FT 210 Race Quad Build

by FliteTest | September 14, 2016 | (7) Posted in How To

Introducing the FT 210, a durable race quad designed the beginner or intermediate racer in mind!

The FT 210 can be built with any of our Power Pack E options. We used a Power Pack E (Better) with the Emax red bottoms for this build. If you choose to use Power Pack E (Good) or Power Pack E (Best), follow the same process from the build video.

 

This quad is completely customizable and can be upgraded to the latest software and firmware easily.

Start off with the Power distribution board. Pre-solder (tin) every pad, the positive and negative points on the corners with the 12v/ground, 5v/ground and the vcc/ground pads.

Solder the XT60 in place on the PDB (power distribution board). Use a female XT60 connector to keep the included XT60 from warping while soldering in place. Ensure the positive and negative are correct and tack one side in with a small bit of solder to help hold the connector in place while soldering.

Use electrical tape and layer the bottom of the PDB to insulate it further from the carbon fiber. Trim the excess tape and use a drill bit to re-open the holes of the PDB.

Mount the PDB onto the frame using double sided tape and the included 17mm screws and short stand-offs. The side that the XT60 is on is up to you.

If you want to isolate the flight controller (FC), use the included 20mm screws and rubber o-rings below the FC (or below and above like we did) and top the screws off with the included nyloc nuts.

Build the frame from the outside in, starting with the motors. Ensure you are using the correct screws for the motors you are using. Run one screw through the arm of the frame and line your motor up to the screw. Ensure the screw will not touch the motor windings when installed. 

Using the selected motor screws, install all four motors.

Prepare your ESC's. If you do this step and direct solder to your ESC's it will void any warranty the ESC's have. Once the heatshrink is removed the warranty is as well.

Remove the heatshrink from the ESC's. Desolder and remove the motor wires ensuring not to overheat the ESC.

Line up the ESC on the frame approximately where you will mount it.

Allow for a little flex in the motor wires when you lay them over the ESC. Use side cutters and cut the motor wires down just a little past the solder points on the ESC. It is better to keep the wires a little long than too short.

After all four motors have their wires cut short, strip and tin the motor wires to prepare them to solder to the ESC.

Place a strip of electrical tape under where the ESC will mount just to further protect against accidental grounding in crashes.

When mounting ESC's, ensure the ESC is far enough down the arm that you can wrap the ESC and arm in electrical tape. Put a piece of double sided tape on the bottom side of the ESC and mount it in place on the arm of the frame.

Use tweezers to help install each motor wire onto the ESC's. The order of the motor wires does not matter; we will change motor direction later within the BLHeli software.

To further protect your ESC's in a crash, use a piece of propeller cut to size and electrical taped over the ESC.

Measure and cut the positive and negative wires of the ESC's to size, leaving a little slack, according to the + and – pads of the PDB.

Strip, tin and solder all of the ESC power wires in place.

Measure and cut your VTX wire. The red/black wires are for power/ground from the 12v/ground pads of the PDB. The Yellow, brown, and lighter red color wires are for the video and power/ground to your FPV camera.

To help determine where to mount the VTX, plug it in to the wire and line it up. Leave a little slack in your red/black wire cut them in line with the 12V/ground pads on the PDB.

Line the camera up approximately where it will mount. Use the camera wire and match it up to the VTX output for the camera. Overlap the wires from the VTX and the Camera. Leave a little slack, and cut the wires.

Strip and tin the camera wires and the VTX output wires for the camera, leaving the tinned section a little long. Run a small piece of heatshrink over each of the wires to insulate them after we connect them together. Form a 'hook' with each wire and hook them together (red to red, black to brown and yellow to yellow), squeezing the hooks to secure them together. Solder the wires together. Shrink the heatshrink into place. You can use a small piece of electrical tape to secure all 3 wires together after they have been connected and heatshrinked separately.

Strip and tin the red and black wires from the VTX and solder them to the 12v/ground pads on the PDB. 

Reuse a bit of wire that we cut off the VTX cable. Strip, tin and solder it to the VCC/GND pads on the PDB. This will be used for the BATT/GND pads on the flight controller (FC). 

