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20140117 155447-PocketQuad-assembled.jpg
Participants Narya
Skills Soldering, Electronics, Coding, Cameras
Status Planning
Niche Electronics
Purpose Fun

The idea

Make a quad copter that can make pictures

  • so stability is preferred over stunting
  • would be nice if I could add auto navigation, but this is not required
  • want to control the camera from the ground
  • budget ~250 euro

Related and inspired by:

To do

  • Gather info about comparable quad-copters
  • Estimation of the weight, and figure out which parts are needed
  • See which camera would be suitable (programmable simple lightweight cam)
  • Design the frame
  • Order parts
  • Make the thing
  • Learn to fly


Below some mind blurbs. A list with parts, the weights, and costs is here: Parts-NarCopter.ods

  • Body/frame (DIY)
    • Choose build and material: printed, wood, and/or carbon frame
    • Models Thingiverse
    • Carbon 4.50-8.50 euro per meter Muco
  • Flight control board, with integrated camera control (gimbal and push-the-button support), and with GPS support
  • Transmitter
  • Receiver - DSM2 (what is maximum distance?) or LRS
  • Motors
  • Propellers
    • 8060 props are recommended for the D2811/14 motors
  • Batteries
  • Camera stabiliser thingies (ah, "gimbal" is the name for it)
    • Price range $15-$40, weight 80-200g
  • Wires (probably enough of those at home), connectors and stuff
Totals with components of Justa_copter_1 and AnusCopter as basis
Weight incl camera: 1160g
Excl camera and mount: 904g
Total costs: 245 euro


  • battery
  • motor
  • props
  • frame parts
  • ...

NarCopter mini


Before I make a big one I'd like to get some flying experience with a small semi-RTF (ready to fly) copter

$62 excl shipping


It already has connectors, so it is a matter of plug and play according to the advertisement. The quad has been modified by others, e.g. other motors, other RX, training wheels, landing gear, one person snapped off one of the arms and made a tri-copter of it (and it still flew).

Forum thread about this copter

The firmware might need customization. In an earlier version the motors kept spinning when on standby, and a minor change might be necessary to connect with the TX.

I want to add landing gear and training wheels (rings around the motors). Update: no need for landing or training gear, the thing crashed into the door so many times without breaking anything. It will be fine.

PocketQuad - 17 January 2014


18 January 2014: I could borrow the transmitter battery from The JinX. First, the pocketquad had to bind to the transmitter module. I followed the instructions in this quick step by step guide, but had some problems working through the last step; the MultiWii_2_2-gui/MultiWiiConf software. The linux version didn't recognize the device, and I couldn't properly pass on the device to a windows virtual machine. On another system with windows on it it did work. I think the wingui software doesn't scan the ACM dev's on linux. In the end it was "solved" by making a symbolic link to the USB ACM device.

ln -s /dev/ttyACM0 /dev/ttyUSB0

After setting up the transmitter "gear" switch as "aux1" (arm the device), and a quick calibration, it flew.... a little bit. It goes in all directions except the direction I want it to go, but there is movement. It does take off, after which it quickly moves forward and crashes into the door. Next step will be to calibrate the quad better.

19 January 2014: Removed motors, receiver and battery. Recalibrated the quad. Assembled it again. Result: it flies much more stable now. More flying resulted in a broken propeller. Hamish designed a frame with rings around the propellers. Result: it barely lifts off (too heavy)... and a broken frame (the printed one, not the main frame) after flying with it.

Extra frame v0.0001 - 19 January 2014

23 January 2014: I got very useful tips from phicoh. The quad calibrates on start-up, so you should balance the quad while connecting the battery. Furthermore the expo levels for ELE and AIL were set to 20. These settings helped to make the right stick of the transmitter react slower, which makes the quad less jumpy. Need to have a look at the rudder settings next, since that is not reacting very well.


For several items you get a buddy price code at hobbyking, which means discount for the person who is going to order the same item and a discount for the person who has passed on the code. Mail your fellow techinc-ers for this code if you want to order the same item(s) as them.

1 January 2014

  • Turnigy 9xr transmitter with OrangeRX DSM2 RF module (backorder)
  • Parts for the NarCopter mini (pocket quad)
  • Stuff has arrived on 17 January
  • uh oh, forgot to order a lipo battery for the transmitter and a charger

17 January 2014 (discount codes valid for 14 days)

Dutch law about recreational RC flights

Dutch law recreational flights (Dutch)

In short:

  • Officially, flights are not allowed, but an exception is made for recreational flights
    • Commercial use of copters is not allowed without permission
    • Recreational flights are allowed and you don't have to ask for permission to fly
  • Weight should be below 25kg
  • The operator must be able to see the copter from the ground
    • Using camera's (first person view, FPV) to fly the copter outside of this range is not allowed
    • Camera's on the copter are allowed
  • Safety
    • Do not fly above (groups of) people, buildings, sculptures, railways and highways
    • Flying above 30km roads in urban areas and 60km roads outside the city is allowed
    • Height: maximum 300m. (450m on a military airfield) Be sure to let someone else check if there is no aircraft nearby if you fly above 150m. The flight should not endanger aviation
    • Flying is allowed in 'class G' airspace. In most places, airspace from the ground to 300m is class G. The main exception is the area around airports. Unfortunately, almost all of Amsterdam falls into the CTR of Schiphol. So flying is not allowed. However, some of the model flying clubs managed to get an agreement with air traffic control to fly on some fields that are inside the Schiphol CTR.
    • Special care must be taken in areas where military aircraft are allow to fly low. See [1] (Dutch). They fly very fast and low so you have to have somebody to watch out for them.