Locust ARF Quadcopter Kit Review

December 1, 2013 21:58 | By | 90 Comments

The Locust Quadcopter Kit from Goodluckbuy is an amazingly cheap offer for USD $209, complete with Crius AIO, brushless GoPro gimbal and optional GPS antenna. Is it too cheap? Find out in our review below.

IMG_20131130_162120

The specs are not too shabby:

– F450 Quadcopter Frame
– CRIUS v1.1 flight controller
– 4 x 20A ESC
– 4 x XXD 2212 Motor
– 4pairs xย 9047 Propellers CW&CCW
– Gopro 3 aluminum gimbal with brushless motors & controller
– Optional GPS antenna ($24 extra)

IMG_20131207_204640

When you get the package, two things are apparent: Goodluckbuy did everything they could to save money without compromising too much on quality, and second: They expect you to know a bit about multicopters. There’s no manual whatsoever. What you get is an almost-completely assembled Quadcopter in “Deadcat” configuration, the gimbal already attached and set up, with a Crius AIO v1.1 flight controller with MultiWii installed. If you opt for the $24 GPS antenna, that one is also included and already connected to the controller board.

All you have to do is add three screws on one of the arms, then attach the motors and props. Connecting your receiver is easy, because theoretically GLB attached labels to the servo wires. We say “theoretically” because most of these labels came off during shipping. But still, not bad for trying.

The brushless gimbal is of the open source variety, and updated software can be downloaded from google code, though it has to be said that you should be fine using the gimbal as it comes without tweaking any settings.

IMG_20131201_205717

The copter does fly out of the box, this much has to be said. MultiWii has some sensible defaults dialed in, the gimbal has sensible defaults configured as well, the entire thing works pretty well. Of course you should connect to your laptop to set up your switches and whatnot, but in principle, this is a pretty good “RTF” kit as far as MultiWii goes. Just about the only negative points are the fact that the props aren’t balanced, and that the gimbal sensor is glued on with hot glue, which comes loose from the aluminium arm pretty quickly.

IMG_20131201_140404

Balancing the props makes the quad even more stable. But we didn’t want to stop there and keep MultiWii on there. There’s better things to try, like the latest MegaPirate 3.0.1 R3 prerelease software. To install this, we had to figure out what GPS this quad comes with, so we can change the baud rate from the default MultiWii 115200 baud (which is not advisable for atmel-powered devices btw) to a much more sensible 38400 baud.

So the stylish GPS case gets disassembled and inside we find…

IMG_20131201_141754

…a ublox H-8123 GPS module with a U-BLOX G6010 chipset. Wonderful, this means we can use u-Studio to reconfigure this. The GPS comes preconfigured at 115200 baud in NMEA mode. Luckily, all you have to do is follow the official Ardupilot instructions on flashing a new configuration to a ublox 6 GPS, both the instructions and the config file work for this model too. You will get some warnings about unsupported configuration settings when you upload the file to the GPS, but that’s okay. What this config does is switch your GPS to the UBLOX protocol, as well as set the baud rate to 38400, which happens to be the default for Megapirate too.

Getting Megapirate onto the flight controller is easy: We followed their compilation instructions to set up the Arduino IDE, then we configured our flight controller to “CRIUS_V1” and disabled PPM input, so we could use a standard receiver. We also changed the GPS protocol to UBLOX. Connecting the receiver is very easy if you follow the connection overview.

After that, we followed the ArduCopter setup instructions to calibrate the accelerometer and compass, as well as the receiver range and check that the channels were assigned correctly.

IMG_20131201_150450

The result is great. With the props balanced and the default gains *slightly* lowered, the quad hovered very stable. GPS lock was attained pretty quickly and a little tweaking will make it hold the positition and transition from waypoint to waypoint with good precision. Flight times of 6 minutes are possible with a 2200mAh 3S battery, a 5000mAh battery yields around 11 minutes. The included GPS module works great and has a big ceramic antenna, the gimbal does what it should, and they even included servo cables for controlling the gimbal elevation with a spare receiver channel. So what’s the catch?

IMG_20131130_124741

Mostly, it’s the cost-saving measures that keep this one from shining. For example, the flight controller was mounted too high, so some servo plugs were mushed against one of the arms. Cutting about 4mm from the nylon spacers between the gimbal and flight controller solved this. While it’s only an annoyance, it still should be mentioned nevertheless.

The bigger flaw is the gimbal mounting. While it’s cool to have a deadcat with forward-mounted gimbal, this also means that you get no vibration dampening whatsoever. So prepare to REALLY balance your props, or you will get shaky footage.

IMG_20131201_150440

All in all, this is a very versatile set for a very competitive price. 209 bucks is half what a Phantom costs, and you have to keep in mind that with MegaPirate firmware, you get unlimited waypoint planning capability. The Crius flight controller is extendible and can be upgraded with wireless telemetry and control, letting you plot waypoints on your laptop or even your smartphone/tablet.

In the end, it’s an enticing offer for people who don’t mind tinkering a bit. If the thought of pressing the “compile” button on an Arduino IDE scares you, this is not the quadcopter for you. Start out with our $120 Quadcopter to get a feel for setting up sensitivities. But if you want a versatile GPS capable drone that can lift way more battery power than any Phantom, as well as unlimited GPS waypoints, this may just be what you have been waiting for.

