Basics of Radio Frequencies for FPV Quadcopter Drones

DJI Phantom FPV

The Basics of Radio Frequencies

You will notice the use of terms such as 2.4GHZ and 5.8GHZ when describing fpv quadcopter and drone aircraft. Here is what you need to know.

2.4 GHZ – is the radio frequency that most quadcopters use for the connection between the ground transmitter and the aerial vehicle. You may remember that this is is also the frequency that computer wireless networks operate on. This can cause some problems when an area (dense housing, office buildings, etc) has many wireless signals. Loss of control and flyways are just some of the reported problems. Another concern is the quadcopter interfering with it’s own on-board systems. This is due to two separate systems being on many modern quadcopters – one for control of the craft and one for transmitting the video (FPV).
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10 Best Quadcopters and drones for 2014 and Gift giving

Blade 350 QX

UPDATED 11/2014
Here are some best bets for drones and quadcopters this upcoming gift-giving season – whether looking to gift yourself or a family member/friend.

Please read notes in ALL CAPITALS

Note – these quadcopters can be less or more expensive depending on vendor, options, etc. but the following will give some idea of the price ranges.

Also note that many of these are not for beginners! Rather they are upgrades after you’ve learned the basics of flying and know exactly what features you desire. Quads best for beginners are marked with an *

We do not suggest the very tiny “nano” thumb size quadcopters for learning or beginners! Here is why.

Under $100
Micro-Sized
*Blade Nano QX – Micro Quad with great features
Amazon Link Blade Nano QX
*Hubsan X4 H107L – updated version of the most popular micro- beginners should purchase the option prop guard.
Amazon Link – Hubsan X4
Hubsan X4 and WL v636
Mini-Sized
*Syma X5 – Inexpensive, reliable, good parts and knowledge availability (lots of owners!) – the model with a X5c designation includes a camera.
Amazon Link to Syma X5Amazon Link to Syma X5c

*WL Toys v636 Skylark – Newer and more advanced “toy grade” mini – see our review.
Bangood Link (worldwide shipping)

*Dromida Ominus – Another advanced toy grade quadcopter which is getting very good reviews! This is somewhat similar to the WL Toys v636, but perhaps a step up in total quality.
Link to Dromida Ominus on Amazon

WL Toys v262 – Larger version of a 212 series with decent payload capacity (see our review)
Amazon Link for v262
WL Toys V262 Cyclone UFO 4 Channel 6 Axis Gyro Quadcopter 2.4Ghz Ready to Fly (Green)
Note- mid-2014 price of under $70 is a great bargain and if you have a large open outdoor area to learn in, it can be a great first or, better yet, second quadcopter.

NOTE – ALL OF THE ABOVE QUADCOPTERS USE “BRUSHED” MOTORS WHICH WILL NEED REPLACING AFTER A COUPLE HOURS OF FLIGHT.

Under $300
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WL Toys v636 Quadcopter – First Look and Review

WLtoys v636 Quadcopter

WL Toys are well known for their line of Quadcopters, namely the v959, v222, v262, etc.
Each of their quadcopters have different styles and flight characteristics, allowing the prospective buyer to choose based on their intended use and flying style. The WL Toys v636 Skylark model follows this theme however, it incorporates a number of improvements which hopefully will make it even more fun than earlier models.

I ordered my v636 from Bangood at this link. Note that they also have many replacement parts as well as spare batteries – my suggestion would be to pick up at least one or more extra batteries, 1+ of each motor and perhaps a couple of gears.
Battery Link
Motors Link

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Nano Quadcopters – Not Recommended for most Beginners

no-nano

Low cost “nano” quadcopters have flooded the market since Estes released their tiny Proto X. These quadcopters are much smaller than the former “micro” quads like the Hubsan X4 or the Blade Nano (note – the Blade Nano is NOT a nano, despite the name). As a size comparison, note the Hubsan X4, a standard Micro-quadcopter, next to a typical nano.

Estes Proto X (l) and Hubsan X4 (r)

Estes Proto X (l) and Hubsan X4 (r)

Droneflyers has purchased and reviewed most models of the nano quadcopter including the Proto X, the Cheerson X-10, WL Toys W272 and others. We have found ALL of the models to be lacking in various ways and therefore have a difficult time suggesting that beginners purchase these models for learning how to fly.
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Beginners only – the best first Quadcopter!

first

Which Drone or Quadcopter to buy first? It’s time to stop your research and get flying!

Although we have an existing section for beginners, I thought it would be nice to have an even easier and shorter guide to getting started in this hobby and pursuit. The below advice applies to those with NO flying R/C experience in the past.

Note: we have recently updated our short ebook on how to get started in this hobby! You can download it using the link below:

Your first Quad

These and other units are also mentioned at our article – 10 Best Quadcopters to Consider for the Holiday Season and Beyond.

