Burt's Atom 83 Journal (was "Pico Owl V2 Build Journal")

I’ve got the Pico X frame, the Pico Blx FC (clone), a Cicada 4-in-1 ESC, Racerstar 1104 motors, and the Owl 2 ducted conversion kit.

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Damn you are really racking up the builds lately mate! :joy:


Yeah, settling down now, and getting more into flying. It’s been quite a rush!

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:smiley: Building is just as addicting as flying! it is SO relaxing to sit down and solder it up! :smiley: … It’s really a treat in my opinion…

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True, although I love to build and test new things, I hate repairing stuff lol… :joy:


Re: thread title and Pico X (Owl 2?)


Fully enclosed - partially enclosed - open - prop size
Owl — none — none — 3"
Lady Owl – Lady X Owl Edition – Lady X – 2.5"
Mini Owl — Pico Owl V2 — Pico X — 2"

He’s been doing a great job of listening to customer feedback and rapidly iterating his designs. However, the naming is terribly confusing. @flexrc needs a product matrix, like yesterday! :stuck_out_tongue:

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Thanks – yes, to clarify, this will be a Pico Owl V2 build. Title edited.

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I had threatened earlier to use this build as a chance to transplant my (first) Eachine Minicube off of my Atom 83, so I’ll be commenting on that. Part of what’s on my mind is the process of getting brushless motor wires “straight” with ESCs. I’m moving off the Minicube 4in1 ESC onto a Cicada 4in1 ESC, and I think the pinouts are different between the two ESCs.

With as short as I cut (and reworked and reworked) the DYS 1104 motor wires, I want to be careful to not mess those wires up from all this work.

Yeah. Enameled motor wires (windings) are a royal PITA. And obviously, once you cut any wire short, that’s it. Really puts a damper on re-builds and reusing motors. :dizzy_face:

I’m prepping for a 2.5" and 5" build right now, both of which have the enameled motor windings extended instead of soft multi-strand silicone wire. (Also a 3", but those motors have multi-strand silicone wire.) I was originally going to cut wires to size. But at this point, I think I’m just going to solder with the pre-tinned tips and leave wire length as-is.

I’m lazy. I’d rather have a good connection than save half a gram in wire. And now that spring is here, I just wanna fly. :smiley:


I actually tinned 8 dys motors worth of magnet wire in prep for the gargon and lil mac rebuild.

By the end I had a quick method of:
Lighter melt just the ends
Pinch off a small section of shield
Dip ends in flux
Have nice drop of solder on iron
Dip wire end in solder submerging it
Redip wire into flux
Clean off tip of iron and add solder drop
Dip wire again in drop on iron
Move iron back and forth on wire
Dip wire in flux
Clean iron reapply solder to iron
Apply final tin

I mean it’s really that simple.

I also decided to add silicone wire to the ends of the gargon build because with external esc on a 90 they need to go under the arms. I figure I’d rather run nice wire to wrap under the arms.


Have you experienced the wires getting brittle for you at all?

The ends that are tinned are stiff and could be considered brittle.
I suggest just cutting the magnet wire short and soldering silicone wire to that if the wires are not going straight to their solder joints on the escs. Then the sensitive magnet wire section is not being wrapped, twisted, or crashed upon.

The trick for me was to only expose a tiny bit of red magnet wire at first and use a lot of clean flux and solder. The heat of the iron melts back the shielding to a perfect solder tab length. Experiment with difrent temps. Mine was just a bit hotter then normal setting to get the enamel to melt/wipe off.

I haven’t experienced it, just heard it as a concern with denameling (sic) these wires. Totally practical solution, though, to run a length of silicone wire, nice.

I’m pretty set to wire the replacement ESC in. In my dry fit, though, i had a loose metal screw attaching the ESC to the frame, and ended up with a small burn mark from the short. Because the components on the Cicada are beefier, it needs a slightly higher clearance off the frame than the Eachine ESC, and because my motor wires are so short at this point, I’m going to solder them to the underside pads of the ESC. It’ll be a tight solder job, but I don’t see any dealbreakers atm.

