Buying a Drone: I'm lost

I have a few people interested in chipping in towards me purchasing a drone before the government makes it harder to purchase one.
Currently my idea is to buy the DIY Y6 Kit

I have a few requests in features, perhaps there is a better option that I am overlooking

- my budget is flexible, $1000-2000

- Needs to be upgradeable, flexible software, arduino is obviously a plus, but I don't want to have to get a degree to fly the thing. (I've taken a class in C, basic stuff). This is the reason I steered away from the popular DJI drone.

- I'm leaning towards Kit form because in the process of building it I will learn how to fix it when it breaks.

- POV view is a pretty darn cool feature I am looking to set. Screen on a remote, or on a TV, but with once again the flexibility to upgrade to a Oculus Rift viewing setup (Which looks nauseating at the moment but I think they will get it down some day soon)

- GPS hover, return to home, obstacle avoidance, long battery life... are all obviously plus's

Basically there is so much going on here I'm not sure what to focus on in choosing one... I'll learn the stuff when I have the drone, not when I'm researching it

SOOO summed up I'm looking for advice what should I avoid, what should I expect, whats a good beginner guide to read through, and what are some top picks within my price range. 

I'm sure whatever I wind up purchasing will be awesome and a great learning experience/hobby.

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  • I will answer your question but please read the entire post. I would suggest putting one together on your own! You will learn a lot from it and be able to repair it. Find you an ARF kit...this will come with the frame and possibly some other stuff. As far as what type of kit...only you can decide that! However If you want to put a lot of stuff on it then look for a bigger platform i.e. hex or even octo. The more motors the more expensive but the more reliable too! If you are looking for speed or acrobatics go for a smaller platform and quad.

    The flight controller is the brains of the platform. You have MANY to choose from! This is possibly the best place to start comparing them http://oddcopter.com/flight-controllers/ From there you will be able to see what is out there and make the decision that best fits you.  If you do choose one with GPS make sure you let the GPS lock onto the satellites before flying! I believe that is why so many fly away...that or they didn't calibrate the compass properly. Neither here nor there....

    Since you are going the kit route ;) you will need to pick your motors. The higher kv motor does not mean your heavy multirotor will fly better or faster because your props are spinning faster. This is totally another topic and can be very in-depth. You will need to figure out what size motor you will need...The basics are for fast performance go with high kv....oh but you want to add all this cool stuff to it making it heavy...so you will need to go for a lower kv motor and larger props! If you put larger props on a high kv motor thinking that will solve your problem you are wrong you will more than likely spin the prop in half in flight and come tumbling out of the air.

    Like many others have stated get a small $40 proto X and learn to fly them first! Orientation is a big reason most people crash and crashing a hex or octo is very expensive! Learn to do figure eights with the little one fly over your head and come back. Most people you see flying a multicopter fly with the back always facing them cause they have not learned to orient the copter to their inputs. Once you can fly towards yourself or from left to right and right to left and still be able to control it without hitting walls...you will almost be ready to fly a bigger one.

    With that being said once you do move up to a bigger one it will be waaaay easier to fly! So get a little one start flying now and practice while you are gathering your parts and piecing together and building the larger one. You will save yourself a lot of money and your electronics!!

    • Thank you all for your input, I owe you all beers. 

      I will be building a kit.
      I will be buying a kit with FPV capabilities.
      I'm leaning towards just buying the Quad Kit from 3dr, adding FPV set up, battery, a bitching controller, and the display screen. I quite like the Pixhawk system, and that arduino is involved.
      I priced it out at ~$1500
      My current concerns are that the quad set up doesn't even lift(bro) what i want to lift, which makes me want the Y6

      I am also concerned with my RC pilot skills, so I am considering concurrently buying a $50 quad to practice on while I build the main event.
      I will be thorough in my pre-flight checks and will exercise my escalation of maneuvers and eventual hands free mission operations.

  • First off, I suggest getting a cheap $50 toy quad. If you never flown rc before, you need to learn orientation. You will crash. Alot. Better crash something small, it doesnt break that easy. This small quads are lots of fun too!
    When you feel you are ready, get a rtf package. You will get something that works out of the box. In my case, I started cheap, with the kits, but after lots of frustration understood that cheap stuff is not worth the headache if you have big expectation (video, fpv, autonomy).
    Take a look at steadidrone qu4d 2014. It has a brushless gimbal for GoPro, very durable and has a 18min + endurance. I have one, its great. Now they are sold rtf with Pixhawk. Cheers
  • Does the quad Kit have the capability to lift a FPV set up with a gimbal?
    I'm thinking FPV will make flying more natural
    The FPV kit camera doesn't record video, what is the common set up for FPV and recorded video

    Also in terms of battery life, I'd like 20+ minute flights and the posted stats on the quad (and all the 3dr kits) are half of that. 

    Thanks for your input Chris and Adam. Sorry about your NAZA controlled drone, still haven't found it? 


  • If you've not already flown something like a Parrot AR.Drone, I'd start by spending $50 on one of those little indoor ones and spending some time getting used to the controls. It really, really helps to be quick on the controls once you're finally doing flight tests.

    And then follow your dreams, I say. 6 motors looks cooler than 4 even if it doesn't offer you much more (me – I think they should all get their own arms though!)... Just one thing – make sure it's kept in good working order / don't fit a NAZA of you'll end up in my situation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KPKDMF2Lap4 – perhaps look for a phone-in GPS tracker device.

  • 3D Robotics

    If you don't have experience with setting up RC gear, you might be better off with the RTF Y6 with the RC already installed, which will save a lot of manual reading. If you are familiar with setting up RC gear, I'd start with the quadcopter kit rather than the Y6. It's cheap and easier to set up, and is still a very capable and flexible platform. 

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