We have put together the following build guide for our HexH2o customers. You are free to build the HexH2o in whichever way you wish. Our tutorial is in no way a definitive guide, however it is recommended it’s followed as closely as possible in order to obtain the most from your purchase.
This tutorial is based on using the DJI E600 Tuned Propulsion System. This is also the same process used when building our RTF kits.
TIP: Before building your HexH2o, we recommend you test ALL electrics BEFORE you install them.
TIP: Read this guide IN FULL before you start.
1. Unpacking your HexH2o
Your HexH2o will arrive in one box. (Please see our T&C in the unlikely event that your frame arrives damaged).
Your kit will include:
- Painted (yellow) HexH2o body
- Foam buoyancy aids & retainer strips
- Perspex viewing dome and rear hatch with retaining clips and seal
- 7 x Black Anodized ESC heat sinks (frame holes pre cut)
- Carbon top and bottom plates & stand offs
- 6 x Carbon Fibre 16mm arms
- 6 x Lightweight carbon motor mount assembly
- 6 x Folding centre arm assembly
- HexH2o sticker kit
- GoPro (3 & 4) anti reflection sticker
- Electronics tray with DJI Naza and gimbal mounts
- Distribution board mount
- 24v Cooling Fan
- Bolt, washer and grommet kit
- GPS Mount/casing assembly
- Naza LED stand off and grommet assembly
- Cable location mounts & cable ties
- Breather kit
- 2 x HexH2o hex keys
2. Tools for the job
Below is an overview of the recommended tools required to build your QuadH2o:
- Soldering Iron, flux, solder
- Heat shrink (various sizes)
- Quick drying (5min) Epoxy
- Marine grade sealant (Sikaflex 291i recommended)
- Hot (glue) gun
- Cables for wiring harness and extending motor cables
- Bullet connectors, 18 female (3.5mm)
- Parallel Lead (if using 2 lipos) (eg: XT60/XT90)
- Power connectors (eg: XT60)
- Thread lock
- Wire cutters
- Hobby knife
- Small socket set (7mm)
3. Dome and rear hatch
Each dome is fitted to its allocated frame, so you may find some corners have been sanded on the inside edge of the corners, this is to ensure the best fit possible. However it may be required to make further adjustments in order get obtain a watertight seal – see below.
When removing the dome, carefully turn the retaining clips quarter turn ANTI-CLOCKWISE. If you try to open them by turning clockwise you may damage the paintwork. To fit the dome, carefully align the dome evenly on the rubber seal and turn each retaining clip quarter turn CLOCKWISE. Work around each opposing clip.
TIP: Use a finger to apply light pressure to the lip of the dome next to the retaining clip you are turning.
Carefully fit the dome and proceed to do a water test. Fill your sink, bath or other suitable water container. Carefully lower the front of the HexH2o into the water, just enough to ensure the dome is submerged and check to ensure its water tight.
If water does come through check the following things:
- 1. Ensure your dome is seated correctly
- 2. Ensure the dome seal is in place
- 3. Check, and where required tighten the retaining clips *
- 4. Add some silicone grease to seal
* To tighten the retainer clips: remove the dome, put the clip to its ‘closed’ position. Holding the clip in place carefully tighten the screw. Do not over tighten, otherwise you will not be able to get the clip over the dome and/or may damage the paintwork.
You can test this by placing a sheet of paper between the clip and the HexH2o body; as you (carefully and slowly) open the clip it should (just) clear the paper.
TIP: If adjustment is required, only tighten the nuts 1 quarter turn at a time. Do not over tighten.
Once you are happy the dome is watertight, repeat the process with the rear hatch.
Once completed, remove both the dome and rear hatch and put to one side.
WARNING: Keep your dome protected to avoid scratching the surface.
TIP: Adding a small amount of silicone grease to the seals will help to retain a water tight seal.
4. Fitting the foam buoyancy aids
Using the provided velcro fit the buoyancy aids to either side of the hull.
TIP: Space the velcro evenly as this will allow you to adjust the buoyancy aids.
