Introduction: FPV Racing Drone [TIGHT BUILD for Dummies]

Hello, Today I decided to make another [UPDATED] FPV racing drone build because a few months ago I won a frame from our local race and decided to make my backup racing quad.In this tutorial, I will show you the techniques in choosing your drone parts and keeping the overall build compact as well as reducing the weight for your favorite carbon fiber frame.

Before proceeding with the tutoriaI I would like to acknowledge Oscar Liang for the big help for us hobbyist

For people starting with their very first build or if you dont know if you are choosing the right motor or ESC, then please Open up this Link and this

The link is a big library for this specific hobby from motor options, ESC, Frame, Battery and a lot more.

Warning: Before you build/fly a drone make sure you have read your local/national Aviation law about flying this recreational hobby. And make sure you fly within a safe area wherein no people will get injured by these flying objects

Step 1: For Beginners

I know that most of the viewers here are beginners so let me just refer you to my "go-to guide" it's just a 21 page PDF file with not much complex information but images explain the parts and controls of this type of drone. Please take time reading or understanding the parts first and learn how to use the hardware first before taking your first flight.

Step 2: My Parts List and Choosing Your Part

I chose my Parts based on the size and design of my frame

In this build I am using an Armattan SCX200 Clone, This is well known to have a really tight space for the electronics. So choosing your parts wisely is a must!


Things or parts to avoid:

Classic Power distribution boards PDB Also knows as PDBs without Built in BECs or regulators

4 in 1 ESC: Yes, some of you would say its nice because its clean and because the ESC is cheap, but no the problem is that this 4 in 1 esc will only add more height and consume more space inside your frame.

Flight Controllers with Pin headers: Pin headers will increase the overall height of the FC

Receivers with Pin Header: The height may not be affected but the length of the receiver will.

Bulky Video transmitters VTX with dip switches: A good example is the 5.8G Immersion RC Video transmitter all of which are long bulky, which is not suggested for small frames. [INSIDE THE PICTURE]


Parts to Use

Flight Controllers with built-in 5v and 12v regulator

Modern PDB 12v and 5v

De-pinned Flight controller

De-pinned Receiver

Small Vtx


The parts that I will use in this tutorial will slightly change due to the last minute package arrival from banggood and I had to reuse parts from my old builds as a temporary picture. Anyway This is my Setup

SCX200 Clone

FC: HGLRC All in one (AIO) F3 OSD PDB board [NEW]

ESC: Racerstar RS30A V2 30A Blheli_S [NEW] or Racerstar MS Series 35A ESC BLHeLi_S


RX: FRsky D4R-II

Motors: DYS SE 2300kv

FPV Cam: Foxeer 1189 1200TVL CMOS Cam

Antenna: Spironet

Preferred Transmitter I use an Old Turnigy 9XR

Different types of Frames

Here are the most common frame size of mini FPV racing quadcopters:
280mm - This is the bigger end of Mini FPV quadcopters, this size will allow you to use 2204 to 2306 motors with propellers up to 6".

250 mm - This is the most common frame size for racing drones, usually a great compromise between small size and bigger motors. You'll be able to mount 22XX motors on this frame size and usually 5" propellers.This frame is usually used by most beginners as it offers a lot of room for a lot of wires and low end hardware

200-230 mm - This a smaller size for FPV drones, most common in freestyle drones but still used for racing because it is lighter and smaller and can pass through the air gates easier, here you'll also be able to mount 22XX and up to 5" propellers. At this point the design of the mini quad play a big role for the space you have for your electronics, there are some tight build for this size.

160 and 180 mm - Now these are smaller drones, they are great for smaller places to fly, like a backyard or small parks or even your house!. They usually fit motors size from 13XX to 18XX and propellers up to 4". This requires a lot of smaller parts not usually used for the 200mm category and above. It also requires a descent soldering skill.

150mm and below - The smallest FPV quadcopters, they are great for flying in tiny places, smaller ones such a 120mm are even great for flying indoor ! they can fit a maximum motor size of 13XX and 3" propellers and some are brushed motors ranging from 6015, 7020 and 8520 coreless motors. This is yet another size that requires a specific hardware for it to be built properly.

Step 3: Frame Sanding

This step is usually skipped by most hobbyist as well as makers

Sanding the edges of the Carbon Fiber frame.

Why sand the edges?

These Carbon fiber parts came from a Milling or CNC machine and of course, these frames are mass produced which result in milling bit degradation as it mills after the long run it slowly looses its sharpness to cut the carbon fiber which will eventually cause sharp or uneven edges.

Use an 80 grit sand paper and running water to sand off the edges. We use the running water to prevent the CF dust from being inhaled. Make sure that the edge is smooth and has no sharp edges.

Step 4: Assembly

Like any other builds, it's obviously time to assemble the quad.

Some frames like this SCX200 clone it requires a rubberized strap placed under the slot of the frame. This is common for most True X configuration Quadcopter as some frames have their battery straps placed on top of the frame.

Things to check after placing the strap under the frame

1. Make sure that when you strap a battery the Hook side of the velcro will make contact with the loop side. There are some cases you've mounted your electronics but the Velcro strap is mounted upside down, so you won't be able to strap the battery properly.

Step 5: Electronics

The picture above Is basically the overall connection of the quad. I took that picture as I removed the electronics from my old frame XB5 our local version of the Impulse RC alien 5".

