Best Beginner Quadcopter

So you want to get into flying fpv quadcopters? I have been there and it is best to get advice prior to your first purchase. That is why I am going to outline what I think is the best beginner quadcopter. Did I mention it is also probably the cheapest beginner quadcopter?

It is important to remember that if you have never piloted a quadcopter before it does take a slight learning curve. So if that is the case and you’re wanting to get into building a ZMR250 I would suggest starting small in order to make sure you are into flying quadcopters. After some practice you can order yourself a ZMR250 build kit and get to work!

Best Beginner Quadcopter

Hubsan X4 H107L 2.4GHz RC Quadcopter

Hubsan X4 H107LBest beginner quadcopter

The palm sized Hubsan X4 Mini RTF RC Quadcopter has excellent features including full 4 channel 2.4Ghz control, powerful coreless motors, high capacity LiPO battery and stunt mode. This quad is suitable for indoor and outdoor flight thanks to the ultra stable 6-axis flight control system with adjustable gyro sensitivity. The LiPO battery is charged via USB with the included USB charger.

This little quadcopter is super fun to fly and is a good starter if you have never flown before but for the price of this quadcopter every hobbyist needs one! 

$29.93

Buy Now On amazon!

When I purchased the Hubsan X4 I went ahead and bought the extra spare parts kit with 2 batteries. It will come in handy trust me especially if you are just learning you will crash everyone does.

Hubsan x4 parts kit

$20.99

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Along with the spare parts kit I went ahead and bought a 4-in-1 battery charger for my Hubsan X4 because the stock one that comes with the unit is only a single charger and who wants to wait for batteries to charge?

Hubsan x4 battery charger

$6.99

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Best FPV Racing Air Gates and Where to Buy

FPV AIR Gates

HobbyKing FPV Air Gates are the affordable, quick and easy way to set up a wickedly challenging FPV Race track anywhere, anytime.
This medium size gate has been designed for FPV Racing but can easily be used for RC Cars small RC planes or helis and even as a Start or Finish line for fun club events.
Made from strong UV nylon, the fabric is robust for outdoor use while the main 5 metre long flexible support pole is similar to those used in dome tents.  The sectional fiberglass design enables quick set up and also quick collapse for easy transportation and storage and with this in mind we have have even included a zipper carry case for your HobbyKing Air Gate.

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Your HobbyKing Air Gate also includes two chrome steel bases that can be used with tent pegs or sandbags to hold the gate in place and you are good to go in minutes.41r2xY-xRjL._SX450_
A pefect choice for FPV Race organisers, clubs and even for individuals who want to test and improve their FPV flying skills, with HobbyKing Air Gates you can set up that FPV Race Track quickly, easily and without breaking the bank.
Features:
• Tough nylon fabric for indoor/outdoor use
• Collapsible fibreglass pole for easy transport/storage (5m Length)
• Durable chromed base plates
• Carry/Storage case

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FPV ARI GATES

FPVMODEL RaceGates gives the user the ability to map their tracks out with ease using this simple design that can be setup in minutes. Using the simplicity of collapsable tent poles and Polyester Oxford 210D fabric, these gates come in a handy carry along bag, giving you the freedom to race anywhere in just a moments notice.

The arched design and angled base allows for the gates to unflod and be setup using a set of ground stakes to allow it to freely stand in the air, therefore, eliminating the need for a secondary supporting system.

Note: If you buy 5 pieces of racegate only have 3 carry bags.

Free DHL express shipping!!! 
Note: Due to the system limit, the orders from some countries may be not able to choose DHL for free shipping, please help to choose other free shipping methods instead. We will change to ship the Race Gates via DHL no matter which method you choose. For the areas where DHL can not arrive, we will change to ship via EMS. If theres any special instruction, please let us know.

FPVModel RaceGates Specifications:
Material: Polyester Oxford 210D
Coating Width: 58″
Pole: 8mm Black FRP Pole
Width: 2.3m, Height: 1.63m. (For reference only, the size can be adjusted.)

