We can’t begin this article without mentioning that FPV stands for First Person View. Next, when we talk about an FPV quadcopter kit, we think about a kit that can be mounted into a quad that supports FPV.
Quads that support this feature are remotely controlled by users on the ground while receiving live video feed with an aerial view. This way, you get to see where you’re flying in real-time; you don’t have to wait for the drone to come home and see the footage.
What are these copters used for?
These are used by professional photographers and videographers for capturing videos and pictures. These drones are also best suited for racing, a sport quite popular among copter enthusiasts, and you can find out much more about this by reading our article about drone racing. You can shoot a lot of videos with FPV quadcopters and this is one of the biggest advantages of the device.
The live video feed is usually taken by a GoPro that is mounted on the frame (however, a GoPro is not mandatory; any other camera will do). This is transmitted by the transmitter to a screen on the ground. This is where you get the real thrill of the quadcopter as it gives you the feel of a pilot in the cockpit while resting on the ground. Pretty cool, right?
With a range of FPV quadcopter kits available in the market, choosing one out of so many is a tough task. And this is where we help you with our well-compiled list!
The best FPV quadcopter kits in the market
LHI FPV Mini Quadcopter Race Copter Frame Kit
The first product on our list is the LHI FPV 250 Race Copter Frame Kit. It is a mini quadcopter which comes in a rather stylish design. Made from pure carbon fiber material, this is a lightweight product which makes it suitable for flying.
The kit comes packed with 12A ESCs that can keep the motor in check. There are also 6030 CF propellers which ensure you a great flight. The MT2204 motors have proven to be effective for a mini quadcopter. According to the users, the quadcopter has shown to provide a very stable flight and crisp pictures.
This can be attributed to the fact that the kit comes equipped with rubber dampers. These help to reduce vibrations during the flight mid-air, giving you a steady camera and thus, good pictures.
The product, on the whole, is lightweight and reliable. The interesting thing to note here is that you have to build the drone yourself from scratch.
You will have to connect all the wires and build up the frame. However, there aren’t enough and clear instructions about how to assemble the electronics onto the board. Also, stay alerted; this is not a unique design. This design has been derived from a number of other drones. However, the drone is pretty strong and flies well. Overall, this gives you a very solid unit at a very reasonable price.
ARRIS FPV250 Mini Racing Sport Quadcopter
Next up is another exciting product from the house of Arris, namely, the Arris FPV 250 Mini Racing Sport Quadcopter. For starters, as the name suggests, it is mainly used for sports purposes. So, as one would understand, this is quite sturdy and has a strong build. This is completely unassembled.
So, if you are interested in electronics and have some idea about assembling a quadcopter from its components, this will be ideal for you. No manual guiding you how to install comes with this device. You will only come across a manual for the flight controller. Further, the kit is not made up of pure carbon fiber, but from a composite material of carbon and glass fiber.
However, the best part is its camera. This is a 700 TVL camera that manages to give you good, crisp and noise-free pictures. It is 5.8 grams in weight, which is quite convenient for a mini quadcopter. So, up in the air, you will get a stable flight which will, in turn, lead to clearer pictures.
The transmitter is also responsible for giving you pictures free from disturbances. It is a 600 mW device which ensures that there is no delay between the pictures and their viewing. This makes for a great first person view service. According to the users, this kit is able to maintain its structure even in the case of a few hard crashes. This is pretty impressive for a drone of this size.
Eachine Q200 FPV Quadcopter Frame Kit
The next FPV quadcopter kit we deal with today has a very modern and stylish design. It is a very light structure as the whole unit only weighs about 40 grams. The lighter the device is, the easier it is to fly it in the air. This is one of the big positives of this quadcopter.
Next, we talk about the user-friendly nature of the drone. It is very convenient to use. The entire kit is well equipped to give you a drone that functions well. The key here is assembling the unit together. This is where the Eachine Q200 does well. It is very easy to install and thus gets to work fast.
The lightweight structure of this device is due to the fact that it is made up of carbon fiber. But that is not the only advantage this copter has on offer: the 4045 propellers tend to do a good job at giving you a good flight experience.
Because this kit is completely unassembled, you have the freedom to construct it according to your own wishes. For instance, you have the option to mount the battery either on top or on the bottom of the frame. Coming to the performance, this device has been seen to be very responsive, as compared to its contemporaries. There is one particular disadvantage. The product does not come with any assembly instructions, making it difficult for beginners.
iFlight ZMR180 FPV quadcopter kit
FPV quadcopters find a lot of applications in the sporting genre. Many sports enthusiasts try their hands out in quadcopter racing and an FPV kit is the ideal one for the purpose. The iFlight ZMR180 FPV Quadcopter Kit can be turned into such a device, used for sporting purposes.
What do you need for a sporting drone? You would need strong motors, a sturdy body, and efficient propellers. Now, this is a mini drone, but it has some of the strongest propellers ever. These are 4045 bullnose propellers. They are small in size but can function as well as with a 5-inch propeller set. These parts are violent and strong, giving you the strength required for a good racing drone.
