emax nighthawk 250 build

HOW TO BUILD AN FPV QUADCOPTER: Part 2

In Basics, Build, Review by Mike Tseng45 Comments

HOW TO SET UP AN FPV QUADCOPTER

 

In part 1 of this build, we connected the ESCs, Naze32 and buzzer to the mini power distribution board and mounted the motors.  Part 2 we will set up the Naze32, program the transmitter and install the FPV camera and transmitter.

First thing we’ll do is set up a new model on the Taranis X9D.  See video above on how to do that.

d4r-ii bindingThen we’ll bind the D4R-ii RX to the Taranis X9D.

  1. On page 2/13 in the Taranis, scroll down to “Mode” and change it from D-16 to D-8.
  2. Select “Bind” on the Taranis and it will start beeping.
  3. On the RX, hold the F/S button while powering up the RX.
  4. Release the button and disconnect power.  When you power back up the LED on the RX will be green and you’re done.

If you are using the CC3D flight controller, you can use this guide for the setup.

Base flight and the Naze32

This will be a quick and simple setup.  If you want a super detailed explanation on the Naze32 check out this video.

Follow the instructions below to get Baseflight:

  1. Download and install Chrome
  2. Add Baseflight
  3. Download and install the CP210X VCP Driver for your computer system.

On the setup page, leave your quad completely flat and click “Calibrate Accelerometer”

naze32 setup

 

On the Configuration tab:

  1. If you are using a receiver that supports PPM, check “Enable PPM”.  If you are using a regular RX don’t check this box.
  2. Enable Battery Voltage Monitoring if you have a buzzer hooked up.
  3. If you want, enable “Don’t spin the motors when armed”
  4. If you are using a Taranis set “Minimum Throttle” to 1000 and “Maximum Throttle” to 2000.

naze32 voltage and board setup

The Minimum Cell Voltage is the threshold for the buzzer alert.  These numbers are per cell.  So for a 3 cell battery set at 3.4v, your buzzer will go off at 10.2v.  Default setting is 3.3v so your alarm won’t go off until 9.9v.  That’s a bit low for a LiPo battery.  If you over-discharge a LiPo battery it will shorten the life of the battery.

I have the Naze32 mounted where the arrow points to the right so I had to adjust the Yaw Adjustment to 90.  If you mount your Naze32 to any other direction than the arrow pointing to the front, see this link for your correct Naze32 board alignment.

We’ll skip the PID tab for now, I’ve got a whole post on how to tune PIDs coming later.

Receiver Setup

naze32 setup

Plug in your motor and turn on your TX.  If your TX controls don’t correspond to what shows in Baseflight, change the Channel Map to TAER1234.

Motor Testing

naze32 motor test

naze32 setup

This is the direction your motors should spin for the ESC numbers.

*Make sure you do this with your PROPELLERS OFF

Plug in your battery, check the checkbox to spin motors.  Individually move the motors sliders for motors 1-4 to see if the correct motors and the correct direction.  To reverse the direction of a motor, switch any two of the three motor wires.  Don’t worry if the motors start spinning at different levels.  That will be fixed when we calibrate the motors

ESC Calibration

quadcopter esc calibration

The EMAX ESC calibration process is slightly different from normal ESCs.

  1. Unplug your battery
  2. Hit the “Check” checkbox
  3. Move the Master slider all the way to the top
  4. Plug in your battery.
  5. You’ll hear two short beeps.  Within two seconds of the two beeps, move the Master slider all the way to the bottom.  You’ll hear one short beep after that, done.

Flightmodes, arm/disarm and buzzer.

Channels 1-4 on your TX will be reserved for Throttle, Aileron, Elevator and Rudder.  Channels 5 will be AUX1 and 6 will be AUX2.  Set two switches on your TX for AUX1 and AUX2.  See video above to see how to do it on the Taranis.

naze32 flight modes

Arm/disarm and buzzer set on AUX1 and flight modes set on AUX2.

 

After you set your switches you’ll see the orange bar move when you hit the switches.  The orange will be the active state.  So just put a check in the mode you want for the position of the switch.

Flightmodes

  • Angle – Also know as “attitude” mode.  This is a auto leveling flight mode with a angle limiter so rolls and flips are disabled.
  • Horizon – An auto leveling mode with angle limiter disabled so rolls and flips are enabled
  • Acro/rate – This is a full manual fly mode.  This is the default mode when no checkboxes are checked.

