Flashing the BLHeli_S firmware to the esc’s

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Ok, so first I installed the BL Heli Suite software on the computer, and then with all the esc’s connected to the flight controller, connected the software to the quad.  As you can see, when I read the setup it found all 4 of the esc units, which is good.

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This is where things were starting to get confusing.  My esc’s are ZTW Polaris 25A BLHeli_S Esc’s.  From what I could determine, these esc’s use the A-H-20 firmware.  By default, it wasn’t matching the A-H-20 when it was giving me a list of firmwares to select, and I had to turn off auto-matching.  Then, once I selected the correct firmware, I got this error message that was somewhat ominous.  After doing some more research, I was pretty confident that I was going in the right direction, so I hit ignore.  Which yielded an even more ominous warning:

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So that made me go back digging through all I could find as a reference.  However, I was still positive that I had the right firmware selected, so ultimately ended up flashing with the A-H-20 firmware.  Everything went well with that, and I was able to eventually configure the motor directions (which I apparently have no photos of), and then test that they would spin up.  So while it turned out to be a scary step with all the warnings, ultimately it worked out.

Smoke preventer

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I found the idea for this at the propwashed site – a site that I found very helpful as I was doing this first quad build.  Basically, the idea is that if you’re not using the motors on the quad, the power draw should be less than about 3 amps (and I’m guessing significantly less than that really).  However, if you have some sort of short due to bad wiring or soldering, you would get a sudden load of much higher than that.  The idea here is to that you put a 3A auto fuse into an auto fuse holder, and then connect this between your batter and the quad copter.  If something is wrong and it pulls more than 3 amps, then hopefully the fuse will blow before you damage the electronics.  I don’t have any pictures of me using this, but the first time I connected the quad to the battery, I did have this in place.  

First connection of flight board to the computer

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Ok, so the first time anything had any power through it.  I installed the betaflight software on my laptop, and connected the flight controller to the laptop.  Things worked pretty well and the flight controller was recognized.  I then went ahead and flashed the update to the controller so that it was at the current version of betaflight.  Maybe I’m easily amused, but I did find it kinda neat that on the page being shown, as I’d move the flight controller around, the image of the quad copter would also move in unison with the flight controller.  At least that means that the various sensors appear to all be working.

Shortening motor and esc wires

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After initially thinking that I’d leave all the wires at their original length, after I started comparing how things would fit onto the frame and how long all the excess wires would be I realized that it wasn’t going to be practical, so I shortened the wires from the motor to the esc and then from the esc to the power distribution board to something that would more reasonably work.