ZOP Power Lipo

As my old AR Drone 2.0  lipos I was using are getting pretty work old and I am getting only around 7 mins each from them, I decided to look around for some new ones.

So I see a ZOP Power one at a good price from China and ordered one to try out.

Plugged the Lipo into to see how well balanced it was.

As you can see below the lipo was not very well balanced, and cell 2 looked the worst.


Anyway, I balance charged it upto full charge at a slow gentle 100mah , and it took around 630mah.

End full charge readings were :-


Not as even as I like, but thought looks like it should be okay.

So changed the deans connector over for a tamiya connector so it would fit the AR Drone and off for a indoor test flight to see what difference to flight time a new lipo would make.

Was going okay I noticed I got down to 42% left remaining in freeflight app and then it went 42% and then straight down to 32%.

The length of the flight was 12 mins 30 secs until I landed at 32%.

I quickly hit land and read the lipo as heres what it showed.


As you can see that cell 2 is reading 2.84!! And in fact it was actually 2.78 when I first read it straight after the flight, it recovered a bit 5 mins later to the above.

So that Cell 2 that looked iffy to me when I first unboxed the battery was indeed not very good at all.

And being its resting at 2.84, it must have been down at around maybe 2 volts when I landed.

So this lipo is duff, and I wont be buying any more ZOP Power Lipos.

Although I consider this lipo wrecked now , I thought I would connect it to charge and charge to storage and see what it came upto.

Not worth trying to send it back as that would cost more than buying another.

This was the result :-


Hmmmm seemed to charge to storage voltage okay…

So balance charged again at a gentle 100mah over night to full charge which I see the following:-


Similar to the first charge results I had.

Oh well lets try another flight and I thought this time I would land at 50% left.

So I ran it until I hit 50% and landed which then was about 49%.

And took more readings:-


As you can see Cell 2 is low again, not below 3 volts this time but under load I think it may have hit 3 volts or lower.

This will be okay as a test lipo until it puffs, which it will surely do and I will have to make sure I land at 60% left.

As many will know, you can get good and bad lipo’s from new and as always the clue is how well balanced are they.

Normally when I get new ones they read around 3.84 volts and maybe within .01 of each other. This one was way off and Cell 2 definately well off where it should be and no way can I get the expected flight time from this 1500mah lipo, as cell 2 is no good.

This could just have been unlucky me and I got a duff one, but I think maybe they should at least test the voltage of the cells before they send them out, and being as they cant have been checked thats the reason I will now steer clear of any more ZOP Power lipos.

I will carefully run and change this lipo a few times to see how much worse it gets or how long before the cells puff.

Now I am charging from my last flight to see just how many mah goes back in to full from the 3.72 , 3.40, 3.70 voltages..

Update :-

Charging up this lipo it took 1277mah back into it from the above voltages and ended up with 4.16 , 4.18, 4.17.

I think if Cell 2 had not been weak like it is, then I would have got about 15mins flight time from it which was what I used to get with another makes , flying with outside shell, parrot gps and Mirumod installed.

Just for comparison below are weights of the ZOP power and the GiFi 1500mah lipo.




On another update to this quite long post now, but anyway a 3rd flight on this ZOP Power Lipo and I ran the AR Drone until it read 60% left and then landed.

With again as the setup below, I got a about 10 mins 15 seconds and then I hit 60% left.


Then again hooked it up and resting voltage was as follows:-


So to end this quite long post now, it seems even though this lipo is pretty much trash, I can for the time being get about 10 mins out of it until cell 2 gives up or starts to puff.

Tempted to get some more of the GiFi lipos as they seemed to work quite well and the 2000mah version gave me about almost 20 mins when it was new…

I do have some info I kept on these others when they were new, I just need to find it and add it, just case the info is helpful to others.

Have fun!





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AR DRONE 2.0 testing

Well after repairing the main board and replacing all the motor bearings and on my first test it seemed to fly okay but seemed to have problems holding height and would jump in and down all of a sudden.

I knew I had a new navigation board and sonar that I bought a long time back and so fitted that and then it seem to work fine.

Well that was until after a few test flights , as I fitted the battery for another test there was a flash of fire as one of the fet’s in one of the motor’s esc board  decided it was time to self terminate.

Lucky enough I had a spare esc board that was in my old original ar drone so I grabbed that and re-soldered motor to it and will repair this fried esc pcb at a later date.

So after a lot of time and also lucky enough to have some spares laying around was able to get this ar drone working again.

But if I had to have buy news parts then this would never had been worth it.

So bear this in mind if you see a cheap faulty ar drone for sale, as chances are it will cost more to fix than buying a working second hand one or even a new one.

Right, as now this was working I fitted back the AR.Drone v1.0 and v2.0 WiFi-less mod by Miru

For now I just fitted MiruLLC (Logic Level Converter) as I had a spare one from what I ordered from him before and wired it up temp to the Arduino that I used before.