All in all, an imperfect package, but the bang-to-buck ratio is really good. If you’re interested, you can order the Locust ARF set right here.

We’ll end this review with some example footage from the Locust, captured with a GoPro 3. This should give you a pretty good idea of what video quality to expect.

 

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Comments (90)

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  1. Antonio says:

    Hello, I’m from Andalucia, Spain, I bought this frame on ebay recently, even I’m waiting, I’m very interested in the subject of the grip of the gimbal to the frame, you can you tell if you ace had to do some modification? comes ready to wear? do not want to have vibration in my video, sorry for my English.

    Regards from Spain

    • fpvcentral says:

      We did not modify anything. The drawback of this frame is that there is no rubber buffer to reduce vibrations, so do balance your props to avoid vibration.
      Using graupner e-props also helps because they do not flex under stress.

      In general, balancing your probs is the most important thing you can do to reduce vibration.

  2. jazz says:

    hi i recently perches this kit of goodluckbuy. im very new to this cruis and my last quad was a kk2 there for i need a huge help on just seting it up out of the box and fly. can you make a how to video for people like me.

  3. Antonio says:

    hello, finally mount my quadcopter and my surprise is that watching your video propellers are not but my videos look much propellers. Why?

    Greetings.

  4. Rui says:

    Hello, how much does this weight ready to fly?

    Cheers,

    Rui

  5. Olivier says:

    Hi,

    Do you have the standard pid settings of the gimbal ?
    And original firmware of gimbal brushless controller ?
    I’ve tried to update firmware of brushless controller and I have many difficulties to find right pid settings.

    Thanks in advance,
    Olivier

  6. Laz says:

    Hello,

    I am seriously considering buying this quad. Your review outlined some great tips to get it to its full potential. You mentioned some minor annoyances, and I was wondering if there were any other small details that should be corrected when setting the quad up. I am starting out with quads and every little tip counts.

    Cheers,
    Laz

    • fpvcentral says:

      This is not really a beginner quadcopter! You should consider getting a QX 340 or similar to start out with.

      As for annoyances on this quad, I’d say that if you have a gopro and the gimbal and all that, it doesn’t have a lot of power due to all the weight on it. Also be sure to balance your props because the gimbal has no vibration dampening, so well balanced props are a must-have.

      • Laz says:

        I should have been clearer on what I meant by “starting out.” I’ve flown quads for a bit, but haven’t built one from scratch, and since this one is basically fully built but very modifiable, it seems like a good in-between from an RTF to gathering all the parts and building from scratch, especially price-wise.

        I plan to set up an FPV system and mount a small FPV camera on the gimbal, so it shouldn’t be nearly the weight of a Gopro. As for the low power, do you think it can take slightly larger props or are the motors just being taxed too much?

        Thanks for the response!

  7. Jason says:

    Do you know if the gimbal control board will handle a 4S battery (16-18v) or does it need to be regulated down to 12v?

  8. Andre G says:

    I’m about to order this kit and was wondering if all the connectors and servo leasd are included in the kit?

    • fpvcentral says:

      Yes, though your battery connector may differ. On ours the labels fell off too, so there was some research required. Or just flash megapirate, then the channels are different anyway.

  9. Jason says:

    Thanks so much!

  10. Ben says:

    Thanks for the great article! I’m having a bit of trouble reconfiguring the GPS and was wondering if you could elaborate on that. I uploaded the custom APM firmware to (hopefully) pass the GPS UART through to the Crius’s USB COMM port, but I don’t see any activity in u-center when I connect. The blue LED on the GPS itself is solid most of the time, but blinks off briefly at about 1 Hz. Did you use the Crius board to pass the GPS serial port through, or did you have an FTDI adapter sitting around? If the latter, do you know where other people could get one of those adapters?

  11. Kevin G says:

    Thank you so much for this review and link to purchase this quad. I decided to give it a try and after a few weeks I finally have this stabilized and am able to fly it around.

    My first question is about your sample video. How did you get that to be so smooth? The gimbal works very well when I hold it and move around. The video comes out nice and stable. Once in flight, the dreaded jello kicks in and the video is unusable. I have balanced the props, and also the motors to the best of my ability. I know one of the negative things about this setup is the gimbal is mounted directly to the frame, right where the frame arms connect, putting the camera closer to the vibration. There are a lot of things I have read online with damping and isolating etc. Could you please share what you did to produce a super smooth jello-free video with this setup?

    The other question has to do with something you briefly mentioned about the capabilities of megapirate and amp software. Were you able to get decent results in automatic flight modes i.e. loiter, RTL, waypoints? I have run the compassmot and got a 69% mag field interference. It seems the best solution would be to just get the 3DR gps/compass on a mast away from everything else. The problem with that, is that it costs more money and was hoping to get this working with what the package comes with. I know you just wrote a review and did not make or sell the thing, but just would like to know if you had any luck or tips on how to reduce the mag field interference to get better auto flight modes.

    • fpvcentral says:

      Jello effect is really best fixed by proper prop balancing. Perhaps you haven’t balanced them enough? Also check if your motors might require balancing, for example by wrapping a small zip tie around the bell.