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Note: I needed up update the Pico Blx FC (clone) from 3.0.1 to 3.1.7 in order to do the resource mapping.

My motors, after testing on the Motors tab, were arranged:

2 3
1 4

I want this Quad X arrangement:

Original Mapping

resource MOTOR 1 A04
resource MOTOR 2 A06
resource MOTOR 3 B00
resource MOTOR 4 B01

End Mapping

resource MOTOR 1 B01
resource MOTOR 2 B00
resource MOTOR 3 A04
resource MOTOR 4 A06


Need to reverse motor direction for motor 1… Done.

Updated BLHeliSuite to latest version as well, realized it needed to have the Interface selected manually; glad I kept the previous version to compare.

Note: Once again, I reversed polarity of some wiring, and got some magic smoke on my FC. No, I didn’t use my smokestopper either, even though it was right there. No major damage, seems I’ve gotten pretty quick at pulling battery cables apart.

Pulled a CM275T AIO camera apart, prepping to wire in the OSD.

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Trying a Redcon satellite for the first time, connecting to my Devo 7e.

Toggled Serial ON for UART3. Spek Sat, 2048. TAER1234.

AUX1 (for arming) is reversed, but so what.

Odd, though, for the second time, my Aileron range to start is 1244 to 1755, really narrow.

rxrange 0 1244 1755
rxrange 1 1002 2005
rxrange 2 999 2001
rxrange 3 999 2001

So, I must have damaged something, because my ESCs won’t initialize (startup jingle) unless I have both battery AND USB connected.

I believe the issue is with my Flight Controller, not the ESC. I didn’t smell anything from the ESC at the time of “the incident”, but there was magic smoke. Can anyone think of a component on the FC that might cause that type of behavior… needing both sources of power? Maybe I can hack a fix…?

I don’t see any visible damage, and I’ve looked pretty closely.

@Bobnova? Any ideas?

# diff
# Betaflight / OMNIBUS 3.1.6 Feb 21 2017 / 14:33:10 (1fd502c)
name BLO Atom 83

feature -RX_PPM
feature -BLACKBOX
feature -SDCARD
feature RX_SERIAL
feature LED_STRIP
feature AIRMODE
map TAER1234
serial 2 64 115200 57600 0 115200
led 0 6,15::A:0
led 1 7,15::FO:0
led 2 8,15::FO:0
led 3 9,15::A:0
aux 0 0 0 1700 2100
aux 1 2 1 1700 2100
rxrange 0 1244 1755
rxrange 1 1002 2005
rxrange 2 999 2001
rxrange 3 999 2001
set motor_pwm_protocol = DSHOT600
set serialrx_provider = SPEK2048
set spektrum_sat_bind = 7
set spektrum_sat_bind_autorst = 0
set align_board_yaw = 270
set osd_cap_alarm = 250
set osd_time_alarm = 3
set osd_vbat_pos = 2136
set osd_flytimer_pos = 2518
set osd_ontimer_pos = 2486
set osd_flymode_pos = 2145
set osd_throttle_pos = 2497
set osd_vtx_channel_pos = 2425
set osd_current_pos = 2168
set osd_mah_drawn_pos = 2201
set osd_craft_name_pos = 2081
set osd_gps_speed_pos = 2433
set osd_altitude_pos = 2465
set osd_power_pos = 2105
profile 0

rateprofile 0
rateprofile 0

set rc_expo = 60
set rc_yaw_expo = 30
set thr_expo = 50

Look for craters in chips, find where the smile came from.
My personal experience has been that reverse polarity means you’re done and need to buy a new whatever it was, but I have seen reports of things surviving here.

That behavior sounds like something in the power bits that switches between power sources for the FC has died.
Could be as simple as two diodes, could be as complex as a small 6 pin chip.

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“where the smile came from”…? What’s that about?

LOL, @burtlo! I think @Bobnova meant to say (magic) smoke. Not smile, which gets wiped out by magic smoke. :wink: