Getting the party started...


Okay so here’s where I am at:


I’ve never had a helicopter apart from the mini-$50 ones you can purchase anywhere. So this will be my first helicopter/drone.


Short term Goals:

  • Buy Quadcopter
  • Build Quadcopter
  • Fly Quadcopter



Long term Goals:

  • Mount a GoPro HD video camera on it. (GoPro Hero 3 Black)
  • Eventually do FPV flights (either with the GoPro or by using a separate FPV cam)
  • I’d love to mission plan in the future so I do not want to limit myself early by buying parts that don’t allow me to expand. (xBee)



The proposed setup:


  • 3DR Arducopter Quad-C
  • APM 2.5
  • 4x jDrones AC2836-358 880 kV Motors
  • 4x 30A ESC
  • uBlox 3DR GPS LEA-6
  • 10x45 Props (to start, ideally I’ll upgrade these to CF once I learn to fly)


(Purchasing from


Now… based on my short term goals. I think I’m good to go. Long term goals though, I’d love some feedback. I’m thinking if I need to lift more, I could always convert into a hex setup?


As far as batteries and Remote – I am undecided.


CanadaDrones sells the Turnighy 9X 9ch or the WFT09 remote but I’ve heard wonderful things about the Spekturm DX8.


I would love to hear your feedback. Thanks!

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  • T3
    Naza or APM, you still going to have to tinker somewhat. Either flight board will work, you still need to learn to fly and yes crash and then repair. Remember there are only 2 types of pilots, those that have crashed and those yet to crash. I really love the tinkering part of this hobby. It seems all RC flight hobbies have to tinker. I see it at the RC field with the planes and helicopters. All these guys and girls are tinkering with their toys.
    Good luck, have fun and fly safe.
  • Flamewheels are great little multicopters, I have a 330 and a 450 with an APM2 and my friend Oliver has a F550 with an APM2 also.

    These are each available inexpensively as an ARF kit with ESCs, Motors and Props and work very well requiring only the addition of a flight controller, BEC, Battery and receiver.

    The Naza + GPS is a pretty solid system and fairly easy to set up but it doesn't have the versatility of the APM 2.5 and it still requires a bit of familiarity to get everything right.

    Certainly you can always switch to the APM or to the even more powerful and soon fully incorporated within Arducopter PX4.

    In any case the Flamewheel is a great way to start, a lot of us have them and love them, they are widely available, inexpensive, rugged, have cheap replacement parts and all in all are a very satisfactory way to get into quad copters.

    I would recommend starting with the F450 Quad, because it can do almost anything you might want and 4 motors are easier and more reliable to start with than 6.

    The DJI motors and ESCs that come with the Flamewheel are excellent by the way, but the ESCs do not have a built in BEC and if you get the ARF version (without NAZA) you will need to add an external BEC.

    Castle makes a nice and widely used 5 / 10amp switching BEC.

    If you get the NAZA one, I believe it has a BEC built into the flight control unit.

    In any case, Flamewheel = excellent choice.

  • Well guys,

    I'm embarrassed to admit it on this board but I'm strongly considering getting the DJI Naza + GPS with a Flamewheel as my first copter. I'm a little overwhelmed at all of the information with the APM... 

    I love the APM product (the auto flight is amazing!) but I'm not so sure I'm up for all of the configuring and tinkering required to get it going.

    I can always change out the Naza +GPS for the APM later right?

    What are you thoughts (shudder)... I'm almost scared to post this.

  • Arducopter 2.9..

    Alt Hold test (no sonar) ->

    Sonar terrain test ->

  • T3
    I like the Spektrum products. You get what you pay for and the support is excellent. They've helped me a number times. Like setting my transmitter to plane not helicopter so I could program my switches correctly for the different flight modes.
    As for sonar. When you start it's nice to have since most of your beginning flights should be under 20 feet. You got to take it slow and learn how to fly your quad. You start flying in stabilize mode and then move up to Alt Hold. Alt Hold is nice. You set it and the copter stays close to your altitude, without you having to keep changing the throttle.
    Diffently get the telemetry it might save your copter. I wish I had gotten it on my first quad, I might still have it today. It flew away on me and was lost. Pilot error, test flight at night without lights. Did not plan to fly high, but accidentally hit the auto flight mode and up into the night it went. Couldn't see it, so I crashed it God knows where. Fortunately for me no one was hurt and no property damage.
    Since you went with the larger motors, you might have do a little tuning to get a stabile flight.
    Good luck and welcome to the hobby. It's a blast!
  • 1. Arducopter 2.9 greatly enhances accuracy of the altitude reading from APMs barometer sensor. As mentioned, don't worry about sonar right now.