      Sadly on the Locust the gimbal is mounted on a dirty plate, i.e. it’s not vibration dampened. What you can try is use some soft foam underneath the gopro.

      If you get 69% compassmot, you can either mount the crius board on the top (keeping the power distribution board underneath), or connect an external magnetometer. Just get a cheap I2C magnetometer from ebay, and connect it to the I2C port. Then open AP_IntertialSensor_MPU6000_I2C.cpp and follow the comments to disable the internal magnetometer (near the top of the file)

      Mounting the external magnetometer on a little stand or back on the battery tray will get rid of the toiletbowling completely.

      Don’t forget to do the compass calibration after you mounted the magnetometer to the frame!

      • Kevin says:

        Thanks for the reply. I really like having the FC inside of the frame and will go for the external magnetometer and give that a shot. As far as camera shake goes, I had an idea I will be trying later this week. Checking out the local hardware store I found some things that I can use to build my own isolated gimbal mount, and a way to mount my camera (mobius) to the gimbal with some more vibration damping. If I get good results, I will share some pics and how I did it.

        The other thing I am going to try is new props. The local hobby shop sells APC props and I read those are supposed to be much better. The gemfans that came in this package are 9×4.7. Would there be any benefit or negative effect by using 10×4.7?

        • fpvcentral says:

          I’d say 9×4.7 are probably better for 4S and a higher KV motor, and the 10×4.7 are best for 3S. Your milage may vary though, depends on your local altitude etc.

          Let us know how this works out for you please!

          • Kevin says:

            I really like the 10×4.7 props a lot better. It seems a little smoother and quieter. I still needed to balance them a little bit, but only slightly. The other props were way off and needed a lot of tape. Also, I am using a 5000mah 3s lipo which is working out pretty well.

      • Kevin says:

        I was able to reduce the jello a little bit but still have pretty bad shake. Instead of the camera gimbal mounted directly to the frame, I mounted it to a piece of metal that has rubber between the frame and new mount. This was my attempt to create an isolated mount. I just used rubber grommets (improperly) and this method helped a little bit. The video is now at least watchable. I am going to try the same method with actual vibration damping balls like the ones here: http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__40612__Vibration_Damping_Ball_50gram_8_pcs_bag_.html. The other thing I might do is buy a similar frame with isolated mount already set up: http://www.rctimer.com/product_1055.html.

        The other thing I noticed that could be causing an issue is the gimbal motors themselves. I have noticed small vibrations and sometimes twitching. It is real noticeable in fast forward flight.

        Thank you so much for telling me about the AP_IntertialSensor_MPU6000_I2C.cpp file. I never would have found that one. I bought this 12c external magnetometer from ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/251469928106?ssPageName=STRK:MEWNX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1497.l2649.
        I realized the connections were set up for the real apm board with the connection going from power, SCL, SDA, ground. This is different from the crius 12c port so I swapped the order so the connections match up. Do you know if I need to somehow modify the power to 3.3volts vs the 5v output? If so do you know how I would go about that?

        Thanks so much for your help!

      • Kevin says:

        I went ahead and just tried the external magnetometer without worrying about the voltage and it seems to work. Like I said earlier I had the change the order of the wires. It comes with the wire harness set up for an APM board which is different than the Crius v1.1. To change the order, I just used an exact knife to lift the small tabs on the harness and pull the wires out. Then put them back in with the correct order.

        I first put the compass on the very back of the battery tray. I however still got really bad interference (80%) most likely since it was right on top of a big battery and closer to the motors & escs. I tried loiter and an AUTO flight anyway and it actually performed okay. I tried again in more wind and it did not work at all.

        I really wanted to get low levels of interference. Last night I mounted the compass on a little platform above the frame. See the image: http://kgeorgiades.com/misc/IMG_4181.JPG. I did a compassmot this morning and got a 4% That is a much better result! Unfortunately I cannot test the performance yet due to high winds but will let you know how it goes. To make the mount I used a few pieces from the hobby shop. I got some plastic tubing that is self-threading, a plastic sheet, double stick foam, screws and washers. I cut the plastic sheet to a small rectangle and drilled a hole through it. Screwed the rectangle piece to the tubing, then the foam on top to cover the platform and screw. Then I used the washers to mount the platform to the frame. If you see in the picture, the port is facing towards the front. This is not the default orientation. In mission planner under the compass section, be sure to change it to “yaw 180” so it knows to rotate it 180 degrees. The only issue I can see now is that I cut the tubing too tall. If the quad flips, that is for sure breaking because it sticks out above the props. Guess I will wait until it crashes to fix it.

  12. Josh says:

    Great review! I just received this kit, and got it set up with megapirateng. It flies decently, but even without a gopro it seems underpowered? I’m using a 3300mah 3s 30c Lipo with the stock props. Would the larger props give me more lift at a lower throttle, or do I need a higher c-rated battery?

    Also, is there a better way to power the gimbal besides the battery balance port? I wanted to put a low power warning there…

    • fpvcentral says:

      What you can do is go for 4S with smaller props. You’ll have to make sure the gimbal still gets 12V however, so you’ll need a 12V BEC.

      • Josh says:

        Will these motors work with a 4s? they’re all labelled “A2212/13T 1000kv” and Google tells me they are 2-3s only. I will probably try the larger props first as at least I found some test data as to what power they’ll pull.

