Sunday, February 28, 2016

Quadrysteria Mini Mamba Review

Mini Mamba (Final Version)

A while back, I bought a 250 racer style kit from Quadrysteria called the Mini Mamba.  It is high quality in general, with Sunnysky motors, true carbon fiber frame, SimonK ESCs, etc.  The kit included the frame, motors, ESC, integrated BEC/power distribution card, and instructions.

I initially elected to use a Mobius FPV system, spare mini-APM controller, and Lemon DSMX receiver to complete the build.  I started trying to use the instructions, which are well written, but not very useful.  Unfortunately, there are no pictures and you are left wondering which plate is the top, what is the front, exactly what standoff is required etc.  Fortunately, there are video instructions here, and they show you exactly what to do.

In the initial build, I ran into a few problems, some of my own making.

  1. The mini APM may have been defective, it did not consistently stabilize the unit.
  2. The integrated power board from the kit was defective.  It did not supply proper 5V for the receiver and APM.  I had to replace it with a power distribution board and use one of the ESC BECs.
  3. The wiring for the mini-APM and rest of the electronics was not reliable, probably due to the crummy wiring supplied with the mini APM.  The ESC BEC was probably not the best choice as well.
The Mamba flew, but not well, I did crash it badly enough that I had to repair it.  One of the advantages of the Mamba is that will usually just break the props and/or the nylon bolts that hold the motor mounts to the carbon fiber arms, and this is easy to repair.  Previous quads tended to break arms, props, and frame plates, necessitating major repairs that takes hours and hours.

Based on this experience,  I stripped it down and rebuilt it with an Orange receiver that I had used before, a separate BEC, and a Hobbyking mini APM and Hobbyking GPS.  The wiring was much more straightforward as the Hobbyking units came with better cables and I was using a separate BEC. It takes some work to figure out where to stick the ESCs, cabling, BEC between the top and bottom plates.
Side view
Performance is much better but there is still a lot of tuning required as it is very sensitive to pitch and roll, but very insensitive to throttle.  Some other pictures are shown below.
Arm assembly which is set up for easy repair after crashes
Mobius FPV setup with integrated mount and transmitter.  This will be reviewed in future.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Converting the Eachine Racer 250 to APM Controller

A while back I wrote about buying the Eachine Racer 250, which used a CC3d controller.  Well I got tired of trying to figure out this controller and decided to switch the controller over to an APM.  I used the Hobbyking Micro APM, but you can get the same hardware from Banggood.

This started out easily enough, but there were a few hurdles along the way.

Step 1 Disassemble the Eachine

Take the top deck and battery alignment plates off as shown in the figure 1.  Be careful when removing the power connector for the 5.8 GHz video transmitter as it can be easily damaged.  Use an old coffee cup to store the parts while you work on the rest of the project.

Figure 1

Step 2 Mount the Micro APM

The Micro APM will easily go into the CC3D mounting standoffs as shown in figure 2.  Note that you will have to remove one standoff that supports the battery alignment plate as it blocks the USB port.  Figure 3 shows the APM mounted from the top
Figure 2
Figure 3

Step 4 Wire Up the APM

Here is where it gets a little tricky.  The servo wiring from the APM to the receiver is done as per normal.  The website shows how it needs to be done.  This is easy.

Next, you need to supply power to the APM so you will need to make up a cable that goes from the Eachine 5V and ground power pads (green arrow Figure 4) to the power input connector of your APM (magenta arrow, Figure 4). You will need a 6 pin connector to attach to the APM.

Then, we come to the tricky part.  The connections to the motor speed controls are shown by the red arrow in Figure 4.  You have to make a new cable here.  The motor numbering IS NOT THE SAME for APM and CC3D.  The cable will need to be set up as follows:

APM            Eachine
5V                5V
Gnd              Gnd
Motor 1        Motor 2
Motor 2        Motor 4
Motor 3        Motor 1
Motor 4        Motor 3
Figure 4

Step 5 Reaasemble the Eachine

Now you can reassemble the battery alignment plate, top deck, and secure any loose wires.  You are ready to fly again after the usual ESC calibration, radio, compass, gyro calibration are done.

Figure 5 Reassembled Eachine Racer 250