upgrade gaui 500x to DJI NAZA stabilization project

UPDATES: See notes at the bottom

Because the DJI NAZA multirotor stabilization unit ships in a box with no instructions. And when you eventually do find the NAZA PDF instructions on how to configure the NAZA for your quadcopter you find that only page 7 discusses the actual installation of the hardware. So here is some guidance.

My 500X was purchased ARTF with a JR radio and the 334 stabilizer (with the 334 stabilization disabled and a warning not to use it!?) In other words, a 500X out of the box is a manual-fly-only type of thing. You can do it, but for video I wanted better stabilization.

The “open box” photo of what you get with the NAZA followed by before and after shots of the installation. Note that it isn’t complete yet as it comes with pre-tinned connections for power but no connectors and I need to order those or splice into an existing line. See more notes after the gallery.

On the JR receiver, to fit the wires that shipped with the RAZA I had to cut off and dremel-smooth the “L” extensions on the bottom of the connectors to make them fit in the RJ receiver. And I only had to modify the one end (obviously) Just be careful the orientation is correct. I should probably buy another receiver for the Spektrum but that isn’t in the budget right now.

UPDATE: A few lessons learned:

First – the DJI NAZA ships with no (zero) documentation. Electronics in a box. From there it is you and google. If you are converting a GAUI Quad there are a few CRITICAL items to note and then so not so critical.

  1. DJI NAZA does NOT number the motors the same as GAUI. Although the rotation of the blades (pusher, tractor or 10A and 10B if you are using GAUI parts) is the same, the controls are different. Specifically 1 (right front) is one on both. But NAZA goes counter clockwise.  This is the exact opposite of GAUIs cofig. See the graph from the F450 manual below. If you don’t switch 2 and 4 you are screwed. Or at least it will cost you a few props.
  2. The NAZA software is an adventure. See this guy’s NAZA Software for Gaui configuration screenshots. Not exactly how I have my quad configured, but close. (I’m very traditional with my stick movements. Down is throttle stop. Up is throttle up. Right controller is aileron and elevator. Left is rudder. Etc….
  3. Much of the NAZA documentation comes from hovering over a section in the software and reading the dialog box on the lower right. Read it!
  4. You will forget the safety feature of “both sticks down right” to initiate and think your controller didn’t bind. It did. You just have to do the “two sticks lower left” or “two sticks lower right” with the NAZA to get it going for safety reasons. I moved from my JR to the Spektrum 8 and had no problem binding. But did have to customize the “landing” gear controller to reach the Attitude and Manual positions. You can NOT do this on a Spektrum 5, so don’t try.
  5. Known issues- the motors on the GAUI are incredibly sensitive to hits or friction in their casings. I replaced an ESC that I didn’t have to because it was just a small crack in the engine mount that only became an issue under lift conditions. i could not replicate it with the spinners off. This caused me to burn ou t a second motor  beforenarrowing  in on the issue. Thus I don’t recommend the hard-to-access GAUI frames.

Example videos:
The 2012 Art Car Ball at the Orange Show

St. John Vianney Catholic Church

2012 Houston International Festival

Rebuilt GAUI with DJI Naza

David – Like a Boss

David Stagg – the last hour of the last day and he is still teaching. That’s class.

Here is the recommendation for David that I wrote on his LinkedIn:

“David is ambitious, talented, smart as all get out, and most importantly a HARD WORKER. He understood that hard work was needed to take care of our clients when he joined Schipul as a graphic artist. And it didn’t take us long to see his leadership potential and he was quickly promoted to manager, and then creative director.

If David says it’s going to get done, it will get done. A strength that I greatly appreciated as a CEO who travels a lot. I didn’t have to call and check, if David was on it, David was on it and it got done.

David has skillfully managed a team of up to 10 people at a time handling 60 to 70 projects and ongoing support call-ins from over 400 clients. To do this he motivates his people, he listens to them, and wears many hats. He also believes in processes improvement and was instrumental in implementing our CRM system to improve customer satisfaction.

David has guided the look and feel of the “Schipul” and the “Tendenci” brands during his tenure here working closely with our communications department. He fights for the brand as a great brand advocate should. Yet also realizes that this is a business and sometimes compromise is required.

From 2010 to 2011 our company grew profitably over 20% to over 3M in revenue. Without the strong leadership and focus of David and his team’s productivity this would not have been possible. Growth required the entire company functioning as one unit, but without any one part it would not have been possible. David was a huge part of the solution that led us to a successful year.

David is a strong leader who realizes it takes a team to achieve success. He knows that clients are part of that team. And that true leadership is to engage the stakeholders, to work with and guide and train to produce the best results for the client and for the bottom line both. Not an easy task. David can do it.

I strongly recommend David Stagg. If you need further information feel free to contact me directly for a personal reference for David. ~Ed“ February 17, 2012