Category: Featured

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 2: The Build

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 2: The Build

June 16, 2013 15:57 | By | 19 Comments

If you’ve been following Step 1 of our series, you now have a series of silvery plastic bags, and a cardboard box with some frame parts. Now what?
Thankfully, the build is very easy and not difficult at all.

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Thermal RC photos

Thermal RC photos

April 28, 2013 12:49 | By | Add a Comment

Have you always wanted to see what a multicopter looks like with a thermal camera? We had the chance to play around with one for a bit, check out the photos below!

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Crius All In One Pro GPS Howto – Updated for MW2.2

Crius All In One Pro GPS Howto – Updated for MW2.2

March 17, 2013 0:38 | By | 8 Comments

The Crius AIO promises loads of functionality with its many ports. But how do you hook up that GPS module anyway? We’ll show you how in this updated MultiWii 2.2 tutorial. Things are substantially easier with the new version, read on after the break.

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High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 1: The Shopping List

High-Performance Quadcopter for $120 – Part 1: The Shopping List

March 11, 2013 14:11 | By | 95 Comments

We’re giving you a step-by-step guide on building your own $120 high-performance super-stable quadcopter! This is part 1 of a new series, so dive in!

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RC flying threatened by laws across the globe

RC flying threatened by laws across the globe

February 25, 2013 15:19 | By | 4 Comments

FPV and RC model flying as a hobby are under attack by new legislation which is being introduced around the globe right now. Read up on some examples and draft proposals after the break.

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Hubsan H510 FPV Glasses Review

Hubsan H510 FPV Glasses Review

August 15, 2012 21:34 | By | 5 Comments

Looking for lightweight FPV video goggles that don’t break the bank? You’re not alone. Hubsan has a product to fill that itch, the H510 FPV glasses, which are available for as low as $119. Can they scratch the itch, or are they complete garbage? Read our in-depth review after the break!

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Foxtech HorizonHD 2 FPV Camera Review

Foxtech HorizonHD 2 FPV Camera Review

July 29, 2012 13:04 | By | Add a Comment

There’s a new FPV HD camera contender in town. Can Foxtech’s HorizonHD dethrone the sturdy but heavy GoPro, or are you better of sticking to the more established products? Find out in our review!

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KK 2.0 (KK2) Multicopter Controller Review

KK 2.0 (KK2) Multicopter Controller Review

July 4, 2012 11:17 | By | 35 Comments

LCD Screen! Accelerometers! It even glows in the dark! The new KK2 flight controller from Rolf Bakke sure has a lot going for it, but is it worth the noise that HK is making around this controller? Read on for an in-depth review!

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Crius MultiWii Lite Review

Crius MultiWii Lite Review

June 15, 2012 0:16 | By | 8 Comments

MultiWii is perhaps one of the most well known Open Source multicopter projects. All its hardware and software is open source. Originally based on sensors taken from gutted Nintendo Wii controllers, this project has come a long way – and these days you don’t need to cannibalize a WiiMote or Nunchuk controller anymore. You get a board like the Crius in this review, and you’re set. But how well does it work and how difficult is it to set up? That’s what we’re looking into in this review.

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Hobbyking i86 / Eagle N6 Multi-Rotor Control Board Review

Hobbyking i86 / Eagle N6 Multi-Rotor Control Board Review

June 7, 2012 22:34 | By | 10 Comments

At a mere $20, the Hobbyking i86 is a cheap clone of the Eagle N6 V1 board. Unlike KK, MultiWii and most other boards it does not require the user to flash a firmware in order to fly, instead the airframe type can be set via DIP switches. It’s simple, it’s cheap and it’s small, but is it worth saving money on the controller board?

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2012: The year of the multicopter controller flood

2012: The year of the multicopter controller flood

January 11, 2012 14:19 | By | 14 Comments

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all the multirotor controller boards and units out there. While the level of sophistication is increasing with most of these offerings, some are just open-source projects rebranded and sold under a different name. Here are some of the more interesting offerings at the moment which are either extremely sophisticated, or come at a price that makes it easy to get into this hobby.

 

 

DJI Wookong

http://www.dji-innovations.com/minisite/index_en.html

Source: $1099 at Goodluckbuy

The DJI Wookong is probably the most expensive, and the most complete package out there. This is not only a mere multicopter controller with three gyros. It also incorporates S-Bus compatibility, GPS for position-hold, return home and other nifty functions. At a price of just over $1000 it does not come cheap. However, by adding a data downlink transmitter (=another 300-400 bucks) and using the supplied PC based flight control software you essentially get a turnkey drone system. A quad or tricopter can be built or bought for under $100 these days, and a sub-2000 dollar pricetag for a drone system that is easy to set up and lets you place waypoints on a screen is pretty damn good. Yes there’s the open source Paparazzi project, but that’s far from easy to get to work.

 

 

DJI NAZA

http://www.dji-hobby.com/naza/index_en.html

Source: $238 at Goodluckbuy

The DJI Naza is the low-cost alternative for those of us who don’t need PC control, GPS and all that. At a price of over $200 it is more expensive than the open source counterparts, but it does offer S-Bus compatibility as well as a 2-axis gimbal output for stabilizing camera mounts, and comes with documentation, software and upgrade capabilities.

 

 

Bumblebee

Source: $186 at Goodluckbuy

The Bumblebee controller looks very much like the NAZA, and for a good reason: It’s essentially a stripped down OEM version without S-Bus support and gimbal output. It also only supports quadcopters.

 

 

XAircraft FC1212-S

http://www.xaircraft.com

Source: $150 at Goodluckbuy

The FC1212-S from XAircraft is part of a modular system similar to DJI. In addition to support for an external GPS module and other features, the FC1212 features a 3-axis camera gimbal stabilization output AND a camera shutter output. It should be noted that a high-quality 3-axis gimbal mount will cost you another $300 dollars, but for that you get the best possible camera stabilization.

 

 

Rabbit Flight Controller

Source: $90 at Goodluckbuy

The back says “Love it” and it sounds rather unconvincing. The board features 3-axis accelerometers in addition to the 3-axis gyros, and supports 4, 6 and 8 rotor craft. It supposedly also supports return-home via a GPS addon, but there’s only a flimsy pdf manual, and the included software is not fully translated to english.

The Rabbit software, note the weird button labels...

We have tested the Rabbit flight controller, check our Review for more information!

 

 

FF Free Flight Controller

Source: $50 at Goodluckbuy

The cheapest offering is also one of the best: 3 axis gyro + 3 axis accelerometer, 2 axis camera stabilization, solid PC software, firmware upgrades, and manuals in english and french language. Only drawback: It only supports quadcopters.

On the other hand, you can get the IFLY-4 folding quadcopter kit including this controller for under $200 right here, including the quadcopter frame, 4x 1200kv motors, 4x 12A ESCs, the FF controller and a no-soldering ESC connector board. Even the props are already included.

 

In conclusion, all of these controllers are suitable for FPV flight, and most boards offer stabilization output for creating smooth and stabilized action footage with your DSLR or GoPro HD. Note that it’s not advisable to mount the FPV camera itself onto the gimbal, unless you’re used to flying with a stabilized camera – it’s very difficult to judge your relative motion if you don’t “see” what angle the craft is at.

While a self-made quadcopter was a novelty in 2009, it’s safe to say that the sky will be buzzing with the little buggers in 2012.