In this article I will present you a mini tricopter with an exceptionally long flight time (for its size) powered by very low-budget components. This is not your usual mini quad, but just as much fun (or more) than a quadcopter! I have built the tricopter and flew it many times already and I’m very happy with it. Additionally tricopters simply look awesome (in my opionion), kind of like a Klingon Warbird 😉
Basic components to get you in the air:
- Quanum Trifecta Frame (30 USD)
- Turnigy TGY-9018MG Metal Gear Servo (5 USD)
- 3 DYS BE1806 1400KV Brushless Motor (33 USD)
- 3 ZTW Spider Series 12A OPTO ESCs (24 USD)
- MultiStar Race Spec 3S 1400mAh Lipo (15 USD)
- 2 Gemfan 7038 Carbon Nylon CW/CCW Propeller (4 USD)
- OpenPilot CC3D EVO Flight Controller (16 USD)
This means that the complete copter will cost you around 127 USD, only missing a receiver.
Additionally you will need:
RC receiver (this depends on your RC transmitter)
For FPV you will need:
I’m discussing all the components in my unboxing video, which you can watch here:
The build itself is very straight forward and the manual from Quanum is actually very detailed. You should not have any major issues. For details on the build itself, please refer to the build-review video here:
The maiden flight went really well, given the “non standard” components. The only bad flight characteristics I could detect was when the tricopter descends in its own propeller wash. It tends to get a bit unstable then. But that is a problem for most multicopters outthere. It’s actually quite responsive with the 7″ props and I can’t wait to try out the 8″ props. Very cheap build and so much fun to fly. It is my first tricopter and it feels much more like an airplane (compared to a quadcopter) when flying it. I wouldn’t have thought that I would like it so much.
Please check out the video of the maiden flight here:
Flight Time Measurements
Weight without lipo: 342g
Weight with 1400 mAh 3s lipo: 460g
Amps draw at hover (bench test): 6.2 A (= 13.55 minutes)
Amps draw at full throttle (bench test): 12.1 A (= 6.95 minutes)
Real world test:
I flew it very gently for 11 minutes. I then had to recharge 1043 mAh into the lipo to get it full again. That means a real-world power consumption of only 5.7 A on average when flying very gently (that is less than the hover value from my bench test, I guess the real world is always a bit different than testing on the bench).
I really love this bird. It’s great to try something new, after flying so many quadcopters. It is also a very cheap (158 USD for an FPV copter!) build and the flight characteristics are great.