Drone with 4K camera captures amazing videos and photos. You got carried away and sent him too far. The battery is suddenly discharged. The craft failed to return to its launch point and was lost. But it was possible to play it safe and increase the flight range of the already finished model so that the copter perceived the remote control commands at the maximum distance, and it had enough charge for the return trip.
You can do it yourself, or by contacting KLONA. Refinement of the device is one of the services of the studio. In the article, we will tell you what factors determine the flight range of a quadcopter, how it can be increased on industrial models, and how to assemble a quadcopter with a long range.
What determines the range of a drone
The flight range of the drone depends on the communication technology, battery capacity, motor and propeller power. Let’s consider these factors.
Drone communication technology
Cheap devices are controlled via Bluetooth . The drone control radius is only 50 m. They are bought for children.
Control via Wi-Fi works if you are in the signal reception area: 100 m in a closed space, no more than 300 m in an open area.
But you can increase the Wi-Fi video signal range. One of the ways is described in the video.
Radio control . With a frequency of 2.4 GHz, you can fly up to 10 km without losing the signal.
Additional RC Drone Features:
- auto return home;
- self-landing due to built-in sensors;
- bypassing obstacles such as walls and trees.
The GPS drone is guided by the points set on the map. It is controlled by the program, not by the operator.
If there is no GPS, the drone will be blown away by the wind, you will have to return it with commands from the remote control. The flight range will be determined by the characteristics of the control panel.
The larger the battery capacity, the farther the aircraft will fly from the launch point and then return back . Pick up the battery when the assembly is ready and you have already decided which engines to put.
Advice. To make the choice easier, enter all your known characteristics into the Ecalc calculator . In it, you will predict the result by changing the battery packs.
You can power the assembly with lithium-ion, nickel-cadmium, or nickel-metal hydride batteries. All of them have the same mechanics, the difference in parameters.
Note. The weight of the drone, together with the new battery, must be lower than the maximum takeoff weight (total thrust of the engines). To improve flight performance, plan ahead.
For long-range shooting, a LiPo battery with a capacity of 5000 or 6000 mAh will be good. A large capacity will make the UAV too heavy, which will affect the flight.
Motors and propellers
Propellers and motors are made to suit weight, lift and thrust. The engine documentation indicates the maximum thrust. But a light UAV with a low-thrust motor in the air drives like a heavy vehicle with high-thrust engines. Here the proportion of motor power and weight is important – 4: 1 .
In order for the craft to overcome gravity, a lift force exceeding it will be required. Takeoff is supported by propellers rotating in different directions.
Propellers are different:
- style and size;
- the number of blades;
- angle of inclination;
The angle of inclination is the length that the blade will move in one revolution. Under the same conditions, 3″ and 4.5″ pitch propellers will generate different thrust.
Propeller material affects the strength of the device and weight, weight – on power consumption, and power consumption – on the flight range.
Two blades is the standard version of the propeller.
On small devices, they put more than two. Thereby:
- the air flow is distributed more evenly;
- turbulence is reduced;
- lift force increases.
A propeller with three small diameter blades generates the same lift as a propeller with two larger diameter blades.
The more blades the propeller has, the more responsive the device is in flight. It is difficult to manufacture and center such screws; it is better to purchase them from authorized dealers.
Propellers are distinguished by length and pitch. The pitch is the distance that the screw travels in the upward direction in one revolution.
A propeller with a large pitch is characterized by:
- moving the UAV over a greater distance in one revolution;
- increased turbulence, apparatus shaking;
- rapid battery discharge due to reduced torque.
Propellers with long propellers have a lot of lift. They are resistant to hovering, but the battery drains quickly.
To increase speed, long blades with a large pitch are chosen. For carrying capacity – long, with a small step. For long-distance flights, short blades with a small pitch are suitable.
How to Increase the Range of a DJI Mavic
After installation, the flight range can be doubled.
You will need a directional antenna or one with high signal gain.
You can increase the flight time of the quadcopter by increasing the battery capacity.
Since the standard compartment does not fit a larger battery, the power wires are displayed on the back of the drone. An external power supply is placed in parallel.
This video shows how to replace the standard battery with LG 18650-HG2 3000 mAh.
You can 3D print a cover for this rework.
