As I was reading through Makezine's issue 51 I came across a short article on a small FPV racing quad. This was the 105 Micro FPV Quadcopter by Punkkills, a small lightweight indoor racing quad; perfect for getting into the FPV racing field. After doing a bit more research into it I found it to be the perfect quadcopter for me to build, except for one thing, the price. Even though the total price came out around $210 that was still a lot of money to invest into a hobby, so I went cheaper. After scouring the internet I finally came up with a solution, a mix between the 105 quadcopter and the Hubsan x4 that priced under $150.
Step 1: Parts
- 2 x 8.5mm Hubsan x4 Brushed Motors ($5.42)
- Upgraded Hubsan Flight Controller (13.80)
- Hubsan x4 Propellers ($1.16) - I highly recommend getting extras!
- Hubsan Mode 2 Transmitter ($18.60)
- Hubsan 380mah Battery ($3.75)
- Battery Charger ($1.49)
- Eachine 007 ($100)- These goggles, which are the ones I used, are normally priced at $100 but go on sale regularly for only $50.
- RUTFORCE STR600 ($56) - Goggles similar to the Eachine 007 but cheaper.
- Quanum Cyclops ($64.75) - Note: The Quanum Cyclops does not come with a battery but can be powered off of a 9v.
- Vision Plus ($64.39) - Note: The Vision Plus does not come with a battery.
- Eachine TX01/ TX02/ TX03 ($26-$27) - I used the TX01 but the TX02/3 will work as well. These all-in-one transmitters go on sale pretty often so keep a look out.
- Soldering Iron and solder
- Hot glue gun and glue stick
- Rubber Band
Final Price: $120.55*
These are the parts that I used to create the quadcopter but many parts can be found elsewhere for cheaper and lots of the FPV stuff goes on sale quite often you just have to keep your eyes peeled.
*Price with the $50 dollar goggles. With the Vision Plus, Rutforce or Quanum the price is around $125.94-$134.94
Step 2: Frame
The frame can be downloaded off of Thingiverse here , but keep in mind this frame is made specifically for the Eachine TX0 series so any other FPV camera will need to use Punkkills frame (This frame has two parts so use the v4 top and bottom). If you don't own a 3d printer use 3D Hubs or Shapeways both great options. I recommend printing this in T-glaze filament because it's a relatively light and super durable. Even after many crashes my quadcopter frame still hasn't broken.
Note: The frame and camera mount were created using Fusion 360
Step 3: Basic Quadcopter
Carefully solder the motors onto the flight controller according to the picture above. Black and blue wires are negative(-): White and red wires are positive(+).
M4 - Counterclockwise motor (black and white)
M3 - Clockwise (red and blue)
M2 - Counterclockwise (black and white)
M1 - Clockwise (red and blue)
When finished make sure to double check the soldering job because crossed connections could fry the control board. When the soldering is completed, plug a charged battery into flight controller; blue lights should start flashing near the top of the board. Turn on the transmitter/remote control; the transmitter should beep signifying connection. Slowly push up on the throttle while checking to make sure all the motors are running. If so the job has been done right.
Step 4: First Flight
Before adding FPV it is a good idea to make sure that drone will actually fly. Place the motors into the frame using the picture shown above. Make sure the LED lights are facing toward the camera mount because that is the front of the drone, also the LED lights should by facing up where they are visible. The propellers should have letters depicted on them near the center of the propeller. Place the propellers onto the motors following the picture above. The battery can either be rubber banded to the top or bottom of the frame, but I prefer the top of the frame over the circuit board. Repeat the same process of pairing the drone as before but this time when you push up on the throttle the drone should lift into the air, success!
Step 5: FPV
Located next to the battery leads on the flight controller are two solder pads which are marked in the photo above. These pads output 3.7v which is enough to power the all in one FPV camera. Cut the leads as close to the end as possible, then strip the wires. To solder this I would recommend doing it with everything taken out of the body to avoid heating the frame and melting it. When finished with the soldering job, make sure to double and triple check the connections to avoid frying anything. Once again plug in the battery and power on the FPV goggles and check to make sure you are getting a fed from the camera.
Step 6: Finishing It Up
Now that everything works, it is time to transport the electronics into the body. Put the motors and props back into the frame in the same way as before, along with the camera, being careful not to disconnect or cross any wires. Apply hot glue to the flight controller to keep it secured to the quadcopter frame. Now, rubber band the battery to the frame and power on the transmitter, flight controller, and FPV goggles. Enjoy your new FPV quadcopter!
If you are new to FPV flying I highly recommend the FPV Academy 's tutorials on FPV racing.
If you have any questions post them in the comments below.