RPI 3 and Navio 2 - Custom Drone - Is this Right?

My First Drone

  1. RPI 3 and Navio 2 - 41 + 31 = 72 gms
  2. carbon fiber frame: ZJchao Tarot Iron Man 650 Carbon Fiber - 680 gms
  3. T-Motor Ultralight Antigravity 4004 KV300 300KV, 9A 216W max continuous power - 208 gms
  4. props - 4 carbon fiber 13" props
  5. Battery - Turnigy nano-tech 2700mah 3S 65~130C Lipo Pack (not sure if this is right) - 336 gms
  6. ESC - 4PCS ARRIS 2-6S 30AMP 30A SimonK firmware OPTO Brushless ESC - 25 gms
  7. Camera - yet to buy. – can you please suggest a nice camera ?

now the total grams of all the above items (excluding camera) is: 1321 grams and with other small items like wires, tapes… it would add up to 1400 grams.

I will be getting these items this week.

My objective is to slowly enhance this drone with more features and perhaps add more powerful battery.

with the above specs, will it even fly?
please provide your opinion on this. what other items do I need?

No, it will not be able to fly. 300kV motors on 3s with 13" props produce far to less thrust to lift off. You will need a 6s lipo with those motors and props to get flying. Or other motors, of course.
There is a nice tool to calculate different setups on:


The free version has a limited number of hardware to choose from, but the paid version is really worth it.

Good luck with your build!

Can’t fly for sure, Sebastian is right! Honestly, your whole setup confuses me.

  1. Why use motors that cost about $120 a pair and pair them with 13in props and a frame that weights a whopping 680g. Your investment doesn’t really make any sense to me.

  2. I doubt the wires will be only 60g on a 650mm m2m frame, especially on the current your going to be pulling.

  3. Your investing in motors that cost $120 a pair and then have a battery that is very low considering how large and heavy the rest of your setup is? This makes no sense to me. I would go for at least a 5000mah.

You either have to decide if you want a more “heavy duty” quad with longer flight times or something that is going to be more for zipping around, because right now your combination of motors, props, and battery don’t make much sense. You could probably just switch to a 6s lipo but in my honest opinion your configuration wouldn’t make much sense. If you can give an idea of perhaps what you want to use your drone for and what your willing to change I can help you more.

No Problem, let me give you a quick crash course

KV means the rpm per volt, a higher KV motor is not better or worse than a low KV motor they just serve different purposes.

Amps in a motor increase torque in a motor.

Small racing quads use high kv motors because they produce lots of rpm for instance a 4S 14.4v battery on a 1200kv would produce 14.4*1200=17,280 rpm at a high current draw. (your quad would go quite fast). However, you have to use small props because as you could imagine these props do not have very high torque. Which is why they need to pull a lot of amps to make up for the little torque they have. Which means they need to spin smaller propellers and can not carry as much weight either.

Low KV motors have more windings. In an electromagnet more windings means stronger magnetic fields. Thus the voltage is used to induce a stronger magnetic field in low KV motors, which means low KV motors have more torque. However, they have much lower RPM’s. As a result of this since they have more torque by default this means they don’t need as many amps, which generally means higher efficiency. Also, since low KV motors have more torque and lower RPM’s they need and take advantage of large props. They need lots of blade surface are to make up for the much lower RPM. This also means that because they use larger props they generate more thrust at lower amps and are capable of achieving longer flight times and/or carrying heavier loads.

With this said

300kv*11.1=3,330 at a very high current, as you can see this is a very low rpm

The reason why it would not work is because a 300kv motor generally needs to be run on a 16-17in prop with a 4S battery.

You could try to put a 13in prop on the 300kv motor with 6s
300kv*22.2=6,660 but this is really not optimal and puts a lot of strain on your motor. Since this isn’t really a proper setup.

So it all depends on what you want to use. You could definitely get 30min flight times with 13in props. Thought, for a 650mm frame 15in props would definitely be more appropriate for the weight you want to pull and help to provide you longer flight times.

On the contrary if you want to stick with 13in props your going to want about a 5000mah lipo a 10,000mah is probably going to get a bit heavy for your setup.

If you can give me a bit more of an idea on what exactly you want to do I can help. Are you looking for long flight times? How long? Do you want to carry just a GoPro or heavier cameras as well? Do you want a gimbal on your camera? All this needs to be taken into account

Let me know if anything is unclear to you, as I know I gave you a lot of information! I remember when I was just starting like you a year ago and it is great to see your enthusiasm! I will help you as much as I can to get you where you want to be.

