You may have heard about FPV racing. This new hobby where little drones, remotely controlled using video camera live stream, are challenging at very high speed and low altitude.

As I already had most of the parts with my other drones, I have decided to build a cheap “quad racer”.

Various pilots’ teams are proposing  very high quality frames with a very nice configuration.

However, before to break into my piggy bank, I have preferrred to create my own configuration for a much lower price (without cutting down the performances).

We targetted for this machine a maximum weight of 500 grs.

The Frame

After much thought I decided to select the quad racer GE260 frame, you’ll find herunder for approx 30 Euros:

ge260
Advantages :

  • Integrated support for anti-vibration camera.
  • « clean & dirty »system to isolate the vibrations of the motor’s arms from the rest of the frame.

First flight this afternoon, no vibration on the video and the flight controller behave correctly. Nothing to say.

Other nice 
QAV 250 (isolated camera mount)
Diatone FPV 37# (integrated power distribution and led strips)

Propulsion

For the motors I have been inspired by configurations I have found on rcgroups and I have selected 4 DYS BE1806 – 2300kv  motors which are able to develop a maximum upward thrust of almost 500grs each !

They are coupled with ESC EMAX SimonK series12A and  Gemfan 5*3 propellers.

 

Flight control

For the flight controller I purchased a Flip 32 wich is an upgraded version of the famous Naze32.

I couldn’t also resit to purchase a high performance led band from Hobbyking (the same as the one utilized by the Argonay team to give the StarWars look to their machines on their videos).
I have selected the yellow ones: LED 5w yellow band 120mm x 10mm.
They are also available in  red, blue, green and white.

 Video transmission

As I already have the equipment I have then simply purchased a new transmitter which is compatible with my actual equipment.

I really recommand you the Eachine FPV200 kit. You get a tiny 200mw 32 channels video transmitter and a 700TVL CCD wide angle camera for US$30 !!! I fly with this kit for more than 6 mounth now and I’m really happy with it.

Eachine FPV200

For video reception I bought a diversity receiver wich is really great to get a clear image and longer range. I use it with a cloverleaf antenna and 5 turn helix antenna.
FR632 diversity

But you can also start with a cheaper 32 channel receiver like this one :
RC 832

Do not forget to also buy cloverleaf antennas like these ones:  FPV Factory cloverleaf TX RX antennas.

For the camera, my GoPro 2 is a little bit heavy. To keep within budget, I have chosen a 808 #16 instead of a Mobius.

 

Video tx

5.8Ghz FPV kit Eachine FPV2000

Eachine FPV200

FPV camera HD 720p

Caméra FPV 808#16

FPV camera 808 #16 HD 720p

FPV camera HD 1080p
Caméra 1080p Mobius

Mobius HD 1080p wide angle

I have placed several orders, they have been delivered in 9 days for the most fastest one and in 22 days for the longest one.

Summarry

Total : ~ US$ 220 (battery and radio receiver not included) isn’t it nice ???

For thoses who needs to buy battery, charger and radio I would recommand :

Other usefull accessories :

EDIT 09/11/2014 :
I have received the leds’band ^^ :

I would also strongly recommend that you get hold of a bluetooth unit as this one. You will then be able to use an application on your smartphone and connect yourself to the drone by means of the bluetooth to perform the configuration adjustements ( this being essential on the field).I use Multiwii EZ-GUI on my  Android smartphone.

Here is a basic schema to help you wire your quadcopter :

Quadcopter-basic-schema

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38 COMMENTS

  1. Hey!,
    can you please describe the cables Il have to buy in order to connect the drone? what else would I need? I have futaba 6j controller, will it work with Crius flight controller?

  2. Do you need to get more wires to wire all up? or do I simply buyall of that, remote, battery, connecting it and flying?

  3. Hi,
    What is your experience of the quality and reliability of the listed items from Banggood? I’m about to place an order and I’m unsure if the listed items are any good.
    Thanks

    • I placed many orders from Banggood and never had problem.
      I use this little quad since septembre 2014, many crashes, nothing broke (maybe I’m also lucky).

  4. This is a very helpful page and much appreciated. I’m hoping to get started soon. I’ve built foam jests from scratch from RCPowers.com and would love to see this style on a platform that. Thanks

  5. Hey again, seems like I cant post any replies on the other reply comment (perhaps length issue?)
    first, Id really like to tell you how grateful I am for your help, not many people would have the patience to explain and help like you,
    Ive decided to go with your build, I did changed the transmitter and receiver due to budget optimaztion…

    Hopefully last questions before I order :) :
    You can look at the list here, https://docs.google.com/document/d/1ahGXnRT5hYJ8kOYs0LIjut6QVWk4LwVC8HCBZs8HFhs/pub

    1. Am I missing anything? can you suggest charger + discharger and voltage alarm?

    2. as I said, Ive changed the transmitter and receiver for FPV setup, will they be OK?

    3. What do I need the clevar leaf antenna for?

    4. What flying time were you able to achieve with the 2200 mah battery?

    thanks!

