The QuadH2o Build Guide v1.0

Posted on April 29, 2013

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We have put together the following build guide for our QuadH2o customers. You are free to build the Quadh2o in whichever way you wish. Our tutorial is in no way a definitive guide, however it is recommended they are followed as closely as possible in order to obtain the most from your purchase.

TIP: Before building your QuadH2o, we recommend you test ALL your electrics BEFORE you install them.

TIP: Read this guide IN FULL before you start :).

1. Unpacking your QuadH2o

Your QuadH2o will arrive in one box. The frame and arms are protected.
(Please see our T&C in the unlikely event that your frame arrives damaged).

Your kit will include:

  • Painted body & arms
  • Carbon Legs with alloy support struts
  • Black Leg Foam
  • FPV dome with carbon ring & seal
  • 4 x ESC heat sinks (frame holes pre cut)
  • Motor mount holes (pre drilled 19×16)
  • Motor cable grommets
  • Battery cap & seal
  • Barometer breather system and gromet (NAZA)
  • Electronics & FPV tray
  • Stainless steel fixings (including motor bolts)
  • QuadH2o sticker kit

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 Epoxy
  • Contact adhesive
  • Marine grade sealant (Sikaflex 291i recommended)
  • Hot (glue) gun
  • Cables for wiring harness & extending motor cables
  • Bullet connectors, 16 pairs (3.5mm)
  • Battery connector (eg: XT60)
  • Electronics tray power connector (eg: sml Deans connectors)
  • Small cable ties
  • Thread lock
  • Wire cutters
  • Allen Keys (2mm & 2.5mm)
  • Hobby knife
  • Small socket set (7mm)

3. Seal the legs

The legs come pre-installed but you will need to make the fittings watertight. The legs are fixed into place with four nylon bolts/nuts. From the inside, liberally apply marine grade sealant ensuring you completely cover the bolt heads.

4. Breathable tube/ grommets

A pre-formed breathable tube and grommet is provided, push the grommet into the hole provided in the top of the QuadH2O, then simply slide the tube through the grommet, leaving approx. 1″ of tubing protruding out the top.

To hold the tube in place inside the hull, use a small amount of hot glue. Position the end of the tube at the front of the hull (over the flat area)

TIP: Liberally apply marine grade sealant around the grommet/tube on the inside of the hull to ensure it is water tight.

5. Create your wiring harness

A wiring harness is required for the QuadH2o. This connects the battery to the ESCs and your electronics tray. You could use a distribution board, however we find a wiring harness gives you more flexibility when laying out your cables inside the hull. Below is an example wiring harness. XT60 splitting 5 ways; 4 to female bullet connectors (for ESCs) and 1 to electronics tray (via small deans). [warning_box]TIP: Be sure to test your soldering once complete, you can check the resistance using a multimeter.[/warning_box]

QuadH2o wiring harness QuadH2o wiring harness

6. Fit your motors

There are many available motors that will be suitable for the QuadH2o. We recommend 800-900KV short shaft motors. Our favourite are the T-Motor Air Gear 350 or  T-Motor 2216 800 & 900KV motors. They are great motors and come with nice long leads!

Fitting motors

One at a time, thread the leads through the rubber grommets in the QuadH2o arm (depending on your motor, you may need to extend the cables). You should be able to squeeze the leads through without having to cut off the bullet connectors, if you cant, simply ensure the leads are long enough to give you access to solder new bullets on once the cables are inserted into the frame.

Once the cables are fitted, seal around inside grommet hole/cables with marine grade sealant ensuring the sealant fills all caps in the grommet hole. You could also run a small bead of sealant around the base of the grommet if required.

Now fix down the motors using the bolts and washers provided (1 washers per bolt) and a little blue thread lock.

TIP: If you don’t want to use the provided washers you simply cut down the bolts to the correct length. Ensure they are not too long as they will foul the motor.

TIP: Once the bolts are fitted double check they do not foul the motor!

7. Put together your electronics tray

How you lay up the components on your electronics tray it up to you. The important part is that here is a specific location designed for the DJI Naza flight controller. This is angled to keep the Naza level once the tray is fitted. Below is an example layout which includes; Naza, Radio receiver, FPV video transmitter and FPV camera.

TIP: Ensure there are no loose cables that may get caught when inserting the tray into your QuadH2o.

Electronics Tray

8. Preparing your ESCs

There are many suitable ESCs for the QuadH2o. We recommend 30A ESCs and we personally prefer ones flashed with SimonK firmware. Here we are using Team Black Sheep ESC’s. Please note it may be required to extend the ESC’s signal cables. We recommend a minimum length of 11″ in order to easily insert/remove the electronics tray.