Reason I done this was way back when the last time I flew this mod with the ar drone it flipped over in the wind and fell and broke the central cross and also the mod which at that time I had fitted inside the drone rammed into the main board and killed the data line and I was unable to use the mod on that board as one of the data lines had a internal short.

Not a fault of the mod, but just bad luck the way it crashed.

But I do intend to make a smaller Arduino and rx combo and fit it back inside, but waiting to make sure this ar drone works ok for a while first.

So done a few test flights on back yard and seems to be working fine (touch wood)

Had to be careful as flying over grass can really confuse the sonar and bottom camera position hold, and with wind aswell, makes this very touchy and it wants to flip over really.

So I found using the Miru mod and switch the bottom camera off by the rc switch helped but of course it drifts off as the Parrot GPS recorder I have fitted does not come into play til I believe its over 10 metres in height. (Wish there was a way to enable this at lower with bottom camera position hold off)

Wanting to do some more testing before I take it up high enough for gps to kick in , but its just too windy at present and trust me this ar drone needs pretty much no wind conditions, more so when testing in back garden or yard etc as the turbulence you get from being inside a fenced area will throw it around a lot.

Outside at a field as wind mostly blowing from one direction it handles it much better.

Anyway, its been fun to use this again and although by todays standards the camera is poor quality and in wind its not as stable as say dji or walkera quads, its still kinda fun….





Happy flying 🙂







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AR DRONE 2.0 Motor bearings

On my refurb of a rusted ole AR Drone I obtained, I got a new set of bearings from Blade (BLH1607).

These bearings I have used before and so I ordered some more to fit to these 4 rusted motors.

Getting the motors apart involves using a weller gas hot air gun and heating up the top and then turning over the motor held with pliers etc and tapping the bottom where the shaft slighty sticks out with the plastic end of a screwdriver until the top begins to part and then gently and carefully grab it and pull it off.

Be careful as the wires that go into the motor and to the pcb are fragile!

The old bearings were rusted in solif to the top and bottom caps and were a pig to remove!

Tapping out bottom bearing also the bottom cap came off, probably the glue was also weakened by the heat.

The actual shaft and magnet were as you can see in picture rather rusted and I used wire wool etc to clean them of rust.

Anyway new bearings with a drop of oil in them were fitted back and then the top and bottom caps were glued back on with Super glue and seemed to freely spin again , so fitted them back to the drone and ran up motors while holding the drone underneath and all seemed fine.

So new bearings and time and patience got these 4 motors running again.

Again main reason to attempt this was 4 x new motors which come soldered to new esc’s would be around £100!!







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AR Drone 2.0 repair why bother?

I have thought this through a few times and its been about 4 years since I bought the AR Drone 2.0.

Back then it was out just before DJI lanched it’s Phantom 1.

So in 2012  the AR Drone caught my eye and I bought one.

It was rather clever how it could hover on the spot and record video and for the time the video was pretty good.

Controlling via the iPad or iPhone was a pain in the butt, very hard to control in a precise way. Also it could not handle any kind of wind without normally flipping over and crashing and nearly always breaking parts.

Although still pretty neat in perfect no wind conditions and had a good flight time with a after market extended battery of around almost 20 mins.

My biggest gripe was the cost of parts, more so once DJI came along with the Phantom 1 and other similar quads started to appear which were stronger and also much cheaper parts.

Anyway, then I came across the WiFi-less mod for AR.Drone v1.0 and v2.0 by miru

Which added a way of using a standard 2.4 RC radio with the drone.

Now once I had built one of these it totally changed how one controlled the AR Drone and made such a better experince!

Anyway after a lot of good flights I decided to mod around with the quad and bit by bit it broke to the stage where it was not worth spending any more on it.

These days I have a DJI  FC40 and a Scratch bult Walkera QR X350 Pro and a Naze32 quad and they all work so much better than the ole Parrot Drone.

But sometimes I miss the ole AR Drone and seeing its sad state in its box I thought I will get it running again and probaly regret it! LOL

So no good reason to get it working again apart from just the urge to fix it really.

Quadcopters have come so far in a few short years and even Parrot have its bebop drone with wifi controller out thesedays, but oh my the price of that and its controller are so expensive.

The Parrot Bebop and its controller do look intresting and maybe one day I will get one to try.

And also you see the latest DJI quads holding position and using sonar and a camera for position hold etc and to be fair the AR Drone had all this way back when.

Okay it was not as precise as what is around now and needed ideal conditions to work, but it was also a lot cheaper than the cost of the latest and greatest DJI and other quads around today.

Anyway happy flying and fly safe…








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AR Drone 2.0 Main Board Repair

Spent some time on this AR Drone 2.0 main board to see if it was repairable….

