How to Build A FPV Racing Quadcopter
Humans can’t fly, but they have that desire from the very ancient of time and nothing could stop them. From that desire they have built airplanes, helicopters and rockets to rock the sky. A quadcopter or drone is a modern invention to meet that thirst of flying. The popularity of quads are being increased day by day to the people of all ages. FPV or First Person View quadcopter is the most popular drone as it carries a camera that give you the taste that a pilot feels from an aircraft. Fortunately there are various kits available in market that you just have to assemble to get your plane. This is all about to teach you guys how to build a FPV racing quadcopter at home. Build your own and enjoy how it feels.
What Do You Need To Build A FPV Racing Quadcopter?
To construct your FPV quadcopter you must have to learn about its basic parts of it. Actually you’ll need to build two sides of things- the actual quadcopter and the FPV system. You can’t build a quadcopter without some essential parts as per the following list:
- One Quadcopter Frame
- Four Propellers
- Four Motors
- Four ESCs or Electronic Speed Controls
- One Battery
- One Power Distribution Board
- One Radio Transmitter and Receiver system
- One Flight Control Board (Brain)
- FPV Components (Camera, Video Transmitter, Goggles)
- Battery Charger
- Low Voltage Alarm
- Zip ties
- Gorilla Glue or Loctite
- Double-Sided Tape
- Soldering Iron and Solder etc.
What Are the Quadcopter Parts For?
At this point I will give you a short description of the main parts those are essential for building a FPV quadcopter. It will give you an idea and make things easy I hope. Other components are the additional tools and accessories required for soldering and assembling your main parts.
- Quadcopter Frame:
The very first thing to build a FPV quadcopter is the frame. Four arms (or legs) attached to the central body make the frame to give the machine’s main structure. You are going to put everything to it. Choose the Carbon fiber frames that are very light and strong.
Propellers will give lift and direction to your FPV racing quadcopter. Four propellers are added to the four arms. Two pusher propellers spin clockwise and two normal propellers spin counter-clockwise. So you will want to get at least one pair of each type.
The next thing you will probably need four motors. Each motor will be put at the end of each arm of your quadcopter. Along-with the propellers the motors also help your aircraft to get thrust and lift into air. People generally likes to use motors of 2000-2300 KV. You will get the fastest speed using a motor of 2300 KV.
- ESC (Electronic Speed Control) System:
Depending on the speed of the motors the propellers will spin fast or slow. So the rest of your machine set up should work with that configurations. Here the requirement of the ESCs or Electronic Speed Controls system come. ESCs will control the motors’ speed according to your needs and ensure all other components to work together. It converts the power supply from DC to AC. Each motor will be connected to an ESC that is why you need here four ESC system.
Battery distributes the power supply to the whole aircraft. The type and size of Battery should be according to the machine’s weight, motors size and your desired flight time.
- Power Distribution Board:
Each motor-propeller set will be connected to each ESC. You need to connect the whole power distribution system by only one battery pack. So a circuit board is required to neatly assemble your power connection and put the electronic cords together.
- Radio Transmitter and Receiver:
A Radio Transmitter and Receiver system is required to manage the throttle and take the elevation with its left and right control sticks. You will get a lot of radio transmitter (Tx) and receivers (Rx) in the market. It will be wise to pick one at least with four channels for speed, yaw, pitch, and roll. But more channel will give you more options.
- Flight Control Board (FCB):
Flight Control Board is something that controls what the machine will do. That is why it is also referred as the “Brain” of a quadcopter. Signals from the transmitter to the aircraft are sent and received by the Flight Control Board.
- FPV Components:
Now come to the FPV Components to achieve a flight by sight feature. You will need the set-up goggles, a camera and a video transmitter. The camera will take pictures or videos and the video transmitter will send those images and videos to your goggles. FPV system allows you to watch the view from an aircraft sitting on your place on the ground. FPV Kits usually come with all these necessary items together and are very easy to assemble.
- Battery Charger:
You must need a battery charger to recharge your big batteries for several times to get a continuous flight and consistent performance from your plane.
- Low Voltage Alarm:
You can’t recharge your LiPo battery once it has lost its charge completely. Low Voltage Alarm device is not “essential” for building your FPV quad, but it will alert you when the battery charge is getting low. You will know when to stop flying your quad and recharge the battery. Never let it to become empty.
