Electronics & Arduinos
Materials & Supplies
Are you looking for good RC and FPV related products? Tools, components, supplies? Or just looking for an inspiration for your next FPV build that will not ruin your wallet? Below you will find my recommendations divided into several categories. Be advised, those are not the cheapest (I can not afford to buy the cheapest stuff) or best of the best of the best products! They have to be both good (main condition) and relatively cheap. Like the slogan "best bang for the buck"...
FPV drone frames
Surprisingly good and still cheap 7-inch frame. Thick strong and stiff arms together with the well made middle section. Not the most spacious inside, but all components fit just fine. It also comes in 5-inch and 6-inch versions.
Armattan Marmotte is probably the best freestyle FPV frame around when it comes to flight characteristics. Especially in a "Space Grade" carbon version. Titanium camera cage adds some swag to the build as well. Marmotte is not the perfect frame for sure, but it's very good for sure.
You need a motor to fly! Even the best electronics will not solve the problem of too weak or poorly selected motor on a drone or airplane. This is why, right after choosing a frame and propeller size, you should choose a motor. There are many factors that should be taken into consideration and KV is only one of them. Many beginners make a mistake or putting 7" propellers on motors designed for 5" props. This will just not work. Below are a few propositions for 5" and 7" drones as well as airplanes.
iFlight XING-E 2208
Believe it or not, but since case of drone motors, size does matter! XING-E 2208 delivers quite an "oomph" interms of torque, power and response. Perfect for driving 5" and 6" propellers. When needed, will work with 7-inch propellers as well. 2450KV version works great on 4S and 5" while 1700KV will do wonders on 6S. And they come in "pretty" colors too! I love 2450KV version on my 4S freestyle Armattan Marmotte with Ethix S3 props. And those motors are surprisingly efficient as well..
Flywoo NIN 2207
The first thing that catches the eye when you look at Flywoo NIN N2207 is how shiny they are. But let not pretty look fool you! Those are very good motors for 4S at 2450KV and 6S at 1750KV. Plenty of torque and power for a dynamic freestyle or a FPV race.
Brotherhobby 2507 Avenger V2
Avenger V2 is a monster that 7-inch quadcopter drones will love. It comes in various KV variants and delivers an incredible amount of torque in every one of them. 1200KV version will make a good cruiser on 4S or freestyle kwad on 6S. 1750KV and 4S make great freestyler while 1500KV seems like a good compromise between torque and efficiency. Two out of three of my 7-inch drones use Avenger v2!
Racestar BR2508S 1275KV
7-inch long range on a budget? Those are not the best motors ever but neither the less, they work and that's what counts. No problems to spin even heaviest 7-inch propellers.
Flight controllers for FPV drones and airplanes
Holybro Kakute F7
Holybro Kakute F7 managed to do what others failed. It fits powerful STM32F745, OSD, SD Card and enough serial ports for everyone in a form factor only slightly bigger than standard 36x36mm. The unique feature of the whole Kakute series is a gyroscope installed on a separate board connected with the main board with a thin ribbon cable and sponge. It helps to keep gyro noise under control. Made to use together with 4-in-1 ESCs like Tekko32
Is Matek F405-WING too weak and you need something with STM32 F7 series CPU? Connect telemetry or SBUS to any serial port you want! F722-WING can have any serial inverted! On top of that, integrated camera switcher, "power on a switch" and 4 ADC inputs so you can connect Vbat, Current, RSSI, and analog Pitot meter at the same time!
Mamba F405 and 40A ESC
It's amazing how much you can get for $45 these days. For example, surprisingly well made Mamba F405 flight controller and 40A 4-in-1 ESC combo. It might be missing some things comparing to twice-the-price bigger brothers, but for $45 you can not really complain a lot.
This is the flight controller that made the whole WING series. Created for INAV and Ardupilot shines in terms of the number of UARTs, built-in BECs, and overall build quality. The only thing you need extra is a radio receiver, camera, and video transmitter. BEC, OSD, PDB, FC, everything else is just there.
Matek F722-SE is probably the best STM32F7 flight controller for drones on the market. Integrated OSD, power distribution board, output for 6 motors or 4 motors and 2 servos, integrated camera switcher and "power on a switch" function. INAV, Cleanflight, and Betaflight supported. Enough Serial ports of everything you need, including ESC telemetry.
Holybro Kakute F4 & Tekko32
For quite a long time I was against 4-in-1 ESC. After getting this all in one I changed my mind. Holybro Kakute F4 & Tekko32 35A 4-in-1 combo is the thing. Good quality, good design, easy to solder and with all serial ports you will need. On top of that, BlHeli_32 ESC telemetry works out of the box
pretty cool flight controller with almost everything you need on a racing or freestyle drone. Almost, because I2C bus pads are not broken out = you can not connect a magnetometer... Still, good build quality and design.
Drone and airplane electronics
Beitian BN-880 GPS with a compass
Beitian BN-880 GPS is probably the best value for the price. It might not be small or super light (two boards connected together) but it gets the job done. GPS, Glonass, Beiduo, Galileo and HMC5883l compass. It's my main choice where weight or size is not the main factor. Currently, I own like 8 of them!
