RCExplorer Tricopter v4 build

After building several miniquads I wanted something a little ‘different’ to work on, so I ordered the v4 tricopter from RCExplorer – that’s David WindestÃ¥l’s site, you might recognise him if you watch Flite Test or Rotor Riot. I figured I’d share some pictures from the build, along with my thoughts. Overall I have to say that I love the ‘copter & it’s a joy to fly, but it was definitely the trickiest build I’ve done to date (despite being the largest overall!) & it left me quite frustrated in several places.

Worked on the front arms first – discovered the hard way that it’s better to work on the tail first…

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Now soldering the tail connections. I actually moved the front arms forward to get a bit of extra space to work with here, but these joints were still tricky as the wires were only barely long enough after I botched stripping one of them just once.

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Hitting all the solder joints with Plastidip just for peace of mind.

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With the front arms back in their correct position, you get an idea of how tight things are in the central hub. The front arms swing around as well, which exacerbates things.

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Though the completed centre section is very tidy :)

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I followed David’s build video a bit too literally & ended up with the XT60 on the wrong side of the tail boom here, but I changed it later.

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Almost ready for its maiden flight!

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Discovered self-amalgamating/self-vulcanizing tape. No adhesive, so it doesn’t leave sticky residue on the ESC/carbon, but it sticks to itself when stretched & wrapped around the arm.

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Glamour shot (10c battery just there for show).

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Heading to the park for the maiden, a pair of 1800mAh 3S in parallel.

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It worked!

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Couple of things to change & FPV gear to add. The size of the thing can make working on it quite tricky, especially when trying to get the two plates of the centre section bolted together as the tail boom doesn’t have a bolt going through it to hold it while you’re doing this.

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Spent ages working out a sensible way to mount a HS1177, finally came up with the idea of extending off the front with a piece of thermoplast.

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Managed to keep things pretty neat :)

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Some early flight footage (skip ahead to 2:28).

Honestly I think that all of the difficulties I faced stemmed from how compact the centre hub is & how little room there was with the official electronics pack for screw ups. Whilst it’s nice that the electronics pack included wires of the perfect length, it leaves you in an awkward situation if you (for example) screw up while stripping the wires & accidentally cut 5mm off the end. I’d rather have a slightly larger centre hub that has more space to work with & have an inch of slack wire to bundle up with the ESCs at the end of each arm, just to make building/repairing easier.

But regardless it flies awesome, it looks amazing in the sky & I expect to make many happy memories with it in the future :)

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