ZD 850 with a Solo Twist

By Charles on Dec 10, 2017

8  2,281  10

ZD 850 Build with a Solo Twist ..
After being bitten by the Solo bug, and as cheap as components are , I started looking for a way and quickly found more people like me wondering if we can adapt the Solo's control systems to a heavy lift copter...The Cuav Hacklink is an option, it is an almost 100% copy of the Solo's control system....but folks are having hell getting them to work and they are 300.00 there abouts...

A man names Nicolas Chasalot designed a carrier board for the in air IMX6 Solo co processor, made it easy to adapt to another copter so we have Solo controls, Solo Hi Def FPV access to the smart shots using the Solo's gimbal and a GoPro...

The Solo control range is great using a pair of 15.00 directional Alfa antennas much further then LOS ...the air unit in the Solo has issues with a higher power wifi board..but this set up wont have this issue..I have procured a pair of higher power wifi boards, one in air, other in the remote control...

I have everything speaking correctly to each other in this setup, initial calibrations are complete, I am at the setting motor direction phase....I am trying something new here, yeah it is just swapping 2 wires for direction, BUT with Bl Heli firmware in the esc's you can do the direction swap in the firmware ..Buy a cheap Naze 32 FC flashit with 3.1 firmware using BL Heli suite after and the Naze fc as a pass thru you can set all ur motor directions and check placement easily...1st time is hard..after that its a piece of cake...

Motor direction this evening, mount and wire the gimbal tomorrow ...one step a time..

Once she flys I will be upgrading the 3dr firmware in the ground and air IMX6 co computers to the open solo firmware, It is an evolving project that Kelly Sherrock and the Solo dev team is adding to almost weekly ..yes I will fly android and Solex....


Part List


Unassembled Lji ZD850 Z6 Plus 850mm Umbrella Carbon Fiber Folding 6-Axis Hexacopter Frame with Landing Gear

Flight Controller

The Cube Pixhawk2.1 Standard Set
See Site


6 x Foxtech Multi-Pal 30A OPTO ESC(BL-heli Firmware)


6 x Tarot 4008 Martin Long Flight Time Brushless Motor (TL2955)


9 x Tarot 1555 High Strength Plastic Propellers (Foldable / CW) (3 builds)

FPV Camera

Gopro HERO 4 Black Edition 4K Action Camera Camcorder CHDHX-401

FPV Transmitter

3DR SOLO Drone CONTROLLER & Charger * AT10A Genuine 3DR part * 3DRobotics


Alfa 2.4HGz WiFi Antenna - 7dBi RP-SMA Panel Screw-On Swivel for Netwrok Adaptors - Also Works for 3DR Solo Drone, DJI Phantom 3


3DR Solo Drone Main Mother Board w CPU Wifi Antennas Gimbal Cable NEW US Seller



Power Distribution

Tarot six-axis signal / power integrator TL6X002 Tarot Multirotor Spare Parts FreeTrack Shipping

HD Camera

Original XiaoMi Yi 1080P Ambarella A7LS WIFI Sports Action Camera CN Version - $72.01 |GearBest.com (14 builds)

HD Camera

Gopro Hero 4 BLACK Edition 4K Action Camera Camcorder CHDHX-401 12MP Camera

Misc Parts

2 x Tarot TL8X002 Auto Landing Gear Controller

Misc Parts

6 x TL100B17 Tri-Blade 1555 Blade Grip (Red)

Misc Parts

4 x Tarot Replacement Small Retractable Landing Gear Device

Misc Parts

2 x Here GNSS
See Site
Show stores (9)


Sign in to comment

Wireless Worlds   Nov 01, 2019  

Anyone have any assembly videos for the ZD850 frame ? I bought a kit and there is no instructions.

