Bill of Material

Given the goals of the project, I have decided to use the following components

Frame

h210-carbon-fiber-fpv-race-quadcopter-frameH210 Carbon Fiber FPV Race Quadcopter Frame from Crazepony. This is a clone of QAV210. It is a solid 3mm thick “Unibody” fully carbon fiber frame. I have spent considerable time researching affordable frame. At $23.99 no other frame comes close. At this price tag you can probably get a fiber glass frame, which is both heavier and less durable. This frame is at 99 grams and can comfortable accommodate all hardware for the drone.

Motors and ESC

HOBBYMATE-2204-2300KV-CW-CCW-Brushless-Motor-4-PCS-BLHeli-12A-ESCAfter extensive research I settled on HOBBYMATE 2204 2300K motors coupled with BLHeli 12A ESC. These motors will give enough lifting power to compete aggressively. The motors are suitable for 180, 210, 220 and 250 class drones.

I could have chosen 20A ESCs but I think for start 12A is enough. Besides, upgrading ESC is a relatively easy. I got this combo at an amazing $56.50 price.

Props

The frame comfortably accommodates 5030 props. So I got two packs of AvatarRC Geniune Gemfan props at $10.99. These are ABS Plastic props. In the future I will upgrade to full carbon fiber props.

Flight Controller

Naze32-10DOF-Flight-ControllerChoosing a flight controller might be a bit tricky especially when building a very first drone. Naze32 seems to be a de-facto standard so I am going with that. I got a 10DOF Naze32 controller (rev 5) at $29.99 – a good bargain. When buying a Naze32 flight controller keep in mind that there are several versions of the board. This one has a barometer and compass (hence it’s a bit expensive).

Also the board comes in a nice cover and the size if quite compact. 36mm by 36mm and only 6 grams.

PDB

PDBChoosing a PDB is rather straightforward. I bought a RealAcc Matek Mini Power Distribution Board With BEC 5V And 12V For 250 Quadcopter at $11.99. This is a quite compact board with nice features, 5V & 12V Outputs LED indicators & Short circuit tolerant among them and will add a mere 6 grams to our drone.

As I did not have XT60 connectors, I bought 5 pairs of male/female at $2.90.

Battery

4s_lipo-300The drone will be powered by a 1800mAh 45C 4S1P Lipo battery pack. I bought ARINO Tattu battery at $29.99. Based on customer reviews, this seems to be a quite decent battery. At least, I can upgrade the battery at any time. As I did not have a Lipo charger, I bought a SKYRC iMAX B6 Mini Dual Power 6 Amps 60 Watts balancing battery charger & discharger for $36.58. For attaching battery and other gadgets I bought a pack of 5 straps from Apex for $7.99. These 20mm x 200mm straps look quite ok.

Radio Control

flysky-fs-i6s-radio-controllerFor radio control I will be using Crazepony Flysky FS-I6S 10CH Transmitter and FS-IA6B Receiver. Yes, I know that Taranis X9D is the de-facto standard for controlling FPV racing drones and there is a good reason for this. However, for learning purposes I think the FS I6S is good enough. This seems to be a quite decent controller at a price tag of around $75. Please note that this is an upgraded version of much popular FlySky FS-T6 system that costs only $51. However, we get additional 4 channels and i-BUS support.

So the total cost of the components is ONLY $166, plus $75 for radio controller. So even if you do not have a radio controller you can build a quite decent FPV racing drone for just $241. What about FPV? Glad you asked.

FVP

fpv-cmos-800tvl-cameraI have deliberately separated FVP from the rest of the project. See, now we have two options. Either go “all-in” and buy a Fatshark FPV system or save a buck and take an alternative route. The alternative route is getting an affordable camera and video transmitter. Further, depending on your budget, you may buy a monitor or goggles.

For example, this Crazepony® FPV CMOS 800TVL PAL 2.88mm MTV Board Lens Camera costs only $14.98 and gives pretty good quality.

EACHINE-VR-007 -5-8G-40CH-FPV Goggles-Video GlassesWe can couple throw in Usmile® TS5828 5.8G 32CH 600mW Wireless Video Audio Transmitter, which costs only $19.48. Add to this Anbee® FPV 5.8Ghz Circular Polarized Clover Leaf Antenna High Gain Aerial Set at $9.98 and EACHINE VR-007 5.8G 40CH FPV Goggles Video Glasses 4.3 Inch with 7.4V 1600mAh Battery at $79.99.

Thus, for a total of $124 we have a full FPV system with goggles. This is somewhat less than the cheapest Fatshark FPV system and we get a considerably better quality.

To sum up, for $365 we are fully in the game. Isn’t this awesome? I have spent many hours researching, collecting and analyzing these items. As of writing these, all items are available on Amazon with Prime shipping option, which means $0 shipping and delivery in just two days.

I have excluded some obvious items like soldering iron, cabling, etc. I assume you either already have those or can get for everything for under $30-$50.