Drone kit -F450 and F550

Preamble

In addition to the other drone kits, such as the  S500 and Alien Reptile frames, there are the DJI F550 Hexacopter and F450 quadcopter frames.

As an aside – I do wonder whether it is possible to use a hexacopter frame as a quadcopter, so that, for example, you could just purchase an F550 main board and use it for a quadcopter, as well as a Y-copter (tri-copter).

Overall cost comparison

  • Hexacopter F550 kit w/ KKmulticopter £83
  • Hexacopter ESC/motor/prop upgrade £65.16
  • Hexacopter F550 frame only £14.53
  • Quadcopter F450 kit, £52
  • Quadcopter Reptile 500 w/ APM £85

Delta

  • Motor/ESC x 2 = £18
  • KKMulticopter £6.18
  • Difference btween F450 and F550 frame is 14.53-7.56=£7
  • Total delta = £31

Breakdown

Frames

F450 Frame
F550 Frame

Arms

4X Quadcopter Replacement Frame Arm Accessories For DJI F450 F550 Red A1830 K6, £5.21

F550 Kits

There is a complete kit, which is seemingly better value than the Reptile kit, HexaCopter ARF F550 FlameWheel Kit + KKMulticopter + ESC Motor Props F05114-C for £92.99 but has the KK controller (see Flight Controllers below) which is rather a simple controller, and the ArduPilot is superior, Also the RHD motors are dubious, although it does come with SimonK ESCs. Or the same kit, on offer, HexaCopter ARF F550 FlameWheel Kit + KKMulticopter + ESC Motor Props F05114-C, for £79.26 + £3, with superior motors but without the SimonK ESCs. However, it is possible to flash the FMT ESCs with SimonK firmware, with the KKflashtool, although some care must be taken. See also Need help! FMT ESC 25A Flashing

Upgrade kit only: 6x 2212 920kv Motor M-30A ESC 1045 propeller for S550 F550 Upgrade Hexacopter, for £65.16 (add the frame for £15 equals £80)

With FPV, FPV 7″ screen TX RX 700TVL cam S550 F550 Carbon Fiber Hexacopter 6 set motor escFPV 7″ screen TX RX 700TVL cam S550 F550 Carbon Fiber Hexacopter 6 set motor esc, £172, but no controller (no APM nor RC)

There does not seem to be a barebones kit, without the APM… Oh yes there is:

Carbon Fiber:

F450 kits:

What does the kV mean?

See What does a motor’s kV number mean?

What does kV mean? Simply put, kV is just a measure of the speed with which the motor turns. (Less simply put, kV is the “unloaded RPM of the motor at 1 volt.”)

Let’s look at a 1000kV motor. Its rating (1000kV) means that it will spin at 1000 RPM per volt. A 3-cell LiPo battery has a nominal voltage of 11.1V, so our 1000kV motor on a 3-cell will spin at 1000*11.1 or 11,100 RPM. Theoretically. Without any load. If you believe the manufacturer’s numbers.

In reality, the manufacturer’s numbers may be a bit … optimistic. And in reality that motor’s not running without any load. It’s got a propeller on there, and that propeller is pushing air, and that creates a load. It’s the difference between mashing the accelerator pedal on your car with the transmission in neutral vs. with it in gear. The motor acts very differently when it’s trying to pull thousands of pounds of metal down the street.

Still, kV numbers are useful for comparisons between motors. A 1600kV motor will spin roughly twice fast as an 800kV motor, and roughly half as fast as a 3200kV motor.

Motors of the same size and weight have roughly similar amounts of power. Consider two one ounce motors, one a 1200kV and the other a 3000kV. The two motors have about the same amount of power, but one spins much faster than the other. The 1200kV motor can spin a much larger propeller, moving larger volumes of air at slower speeds. The 3000kV motor is moving air at very high speeds. If you put the same large propeller on it as you use on the 1200kV motor, you’ll burn it up; it will be trying to move too much air, too quickly. (The load will be around 2.5 times as high at 3000kV as at 1200kV with the same prop.) A 3000kV motor will require a smaller prop, to move smaller volumes of air at high speed.

Very, very generally, kV ratings correspond to the speed at which the airplane is intended to fly. A screaming fast flying wing will probably be running a high kV motor, at least 1700kV and maybe as high as 3000kV to 3500kV. A slow-flying park flyer might be running something closer to 1000kV.

Guides

From The Ultimate Guide to DJI F550 Hexacopter: Things You Need to Know – yawn, meh!

From Why chose the DJI F550 over the F450..?? – why not have both?

I have both. I personally like the F450 better. I think that its flight characteristics are better. For the F550, I use 4S lipos that are more expensive. I use cheap 3S 2650 lipos on my F450 and get 8:30 flight times. I use my F450 primarily for FPV. I use my F550 for fun but it is somewhat redundant. F450, F550, S800 and MK Hexa; they all have their place. If you are new to multi rotors, I would pick the least expensive option and make up the difference in spare parts. You will break props, maybe arms, and you may toast a motor. It happens. The question is will you wait a few minutes to replace the parts or wait weeks to get replacements? To do the same with the F550, it will cost you on top of the kit. With the F450, you are adding extras. You have an option, buy a F450 frame and a F550 kit. Best of both worlds and you can fly both. I just disassembled a F450 and reassembled it to a F550 in about an hour. I am slow but I like my solder joints to shine.

