Quadcopter summer project with kids


I've found a lot of information in the wiki and in these groups but I'm still trying to figure out a 'part list' to buy for an "assembly and fly your first quadcopter summer project" I'd like to plan for August.

I'm inclined to buy an assembly kit + gps + rc transmitter/receiver + ardupilot trying to stay on a budget of € 400 to a max of € 500.

I'd love to be able to add telemtry and a cheap solution for video capabilities (I believe this would be too expensive).

Due to kids involvment (from 4 to 10 yo, hoping my toddler will stay with his mom :)) I prefer not to have soldering needs.

Can you please help me out with this?



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    • Well, you may need to improvise for landing skids.  HK does sell a couple different ones.  Nylon legs that fits under the main PDB and the other kind are legs that are mounted under the motors plates.  Both are cheap.  If you search online, there are other alternatives that range from a few dollars to over a hundred.

      For video and WIFI, sorry, the answer would be no.  The drones you see on the market today with WIFI video to phone are special designs.  In general, WIFI will use the same 2.4Ghz radio channels your R/C controller use so WIFI will interfere with the RC and may cause a crash.  This is why in general people buy the video transmitters/receivers which will use 5.8 Ghz range radio signal to do FPV.  Depending on which country you are in, some will require you to have a HAM radio license to even use such equipment especially in EU countries, a lot of the equipments you find online are actually illegal to use.  For this you will probably need to check with local RC clubs for more information, but that would most likely be outside your budget anyway so you can leave that out.  Just fly with line of sight and have the Mobius on record before you arm and fly and stop it after you land.

    • Hi,

      you're right, very strict regulations for 5.8ghz outdoor in Europe.. I'll put that on hold for now.

      I'm going to receive all the parts in the next couple of days so I'd like to take this time to start downloading ardupolit and mission planner and reading all I can about those two software.

      I've bought the Mini APM Pro Flight Control you suggested, what firmware version is best to use with it?

      Do you think that following the wiki from Ardupilot.com I'll have all the information I need?


    • APM boards are being retired as you may know so you don't want to use any new firmware as they won't fit size-wise.  It is supposed to support up to 3.2.1.  However, many people including myself have had trouble with both 3.2 and 3.2.1 for APM boards.  They are fine for Pixhawk, but for APM, it takes a lot of effort to get it to fly stable.  So I would recomment you use the older version.  Many including myself fine no problem with 3.1.5.  It is tricky to locate 3.1.5 in the archive.  You will probably only see 3.1.2 which is just fine too.  I do my own coding and customization of the firmware, but I am not at liberty to share that right now.  I think you should be able to start with 3.2.1, but if you cannot get it to work right than move back down the versions or get help on this forum.  The think is 3.2 and up requires the controller board to be completely vibration free which is not that easy.  Let me know how things goes, but it will take some time to build and put everything together.  Always start with default parameters and use autotune function so there is plenty of reading to do for you while you wait for shipment.  BTW - HobbyKing has their own forum called RCGroups.com which is big too and have far more chats about DIY then here so you might want to join that site and talk there too.  Good Luck!

    • This is the final list, I ended up changing something.. Order is still not shipped.. I hope there are not too big mistakes:

      Mobius Wide Angle C Lens ActionCam 1080p HD Video Camera Set With Live
      Video Out
      HKPilot Transceiver Telemetry Radio Set V2 (433Mhz)
      Turnigy Neutron 200W DC Touch Screen Balance Charger LiHV Capable
      HobbyKing 350w 25A Power Supply (220v~240v)
      Turnigy Mobius 2-Axis Gimbal with Tarot Controller and AX2206 Motors (EU
      Turnigy 9X 9Ch Transmitter w/ Module & 8ch Receiver (Mode 2) (v2
      Firmware) (EU Warehouse)
      Q Brain 4 x 25A Brushless Quadcopter ESC 2-4S 3A SBEC (EU Warehouse)
      Q450 V3 Glass Fiber Quadcopter Frame 450mm - Integrated PCB Version (EU
      Warehouse)Multistar Elite - 2216-920 Box set (2CWplus2CCW) (EU Warehouse)
      10x4.7E Multistar Carbon Fiber Propellers L/H and R/H Rotation with DJI
      Fitting (1 pair) (EU) (EU Wa
      ZIPPY Compact 4000mAh 3s 40c Lipo Pack (EU Warehouse)
      Turnigy Battery Strap 330mm (EU Warehouse)
      Mini APM Pro Flight Control with NEO-7N GPS&Power Supply Module for
    • I still do not see landing skid or extended legs for the frame so how will you be handling this?

      Also wanted to make sure your expectation.  The Mobius is for recording video only and not live FPV right?  For FPV, you will need Video transmitter and receiver as well as a display unit and power source together will be at a minimum several hundreds more you will need to spend.

    • Thank you, your suggestions are always very useful. Tomorrow I'll make the order!
    • Hi Vinnie,

      thank you very much for all the useful information.

    • You are welcome.  I forgot to mention you will also need to get propellers that match your motors.  By the way, Hobby King is having a 50% sale on some motors and a few of those have bullet connectors so do check those out.  Here is the link below

      HK 50% off motors

    • Hi,

      thanks again.. I'm starting to think about my part list.

      I'd appreciate if you can check my first thought:

      Frame - Q450 V3

      Motors: Multistar 350qx 20A 1200kv x4

      ESC: Qbrain 4x20A 2-4s

      Propellers: 9050 Carbon Fiber 9in x 4 

      Battery: Turnigy 4000mah 3s 20c

      TX/RX: Turnigy 9x (8ch rx)

      Flight controller: I'm having some problem with this due to absolute ignorance (I'd like to use ardupilot and have gps and telemetry)

      Can't find the mobius on euro warehous on hobbyking and thinking about Turnigy Mobiux 2-axis gimbal with tarot controller and AX2206 motor

      What am I missing?

      How many errors have I made at the moment?

      Thanks again,


    • The list looks good. Multistar is a good starter choice with bullets already to easily connect to the Qbrain.  However, the 1200kv are designed for 350 size so Q450 might not be a good match. For 450 size you generally want slower RPM.  HK website has matched motos and ESC recommendations at the bottom of the page if you just scroll down.  MT2213-935KV MultiStar Motor and propeller combo is quite good to use.  Personally I would pay a little more to get the 4x25A instead of the 20A.  It is more safe as even though your motors are rated 20A.   You should also research to see if the wires are long enough for the arms on the frame.  Sometimes you will need bullet cable extensions.

      As for controller, the Pixhawk is the only supported one now as APM had retired.  However, Pixhawk is expensive.  There is no reason why you cannot use old Ardupilot firmware on an APM. I have several of those still flying good.  Here is a mini clone APM package that I have used that is very good.  http://www.banggood.com/Mini-APM-Pro-Flight-Control-with-NEO-7N-GPS...

      Now you only need to order the Telemetry Radio set. Check the law in your country as there are 2 standards and they are not interchangeable.  (433mHz vs 915) Here in North America we must use 915 and  Hobby King sells both versions and this is what I use http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__55560__HKPilot_Transceiv...

      One more item you will need is lipo batteries.  If you build 350 size, 3S is okay.  For 450 or larger, you will probably want to use at least a 4S which are slightly more expensive.

      There is a boat load of knowledge you will need to learn about batteries too, at the minimum what the C rating means and what you will need for your motor/ESC combo to make sure you do not end up with brown out scenarios and result in a crash.

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