Drones come in all shapes and sizes, and many keen operators much prefer a strong racing model to a basic quadcopter. Some of the best models are FPV models.
FPV means first person view, where cameras and monitors offer a drone’s eye view of the world. This is ideal for those that want to better control over the drone and more than a typical remote control.
The popularity of these models means that many are keen to learn to build an FPV drone. Hand-building drones does another aspect of this hobby that helps operators understand their machine. It is just a bit more complicated with these FPV models than a basic quadcopter.
So why build an FPV drone from scratch, rather than buy a professional model?
There is something very satisfying about building a drone from scratch. It is a labor of love and a rewarding learning process that teaches keen operators about these machines. Those experienced with flying and knowledgeable on the basics may like the challenge of creating their machine.
An FPV model is not for beginners, and not for those learning to fly. This is for those that have the drone bug and want to build something more interesting with better capabilities.
Choosing A Good Kit To Build An FPV Drone
There are lots of kits around for different types of drone. Some kits are more complicated than others with different specifications.
Many keen fliers seem to prefer the basic QAV ZMR 250 DIY kit with the following additional parts. Users need a suitable battery, like a 1300mah 45C 4S LiPo, and a four channel radio control with R7EH receiver.
The choice ultimately depends on personal preference and experience. New builders also need to remember that they need a good toolkit for a good result. This means a servo tester, a good soldering iron, and a multimeter to test the connections.
Then there are the other tools and adhesives that most kits won’t provide. When the kit arrives, it is important that all builders take inventory of all the parts and understand what they have. There may be a lack of instructions, so online guides and video may be of use.
Building An FPV Drone From A Kit
The first place to start when learning to build an FPV drone is in wiring the motors to the flight controls. There two motors that need fixing onto the arm so that they rotate in opposite directions.
A servo tester will tell users if they are correct. Once they are correctly wired up, builders need to attach them to the arms, attach the arms to the frame and solder everything together.
The next step is to attach the Flight Controller correctly. Builders must make sure to get the flight controller in the right position for a balanced flight.
Again, everything needs soldering together nice and neat and tested with the multimeter. These tests help to determine the quality of the connections and the function of the channels.
When it comes to the battery, some choose to mount it underneath the quadcopter racer rather than on the top plate.
They feel that this improves the low center of grvity, but others may disagree. Then there is the job of binding the radio and transmitter for a clear link and functions on all channels. Finally, there is the task of configuring the chosen software.
The final step in learning to build an FPV drone is sorting out the camera. It wouldn’t be an FPV model without one. Newcomers should look for a simple, complete FPV camera pack with the mount, camera and correct cables.
All users need to do is attach the mount into position on the plate, fit the camera then attach the wires to the transmitter. Again, a quick test with the multimeter can help here.
The good thing about the kits is that the cameras are sure to fit into the mounts securely. Those that don’t fit snugly may slip in flight and end up being unreliable.
When the camera is in place, it is time for the finishing touches to build an FPV drone.
Builders should never underestimate the importance of tidying everything up and securing all the parts. The cables need to be carefully tucked away under the top base plate. Tucked cables make the drone look nicer than other drones.
Operators don’t want wires getting caught in the propellers. Users can hold down parts, cameras and other elements with sticky foam, cable ties, velcro ties and whatever else works.
It needs to be secure in all place to make sure that everything stays in place in flight and the connections don’t fail. However, it also needs to be adjustable so builders can move and replace parts if needed.
Then it is time for the test flight.
New builders should be aware that it the model is sure to be wrong the first time around. This is a complex build, and there will be issues with the wiring and controls.
A full flight check is in order here. Does the battery work? Are the motors flying correctly? Does the drone talk to the remote control? Is the video feed from the camera responsive and functional?
All users should also be responsible when testing the FPV. A safe test flight in a clear space is a must, but there are other issues with FPV. While goggles offer a better experience in flight, it is best to use a monitor when getting started. This offers a clearer view of what the drone is doing and where it is.
It is a tricky process to build an FPV drone, but it is also rewarding.
An FPV drone is a must-have for those that are keen on the sport of flying and racing. These drones provide a new approach to the hobby and involve some complex parts and build.
Those experienced with quadcopter kits and drone flying can enjoy these DIY projects and create something brilliant. They may be a little rough around the edges, but they are tough, capable and individual.