This tutorial will show you how to install the ZTAG Drone Laser Tag sensor onto most FPV drones using the universal mount. We also install some optional external LEDs as tail lights to allow other pilots to see your drone better.
Let's get started.
Prepare the following materials:
- ZTAG Drone Laser Tag sensor board
- Two M3x10mm and two M3x5mm screws (included with purchased 3d printed mount)
- Mamba Flash Bang SW601 LED board (sold separately)
- 3 conductor, stranded, 24awg wires, ~4 inch for rear LED board (sold separately, part of the Mamba LED board)
- 2 conductor, stranded 24awg wires, ~7 inch for ZTAG board
- 3d printed TPU ZTAG shell (printed or sold separately)
- 3d printed TPU sensor cowling (printed or sold separately)
- 3d printed TPU universal mount (printed or sold separately)
- zip ties (not included)
- 6s balance lead connector
- InstaMorph pellets (not included)
Solder the wires to the board
First solder the wires while the board is easy to access. It's helpful to have the wires stand straight out from the board so that it doesn't get in the way of the 3d printed shell in the next step.
Now we install the 3d printed protective shell onto the ZTAG sensor board. You'll use the two short M3 screws for this.
Next, we install place the sensor cowling on the protective shell. Make sure that it sits INSIDE the shell and covers over the top side of the IR sensors. This cowling is designed to reduce attacks from above your drone and allow mostly hits from behind.
Next, we use the longer M3 screws and install the universal mount. The M3 screws will through THROUGH the sensor cowling and onto the protective shell.
Here's what the assembly should look like now
Now, tuck the wires together and route it through the center of the universal mount. This will keep the wires away from your props.
OPTIONAL LED BOARD INSTALLATION
If you want some extra flash with your rig, adding a rear facing RGB LED strip will allow other players to see you better. This isn't required for the game to work but certainly adds more interactivity.
OPTION 1: REMOVABLE ZTAG SENSOR
Choose this option if you want to easily install and uninstall the ZTAG game as needed. You may want this option if you don't always want to fly with the ZTAG game attached. We will be powering the ZTAG board using your LiPo's balance lead. If you want a permanently mounted ZTAG sensor to your flight controller, skip this section and go see OPTION 2: DEDICATED ZTAG SENSOR below.
We've included a 6s balance connector with the ZTAG board, depending on what type of battery you're flying, you may need to modify this connector. Below, we show you how to cut the connector so that it allows 3s-6s batteries. We took a marker to shade off the part that we will cut off (note that you are looking at the NOTCHED side of the balance connector).
Now use flush cutters and remove the shaded portion of plastic.
Here's the modified balance lead header for 3s-6s batteries.
Now, let's solder the power wires to the balance lead header.
CAUTION: Do not put the soldering iron on the balance lead header's pin for more than 1 second (assuming you have a decently hot iron) as it pin will quickly transfer heat over to plastic and cause the pin to get loose. We recommend pre-tinning both the metal lead and the wires and just tap the solder between the 2 to join it quickly.
Optionally, we want to add some InstaMorph plastic to cover the metal pins. We use a heat gun to soften the material (you could use hot water as well).
Once the plastic pellets are soft, we mold it onto the balance lead header.
The finished balance header should look like this:
The ZTAG Sensor assembly is finished for removable mounting. Let's now install it onto the drone. We will be using the a pretty common iFlight Nazgul HD 5"
Underneath the drone, we want to remove the 2 front standoff screws. The M3 screws pictured below were chosen to be 5mm longer than the stock M3 screws for these standoffs.
By choosing longer screws, we don't have to fully remove them each time we want to install or uninstall the ZTAG universal mount. The mount has a slot and hole design that allows you to remove it from your drone without screw removal --- preventing you from dropping it in the field. We install these one by one.
The last step for this removable ZTAG option is to zip tie the power lead so it doesn't get chopped my your props!
You can now test the balance lead by plug it into your 3s-6s LiPo. The ZTAG board and the rear facing LEDs should all light up.
OPTION 2: DEDICATED ZTAG SENSOR (cleaner solution)
If you want to build a dedicated ZTAG rig, choose this option so the wires are tucked in better and you don't bother plugging in the balance lead. Your ZTAG system turns on with the rest of your drone.
Take the bare wire power leads from the ZTAG assembly and route it through an opening at the bottom of your drone.
Now remove the top plate of your drone to expose the flight stack. We want to solder the power wires directly onto the battery voltage and ground. Some flight controllers give you access to the battery voltage with a solder pad called BAT, this is the best option. If you don't have a BAT pad, you can choose to solder directly to the thick battery wires or a 5V output. If you decide to use a 5V output, MAKE SURE it's rated for at least 1A so you don't fry it!
Here's the board with the 2 wires soldered.
Now you can install the top plate back on and your drone is done! Power up and check it out.