Saying hello properly - South Wales

Hi, little GreyCat here.

I’ve been hanging around for a while (you know how cats are) and made a couple of comments so I figured I’d better introduce myself properly like.

Am fairly new to drones, passed my GVC in the summer and got my PfCO through recently. I already have a business and working to add drones to it as an inspection tool- (COVID hit my business rather so instead of moping about I used the time to add another service to my existing offering, drone inspection has the advantage of being socially distanced…).

Main drone is a Mavic 2 Enterprise with a Smartcontroller, I also got a SwellPro Spry recently, had it out testing and now adding to the fleet so I can fly in the rain. (For the sort of work I’m looking at, the photo quality of the Spry+ is perfectly adequate).

Not much more to say really, I have been out as much as I can building flying hours and I’ve got some existing customers lined up for doing case-studies.

I also have a Hexacopter kit on my desk, this is the fun end- something to build in dark evenings, I have a feeling this will be a long and entertaining rabbit-hole…



I hope you’re business grows and you are able to make a living, the bonus is you can fly in all weathers.

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Hi, and welcome.

Whereabouts in the UK are you based?

It’ll also be expensive :smiley:

But I have to agree, the enjoyment of building something from scratch can often far outweigh the cost :blush:

/stops looking at DJI F550 drones on ebay :grimacing:


Welcome to the group.

The SwellPro Spry is quite an eclectic choice but I totally understand your reasoning behind it.

It’s also satisfying to read that you are also building. My first build was a DJI 550 hexacopter. It’s now become a bit of a heavyweight machine as over the years I’ve been continuously adding things to it. I’m also in the process of building another hexacopter, this time with a Tarot 680Pro frame, just in the process of acquiring all the electrickery for it and trying to decide if to go for a 4s or 6s setup.


Welcome to the group :+1:

Many thanks.

The kit I have is an “F550” looks like basically a knock-off of the DJI kit. It has a Pixhawk flight controller and seems a reasonable deal (thanks Amazon). Lots to learn as I figure out how to build it and get it working.

I looked at the Tarot stuff, looks really nice but thought I’d start off with something cheaper first as I have been told to expect to crash a self-built 'copter the first time I try flying it…


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I’m based in South Wales but my existing business takes me all over the UK.



I think I know the kit you’re referring to, if so it’s called the S550 and is made by Holybro. Personally I prefer it to the original DJI frame as it’s lighter but still very strong, and has the slightly up tilted arms which make it very stable. Earlier this year I built up the quad version, called the S500, and installed a Pixhawk and the Skydroid radio/video system. My intention is to also install a forward facing and downward facing LIDAR system, but that is further along my project timetable.


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Yes, that’s the one. However I upgraded to the F550 airframe- the original S550 frame is red and white and the landing gear is a bit flimsy, the F550 airframe is all black and has much sturdier (and better designed landing gear) and overall mass the same. I wanted to try a hexacopter… (not sure why!)

I haven’t specced the controller or batteries yet as still much to learn there. I’ve been in contact with a radio-controller model flying club in my area (they have some members fly multirotors but meeting up has been difficult with the Welsh COVID restrictions) and joined the BMFA directly so I have a wider means of learning about self-build. There’s so many options so useful to be able to see what others have done.


You chose a hexacopter because hexacopters are coooooool.

I’m surprised that the S500 appears flimsy. I based my opinion on the S500 quad I built which has sturdy carbon fibre legs/landing gear. My DJI F550 has evolved into quite a heavy beast. I installed the Aeroxcraft landing skid which has an adjustable mounting for the batteries and gimbal so they can be adjusted to suit the centre of gravity when using different battery combinations. I’ve also replaced the standard arms with longer and slightly lighter aluminium arms. When I originally built it I used the standard DJI red 2212 920kv motors and 30 Amp Opto ESC’s turning 10x45 props but I’ve recently replaced those with the DJI E310 system. To power it all I use a pair of Multistar 5200mAh 3cell batteries wired in parallel (10,400mAh), this gives on average about 17mins of flight time. I also have a full FrSky telemetry system and the DJI LK24BT Groundstation for Waypoint flying. Current take off weight, with batteries, is about 2.4kg.

When you get around to building your F550 I strongly recommend using blue Loctite when attaching the arms, just ensure you don’t get it on ant plastic. And very importantly use a soldering iron that can maintain a high temperature, the base plate will leach a lot of heat from the iron, like a heat sink. Treat all the electrical contact points on the base plate with a good quality flux and DON’T USE LEAD FREE SOLDER!!! As you’re intending to use a Pixhawk the tuning will be easy as there’s a very effective autotune feature in Ardupilot which will dial in the best PIDs, all you’ll need to do is occasionally move the drone back to its starting position if it drifts too far.

This is my current F550.


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Hi Nidge,

It was the S550 clone (a copy not a DJI one) that had flimsy landing gear- it is a hexacopter with red/white arms, and landing gear was on 4 individual legs which are rather wobbly, whereas the F550 airframe is a closer clone of the one in your photo- same landing gear arrangement also all black arms. I think the arms are basically the same but the landing gear is the difference.

I have done quite a bit of soldering in the past and by other half is into electronics and stuff so I will borrow his soldering iron, he even has some old leaded solder knocking about I think.

When I get started I shall have to start posting on the self-build topic I guess!


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