Quadcopter 1: Parts

In this series of posts I will describe my first Quadcopter which I call: Quadcopter 1.

My friend Misha got me interested in quadcopter around May this year (2014). I started reading about this subject and made my first purchase on eBay on May 20. My first order was for this carbon fibre frame which cost me $73:

HJ-H4 Reptile 4 Axis Carbon Fiber Folding Frame Kit with Landing Gear

On the same day (or rather night) I ordered more stuff. First a 4-in-1 ESC from Emax. It was a package deal with 4 engines and all the accessories.

Emax XA2212 Brushless Motor 980KV x4 & 25A 4-in-1 ESC for Quadcopter Multicopter

At that time I didn’t know that sometimes engines are sold separately from the Bullet banana connectors (the gold plated connectors that connect the engines to the ESC) and the screws that attach the propellors to the engine. Luckily this package contained everything. Its price was: 53 Euro which was about $77.

I also bought the heart of the quadcopter – the flight controller. Misha said that since he has an APM I should order a Naza. It was a lucky choice because the Naza is so easy to fly and it motivates you to continue learning and experimenting.

DJI NAZA-M V2 WITH GPS AUTOPILOT +PMU + GPS PROTECTOR CASE Quadcopter Hexacopter

It was expensive – $315 + almost $20 in import taxes – but its worth every penny.

Two days later I ordered a 5000 mA battery for $37.90:

Freeship 11.1 V 30C 5000mAH 3S Lipo Li-Po Lipoly Battery for RC Trex Helicopter

and a LiPo charger. This one is a fake IMax B6 and it worked until last week – for about 5 months – which is not too bad. It seems that a fuse burned, so I believe that it will be easy to fix and I’ll describe the fix in a separate blog.

This is the charger  that I bought for $20:

New iMAX B6 LCD Screen Digital RC Lipo NiMh Battery Balance Charger D1

A quadcopter needs propellors, so being very naive I bought 2 pairs of 10×45 propellors and 2 pairs of 8×45 propellors – 4 propellors of each size.

DJI 8 x 4.5, 9 x 4.7, 10 x 4.5 carbon nylon propellers quadcopters cw ccw

Carbon reinforced Propellers cw & ccw 8×4.5 9×4.7 10×4.5 quadcopter UK Stock

Each pair cost me around $13.7 which was a very bad deal indeed. I ended up spending so much money on propellors until I found that I can buy 10 pairs of propellors for $26.

And finally I needed a transmitter (remote control) and I took Misha’s advice and chose the Hitec Aurora 9 with a 7 channel Optima receiver. The package cost me around $380.

AURORA 9 2.4GHz AFHSS COMBO 7CH RX NIMH (M2)

I bought the transmitter in the UK, the actual price was GBP 220, and brought it home with me. I was concerned that it will be held by customs if I’ll get it by the mail or DHL from china. I also preferred to have an original one.

And finally, I bought 8 pairs of Deans connectors for connecting the battery the the system. At the end I used only one but its always good to have more of these parts around. Their price was 4 GBP or $6.85.

Later, when building the quadcopter I realised that I need heat shrink tubing (I had no idea that it existed) so I borrowed some from a friend and ordered more from eBay for $3.5:

Heatshrink Tubing Red Black 6 Metre Pack Sleeving Kit

So here is a summary of the parts and costs for my first quadcopter. This is not the full price I paid in order to get it up in the air. This process took me about 3 months and I had to replace countless propellors and some engines as I’ll describe. This summary is how much it could cost me to build a similar high-end quadcopter today.

[table id=1 /]

The total (initial) cost of my quadcopter 1 was: $543.45 in addition to the $380 I spent on the transmitter.

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