Drone #9: The first parts

So it took a while, but now all parts have arrived (except some bullet connectors that the postal service PostDanmark apparently decided to give to somebody else - I'm pretty happy that it was only 40 DKK worth of connectors and not my 5.5K DSLR I got a week or so ago).

This weekend I started to build some of the major parts for my quadcopter and I started out with the power distribution harness. In this post I talk a bit about the power system. In that post I thought the only solution was to use a power distribution board - but reading a bit I discovered that it may simply be easier just to build a power distribution harness, which is basically just all the power and ground wires soldered together. So I started doing that.

Just recap from that older post, what needs to happen is basically to connect the battery with the four Engine Speed Controllers (ESCs).

1st step: Deans connectors

Deans connector
In total I need to solder 5 red (4 ESCs + 1 battery) wires and 5 black wires together. Because I want to be able to take the drone apart I decided to put Deans connectors at each end (the end that is not being soldered obviously). So this was the first step. It was fairly easy - although it has been a while since I soldered last time.

The 5 connectors with deans

2nd step: The harness

Here's the finished harness:

It's a quite simple thing really: To the right is the battery supposed to be connected and to the left: The four motors.

The hardest part about this harness was how to solder it. While googling a bit I discovered an easier way to do it, but that would require me to redo parts of my Deans connectors and I didn't want to that. So instead I experimented with a couple of ways to build it. The difficult part is that I need to solder all 5 wires together.

What I ended up doing was quite simple: I put an elastic band around 4 of the red wires and then I inserted the last red wire. Finally, I took some solder and twisted it around the 5 wires like so: Solder on wires
All I needed to do now was just carefully solder the wires together using the solder that was already on the wires.

The only thing I'm not happy about was that it was quite difficult to get the solder hot enough, so I'm a little concerned with the strength of it. But for now I just need to get power to the motors then I will worry about durability later on.

Next steps

The next steps is to solder Deans connectors on the ESCs and then I need to figure out how to power the Arduino. The Arduino Starter Kit I have come with a battery and battery power adapter so I think I want to go with this one first. Then later on, definitely make a better and more durable power harness and include the Arduino power supply in this.

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