This article is geared towards providing a detailed list of parts and components for FPV mini quadcopters. These devices run five inch or six inch propellers and are also known as racing drones. If you are considering of building your next quadcopter, you should get a great help from this article as it will keep you updated with all the required parts and brands for your FPV mini quadcopter.
Please do note this article is regularly updated so some of the products you may see added new/removed/outdated from time to time. Ill add new products to our list every month so stay tuned to my page to stay updated with the latest developments. I will endeavor to keep this list updated and if you think that I have missed an important component or two, let me know through your comments in the comments section below.
Lastly It is not possible to compile a list of every quadcopter parts and brand since there are hundreds of them. so, you should search on Google and purchase what you need.
Exhaustive list of 300+ Mini Quadcopter Parts
Are you inclined towards flying mini quadcopter also known as the racing drones? You can check out the following drone racing guide to get further information.
This list consists of mainly following parts:
- Flight Controller
- ESC (Electronic Speed Controller)
- LiPo Battery
- FPV Camera
- FPV Transmitter/Receiver
- FPV Antenna
- FPV Goggle/Monitor
- Recording Camera
- OSD (On Screen Display)
- Voltage Regulator/Power Filter
- Miscellaneous Items
- RTF ARTF Quadcopters
FPV drone racing is becoming popular among enthusiasts and common public with every passing day. So it is quite difficult to keep track of all the mini quadcopter products that are released every second day in the market. I hope that this guide will help you stay updated with the latest trends in the mini quadcopter industry.
A decent frame should be resistant to crash, strong, sturdy, boast an effective design and easy to build. If you choose a frame after due consideration, it will assist you a lot in the drone building process. It will also ensure that you do not have to spend a lot of time repairing and maintaining your drone and will protect your components and hence your money to be spent on buying spare parts. It also provides ample protection to the electronic circuitry inside and also enhances your drone’s flight performance.
The conventional size of flight controllers for mini quadcopters is 36mm x 36mm with 30.5mm mounting holes. You can check out the following flight controllers that tend to work well with majority of the mini quadcopters.
You should go Cleanflight and Betaflight (F1, F3 and F4) for majority of the flight controllers as their firmware. Raceflight is mainly run on F3 although it is also compatible with F4. Kiss flight controller runs the Flyduino’s own firmware and is also compatible with Betaflight.
While building mini quadcopter, you have to decide on the type of motor that you should use. It has a great impact on the device’s speed, flight duration and performance. You will get plenty of options when it comes to choosing motors. The following motors tend to support 5 and 6 inch propellers.
It is probable that you might come across different readings regarding thrust data on other places. The main reason for this is that these tests were conducted in different environments using different equipment. We have retrieved some of the thrust data from MiniQuadTestBunch.com
While choosing the ideal motor for your mini quadcopter, in addition to thrust, there are myriad factors that need to be taken into consideration. So, other than peak thrust, factors such as the quality of the motor build, motor’s response, efficiency, Rotations per Minute and current draw under different throttle values are also very important.
Before you decide on which of the propellers to purchase, you should get yourself familiar with them.
Keep lots of spare propellers
While flying drones, you will come to know that they get consumed a lot during flying adventures. This is so because the mini quadcopters tend to go through numerous crashes. So, you are bound to have your propellers broken down. Propellers are not that expensive generally so it is always a good idea to have some in your storage in case you need one urgently.
Go for durable propellers
Initially, the mini quadcopter propellers were made of ABS or similar types of mixed plastic, and were quite fragile. The engineers in the mini quadcopter manufacturing industry have now started building propellers made of durable or indestructible plastic. These propellers are not easily broken and can help you save some money and the time that is required to replace broken propellers. The indestructible propellers, however, have a couple of disadvantages:
- They tend to band after crashes. Since they do not break down so the bends are not easy to spot which results in vibrations in flight
- Since they do not break so the impact of the crash or a collision is likely to get transferred to the motor bearing and consequently shortens motor’s lifespan
The more blades your mini quadcopter has, the more thrust it will be able to provide but that depends on the fact that if the motor furnishes sufficient torque to handle the propeller. Having said that, it results in an increase in the current draw as well. So, the fewer blades your machine has, the more efficient will be its current draw and overall efficiency. IMO Hex propellers are not really efficient and are quite fragile as well. Tri-blade quadcopters are the more preferred option these days because they provide a nice blend of thrust and efficiency.