So that’s pretty much it for Baseflight.  Everything is set up and we can finish building the rest of the quad.

quad discovery buzzer

Plug in the discovery buzzer into the Naze32.

fpv lc filter

Install the power for your FPV.  I installed a LC filter to clean up the power from the battery.  This connects directly to the battery or PDB.  If you aren’t using a LC filter just connect a power wire from your battery or PDB.

fpv camera

To mount the FPV camera we’ll use some zip ties and a coffee stirr.  I found this works better than nuts and screws because zip ties never come loose.

quad fpv wire harness

 

*Note this wire harness is for 12v cameras.  If you are using a CMOS camera that requires 5v, you’ll need a step down voltage converter or you can use the 5v power out from the ImmersionRC TX.

This is a wire harness for the FPV.  The red connector on the left will connect to the LC filter or your battery.  Split the power and ground to the 12v camera and the video TX.  Connect the video out from the camera to the video in on the video TX.

emax 250 build

Failsafe

This is very important.  Failsafe is a receiver feature that tells the quadcopter what to do if it looses the radio signal.  For a racing quadcopter you want set the failsafe to reduce throttle to zero if it looses the tx signal.  It’s better to have the quad drop to the ground than to fly out of control into someone.

Here’s how you set up failsafe on the FrSky D4R-ii

  1. Power up the quad and TX.
  2. On the TX, move the throttle to zero.
  3. Quickly (less than 1 second) press the F/S button on the rx.  Done.
  4. Test the failsafe.  Increase the throttle until motors start spinning and leave it there.  Turn off the TX.  The motors should stop spinning.

Finished!

That’s it for the build and it’s ready to fly.

max nighthawk 250

max nighthawk 250 build

how to build a quadcopter

AUW (all up weight) with Mobius and 3s 1300mAh battery is max nighthawk 250 auw weight522g.  Not bad for a 285mm quad with 6 inch props.

 

 

Conclusion

My first impression of the EMAX Nighthawk 250 is how smooth and powerful it is.  I’m surprised it’s so fast and quiet.  Compared to my ZUUL which sounds like a swarm of angry wasps, the Nighthawk is nearly silent.  It’s my first time flying with carbon fiber props so maybe that’s why.  After a quick tuning session it felt pretty locked in and responsive.  On 3s batteries, the EMAX Nighthawk Pro is faster than my ZUUL on 5″ props.

The quality of the parts are actually pretty good not just for a $35 frame but for any frame.  The 3mm carbon fiber arms feel super stiff and strong.  It came with a bunch of extra hardware which is pretty sweet.  My only gripe about the build is that the 30.5mm x 30.5mm holes for the flight controller are a tiny bit smaller than 30.5mm.  No big deal, a little muscle made everything fit.

Does that mean I’m making this my main quad?  Nope.  I vowed to not fly fixed arm quads anymore ever since owning a Lumineir QAV250.  That doesn’t mean fix arm quads are bad.  It just means I’m not a good enough pilot yet.  Foldable arm quads such as the ZUUL and Vortex are much more forgiving in crashes.  But the good thing about the EMAX Nighthawk is that it has replaceable arms unlike the QAV250.  EMAX Replacement arms are $8 vs $45 – $55 hit to your wallet when you break a QAV250 arm.  For the price replacing a QAV250 arm you can buy an entire EMAX frame!

So if you are in the market for your first quad or a seasoned pilot looking for a 6″ prop frame, I can highly recommend the EMAX Nighthawk 250 (280mm) Pro kit.  For around $185, it’s a killer deal!

If you found this post helpful and want to support the site, you can make your Amazon purchases through the links on this site or with this Amazon link.  It won’t cost you anything extra.  Thanks in advance, I really appreciate it 🙂

 

Comments

  1. Just want to thank you for this awesome build tutorial. This really tales the guesswork out of building that first quad. One question, how did you feel about the camera you choose for the fpv setup?

     
    1. Author

      Hi Brian, you’re welcome! As much as I would like to recommend a cheaper option for the FPV camera, I wouldn’t use this camera again. Can you use it? Yes, but the quality is just not as good as the SONY Super HAD 600TVL.

      https://fpv-flightclub.com/product/sony-600tvl-camera/

      I’ve tried a bunch and this one is the best.

       
  2. Thanks for the excellent videos and tutorials on this quadcopter build. I am just about to buy this frame for myself. Just one question, what is the make of the LC filter you use. Thanks.

     
  3. You have to look very long to find such a perfect and very professional video and tutorial again. Many thanks for that. After watching the video and reading the guide I feel very confident to built my own quad.
    Again your work is very much appreciated !

     
    1. Author

      Thanks Lars! Let us know if you run into any questions along the way.

       
  4. Thanks for such a great and detailed tutorial. Your build is very clear. If followed to the T and everything worked very well. Thanks again. One suggestion for other people: install the bullet connectors on the esc’s before mounting them, once mounted it’s a bit of a pain to install the bullet conn. because of the short wires to maneuver. Other than that, GREAT!!