How to build a long range quadcopter
|Frame||TBS Source One (V5)|
|Power board (ESC) and flight controller board (FC)||Speedybee F405 V3+50A 4in1 ESC|
|Motors||4x iFlight Xing2 2207 1855KV|
|Propellers||4x HQ 5×4.3×3 V2S|
|Receiver||Radiomaster RP1 Express LRS|
|Camera FPV Setup||Runcam Link + Runcam Wasp (DJI System)|
|Battery||Battery Strap (20x220mm)|
To mount the machine yourself, you will need soldering skills, as well as time to understand the theory.
For an apparatus that travels long distances, a two-story frame with a size of 230-250 is suitable. On its floors you will place the necessary equipment.
If you don’t have a remote and receiver, get a build kit and then install the GPS and capacitive batteries.
Preparing the frame for assembly:
- sand the sharp edges of the parts, especially the outside of the levers and plates, so that the sharp edges do not cut the wires and battery strap in an accident;
- wash all carbon fiber parts in soapy water to remove carbon dust left over from cutting, drilling and sanding;
- dry the parts with a towel.
- install the levers and the lever lock on the top of the bottom plate;
- place the rear bottom plate with push nuts over the levers and secure with screws from the bottom;
- install 8 aluminum posts.
Install four propeller motors. Use a threadlocker on the screws to reduce vibration. Make sure the screws are not too long and do not touch the motor winding.
Mounting the power board (ESC) and flight controller board (FC)
The flight controller (FC) is the brain of the drone. This is a board with sensors that monitors the commands of the operator and the movement of the copter, and also regulates the speed of rotation of the propellers.
The sensors are:
Peripherals are connected to FC. For example, GPS and LEDs.
1. Insert the ESC and FC boards into the four long screws. Pay attention to the orientation of the ESC board. The power contacts should face backwards and the motor contacts should face up. Make sure the ESC and FC boards are not in contact.
2. Check how long the motor wires should be and cut them, leaving some slack. Secure the motor wires to the levers with electrical tape.
3. Solder the motor wires to the ESC.
4. Solder the power wire to the power pins on the speed controller. Watch out for polarity
5. Solder the capacitor to the wires you previously soldered to the ESC power pins. Watch out for polarity.
6. Connect the FC to the ESC using the supplied 8-pin ribbon cable.
7. Test the ESCs and motors by connecting the LiPo battery.
Use a multimeter in continuous mode and test leads to check the positive and negative terminals to prevent short circuits.
The pilot controls the drone with a radio controller with two joysticks. Commands from the joystick are transmitted wirelessly to a radio receiver installed inside the drone.
The flight controller receives commands from the radio, combines them with data from the gyroscope, and calculates how fast each engine should move.
Solder the RX receiver to the FC flight controller. 26AWG-28AWG wires will work for you.
1. Mount the camera between the side panels inside the frame. Use 2mm zip ties.
2. Take the DJI Air Unit cable that came with the FC, cut off the ends, and solder it to the Vista video system according to the pinout.
3. Apply double-sided tape to the bottom of the Runcam Link (Vista).
4. Set up the Betaflight firmware.
1. Attach the nylon nuts to the flight controller.
2. Attach the capacitor to the chamber plates.
3. Install the top plate and thread the battery strap through it.
4. When installing the propellers, pay attention to the different directions of rotation – CW (clockwise) and CCW (counterclockwise). Make sure you install them on the correct motors. Otherwise, your aircraft will not take off or will roll over when trying to take off.
5. Install the battery. Make sure the center of gravity is as close to the center of the aircraft as possible. If the quad is heavy in the front, the front motors will have to work harder than the rear to keep it level. This will degrade flight performance.
You are now ready for a test flight!
The flight range of a drone is affected by:
- Communication technology . A radio-controlled drone will fly the farthest.
- Battery capacity. Most capacitive the battery is LiPo . But in order for the increase in the weight of the drone not to affect the flight efficiency, stop at a capacity of 5000-6000 mAh.
- Motor and Propeller Efficiency When choosing a motor, it is important that the ratio of motor power to weight is 4:1 .
To increase the flight range of an industrial model , for example, DJI Mavic, install an antenna or an additional battery .
You will assemble the drone yourself if you know how to solder and understand the theory. Pros : the device will meet your needs, no unnecessary details. It’s cheaper than buying ready-made.
Choosing parts for a project can turn into a long, painful search for the ideal ratio of weight, battery capacity, engine power and functionality of the device .
Order services for assembling unique UAVs or finalizing devices from KLONA . So you save time , and in the end get a model with the functions you need .