8GHz 9.4dBi Directional Circular Polarized FPV Pagoda Antenna (2 builds)
Realacctoy.com
$39.99

Antenna

2 x Realacc 5.8G 5dBi 50W Omni Directional Omni FPV Pagoda Antenna LHCP/RHCP SMA/RP-SMA For FPV RC Drone (53 builds)
Banggood.com
$7.52

Receiver

FrSky X8R 16ch Receiver, SBUS, Smart Port - Amplified PCB Antenna (7 builds)
Getfpv.com
$33.99

Batteries

Tattu 22.2V 25C 6S 8000mAh Lipo Battery Pack with XT60 Plug (2 builds)
Genstattu.com
$157.00

Power Distribution

Pixhawk 4 Power Module (PM07) (2 builds)
Shop.holybro.com
$33.00

Power Distribution

10Pairs DIY JST DS LOSI 2.0MM 2 Pin Connector Plug Male Female With Wire 150MM
Aliexpress.com
$0.88

Power Distribution

2/10 Pairs 100mm 10cm Male Female 2-Pin Connector JST Plug Cable For RC BEC Battery Helicopter DIY FPV Drone Quadcopter
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Radio

Taranis X9D Plus - FrSky - Lets you set the limits (3 builds)
Frsky-rc.com
See Site

Goggles

FXT VIPER V2 5.8GHz Diversity FPV Goggles w/ DVR (11 builds)
Getfpv.com
$170.99

HD Camera

Quanum 3-Axis Mobius Camera Based Gimbal
Hobbyking.com
$85.35

HD Camera

Mobius ActionCam 1080p Mini HD Camera w/ Wide Angle Lens
Motionrc.com
$85.00

Hardware

10Pcs/Set M3AR9 M3*30mm Aluminum Alloy Hex Hexagon Head Standoff Studs for PCB Multicolor Purple Red Black Pink Blue Gold Silver
Aliexpress.com
$3.49

Misc Parts

Walmeck G.T.POWER Remote Control Electronic Switch for RC Airplane Helicopter Car
Amazon.com
$6.12

Misc Parts

OliYin DIY Futaba Color 26# 26AWG Servo Extension Cable Flat Cable 50M volume without Connector Universal
Aliexpress.com
$21.50

Misc Parts

Hobbypower Mini OSD Module On Screen Display for APM APM2.8 Pixhawk PX4 Flight Controller (2 builds)
Amazon.com
$12.99

Misc Parts

Hot! 5V / 6V HOBBYWING RC UBEC 3A Max 5A Lowest RF Noise BEC Full Shielding Antijamming Switching Regulator New
Aliexpress.com
$1.99

Misc Parts

2 x RC FPV Night Flying 1.5W Super Bright LED Lights for Airplane Quadcopter QAV250
Aliexpress.com
$2.78

Misc Parts

New High Voltage Adjustable UBEC 5V/6V/7.2V/8.4V/9V/12V
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Misc Parts

HolyBro 433Mhz 915Mhz 100mW 500mW Transceiver Radio Telemetry Set V3 for PIXHawk 4 Flight Controller APM2.6
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Misc Parts

NEW 5.8G 3 Channel Video Switcher Module 3 way Video Switch Unit for RC FPV Camera
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Misc Parts

Pixhawk Mavlink External LED Controller for APM Pixhawk2 Ardupilot PX4 RGB Navigation Light Quadcopter Hexacopter Drone Plane
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Misc Parts

1m 2m 3m 4m 5m WS2812B WS2812 Led Strip,Individually Addressable Smart RGB Led Strip,Black/White PCB Waterproof IP30/65/67 DC5V
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Misc Parts

25T Aluminum Servo Horn Arm w/ Servo Parabolic Switch Aerial Throw Device Large Torque Servo Dispensers for RC Drone Multicopte
Aliexpress.com
See Site

Misc Parts

C&T FlightDeck | Craft and Theory, LLC (2 builds)
Craftandtheoryllc.com
See Site

Video Receiver

ImmersionRC FPV DUO5800 V4.2 Race Edition 48ch 5.8GHz Raceband Dual Output AV Receiver
Banggood.com
$56.99

Battery Charger

Cellpro PowerLab 8
Usastore.revolectrix.com
See Site

Accessories

Lenovo ThinkPad T430 i5 2.6GHz 8GB 320GB DRW Windows 10 Pro 64 Laptop CAM
Arrowdirect.com
$225.00
Show stores (17)

Discussion

Sign in to comment

rolyteamfly   Oct 01, 2019  

Terrific build, I also was inspired by CJDavies when building out my DAYA 680 :)

sivads   Oct 01, 2019 

Thanks!! Yeah, I really enjoyed building this one and it flies great! I'm converting it to 900 MHz long range with 2.4 GHz telemetry. When are we going to see yours on here? 😃

MrCoolPotato   Jun 18, 2019  
1

That is the most amazing drone ever!

sivads   Jun 18, 2019 

Thank you much!

cjdavies   Jun 16, 2019  

Nice! That MAVLink LED controller is really neat, I had no idea such a thing even existed!

sivads   Jun 16, 2019 
1

I started to build my own MAVLink LED controller with an Arduino Mini, but then I found the "elechawk" controller and purchased from AliExpress. It works great but only controls up to 4 LEDs per its 6 channels (came with 2 LEDs per channel)...saved me a ton of time! For max number of LEDs, you must power it from an external 5V source (not the flight controller) because max current demand would be 60mA x 24 LEDs = 1.4A You can wire it to the TX only from your telemetry port to the RX on the LED contrller (the controller dosen't need to send data back to the flight controller). It also comes with software and a TTL to USB adapter for configuring the LED colors and the control channel; if you want to be able to turn on/off from your transmitter.

thumbtwiddler   Jun 15, 2019  

this thing is PACKED

sivads   Jun 15, 2019 

Excelllent choice of words! Yeah, I forgot to take a picture just before I got all the wiring harnesses in place before buttoning it up. Next time I have it apart, I'll snap another pic of the guts. Besides the four huge ESCs and the power management board, I had to squeeze two additional BECs (12V and 5V), a Mavlink LED controller, a remote switch, a power filter, etc. Tight fit, but the frame has a ton of space inside. Thanks for the comment and like.

Guides & Reviews

39 3,837  46
May 05, 2020

This guide will walk you through the process of building your first FPV quad. The goal with this design was to build a low-cost, lightweight quad, yet powerful enough to safely carry a GoPro in close proximity areas. I chose these parts to minimize the amount of soldering at no cost to the quality. A typical build requires around 30 solders while this only needs 25. It's not a huge difference, but..

Read more
28 7,689  38
Nov 30, 2019

In late 2019 DJI made inroads into the FPV scene with their remarkable low-latency digital system. It gave us a 720p video feed with latency on-par with the status quo, analog video. Traditionally we've used analog video systems for low-latency video, but the video quality is far from ideal. It's a trade-off we've been willing to accept for the control. Now we've got the best of both worlds and what..

Read more