Analog Pitot tube / airspeed sensor
Airspeed sensors aka Pitot tubes based on MPXV7002 differential pressure sensors are the simplest way to bring airspeed to your model airplane. Supported by APM, Pixhawk, and INAV. All you need is a flight controller with at least one free analog input and done. If you want to know how to connect a pitot tube to INAV, you can use this guide.
Beitian BN-180 GPS
If BN-880 is too big, BN-180 comes to the rescue! Airplanes do not require magnetometers, so BN-180 meets all the requirements! It's hard to find something smaller than BN-180.
936 Soldering Station
936 Soldering Station comes from many retailers under multiple brands. I have 2 such stations and so far, after 4 years, I had no problem with them. Sure, I had to replace soldering tips and heater element once, but that is, let's say, normal. 60W of power allows to solder thick cables (AWG12 with proper soldering tip) with ease. When a thin, precise tip is used, you can even play with SMD elements.
Coax cable crimping tool
Everything is simpler if you can just crimp those SMA/RP-SMA connectors with a proper tool. Pliers can be used if really really needed, but crimper is just so much better. I'm using this one. It is fine to crimp on a RG-178 and RG-316
Tilswall Hot Glue Gun
Hot glue is one of the foundations of a modern RC hobby. Invaluable when working with any foam model airplane. Useless without a hot glue gun. Tilswall 50W gun is surprisingly good for the price, heats up super fast and does not drip glue. Turned out that 10mm hot glue sticks are good for woodworking, for working with airplanes, 7mm sticks are just better!
N1201SA Antenna SWR Vector Network Analyzer
You can make antennas without SWR meter, but if you have one, everything is so much simpler. N1201SA is maybe a simple and cheap one, but gets the job done pretty well. Works up to 2.5GHz so you rather will not measure any FPV antenna, but it's great for LRS, telemetry and RC systems.
Just a wire cutter. Nothing more, nothing less.
XIAOMI Mijia Wiha screwdrivers
Xiaomi Mijia Wiha is a quite decent screwdriver kit. A nice slick case, good handle, decent bits. The only problem I have with it is lack of H2.5 and H3 bits in a default kit. Luckily, additional bits can be purchased separately under the name Xiaomi Wowstick Bit Set. Set X1 has both H2.5 and H3, so you can make your own set.
Glues, tapes, materials and supplies
Performix Liquid Tape
One of the best inventions ever: liquid tape. You want to isolate something and protect it from short-circut or just from dirt? Just put liquid electrical tape on it. It comes in a can with a brush built in into the lid. It can be easily removed just by peeling it off. Just remember, it's not intended for making things waterproof! For making electronics waterproof use MG Chemicals 422B Silicone Conformal Coating
Isopropyl alcohol is a must-have in every workshop. Works great as a degreaser, solvent and cleaning agent. It's also safe for the majority of plastics and coatings, so it can be used with electronics and optics!
1.13mm Thin Coax Cable
This thin coax cable is a real lifesaver when, whatever you do, you have a noisy FPV feed or ESCs desync from time to time. Its usefulness is so obvious that I have no idea what else to write...
Loctite 243 threadlock
Threadlock aka anaerobic glue does one thing: protect screws from loosening and eventually falling off due to vibrations. Apply a small drop on a thread and screw it in. Do not over-torque! Loctite 243 is only one of the available products and probably the best known.
To make an antenna is one, but then to make it good looking and durable, you have to protect it somehow. For example with antenna tubes. They are cheap, come in many colors and give antenna this "semi professional" look.
Heat Shrink Tubes for LiPo rewrap
Nothing lasts long, even the best LiPo batteries. One of the first things that die is either cells or heat shrink that hold them together. Why not neatly replace broken heat shrink instead of using insulating tape?
MG Chemicals 422B Silicone Conformal Coating
Another great invention: silicone conformal coating, or using layman terms: electronic safe waterproof varnish. It will not protect electronics from physical damage, but will nicely isolate from the water! The chances that electronic will survive contact with water when 422B was used grow substantially! I'm not talking about full submersion, but about situations that are more likely to happen: mist, rain, water drops, dew, wet grass, steam condensation. You can easily solder through 422B when you need to fix something.
3M VHB 4910 double sided tape
The best double-sided tape. Period. You can use it to connect any two flat surfaces. The best part is, that not only the bond is very strong, but the tape can also be easily removed and leaves no marks and stains. It comes in different lengths and widths. 0.5" seems to be most suited for RC hobby tho...
Striveday AWG28 and AWG30 silicone wire set
I hate wires in rigid, plastic insulation. Not only they are hard to solder, but they are also hard to organize inside of a drone or airplane. This is why nice silicone AWG28 and AWG30 wires are the base of almost all of my FPV build! This set comes in a variety of thicknesses, from AWG18 to AWG30. I only wish red and black spools were bigger since they always come out first...
- Alfa Monster 7-inch freestyle FPV quadcopter
- TBS Source One 7-inch Long Range Cruiser
- Ritewing Mini Drak - ultimate FPV flying wing
- Flybot Flux Freestyle FPV Wing
- Race Day Quads Mach 1 racer with EMAX RS2 2306 and Holybro Kakute F4
- Long Range / Endurance FPV Drone on 7-inch props
- Armattan Rooster Freestyle / Leisure flying drone
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