Looking for suggestions re converting my DJI frame F550

Decked out cube (v2 black) but now need to reconfigure the hardware and all to support this approx 2 pound DJI LIDAR box so I can play with LIDAR surveys. It has been suggested that I convert it to x18x 12 to 15 inch props rather than the stock x15x 9.4 inch ones. Thought maybe I’d 3D print the longer arms with carbon-fiber PLA or CF-Nylon for the added strength and lighter weight.
Hope I’m in the right forum area because I have a ton of issues I need guidance on. :slight_smile:
Have only been moderately successful at getting the current version of the hex F550 to fly properly. Looks like it is struggling with the heavy 4S 10,000 mah battery I’m using. Haven’t even played with it in over a year and using a Yuneeq Q500 quad for general videos and fun right now.
How hard would it be to use everything on the F550 except change over to longer arms so I can use the 18 inch props?
Speaking of 18 inch props, do y’all have a recommended source for them? I’d rather buy them pre-made due to their complexity. :slight_smile:


What are the motors? I had a DJI 550 way back - and it was way underpowered.


As I understand you need to carry a 1kg (2 pounds) payload and you intend to use 18 inch propellers on a dju f550.

You said you use 15 inch now. I didn’t know the f550 could use 15 inch propellers? Could you send a picture of the aircraft maybe?

Edit: If you are using 15 inch right now. Are you using the dji s800 fram, not the f550?

Boy, was I WRONG! Tip to tip, the props are slightly less than 9 1/2 inches. Bad, bad memory. Sorry about that.
Motors are 2312’s, with 420 Lite ESC’s.
You could say it is underpowered from the way it flew, sort of. Never did trust it to any altitude. If I had a lighter battery, maybe, but I’d suspect flight times would plummet. Never could trust it in the long enough to establish max flight time anyway.

I need stronger motors and ESC’s, too? These 420 Lite’s are limited to 20 amps with bursts to 30 amps for 3 seconds, but everything in my memory is suspect now.

Would like to try the 800 frame if I could find one I could afford. Not married to DJI so any brand would be fine with me. The limitation is I can’t really afford to replace the Pixhawk cube black and all the associated electronics and power systems.

I’m definitely not using the Naza controller that came in the kit.

So, instead of the 18 inch props, should I try 12 or 15 inch first? What motors and ESC’s can I get that are strong enough to try 12, 15, or even the 18 inch props with only changing the arms? Or would it make sense just to build the arms long enough to support all sizes? That Chinese calculator (I think my subscription has lapsed; not sure) doesn’t really give any guidance.


The Naza controller was ground breaking in it’s day, but it’s well past it’s prime now. In fact my F550 still has it’s Naza just for old time sake.

I think you’re going to struggle with a 1Kg payload on a F550. But get a subscription to ecalc.ch to help figure out what motors and props you can use. It will cost you less than a couple of wrongly purchased propellers.


I would not use the f550 frame. Maybe 3d printed arms would suffice but I wouldn’t trust them.
The pixhawk cube black will work just fine. I’m using one on a 5 kg quad myself.

So payload we already know, what flight time do you want and so on?? I could recomend some components if you could tell me some more about what the aircraft needs to do?

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I think you would crazy to use an F550 frame for any payload like this. In its day it struggled to carry a GoPro, gimbal and battery. You need something bigger. Ideally an X8 or a heavy lift quad. If you are in the US I may have something on my wall that would work. An Ardupilot powered DJI E1200 mapping quad that will work with this payload easily. Needs a home.

This one: DJI E1200 Quad for sale

NOW he tells me! :slight_smile:

I’m hoping for about 30 minutes flight time but at least 20 to get some jobs done on one battery.

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I’ll try to come up with a set of components for you.

Do you want to use batteries you already have or new once. You mentioned a 4s. I wuld go for a 6s but 4s would work as well.

Also, do you have any preference on the frame type? Do you want hexa copter or quad. Maybe a coaxial quad (x8) or something else??

Marc, I’m interested in your X8 or E1200 but I don’t know enough about them. Will research. My biggest desire at the moment is to play with the DJI version of LIDAR unit, the Mid-40. Previously, I only wanted a camera drone using the Nikon with it’s 35x (not digital!) zoom. But now, LIDAR has it’s hooks in me. :slight_smile:

I prefer a hex unit for the added safety and stability, plus its greater load capacity. :slight_smile: And to reuse as much of the hardware as I can since I’ve already invested in that. I admit I need a larger frame.

To go to a 6S battery I’d need to replace the ECS’s but looks like I’ll have to do that anyway. Plus the battery (or two!)

I think coax is overkill but might be wrong.

Marc, how much are you asking for the 850 hex kit and what does it have besides the basic frame it comes with?

If your looking at Marcs X8, do you still want a suggestion on components or should I wait and see what you decide to go for maybe?

Yes, please, Axel1. I’m not married to anything yet except the LIDAR unit.

Speaking of that devil, docs on it say it’s 780 grams but not sure if that includes the wiring and mounting bracket. Add about another 8 ounces for the computer to drive it and everything, plus the larger 6S battery (or two?)

All the other cameras, computers and such are probably under 4 oz total, not including the Nikon if I put it on. Oh yeah, that’s a model A900, btw.

To begin with a frame,

Larger propellers are usually more efficient than smaller. The easiest frames to use would be the tarot frames. A tarot 680 pro which is kind of the budget option and the tarot x6 heavy lift frame which can use larger propellers and it’s also better built, but more expensive

What would you like to go for there. There might be other frames but the tarots works great and are widely used.

It’s a heavy lift quad and not an X8. It will need a 10,000 - 20,000 mah 6S batteries (I have two commercial grade ones with light use). No FC or electronics. The E1200 system has integrated ESCs. Google the specs. Flight time should be near 30 mins or more with full payload.

It could lift a kilo easily enough, including batteries. You would need to add all the electronics though.

This was designed as a commercial mapping quad.

Price. I dunno. $200 plus shipping cost including batteries. Gens Ace 10AH *2. They cost almost $200 each new!

How much for both, Marc?
And is that E-1200 a “standard” or “pro?”


It’s the Pro with integrated ESCs. It’s what people used to upgrade their S900s. You can have the Gens Ace 10AH batteries and frame with E1200 pro for $200 plus whatever the shipping cost is. It’s a gift really. You will have some work to do but you should be able to get a mapping quad that will do 30 mins even with and Survey Grade GPS (Emlid).

It’s good if you have the time. I would add a Mauch sensor and you could use a slimline flight controller (like a first gen Pixhawk) or put a cube on top. Up to you.

PM me. Busy for a few days but I will get back to you.

Test to see if this comes to Marc only in email.

But yeah, I would like to get them for the 200 + shipping. As long as you’re not shipping from the moon! :slight_smile:


Shipping from Glenview IL and only to a US address by UPS Ground.

Just give me until next week. I am going out of town. I can take pics (but it is what you see in the linked pics anyway) and pack things next week. The batteries are frankly a bit of a gift. Glad it will all be used by someone though. I was going to just sell the E1200s on ebay anyway. People still seem to want them to keep their S900s flying.