Quadcopter ESC and Flight Control board calibrations

Welcome to Part 4 of the quadcopter tutorial series. In this tutorial, we're going to do some final setting-up and calibrations.

First, in order for your quadcopter to fly properly, you have to calibrate the ESCs. There are multiple ways to do this. At the most basic level, you can calibrate ESCs one by one, but, when using a control board, you can calibrate them all at the same time. Depending on your board, getting the ESC calibration mode might be different. If you are using the board we're using, you do this by holding button 1 and 4 down when you power on the quadcopter.

First, if you are using the same board as me, then you will want to set up one thing out of the gate. Plug in the quadcopter, check the screen, go to the menu, load motor layout, then scroll down to "Quadcopter x mode." Enter there, choose yes, and you're all set.

Finally, before your first flight, you will want to calibrate

For the full calibration process, I recommend you watch the video, but the process goes:

  2. Make sure you can free-spin the motors with your fingers and nothing is catching.
  3. Turn on transmitter, set throttle to full
  5. Plug in Quadcopter and immediately press and hold buttons 1 and 4. This can be hard to do quick. Another option is to unplug the ESC signal from motor 1 on the flight controller, plug in the battery, and the quadcopter will still be off. Then, to turn on the quad, you plug in the esc signal wire. Either one works. In the video, I just plug in the battery and press buttons 1 and 4 fast.
  6. As soon as you here some beeps, put throttle to the minimum on your transmitter, still holding buttons 1 and 4.
  7. Wait for some more confirmational beeps, and you're all set. For the exact beeps, watch the video.

If you begin to hear beep.... beep beep....beep beep beep and so on, you messed up, try again, otherwise the board is ready to be armed and tested.

Again, without the propellers, go ahead and cycle the power to the transmitter and the quadcopter. The board I am using here wants the transmitter to be on before you turn on power to the board. Do this, then arm the board. In most cases, that will be throttle to the minimum and to the right. Throttle is generally the left stick, but it might be right in your case. Right is also supposed to be the default, but, if that doesn't arm the board, try the other direction.

Once armed, give some throttle and cut it quickly. Do this and check the rotation of each motor. If any aren't spinning in the right direction, flip any two wires between the ESC and motors to change the motor's direction. To disarm the board, you move the throttle down and to the left by default. Before ever putting propellers on, make sure you can arm and disarm the board!

In the next video, we'll talk about propellers and actually taking off!

The next tutorial:

  • Building and Programming a Quadcopter/multicopter introduction
  • Quadcopter Parts Tutorial
  • Quadcopter Assembly Tutorial
  • Quadcopter ESC and Flight Control board calibrations
  • Quadcopter First Flight and more Information