I’m sad to say that it’s February and I haven’t flown at all yet this year. I could have been since my brushed whoop is flyable, but I kept waiting until I got my brushless whoop built. That quad is still in pieces on my hobby table. I keep thinking I’ll get it done over the weekend, but somehow they’ve kept passing by where by the time I’m ready it’s too late on Sunday night. I thought last weekend I’d finally get time to do it but I was laid up sick all weekend. So naturally this weekend was going to be the one, but one again things came up on Saturday that kept me from getting to work on it, and then Sunday I decided I needed to get my toothpick fixed first.
We had some unseasonably warm weather in Indiana over the weekend and I was pretty upset with myself that I couldn’t take proper advantage of it because my toothpick was still out of commission from the crash back in early December.
I’d been putting this off because I wanted to fix the issue with the flight controller and the VTX not communicating properly while I did the motor repair, but I decided that I needed to just get the motor fixed and try out the antenna modification I’d been thinking about and leave the rest until later. That way I wouldn’t miss out on any more good flying days that might come along before summer gets here and I can expect some more consistent flying conditions.
Replacing the broken motor was pretty straight forward and only took me about 15 minutes. It’s the second time I’ve had to do this so I already had a good idea of the order of operations and things I needed to look out for. Remove the canopy, take the tape off of the motor wires, and remove the four nuts holding the flight controller down. Get the motor plug loose and pull the wires out, and then take the two mounting screws out to get the motor off of the frame.
After that it’s the same steps just in reverse. Mount the new motor with the same two screws. Tape the motor wires down, fish the motor plug through the slot cut in the foam that the flight controller is mounted on, and then get the plug seated. This part probably gave me the most trouble because I was trying to do it without taking the flight controller all the way off of the frame. That would mean cutting the zip ties holding the power leads and the receiver antennas to the frame, which isn’t a big deal, but I didn’t want to do all of that unless I had to. Thankfully a little fiddling with tweezers and I was able to get the plug seated.
With that done it was just a matter of getting the flight controller fastened back down, and taking the prop off of the old broken motor shaft and putting it on the new motor. Then plugging the quad into my computer and checking the motor direction in Betaflight.
While I had the canopy off I wanted to try modifying how the VTX antenna was mounted. I mentioned back in my crash post that I needed to do something since I’d noticed that I was getting some damage to it from prop strikes. I’d already tried bending the antenna down a bit to keep it below the prop line but that didn’t seem to be helping. Also, I could have switched from the 65mm bi-blades back to the 2″ tri-blades that I was originally using but I like getting the extra flight time with the bi-blades, and besides I didn’t want to be limited in which size of prop I was using.
My idea was pretty simple. Because of the way the VTX was mounted in the canopy, I figured I could drill a hole just a bit above where the antenna currently stuck out and get an easy 30-45 degrees of uptilt on the antenna which would more than keep it out of the reach of the props. It just required doing a little dremel work and then fishing the antenna through before mounting the VTX.
This was my first time using the Dremel on plastic, and aside from a little slip which you can see above it went pretty well. I used a hobby knife and a file to clean up the hole afterwards and make sure there were no sharp edges to damage the antenna. But I’m surprised at how well this worked. It’s rare that an idea turns out exactly as expected, but I couldn’t be happier with how the antenna is coming out of the canopy now.
There should be no way the the props will hit the VTX antenna any more. I’m looking forward to getting it in the air and seeing how it flies now.