        • Josh says:

          Just had to come back with an update – first autonomous flight successful running MegaPirateNG!! Also, getting GREAT performance out of a 3s and 10×4.5 props, MUCH better than what it came with. I also move the flight controller and made a little cover out of some basswood to protect it, block light, and help hold some open cell foam over the barometer. AltHold and loiter now work great, and it doesn’t look too bad! Here’s a pic: http://www.thatjoshguy.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/IMAG2017.jpg

  13. Tearig says:

    This has to be the biggest almost there thing I have ever ordered.. it looks like a Quad-copter.. it does not fly out of the box, there are several things you will need to know that are beyond the article for you to explore and find, and in my experience the only thing that was functional was some of the components and even then what did work failed in the first 24hrs…

    I would avoid this unless like the Author of the article says you know what you are doing, and I would recommend that you buy it for parts as for a anything else it is just a bunch of stuff

    The gimble worked kinda, very shaky not impressed. Would not get it again, If I wanted to build my own fine… but that is what this is…. Really just a cheep way to start that will cost you more in the end…

    • fpvcentral says:

      Hmm well we still have the Locust here and it flies perfectly fine. The only thing we did was flash Megapirate instead of MultiWii with which it came pre-programmed.

      Note that you can download the BruGi firmware from http://sourceforge.net/projects/brushless-gimbal-brugi/ and update your gimbal, and also tweak its parameters. Ours worked great out of the box, the only drawback being that there’s no vibration dampening between frame and gimbal.

      • Tearig says:

        Mine just flashed a green light.. The gimble works for a day on another quad that I had gotten called a black mamba… I have the gimble ready to re flash.. It still blinks green like it is initializing but it does not balance the motors… I need to flash the Crius also… Just have not since the mamba had a KK2.x and it was so easy to get in the air…

        I will keep at it….

      • Tearig says:

        Could you go over the PWM servo connections on the cirus v2 after megapirateeng?

        I seem to get very erradict readings when connecting to the calibration tool…..

        could the board have something up with it?

  14. Tearig says:

    anyone that can give me a hand with some of the pieces of this quad I would be much appropriated.. as I have found little to like…

    PM me please

  15. ben says:

    hello, can you tell me if a voltage & current sensor works with this and do you have any links to help? Also, does sonar work? 3dr telemetry? thanks for the review, made me order one.

  16. Tearig says:

    Based on the board all things should work.. I was able to get Megapirate loaded, can see it in mission planner and it connects, however servo input is weird.. waiting on another reciever to try another to see if that is the issue, all the controls work fine on other models…

    “all you have to do is follow the official Ardupilot instructions on flashing a new configuration to a ublox 6 GPS, both the instructions and the config file work for this model too. You will get some warnings about unsupported configuration settings when you upload the file to the GPS, but thatโ€™s okay. What this config does is switch your GPS to the UBLOX protocol, as well as set the baud rate to 38400, which happens to be the default for Megapirate too.”

    Could the Author go into more detail here? which method did you use? I have tried both without success…

  17. ben says:

    Ok, Got my delivery.

    1)Mounted motors (front right white arm mount holes were not correct so can only mount two screws there – dremel later).

    2)Peeled of the 3M sticky pad on the back of the gps module and unscrewed to open. Am I supposed to make a special adapter to flash the module? I have an ftdi/usb adapter already – what wires do I solder to a 6-pin header to plug into the ftdi?

    3)Flashed MegapirateNG correctly (I think). I’m competent with Arduino and editing code. (I didn’t use the flash tool, only the special Arduino software)

    4)Connected via USB to Mission Planner V1.3.1, but how to calibrate compass? The Accelerometer calibration seemed to go ok, but compass wizard has no response. Any advice?

    5)Which ports to plug Turnigy 9x8cv2 receiver into AIOP board? Any picture link? I might just try trial an error..

    6)How to connect Mavlink telemetry module to AIOP board? (I bought this also)

    Help! Help! Help! Assist! Assist! Assist ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ thnks ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. ben says:

    2nd update:

    7)Plugged a 3s lipo to the gimbal and it doesn’t level. It shudders & shakes like a person about to have a fit. It also makes a vibration noise. My gimbal board appears to be different than the one in this review. Mine seems to be this one: http://www.goodluckbuy.com/images/detailed_images/sku_101101_0.jpg

    So far not working: no GPS, no compass calibration, gimbal not in useable condition, one motor mounted with just two screws, Receiver (9x8c v2) not setup.

    Is this a bad sign? Should I just get an APM board & ublox module?

  19. ben says:

    Update 3:

    8) I learned that my gimbal board is a copy of SimpleBGC gimbal. Anyway, I updated the firmware and I now have v2.2 b3 and can use the GUI software to make adjustments to see if this helps the flailing of my gimbal. Learning fast!

  20. ben says:

    Update 4:

    Gimbal now working. Huzzah! hip hip hooray.

    Now that gps unit..

  21. Josh says:

    When i flashed megapirate i used their flash tool and left GPS on AUTO. Worked just fine!

  22. ben says:

    Update 5:

    3DR Telemetry modules work on my 7″ Android Tablet and the quadcopter. The wire that is attached to the GPS module has 4 extra wires for other modules (The 4 wires are tx/rx wire pairs). I used 2 wires to connect to my 3DR telemetry and added +5v and GND wires to the Crius AIOP board.