It is not possible to compile a list of every propeller and brand since there are hundreds of them. So, you should search on Google and purchase what you need. Some of the popular brands that manufacture propellers include DYS, HQ, GemFan, DAL, FC, KingKong, Racerstar etc. Racestar, DAL and KingKong are pretty good for beginners. They are the ones that I am using myself and they are quite reliable, durable and reasonably priced.
Electronic Speed Controller
Once you have decided what motor and propeller should you go for your quadcopter, next important thing to consider is the current requirement. If a motor draws more current than can be managed by the Electronic speed controller, it will result in the failure of the ESC. Most of the modern ESCs tend to perform well. They are installed with the BLHeli_S firmware and are compatible with DShot600 and MultiShot which are the preferred firmware and ESC protocols.
LiPo batteries come once you have selected the motor, propellers and ESC you are going to install in your quadcopter. Following factors need to be kept in mind:
- Number of cells
- C rating and the optimum discharge rate
Number of Cells: 3S or 4S?
Motor or ESC manufacturers suggest the LiPo with the required cell count that is compatible with their motor. The higher the number of cells, the more power will be produced and hence more speed but for that you need to ensure that your charger is compatible.
I would suggest you to go for the 4S one since it will be a lot more powerful, speedy and hence will provide you more fun. Earlier, it was a lot more easier to build a quadcopter with a 3S LiPo battery. But now manufacturers have started producing 4S batteries which can be used to build mini quadcopters.
The most prevalent capacity in the world of mini quadcopters is between 1300mAh and 1800mAh for both 3S and 4S LiPo batteries configurations. The actual aim is to determine the right combination between flight duration and weight. The higher the capacity of the battery, the more flight duration you will attain but at the cost of a bulky device. When the drone gains too much weight, it becomes too lazy and loses its pace in the air. So, a light aircraft is what most of the drone racers and free-styler pilots prefer. Battery packs with capacities in the range of 1300mAh and 1500mAh are the most popular.
For instance, if a mini quadcopter draws 48 ampere current in total at 100% throttle which is 12 ampere per motor, then a 1300mAh battery with a C rating around 37C should serve the purpose well.
The following battery packs could be really effective in the above mentioned situation:
- ZIPPY Compact 1300mAh 3s 40c Lipo Pack
- Turnigy nano-tech 1300mAh 3S 45~90C Lipo Pack
There are few people who are of the view that battery packs with low C ratings provide decent enough performance. On the contrary, there are folks out there who believe that if the C rating is well below the required levels, the quadcopter will not boast the required degree of punch and hence will suffer from voltage sag. It could even result in the overheating of battery and hence adversely affect its health.
It should be kept in mind at the same time that batteries with higher C rating tend to be heavier as well. Here some of the popular LiPo brand names
- Turnigy Nano-Tech
- Drone Lab
- Tattu (Gens Ace)
HVLi or LiHV is a new type of battery that is the acronym for High Voltage LiPo battery. They can be charged to 4.35 Volts per cell; thereby providing higher initial voltage and higher overall capacity.
If you are not familiar with the First Person View system or want to get more insight into this technology then you should consult our following guide on FPV.
PZ0420 (Sony Super HAD) was the best onboard FPV system for drones but times have changed and drone pilots now prefer a camera that is shielded with a protective casing such as the Runcam Swift or HS1177. They can be installed rather easily on a mini quadcopter and tend to provide performance that is almost equivalent to PZ0420. I would recommend you the Swift since it has the ability to provide you great output in the right conditions if you have got the configuration right.
There are Starlight cameras on the market if you are interested in the night FPV flight adventures such as the Runcam Owl Plus and the Foxeer Night Wolf. It is believed that he Night Eagle provides quite impressive performance.
CMOS cameras with enhanced WDR and light handling functionalities in contrast to CCD are getting back in competition. The Aomway 700TVl is quite a decent example of these systems. The Runcam Eagle deserves a special mention here which boasts tremendous WDR performance and is one of my all time favorite FPV camera systems out there.
Video Transmitter or Receiver
When it comes to video transmitters (vTX) and video receivers (vRX), there are tons of options available to the consumer. A number of different frequencies such as 1.2GHz, 1.3GHz and 2.4GHz are on offer for FPV systems. Keep in mind that some of these frequencies might not be legitimate in some countries though. Owing to the small sized antenna and the video transmitter unit, most of the drone enthusiasts prefer to opt for the 5.8GHz frequency band. Moreover, since the mini quadcopters do not generally fly at a long distance, so this frequency band tends to be the most preferred.