Another exciting part of the kit is the flight controller, which is the best in the market. The Naze32 RV5 6DOF flight controller gives you a very responsive performance. Now, who is this set suitable for?
This combo kit is ideal for people who have some knowledge in the field of assembling electronics and quadcopter parts. Also, some knowledge of soldering will also be required. This is heightened by the fact that the quad does not come with any assembly instructions.
However, the bright side to this is the fact that even with minimal or no experience, this drone assembles pretty smoothly and gives you a stable and unperturbed flight, but if you still need some guidance in assembling it, we suggest checking out our article about building drone kits. Overall, just like you would expect of a sporting drone, this product is tough and has a sturdy build.
Lumenier QAV250 Mini FPV Quadcopter Frame Kit
Saving the best for the last, we introduce the fifth product in the list. This is, once again, a small device, but comes packed with a lot of power. It has 250 mm in size which is enough to make space for 5-inch propellers.
Let us come to the first big advantage of this copter: it comes packed with bumpers on the arms. This goes a long way in protecting the motors in the case of an accident or a crash.
According to reports, the frame seems to be a very strong one. In spite of a few crashes and hits, the drone stays intact. Next, it comes packed with carbon fiber. This is one of the most durable and strong materials when it comes to quadcopters.
Also, this particular drone comes at a really reasonable price, which is quite less for carbon fiber products. Next, assembling and mounting the electronics on the frame becomes quite an easy task. This can be attributed to the fact that there is a distribution board that gives the electronics a neat structure.
However, the landing gear seems to be the one weak point for this product. This is something the company could work on. Besides, there are replacements parts and other variations available for the landing gear for this quadcopter as well. The spare motors and screws are a big positive because constructing and using a drone like this can always give rise to a few issues.
If you think that this product could be useful for you, then you can buy it here.
Building your first FPV quadcopter kit
The quadcopter kit that you purchase will pretty much have all the equipment and accessories you require. All that is left to do is to assemble all the parts together to get the perfect FPV set.
The first step in the process to build an FPV quadcopter is building the base with the quadcopter frame you have. The base is just the beginning which will later house the motors and the electronic speed controllers. A strong base will be the foundation to a sturdy copter.
There will be a bottom plate and a PCB board with the arms wedged in between, and you would have to connect them together with the help of screws and nuts. With this, you have the base ready for use.
Motors and ESCs
This is a rather important part of the kit as this will determine the performance of the device you make. First and foremost, the electronic speed controllers or the ESCs need to be soldered on to the motors themselves.
Now, since it is a quadcopter, there will be four motors required. Two of these will work in a clockwise direction and two in the anti-clockwise direction. Do make sure to check out the manual to know which motor goes on which side of the quadcopter. Once the ESCs are connected, the next step includes soldering the power cables to the PDB.
At this point, we have the ESCs connected to the motors and the wires attached. Now comes attaching the motors to the quadcopter arms. This is seen by using the screws provided with the quadcopter kit. Make sure to attach them in a way such that the wires point down the arms. After doing this, if you have any additional cables sticking out, you can stuff them under the ESCs.
The flight controller
Installing the flight controller will give you the power to control the quadcopter from a distance. It is always best to take a sturdy and durable controller that can survive a few crashes here and there. While installing the flight controller, it is imperative that you secure the device in the right manner since all controllers tend to work in a certain orientation only.
Once you mount the controller onto the middle of the frame, you can then attach the speed controllers. The flight controller will transmit the instructions of the operator to the ESCs for managing or altering the speed of the drone in air. The wires will have different specifications including ground, voltage and signal wires indicated by the different colors.
The flight controller will need to receive information from the radio control of the operator on the ground. Therefore, the receiver is connected to the input pins of the flight controller. There are specific cables provided for this connection. Once again, these cables need to be attached in the correct orientation.
FPV system setup
The next, and the most important, stage of this procedure is setting up the FPV system. An FPV quadcopter is one that has a camera. The camera and the transmitter will have to work in combination in order to give you a first person view of the drone. Now, you might come across different ways of achieving this setup. We are, however, concentrating on the simplest one.
Firstly, connect the wires going to the ground, voltage and signal going from the camera to the transmitter. These cables are usually included in the camera pack or the transmitter package. Next, we connect a balance lead connector for the sole purpose of powering the whole system of the quad copter in order to make it fly. To make things a little tidier, heat shrink can be used on the connection.
Now that the basics are done, all that is left is fixing up the system together. For starters, the camera system needs to be attached to the quadcopter frame to make it a First Person View device. Thereafter, the transmitter is attached to the side of the copter.
Having done that, we can move on to the battery pack. There is not a certain place considered best for the battery, so you can attach it according to your choice. Then the propellers are attached to the motors and the FPV quad copter is ready for use.
Choosing the best FPV camera
FPV quadcopters can give you a great view of the world from a certain height. It is all the more interesting if you build the whole system yourself. So, now if you have the quadcopter frame, the important question here is how do you choose the best camera for your FPV system?