    Still, no GPS…

    Also, how to make the propeller bolts tighter? They feel a bit unsafe, in that I can pull them off with a firm pull.

  23. ben says:

    Update 6:

    I tried the MegapirateNG Flash Tool and set to auto and GPS now has satelite fix. Not sure what the baudrate is running at

    Getting better.

    Working:
    Gimbal (And calibration software too)
    GPS (Using Flash Tool makes it work for me, but unsure if it’s updated to UBLOX6)
    3DR Telemetry (Pretty straight forward to setup I use DroidPlanner free from Google Play)
    MegaPirateNG (Although there are some limitations to using Mission Planner setup tools like Compass calibration etc)

    Not yet working/Unsure:
    9X8Cv2 Receiver not setup (haven’t plugged into crius AIOP board. So haven’t tested flight, flight modes, switch setup etc)
    MinimOSD (haven’t tested yet, but should just connect to the last two spare tx/rx wire on the GPS cable)

    Not working:
    Front right quad arm is a duff one and needs some drilling for new holes)
    Prop shafts need to be tighter

  24. ben says:

    Update 7:

    It seems OSD doesn’t work with MegapirateNG. Not the worst news, but was hoping to use minimosd module I have. Guess I will have to rely on Android tablet droidplanner & telemetry for data.

    So……

    Working:
    Gimbal (And calibration software too)
    GPS (Using Flash Tool makes it work for me, but unsure if itโ€™s updated to UBLOX6)
    3DR Telemetry (Pretty straight forward to setup I use DroidPlanner free from Google Play)
    MegaPirateNG (Although there are some limitations to using Mission Planner setup tools like Compass calibration etc)
    Prop shafts tightened

    Not yet working/Unsure:
    9X8Cv2 Receiver not setup (havenโ€™t plugged into crius AIOP board. So havenโ€™t tested flight, flight modes, switch setup etc)

    Not working:
    Front right quad arm is a duff one and needs some drilling for new holes)
    MinimOSD doesn’t seem to work with MPNG
    Unable to flash GPS for ublox higher baudrate sensitivity.
    Unable to adjust/connect to 3DR telemtry config. Just having to use it on android tablet as-is.

  25. ben says:

    Update 8:

    So, I have my channels plugged in and set up (I’m using Turnigy 9x with 9xc8V2 receiver). I used Mission planner control setup utility to help visualise transmitter movements. I also found a video to guide me through setting up the 3 position switch for flight modes: http://youtu.be/6n_5wNA2jTI

    I wasn’t able to complete the Mission Planner preflight calibration to allow you to enable arming, so I just disabled calibration. I’ll check again later, but I feel it’s not possible with the Criua Aiop MegapirateNG.

    I have balanced the props, Only one needed tape. Although I have taken them off until I get the motors spinning. Not sure how to do that, the Ardupilot arming guide, well I’m not sure if I use auto esc calibration, or manual calibration: https://code.google.com/p/arducopter/wiki/AC2_ESC

    Any tips on how to get the motors spinning?

  26. ben says:

    ….Also, and very importantly, It seems that failsafe (when 9x transmitter is turned off/loses power) doesn’t work.

    So there’s no failsafe.

    N.O.F.A.I.L.S.A.F.E

    :/

    • Josh says:

      if you’re using stock 9x receiver, the failsafe issue is there – those receivers do not have failsafe. If you lose signal they have a nasty habit of just continuously sending their last command.

      You stated you had issues with compass calibration in Mission Planner? I was able to calibrate correctly, maybe check over on their forums for help?

    • Tearig says:

      ben, lets collaborate on this, I got mine a weeks before yours,.. same issues and I am nbow stuck at a similar point however I was able to reflash the gimbal but still nothing…

  27. Tearig says:

    Had similar issues, you just flashed the gimbal? it fixed? I checked the motors they work fine, it seems to be the controller very weird… did you get the pin outs for the fdti cable? having the same issues…

    • ben says:

      Hello Tearig ๐Ÿ™‚

      My GImbal board is different than the one in this review. Have a look at my earlier post for the picture of my gimbal board.

      Anyway, I learned that it is a copy of SImpleBGC by Basecamelectronics. Google their website.

      I downloaded several firmware flashing tools they recommended: Xloader, AvrdudeR. I also downloaded several .hex files to try. I flashed the board using one of Xloader or Avrdude, can’t remember which, but they are similar apps. It won’t break the board if you don’t get a good result first time – they are just Arduinos anyway.

      Then I went through the list of SimpleBGC GUI apps, and downloaded them one by one to a folder on my computer. I tried each GUI starting at the oldest version. I found the new GUIs won’t let you connect depending on the firmware. They give error message.

      I eventually connected using SimpleBGC v2.2 b3. I then was able to calibrate Accelerometer & Gyro, and reset to default settings. I am also able to enable ‘follow mode’ which is a neat extra.

      I think my board is a V1.(x). as I can’t update firmware past v2.2 b3. I think the V2 board is like the one in this review so it might be able to update to the newest, but I don’t have it so can’t try. You can tell the difference between the two boards by looking at google pictures.

