Team BlackSheep Discovery Pro: Building A $3000 Quadcopter

The Gimbal

It also took me a bit of thread-hunting to figure out that I wasn’t to touch DJI’s Gimbal tab in the Assistant Software. TBS says its gimbal should be good to go straight from the factory, but mine needed adjustment before it’d switch to PPM channels. This actually takes place in yet another utility, SimpleBGC.

BaseCam’s software gives you access to the proportional-integral-derivative (PID) controller settings, motor controls, R/C options, plus real-time data from the accelerometer and gyroscope. Just be sure you stick with version 2.1, which matches the integrated controller’s firmware.

I should have been fine switching from PWM to PPM in SimpleBGC. However, issues with motor chattering and off-center calibrations compelled me to experiment in the utility, which eventually necessitated reloading both factory-programmed profiles. TBS’ defaults really are best-fit; the software is mainly useful for troubleshooting an issue not otherwise apparent from a visual inspection.

With the gimbal configured to accept roll input on channel five and pitch on channel six using PPM, I was ready to move on. Just bear in mind that my configuration is optimized for a GoPro Hero2. Compatibility originally extended to the GoPro Hero3 series, and was recently updated to include GoPro's Hero4 through a component revision.

Chris Angelini
Chris Angelini is an Editor Emeritus at Tom's Hardware US. He edits hardware reviews and covers high-profile CPU and GPU launches.
  • blackmagnum
    Sunbathers beware! On another note: 3k dollars would build an awesome gaming machine, but getting some fresh air is all good.
  • firefyte
    The page title is a bit off "Buikding And Flying..."
  • Shankovich
    A company in Toronto called DreamQii made one that's around $1000 for the kit and is modular. A much better deal IMO, and it comes with a sturdier gimbal. Can you guys review that one? Kinda want one but not so sure about the whole thing.
  • Bondfc11
    The radio in the photos is a dead match for the JR radio I use for flying my helicopter.
  • g-unit1111
    Pretty sweet but if I had $3,000 to spend money on something, this would be like last on my list. :lol:
  • qlum
    I have looked at quad copters quite often but every time I look I come to the same conclusion: To expensive for something I will get bored of pretty soon anyway.

    Anyway the last time I was nervous about something I did was when I had to solder a serial connection on a bricked router. It was a first for me but all went far far smoother then I ever expected.
  • geof2001
    please follow up with some video and first flight commentary
  • d_kuhn
    Soo... while this looks like a very cool drone, if you're looking at your first buy you might want to look a bit more modest... like the DJI Phantom 2 Vision+... $1300 buys you a nice quadcopter with a stabilized camera. That's a lot less $$$ to lose when you auger in on your maiden flight.
  • desert_beagle
    great article.. just expecting the delivery of my TBS Disco + Taranis today.. yes, it's expensive, but it's a lot of fun.. )
  • quadcopterhq
    Really great overview of what it is like to build your own custom quadcopter, one of the most coherent and in-depth ones I've seen so far. To be honest, all the work makes me want to just recommend buying an off-the-shelf ready-to-fly option like the DJI Phantom! Of course, this model is much more capable and for any pro the customization is necessary (and enjoyable potentially too) to be able to get the video results required.

    What kind of flying time does the rig have? And could you attach a larger, heavier camera if you swap in a different gimbal or are you limited to the GoPro line?