Note: The material of the nail is aluminum.

Buy Now on FPVModel

Good ESC for FPV Quadcopter : Littlebee 20A Mini

 

Good ESC for fpv Quadcopter

FVT Littlebee 20A Mini ESC (2-4S)

FVT Littlebee 20A ESC is a super compact, lightweight, high performance speed controller for your racing multi-rotor. Pre-flashed with BLheli and ready to use with Oneshot (aka oneshot125 / PWMsync) mode via compatible flight controllers running Cleanflight or similar.

FVT Littlebee 20A ESC is using Silabs processor and fast dedicated driver chips, providing excellent freewheeling and exceptional braking capabilities.

FVT Littlebee 20A ESCs have all the performance you would hope for and the same tiny size as the DYS BL20A. You will struggle to find a frame small enough to fit these ESCs and they will still give you plenty of headroom on a standard 250 size quad!This ESC allows your motors to respond to throttle decreases much quicker, allowing for more stable flying, and higher response to throttle decreases.

Good ESC

These ESCs do not have a BEC, you will need to supply 5v power to your flight controller with a UBEC or stepdown voltage regulator.

Specifications:

Input: 2-4s Lipo
Constant: 20 Amps
Burst: 30 Amps
Weight: 4g
Dimensions: 23×12.5x3mm
Motor wire: 70mm
Signal wire: 120mm
PCB – 4 Layer Blind Pole PCB – 3oz Pour
Mosfet: All N channel
BEC: None

CURRENTLY ON SALE: $13.15 each or $46.69 for 4

BUY HERE

ZMR180 Build Parts List Kit 180mm Carbon Fiber Mini FPV Quadcopter

ZMR210 Parts List KitZMR180 Build Parts List Kit

The ZMR180 is a micro quad designed with “fun” in mind. Agile, quick, and small all fit together with this kit and its a blast to fly. Keeping simplicty in mind this frame has high quality 3mm bottom plate and a 1.5 mm top plate. Using the same carbon fiber that you find in FPVMODELs ZMR250 V2, you can rest assured that this is NOT the run of the mill cheap eBay Carbon Fiber that most others sell. This CF is backed with FPVMODELs name so you can trust that it is top of the line.

The ZMR180 is an awesome time to be had and you will find the smaller size can zoom through gaps that were previously not even considered with a 250 sized quad.

ZMR180 Parts List Kit(Click below to see pricing in store)

ZMR180 180mm Mini Quadcopter Frame Kit 1 set

Dragonfly MC1806 2300KV Brushless Motor 4 pcs 2cw+2ccw

FVT Littlebee 20A Mini ESC 4 pcs

Dragonfly Bulletproof Bullnose 4045 Props 8 pairs Green

X-RACER F303 Flight Controller 1 pc

SONY Effio-e 4140+811 1/3 CCD 2.6mm Lens 700TVL camera 1 pc

AOMWAY 5.8g mini 200mw 32CH transmitter 1 pc

Velcro Battery Strap 2 pcs

5.8G Gain Mushroom Omni Antenna 1 pc

3M double sided adhesive tape 1 pc

and silicon wires, straps, shrink tubes, XT60 plug etc

The ZMR weighs in at 72g including the given mounting hardware and spacers allowing for an ultra-light weight build yet leaving plenty of build room for adding all necessary FPV gear. If you wanna add more muscle, pick the ZMR180 with the larger mounts for 22xx motors.

Hurry up and get yours now, they are “flying” off the shelves.

Taranis X9D Plus Transmitter and a X4R SBUS Receiver

Taranis X9D Plus Transmitter and a X4R SBUS Receiver

After doing some research I decided to go with a Taranis Plus Transmitter and a Frsky X4R Sbus Receiver. I started with a decent transmitter as I’m pretty sure I will be doing other builds in the future. From what I read running sbus is just a little bit more responsive than PPM. Here is a good article explaining the difference between radio types.

There are a few settings that need changed within Cleanflight before binding the transmitter with the receiver. I found a very useful youtube video that goes through the whole process.