After checking over the main pcb, I have had the small ic U1700 (DMG4413LSS Mosfet) by the power in leads fail on more than 1 occasion and so seeing as I had a spare I desoldered the old one and fitted a new one.

The old chip did not read any short and therefore I had a feeling it was okay and connected back the battery and it did the same.

So moving on to ic U1701 ( RT8293BHGSP Step down convertor) it also did not read a short, but I noticed it was not producng any 3.3 volts in output pin 3.

I removed the coil L1702 that is feed from it on other side of pcb , in case something was dragging it down.

Did not find any reason why the voltage was not there unless an internal failure of the chip, as it seemed to be getting correct voltages to activate the chip.

So as I had a spare chip, I removed it and soldered in a replacement.


Connecting back up the battery but with coil still removed it flash up 3+ volts on meter although board still dead as the coil was not back yet.

So next test was to solder back the L1702 coil and low and behold the main board led flashed up red and then green.

Now why did this chip fail? My thought was maybe as the motor bearings were rusted to hell this blow the chip, but really would have expected IC U1700 to fail to be honest as that supllies all the 12 volt rails and then U1701 converts that to the 3+ volts the Micro and other chips need.

But there is also the fact that around the top side of the main board around the L1702 coil it was totally rusted and was all around the coil.

So maybe that had been shorting the 3 volt line intermitelly and that caused the failure?

I guess I will know once the motor bearings have all been changed…

Anyway this repair was far cheaper than another Parrot £100 main board…..

Not as pretty repair as I like, but my fine tip solder tip broke so had to use one too big for job really.

Also Please Note! on other boards I have changed U1701 , sometimes the earth/heatsink part under chip is soldered to main board and that takes a lot of skill and patient to remove it without disturbing any of the chip components nearby.

These boards are very delicate to work on.

This time however the earth/heatsink it was not soldered down and came off very easy with a Weller hot air gun on it.


Next task to repair the rusted out inrunner motor bearings…………..


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AR Drone 2.0 revisted

Long time since I wrote anything on here , but anyways.

My poor ole AR Drone 2.0 has been sitting in its box all broken for a while, although the main board worked mostly (except for the data line was short) , which meant I could no longer use the Radio controlled mod with it anymore and so it was just left as wifi only.

The motors where falling apart and it also had a broken cross which I had glued back together and the body had been cut about a bit when I was fitting a naze32 flight board and esc’s on it. (Waste of time as it turned out too heavy for the motors.)

So worked out with needing to buy a new main board and central cross , 4 x motors and a body with Parrot’s expensive pricing on parts , it was not worth it.

Recently I bought a broken AR Drone that had been left in a garage and gone rusty, it was a bit more than I wanted to pay, but took a chance.


Oiled up and let soak the motors and they were rusted solid , but after a long soak I gently got the shafts to spin again and put in a battery and tested the motors with the props off.

Just let it boot and motors kicked , so thought promising….

Checked out wifi and also updated the way out of date firmware and then hit take off and all motors ran up fine, so thought I would leave them running for 30 secs then power off and did not feel too hot consider they had rusted away very badly around the bearings.

Done that about another 4 times and then on the 5th run all the leds went out, and main board was dead!!

So was looking like a waste of money ……..

I took the main board out and it was covered in rust, I really should have done this before I ran it.

Plugging in the lipo the red led flashed on all the motors once and went off.

I thought that kinda indicates some pwer is getting to motors.

So put it aside and thought although I have a box of blown or dead main boards , maybe I would look deeper into this one.



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AR Drone firmware 2.4.1

Ever since I upgraded the firmware on this , it has seemed so much less stable.

In fact it has a tendency to now and then, either shoot up high at take off or take off and hover low and spin around and crash.

Tried a new main board and new nav board and same problem.

Does not happen ever time , but had it do this quiet a few times now.

So removed the GPS Flight recorder and tried again and hit the take off button and it shot up 20 feet into the air!

Tried again in house to be safe and this time it took off about 1 foot and then spun around and flipped over.

Tried 1 more time out in back yard and seemed ok this time took off and was seeing how it performed without the GPS flight recorder and there seems to me to be no difference to stability with or without GPS flight recorder attached. But coming to end of flight it yet again spun round and flipped over.. Grrrrr

I am now assuming that GPS Flight recorder makes no difference if you are flying low down and maybe it only makes any difference if either over a certain height? or when you are using the app to a waypoint..

So from my tests so far, its not really added much for the price to what it did before.

So for now I am going to downgrade the firmware and see if the drone becomes more stable again. Of course this means for now not using the gps module.

Maybe Parrot can sort out the firmware and also make more use of the gps module and also please more info and instructions at least on how it works..

Anyway going to now see how it fly’s with old firmware……




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