View Full Version : Looking to build my own Quadcopter, where to start?

26-12-2013, 06:33 PM
Hi guys

I'm looking to build my own Quadcopter, rather than buy a RTF. I'm not looking to spend thousands on the greatest stuff but want something thats capable of taking up a GoPro. I currently own a Hubsan X4, so got the bug a little bit from that thing, possible the most expensive 30 I've spent :lol::p

Just to set a budget, I'm after the cheapest stuff thats half decent. I'm not sure exactly where to start.

Hoping you guys can help me get some decent stuff thats cheap, not some cheap stuff thats crap :thumbsup:

I can see you can get most of the stuff from Hobbyking, but what do you recommend?

26-12-2013, 08:04 PM
Have a read on the relevant threads on here.

I started with a Turnigy 9x TX / KK2 board and a Hobbyking 330 clone. You may want to get the 450 size frame though as it's more suitable for lifting a GoPro.

Get the 'Afro' esc's if you can from Hobbyking too (30 amp versions) and some 'Sunnysky' motors (980KV 2212) from Banggood.com.

Motors I have had from Hoobyking are questionable in terms of Quality - Sunnysky are fantastic.

3S lipos - around 3000mah and you are pretty much set :)

If you want to make is flyable for a complete idiot - get the Naza Lite from quadcopters.co.uk as they are on offer for around 109.

My Fav Quad is my little wooden one with a KK2 and Sunnysky motors, it's a missile. Naza Flight Controllers are very 'soft' and 'safe'. Ideal for ariel video, but not for really learning how to fly and do tricks. That's when it gets expensive....

26-12-2013, 08:54 PM
Good advice offered by Andy. I did something similar in that I love rc stuff and fancied a bit of flying. For me though I wasn't sure on what I wanted in a model hence I bought 2. Its ironic that once the bug bites, most people end up with a few variants of quads and they tend to do different things.

My advice is, to find out what you want in a quad first.

If its smooth video and slow but stable its got to be a hex of some description.

If you want fast - its got to be a quad of either 330 or 450 size, the TBS range are fantastic and allow you to easily add a camera and fpv gear. Im sure at some point most pilots want to try fpv as it brings another level.

Also buy wisely. Generally KK2 and Naza are well known and lots of people have experienced all the problems associated and can offer answers and advice. Nothing wrong with Hobbyking, however from experience should anything go wrong, there not that great at customer support.

These are more find it out and tinker yourself models as nothing is relaly plug and play. Especially with programming transmitters lol.

Message back on here for any more advice or pm if you want.



26-12-2013, 08:58 PM
If you want quick examples on what to buy, heres what I would do.

DJI frame - 330 or 450
Cheap afro esc's from hobbyking or the Quattro 4 in 1 esc from hobbyking
Turnigy 9x with receiver or Turnigy
9xr with modules and receiver
lipo around 2200 - 4000 3s or 4s - read up on what you want battery wise.
Motors - Get what you pay for really. - get advice on when you decide what frame you want.

Hope this helps for starters.


26-12-2013, 09:03 PM
There is no more KK2. Hobbyking have sold their last one unfortunately. The newer KK2.1 is a pile of white out of the box, but don't let that out you off - via the lazyzero flash tool there is new firmware (called KK2.1 V1.10) that sorts it out. Do not fly a hex on 1.5 or 1.6! Motors 5 and 6 do not work!

26-12-2013, 10:08 PM
Cheers guys, loads of information there.

I'm after something that will carry a GoPro easily, may invest in FPV in the future but this will be a project I'll buy as and when I have the cash so may take a few months before its all together.

So I'll need a:
Frame - Seem fairly cheap at about 15? That correct?
4x Motors - 10-15 each, I assume they'll do the job?
4x ESC @ 10 each for the Afro (I assume its one for each motor?)
Flight board - KK2.1 @ 20
Propellers - seem fairly cheap, probably want some spares tho :p
Transmitter - Turnigy 9X @ 35
Battery - 3S @ about 20 (I have a charger etc)

Is there anything major that I'm missing?

26-12-2013, 10:29 PM
I find a separate low voltage alarm (even though the kk2 kind of has one built in) is usefull.
Props - get 10 x 4.5 or similar for a 450 frame with 3S lipo
Get 8 inch props for a 330 frame.
Get spare props :)
Get a couple of lipos.

You will also need:
RX to kk2 servo connector wires
Battery connectors to match the lipo you get
Lights are useful for orientation
Lipo pack for the Turnigy 9x

26-12-2013, 11:36 PM
Main rule:- buy cheap, buy twice!

With that in mind, if you don't have major flying experience and want to fly with out stressing and have fun, go with the naza lite flight controller.
I have the kk2.0, naza and a cc3d, the naza is a lot more fun imoa.

27-12-2013, 01:40 PM
Buy cheap - buy half a dozen times more like :)

Thing is the hobby is amazing value - if you go down the Hobbyking KK2 route. You can be all done and in the air for around 150 - which is amazing. If stuff breaks etc it's throw away prices :)

On the other hand - you can spend a bloody fortune if you go down the quality stuff route.

To learn - go cheap is my opinion. I still think my KK2 wood Quad is the best 'flying' machine I have - it's proper nimble.

27-12-2013, 07:08 PM
Cheers guys. I'm happy to start off on the cheaper end of the market, see how it goes and if I personally require better quality items. It may just turn into one of those things I lose a little interest in anyway :blush:

I've had a look at the Naza Lite. When you say easy to fly I assume its just easier to fly due to dull movements and stuff? and that a KK2.1 wouldnt be very complicated to fly?

Like I said I've flown a Hubsan X4 mini quad and I can fly that indoors and outdoors no problems, what would a KK2.1 & Naza Lite be like compared to the Hubsan?

27-12-2013, 07:44 PM
A proper Quad - will be a missile compared to they toy quad you have tried.

What I have found is that the Naza regulates the power - it manages the power band so that the Quad hovers at exactly 50% throttle. It also limits the power - so the exact same Quad with a Naza will be much slower than the same Quad with a KK2.

You can fly the Naza in Manual mode - but it's not advisable until you can fly in that mode!

The Naza has 3 flight modes - atti (where it auto levels / holds altitude) gps atti - (same as atti but it also does gps position hold) - and thirdly - full manual.

The KK2 only does 2 modes - auto level (not altitude though) and full manual.

Basically - with a properly set up KK2 - you are flying the model - and it's awesome, but you will crash. With the Naza - it's flying the model and you are telling it which direction to go in - you have to be doing something silly - or have something fail to crash it. In Gps/Atti mode - if you let go of the sticks (throttle at 50%) it will stop itself and hold position. It can also 'return to home' using gps and land itself. With the KK2 - you let go of anything when it's flying and you crash.

10-01-2014, 10:22 PM
Despite all your good advice, I went in a totally different direction :p I was planning on spending some cash but did wonder exactly how much I would use it all. Theres no real locations around me and I dont have a car to get to places etc

In the end I decided on a Turnigy Micro Quad. 90 for everything excluding batteries & transmitter. So got a few 950mAh batteries as recommended and also a 4ch transmitter, although I now think I should had spent the extra for a 6 channel for the extra AUX functions :mad:

For those that dont know, its kinda of a DIY quad. Everything is replaceable and also comes with a KK2.0. Annoyingly the quad & batteries were from the UK warehouse whereas the transmitter needed to come from the global warehouse, so I'm still waiting for it.

Next step is to update the firmware to 1.6 on the KK and also flash the ESC's, seems like BLHeli is the weapon of choice for SiLab based ESC's.