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The Top 5 Mistakes I Made with My First Aerial Drone

The Top 5 Mistakes I Made with My First Aerial Drone

Building my first aerial drone was an experience which was littered with mistakes. I started off with a 250-sized quadcopter based on the ZMR250 carbon fiber frame and soon found out that things were often not as straightforward as they seemed. Here are the top mistakes I made with my first drone: I Ignored Polarity:

Building my first aerial drone was an experience which was littered with mistakes. I started off with a 250-sized quadcopter based on the ZMR250 carbon fiber frame and soon found out that things were often not as straightforward as they seemed. Here are the top mistakes I made with my first drone:

I Ignored Polarity:

While creating my first aerial drone, I was in a hurry to get all of the electronics connected together in order to see that my efforts with building the frame had borne fruit. In my rush, I set about connecting my flight controller (Naze32 Acro) to my battery and mistakenly connected the negative terminal to the positive and vice-versa. A puff of smoke greeted me and my Naze32 was dead. Had I looked up the polarity connections before connecting the battery, this wouldn’t have happened.

Not Realizing Carbon Fiber is Conductive:

The most unexpected mistake I made was not insulating my ESC connectors with the carbon fiber base. I had no idea that carbon fiber allows electricity through it and my burnt ESC (Turnigy Multistar 10A) was proof of that. A simple roll of electrical tape on the base would have prevented this.

Not using an LED Light for Orientation:

The first few times I flew my drone, I relied on the color of my propellers to keep the orientation in check. This meant that as soon as my aerial drone had ventured a bit far away, I couldn’t see the colors properly and lost orientation. Losing orientation and being a novice pilot meant that crashes were aplenty. However, the moment I set up a bright LED on the back of my drone, I was able to keep much better track of the orientation and this hugely reduced the number of crashes.

Using Short Screws on Spacers:

Although this mistake wasn’t as dramatic as the other ones, it still troubled me quite a lot. The aluminum spacers I was using to connect the top and bottom plates of my frame came with very short 4mm screws. They still held the frame together nicely and I didn’t think much of it. However, after a few crashes, the threads of the spacers started to degrade and the plates didn’t hold together well. The bases of all of my spacers were twisted and inserting screws into them became a difficult process. Moving to longer 6mm screws solved this problem.

Not Removing Propellers During Testing:

Another mistake I made was that I didn’t remove the propellers when I was first testing the direction of my motors. I hadn’t tightened the spinner correctly and when I spun the motor up while holding my quad, a prop flew out and left a deep cut in my hand. Had I removed the propeller while testing, this problem wouldn’t have occurred.

Starting out by building my first drone rather than choosing a plug-and-play option meant the process was not a straightforward one, but it was a very rewarding one. However, had I not made these mistakes, both me and my aerial drone would have been much happier.


Image via Flickr: Becky Stern

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