    2. HobbyKing had some 9XRs yesterday. Add it to your wishlist or sign up for in-stock notifications. Alternatively, the original 9X is solid radio too, as long as your comfortablesoldering a cable to the mainboard be able to program it via a USBasp programmer (or simply buy a SmartiParts programming board).

    3. HobbyKing's has a clone of 3DR's915MHz Telemetry Radio for $30. The telemetry radio is very handy, unfortunately Mission Planner is windows only (sans running it inside vmware/parallels)

    4. APC 11x4.7SF & APC 11x4.7SFP

    Oliver (above): The 9XR ships without a tx/rx module. FrSky's DJT combo is the recommended drop in module at the moment (see my comment on the previous page). DX8 is a $400 radio. 9XR + DJT combo is less than $100 and comes with far more flexible software. There is quite a lot of info out there on the 9x series radios:

  • Lots of good advice above. I've been using Turnigy batteries on everything up to my TRex 600 with excellent results - but that's in part due to never running a LiPo down below 80% of its mAh capacity and never charging at more than 1C (so for example at 5 amps for a 5000 mAh battery) and always - every time - balance charging.

    Regarding Tx & Rx: We are hearing a whole lot about the Turnigys but much of that seems to be coming from folks who are very new to r/c and who are perhaps flying mostly close-in. I would be real careful there ... personally if I were to use either their Tx or Rx's I would fly a conventional plane with it a bunch, at long ranges, before committing a multicopter or trad heli (let alone one carrying my GoPro Black) to them. The current standards for Tx & Rx in high performance r/c aircraft in the US are Spectrum, JR and Futaba, with HiTech and Airtronics sort of at the edges. There are reasons for that.

    Now, I'm not saying the Turnigys won't be just fine, but again I would want to really wring out the individual units. I fly a JR 12X Tx and my hex and my 600 both have JR 9-channel Rx's with two satellite Rx's. That cost an embarrassing amount of money, but I needed more than the 7 channels that my Spektrum DX7 had, and at the time the Spectrum DX8 wasn't yet available. A JR 9 channel wasn't all that much less than the 12X, so I went for it, and I'm happy I did. But today I would probably buy a DX8, not only for the quality but also for the level of support available (and with no offense to anyone here, there is much more extensive support for the mainline radios available in the traditional r/c forums than here, where there is a lot of reinventing of the wheel going on in regard to basics of flying).


  • Moderator

    Hi Michael,

    Welcome to the world of quads. There has been some great information before my post but would like to just support a few points.

    Certainly get the telemetry as its useful for so many mission and log reasons, but also great if you need to play hid and seek with your quad. As in it flies away. This hasnt happened to me but there is a post running at the moment where it did.

    Whilst I bought the sonar, its not really needed unless you want to measure distances. Which you probably dont want to do at the beginning.

    Warning that 12inch props wont fit on the quad. I have 11inch with the 880kv motors and it really is quite stable in flight and very easy to fly. Lift and acceleration are not an issue.  As a beginner, i would recommend that, but Jason says 10inch so perhaps go with that. You can always change later.

    Most of all, just dive in, read and re read installation and tuning guides and youll be fine. ((:

  • Developer

    1 Sonar is not needed and I no longer fly with it. 

    2 Watch that video first. Sign up for the 9x radio. That's the only way to get it. Buy a no-module version and get the DIY FrSky kit. Then buy a good FRSky RX. They are great, and way better then the Turnigy module

    3  Telemetry is the best part.

    4 use 10x45 props for the 880 radios and use APC slowflyer props, then try the regular APC props once you get the hang of it.

    Use smaller batteries like the 2200 from RCtimer. You'll accelerate faster with smaller lighter batteries.

  • Okay, I'm close to purchase. I've been doing some research/reading and I just have a few more things.

    1. A lot of people recommend sonar? Should it be a standard item on any Quad?

    2. Turnigy 9XR seems to be the radio of choice. I've read a lot about it but it appears that Hobby king is completely sold out and will be for some time. I'm not really in any rush so I'm considering ordering and waiting my turn. 

    3. Telementry - purchase at the beginning or after I get the hang of things?

    4. As the 880kv motors are designed for 12x45 props will I be doing myself a favor by just using them from the get go instead of the 10x45 props that comes in the kit?

    Batteries are sold at a premium in Canada due to the weight and restrictions. I'll pick up one of the 5000+ mAh from CanadaDrones when I purchase the kit but I think I'll order a few from Hobbyking when I goto the US and bring them back as they are about half of the price. 

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