     
    1. Author

      Thanks Jorge! Good point, install bullet connectors before mounting it on the PDB. I should have showed that part in the build. It’s hard to build, take pics and make videos at the same time. My brain can’t handle that many tasks at once 🙂

       
  5. Great tutorial – thank you! Just having one problem calibrating the ESCs: I follow your instructions but I don’t get the two beeps with the throttle/master slider set to high before connecting power – just the normal startup initialisation beeps. I also tried it just using the Taranis TX throttle set to max (without Baseflight connected). Is there another way to calibrate?

     
    1. Author

      can you spin the motors using the motors tab in baseflight?

       
      1. Thanks for your prompt response – very much appreciated! Yes – I can spin all the motors individually and all together via the master slider. Motor 2 starts earlier (at 1155), whereas the rest at 1165. And when just starting the motors with the Taranis throttle stick on very low, motors 3 and 4 spin about the same, 1 spins very slow and 2 not at all. I bought the “Emax Carbon Fiber Mini 250 Pro FPV Quadcopter Kit” but this kit has the SimonK series ESC – I think you are using the BLHeli firmware series – could that be the reason?

         
        1. Author

          Yes that might be why you aren’t hearing the same sounds. BlHeli and SimonK play different “music”. Did you you do it with the stock min/max throttle settings in baseflight?

           
          1. Yes – I didn’t change any throttle settings in baseflight – only the parameters you show in your video.

             
          2. Author

            ok, u can try to calibrate the manual way. TAKE OFF YOUR PROPS. connect usb and battery disconnected, go to the “CLI” tab in baseflight. type set min_command=2000, enter and type save. disconnect usb, plug in your battery, then plug usb back on the naze32 type set min_command=1000, enter and type save. check to see if they all spin at the same time

             
          3. Hi again
            The “mincommand” setting changes didn’t seem to do anything. But I had more time trying out different min and max throttle setting in baseflight. What I found: when setting max throttle to 2000 and min throttle to 1000, then I do get the ESC calibration sounds (2 beeps, then master switch down). After that I have set it back to the default min/max throttle settings in baseflight – the motors now all start at the same throttle setting.
            Thank you again for your help and advise – very much appreciated!

             
  6. This guide was very helpful and I love how neat your builds are.

    Have you done some pid tuning with this setup that you could share ?

    Thanks

     
    1. Author

      thanks! I honestly can’t remember what PIDs I flew on this QUAD. This quad is in pieces since I built it for the video. I have a PID tuning video coming soon.

       
  7. Thanks for taking the time to make your site and teaching others to make quadcopters. I used the info on your site to build my first one and just got it flyable today. I ran into a few questions that I could use your help on. When I go to calibrate the esc’s, my naze makes more than 2 beeps (almost sounds like a jingle before and after) so I’m not sure if they calibrated. One motor does not stop instantly when the throttle is shut off and winds down on its own. Also when throttling up 2 motors hesitate to start up and sputter before getting to full speed, one more so than the other. Any suggestions on these 2 problems?

     
    1. Author

      You can see if they are calibrated by using the master slider in baseflight. If they all spin up at the same time then you’re good. If you are using the TX to see if they all spin up at the same time it doesn’t always work. The Naze32 is so sensitive that if your quad is not 100% level the motors will spin at different times but it will fly fine.

       
  8. Ive had an intermittent problem where sometimes when i power my quad, it doesnt do anything. The green light just has a steady blink with blue and red solid. It comes and goes, just like the other day I flew it until my Battery was low then when i change my battery, i get the blinking green light. I also plugged it into cleanflight and notice that the receiver is not communicating with the radio per cleanflight. Got any ideas what the blinking green light means? I thought about reinstalling the firmware to the naze.

     
  9. Im just curious wether you destroyed the quad at the end of the video? That was a direct hit on that tree. Did it survive?

     
    1. Author

      the camera fell off but the quad is fine. I build better than I fly 🙂

       
  10. I echo all the previous comments – great instructional video. I am attempting my first build and I have run into an issue with connecting Baseflight to my Naze. I’ve installed the drivers, the lights on the Naze flash green then steady on for blue. Baseflight does not connect. I’ve tried 2 PC running Windows 7 but on life on the COM ports. Any suggestions?