Line up the NAZE32 so the arrow on the top of the FC is pointing towards the front of the quadcopter. Run the wires from the VCC/GND pads to the side of the NAZE where the BATT/GND holes are located. Leaving some slack, cut the wires to size. Strip, tin and solder them into place on the FC (VCC to BATT and GND to GND). After soldering, trim off any excess wire through the through-hole.

Orient the quadcopter so the back of the frame is facing you. Motor one is on the bottom right, 2 on the top right, 3 on the bottom left and 4 on the top left.

Line up the white, black and red wires to the motor pads on the NAZE for the corresponding motor. Leaving yourself some slack, cut, strip and tin the wires. Leave enough wire to move the board around but not so much that there are wires going everywhere.

Insert them into the motor through-holes ensuring you run them to the correct locations. Red to +, black to – and white to signal. Motor 1 to 1, motor 2 to 2, motor 3 to 3 and motor 4 to 4. Solder them into place.

Using the FrSky D4R-II receiver, jumper the pins 3 and 4 using the included jumper.

Using a piece of servo cables we cut off of one of the ESC's earlier plug it into the #1 port on the receiver.

Strip and tin your cut end of the servo cable. Determine where you want to mount your receiver and install the wires to the NAZE. Red to 5v, black to ground and white to PPM.

Route the wires under the FC where you want them to lay.

Depending on how you plan to mount your FC either install the o-rings or install the FC directly onto the stand-offs. Secure using the M3 nyloc nuts. Snug the nuts down but don't overtighten.

Using the M3 8mm screws run them through the baseplate of the frame and install the long stand-offs. Using double-sided tape, stick the receiver on top of the NAZE.

When you install the camera ensure the camera plates are correct. The big tab goes into the base plate and the small tab will insert into the top plate. Install so that the angled side is pointing to the BACK of the frame. Plug in and install the camera to the frame.

Install your VTX into the included plate and secure with the antenna. You can use double-sided tape on the bottom of the VTX after installing into the plate. Ensure you place the big tab in the base plate. You can also use a rubber o-ring as a more of a friction fit to allow the VTX to just sit on the plate itself.

Install the top plate onto the frame and secure in place using the M3 6mm screws.

Run your RX antennas through the antenna slots. Using zip-ties, wrap the zip-ties through the holes and make tight.

Measure a few pieces of heatshrink to the length of the antennas. Lay the antennas on the zip-ties, run a piece of heat shrink over the antenna and zip-tie then shrink it into place. Add another layer of heat shrink and shrink into place for added durability.

If you want to make your antennas a little shorter you can pull them into the frame. Wrap them in a loop and secure with a zip-tie leaving a shorter section above the frame.

While the antennas are cooling if you bend them and hold them in a position while they cool the heat shrink will hold that form after cooling. 

Now we are ready to start on the software! 

Go to the betaflight github ( https://github.com/betaflight/betaflight/releases ) and download the firmware for the NAZE32.

Plug in the computer to the NAZE and open the Betaflight configurator. On the left side of the screen click 'Firmware Flasher'.

Click “Load Firmware (Local)” on the bottom right and select the NAZE32 firmware.

Once loaded click “Flash Firmware”. If it times out just click on “Flash Firmware” a second time and it will begin the process.

After a successful flash. Click “Connect” at the top right of the screen.

On the first screen “Setup”, lay the quadcopter flat on your table and click on “Calibrate Accelerometer”. 

On the 'Configuration' screen:

            Set your Minimum Throttle to 1000.

            Set Receiver Mode to RX_PPM.

            Click “Save and Reboot” at the bottom right.  

On the “PID Tuning” screen:

            To start just leave all PID's on default.

            Set your rates as you see fit or leave default.

                        We choose 1.1 on RC Rate for roll/pitch and 0.8 for Rate.

           1.2 on RC Rate for Yaw and 0.75 for Rate.

            Click “Save”

On the “Modes” screen:

            We run Arm and Air Mode on the same switch which we choose AUX 2 for both at a high

            setting.