If you want a first person view of the objects, you have to get a camera that can give you the crispest images. Else, the abilities of your quadcopter system will be highly limited. Here are some points to keep in mind before you opt for the ideal camera:
- Imaging sensor: There are two different kinds of imaging sensors available. Firstly, it is CCD and secondly, it is CMOS. The former comes with an effective light sensitivity, with a much greater dynamic range. Also, it creates pictures with less noise and that is always a good thing. On the other hand, CMOS is a lot cheaper and friendlier on the pockets, smaller in size as compared to CCD and thus a lot lighter. For FPV quadcopters, it is always best to use CMOS sensors for best results.
- Video encoding standard: NTSC and PAL are the two different standards for video encoding. This is not really a very important issue. It is best to use the standard followed by your country. For instance, North America sticks to NTSC while PAL is most common in Europe. If you are looking to have some fluidity in your imaging from mid-air, NTSC is a better option. But PAL can ensure you good pictures.
- Lens focal width: You will come across a number of options for lens focal width when it comes to building your own FPV quad copter system. The most common values here include 3.6mm and 2.8mm. The former will give you a field of view of about 90 degrees. On the other hand, 2.8mm will actually lead to a field of view of about 112 degrees. You may or may not like a bigger field of view. This depends on your preferences.
- Camera size and operation: Most of the FPV cameras these days are restricted to a device in a square shape with a length of 32mm or 38mm. Coming to the weight, the ideal FPV camera should be around 20 grams to 50 grams. However, if you are planning to build a mini quad copter, it can go down to as low as 5 grams. Next, we talk about the operating voltage. It is always ideal to opt for a 12 Volt power so that you can connect the camera with the Li-Po battery.
- IR Block or IR sensitivity: The cameras come packed with IR Block or IR sensitivity. While the former gives you better choices in terms of color, the latter will strive to work better in low light conditions.
Not sure what model to buy?
Quadcopters, being one of the most interesting innovations, have been gaining a lot of popularity lately. Camera quadcopters are doing the rounds because of the aerial view they provide.
First person view allows you to get live streaming footage of the videos captured by the drone and this is why more and more companies introduce the FPV feature to their copters. There are a number of such products in the market already, but how do you select the right one? Here are some ideas you could take help from.
The first in our list, the LHI FPV quadcopter kit is a rather interesting one. It is a light product, but does not have a very unique design. One would have to construct it from scratch, having to do some research about the assembly.
So, as a builder, you will need some prior knowledge about electronics. However, once it is done, it flies well and gives you a solid performance. It is sturdy and manages to hold itself steady in spite of the small size, making it a user friendly device.
Talking about user friendly drones, we come across yet another one, this time from the house of Arris. This is perfect for helping beginners learn how to build and fly a quadcopter. This has always been observed to be very steady and solid.
Some users have reported instances when there have been a few hard collisions, but the device could handle itself in these situations. You will need to have some equipment, apart from the ones already provided in the box. With a good camera, this kit is a good one for sporting enthusiasts.
While we are still dealing with racing quadcopters, the ZMR180 is another good product in the category. This is a mini quadcopter with a lot of strength. It is said that the product is best suited for pros with assembly experiences.
However, based on user feedback, even the amateurs tend to do well with this product because of its ease of installation. The propellers are tough and hardy and have managed to stay intact even after a few crashes, which is commendable. Providing smooth and stable flight experiences, this is one of the best racing drones you can come across.
On a similar note, the Eachine Q220 claims to be a very good FPV quadcopter kit for beginners and pros alike. This increases their range of users. However, as reported by users, the instructions for assembling the kit are not clear, making it difficult for the amateurs.
Also, there have been issues with the durability since the device does not seem to take crashes and collisions well. But since the replacement pieces are cheap enough, it is not very difficult to reconstruct the device. On the plus side, the drone is a lot more responsive as compared to the other products.
Another near perfect product we talked about is the Lumenier QAV250. It has all the features that you would expect in an FPV quadcopter kit. Sturdy growth and strong material are some of the highest points for this device. Also, it has been able to sustain crashes and yet managed to stay intact.
The only problem with this drone is the set of weak propellers which can surely be worked upon. Other than that, this is a very convenient buy for a drone made from carbon fiber, coming at this price. Also, the frame is well structured such that you can include and pack in a number of components.
Let us now look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of FPV quadcopter kits:
- First Person View cameras give you live imagery of what the drone captures from several feet above the ground
- These FPV quadcopters are ideal for drone racing games
- FPV copters give you a real life experience of a pilot. It is almost like sitting in the cockpit of a copter
- As observed, these FPV drones fly higher than the normal copters
- FPV quadcopter kits are usually difficult to assemble for beginners.
- These copters are prone to crashes and can be fragile
- These are not ideal for beginners
So keep these things in mind and get set to experience the most authentic flying experience. Do let us know your views in comments!