I am also working on a website that will talk about my projects (my first project I will be posting is my long flight time quadcopter) So maybe you can head over and check that out once my website is up and learn a few more things! :slight_smile:

1 Like

Cool brother. I just updated. very interesting. :slight_smile: I just love it. :slight_smile: trying to understand so much… btw., the frame has high reviews.

Just updated post! Had you said before that you do programming, and were looking to run programs and such on the RPi? Talking about running a 4G rest protocol and such or am I getting mixed up with a different forum?

Thanks for the info… I have read and noticed the high rpm and kv motors are for small props. yes. https://oscarliang.com/quadcopter-motor-propeller/

my objective is just to have a stable flight. I am going to return the motors I bought. not a problem.
I shall buy

  1. 800kv - 1000kv, 500 watts motor.
  2. 4S 10,000 Lipo Battery.

20 mts flight time is pretty good. I will be carrying the GoPro cam like you mentioned. The battery is pretty heavy and we know that. about 900 gms.
if we lookup the frame on amazon.com, we can see the suggested configuration in the description. I should have followed it. I googled and found many using this frame and they love it.

And YES, I was planning to make this a very Intelligent drone. I would write many programs that run on the RPI3 that would communicate with the cloud to get dynamic flight plans, go and get the job done, total auto pilot. I could sit and sip a coffee at a local store while my drone would fly on its own and return back. if battery is below 20%, it would return back home and so on… to make it intelligent. This is just a rough idea. We know it can be done. I can do all the software stuff, now, mechanical engineering is what I am learning now… – This is what interests me.

u r right boss. sorry, I deleted that post. Yes, I do lots of programming and wish to make my drone intelligent. Yes.

so, for this frame I have, will the 500+ Watts motors and 4S lipo 10,000 battery work? if so, now, I need the best battery and motor brands.

will this work:

  1. Battery: MultiStar LiHV High Capacity 4S 16000mAh Multi-Rotor Lipo Pack $79= at hobbyking.
  2. Motors: — T-MOTOR MN3508 KV580 – Amazon.com $42 per motor.

    Would this suffice? I am going to order now. after you confirm.

checkout this ecalc.

http://www.ecalc.ch/xcoptercalc.php?ecalc&lang=en&cooling=good&rotornumber=4&config=flat&frame=600&tiltlimit=90&weight=3000&calc=auw&elevation=500&airtemp=25&qnh=1013&batteries=lipo_10000mah_-_65/100c&chargestate=0&s=4&p=1&battdisc=0.85&esc=max_30a&motor=tiger_motor&type=46|mn3508-380&gear=1&propeller=carbon-fold-prop&proptwist=0&diameter=13&pitch=5.5&blades=4&project=My Custom Drone- 1

Do you strictly want to stick to 13in props or would you be okay upping to 15in props. Honestly I don’t think it will make a huge difference and it will probably look much better on the frame? It would also give you a bit higher efficiency. Totally up to you.

If you really want to remain with 13in props then that is the motor I would choose, T-MOTOR MN3508 KV580. I would stick to this right now at most!

Or even this could work

Your battery should be no more than 1/2 of your quadcopter AUW (all up weight) but it is okay if it is a little less. Hint. more mah does not mean more flight time, as the motors become inefficient and you get higher resistance losses in wires, so stick to this rule of thumb for now.

I may be partially biased towards large flight time quads but if you are looking at a frame as big as the tarot 650mm I would recommend 15in props. If you decide to go with the 15in I would recommend getting the T-Motor MN3508 380KV. But ultimately it is up to you.

Thanks very much.

Here is my scenario: seems like I have ordered a lot from Amazon.com and now have to decide what to keep and what to return.

  1. I had originally ordered a 400mm CF frame. Quanum Chaotic 400mm Quadcopter Frame Carbon Fiber 3D Aerobatic Frame with Canopy (would not use the canopy)
  2. I will be getting my T-Motors 300kv — will RETURN them Unopened.
  3. I will be getting my Tarot 650mm the day after — will RETURN them Unopened.
  4. I will also return the 13" propellers. – NOT sure yet.

If I decide to keep the 400mm frame, it is recommended for the below config.

