Tag Archives: diy

Complete Parts List for Building Your First QuadCopter

Parts List Invoice for Quadcopter
Let’s get down to the important stuff: the exact parts to buy for your own quadcopter build. This post assumes you are starting from nothing (like me), you haven’t been doing RC stuff for years, and you don’t have spare radios lying around, etc. This is the parts list I came up with (and what I subsequently purchased) to build my first quadcopter.

My goals were to:

  1. keep the build cheap,
  2. learn a lot,
  3. spend as little as possible, and
  4. give myself some space to grow.

I also didn’t want to buy stuff that was so cheap that it killed my enthusiasm dealing with crappy parts. With those four goals in mind for my first quadcopter build, I set my budget at $350.

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Buying Parts for a DIY Quadcopter Build

quadcopter parts

When I started the process of building my own quadcopter, I discovered that purchasing the parts was going to be an adventure. In particular:

  • ordering directly from China
  • finding parts that are in stock.

If you go into the shopping process with the right mind set, it can be an enjoyable process. You learn more about the quadcopter you’re going to build, and you get to experience a whole new source (direct from china) for buying parts. But, if you go in thinking it’s going to be an Amazon Prime experience, you’re probably going to be sorely disappointed.

Let’s walk through each of these points in detail  and I’ll share where I ordered from at the end.

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Quadcopter Parts Guide for Beginners

You’ve binge watched FPV Quadcopter racing videos for the past few hours (or days) and now you’re ready to go from spectator to participant with your own quadcopter! In the following post I’ll describe the basic parts needed to build your own quadcopter and what they each do.

This is all based on my own research as I build my own first quadcopter. I’ve decided to go the DIY route primarily because I enjoy the process of learning and building new things. That’s probably my hobby more so than anything else. If you’re not sure you want to go the DIY quadcopter route, there are many ready to fly options available – start by checking out this post on getting started with quadcopters.

At first glance, quadcopters are deceptively complex – Flight controllers, ESC, TX, RX, KV ratings, Telemetry, BEC, Opto, 2.4 Ghz, voltage regulator, blah, blah, blah. High, the geek barrier to entry this hobby is.

Don’t let all the jargon dissuade you from getting started, it’s not nearly as complicated as it seems.

Just realize this: at the basic level quadcopters are extremely simple. You need some motors and propellers, something to control the speed of each motor (ESC), something to tell the motors what to do (Flight Controller), a frame to hold it all together, a radio (transmitter/receiver) to send and receive your commands, and a battery to power it. Six parts.
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Getting Started with Quadcopters

Recently, I got the idea in my head to see if I could build an autonomous drone with a spare Raspberry Pi I had laying around.

While doing some research on the internet, I came across First Person View (FPV) Quadcopter Racing.

Woah. Coolest. Thing. Ever.

As a long time video gamer – I was instantly hooked. Needless to say – my original project was thrown out the window and I spent the rest of the day watching videos and beginning to make plans to build my own. I quickly warned my wife about the upcoming drain on our budget (one must always be fiscally responsible, right?)

Ok, so what is FPV Quadcopter flying? Basically, you fly a radio controlled quadcopter using a first person view versus the usual “stand on the side of a field and fly into a tree from 200 feet away third person view.” You achieve a first person view by transmitting video from a camera mounted to the quadcopter to goggles that you wear. It’s like Star Wars speeder bikes and First Person Shooter video games wrapped up into a real life experience with actual hardware on the line.

What follows in my next series of posts is my experience building my own quadcopter: my research, the process of building, learning to fly, tinkering, and my general path to what I have no doubt will be quadcopter awesomeness.

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