     
  11. I have the following problem with calibrating my emax elcs
    If i turn the Master switch in cleanflight at 2000 and turn on the battery the elcs dont stop beeping…the are Not in the calibration mode.. In the Manuel it says they are beeping If the throatle isnt at the top or the bottom.why it doesnt work?
    PS : If i take my elc directly at my d4rII 100% throattle and turn on the battery the beeping one throattle to 0 beeping again and..singing…
    Why IT doesnt wirklich with cleanflight?
    2. Question: Cleanflight receiver Page say 916-2006 is tat normal? I have to Pull up my throattle at least 5% up than i recht the 1060 or so and the Motors spinning…
    AT cleanflight Motor Page the are Not 100% sncy at very low lvl
    I hope you know whatt i mean…

     
  12. After building two “basic” quadcopters using the excellent instructions provided by Flight Club, I have discovered that my reflexes are not what they used to be. I royally crashed the first quad several times. However, the second quad is basically brand new and provided this comment is not out of line, I would like to sell the second quad. Here’s the parts and price list;

    E250 quadcopter parts and price list
    ===========================

    Nighthawk 250 Pro V2 Carbon Fiber
    Quadcopter Frame $59.99

    Naze32 Acro flight controller $25.00

    SunnySky X2204s 2300kv motor 4 @ $21.99 each = $87.96

    DYS BL20A ESC 4 @ $12.00 each = $48.00

    Turnigy 3A 5V UBEC w/noise reduction $ 5.05
    (provides power to flight controller)

    FlySky FS-T6 2.4 ghz transmitter
    and 6 channel FS-R6B receiver $54.95

    Gemfan 6030 4-pack props $ 3.50

    Total $284.45

    Also includes the following;
    ————————————
    power distribution board with XT60 battery connector
    two Turnigy Velcro battery straps

    Please note
    —————-
    Does NOT include any FPV components
    Does NOT include Lipo flight battery
    Does NOT include batteries for transmitter

    I can ship this quad to any location is the U.S. for $175.

     
      1. Yes I do have several photos. However, I don’t see a way to post them here so I would have to email them to you.

         
    1. Is this still available for sale? I know its been a while and its probably to late, but if its still available I would love to look into buying it.

       
  13. This is great! Thanks for the detail. One question – if I already bought a 5-channel receiver, am I SOL? I have the nighthawk 280 with EMAX Skyline32 Flight Controller – Acro, and I’m not doing the FPV portion. Thanks!

     
    1. Author

      Not really. I think you can still make it work. Channels 1-4 are for flying. You can use the extra channel for flight modes and arm the quad with the throttle zero yaw left function. It’s doable, just not ideal.

       
        1. Okey doke – so I’ve got everything set up in base flight (and clean flight). I can start all the motors through the computer dragging the little switches, and the receiver is bound to the transmitter, and all my transmitter movements are registering on the interface, but I can’t get the transmitter to actually move the motors. Any ideas? The transmitter is definitely registering on the computer, and the motors are definitely registering on the computer, but I can’t seem to get the motors to register from the transmitter…

           
          1. Author

            Are you doing trying to use the transmitter to move the motors will connected to baseflight/cleanflight? That doesn’t work. Can you move the motors after you arm the Naze32?

             
  14. No I’m trying to move the motors with the transmitter after disconnecting from baseflight/cleanflight. It seems like everything’s working when it’s connected, but after I disconnect, nothing. Is there a step between the 2 I’m missing? I guess telling the Naze “Ok – you’re done being setup, now listen to my transmitter and let’s go fly”.

     
    1. Author

      did you hit save on every screen before moving to the next one? Did you setup a switch to arm the naze32?

       
  15. Yea I think that’s the problem – for the life of me I can’t actually arm it. Neither in the modes selection screen (won’t turn green, but other modes will) nor with what looks like the controller version (down and right and the left stick).

     
  16. Thanks for all your help with the build / setup. Would you happen to know if I could follow these steps to setup my IRIS+ transmitter instead of a Taranis?

     
  17. Hi, I have downloaded, unzipped, and installed the CP210x drivers. Baseflight says there are no ports and when i connect my naze32 acro via mini usb, nothing happens. The board lights up but it doesnt connect. What am i supposed to do to fix this problem?

     
  18. Hello, I have a homebuilt quadricottero with the control board (FC): “SKYLINE32 Mini” that interfaces with Cleanfligth software Naze.Il engine test functions regularly, if I move the remote control levers see moving the bars in Receiver Map, with radio control (without FC) motors turns regularly (the input voltage to the motors differ from 1300 mV to 1900 mV), if i try to operate engines with radio control through the FC nothing happens!? The input voltage to the motors is fixed to 1300 mV. Why ? . Thank you.

     
  19. Hey I am building this quadcopter following the exact instructions and parts list. I have everything setup and the remote working/quad working except when I leave the motors on 100% 1-3-4 will slowly start to lose power, changing direction will sometimes help but eventually the motors will just stop. Setting the throttle to 0, then back to 100% resets it. I checked all my solder points and they look good… What could my problem be?

     
  20. Hellow. When i move the throttle,yaw and others on my transmitter(x9d plus taranis), the motors are not spinning.
    Please help!!

     

Leave a Reply