How to Assemble the Parts:
In this stage of this article I will describe how you should assemble all the parts together of a FPV quad. In fact I am giving a tutorial on how I have built my own. I will also mention the models of each items I have used for your assistance.
Building a FPV quadcopter is mainly the frame configuration. There are many options of quadcopter frames with different sizes and configurations that you can choose from. An affordable choice can be QAV 250 Mini FPV Carbon Fiber Frame that I am using here. This is a carbon fiber unibody frame that is very lightweight and strong. Everything will be attached to it.
The basic configuration is:
- Battery – FCB – Power Distribution Cable / Board – ESC – Motor/Prop
Prepare the Power Distribution Board:
- Solder all the four ESCs on it. Before that trim the extra wires of the ESCs. Lumenier 12A Electronic Speed Controllers are the good choices.
- Also attach the battery on it. Then attach it to the frame. Place it under the main body so that the cables are not visible.
- For The FPV quadcopter, on which I am going to make this tutorial, I have picked a Lumenier 1300mAh Lipo Battery. This battery is capable of giving a flight over 5 minutes!
- Connect your Low-Voltage Alarm (if you want) to the balance lead.
Connect The Motors To The ESCs:
- Connect the four motors to the four arms of the frame and solder them to the ESCs. Lumenier FXC1806 2300 KV Motors have a good size to build the FPV with the frame I have used. You can use zip ties or double sided tapes to keep them in place.
- Now add the props there. I am using Gemfan 5×3 Propellers that have 5” length and 3” pitch for this kind of frame. These propellers spin really fast but you can upgrade the frame and fit bigger size of propellers to get more thrust.
Prepare The Flight Control Board:
- This is time to prepare the flight controller. We will use a simple and affordable brain, Acro Naze32 Flight Controller, for this plane.
- Attach the radio receiver to the Flight Controller Board. FrSky Taranis X9D 2.4GHz Radio & Receiver is a very affordable and programmable choice.
- Connect the motors to the flight controller. Make sure all the signal wires and cables are faced inwards.
Attach The FPV Components:
- In front of the receiver attach the FPV camera on the frame. I am using Fat Shark Teleporter V3 FPV kit that includes camera, transmitter and the gogles.
- The camera in this come with a memory card and works as a recorder also and get the footage recorded.
- Attach the transmitter on the frame near the tail of the quad.
- Then attach the prepared flight controller board to the base plate of the main frame.
- Once the hardware setup installation is complete, plug in it to the computer.
- Use the software and watch internate videos if necessary.
- Calibrate everything and you are ready to fly.
Some Important Tips:
To build a FPV Quadcopter successfully follow some tips before you start and during your work:
- Distance from frame center to the arms is important in case of setting different size of propellers. For example you can fix 5 inches propellers on the QAV 250 Mini FPV Carbon Fiber Frame.
- If you are a beginner, start with the inexpensive and small one with simple design.
- Buy some extra propellers as you may get them damaged during flight crash if this is your first try.
- Colorful propellers will enhance the drone’s outlook.
- Use double sided tapes to keep the ESCs, battery, motors, cables etc. in place.
- Using double or triple layers of tape will also help to reduce the vibration during clashes and keeps the connections safe.
- You can apply hard glue to secure your wire connections from water.
- Make sure every electronic item is compatible with the battery voltage you are sending to them.
- Pointing the position of ESCs with a marker pen will make it easy to connect the motors in a specific order.
- As a starter it is better to use an FPV Kit that comes with all FPV components as a set and are very easy to setup and use. Later you can upgrade your system once you have become an experienced pilot.
- Watch plenty of related online videos to get clear idea.
That’s pretty much about building a FPV drone. Now you can make your own FPV Quadcopter, congratulations!! There are many ways to make a First Person View (FPV) quad. Today I have tried to give a guideline about how to build a FPV racing quadcopter. Here I have tried to show you how I have built my own FPV racing drone and this is a very beginner portable racing quadcopter. Hope it has served you well in all the way. I have also mentioned which items I just used to build it as a reference. You are totally free to find your own components and mix and match as your taste. Why late? Start it today and get the thrill of how it feels to fly your self-built drone.