Eachine Falcon 180 PDB Mod
Today we look at reducing the Falcons proportionally skyscraper like heights into something more reasonable.
The Eachine Falcon 180 is available for purchase here.
The nylon screw set I used to mount the flight controller is available here.
The landing pads mentioned in this video as well are available here.
Falcon 180 – PDB Mod
In my last guide, I went through how to remove the motor guards on the Falcon 180 to reduce the weight of this quadcopter. That gave us a roughly 10% improvement on our weight without the battery. This mod will not be so much about reducing the weight as it will be about giving the quadcopter an overall slimmer profile.
If you look at the way the Falcon 180 is built you will notice that it is essentially composed of three layers. On top is the carbon fiber top plate, the middle as the thicker carbon fiber body plate, and then underneath that is the Power Distribution Board, or PSB for short. Our goal today will be to move the PDB from underneath the body plate to sitting right on top of it with no spacers between the two, reducing to overall height.
Step 1 – Remove screws from PDB
First thing we need to do is to drop down the PDB so that we can gain access to all of the connections since we are going to have to unsolder and solder them back later.
Step 2 – Unsolder all of the ESC connections from the PDB
Because all of the ESC wiring goes through the body plate, we need to unsolder it from the PDB so that we can move it, as well as get rid of some of the extra wires that your quad may have come with.
Step 3 – Remove Top Plate and Spacers
Now we need to get all of the spacers off so we can move the boards around, just make sure to remove both the top and bottom spacers so that we can reattach the large spacers using the screws that held the PDB to the bottom spacers.
Step 4 – Remove Extra ESC wires
Some ESCs have BEC (Battery Elimination Circuits) built into them, typically used in other RC vehicles like cars or wings. The 20A Fairy ESCs that come with the Falcon 180 do not have BECs, but some of them had wiring attached to them for a BEC, as well as there were even solder points on the PDB placed for the BEC wires as well. It looks like it was just confusion in the design process and the BEC wires if they are there are not even attached to the PDB. So we are going to go ahead and remove these extra wires, which is only a couple grams of weight but also makes things less cluttered as well.
To be specific, you will have a heavier gauge Red and Black wire, this delivers power to the ESC and needs to stay. If you have a set of smaller guage wires, Red/Black/White, you can remove the red and the black and just leave the white signal wire. That delivers the signal from the flight controller to the ESC.
Step 5 – Insulate the ESC
Carbon Fiber is conductive and will short out any bare electronics mounted to it. So you always need to insulate between the carbon fiber and the electrical components you are mounting on it. With ESCs I like to line the arm with electrical tape, adhere the ESC to the arm with a double sided adhesive foam, then after making my connections either heat shrink the entire arm/ESC, or wrap the arm/ESC in electrical tape as well.
Step 6 – Remount the Flight Controller to the PDB
I used different screws since I plan on mounting other components over the PDB later, your build may vary so adjust accordingly. Also if you have not turned your flight controller to make the USB port easier to access and would like to, now is the perfect time to do so.
Step 7 – Insulate the PDB
With the PDB being mounted directly to the body plate we need to make sure to insulate all of the solder points on the bottom of the PDB. I used the foam that originally was on the bottom of the PDB with an additional strip of electrical tape over the connection for the rear LED bar.
Step 8 – Mount the PDB on top of the body plate
Your screw should be going through both the body plate and PDB into the larger spacer. You will not be able to put a screw through the middle front without drilling a hole into the PDB, I didn’t do this but I would consider it a personal preference choice.
Step 9 – Mount ESC to arms
Go ahead and mount these now so you can shorten the wires going from the ESC to the flight controller when you solder them back together.
Step 10 – Solder ESC connections
If you would like to shorten the wires from your ESCs to the flight controller this will give your build an overall cleaner look. Regardless at this point go ahead and solder all the ESC connections back onto the PDB.
Step 11 – Replace top plate
Once everything is reconnected put the top plate back on and you will have successfully completed this mod!
The stock Flacon 180 landing gear is crap, and by the time you have started this mod I am sure you have already figured that out. I am not a battery under person typically so I like to just place little foam landing feet I bought from Banggood under the body plate. I have had some bad sets of these feet but the ones I bought have been very strong and seldom get lost.
All in all I lost about 6 grams worth of extra wire, as well as those bottom spacers. The primary purpose of this mod really isn’t weight reduction, but it’s a nice benefit in any mod.