      Here is the screen error message when I try to connect to SimpleBGC that is newer than my version: http://imgur.com/aRgIfu4

      Here is the screen when I find the right version of SimpleBGC: http://imgur.com/VV4Ly3G

      And here’s a picture of a cat: http://images.cryhavok.org/d/4376-1/LOLcat+-+I+Must+Go.jpg

  28. ben says:

    …Also, make sure there is enough weight on the camera (you might have to add lead tape). I use a Mobius camera, and it is much lighter than a gopro. The gimbal works when there is weight. It won’t work if there is no weight (it will flail about). This is common with all gimbals of similar types.

  29. ben says:

    Compass – I connected to terminal and ran> test > compass, and it said ‘failed to initialise’. So have I got a broken crius board? or is the compass on the gps module?
    compass test image: http://imgur.com/9Z9UkK9

    I get a gps fix according to this: http://imgur.com/VX6MICn

    Anyone help/advise? What to do?

  30. ben says:

    For me, perfect Gimbal calibration was acheived after I learned about 6-side calibration: http://youtu.be/fNrUNJOb4tY

    After I do this, I iron out the smoothness with these settings (they are different than default): http://imgur.com/uVRAb6G

    This give me boom-boom sexy time now with gimbal.

  31. ben says:

    Ok. I have the props spinning. Tranmitter & receiver setup, calibrated, ESCs calibrated, able to arm & disarm. But it won’t take off! Full throttle isn’t enough power to make it lift. what the hell?

    Update:

    Working:
    -Gimbal (And calibration software too)
    -GPS (Using Flash Tool makes it work for me, but it’s only working on NMEA & not Ublox)
    -3DR Telemetry (Pretty straight forward to setup I use DroidPlanner free from Google Play)
    -MegaPirateNG – Although there are some limitations to using Mission Planner setup tools like Compass calibration >> Seems my compass isn’t initialised as stated when Mission Planner Terminal test > compass, is run. Either there’s a problem in Mission Planner, a problem with MegaPirateNG (But Josh above tells me his is working), or my Crius AIOP board is faulty with the compass. Not sure what to do. Contact GoodLuckBuy? Will they help? I’m doubtful.
    -The Front right quad arm is fixed. It was a a duff one and needed some drilling for new holes.
    -Prop shafts tightened and secure.
    -Turnigy 9x & 9X8Cv2 Receiver is now setup (3 position switch & controls, channels plugged in to corresponding AIOP board plugs).

    Not working/ Negative points:
    -Front right quad arm is a duff one.
    -MinimOSD doesnโ€™t seem to work with MPNG.
    -Unable to flash NMEA GPS for UBLOX & higher baudrate.
    -Unable to adjust/connect to 3DR telemtry config. Just having to use it on android tablet as-is.
    -Faulty Crius Compass???
    -No Failsafe using 9X8Cv2 Receiver (bit worrying).
    -Quad won’t take off! (No camera mounted to Gimbal, 5000mah 3s Lipo). Is the Lipo too big? Is the Lipo too old? Does the Lipo need to have a high c rating (over 20c?), do I need to adjust endpoints in my Transmitter setting?, Do I have to adjust some settings in Mission Planner? Are my props mounted corectly? Are the motors spinning in the right direction?…Confusion.

  32. ben says:

    It flies! It’s aliiiive! ๐Ÿ™‚

    It turned out all my motors were spinning in the same direction. changed two motor’s wires round and hey presto. Up and down is nicely trimmed. Elevator & Aileron is super sensitive and needs adjusting.

    Still not happy at all trying to fly with a broken compass.

    • Tearig says:

      Impressed you got yours working, but I think the issue is the GPS…

      I just got a fdti cable and will see if I can configure it, also it seems there is a bit of confusion on where it is connected and where the telemetry system is connected.

      The telemetry system did you get them from 3d robotics? or GLB? as the ones I recived do not have micro connector did you just use a converter?

      I will let you know what happens with the gps flashing.. I can get mega pirate but was unable to get the radio to configure correctly…

      going to try again in the AM

    • Tearig says:

      tried a few times to setup the gps/compass… I did connect to a official ftdi cable, get a light on the gps, as it has power.. I get it on comm 6 and I load ublox…

      I follow the guide, I try to load and I get failed to communicate errors when ever I try to load anything to the GPS…

      The setup is of no use to me at this point, as it has never made it off the bench… Sadly I have moved on to 3 other quads since…

      I had hoped that Adrucopter mavlink and telemitry would work with this model however to this point since I have not be able to get the gps configured I have yet to get it close to takeoff

      • ben says:

        I too got the failed to communicate error. Turned out my ftdi adapter was busted. I used this guide to check my ftdi adapter: http://www.ladyada.net/wiki/ftditest

        I’m currently waiting for my new ftdi adapter. However I am still able to use gps, but only in NMEA mode.

        I am up in the air and flying now, but only using stabilise & alt hold modes as my compass was faulty and GLB are not helping me, even, they are ignoring me now.

        • Tearig says:

          mine does not fly, I think I got a box of half broke crap… BLB says I have to prove to them it does not work in a video… it was easy I just took one of it on the bench and nothing working… maybe one day it will fly but so far I am thinking the whole thing is a loss

  33. ben says:

    Yes! I got my gps updated to ublox6 38400 setting. That issue turned out to be a broken ftdi adapter I had. A new adapter, and it updated ok. I can clearly see the difference in sensor speed/baudrate. Everything is much quicker.