To start things off we will need the following

1. A good soldering iron

2. High quality soldering lead 60/40 or 63/37 "do not use cheap or unbranded lead"

3. Wet sponge

4. Pliers

5. Wire stripper

And a well-ventilated work space

Again these are my parts

FC: HGLRC All in one (AIO) F3 OSD PDB board [NEW]

ESC: Racerstar RS30A V 2 30A Blheli_S [NEW] or Racerstar MS Series 35A ESC BLHeLi_S

VTX: Eachine TX526 5.8G 40CH 25MW/200MW/600MW THE BEST VTX FOR ITS PRICE [NEW] Know the antenna connector

RX: FRsky D4R-II

Motors: DYS SE 2300kv Upgrading to ZMX fusion 2206 2300kv soon!

FPV Cam: Foxeer 1189 1200TVL CMOS Cam

Antenna: Spironet Know the antenna connector before buying

Step 6: Flight Controller

After you receive you parts its always a rule of thumb for me to inspect my parts especially the Flight controller and ESC

Make sure your flight controller is able to communicate with your computer first

At this point you can update the firmware of the flight controller to the latest Beta flight firmware.

Anyway. Soldering time!

1. Mount the Flight controller by using the Stand-offs provided

2. Get an XT60 with wire and solder it on the + and negative pads of the flight controller.

3. There is a connector included in my flight controller underneath the XT60 pads I was able to find the PPM out and 5v and Gnd for my Frsky Receiver so I followed the diagram given to me by the manufacturer

4. Tin all the + and - Pads for the ESC power lines

5. Prepare all 4 ESCs

Step 7: ESC Prep

In this step you will need a 3M Double adhesive foam tape.

1. Cut a small piece of 3M

2. Stick one on each ESC and Finally position each ESC on the arm

3. Each ESC has a Signal (white) and Ground wire (black) For this build you will need to cut the Ground wire. Usually, the ground wire is used to protect the signal wire from voltage spikes due to the ESC but that only happens if you are going to use long Signal wires, for this build our ESC is close to the FC so there will be no signal interference.

4. On each side of the Flight controller you will see a pad saying S4 S2 S3 S2 follow the picture above and solder each signal wire properly

Step 8: Receiver / Video Transmitter / FPV Cam Part 1

I de-pinned my D4R-II receiver leaving the the RSSI pin (2) and the PPM out (1) and (3&4"jumped")

To enable PPM on the D4R-II you must jump PWM 3 and 4

For my build, I'm supposed to put a heatshrink on the receiver but anyway i'll do that next time.I just placed a 3M adhesive underneath the RX and mounted it on top of the flight controller.

1. Mount the Rx properly on the FC

2. Make sure you can access most of the Pads for the FPV system


The good part about this FC is that it is an ALL IN ONE Flight controller (PDB, OSD, FC) making this FC a number 1 for me.

To use the OSD of the FC you must connect the FPV cam video out to the video in pad of the FC and VTX pad to the Vtx as it. Or if you dont mind the OSD you can always just direct solder the FPV video line to the video in of the VTX

Step 9: Receiver / Video Transmitter / FPV Cam Part 2

This part was the most difficult part for me since thinking of a way to mount the Video transmitter really took some time and I decided to 3d print a top plate for the VTx if you dont have a 3d printer you can probably fabricate your own plate for your VTx.

General Steps

1. Test fit the quad along with the VTX and FPV cam. This is to get an idea for the things you need to do to properly get the wire lengths of your FPV cam and VTx

2. After you've decided about the position you will need to cut the wires to the proper length.

3. Supply the Fpv cam with 5v or 12v and connect the Video out to the Video in Pad of the FC

4. Supply the Vtx with 12v and connect the Video onto the VTx pad of the FC


Having antenna and a vtx does not mean you are going to get good range, sometimes people have the wrong connectors therefore breaking their Vtx along the first flight. Know your antenna connector first

Step 10: Motors!

Yes that's right the gorgeous motors found in ever racing drone, the motors that produce great thrust along with your propellers, the part that enables an object to fly without care to the earth gravity.

I have two Motor options but for this build I will be using my New ZMX Fusion x25

Like any other build here in instructables we would connect the 3 wires of the motor to the 3 terminals of the ESC

1. Mount motors to each arm

2. Estimate wire length

3.Cut each wire and strip 2mm insulator

4. Tin wires as well as copper pad

5. Solder properly

Step 11: CleanFlight Vs BetaFlight Vs Raceflight

To start things of I just want to explain the difference of the three.

Each configurator offers it own firmware. The latest configurator is the Raceflight system which offers the best of the best Firmwares for racing, but on the other hand requires an F4 flight controller. The usual firmwares you will find here in instructables are those CleanFlight firmwares, as an experienced drone racer and mechanic CleanFlight started this whole open-source program and now it is the crappiest firmware out there which does not really offer a good flight characteristic compared to the others, Betaflight is the common firmware as of now since it is compatible with all F1 and F3 prcessors. Compared to othe flight controller 3-5 years ago this 32bit based Flight controller has really changed the game, Starting with the PID tuning, before you can't even fly if you PID is wrong but this time even the stock setting can make your quad fly perfectly.

In general CleanFlight Firmware is obsolete, Betaflight is the go to Configurator/Firmware and Raceflight is still waiting for more F4 based flight controller.

Step 12: BetaFlight

Flash your Flight controller with the latest Betaflight firmware,

Drones Contest 2016

Participated in the
Drones Contest 2016