Drones and for drones
Pirx 5 Freestyle
The success of the Pirx Seven frame made me realize that there is still a place on the market for new 5-inch frames. This is why I designed the Pirx 5 Freestyle that takes the best aspects of Pirx Seven in smaller form-factor. 4mm arms and thick main plate guarantee durability. If you somehow break one of the arms, replacement is as simple as removing two screws, and that's all. Pirx 5 is designed for top-mounted battery but can carry one on the bottom as well. The frame has a place for two 20x20mm stacks or one 30.5x30.5mm stack in the center and 30.5mm mounting holes in the back. And of course, no props in the view!
A good 7-inch FPV frame is not a 5-inch frame scaled up by adding longer arms. It does not work like that! I designed Pirx Seven as a 7-incher from the ground up. Thick arms, plenty of space for all the equipment you might need and even some more. Oh, you can carry a battery above, or below, have 2 30.5x30.5mm stacks or even 3 20x20mm stacks! And yes, you can easily fit a huge battery on Pirx Seven. More details are available here
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
Foxeer F722 V2
Foxeer F722 V2 flight controller is an excellent example of the modern trend in quadcopter flight controller design. It's designed to work rather with 4-in-1 ESCs than separate ones and sacrifices an SD Card slot for an SPI Flash. With fill set of ports: 5 serial ports and I2C, it can work great with both Betaflight and INAV builds. Built-in OSD can be disabled in favor of the DJI FPV system.
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.
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.
Zeez F7 Stack
Surprisingly well thought through F7 stack with very potent 60A 4in1 ESC. Not only the top side of the FC is mostly flat so you can put RX or VTX on it (and that is super handy), it has 128MB of onboard flash for your logs and a USB-C connector. Yeap, it's time to say goodbye to Micro-USB after the years!
Mamba F722S Stack
Another stack from Mamba! This time, with an F7 MCU and with built-in SpeedyBee compatible Bluetooth! How cool is that? Well, cool enough. Comparing to the previous stack, also 4-in-1 ESC was improved: BlHeli_32 and 50A of current. On top of that, 6 serial ports and 16MB of flash for your Blackbox logs.
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.
iFlight XING 2306
I observed something interesting: when I'm looking for a new motor for my next 5-inch quadcopter build, I usually buy XING motors. Maybe it's the looks, maybe the price, maybe the quality and performance. Perhaps the combination of all the above. XINGs 2306 are not an exception, and I'm super happy running them on my Pirx 5 FPV quadcopter. They are smooth and responsive when combined with Dalprop Nepal N1 or FOLD props. On top of that, they look good too!
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..
Brotherhobby Avenger 2806.5
Another Brotherhobby Avenger? Yes, but this time in 2806.5 size. Big stator volume, a lot of torque, big bearings, and smooth work are where this motor shine. Pair it with a good 7-inch propeller and you are ready to go. 1300KV will work great with 6S while 1700KV is designed for 4S.
DYS Samguk Series Wu 2206
If you are on a budget with your next 5-inch racer and do not want to, or can not, buy middle-class or top-tier motors, take a look at DYS Samguk Series Wu 2206. They are cheap, and you can't hide that, but they are still good enough quality to be worth buying. Do not expect wonders, just solid motors for beginners.
iFlight XING 2806.5
Motor manufacturers finally noticed that people want to fly 7-inch quadcopters, and there is a need for good motors big enough to handle heavy, 7-inch propellers. iFlight XING 2806.5 is an excellent example of such a motor. Big stator, strong magnets, thick shaft, and big bearings sign a smooth work and enough torque for any type of operation.
- 1300KV version is for 6S builds
- 1800KV version is for 4S builds
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.
T-Motor F60 Pro IV
Sometimes it's just worth buying something proven even if it means paying a few extra bucks more. T-Motor F60 Pro IV is an excellent example of such a policy. T-Motor had enough time to evolve the design to perfection and F60 Pro IV delivers all the torque you will need on 5-inch propellers. This motor is better suited for racing but will work on freestyle builds as well.
- 2550KV version is for 4S builds
- 1950KV version is for 5S builkds
- 1750KV version is for 6S builds
Dalprop FOLD F7
The [5-inch Dalprop FOLD F5](https://bit.ly/35UjqxV) are good propellers. Not great, just good. 7-inch **Dalpropl FOLD F7** play in a completely different league, though. I said it a few times, and I will say it again: FOLD F7 are the best 7-inch props on the market. Period. They are extremely smooth and have enough punch when you need it. I switched all my 7-inch builds to F7s, and that was one of the best decisions of 2020!
Dalprop Nepal N1
What a great, freestyle, 5-inch propellers those Nepal N1 are! Smooth, agile, very nice handling. On top of that, very little propwash and what is left is very easy to tune out. Currently, my propellers of choice. I wish they start to make them in the 7-inch size.
Great HQProp propellers sold under Mr Steele's brand. Ethix S3 are a great example that low pitch prop can be a great choice for freestyle flying. Low pitch and low weight results in a very fast response and a shitload of control. If I would have to choose between S3 and Nepal N1 I would have to think a lot...
HQProp 7x4x3 V1S
If Nepal N1 is my 5-inch propeller of choice, then HQProp 7x4x3 V1S in my 7-inch propeller of choice. Smooth, durable and with good efficiency. They beat almost every other 7-inch prop in every aspect besides raw thrust. But with enough KV it does not really matter.
HQProp DP 5x4.5x3 V1S
HQProp 5x4.5x3 V1S is another great freestyle propeller from HQProp. They do make a lot of great propellers, don't they? V1S comes in many shapes as sizes, this particular one is a nice compromise between handling and power. Yes, it has some oomph, but also will help you to fly precisely how you want.
Sensors and all the rest
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!
Matek Optical Flow & Lidar
GPS is not the only sensor drones can use to keep a designated position. Another one is a combination of Optical Flow and Lidar rangefinder. It's almost like an optical mouse. Optical Flow observes the pattern on the ground below the drone to determine movement. As a result, you can have a very precise positioning indoors when a GPS signal is not available or weak. Matek Optical Flow & Lidar is supported by INAV.
Benewake TFmini Lidar
Small, cheap, and with good range lidars suited for RC hobby are super hard to find. Benewake TF mini is one of the few that meet the requirements: serial connected, up to 8m range, works with Ardupilot, and INAV.
Matek SAM-M8Q + HMC5883l GPS Module
State of the art GPS module for FPV drones? Matek SAM-M8Q maybe is not the perfect one, but it's pretty close! Small form factor, good quality components, built-in magnetometer. Everything that you FPV drone might ever need.
Probably the best GPS module on the market! Ublox M9N delivers 1.5 times better sensitivity and tracking accuracy than the previous generation. This, combined with a faster protocol, allows up to 25Hz update rates and exceptional fix speed and GPS tracking accuracy. The only downsize that the older versions of INAV do not support the new protocol... Works great with Ardupilot and future INAV releases!
Vifly Finder V2
Finding a downed drone or airplane can be a major pain in the ass. Especially when the main battery disconnected and a buzzer is not working. ViFly Finder partially solves the problem: it has own battery and starts to emit a loud noise and LED flashes when it detects disconnected main battery. Of course, it can act as a standard buzzer too! And yes, it's bloody loud!