Which frame

from Build Your Own Multicopter – Ardupilot

From HOW TO PICK THE BEST MULTIROTOR FRAMEHOW TO PICK THE BEST MULTIROTOR FRAME

BEST MULTIROTOR FRAMES

Here are some of the best multirotor frames for each category of flying. These are frames that I’ve either tried myself, or seen extremely good reviews about. The best quality materials are fiberglass (G10), carbon fiber and aluminium, but the most important thing is how well the frame is designed, not always the materials it’s made out of.

You might be wondering why the DJI phantom (which is a ready to fly quadcopter) is in the list of frames. Well, in my opinion, the phantom 2 with the Zenmuse H3-2D gimbal is one of the best choices for aerial cinematography, as long as you’re not trying to shoot the next big hollywood movie. I’ve seen videos from the phantom that look better then videos shot with expensive octocopters. If you don’t like the idea of a quadcopter, then I would get the Flame Wheel F550 with DJI’s H3-2D gimbal.

From Hexcopter vs quadcopter – wind and motor failures

I own a quad (DJI F450) and a Hex (XA Hexa)… I can tell you the following:

1) In terms of stability in the wind, the Hexa wins HANDS DOWN. The little quad gets pushed all over the place and becomes really wobbly in high wind. The Hexa, on the other hand, remains quite stable no matter what (it just gets pushed around).

2) In terms of ability to withstand a failure, they are both terrible. The quad and the hexa will both crash immediately if they lose a motor or a prop. (I’ve experienced both on both).

My understanding is that in order to get redundancy, you need at LEAST Y6 (three on top, three on bottom, and a skilled pilot)… Octo is much better for this purpose.

I’m selling my Hexa to move to an Octo for this exact reason…. But I’m upgrading my FlameWheel 450 to a FlameWheel 550. (The parts will be here tomorrow). So my quad is going away completely, and I’ll be left with a Hexa and an Octo when the dust settles.

Power Distribution Boards

See also the blog PDB.

Where as the cheaper quad and hexacopters require a Power Distribution Connection Board, or PDB,

Power Distribution Board
Power Distribution Board

it is possible for the F450 and the F550 to have that built in to the frame:

Other F550 parts

Landing gear

Legs
Arm Tips
Heighten Legs and Skids

Cover

Propeller Guards

RC Transmitter monitor mounts

Gimbal

Fixed
With Servos
Gimbal Mounting Adapters

Carbon Fiber Modifications

For use with 16mm carbon tubes: DJI Flame Wheel Parts – Round Boom Kit for F450, F550 & TBS Discovery Quadcopter, £12.86

CarbonMounts.jpg
Carbon Tube mounts
F450 with Carbon Tube Arms
F450 with Carbon Tube Arms

Carbon Fiber Tubes:

Aluminium Clamps:

16MM Carbon Fiber Tube Folding Mounting Base Group/ Black w/ Screws for Drone, £1.78

4PCS Plastic 16mm Round Tube Multiaxial for Carbon Motor Mount Support Seat, £5.30, 70g (almost the same as the F550 replacement kit above)

Carbon Fiber Motor Mounting Plate Set for 16mm Tube Multirotor, £5

Black Motor Mounting Plate Set for Carbon Tube Dia 16mm Multi-axis Aircraft, £3.69 + £1, 45g

Universal Motor Mount Seat Base For 16mm Carbon Tube Arm LEYI H685 Hexacopter, £6.80, 25g (has carbon plate)

F550 arms

Specifications:

  • Condition: 100% brand new and high quality
  • Color: Black & White & Red
  • Frame arm size: 21.5 * 3.8 * 5cm / 8.5 * 1.6 * 2.0inch
  • Weight: 43g(Single)
  • Weight: 250g / 6pcs

Videos

F450/F550

Interesting thread and video: DJI Flame Wheel F450 and F550 *******OWNERS******* Thread.

Use of Bullets

From Best way to connect motors and ESC’s: Use solder or bullet connectors?

Best is direct solder connection with no bullets, lighter and less point of failure. Downside is that you cannot easily swap leads to change motor rotation to swap out a motor or ESC.

and

In my experience, the wire connections on ESCs can be better described as welds, not solder. You stand to do a lot more damage ‘soldering’ directly than using bullets. The heat required to unweld the existing wires is much higher than soldering and often at close proximity to components.

No bullet connector is going to work itself free without reason. That reason can be too much vibration, too much stretch or some other reason you should not be flying in the first place. A wire tie will keep loose wires from moving into props harm.

During a crash, stress has to go somewhere. Your choice; it can be transferred into pulling a bullet connector apart, or it can be transferred in ripping a soldered connection from the ESCs.

Regardless of what the previous thread states, bullets can be used on the power distribution board, in addition to connecting ESCs to motors, even though there will be added weight, and possible additional points of failure. However, it will make the coptor more maintainable.

10/20 Pairs 3.5mm Gold-plated Bullet Banana Plug Connector For Battery Motor ESC:

  • 5 pairs/10 pcs £0.99
  • 10 pairs/20 pcs £1.49
  • 20 pairs/40 pcs £2.59
  • 50 pairs/100 pcs £6.85

Or 20PCS 10Pairs 3.5mm Gold Plated Male&Female Bullet Banana Plug Connector for ESC, £1.31

As mentioned in the blog about Power Distribution boards (see PDB), in the section on Octocopter PDBs, these boards have bullets already attached:

PDB with bullets
PDB with bullets
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