Build Log for the Emax Nighthawk 250 Quadcopter Kit

What's in the box?

In the Emax 250 kit you get the frame, motors, escs, and a flight controller, on top of this, you will need a transmitter and receiver, a power distribution board (PDB), battery, charger, an XT-60 power cable and a USB to mini USB cable.  If you want to make this an FPV quad you will also need goggles, an fpv camera and a video transmitter (Vtx).


Getting Started

To start the build, cut the red and black esc wires to length so that it when you solder to the PDB the escs are close to the board, solder the red wire to a positive pad on the board and the black wire to a negative pad on the board, repeat this so that all of the esc's are soldered on, make sure that the solder joints are good and strong with lots of solder, it doesnt matter what wire goes to what pad as long as red goes to a positive and black goes to a negative).  Once the ESCs are done, solder on the wire to the XT-60 connector again with red going to the positive and black going to the negative on the connector, once the connector is soldered, solder the other end of the red and black wires to the positive and negative pad on the PDB.  

Once the ESCs are wired in, wrap the PDB in electrical tape, this prevents the board from shorting across the carbon fibre frame.  Once the PDB is wrapped, place in underneath the middle part of the frame, attach the arms and screw on the bottom plate.  Screw on the motors to the end of the arms and put a piece of heat shrink over each wire (you can use electrical tape and apply it after), solder the three motors wires to the three ESC wires, repeat so that all motors are connected.  DO NOT heat shrink the solder joints yet, this will be done later.

Place the CC3D on the frame using the spacers (making sure that the arrow on the board is pointing to the front of the quad) and plug in the motor wires using the servo connectors.  (From above) Motor 1 is the front left, Motor 2 is the front Right, Motor 3 is back right and Motor 4 is the Back left. Attach your receiver and plug it into the CC3D using the supplie breakout cable, finish the build of the frame by attaching the metal spacers and screwing on the top plate.   

CC3D and Openpilot Software

On your computer, download the CC3D software called Openpilot Ground Control Station (GCS).  Plug the CC3D into the computer using the USB cable and wait for the software to detect the quad.  Once the quad is detected, click on vehicle setup wizard.  Most of the setup is straightforward until you get to output calibration.

When you start the output calibration, make sure that the props are not attached, plug in the 3s lipo and click next.  It will take you through each motor, move the slider to power up the motor and check which way it is spinning, if it is matching the picture on the screen then you can heat shrink the connections, if not then make a note of it and after the setup, swap any two of the motor wires.  

After completing the vehicle setup wizard, start the radio setup wizard.  This will take you through all of the steps to calibrate and configure your radio.

At some point during the setup you will be prompted to chose a default setup for the quadcopter, any of setups will work fine, it is best to chose a quad that is in the same size range such as the blackout 250.

Flying the Emax 250


After all of these steps you should be ready to fly the Emax Nighthawk 250, If you want to install an FPV system simply attach the camera to the front of the quad and use the supplied plug and play cable to the Vtx.  You can power the Vtx and camera either from the balance lead on the battery or directly from the PDB, attach the vtx with either velcro or zip ties and you are ready to go.

You can find additional items here, including FPV Goggles and a Taranis FrSky Radio Controller.

And to better understand some of the terminology above, check out our FPV Drone Racing FAQ.