Lotus T580


The T580 is a Quadcopter manufactured by LotusRC designed for stable recreational flight and aerial photography.

Presentation

The aircraft arrives fully built and flight tested. Some job is still required to assemble it completely.
This is an Almost Ready To Fly model (ARTF).
To get this unit flying, you will need your RC Gear (at least 4 ChannelReceiver) and 3s1p LiPo battery (at least 2200mAh).
Lift is achieved using four high efficiency 12-inch propellers with direct drive low KV brushless motor.
The T580 utilizes MEMS sensor for 6 DOF stabilization with low drift.
Altitude hold is achieved via an integrated barometric sensor.
Upgrading this basic quadcopter for aerial photography should be easy viaplug-n-play camera mount and stabilization system.

The radius size (center to motor) is 29cm.
Its weight (without lipo) is  730g.
The recommended payload is 230g (with the recommended lipo 3S 2200mAh)

Manual: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showatt.php?attachmentid=3893566&d=1301047226
UK distributor: http://www.quadcopters.co.uk
LotusRC site: http://www.lotusrc.com/

Packaging

the main box of the T580

The box can apparently contains 3 more options:
- a battery
- a TX/RX system
- a gimbal mount for camera

inside the box

We can see the free emplacement for other options.
The main frame of the T580 is already mounted.
There is also a quality check document that attest the quality checking along the built line.
In the box I get, there was 5 propellers (3 CCW and 2 CW) + 2 motor shaft spare.
The landing gear is partially mounted.

The propellers

The overall quality of the propellers is very good.
There is a metallic screw shape at the center so that the propellers can be screwed on each motor shaft.
They are quite well balanced, and the vibration due to propellers is not an issue.

The motors

The motor mount and the fixed part of the motor is the same part. It’s a nice piece of blue anodized aluminium.
It is made so that it can be attached directly the the round carbon arm of the main frame, with the 3 motors wires inside.

The arm frame

The center part of the frame is a single aluminium piece. The four arms are attached on this center piece with 2 screws per arm.
(3 screw emplacement are present but only 2 screws are used)
We can notice also two O-rings per arm which is a sort of dampening system I suppose.
The box with all electronic inside is attached upon.

The Flight Control system

The size of the FC board is standard (Mikrokopter size).
The ESCs are composed of 2 PCB boards (2 ESCs per board)
According the the 4 electronic wires between the FC and the ESC boards, they are probably I2C driven, like in the Mikrokopter.
We can notice the extension for 2 PITCH/ROLL servo (for the gimbal option).
But also extension for lights (currently undocumented).

Connecting a RX

Up to 8 RC channels can be connected to the FC, but only 5 are currently documented:
- 4 are affected to the classical Throttle/Pitch/Roll/Yaw.
- one is affected to control the tilt inclination of a camera (optional)
My ASSAN system works perfectly with this board.

FC dampening system

We can notice the very clever dampening system at the corner of the FC board.

Landing gear

The landing gear is almost ready to by attached to the main frame.
4 rubber stop nuts are needed.

Final assembly

Battery

The battery (not included in the box) is positioned via 2 scratches (included in the box).
The connector is a dean T plug style.

My opinion

Hardware

The overall quality of this quadcopter is very good.

I personally like the look of this multi.
Everything is clean and there is no apparent wires.
No specific adjustment to the parts must be done.

It is really an almost ready to fly model.
The propellers with different colors is a good point to ease the visualization.

The motors seem to be fine regarding efficiency, and the mounting design is nice.
However, the motor shaft is clearly a weak point.
It’s a part that breaks easily in case of unwanted contact with the ground.

The frame conception is light, with landing gear and arms made of carbon.
But the carbon arms are not so easy to replace once broken.

Flight characteristics

Note: this is my opinion on the version I received (April 2011). Things can evolved in the future.

Static attitude

This multi is clearly « stable and cool flight » oriented.
The one I got is very stable and can autolevel without any problem.

A camera system should be ok on it.

In descent attitude, we can notice only small wobbles.
This is typical with multi rotors, and there is nothing annoying about this.

The altitude hold is really great and is quite accurate (I would say a 50cm to 1m precision)

Dynamic attitude

In relatively fast translation and during a orientation change,  we can’t rely on the estimated attitude and we must over compensate via the radio stick to keep the level.
I think this is due to the way the magnitude vector is estimated (centrifugal force is a problem).

We can live with it, it’s just something to know.

Problems

I noticed 3 problems:
- When an important yaw order, the quad does not like it and doesn’t stay in an horizontal attitude.
- At one time, I tried to go full throttle. The quad emitted a small beep and started a 1/2 looping => 1 motor shaft broken.
- During the test, I tried to shake the quad via brief roll stick movement (see video). The quad didn’t like it and made a violent and uncontrollable flip => 2 motor shafts broken + 1 arm.

Global feeling

To be clear: don’t expect to do some acro with it. It is not designed for this, and it won’t support it.
The overall conception is light and is not intended to crash.
The tradeoff is a very good flight time.
The flight time with my lipo 3000mAh exceed 15 minutes.

I would say the maximum supported inclination is something like 20/25 degrees.
This is a situation that should not happen for a aerial photography activity.
If you stay in this scope, the quad is stable and predictable.
I would say it’s a good deal for this.

I think a beginner could start with it as long as he is cautious with the input RC order.

Videos

bad flip problem:

  1. #1 by Lucas Munhoz on 20 avril 2011 - 22:03

    Hi, I’m from Brazil I would know if you like this QUAD T580! I saw many people talking bad about him, but I also read eulogies, I would like to know your opinion! My intention is to make soft and rides around outdoors with a little carrying seeing GO PRO! I already have experience with helicopters coaxials such as Esky Lama 4ch Big, I think I will have no major problems on the fly Quadcopter T580, is not it?

  2. #2 by Carlos Zubieta on 3 août 2011 - 23:05

    Hi.

    Do you know how install the lights?

    Thank you.

  3. #3 by Jack on 2 septembre 2011 - 09:17

    Hi
    Very disappointed, first interested by demo videos I ordered this machine in Geoffrey Turner (UK) but I got a quad with missing screws and problems on two engines.
    Mail assistance yes, but equipment warranty no..!!!
    The quad is out of service, abandoned. .
    With a serious online shop maybe it would have been different
    This is my experience
    jack

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