5. Build up the top plate assembly
Using the provided components, build up the top and bottom carbon plates, arms and mounting clamps. You will note that the arms have holes pre-drilled at the ends. The arms can only be inserted one way in order for the holes to line up.
TIP: Don’t fit the motor mounts to the arms just yet.
Use the supplied washers (were required) on the boom clamps to ensure the gap in the top and bottom plates are equal.
Note the bottom plate is the one with the counter sunk holes (for the stand off bolts) – there are access holes in the top plate allowing you to access the bolts even after the plates are built up/fitted.
TIP: Don’t fit the top plate assembly to the stand-offs just yet.
6. Fit the grommets, stand offs & breather tubes
Carefully fit the 6 larger motor cable grommets into the pre-drilled holes in the top of the hull, then fit the 2 remaining smaller grommets into the pre-cut breather tube holes (see picture).
Now fit the provided breather tubes through the breather tube grommets (leave approximately 4″ sticking out). These can be kept in place inside the hull using two or the provided cable tie clips. Ensure the end of the tube is close to the bottom of the HexH2o (see picture).
Next, fit the supplied 20mm top plate stand offs to the HexH2o, ensuring you fit one 2mm washer (supplied) on either side of the HexH2o body: bolt – washer – HexH2o – washer -stand off (don’t forget thread lock).
Finally fit your top plate assembly to the stand offs using the provided counter sunk stand off bolts (don’t forget thread lock).
7. Fitting GPS Unit
Next mount the base of GPS holder (the smaller half) to the top plate using some of the 3M pads that comes with your Naza GPS as pictured, (do not cover any top plate screws or the stand off location holes). Ensure the opening for the GPS cable is pointing to the front of the HexH2o.
Using the provided DJI 3M tape, mount the GPS unit to the inside of the GPS mount.
Then using some Marine grade sealant run a bead around the inside of the top half of the GPS holder and inside the neck (where the cable comes out. Gently push fit the top half of the GPS unit in place, effectively sealing the Naza GPS inside the holder.
Run the GPS cable through the pre-drilled slotted hole in the top of the HexH2o frame, then using the supplied cover plate and bolts fit in place using Marine grade sealant so seal it in position.
TIP: Ensure the area is water tight.
8. Fitting motors
Fit each motor to the provided carbon motor mount plate (don’t forget thread lock). If using the DJI E600 system, motor bolts are provided.
TIP: Insert the corner bolt (pictured) prior to fixing the motor to the carbon plate as it will be covered by the motor cables once fitted.
Most motors come with short cables so you will need to extend the cables to suit. First cut off the motor bullet connectors. Then create your extended leads (using 18AWG cable) with female bullet connectors at one end. You want to leave yourself 5-6 inches of cable inside the HexH2o once fitted.
Feed the cables through the motor grommets from the inside of the HexH2o out, then run them down the arm, leaving the ends of the cables poking out the end.
Slide the cables through the motor mount and slide the motor mount onto the arm and fix in placer using the provided bolts.
Each arm has pre drilled holes at each end, one end specifically fits the motor mounts whilst the other end is for the clamps.
If you are using the E600’s ensure you mount the correct rotation motor on the correct arm (they have arrows on the sides of the motors).
Using a soldering iron, join the extended cables to your motor. On our RTF builds we also use hot glue under the heat shrink to give extra protection to the join in the cables.
Then carefully pull the cable back through from the inside of the hull and fit your motor mount to the arm and then your motor/motor mount carbon top plate to the motor mount (don’t forget thread lock).
9. Video Transmitter / SMA Lead
If you are using a video transmitter for a downlink, you will need to connect this to the power on your electrics tray, or power distribution board, and connect the video link to your Gopro, gimbal or OSD (depending on your setup).
In the picture below you can see we have mounted the VTX (away from the other components) to the HexH2o using velcro. You can also fit it with the provided heat sink.
We then use a SMA cable which connects to the antenna on the outside of the HexH2o. Once fitted ensure you seal the area from the inside using Marine grade sealant.
TIP: Ensure you pick a location for the Antenna that does not foul the folding arms..
TIP: Ensure the area is water tight.
