Help get me started... a few questions.

Once I buy a kit from 3d Robotics I know I'll need a battery and charger and maybe a low battery indicator. But do I need a RC remote? I suppose one would be helpful if things get hairy. Is there a way to use an iPad for a remote of sorts?

Also, are there any DIY projects involving Arducopter that require full soldering down to SMDs? I have experience doing so and thought it would be even more fun building from a bare PCB.


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  • Hey Scott... Welcome the the club. RC in generally (and especially UAVs) require quite a bit of gear (some have truckloads). You can be smart about it, though.

    I'm assuming you want to have manual control for take off and landings in addition to your pre-programmed waypoints...

    I suggest starting with the basics.

    Critical items:

    1. LiPo/LiFe computer controlled battery charger. I like this one because it has the power converter built in (no power brick to carry around. LIPO and LiFE are the typical battery types you'll need to charge.

    Chargers like this are available many places. You'll need a higher wattage if you are charging larger batteries (or multiple batteries at the same time).

    2. A 2.4ghz Transmitter and Receiver. You'll need a 4-chan or greater (additional channels are used for things like retractable gear, flaps, lights, etc). The FS-TH9x (or Turnigy 9x) is a good low cost transmitter to get started with. It can be modified to enable you to install open source firmware (like er9x, radio clone or Gruvin). The addition of this open source firmware makes this transmitter competitive with the really high end radios.

    We sell the FS-TH9x as well as the 9x DIY Upgrade kit (everything you need to install a firmware programer, backlight, etc.)

    These radios are available elsewhere, as well. The manufacturer is FlySky and they are rebranded as Turnigy 9x, Ergle, iMax and some others names.

    3. Video camera and transmitter. You are going to need to decide how you want to capture video and send it back to earth. You'll be controlling the UAV with 2.4ghz, so you'll need to transmit on a different frequency. I suggest spending some time to get smart on this topic before making any purchases. Here is a great resource for additional info. RC Model Reviews

    Hopefully this helps. Enjoy your new hobby.


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