            Click “Save”

On the “Motors” screen:

            ***Ensure you have NO propellers on your quadcopter***

            Click the switch that says you understand the risks.

            Move the “Master” slider all the way to the top so all 4 motors show 2000.

Plug in your battery to your quadcopter and listen for the series of tones.

When the tones have finished move the “Master” slider all the way to the bottom where all 4 motors read 1000. 

Listen for the tones again. When the tones have finished this second time, cycle the quadcopter by removing the battery and plugging it back in again.

After the tones finish click on the “Master” slider and by pushing the UP arrow on the keyboard one click at a time you will walk all 4 motors up.

When the motors all are spinning smoothly (in this build that was at 1017) you can turn the “Master” slider back down and unplug your battery.

Go back to the “Configuration” screen and change the “Minimum Throttle” to the number we just found, “1017”, and click “Save and Reboot.” 

To test our Motor Direction, go back to the “Motors” page. Plug in a battery and click that you understand the risks. Click on the “Master” slider and walk the motors up until they start to spin at 1017 again.

We are looking for Clockwise on Motors 1 and 4 and Counter-Clockwise on Motors 2 and 3.(In our build motors 2 and 3 were reversed).

Click Disconnect at the top right and we are finished with BetaFlight.

Open BLHeliSuite. Click on “Select ATMEL / SILABS Interface at the top and ensure (E) SILABS BLHeli Bootloader (Cleanflight) is selected.

Plug in your NAZE to your computer. At the bottom click on the drop box beside “Port” and select the COM port you are plugged into it will read Silicon Labs.

Click “Connect”. Plug in your battery to your quadcopter (PROPS OFF!) and click on “Read Setup”. Click OK twice.

If you need to flash your ESC's:

Click “Flash BLHeli” at the bottom. It will automatically select the ESC's you are using and the most current firmware you have downloaded.

Go through the screens clicking “Yes” and “OK” and it will flash all 4 ESC's.

In order to switch motor direction on motors 2 and 3:

            At the bottom where it shows 1 2 3 4, this is how you select your ESC's.      

With all 4 numbers lit up it will change all 4 motors. If you want to change one ESC, unhighlight the numbers you don't wish to change and leave only the number you need to change lit up.

With the ESC lit up that you wish to change at the top change “Motor Direction” to “Reversed” and click on “Write Setup”.

Do this for each ESC that needs to change direction. Click “OK” on ESC: Write OK. Click “Disconnect” and unplug the quadcopter from the computer. 

Setting up the transmitter:

Turn the Taranis on and go to “Model Selection”. You can get back to Model Selection at any time by pressing EXIT a few times then MENU.

Go down to an empty model number and hold “ENT”. Click (push “ENT”) on “Create Model”. Push the – button to scroll over and push “ENT” on the quadcopter.

To change the Throttle push – to highlight CH1 and push ENT to select it and – again to change it to CH3 and press ENT to save. Press PAGE to go to ROLL. Assign ROLL to CH1 using the same method we used to change Throttle and press PAGE to move on to Pitch. Assign PITCH to CH2, YAW to CH4, and hold ENT to confirm changes.

To BIND:

On “Model Selection” push PAGE. On “Model Setup” scroll up to “Mode” and push ENT on D16 and use + to change it to D8 and push ENT to save. Scroll down to [Bind] and push ENT and the radio will start to beep. 

While the radio is beeping push the button on your D4R-II receiver and hold it while plugging in your battery.

Your receiver will have a solid green light and flashing red. At this time press EXIT on your radio and unplug your quadcopter.

Setup arming switch:

On “Model Selection” click PAGE until you are on “Mixer”. Scroll down to CH6 and hold ENT. Scroll down to “Source” and press ENT. While the box beside Source is flashing toggle the switch you wish to use and it will change on Source. 

If you want to change the switch direction:

Press EXIT until you are back at the “Mixer” screen and press PAGE once to get to “SERVOS”. Scroll down to CH6 and press ENT. Press – to scroll over to the arrow and at the top it will read “Direction”. Press ENT and it will change the direction of your switch. Press EXIT until you are back to the main screen. 

