EXPERT TECH DIY RACER
7If the power distribution board is the heart of the racer, the flight controller is the brain, and it stacks directly on top of the board. It’s a
good idea to soft-mount the flight controller
with O-rings or grommets. Here, I’m using a
Tornado flight controller from Moto Lab. Some
builders like to hard-wire the speed-control
signal leads directly to the flight controller, but I prefer to install right-angle header pins and crimp two-pin connectors on the speed-control leads. A big thank-you to my flying buddy John Kauk for his great
idea of pointing the header pins rearward across the flight controller.
;is is more compact and keeps the connectors better protected.
9With the assembly completed, it’s time to program the flight controller. ;e Tornado is
compatible with Betaflight, a Google
Chrome applet based on the earlier
Cleanflight. You walk through the
setup steps on your laptop computer
and then flash the settings to the
flight controller. On my build, I had to
increase the low-end throttle travel
on my transmitter to get the speed
controls to arm, but that was the only
issue I had.
8;e last major assembly step is installing the video gear and the top plate. I’ve installed the RunCam video camera and the Spektrum satellite receiver on the baseplate, and I’ve installed the Lumenier video transmitter on the underside of the top plate where it’ll be out of the way. It’s easier to thread
the Velcro battery strap before installing the top plate. Note that the video antenna is already installed; if
you power up the video transmitter without an antenna, you’ll fry it in seconds!
6Mount the motors on the arms before soldering the speed- control leads to the output pads on the power distribution board. ;at way, you can trim the speed-control leads to the
correct length. Note that I’ve slipped pieces of shrink tubing over the
speed controls and motor arms, but I’ll wait until after the first test
hop before I shrink the tubing, just in case I need to change anything.
Some fliers use electrical tape for securing the speed controls, but I
like shrink tubing because it’s tougher and looks better.
5I used DYS 20-amp speed controls with the popular BLHeli firmware. I chose to hard- wire the motor leads directly to the boards, but these controllers come with installed leads if you’d
prefer to splice the wires instead. Note that the motors with left-hand threads have straight connections for clockwise rotation, while
the motors with right-hand threads have two leads crossed to spin
counterclockwise. Your speed controls may be di;erent, so test them
before you solder them all together.
PRO TIP A bright, shiny soldering tip is crucial to achieve quality results. Wipe
the tip frequently, and when needed, use a soldering tip cleaning/tinning product, like
Weller 0051303199. This clean s away accumulated oxides and tins the tip much better than
a simple coat of solder.