First you need to setup a Model for your ZMR250 within the Taranis. There are a lot of youtube videos of people explaining the general setup of a Taranis. After watching a few and messing with the buttons it isn’t too hard to catch on too.

Mode 2 Stick Channels (needed for initialTaranis X9D Plus model creation)

CH1 = Throttle

CH2 = Ail (roll)

CH3 = Elevation (pitch)

CH4 = Rudder (yaw)

Binding the Receiver to Transmitter

Under Model Setup Page 2/12 at the very bottom you’ll see [Bind]. Hit enter while on Bind and the transmitter will start to beep. Next while holding down the bind (f/s) button on the receiver plug your battery into the quad. The receiver will flash green and red. Let off and it should go green solid. This means the two have been bound successfully. Again there are some youtube videos out there that can help with this process as well.

Next connect to cleanflight and go to Receiver tab to insure you have the desired stick pattern. If stick pattern is correct your good to go if not then youll need to look into your channel settings more.

FAA Drone Registration

Drone Registration

Well today is the day the FAA Drone Registration starts. There seems to be mixed reviews out there as to how effective the drone registration is going to be. Concerns came up as to if someone intends to wrongfully use an unmanned aircraft than odds are they just wont register. It is unknown at this time what the penalty will be for not registering your drone however the FAA states “You will be subject to civil and criminal penalties if you meet the criteria to register a drone and do not register”.

You need to register your aircraft if it weighs between 0.55 lbs. (250 grams) and up to 55 lbs. (25 kg).

The Drone Registration is $5.00 but if you register your drone by Janurary 20th, 2016 then your fee will be refunded. Registering is done thru the FAA Drone registration website online and seems to be pretty easy to do. The registration is good for 3 years time in which you will then need to renew the registration.

Register Online
You must use the paper registration process if

  • You use your aircraft for commercial purposes
  • You use your aircraft for other than hobby and recreation
  • Your aircraft is 55 lbs. or greater
  • You intend to operate your aircraft outside of the United States

Register by Paper 

The AMA or Academy of Model Aeronautics suggested their members to hold off on registering your drone as they have a plan to protect their members from “unnecessary and burdensome regulations”. I can definitely see the point for hobbyists of FPV Quadcopters and other model aircraft. However I do believe that some sort of regulations needed to be put into place. Time will tell if this drone registration process was the answer.

Reversing Motor Rotation BL Heli

Reversing Motor Rotation BL Heli and Cleanflight/betaflight

Well as much as I thought I had the wiring configuration down for the CW and CCW motors I didn’t. I ended up with my motors being reversed. Motor location was correct but the rotation was reversed.

Short of just switching the 2 wires on each motor and resoldering I wanted to see if it could be resolved in the programming. With some help from the ZMR250 Facebook group I figured out as long as the ESC has BL Heli flashed you can reverse motor rotation within the BL Heli Suite. 1

If you are using the same zmr250 build kit as I am with the Littlebee ESCs than they come preflashed with BL Heli. If you are using different ESCs check with where you purchased the ESC to see what is flashed on them. If your ESC do not have BL Heli flashed then do some research on flashing BL Heli to your ESCs.

blheli suite motor reverse cleanflight

  1. Download BL Heli Suite
  2. Plug your quad into your computer. With Cleanflight open but not connected as BL Heli needs to connect to the board.Bl Heli Motor Direction
  3. Open BL Heli Suite> Go to Select ATMEL / SILABS Interface Tab> Select SILABS BLHeli Bootloader (Cleanflight)
  4. Next make sure you are on port COM 3 and Connect to the board
  5. Now click “Read Setup” It will then connect to your ESCs reversing motor direction blheli cleanflight
  6. With #1 selected you can go to motor direction and move the slider to the center which is “Reversed”. Click “Write Setup” to save the settings. Depending if you need to reverse all motors you can go into each ESC by Right clicking each ESC number. Make sure you Write Setup for each ESC.
  7. Test in Cleanflight to make sure motor rotations are correct.