    I also have a cheap lipo voltage alarm, have made some landing gear legs out of chopsticks, and soldered the gimbal power to the power distribution unit (pdu) which is below the crius, and attached a mini-jst plug and micro on/off switch.

    I have changed my PID settings & Tunings. I am happy with my settings thus far.

    At the moment, I am only flying in Stabilise & Alt Hold modes. Until I get the faulty compass fixed/replaced, I can’t fly in the other modes.

    So My update progress (*sigh*):

    Working:
    -Gimbal (And calibration software too)
    -GPS (Finally flashed to Ublox6 38400)
    -3DR Telemetry
    -MegaPirateNG
    -The Front right quad arm is fixed. It was a a duff one and needed some drilling for new holes.
    -Prop shafts tightened and secure.
    -Turnigy 9x & 9X8Cv2 Receiver is now setup (3 position switch & controls, channels plugged in to corresponding AIOP board plugs).

    Not working/ Negative points:
    -Front right quad arm is a duff one.
    -Faulty Crius Compass (and GoodLuckBuy & Seller are ignoring my help emails.)
    -No Failsafe using 9X8Cv2 Receiver (bit worrying).

  34. ben says:

    Today must be my lucky day – just installed an external compass to Crius i2c port and it works. I didn’t have to remove/cut-out the dead compass (as it is already dead thus no data transfer), I ran this firmware file in Mission Planner: (Crius V301r3 QUAD external compass.hex) from here: http://tinyurl.com/osporoa

    And it works straight off the bat. Two fingers to goodluckbuy I say.

    I went out and tried Loiter mode, but it needs adjusting, as does alt hold mode. They are a bit ‘twitchy’. Anyway, Stabilize flies well for me. Here are my Tuning & PID settings so far (They will be adjusted for alt hold & loiter): http://imgur.com/NYaoyvO

    I really enjoy the droidplanner app on my android tablet. It talks to you! ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚

    Once I have Loiter and RTL modes setup correctly, I will make some gimbal video footage.

  35. ben says:

    laughing at half-broke crap ๐Ÿ™‚ Sounds true. It’s been an arduous 9 days of building and repairing and testing. It’s terrible to have sub-par hardware right out of the box. But I’ve persisted and consider myself pretty handy with code and a soldering iron. I just wouldn’t recommend this to anyone looking for a bargain yet lacking the skills. ๐Ÿ™

  36. ben says:

    Out-of-the-box video footage: http://youtu.be/dreuYy7zSno

  37. ben says:

    Here is my dialogue with GoodLuckBuy:

    Me (Last Week): “Hello, I ordered the Locust ARF quadcopter on 05/09/2014, I like the item would like to keep it. But, unfortunately the Crius V1.1 board has broken compass/magnetometer. Please can you help me? Many thanks and best wishes.”

    GLB (Last Week): “Hi ,friend, we are very sorry about that. how is the CRIUS flight control board with 1.1 firmware broken ? in transportation or in your using process ? Do you need to buy another one board for instead ?”

    Me: “Hi shenzhenhaoyun, The Crius V1.1 was not working when I received it. I attach a picture of the fault: Perhaps you could send me a HMC5883L magnetometer module so you don’t have to replace the whole thing?”

    GLB: —-Silence—-

    Me (Day 13): OK, screw you GLB, I’ll fix this myself…(Posts Internet update of my fix)

    GLB (Day 14): “hi ,dear friend, we are very sorry for late reply. that is to say ,we can send this http://www.goodluckbuy.com/hmc5883l-3v-5v-triple-axis-compass-magnetometer-sensor-module.html to you to solve your problem with the crius v1.1 controller ? right ? if you think it is ok ,we can ship it to you by HK post with tracking number . your confirmations would be very appreciated . regards !”

    Me: “http://imgur.com/zf2xpBo”

  38. ben says:

    Anyone have any ideas why my quad is doing this?

    http://youtu.be/pK-b-Zma9bo

    • Tearig says:

      Their are a few strange things with the Arducopter on the crius…

      I have compared everything thing to the pixhawk and it seems that it does some strange things, like what you described,, I had a issue similar however it would happen due to one of the flight modes it was in…

      My fix was to load Multiwii back on it… Check everything… Once it worked then I put Megapirateng back,,,

    • fpvcentral says:

      Check that you have the correct motor layout selected in APM. Also, calibrate your ESCs (throttle range).
      Finally, make sure your minimum throttle output is set so that when you arm the copter, the props already spin.

      Some ESCs “pause” for a bit once you command them to stop. In a quadcopter this is extremely bad, so you’ll want your flight controller to never tell the ESCs to stop, even for a moment, during flight.

      This is really important and often overlooked. Worse, you can sometimes fly fine and then during maneuvers a motor cuts out all of a sudden because of this.

      So yeah, these three items are the things I’d check for.