Since this is a short guide, I suggest all [Read more...]

FPV for Beginners – a quick DIY quadcopter project

Voltages available for 3S Lipo Battery

FPV (First Person View) is the term used to describe a ground level view of what the camera on your quadcopter is seeing. Current systems use various monitors to accomplish this, including:

1. Small LCD screens – sometimes built into the TX, other times mounted above it.
(see pic)
2. Goggles – popular models include the Fatshark and the new Epson Moverio – in the near future, the Occulus Rift will likely be an important addition to this category.
3. Smart Phone or tablet screen – existing products such as the Phantom 2 Vision+ and the Parrot AR Drone use IOS or Android devices to display the camera output from the flying drone.

In this article we will put together a simple FPV system which could be installed on any quadcopter with enough payload to carry the weight.

The very Basics

Most modern quadcopters are controlled with an R/C radio that uses the 2.4GHZ frequency band. Therefore, this frequency cannot be used for a companion FPV system since it may interfere with your R/C radio control. FPV systems are typically sold in the 5.8GHZ frequency band, although you can also get other frequencies.

In this intermediate level exercise, we’ll put together a very basic 5.8GHZ system. This system took less than one hour to assemble and test, making it an easy project for those who want to start working with some DIY aspects of the hobby.
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I want to buy a Drone – advice to buy a drone

Lots of people want to Buy a Drone these days!

So – you and LOTS of other people are interested in entering the hobby, business or pursuit of drones (quadcopters, UAV’s, multirotors, etc.)….

In fact, google now will autofill the query “I want to buy a ….” with the most desire products – as in the screen shot below! It turns out people desire houses, stocks, cars and drones….in that order!

Lots of people want to Buy a Drone these days!

Lots of people want to Buy a Drone these days!

Another indicator of the interest in Buying a Drone is the chart on Google Trends – the following shows the general trending of the term “drone” in searches, news stories and other indicators.

Google Trends Drone Interest

Google Trends Drone Interest

Surf online for information about Buying a Drone and you will literally find millions of words and thousands of opinions on the subject. Most of them are useless or will steer you wrong. This article will attempt to steer you in the right direction as simply and economically as possible. To that end, it contains an Express Version and then a longer version with more detail and links. The Express Version of How to Buy a Drone should do for 80% or more of potential buyers.

Note – this is written for those who have never flown a drone, quadcopter or R/C plane or helicopter…

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DJI Phantom Quadcopters – Prices reduced dramatically!

New DJI Prices - Sept. 2014

Breaking news – important enough for a blog post.

Prices of all DJI Phantom 2 models have been reduced – some by 100′s of dollars. An image of the new prices is posted below.

As one example, the top of the line Phantom 2 Vision + has been reduced from $1350 (appox) with one battery – to $1229. with two batteries. Valuing the extra battery at $100 (they cost more), that’s a savings of $220.
Here is a link to that particular model.

The bare Phantom 2 as well as the unit with a gimbal are also reduced. You can see all the models and prices by going to the Amazon Drone Store at this link.

Note – your favorite retailers online and around the world should also show a reduction in price – as this is official from DJI.

New DJI Prices - Sept. 2014

New DJI Prices – Sept. 2014

DJI Phantom Models Differences – a Hobbyists Guide

Phantom 2 Vision

UPDATED 11/20/2014 – DJI Innovations led the quadcopter industry in 2012/13 with it’s introduction of advanced features and ready-to-fly Phantom models. Until recently, the choice of a Phantom was quite easy – there was ONE model. However, their offerings have now multiplied into many different products. The beginner may become confused when trying to compare the features, benefits and pricing – so Droneflyers.com is going to offer a basic guide to deciding which model may be for you.

Please note – we have recently published an ebook with a vast amount of information about all 5 models – it will very likely save you time and money BEFORE you make a buying decision. The book is available as a paperback or ebook at Amazon – click this link to see the new book.

Guide to 2014 DJI Phantom Models

DJI is currently offering five models of the Phantom – 2 are built on the original Phantom platform and 3 are built on the newer “2” Platform. [Read more...]

Blade 350 QX and QX2 Quadcopter – Review, Rating and more…

The Blade 350QX  in the Air

First introduced in September of 2013 (one year after the DJI Phantom), the Blade 350 QX had some initial quality control problems. Some of those, as well as a mini-review of the early model, can be found at our forum thread here:
http://www.droneflyers.com/talk/threads/blade-350-qx-review.241/

We recently got our hands on a newer (2.0 firmware, manufactured 6/2014) model and are pleased to report that this quadcopter has been largely perfected and is more than ready for prime time. This review – along with the existing thread referenced above – will document our experience with this machine.

Update – Amazon and others are now selling this 2.0 model for $299.00 – click this link to see if the deal is still on!

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