Hermione’s and Zoe’s powerware

All of Hermione and Zoes’ powerware – battery, ESCs, motors and props come from a single supplier: Paul Maddock who runs electricwingman.com based in Chester, UK where I used to live until 2010.  Over the years, he’s provided a great service, including a couple of specials for me, and so is definitely worth a mention.

Here’s the list of Hermione’s parts I have from him:

This is probably the best set of powerware possible, to match Hermione’s best frame possible.

I also got Zoe’s powerware and frame from there too, though annoyingly, her motors are no longer available:

Once more, THBAPSA.

Hermione’s frame

If you want a super strong X8 compatible frame that’s large enough for every possible sensor, there’s only one out there that fits the bill.  And it fits it well, and then some.  It’s designed and hand-made in Poland at quadframe.com by Jakub Jewula.

Hermione's frame

Hermione’s frame

The frame is carbon fiber throughout.  The arms are hinged to allow them to fold for transport, but lock into place amazingly sturdily for flight.  The kit comes complete with a simple but well designed power distribution tower, outer-plates for 5V power, WiFi and GPS as shown (or whatever you want to add) and various shelves for flight controllers, LiPo’s etc.  I love the way all the wiring for motors, power, GPS and WiFi can be fed down their tubes to protect them from blades during flight.

The standard legs aren’t strong enough for some of the catastrophic falls Hermione has had during her development, so I use these instead.

Hermione's closeup

Hermione’s closeup

I have a few bits of build advice:

  • Don’t be scared to tighten the bolts as hard as possible for brackets attached to the CF tubes
  • Don’t bother with the bolt to join the CF arm to the shoulder socket joint, just use epoxy resin glue; it gives a better distributed, stronger connection, and hence significantly reduces the chance of damage on impacts by ensuring forces are passed through to the frame itself.
  • Apply a little grease to the shoulder joints so they can’t lock up if you over-tighten them.
  • Wrap some duct-tape at the ends of each arm where the motor bracket joins to prevent hard side impact pushing the motors down the arms.
  • Add these foam rubber balls to the end of the legs to try to absorb some of any impact landings.
  • If you want a cover, this salad bowl is a perfect fit, shown in a previous revision of her frame build:

    Salad bowl

    Salad bowl


Note that I was not paid for this advert and I paid full price for the frame.  I’ve written this post because the frame is simply the best DIY fold-able CF X8 frame available, period.

Zoe the Zero – 7 – BOM

Zoe went to the kids’ playroom for a maiden flight.  I did no tuning, she just inherited Phoebe’s PID tuning values.  The result was one perfect flight, one flight with horizontal drift, and one flight with a crash and a clipped prop (an unexpected reaction by the ESCs to ctrl-C mid-flight, I think) – replacement props are already on their way (£5 a pair).  Clearly there’s some tuning to do.

But at the same time, she is working amazingly well for a set of untuned maiden flights, so here’s the Bill Of Materials which comes to around £270 plus the unpriced bits and bobs that all cost less than a pound each.


Quad BOM

Update December 2015: Zoe the Zero provides a full, up to date BOM and build instructions for using a Pi Zero as the flight controller

Update February 2015: There is a newer set of articles about how I have built my quadcopter all under the BYOAQ-BAT tag.

This BOM is very out of date – use the updates listed above.

While I’m awaiting delivery of new propeller blades, I thought I could kill some time by putting together the bill of materials used to build my Quadcopter.  I’ll update this if I spot any other parts needed.