Beginner guidance - how and where to start


#1

Hi everyone,

Stumbled across this site when investigating a) how much a drone would be; and b) how difficult it would be to build. I’ve always been techie and since seeing drone racing on tv the other week I’ve been toying with the idea of building a drone. So, my questions are pretty straightforward (I hope!):

  1. Is a small (mostly indoor) kit available? I live in SW London so as you can imagine the opportunities are a little limited. Perhaps if I were to take it a little more seriously I’ll look for somewhere else to try out racing.
  2. How challenging are drones to build? I have built PCs for 10 years or so, and used to be able to use a soldering iron.
  3. How hard is it to learn to fly, and should you start FPV or not?

Thanks in advance for any support!


#2

Hi Tea :slight_smile:

As regards learning o fly. What I have done is buy a FrSky Tarranis controller and use it on my PC with the following simulators, FPV Event, FPV Freerider, LiftOff and theres a free one thats not that good but ok, DRL Simulator. I think the best one, for me anyway is FPV Event which you can buy for a one off fee of £50 or a monthly fee of £5. After learning to fly Acro on these simulators I can now fly well, in the simulators, which gives you an opportunity to get the muscle memory built in to the thumbs or fingers (Thumbs for me) and saves you smashing your drone to bits learning.
I am now currently building a Crusader GT2 for my first drone, ha ha ha , I know, madness! but decided to dive right in.

After 3 weeks of practice I am currently ranked 157 on FPVEvent on the advanced drone Pro circuit so with any luck I will be able to fly the drone in real life. Obviously going to take it easy first off. The first week is a nightmare (Well, it was for me) as I never thought I would get the hang of it but then all of a sudden, muscle memory kicks in and it gets easier from there.

As regards building, the real difficulty is the soldering. Do not use a cheap soldering iron, get a good one, not a butane one,lol. And use 60/40 solder, 60 Tin and 40 lead, it will definitely be easier. You will have to get the solder on amazon or ebay as I think its now illegal to sell it in the shops in the UK, but I could be wrong. Or just get a second hand one of Ebay and smash it about.

Hope that helps.

:slight_smile:


#3

Hi

Yeah as @Stallen (also congrats on your ranking!) I would suggest starting with a simulator is a great place to learn to fly as you dont exactly wanna learn on a £200 quad and crash!

The other option is to just buy a cheap toy quadcopter like the CX-10, as if you can fly one of these then you can fly anything.

Once you are happy to fly and want to give a go at building your own, our current DIY beginner kit is the QAV210 quadcopter, which we have the first part of the assembly guide here

Lastly as you said you prefer something small/indoors then the CX-10 is great to learn to fly, but then if you want something for FPV flying I can suggest you get yourself a QX90 (or one of our other brushed indoor FPV quadcopters) along with a flysky i6 radio and some FPV goggles.

If you have any other questions just let me know


#4

I would also look at getting this. Perfect for plugging in to a Sim and not too expensive but also fully usable when you get out in the field with a real drone.


#5

That is definitely a nice form factor radio, but wouldn’t trust it for anything more than an fpv racing quad as the range if the unit is not great should only get about 600m… atleast not as good as taranis, or the newly released at10ii radio that claims to have 4km range. But as a first radio it’s great for the price and perfect for park flying!


#6

Personally, I’d skip the simulators. They ain’t perfect and can be finicky. I’d pick up a simple Hubsan x4 H107L (or similar, see Alex’s post about indoor quads) and learn basic Line of Sight flying. Once you’re confident with that, maybe look to either
A) build a basic brushed micro with FPV
B) mod the H107L and give it a camera

I started with modding my H107L to FPV. Still flyable indoors and makes it a little more docile so you can get used to the controls a lot more! Plus once you start hitting outdoors, you can keep to smaller, tighter locations. I whizz about with my modded Hubsan in an underground car park and have waaayyyy more fun than with my 250 class.

Brushed micros are also super simple builds, nice introduction to the process and flight controllers imo, and there’s plenty of build videos available! And they’re affordable! Win win!

I’d say once your more confident at FPV flying and want to start jumping up class sizes, that’s when you’d want to look at simulators (Hubsan is 90mm class if I’m thinking correct. I modded mine to a 110mm frame and it still feels different to my 250)


#7

Thanks for the advice everyone. I’ll definitely take a look into the smaller indoor ones as a starting point. What’s the largest you could realistically fly in a home? I would assume not much larger than a 100mm frame?


#8

I fly a 110mm brushed indoors, but I find myself bumping things a fair amount. Anything under 100mm is pretty good indoors.


#9

Ok, looks like there’s some research to do on brushed drones. Would definitely be good to build one for the experience.

Alternatively, I stumbled across the H107d - is that a reasonable start for getting into quads and some fpv flying and then build something larger when I can fly?


#10

My friend has the H107D. It’s quite tanky and a bit on the pricey side. It’s a good starting point but I feel the FOV on the camera is too narrow. It’s your call, do some research a make a decision :slight_smile:


#11

Thanks for the response. I’m leaning towards the 107D. I often find that I’ll enjoy something quickly then spend more money, so can’t help but feel that if I were to get a non-FPV I’d very quickly be itching for more and end up spending a LOT more than the 107D.

Would I be right in saying I could swap out the transmitters (video and control) if I wanted to use a pair of goggles and a different remote in the future? Would that be a relatively simple change with some basic sokdering, or are the internals all mounted on one PCB?


#12

Not quite sure about that on the Hubsan. I’ve tried finding the receiver input to replace and haven’t had much luck yet. As for the video, I’ve no idea. I can always tap into my mates feed when he’s flying his H107D but it has to connect to his controller and initialise first.

From what I know, the H107D is an all in one board but I haven’t seen its internals(could be 2, one for FPV, one for flight controller). You may want to consider something like the QX90/95. Super easy to change TX/RX and FPV stuff. Runs off one board I think (2 with a micro receiver? I’m unsure) and they can be set up almost exactly the same as the Hubsans, and is a gateway for larger quads and clean flight/beta flight


#13

I think the QX90/95 might be a little much to start with - transmitter and goggles in it’d be nearer £200 it looks like. Reading around I get the impression it would be tougher to handle and more prone to needing repairs than a simpler Hubsan as well, which would be a pain whilst learning.

I think I might just get the Hubsan then gradually build up to getting a decent pair of goggles which I can use with the 107 and something larger (tricky as I need glasses) then once I’m comfortable get get involved with a beginner build kit or similar.


#14

I agree with the QX90/QX95. A FlySky i6 or i6X transmitter, and then start out with a pair HobbyKing Quanum V2 Pro goggles.
The QX90/95 from Banggood.com in China. Pay extra for Priority Direct Mail - Often like $3.50 extra. Cuts shipping down from 4 weeks to 2 weeks.
The Quanums from here: https://hobbyking.com/en_us/quanum-diy-fpv-goggle-v2-pro.html for around 55 pounds. Then you still need a receiver. Price anywhere from UKP 25 and up. With and without VCR.
And get some AOMWAY blue antennas for the video RX from BG.


#15

A slightly biased view since we sell them :wink: but I think the VR007 goggles are better than quanumn kit. But quanumn kit does give abit more flexibiliy as you can use your own receiver, but for beginners I always suggest the VR007 as they are an excellent price and work very well)