To verify your radio is sending the correct signals:

Plug your quadcopter back in to your computer and open the Betaflight Configurator. Go to the “Receiver” page. Plug in a battery to your quadcopter. Ensure all inputs are correct.

Setting Mid-Points:

On the Taranis Press Menu, PAGE to “Servos”. To change the Mid-point on each channel select the channel by pressing ENT. Scroll over to “Subtrim” and press ENT.

Use the + and – on your radio while watching the corresponding channel on the Betaflight configurator and get the number right on or as close to 1500 for each channel.

For Throttle you want it to read as close to, or right on 1000.

Setting End-Points:

Hold left on your ROLL stick on your radio. While watching the Betaflight Configurator screen you want the Minimum number to read 1000 and the Maximum number to read 2000 on each channel. Scroll over to Min on the “Servos” screen for each channel and press ENT. Use your + and – buttons to change it so that it is reading as close to 1000 as possible. 

Press EXIT. Press – to highlight “Max”. Press ENT and while holding your Roll stick to the Right, change it so that it is reading as close to 000 as possible. Repeat this for each control input and press EXIT once you finish. 

Cover your ESC’s if you haven't already. Using a piece of propeller, cover your ESC and secure with electrical tape.

Plug in your battery, and test that your FPV gear is working. Install your propellers, battery strap and go FLY!

COMMENTS

NoobRC on September 27, 2016
I agree, there needs to be clarification on which camera was used - a lot of people are having issues with the HS1177 cams.
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flying-coqui on September 21, 2016
Hey FT great quad. You guys can make a comparison video between FT Versacopter and FT 210 FPV
Race Quadd
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elnaz on September 26, 2016
We are also looking for BOM for all components. Thanks
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bird2jump on September 22, 2016
Please give a bill of materials for all add-on components, i.e. PDB, Naze32, 200 MHz VTX, Runcam Swift camera, etc. Also give links of all components used in your build video to the Flitetest store. This will help in replicating all the components in your build process. Thanks.
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bird2jump on October 7, 2016
Is anyone there reading these messages? What good is to do all this great effort in producing the
how-to video plus step by step text and not read the users comments and questions? Would be nice to get some answers, please!
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damouav on September 21, 2016
Another great "how to" video guys!
Just have to say placing a bend at the end of the two wires you want to join together (after you twisted/tinned them) was simple, but ingenious. Easier than twisting together then soldering.
Keep up the great work.
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GarrettMenges on October 27, 2016
Hi there, What if your esc's don't have a built in bec? I'm very new to all this quad stuff and just purchased some motors and esc's. After purchasing the esc's I have noticed that they said no bec. Ive been flying planes for about two years now so I know only a bit about all the electronics/ motors and what not, but am very unsure about this BEC.
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Atte Hosiasluoma on February 24, 2017
i have bean interested in starting flying racing gauds for a while and im interested in the FT 210, but one question i have is do you need a special transmitter for the guad because i have a transmitter whis is ment for rc planes and helicopter and i wonder if it works on a quadcopter or do i have to get a new transmitter, it would be great if somebody could help me.
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Atte Hosiasluoma on February 24, 2017
the transmitter I have is a Hitec Flash 7

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Samfriesenrc on January 5, 2020
You don't need a new transmitter. What the transmitter does is send a value for throttle, yaw, elevator, and aileron. On a normal airplane these values go straight to the servos and and motor (increasing the throttle stick will make the motor spin faster), but on a quadcopter the flight controller does all that mixing for the 4 motors for you, as well as stabilizing it, if that mode is turned on.
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Missaka on April 30, 2017
Hey! I am going to build my 1st FPV system but it is confusing to find the correct VTX. I need to use my FPV system in a racing quad copter. what is the VTX I should use. There are many 200mW, 600mW, etc what VTX I should buy?
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Samfriesenrc on January 5, 2020
Probably 200mW.
25mW = Indoor
200mW = Outdoor
600mW = Outdoor higher power

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FT 210 Race Quad Build