August 21, 2014

Next project, a cheapest mini quad?

The bench has a lot of things waiting. A 450 in need of landing skids and tail servo mount. A 550 in need of service and upgrades. A 250 in need of a proper gyro setup (3GX). A tri-copter in need of improved electronics and a fixed prop mount.

But right now I know other things that are more interesting. FPV quad copters of the smaller kinds! Having finished my second I realized both my mini-quads suffer from a particular drawback, the price. I did the math on my last build and ended up with a whooping $470. It sounds a lot but when you break it down and look at the choice of flight controller, the choice of telemetry radio and sensors, the choice of brand name video transmitter it is actually not that exceptional.

The biggest problem with this is that I fear of flying at certain locations knowing that a crash would be expensive. Areas such as over water or over dense underbrush. Battling this problem is easy, by building a cheaper machine, picking parts only (or almost only) based on price and what I already have in the drawers. I took half an hour today to put a build together.

  • Frame: Diatone FPV250 v2. I have gotten this one already to get the landing gear I lost earlier.
  • ESC: RCX SimonK 10A.
  • Flight controller: CC3D Clone. Yes, it hurts, but it's a better option than the equally priced KK.
  • Motors: RCX 1804 2400Kv. There are options at the same price, but I already have two of those.
  • Receiver: Corona R4FA-SB. There are cheaper 6ch non-sbus FASST receivers, but I already got one of those in the drawer.
  • OSD: Super Simple OSD. I'm going with OSD instead of telemetry. This is the cheapest one.
  • VTx: SkyZone TS 5823 200mW. There are cheaper ones but they usually don't work with Fatshark. This one I got already
  • Camera: Sony Super HAD-II mini

This configuration sums up to about $200. You can probably shave off a few dollars on the receiver, video transmitter and choosing a not so good camera, but this is as far as my compromises go.

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