This article is aimed on explaining you 5 things that are extremely necessary to think about before you buy your first drone. So here are the 5 things to check before buying a drone:
Drones And Their Flights
First things first- you should know that anything that is up in the air and you are controlling it from the ground is not easy. You can’t just expect to put up a quadcopter up in the air and control it unless it has this flight controller chip inside. But you must remember that flight controllers also vary from drone to drone depending on how they are set up, either for agile flying or stable flying. Now there are a few more things to talk about flying skill level – let’s call it the ease-of-use to price ratio.
Now what you need to know further is when the price increases for helicopters , radio control cars or planes, the difficulty level also increases. But for drones, the case is not the same. Usually, the drones that are easy to fly fall in the range of $700. The reason for their easy flight is the added sensors and flight controllers modified functionality. If we talk about some examples, we have Phantom 3, Q500 4K(around $800-$1300), Inspire 1 and 3DR SOLO in the market that are easiest to fly. On the other hand, we have Hubsan X4 or Syma X5C – that are cheap but hard to fly.
Is The Drone Ready To Fly?
Have you ever wondered on the small acronyms pop up on the drones when you are buying? Scribbled upon them are acronyms such as RTF, ARF and BNF. So what are these? Have a look:
RTF: Ready-To-Fly. This feels more like a piece of cake since you don’t have to do anything with it. You just have to do small tasks like charging the battery, binding the controllers to the copter or installing the propellers.
BNF: Bind-And-Fly. The BNF copter usually comes assembled but with the exception of without a controller. You either have to use your already-in-use controller if its compatibility is fine or buy a controller separately for the purpose. One thing that’s important to note here is that if the frequencies are same for transmitter and receiver, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will get along fine. Back in analog days, they were almost guaranteed to work along fine but in digital era, this is not the case anymore. In order to talk to each other, they need to be the product of the same manufacturer protocol. So yes, it’s high time you check for the compatible controllers before buying your BNF drone.
ARF: Almost-ready-to-fly. They are usually not available with a transmitter or a receiver and require a partial assembly. The ARF drones kit are expected to leave out on small components like the ESCs or the motors or in some cases, even the flight controllers and batteries. So you see that the definition of ARF drone kit is quite broad, so once you see ARF scribbled on the pack, make sure you read the description carefully.
Investments, Investments & Investments
If you are looking forward to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars, then there is seriously a need of thinking wisely and spending wisely. Below are some things that crossed people’s minds and helped them drastically. Let’s have a look:
1- Thinking of getting a really good controller? It is one of the best investments you will make. Controllers don’t get outdated/obsolete very quickly; so just in case you are planning to dive in the pool of copter flying, you are going to need a solid controller that has at least a lifetime of couple of years. You can also make it work for like 10 years – it is possible by replacing the transmitter with latest transmitters. Introduce your controller to newer technologies with the time!
2- Invest in a good charger. It might sound stupid spending so much just for a battery charger, but this is the case similar to controller – the more you put in the more you get for a long time. You might easily get cheap chargers with the RTF drone kits but they are very slow, not too reliable and are usually only capable to charge the battery they come with – nothing bigger. So in case you think of getting a bigger drone, full your pockets with more money for a better charger. The plus point of expensive chargers is their capability of charging any battery you want – that is lithium polymer to lead acid.
3- Yes we know buying your first drone seems very exciting but a good research is extremely necessary. The formula is simple – More research, more knowledge gain. When knowledge gets to you, you will eventually get a hold of difference between the drone parts. Also, you will have a better understanding of how one part is better than the other etc. This can save a lot of your time and money because once you know where pieces are to fall, you won’t put a wrong piece in there.
Online Places For Your Drone Purchase
There is a whole world of online stores out there offering drones with shipment to almost all major countries. Mostly, the online drone retailers are found in either China or the USA, but as deep as your research goes, you can find some smaller store near you.One big name that has made its name in the drone world is called Hobby King. They literally have a lot a lot of products up for sale – probably tens of thousands products. They sell their own designed products, some are their own manufactured products and some are just simple retailer products. But as they say knowledge is power so you should read reviews before buying anything.
This can also help you determine what problems other people are going through when buying things from their store.Another place where you can look for is the RCGroups.com’s Classifieds section of. This section displays amazing deals, but beware of scamming! Be careful of the seller there. Just watch out and you’ll be fine. Below is a list put up for finding drones or drone parts online (the top being the best and the bottom being the average):
- DJI: Number 1, no doubt.
- getfpv.com: FPV frames with high quality, components and more.
- HobbyKing: The biggest place for radio control.
- ReadyMadeRC.com: Better prices for FPV components.
- Quadrocopter.com: photography drones? High end aerial available here.
- helipal.com: Offering products from DJI, Tarot, Walkera, etc.
- dronefly.com: Phantom related products and repair services.
- buzzflyer.co.uk: UK based HeliPal version.
Be A Part Of The Community
If you are willing to own a drone, then its time you become a part of some online forum or a physical community. The online forums range from specific ones to general ones where you can easily find different reviews and news from around. Let’s have a look at some popular forums out there:
- My First Drone Beginners Group: The name says it all.
- RCgroups.com: Find radio control related things here.
- DIYDrones.com: More towards a robotic approach.
- FPVLab.com: Anything FPV related.
- PhantomPilots.com: Find about Phantom here.
- MultirotorForums.com: Find about Multirotor here.
- DJIGuys.com: Find about DJIGuys here.
It’s Never The End
So we have reached the end – but it’s never the end because we have covered a probably half of the drone world and there will always be newer concerns coming up, so don’t forget to research, research and research before spending your hundreds of dollars.