  • 8” CF bi-directional propellers
  • 4 x 2212-1300KV Bi-directional Motors
  • Battery 4S 1800~2200mAh LiPoly pack

My Son is the main user of this drone. upon talking with him, he says he needs it to go faster like the DJI Phantom 4. So, I am now thinking if it would be easier to build faster drone using the 400mm with about 20mts flight-time, nice motors with thrust. 4g modem, gopro cam, some led lights. he feels the 650mm frame and size might be too big.

Since I am Amazon Prime member, I get free 2 day shipment and easy returns policy.

400mm CF frame weighing just 215 grams, this might seem the best option for me to build fast drone with best matching motors too. note: I have put a total weight of 1200 grams.

I could get the T-MOTOR MN3508 KV580 High-Performance Brushless Electric from Amazon.com for about $42- each motor.

Any thoughts?

For 10" props I would look at the Tiger Motor MN3110-780kv

There are a few problems with your ecalc though, your blades are set to 4 under propeller. I think you mean to put 2 blades, that would be two blades for prop. Second, your frame 400mm might be a little small for the 10" props with the navio and GoPro you want to add on, maybe try a 450mm frame?

Also, you could choose a lower C rate battery as it will weight less and will not significantly affect your top speed, you could probably also choose a 5000mah instead of 4000mah.

Take a look at these ESC’s as well. Their from a good quality, reliable brand. They are light weight, support up to 4S and 30A, and support BLHeli S. Which uses hardware PWM. This is a special version which helps make the motors run quieter.

Furthermore, you need to consider that the Navio with the RPi is going to pull more power than most flight controllers, especially when its running scripts, which will reduce flight times.

Could you go over your quadcopters weight quickly, the weight of each component that is?

Thanks so much! Yes, it made a little difference. I like this small frame now because, the 10" props perfectly match and is close to the body of the drone. I have read it provides good stability. small,fast and powerful. total costed me about $500= now. small stuff like tapes… I also ordered the lipo 4s charger ($75) and a lesser “C” battery. I love the ecalc. Thanks !!!

my actual weight of the components are:

No problem! Did you happen to get the Tiger Motor MN3110-780kv at all or did you stick with the 580KV? Let me know how it comes out! Im interested to see what sort of programs you might make :slight_smile:

Boss, I can get 3110 780 kv (just $15 more than 380kv). I compared both… here are the results.

780 is better. CRAZY Bro!.. the guage says 35mph speed. This is too fast drone. Wow!. I would get the 780 and I am returning the 580. Boss, THANKS THANKS THANKS !!!

780kv is $70 more than the 580kv (for all 4 motors). So, you think this is worth it? I like power and the ecalc is happy with the 780, less stress on the motor and more thrust. :slight_smile:

btw., my goal is to make the drone very intelligent. I am now checking on how to install various sensors (about 4 of them) front, top, bottom,… and control and build intelligence to automatically avoid obstacles (just like the DJI Phantom 4) if… just in the route now… other than that, I can use the API available in C/C++/Python and try to do my best… this is just the start… :slight_smile:

I love this technology. I know we all do.


I would say the 780KV are totally worth it. They give you higher power, less stress, give you much higher thrust to weight ratio, and give you a slightly higher efficiency 7.42g/w.

Great to see that your so excited :smiley:

I don’t code much myself so it would be really cool if we could help each other out. Definitely looking forward to see what you are able to do!

Maybe we can come up with some cool ideas together!

We can PM each others inbox about this maybe.

Did you happen to get a RC controller or a telemetry radio for your Quad? You might want a telemetry radio for your quad so you have a UDP connection on the field. This would allow you to access the console or any other data you need! :slight_smile:

Boss, Ok. I shall get them. please suggest which ones are good.

for PDB,

  1. I was impressed how we can connect the 4 ESC easily without soldering. the only soldering is the battery wire and aux ports (for led).

  2. but, this one is on amazon.com and can get it in 2 days.
    5-in-1 QAV Quadcopter PDB-Board-BEC 5V/3A-12V, LED Light Controller, Flyaway Finder & Battey Low Voltage Alarm - HOBBYMATE – this is nice too.

  3. or do you still recommend the Volo The power ? it is all soldering here. but, few grams less.

I will use the ground controller like mission planner or ez builder.

Yes, the 5-in-1 QAV Quadcopter PDB-Board-BEC 5V/3A-12V, LED Light Controller, Flyaway Finder & Battey Low Voltage Alarm. The Volo is probably a bit higher quality, but this one will work perfectly fine :slight_smile: