Building my first drone

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
Hey there guys, new to the site but by no means the hobby of quadcopter piloting, and looking to get into building my first FPV drone!!

I have done a heap of research on what to do/how to go about it, and from my understanding,the easiest thing to do is to choose a Frame you like/that fits budget> Choose Motors> Pick Rotors according to frame size> Choose ESC based on motor at 100% throttle> Choose a PDB> Flight controller> VTX> Camera> Battery> Assemble.

So, keeping in mind I dont want to really, spend over $200 on the drone itself as I need to get peripherals also, can you guys giv eme any tips and hints or warnings mostly, about compatablity of my parts and general performance?
I mostly want a responsive, nimble but not jerky, FAST drone. More to get into racing than acro.

So I jumped on Banggood and chose a frame:

And low and behold it suggests THESE motots:
But I was thinking about upgrading to THESE:

I'll also be seperating the motors from the esc's and also probably the esc's and the flight controler, with these LED strips

I was considering these props:
Or for abit more grip these:

The Frames "build guide" suggests THIS flight controller AND 4 in 1 esc:

However if I was to use the higher KV motors, especially with the higher pitch props, would it be a better idea to get seperate ESCs? As spare?

My biggest concern is I got results from MQTB - Explore showing an 80amp peak draw settling to around 30 on some motor/prop combos from a 4s battery. I'm aware they should have a burst rating (that I can't find) but I also find some sources saying to get 20% more esc than you need, some saying 20% LESS.
I'm also wondering, as MANY sites say that cheaper ESC's can also effect throttle output/responsivity by as much as 25%, so I'm wondering if seperate esc's would be a better idea? I just dont know about the QUALITY of these sorts of parts very well yet.

I also chose this PDB as it seems like they are much the same, yet this has many functions I like

This battery:

This VTX:
Or this one?

Sending data from this camera:
Or this one:

And this Receiver:
Boosted by this:

With this controller:

And this headset:

Please don't be savag, im genuinely asking for help, I only THINK I know what I'm doing... Please forgive me if something is glareingly stupid, thats really what I'm here to find out before just wasting 500 bucks on a set up thatI dont want to become a fire hazard xD

Thanks for your time, if you made it this far, and thanks in advance for any advice ^_^
 

rickyt

Active Member
If you want to get into flying drones, buy one . Dont waste your time and money building a drone when you can pay a little extra and buy a drone fit for the purpose . I've built a few over the years but never got them to fly properly . I was using the KK2.1 FC but it required a lot of tweaking , programming the pids were a nightmare. I persevered and bought a new FC [ Pixhawk] but never went back to it. It would have been a decent drone with it's 14" props and powerful motors but it would have still needed a lot of time to program the FC .
I had already been flying with my bought drones and have kept buying them over the last 4 years. All I need to do is charge batteries and fly . Much ,much easier than having to tinker with the settings everytime you want to fly.
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
So for my pennyworth...
Carbon frames will get broken. Get spare parts - probably a few frames and motor arms.

You need to match the motor power to the thrust you need. High speed motors are inefficient at lower speeds so if your quad is very light, you do not need the largest motors that fit. What is your projected weight? 5x the weight to lift thrust will be nimble without wasting too much power that you will never need or use.

No point going above 250mW for the TX. It will consume more of the available battery power if you do. The efficiency of the TXs is very low, so a 1.6W TX may pull up to 20W.

For a 5" drone, I would want a larger battery. 3S and higher capacity will probably give longer running time for the same weight. I run 5A batteries in my smaller drones and can get around 25 minutes run time. Unless you are racing, go for a larger pack.

Personally I am not keen on combi flight controller / ESCs. I run the Turnigy 4 in 1 30A ESC and never had an issue with it. I've tried the Betaflight FC but couldn't get on with the programming. I use PX4 based hardware now. This gives me more autopilot options, but I don't race my drones, but use them for photography and developing commercial use cases.

This is my drone. 3D printed and built from scratch. No issues with spares, just print a new part!:

IMG_20190903_152013491_HDR.jpg
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
Yo, ricky, my guy, you have 100% missed the point... I'm not asking for general drone advice, as I'm VERY far from new to piloting.
My precise problem is what you find annoying.
Your solution, is my problem.

I don't like Ready to Fly drones.

They're underpowered or too expensive and largely very "preset" in regards to exactly things like PIDS etc etc.

That's exactly what I want. Access to that.
I imagine you love Apple products? No slur meant!!
But I can't stand them.

I also want the satisfaction of using something I've created as it's been awhile since I've been very constructive at all really.
Plus I could genuinely see it becomnig a career, I love technology and circquitry and have soldering skill already... I just dont have the knowledge base/confidence/stupidity to think I can simply transfer those skills to entirely different situation...

I'm really just looking for very specific feedback about this build individually, not just if I should build in general.

That decision has been made, much to the dismay of my wallet hahahaha
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
So for my pennyworth...
Carbon frames will get broken. Get spare parts - probably a few frames and motor arms.
Something I hadn't actualyl considered as I honestly don't plan on crashing... How easy is it to just use arms from Other quads with the same dimensions?? Carbon fibre can be redrilled?
Because that frame doesnt have spare arms easily available/on Banggood


You need to match the motor power to the thrust you need. High speed motors are inefficient at lower speeds so if your quad is very light, you do not need the largest motors that fit. What is your projected weight? 5x the weight to lift thrust will be nimble without wasting too much power that you will never need or use.
See, now, this is the exact thing that had temporarily left my thought pattern in the excitement/ confusion of trying to source compatible/affordable parts.

Okay, so, I've calculated projected weight of 435g, and that's with the smaller batter, WAY more like 550g with one of these:
or this is 400g alone!?

Now the spec sheet for the 2300Kv motors list 950g (@14.8v, only 660g @11.1v) of thrust each. With a 5045 prop.
But the 2800Kv Lists 650g (@14.8v, only 420g @11.1) of thrust east, with a 4045 Prop though. However with an extra inch of airofoil surface, we can boost these alittle, even if that means boosting the amp draw as well.
Now, apart from not entirely being able to wrap my head around how a HIGHER kv motor provides LESS thrust, even the 2800KV motors provide nearly 1:6 weight:thrust with the 2300 offering nearly 1:9.

This would go down with a higher weight of battery obviously, so running an 11.1v system, even the 2300Kv offer barely 1:5, but just for a longer time?

So can you explain why I would, considering these numbers, choose a lower cell/voltage battery given such a loss in thrust, even if I get, what, twice as much flight time? I'd rather just Buy more 4s batteries xD
And why not a 4s 5000mah? I mean, its like 600g, but if its 14.8v, then the 2300Kv motors could probably still handle that xD
My only concern with the lower Kv motors is I dont want to try pumping out too many watts of power to keep the rig up at such a low thrust:weight, and end up just burning them out. Especially with higher pitch props like the 5050s.

I also don't REALLY understand Kv apart from lower Kv is 1st gear (low Rpm but high torque whereas higher Kv is like 5th gear; higher RPM/max speed but less torque/gets their slower )...
Now I'm not gonna be punching full throttle all the time, no, but like I said I want it nimble and responsive as well as fast, they are also 3 blade props, so its alot of torque we're talking about maintaining...
But it's also my general understanding, that if these motors are the same size (2205s) yet one is higher Kv, then one has more windings or stronger magnets, and it would seem like, could withstand more continuous high amp/watt demand?
So considering this, if I'm going with a heavier battery/longer flight times, I would probably want a lower Kv motor to maintain thrust:weight so it still has the power output to not be sluggish even if that means sacrificing some of its speed.
But if I don't mind shorter flight times and have a lighter battery, a higher Kv would be okay because it wont have or need more torque but have a good speed?


No point going above 250mW for the TX. It will consume more of the available battery power if you do. The efficiency of the TXs is very low, so a 1.6W TX may pull up to 20W.
Very very fair, duly noted, very appreciated! I really only went so high so I don't have to stress about range, and my drone falling out of the sky!! I thought basically the higher the mW the greater the range/better the quality its capable of transmitting?

For a 5" drone, I would want a larger battery. 3S and higher capacity will probably give longer running time for the same weight. I run 5A batteries in my smaller drones and can get around 25 minutes run time. Unless you are racing, go for a larger pack.
Previously addressed. I would far rather just buy multiple battaries considering the drop in power output!!

Personally I am not keen on combi flight controller / ESCs. I run the Turnigy 4 in 1 30A ESC and never had an issue with it. I've tried the Betaflight FC but couldn't get on with the programming. I use PX4 based hardware now. This gives me more autopilot options, but I don't race my drones, but use them for photography and developing commercial use cases.
I'll look into PX4. I'm not very interested in autopilot options, rather the oposite, I want to be super hands on!!

This is my drone. 3D printed and built from scratch. No issues with spares, just print a new part!:
DUDE NICE!! !! !!
I feel like a 3D printer isn't gonna be very far behind my 2nd or 3rd fpv lol.

I wanna build this all around one/get into it...
Then build a 2nd "cinematic fpv", upgrade a HEAP of parts, experiment with others like gymbals, mount a go-pro etc
Then build a super long-distance/solar assisted drone
A tiny little 2/3" acro quad
An smaller Alta style octocopter that can take a decent camera payload
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
Buy one, good advice!
Oh true huh? Well sh*t :/

I feel like it just wont be fulfilling. Legit.

I feel like I'll fly it 4 or 5 times and wish it was smaller, or wonder how the motors I would have chosen will perform, or it will want to upgrade certain parts and then we're pretty much right back to this step with me scouring the net for compatability/ posting in forums about upgrdes as opposed to a build from scratch.

I've been on countless threads with people asking for legit the same info: compatability... and not had people try to discourage them from trying to build from scratch.

So I really cant understand why two of you now are, to me, especially given my confidence in the actual building of it, tryna say nah just buy one?

I think I have a pretty firm grasp of things/how they work/ how to actualyl build it, im justalso completely comfortable admitting my lack of knowledgebase in these specific compnents and defernig to moreinformed people.

Not really looking for advice on the entire venture: I'm pretty convinced, that with what I've flown, a kit is just going to leave me wanting like everythnig else so far.

And so might what I build.
For sure.
But I guess that's what I'm checking here?

And sh*t, I might be entirely wrong.
So you're ALSO suggesting i just buy a kit also :/?
Can you suggest one?
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
It depends what part of the hobby you enjoy.

If you like aerial photography, buy a ready built drone. I have a Phantom 2 with a GoPro and gimbal for when the mood takes me -
I get bored though. Interesting buildings are normally close to housing or people, so I can't fly near them legally. Open countryside isn't very interesting and I live too far from any beaches or natural beauty spots to get any really good footage.

I have a racing quad and have played with it a bit. It's much harder to fly but cheap to fix when I crash.

Building my own drone was an exercise in matching motors and props, deciding on batteries, flight controllers etc - and that's before I bolted on optical flow and smart cameras to read location April tags and other image recognition.

3d printing is another hobby and takes practice. I've spent hours modding my printer to improve reliability and accuracy.

Combine that with some RF knowledge to get the best out of the radio kit and you can understand why designing and building my own drone is attractive!
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
To be honest, all aspects!! I love the photography side of things, but wish the mavic was more capable, the phantom smaller/more nimble and BOTH faster, however I cant afford an Alta and that only solves 2 of the issues massively sacrificin gthe 3rd.
I enjoy going for a cruise and avoiding some obstacles but I want to go faster/make tighter turns and get into acro abit
I also enjoy contstruction so most of the ready to fly/prebuilt/pnp/bnf options just bore me.

But MOSTLY I like learning, and tinkering, and troubleshooting and things NOT just being.... easy so even a kit... I really feel would just leave me wanting.

I want customizable.
I want a journey lol.

So it sounds like you have experience building.

What do you think of my component suggestions?
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
My advice would be not to buy from Bangood as getting spares is impossible. Buy from Hobby King or a local outlet and budget to upgrade and swap out lots of parts as you learn what works well.

Motors will get bent shafts and damaged windings, escs will fail, flight controllers will fail to calibrate. What I am saying is that this type of drone takes money to build and keep flying. If you are struggling for finances you will probably just end up with an unflyable machine gathering dust while you save up for the next batch of spares and upgrades!
 

rickyt

Active Member
Sounds like you really made you mind up about building your own drone , Go ahead and good luck . Dont forget to come back on here in few months time to tell us how your getting on or to tell how many problems you've found associated with building your own drone.

The reason I got into flying drones was the photography side of it . I just love the ariel views of places . Some of the footage is surperb as the cameras have got much better over the years . Most have built in cameras , most of mine have , some capable of 4K ,I just prefer 1080 [30 or 60fps]. The range of separate cameras is good too, like the GoPro and many others . I use a Firefly6 , a 90* gyroscopic lens ,this takes awsome footage . So ,many like me now just want to visit a place of interest , hook on a battery ,switch on a camera and fly till the battery drains.

Good luck with your venture.
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
My advice would be not to buy from Bangood as getting spares is impossible. Buy from Hobby King or a local outlet and budget to upgrade and swap out lots of parts as you learn what works well.
Considering the current restrictions, I'm not even sure if hobby shops are open around me, but I'll check and see what options they have.
Banggood has plenty of spares (for the Tyro even) just not for that HSKRC frame I had initially picked.


Motors will get bent shafts and damaged windings, escs will fail, flight controllers will fail to calibrate. What I am saying is that this type of drone takes money to build and keep flying. If you are struggling for finances you will probably just end up with an unflyable machine gathering dust while you save up for the next batch of spares and upgrades!
I'm fully aware of the expense and have apologised to my wallet in advance hahah!!

To avoid that exact scenario happening, got any tips ony my parts list? I did reply to you before, asking some more questions about especially motors..
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
Sounds like you really made you mind up about building your own drone , Go ahead and good luck . Dont forget to come back on here in few months time to tell us how your getting on or to tell how many problems you've found associated with building your own drone.
I have indeed, and I absolutely will keep you all updated haha. Can you see any imediate issues with the build/ parts compatability?

Someone else pointed out the 1600mw VTX is simply overkill, and that I wont need a reciver beyond having it spare, as one will come with the remote!!

I've heard ZOP are bad battaries?

And that I shouldn't need seperate ESC's unless I'm thinking about dramatically pitched props (probs owuld run max 5045s) or if I'm gonna mess around with battery cells etc?
4 in 1 ESC's seem to GENERALLY get a bad wrap, and maybe not the best idea for my first build was another suggestion? just so if something goes wrong, using individual ones, its just one part and motor to replace?



The reason I got into flying drones was the photography side of it . I just love the ariel views of places . Some of the footage is surperb as the cameras have got much better over the years . Most have built in cameras , most of mine have , some capable of 4K ,I just prefer 1080 [30 or 60fps]. The range of separate cameras is good too, like the GoPro and many others . I use a Firefly6 , a 90* gyroscopic lens ,this takes awsome footage . So ,many like me now just want to visit a place of interest , hook on a battery ,switch on a camera and fly till the battery drains.


Yeah nice ^_^ I definitely wanna be able to mount a gopro/racecam for higher-than-DVR footage!!
I'd love to get into the cinematic side of it, maybe get a nice beefy 6 or 7 inch...
But first I gotta learn to fly faster, and with a big box on my face too!! I am used to flying fpv as opposed to los, but only on mavics and phantoms where the video quality gives amazing surrounding awareness, and the manouvres where not crazy haha!!


Good luck with your venture.
Thanks man, any help is massively appreciated :)
 

noiseboy72

Distinguished Member
I can't comment on the specifics, as I've only built 1 racing drone. That used 2800kv motor's and a fairly large 2200 4s pack. It flew ok and was no slouch but was difficult to control accurately.
 

Jazzman345678765

Novice Member
Okay fair enough, thanks for your input, what was the drone you built?
I'm looking at a 5" frame with 2300-2800Kv motors and a 1500-2000mAh 4s battery, so it sounds like a similar rig.
Do you have a parts list for your build?
 
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