You should know that there are five frequency bands in the 5.8GHz FPV video transmission systems which are known as the A, B, E, F and Raceband bands (ABCEF). The more advanced video transmitters support 48 channels, that is 6 bands which are labelled as ABCEDF. Here is a 5GHz frequency band table for your reference that will inform you about frequencies that are part of each band and the brands that are utilizing them.
While choosing the video receiver, you should be careful that it is supported by your video transmitter and that both of them work on the same frequency band. If you are purchasing a pair of FPV goggles, then it comes with an integrated video receiver so you will not be needing a dedicated video receiver then.
Both video transmitters and video receivers generally come with whip antennas. They offer decent enough performance but in order to ensure that you get enhanced performance, you will have to resort to circular polarized antennas.
To enhance the range further, you can also use the helical or patch antennae on your video receiver. While they provide enhanced range, they tend to offer a narrower beam of reception. This implies that a pilot will get an attenuated signal left and right and even more attenuated one at the back. The antennae come with a variety of gains and the higher is the value of gain, the more directional an antenna is.
Finally, when you are opting for your video transmitter and receiver, you should be careful that the kind of connectors are supported.
FPV Goggle or Monitor Display
There is no concept of FPV experience without a display unit. FPV goggles provide an exhilarating viewing experience to the user but it has low cost alternatives as well which are in the form of LCD monitors.
I used to fly my FPV drone using a seven inch screen which was a great thing for people who put on spectacles. It also made it easy for me to alternate between line of sight flying and FPV flying as and when required. But in bright sunlight, it tends to be difficult to view the display screen while the FPV goggles furnish an immersive digital experience.
You can go through following detailed guide to learn a thing or two about purchasing the right FPV goggles for your drone.
Let’s go through some options that are available in terms of monitors.
You should also keep in mind that some of the FPV goggles come loaded with some exquisite features such as an integrated receiver, a Digital Video Recorder and head tracking. You will definitely not get these features packed in your monitor display.
On Screen Display
This one is another optional gadget that portrays additional information on your display screen. As far as the mini quadcopters go, we are mostly concerned with the fundamentals such as battery lifespan and timer. Having said that, you can always use telemetry for this purpose as well.
Power Distribution Board and Voltage Regulator
You are suggested to obtain a good quality power distribution board integrated with a voltage regulator (5V or 12V) and power filters. A voltage regulator alone is also an option but it would make your wiring a lot more tricky.
The noise in the power is mitigated with the help of the LC power filter. If you are using your primary LiPo battery pack to power your video transmitter and FPV camera, you might come across jumping white lines in the video feed during flying. The LC filter is there to reduce this kind of noise. You can either purchase them or even build one of them to suit your needs.
FPV Recording Camera
A mini quadcopter typically has two cameras one of which is the FPV camera that we have been talking about for so long in the above paragraphs. The other camera is the one that is used to record video footage at a resolution of 1080p and 60 frames per second. Most of the videos that have been uploaded to YouTube and Vimeo have been recorded using this top quality HD camera.
GoPro action cameras are probably the best ones to think of in this regard. If you are looking for low cost ones, then the Runcam HD and Mobius are the most popular. In contrast to the GoPro action cameras, they are very cheap, light in weight and yet boast capabilities that let them capture top quality video footages. The Xiaomi Yi is another popular camera with the Superview Script in particular since it is capable of producing some stunning video footage of the quality of video produced by a GoPro action camera.
There are a number of spare parts and tools that you might end up need while building your quadcopter. Here is a list for your reference:
- Radio transmitter and receiver
- LiPo battery charger
- Soldering Iron or station
- Battery straps
- Gold Bullet Connector
- Power distribution board
- Power wire
- Loctite Glue
- Liquid electrical tape
- LED lights (strip)
Mini Quadcopter Kit
Some of the mini quadcopters are ready to fly and loaded with majority of the components that you will be needing such as the motors, ESCs, FC etc. It is more advisable to choose each part yourself, but if you are a newbie, then you might be inclined towards this option which is the more easier one as well. Here are some ready to fly or almost ready to fly quadcopters.
That’s it Guys
I sincerely hope that you will have benefitted from this post in the quest to build your own quadcopter. You would have come to know about the main concepts and what people think about them. If you still have any queries, let us know in the comments section and we will get back to you.