Castro2407   Aug 06, 2018  

EDISON FLIGHT WORK Or standard version

Charles   Feb 20, 2019 

Edison works great

Charles   Aug 31, 2018  

The retracts works pretty good...not had but a couple problems

Charles   Aug 31, 2018  

The standard works, the edison isnt used, you already have the imx6

Davschall   Mar 20, 2018  

I like this build a lot, mine kinda went on the back burner after I got my 5"ers and phantom. But I still want to build it up to be a semi heavy lift camera rig. Im thinking of putting the beagle bone blue in it. Looks really awesome, full linux kernel plus real time processing that natively supports arducopter. Question, are you using this currently/planning on using it for any serious work? I got one all gung ho about it, but I am concerned that no one will take it seriously because its not a freefly...hence getting the phantom to make money with. Also how is the retractable landing gear working out? Pretty good?

Charles   Jan 11, 2018  

The non carrier board option makes things harder to make it all work

Castro2407   Jan 07, 2018  

plans to assemble and how cables are connected

Charles   Jan 11, 2018 

If you use a Vamatis carrier board from here : http://www.jestersdrones.org/store/index.php?rt=product/category&path=80 it makes things easier ....I will add a photo of how the vamatis board is wired to a pixhawk FC

Charles   Dec 10, 2017  

Anyone working with BlHeli esc's will want to grab a cheap naze 32 flight controller ..usually under 20.00 to your door...I flashed mine with an older version of firmware that still supports the blheli programming" ..beta flight 3.1.0"then with blheli suite motor direction etc is a breeze,,,,checking motor position and rotation is a breeze....I got the copter together and had a couple issues..I ended up killing a motor and an ESC so it was a start all over trying to see what happened....and yes it was my fault!!

I bought this copter a basket case partially put together build and it should have been taken down to single parts and rebuilt..I got in a hurry...
So after back together I did an autotune running my taranis and x8r receiver, something more familiar with...

Then I was ready to change it over to Solo controls....you can get a Solo main "air" board on Ebay for 40.00 "or could" and a controller for about the same...Take the IMX6 co computer off the main board and with the carrier board you are ready to tie it together....if you wish to use the Solo gimbal you will have the gimbal control cable on the main board....snip it off....

The IMX6 uses the mavlink communication protocol at 921xxx baud and uses flow control, I used telemetry 1 port for this ....the actual controls needs 1 wire intto the spektrum port on the Pixhawk signal pin

The gimbal connection needs a serial connection also, either serial 2 which is telemetry 2 or serial 4 which on the PH2.1 carrier board marked GPS2 ...it needs 230xxx and a mavlink com protocol, no flow control...

Here is the tricky part...the Pixhawk1 "FMUV2" boards that has the 1mg memory issue has the solo gimbal control protocol removed...There is NO problem with the PH 2.1 "FMUV3"....but the pixhack boards etc that dont have the 1mb issue or the later Ph 1 boards you can put firmware found here .http://firmware.ardupilot.org/Copter/2017-10/2017-10-28-09:10/PX4/ArduCopter-v3.px4 on it....make sure your board has the 2mb flash on it...

So I have gimbal control I have the PM calibrated ran an auto tune went thru the Open Solo parameter file 3 times compared to the hex's parameters ...

Well she flew....not perfect but she fly's needs tuning, needs some more parameter work....So for 75.00 I have a Solo controller with a built in IMX6 computer and the IMX6 off an air Solo frame with cables....This allows a neat control package, with high resolution fpv back to the pilot and complete telemetry...Solex supports this so you have the full compliment of Solex for smart shots etc....

Guides & Reviews

Jun 21, 2021

AirbladeUAV has done it again and this time they've brought long range to the 5" class! Based on the popular Transformer Mini, the new Transformer 5" Ultralight adopts a lot of the same design philosophies with larger props and more payload capacity. It can fly upwards of 20 minutes on a 4 cell Li-Ion battery pack and in ideal conditions it's got a range of over 4 to 5 miles. In this guide I'll walk..

Read more
Mar 04, 2021

With the release of the DJI FPV Drone cinematic FPV has become a lot more accessible, but you certainly don't want to crash a $750 drone! The QAV-CINE Freybott is a compact, lightweight cinematic FPV drone that can take a hit and keep going. It's a lot safer to fly indoors and around people. With a naked GoPro or the SMO 4k you can capture some great stabilized footage. In this guide I'll show you..

Read more