9. Seal all cables
Finally, using Marine grade sealant (we recommend Sikaflex 291i), seal all motor cables, grommets, breather tubes, SMA lead and the four stand off bolts from the inside ensuring you make a good watertight seal. Effectively sealing everything that comes through the HexH2O body.
10. ESC’s and distribution board
First thing to do it mount the heat sinks to the ESC’s; using a heat sink as a template, carefully cut out the ESC heat shrink. Score the underside of the heat sink and the face plate of the ESC (this will help bond them together) and using a suitable hight temp glue, fix the heat sink to the ESC.
Next up is the internal wiring. If you are using the recommended E600 system you would have received a power distribution board. Solder your ESCs to the board.
Then solder your main power cable to the board (approx 4-5″ long using 12AWG cable) with your chosen connector on one end (this will connect to your flight batteries).
Next you will need a cable to connect to your electrics tray in order to power all of your components (approx 4″ long using 16AWG cable), again fitting your chosen connector on one end.
Once completed decide where you want to locate your distribution board in the HexH2o (we recommend on the top just in front of the grommets).
TIP: Ensure you leave enough room for the electronics tray to be fitted.
Bond the provided distribution board stand off to the HexH2o (using 5min epoxy), then screw the distribution board to the stand off using the supplied bolt.
Now its time to fit the ESC’s in place, apply a generous amount of Marine grade sealant around the base of the heat sink then carefully fit the ESC’s in place ensuring you make a good seal.
Note the direction the ESC’s are facing (2 facing forward, one facing back). This will make it easier to connect the motor cables later on.
Once the sealant has fully cured (24hours), you can plug your motor cables into the corresponding ESC.
11. Electronics tray
Next up is your electronics tray. How you mount your components is up to you, but we have provided a location mount for the NAZA, don’t forget the tray sits at the top of the HexH2o so you must mount the Naza ‘upside down’ on the board (see pic). Screw the fan in place as per the picture. Mount all your components with the provided 3M tape and once you are happy with their positions, cable tie them in place using the provided cable ties. Tidy the wiring using the provided cable ties and cable tie clips as required.
Note the power and video cables for the video transmitter (see #9). Also the NAZA LED (see #10).
TIP: Ensure nothing is in the way of the gimbal.
12. NAZA LED location
We provide a small stand off and viewing grommet for the NAZA LED. This is optional but it enables you to view the LED status without having any reflections being picked up by your GoPro. Decide where you want to mount the LED, carefully drill a 4.5mm hole in the frame (use masking tape to help protect the paintwork.
Carefully push the provided clear grommet through the hole, then mount the stand off on the inside (using some 5min Epoxy for the grommet and Marine grade sealant on the stand off ).
Finally fix the LED unit over the stand off using some of the provided velcro. Using Velcro means you can easily remove it should you need to plug the Naza into the assistant software. If you have the BTU unit, you could use 3M tape instead.
TIP: Ensure the area is water tight.
TIP: If you are not using the DJI BTU we recommend mounting the LED using velcro so it can be easily removed when hooking up to your assistant software.
13. Mounting your batteries
Your batteries will fit nicely in the floor of the HexH2o; either one lipo (fit sideways) or two lipo’s (next to each other running front to back). Keep them in place using velcro. Position them to ensure your centre of gravity is maintained.
14. Hook everything up
You should now be ready to make a test flight! Fit your electronics tray, props, battery etc. and go have a fly.
Note: at this stage you just want to ensure everything is set up correctly first and do a couple of test/configuration flights (OVER LAND). Only attempt to fly over water once you are happy everything is configured and you are watertight.
This build guide does not cover things like setting up the Flight Controller (NAZA), calibrating the IMU, GPS or calibrating your ESCs etc. For more info on that please consult the manufacturers manuals.
Always ensure you carefully remove the dome and rear hatch by rotating each clip; quarter turn ANTI-clockwise to open and work your way around opposing corners. Do not turn clockwise to open as this will over tighten the clips you may damage the frame paintwork.
Remember if you get stuck along the way please JUST ASK! We are here to help