    • 1 – You got almost everything :-)
      For charger I use IMax B6 (don’t forget to get the power supply it is not provided).
      Lipo Alarm is there.
      In case you need a radio you can give this one a try : Flysky FS-T6
      2 – These are the first RC/TX I bought they work very well
      3 – Basic antennas provided with RX and TX are really bad. Cloverleaf will avoid lots of parasites and you’ll get a better image.
      4 – WIth 1300mah i get 8 minutes, with 2200mah 10 minutes. You whould take Lion Power battery it is a higher C rate than YKS you’ll get a more responsive drone : Lion Power 3S 1300mah 25C

      • Thank you again, Ive ordered everything, turned out to be bit higher than I expected haha… but probably because I had to get cables, chargers, and a monitor ofcourse.
        Il give an update once the things will get here :)

  6. Hi,

    Thank you for a great article.
    I am putting together an order with banggood.
    I am unsur which controller board to select, either the Crius MWC MultiWii SE V2.5 or the Flip32 Flight Controller With 32-bit STM32 10Dof.

    Which one do you suggest to start with?

    Thank you.

  7. Hey again!
    I got my order (excet FPV parts, other package) and just wanted to ask a few questions..
    did you use soldering iron to connect the ESC and motors?
    all of the motors wire are black, what way do they go to the ESC?
    I might have some questions later on haha… thats for now :)
    thank you

  8. Yes I soldered ESC to motors but you can use 2mm banana connectors (you will need to solder them too).

    No problem to wire motors, you can plug them whatever you want. When you will need to ajust motor rotation (CW, CCW) you have to switch 2 of the 3 cables and that’s it.

  9. Hello again!
    took a while but I received my banggood order and started connecting things up, im at the point where all the esc are wired to the power distribution board and motors, and the frame is half built, just a few questions about the flight controller:
    1. Where do I connect it to the power distribution board?
    2. Does it matter what way are the ESC controlled? (There are many pins, which one should I connect them to?)
    3. What firmware should I be using?
    4. I have futaba radio receiver that I got with me remote, there are 2 gray wires, does it matter which one goes to negative and which one goes to positive? and what way should I connect the channels from the recevier to the flight controller?

    I tried looking online for them,but found unclear answers… also – building the quad is one of the nicest projects that Ive ever worked on, lucky for me you suggested not to buy the ready one! :)
    have a nice weekend!

    • - Flight controler is only connected to ESC and radio receiver. 5V Power comes from the BEC integrated in your ESC.
      – You must respect polarity of your ESC servo connection (Ground (Black/Brown), +5V (RED), Signal (White/Yellow)).
      – I recommand to use CleanFlight with the Flip32
      – Yes it matters how you connect your receiver, you should look at the schema I just added at the end of the post

      • Its flying! Im so happy haha! its working great I must say, taking off with tiny amount of trust and is very quick! I couldnt figure out how to set the fpv though (the onboard transmitter), in the TV out (of the camera ) cables there were few cables with different colours than the cables that are connected to the transmitter (transmitter had 5 cables..) could you please tell me which one goes to which?
        http://imgur.com/2AaGAl5

        the 5 cables that are in the bundle are the TX connection while the other cable that divides up to 3 cables is the camera out cable…

        and, just for the fun of it, heres my little drone :) http://imgur.com/MvKjbnS

  10. hello! great project, could u make a video showing how to assemble everything like soldering, how to hook up the battery to the fpv system, and basic assembly?

  11. Hi there,
    First of all thank you for making this tutorial!!!.I’ve been considering for a while on building a fpv drone, and decided on you’re approach.
    However, as maybe expected, i am new to this :)) , and need a bit of guidance.
    1.I have opted to go as close to you as possible, could you please check if i need missed something ?
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1I8xIfqeve3p-MbF8saTxg0CloHwubcRbUz6HHQHC-lA/edit?usp=sharing
    2.At this point it is unclear to me how the video works.What receives it?Might be a long shot, but can i sync it with my phone?

    Again thank you for you’re help :).

  12. Hello!

    I’ve basically picked up all of the parts you recommend above, but am having a minor issue. The PCB you list doesn’t fit on the GE250 frame – the frame screws are in the way, no matter where I try to mount it. Did you modify the PCB at all? Is there another PCB that would fit?

    Thanks!

  13. Hi and thanks for the material.
    I’ve built my drone, but am having trouble with the motors.
    i can’t seem to calibrate them.
    #1,#2 work fine
    #4 has very low rpm at full throtle,
    #3 is the weirdest. At half input from controler it activates, and the switches rotation from cw at full throtle, to ccw at minimum.
    Can you please tell me how to calibrate the esc’s and motors?
    I was using cleanflight for this, but that method doesn’t seem to work for me.
    Thank you

    • I forgot to post the solution here.
      It was due to the fact that i didn’t calibrate the esc’s properlly.
      I was doing it by sound, and exited early.
      The only solution i found for this was to buy a programming card and redo them.

      It flies beautifully. :)

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