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