In Search of an Advanced Drone Build!

Hi and thank you for looking at my post. I'm planning to immediately DIY an FPV quadcopter with advanced features and sensors and need some help. The purpose of this project is to develop my skills further as I aspire to be a UAV/drone service technician and developer.

I want to make this drone as complicated as possible while still being very practical and within a 1000$ budget. I'd prefer commonly used parts/hardware as i want to be familiar with what most people are using. 

If someone can recommend a suitable build or a list of components i would be very appreciative. Not looking to build the average race drone. I'm looking for some advice on what sensors and features are useful or commonly sought after as well. Any input is appreciated. 

Thanks Alot -Rafi

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  • Woah thank you Will Master! Cannot appreciate the advice enough..The information is priceless to me.. I do prefer to DIY! The DJI propulsion systems look great although i am not sure if i should try a cheaper alternative.  I will be going with a hexicopter frame that Asim recommended: 

    Maybe these motors (unless the DJI E800 propulsion system is within the same price range Or is a significantly better option) :

    Definitely going with the Pixhawk FC (I don't think the Pixhawk 2 with cube will be worth it)

    Definitely going with the companion computer and am excited to learn all about it

    The Digital FPV Video Feed sounds like an awesome idea I will look into the ez wifibroadcast system.

    And I will post a rough draft of the list of components i am seriously considering as soon as i can.

    Also going to repost Asims unintentionally deleted recommendations

  • Rafi, cool and kudos on your new job!  You can get into an intensive and 'advanced' project with your $1000 budget but it's going to be hugely limiting. You'll be priced out of many "commercial" grade components or systems - instead you'll have to tinker or diy parts which will help you understand how everything works better than an off-the-shelf purchase anyways. 

    I'm most experienced with the pixhawk line of flight controllers and I think it'd be your best option considering your objectives and budget. Get a combo from your website of choice and the FC plus basic sensors/add-ons shouldn't cost more than $200 (FC, power module, gps/compass, baro, buzzer, switch, telemetry radio...). You can get a good simple frame for $50-200 bucks; size is largely up to you but a good starter build is generally considered to be in the 300-400mm range. I'm actually a fan of DJI propulsion systems - look at the E310 or E800 depending on your frame size - $150-300.

    I'd get a basic analog FPV system - camera, vtx, vrx & display (monitor or goggles). They work reliably and are as low-latency as one can get. There's thousands of components out there and it's largely personal preference - look at the fpv racers for recommendations & reviews. 

    You probably have some money still for the more 'advanced' sensors that relate to flight control and autonomy. Look at the arducopter site ( for details as to the optical flow, sonar & low-cost lidar sensors & integration. 

    Otherwise, for image recognition/machine vision, even SLAM (simultaneous mapping & location), you're going to want to add a companion computer. This doesn't translate to significant costs - R Pi 3+ is $35 or so - but you're facing a steep learning curve and probably don't need the added complexity. That said, it's an option and you'll learn lots. 

    Finally, take a look at EZ wifibroadcast insofar as a digital fpv/video feed is concerned. Analog is still king, at least when it comes to latency and fast/proximity flight, but digital is likely our future and the more advanced commercial level systems tend to have digital video feeds. Hope this helps...

    Copter Home — Copter documentation
  • Asim why did you delete all of your comments? They could have been very useful to others

  • He thought i was the individual that didnt pay him. Just a misunderstanding.
    I like the frame and motors you recommended. I was thinking of going with a quad-copter but I am leaning more toward the hexacopter frame now. Only concern is that the frame and motors would run about 700, Do you think I will have the budget to still pack it with sensors?

    *3D mapping, *optical flow,* Lidar light, *sonar, *IR image recognition for obstacle avoidance and Live Tracking are all features that are most importantto me. Could you tell me which of these features are included or missing In this build? Ping ADS-B transponder is also interesting. And thank you for the links and advice everything is very helpful. After I settle on all of the hardware/parts I will post the build onto the forums
  • The purpose for this project is for me to gain more experience from building it. I was recently hired by a small drone retail and service store and will be servicing commercial drones and DJI products. I will also be sent to San Francisco to be trained with DJI company. I want to fit as many sensors and features into this drone as i can afford.. The purpose is to familiarize myself with as many advanced features as i can. I'm not interested in photography or recreation this is for advanced training. I don't care about speed or flight time at all but high quality FPV and a long range would be nice.. Similar to a phantom 4 but more advanced if possible... A gimbal and high quality camera would be nice but i am more concerned with the advanced features.

    Features and sensors I am interested in: *FPV, *3D mapping, *optical flow,* Lidar light, *sonar, *IR image recognition for obstacle avoidance and Live Tracking, *Battery voltage monitor (*GPS: Stabilization, flight planning, return to home) Magnetometer, Barometer etc.. If there are cheap sensors for Thermal/infrared OR (NIR) I would be interested in that.

    So I am looking to fit all of this into one drone if possible.. 

    Also i have an extensive background in technology and am not interested in building a toy.. 2 sticks with 4 motors will not help me here

  • You're going to have to do a lot more prep work for this community to be of much help. What are your objectives - don't want a racing quad but do you want something for aerial photography, recreation, long range...? The fpv part of any quad build is easy but that just allows you to pilot the craft using the fpv camera instead of looking at the craft via LOS (line of site). Are you wanting to take pictures or video - what type of camera do you want to use and is that included in your budget? Are you going to hardmount the camera or use a gimbal?

    What size quad do you hope to build - something akin to the dji Phantom (300-350mm) or a bigger/smaller rig? You mention sensors so I assume you're wanting some autonomous flight capabilities - have you looked at your options re ground control & mission planning?

    I don't mean to discourage you and this community can be very helpful. I suggest you read, do some research on your own, get your ideas organized, etc. After that, try posting again with some more specifics re objectives, parameters, etc.

    Archived: Build Your Own Multicopter — Copter documentation
  • Asim the budget for my transmitter is separate. I want the most advanced drone i can build for 1k.. 

    Flight controllers: I've been looking at

    Naza-M V2 

    3DR PixHawk

    MyFlyDream Autopilot ??Link

    A parrot bebop is 400$ with GPS stabilization, follow me feature, return to home, Wifi FPV, 1080p video.. I wonder what i can build with 1k If this low price drone can function that intelligently 

This reply was deleted.


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