Before you fit your ESCs you will need to mount the provided heat sinks. Carefully cut a hole in the heat shrink (on the heat plate side!) the same size of the heat sink. Then lightly score both surfaces and apply a suitable epoxy to bond the heat sink to the ESC. Allow to fully cure.

TIP: After cutting the hole in your heat shrink (and before fitting the heat sink), run a small bead of epoxy under the lip of the heat shrink you have just cut, this will ensure the heat sink plate cannot come away from the ESC.


9. Connect motors & ESCs

Before you fix the ESCs in place connect them up to your motors and power them up to ensure the motors spin in the correct direction. Once they are spinning in the right direction mark the bullets (using a pen etc.) so you know which goes to which. ~You can fix the ESCs to the QuadH2o using Marine grade sealant. Ensure you mount the ESC with the power cables facing the front of the QuadH2o (this will make things easier should you need to disconnect your wiring harness at any point). Apply the sealant liberally around the base of the heat sink and mount them in place. Wipe away any excess sealant as required and allow to cure.

TIP: Mark the ESCs and motor connections just in case you need to disconnect them again.

TIP: Whilst the sealant cures, leave the QuadH2o upside down overnight (on a towel or similar). You could also tape the ESCs in place inside the hull, this will stop them moving whilst the sealant cures.

TIP: Don’t try working on your QuadH2o whilst the sealant dries. It WILL go everywhere and WILL make a mess.

10. Hook up your wiring harness

Now you can connect up and position your wiring harness in the QuadH2o. Try to keep the cables neat and out of the way of the electrics tray.

11. Mount your GPS (optional)

GPSIf you are using the DJI Naza with GPS you will need to mount the GPS module in the hull. We have specifically designed the hull to accommodate this and the GPS can be neatly mounted in the top of the QuadH2o. As always you need to ensure the GPS it pointing forward and is level. We recommend spot mounting the GPS using a few small drops of hot glue, just to hold it in position whilst you fix in place with sealant. This no only holds if firmly in place but allows you to remove it if required at a later date, without damaging the frame or GPS unit.

13. Mount your FPV antenna

If you intend on running FPV with your QuadH2o you will need to fit your antenna. It’s up to you where you mount this, but we have had good results mounting the antenna at the rear of the QuadH2o. To do this you will need 2 additional components. A SMA male to female right angle adapter and a SMA straight male to female extension lead. We use a 12″ lead. Drill a 6.5mm hole in the top of your QuadH2o (about 20mm from the back). Tape up the threaded tip of the SMA right angle (this keeps the sealant of it) and apply marine grade sealant around the base of the right angle adapter and push through the hole, apply more sealant if require in order to make a good watertight seal.

TIP: To hold the SMA right angle in place fit the antenna. This will hold it firmly in place whilst the sealant dries.


SMA LeadsSMA Leads

14. Mounting your battery

Your battery should slide nicely into the bottom of the hull underneath the electronics tray. You shouldnt need anything additional to hold it in place, but if its a small battery you can use velcro.

15. 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 don’t fit the dome or battery cap, just ensure everything is set up correctly first and do a couple of test/configuration flights (OVER LAND).

TIP: This build guide does not cover things like setting up the Flight Controller (NAZA), calibrating GPS or calibrating your ESCs etc. for more info on that please consult the manufacturers own manuals).

16. Make her watertight!

Once you have test flown the QuadH2o and you are happy everything it set up correctly, there is a few final stages required before you start flying over water.

Ensure you have sufficient sealant around any areas that could be prone to leak. Specifically check:

  • motor cables & grommets
  • Breathable tube grommet
  • Leg bolts
  • SMA right angle adapter
  • ESCs

Now remove the electrics tray and battery. Fit the dome, seal and carbon retaining ring (applying silicone grease to both sides of the seal). Insert each bolt approximately 3/4 of the way, then tighten each bolt gradually until they pinch.

TIP: IMPORTANT – we recommend you apply a small amount of silicone grease to the dome bolts. This ensures they do not bind (a possible issue with stainless on stainless). Don’t over tighten the dome bolts!

TIP: Apply a small drop of oil to each captive nut for the dome bolts, this will keep things smooth!

TIP: Bar the motor cables, everything can be sealed from the inside of the hull, this keeps everything neat and tidy!

Now to check she is watertight. Our preferred method is to (gently) blow some air into the QuadH2o via the breathable tube (just use your mouth not a compressor!), then pinch it tight, now spray soapy water around all joints…. if you get any bubbles, you have a leak to fix.

The dome and battery cap should be watertight as they have their own seals, however should you find there is any leakage we recommend using a small amount of silicone grease around the seal.

TIP: Make sure it’s silicone grease. Vaseline etc. is no good as it will damage the seals.


Remember if you get stuck along the way please JUST ASK! We are here to help 🙂