Hacking the Hobbyking Talon Tricopter

This is one of the nicest multirotors I’ve built so far. Lifts my GoPro with ease. Flies very stable and powerful enough for acro. And I love the fact that you can fold it in seconds and fit it in a suitcase for travelling.

But to make it perfect you need to hack it slightly.

Turnigy Talon Tri LOS and FPV from Eirik Solheim on Vimeo.

This is my spec:

Turnigy Talon Tricopter
T-Motors MT2016-11 900 KV
Tail Servo: TGY 306G
HK F30A ESC with SimonK firmware
FreeFlight 1.3 FC running Baseflight Multiwii
Battery: TGY 4S 2200 mAh

Props: Have been experimenting with different ones. Best experience with 10″ Graupner, GWS 9x5x3 and carbon 8×4.5 Slowflyers.

The frame in general is very nice, but the tail servo mechanism is not good enough. Fortunately you can fix that by adding two thrust bearings and a longer 3 mm screw.

The problem is that the original tail mechanism is nearly impossible to get really tight and still smooth to move. If you add two thrust bearings this problem is fixed. I used these.

Then you need a 3 mm screw that is longer than the original. Approx 30 mm plus head. The original is 25 mm plus head. I used a 40 mm screw that I cut down to 30 mm.

Now you simply assemble like shown in the images. Screw with thrust bearing, mount, original bearing around the screw, thrust bearing, another of the original bearings, motor mount and then a 3 mm locking nut. Tighten till you have it completely without slop but still smooth to move.

In addition to this I’ve mounted the motor plates the opposite way of what’s indicated in the manual. In a serious crash it broke one arm exactly where it’s weakest: where it has a slit to fit the folding mechanism. I hadn’t had the time to buy extra arms, so I fixed it by fitting a 12mm carbon tube covered with epoxy inside the arm that broke.

So, pack it and get out there and fly!

Hacking the Hobbyking Talon Tricopter

Yet another new toy: KK2 Micro Quad

Just recieved my KK2 Flight controller from HobbyKing. I planned to put it in one of my existing quads, but figured I had four ESCs and four motors lying around. So I could just as well build a new quad for it. The only thing I needed was a frame.

So I found a bottle of Amarone, made a good meal, had a nice dinner and made a quad frame out of the box where the bottle of Amarone used to be:


Flight Controller: KK2 From Hobbyking ($30,-)
ESCs: 10A From HobbyKing(4x) flashed with SimonK Firmware ($26,-)
Motors: Mystery A1510 ($52,-)
Props: 5 inch 2 blade drilled to 3 mm ($3,-)
Tot: $111,-

Using 500 mAh and 1300 mAh 3S batteries. Gives 7 minutes of pretty agressive flight on a 1300 mAh pack.

I crashed the Amarone-frame so many times that I ran out of spare parts. I have now moved the parts to this carbon frame.

I also managed to destroy the KK2-controller. While waiting for a new one I’m experimenting with a baseflight-flashed FreeFlight controller and a Rabbit on this small quad. Both seems to work well. The FreeFlight is not available anymore, but with baseflight/MultiWii it is basically a very bulky Naze32 with less sensors. So, buy the Naze32 if you want a very good MultiWii based FC.

Conclusion about the KK2-controller

Very easy to set up. Love the fact that you can debug and adjust right there on the FC thanks to the LCD. Very stable rate mode but too sluggish auto level. I really hope Rolf Bakke have the time to implement the AHRS algorithm that utilize both the accelerometer and the gyro when in auto level mode. Right now the auto level mode is only good for slow hovering and maybe some help if you loose orientation.

But as you can see from the video in this article. That $30,- board makes my micro quad built from cheap parts steady as a table and loads of fun to fly!

And the Amarone-frame? Takes a lot of beating, but I managed to crash it bigtime.

Luckily I had some spare parts from the same wine bottle box so I managed to fix it and make it even better…

Yet another new toy: KK2 Micro Quad

New toy: Micro Hexa Multirotor

Just finished my Micro Hexa. Small, not deadly like the big monsters and lifts GoPro and FPV equipment.


Frame: BlueSky RC Micro Hexa

M1822 Motors from Leadershobby (I decided to give them a try. $3.45 is kind of cheap…)

Alternative motors that might work:
Heavier, more expensive, more powerful and high quality: Roxy 2216

Heavier and more powerful but cheaper than the Roxys: Turnigy from HK

Or these on 2S batteries: smaller Turnigy from HK

5x3x3 GWS or gemfan props

10A HobbyKing ESCs flashed with SimonK

Dji Naza FC for now. But I also have OPCC, FF and others.