  39. ben says:

    I’m on a one track mind to attempt to reduce vibration now. My camera footage isn’t good enough as it is highly jello.
    I’m looking into these options:
    – 10″ Graupner or similar carbon fiber props (ยฃ30 set) (I’m using the cheapest chinese ebay props, but balanced with tape)
    – Possibly upgrading the motors to Sunnysky 980kv (ยฃ45 a set) (2 of my motor’s prop shafts are slightly bent so creating wobble)
    – converting the TBS-style gimbal to a normal/standard dampened gimbal using the missing kit parts (ยฃ11 kit) (I have legs on my quad now, so I’m happy to mount the gimbal below the quad.)

    How are your videos performing?

    • Kevin says:

      Hey Ben, seems like I have had a lot of the same issues as you and feel like my quad is now to a point where it is really fun to fly with decent video. I did end up buying the sunny sky 980kv motors like you are wondering about and they are MUCH better. Bearings are smooth and seems to be balanced a lot better. I have been using APC 10×4.7 props and i like those a lot better than the stock 9×4.7s. The problem with the APC prop and sunny sky motors is the motor mount. The little rings that come with the slowfly props don’t quite fit and I have to drill them out a bit. This was imprecise and led to vibrations in the video. I tried some other props at the local hobby shop (think they were just gem fans) and did not like them at all. They did however have adapter rings that fit perfect on the APC and sunnysky prop adapter. That made a huge difference. The video is now watchable. Not super smooth, but doesn’t hurt your head when watching.
      There are a few more things I plan to do to get perfect video. The first is to balance the props better. I recently realized that the prop balancer i was using is crap. So any of the balancing I did was pointless. I ended up buying the Du-Bro 499 Tru-Spin Prop Balancer and after putting it together it seems to be a much higher quality. I am going to first balance the props using sanding instead of adding tape. Then put the prop vertical and balance the hub using glue. For a perfect balance the prop needs to stay in whatever position you leave it in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_2896801763&feature=iv&list=UU2HWAhBEE_PcbIiXgauGJYw&src_vid=A3Aioi9qRpA&v=_5eafNfn3qM

      The other thing I am going to do to get rid of vibrations is to get the gimbal off of the frame with isolation dampening. I tried to put something together myself but it didn’t work at all. So I am getting an almost identical from from rctimer where the bottom plate sticks out in the front a little more with compression dampeners. http://www.rctimer.com/index.php?gOo=goods_details.dwt&goodsid=1055&productname= The main problem with this is the same as goodluckbuy, and that is the wait. Tomorrow is 3 weeks and still waiting.

      There are other small improvements I made that help a lot with flight modes other than stabilize. Instead of having the tower of PDB, gimbal control and FC hard mounted to the frame, I used 4 small squares of Kyosho Z8006 Zeal Vibration Absorption Sheet. This helps with vibrations to the FC so the sensors are not totally thrown off. The other thing is adding open cell foam between the barometer and top plate of the frame. My alt hold actually works now. As I mentioned in an earlier comment, I have an external compass which is mounted above the frame.

      With all of these changes, I was finally able to do some really cool auto pilot missions and film it with decent video. Now, instead of trying to figuring out how to make the thing not crash, I can fine tune and add to it to keep making it better.

      Like the author of this article said and its been said a lot in the comments, this is not a beginner quad. It is a great leaning quad if you have the patience. There is no way I would know how all of these parts work together if I just got a phantom

  40. ben says:

    Hi Kev, yeah, I’m still thinking about the sunnysky motors, but I have modded the locust so it’s quite useable. I think if I crash, or the bearings wear out, then i’ll upgrade to sunnyskys.

    I have changed many things on the original locust, changed gimbal position, changed props, added legs, crius vibration mounting.

    I now have a quad which has fpv, gropro & gimbal, 433mhx telemetry & android tablet, and 15 mins of flight time with this load.
    I can control the gimbal tilt & camera switching on the transmitter, and I am using minimosd extra copter to let me see flight data on screen.

    It flies with just enough power, but I wouldn’t have much chance recovering from an accelerated descent. I am using auto-land to bring the quad down from unseeable heights. My flight weight is about 1500g

    I’m looking into getting a camera for aerial mapping of my local woodland eventually.

    Also, I have been flying using the standard 9x tx & rx (pwm signal). Although this is generally fine, I do have niggling worries about all this money and time investment flying away due to a signal glitch and no failsafe. I was a bit carefree and just enjoying the flight when I first got it. But now I may have to get a Frsky module to allow PPM siganls & failsafe. It’s not too much money outlay (compared to an insurance policy) and will hopefully allow rtl upon signal loss. My plan for failsafes are: enabling geo-fence, frsky modules for signal loss, and enabling lipo failsafe. Hopefully they all will work. I would be so gutted if it flew away into the distance.

  41. ben says:

    I almost bought the Frsky modules for my 9x so that I could enable throttle failsafe. But it means spending over ยฃ50.

    I have throttle failsafe working using the standard 9x receiver and a cheap work around: http://benbojanglesosd.blogspot.co.uk/

  42. Luke Tanti says:

    Hi all,

    I have build my Locust Quadcopter from scratch. I only bought the frame from GLB. As motors I am using the DJI E300 Propulsion system with a NAZA V2 Flight controller. I am also using FrSky DJT modules with my Turnigy 9XR Transmitter.

    I too had some jello in the videos. To solve this problem I have added a vibration dampening plate between the gimbal and the frame.
    See the link for photos of my Quad.

    https://flic.kr/p/oQAaWE

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