Thursday, 27 September 2012

DIVIDesign Spider Quadcopter V4

I purchased this frame about 6 months ago from here as I've always liked the look of 'spider' copters and this was the first full carbon one that I had seen. As I was one of the first to purchase it, I managed to get it for under $100, but the current price has risen to $159 for the normal weight version that I have. I'm not sure there is any reason to buy the heavyweight version as the frame is very strong and stiff as it is.
The kit came delivered in a large padded envelope with all of the parts just floating around loose inside. I was a bit concerned that the parts would be damaged, but a quick inspection revealed that everything had arrived in one piece. The frame doesn't come with any instructions for assembly, so I was left to look at the pictures on the website. It's a very straightforward frame to put together and if you've built a quadcopter before then you won't have a problem putting this together.

There are a few things that really let down this kit, that if fixed, would make it a really top quality frame. The first thing is the ring mounts that have a threaded insert in them and some of them spin when you do them up, so you can't get the screws in tight enough and they vibrate out. Second is the motor mounts and the material that they're made of, which have to be reinforced with a fibreglass plate (supplied with the kit). The biggest disappointment however is the anti-vibration mount, which is absolutely useless at reducing vibrations to the camera.

To get round the problem of the anti-vibration mount, I discarded the rubber grommets and instead used a layer of neoprene foam between the camera mount and the frame and used bungee chord to cold the camera mount down. This method seems to work really well at reducing vibrations to the camera and I've now used it on a couple of builds with good success.

I won't bore you with details all of the equipment I used to get this in the air, but I will say that with 10" props mounted, they don't appear in frame when the GoPro is set to r3 720p mode. With a 3s 2200mAh lipo mounted on the battery mount at the back, the copter seems to be well balanced with the GoPro on the front.

When it comes to flying, it flies just like any other quadcopter that I've had in x-mode and doesn't display any odd flight characteristics. On my first flight I managed to crash into a tree and break one of the arms, but because it uses standard 12mm carbon tubes for the arms, it was soon replaced and back in the air.

Here's a picture of my finished copter before I discovered how bad the anti vibration mount was. I've since added a 200mW 5.8GHz transmitter which is powered from it's own 2s 500mAh lipo. I've mounted the video tx just behind the gopro, but am having interference issues when the motors are running, so will have to address this in the future.

Pros: Good design, rigid, lightweight
Cons: Poor anti-vibration mount, quality of some fittings, price

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