Here is a helpful Youtube video that I watched on reversing motor direction in BLheli with cleanflight.

 

How to build a Quadcopter

So you want to know how to build a quadcopter? After purchasing ready to fly quadcopters ,in particular DJI’s Phantom 3 and Inspire 1 , I became intrigued with building my own quadcopter. So I began searching as you did “how to build a quadcopter” and found myself in to deep but willing to dive in on my first quadcopter build. After my research I decided to build a ZMR250 V2 quadcopter  which is why I built this website to share my build guide.

How to build a quadcopter

In this article I will go over the basic parts list you need to acquire to build a quadcopter. Starting out I decided to buy an ARF kit from FPVModel. Regardless if you buy a kit or not it is important to know what the components are that make up a quadcopter.

Basic FPV Quadcopter Parts list

Quadcopter Frame- Picking out a frame can depend on multiple variables. Mainly depends on what you want to do with your quadcopter. For me I just wanted a small race quad as a hobby. I also use my DJI Inspire 1 which is more suited for aerial photography.

Motors- The size motors you need again depends on what you are using your quad for and what your components will handle.

Propellers

Electronic Speed Controllers or ESCs- This is what drives each motors variable speed.

Flight Controller- Naze32, CC3D Etc. The flight controller is the brain of the quadcopter. You can program your flight controller to do many different things as well as tune your quadcopter settings.

FPV Camera- This is the camera used for first person view flying giving you a cockpit view from the quadcopter.

Video Transmitter with antenna- Used to send video signal back to your FPV Goggles or monitor.

Radio Receiver- Connects to your transmitter so you can control the quadcopter.

Radio Control Transmitter- Used to control/fly your quadcopter.

Lipo Batteries for your quadcopter.

Battery Charger

FPV Goggles or Monitor

As you can start to picture there is a lot that goes into building a quadcopter. You really need to decide how and why you are going to use the quadcopter and then do more research from there. You may find buying a ready to fly quadcopter might be a better option for your needs. If you want an fpv quadcopter you might want to check out my build further, you can purchase the kit from FPVModel insuring that your parts are compatible.

ZMR250 V2.1 Frame now available!

ZMR250 V2.1 Frame

FPVmodel has recently upgraded the ZMR250 frame to v2.1. The new ZMR250 V2.1 Frame comes with angled camera plates so no more trying to rig a straight mount for your desired FPV camera angle. They said it is to appeal to those who are interested in FPV quadcopter racing. The original ZMR250 V2 frame will still be available with a straight camera mount for those just starting out or those who prefer a straight mount.

The ZMR250 V2.1 frame also comes in three different colors Gold, Silver and Red. I think I would deffinitely go for the ZMR250 V2.1 Frame over the V2. Being able to just drop in a proper angled fpv camera would be awesome! It is nice that they are still going to over the original straight mount though.

ZMR250 V2.1 Frame

Check out my ZMR250 Build Process!

Tools needed for Quadcopter Build

While I was waiting for my kit to come in I began compiling the tools needed for quadcopter build. Most of the stuff I got from Home Depot and various hardware stores. I also purchased some things off amazon which I have linked below. Some of you may already have some of the tools needed but I would make sure you have what you need before attempting the build.

Tools needed for Quadcopter Build

(some optional):

  • Helping Hands A Must have makes soldering wires together way easier! You can use this for tinning wires, soldering wires together etc.

  • Solder– alot of people suggest Rosin Core 60/40 lead I used this for tinning and a lead free silver bearing for soldering the board leads.
  • Flux paste
  • Heat Gun or Lighter for Heat shrinking
  • Blue Loctite for motors and frame
  • Liquid Electrical tape (optional)- Used to coat certain things to make water proof( alot of people coat the camera and PDB)
  • Wire cutters
  • Wire strippers
  • Various pliers
  • Allen wrench set
  • Small screw drivers
  • Multimeter (optional)

If you are new to soldering check out some tips and tricks online first. I’m not going to get into too much detail on how to solder but always make sure you’re taking the proper safety precautions.