Turnigy Nano 1300 3S batteries

5A BEC to power the GoPro

FrSky and Futaba 9C

Total Weight: 577 g (645 when I add my FPV equipment)

Rough price estimate:
6 x Motors: $60,-
6 x ESC: $48,-
Frame: $25,-
Cables and connectors: $10,-
Tot: $143,-

Then you need a flight controller. I’m using the rather expensive $240,- Naza. But will fly fine with a much cheaper FC. A rabbit for $90, a Naze32 for $75,- or even a KK for $15,-

Flies 5 minutes on a 1300 mah Turnigy Nano and 8 minutes when I tested it on a 2200 (both tests with the GoPro on board). Will probably get 10 minutes of FPV sight seeing if I remove the GoPro.

The motor mounts didn’t fit, so I had to drill new holes.

And I hate prop savers so I modified the motors to accept collets. The shaft on the motor is 2mm. I simply removed the built in prop saver using brute force…

After balancing the cheap motors and the props I have nice and smooth video and no jello.

Here’s 10 minutes of different clips from my first tests. Raw footage dissolved together. All flying done line of sight:

New toy: Micro Hexa Multirotor

Best videogame ever

Did a quick test during easter. Mounted my FPV equipment on a 1/10-scale RC car and had some fun. Lots of fun!

This was roughly what I saw in the goggles. (No, not that quality, this is a HD recording from the GoPro on the car.)

FPV what?

FPV is “first person view”. The art of mounting a camera and a video transmitter on remote controlled equipment. Then you sit down with some video goggles and the remote control. And drive the car based on the video feed. It gives you an amazing feeling of sitting inside the vehicle you are controlling. Like a video game. But in real life.

Fun when controlling RC planes and helicopters. But also fun (and much safer) when controlling RC cars!


Camera, Goggles, Transmitter, and OSD

Best videogame ever

How to get rid of vibrations in your multi rotor helicopter

If you want to snap images or record video from your quadcopter it needs to be as vibration free as possible. When you manage that you get shots like these:

But when you start googling you get the same answer all over:

1. Balance your propellers
2. Balance your motors

But I did that:

And I still had vibrations, blurry stills and jelly-looking video. After a lot of trial and error found the solution.

It doesn’t matter how much you balance your props if they’re the wrong props. You need high quality very stiff props for aerial photography (AP). So, on the same quad, with perfectly balanced props I had lots of vibrations with one set of props and no vibrations with another.

I have had best results with Gaui props and Graupner E-props.

In addition to this I made a dampening system. First I tried to mount the camera directly on a small plate that was mounted on the quad with rubber dampers. That din’t work very well:

(Dampers = red)

Then I made a long extra board under the quad. Mounted it to the quad using four rubber dampeners and mounted both the camera and the battery on that one. Wow! No vibrations with any of my cameras!

(Dampers = red)

And this is how video looks like if you don’t limit the vibrations.

How to get rid of vibrations in your multi rotor helicopter

X468 Traveller quad

Just finished my build. It flies like it’s on rails. With plenty of power. And it’s silent and nearly vibration free.


It folds in the best possible way so that it is easy to carry in a bag or suitcase.

I’ll post videos later.

A video and a story about how I got rid of vibrations.

It carries my GoPro with clear jello-free images. But I still need to do some work on the smallest vibrations if I want to film with my Canon S100.

X468 Traveller Quad

T-Motors 2216 900KV

Turnigy Plush 25A

Flight Controllers:
Dji Naza
OpenPilot CopterControl
(Testing both)

Power Distribution:
100A from GLB

250 mm carbon from GLB

Motor mounts:
Alu from GLB

Graupner 9×5 and Gaui 8×4.5

Mounting of the round arms done with parts of a square alu rod from GLB.

Landing gear is made of parts from Kites and fun things.
4 – APA Type “B” Leading Edge Connectors
60″ .25″ fiberglass or carbon tube
6 – Stand off holders – Size Medium

Futaba 8U running FrSky 2.4 GHz

X468 Traveller quad

Quadcopter in the Gustav Vigeland Sculpture Park

I’ve installed a CopterControl board from OpenPilot in my home brew Quadcopter.

It’s pretty impressive stuff.

The camera is a 808 HD. And the build log is in Norwegian: Part 1 and Part 2. Here is the Google Translate version: Part 1 Google Translate and Part 2 Google Translate.

Link to video on YouTube.

Now I just need to buy a GoPro HD Hero 2. I’ve already ordered a stabilizing mount.

Cost and flight time

$200,- for the quad (frame, motors, speed controllers etc)
$100,- for the Copter Control Board
$25,- for a 2500 mAh battery giving 10 minutes for flight time
$70,- for a second hand Futaba 8U radio

Build time: approx 10 hours

Time spent learning how this stuff works, learning to fly, waiting for parts from china: don’t know…

Quadcopter in the Gustav Vigeland Sculpture Park