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How to build a Drone | Ultimate Guide [2023]

In the Indian government in August 2021 banned all imports of drones. The main targets were Chinese drone and parts manufacturers. So our beloved DJI Mini is also out of reach of Indian customers for quite some time now. So does that mean Indians can’t fly drones? Well, that’s not the case. In this post today, we’ll show you how you can build your own quadcopter.

Buying Ready to Fly (RTF) drone Vs Building?

First and foremost, there is no drone that is available in India that comes any closer to the quality offered by DJI and other drone companies. In addition, a Ready to Fly (RTF) drone costs a lot more than building your drone. Our company is also launching an RTF drone in February 2023, but more on that later.

Compared to buying a drone, if you want to build your quadcopter, you may feel overwhelmed by the amount of work and skills needed. But you’ll surely appreciate what you’re getting in RTF (ready to fly) package. So in this post, we will handhold you in building your drone so that you don’t need any other resources to fly your own drone.

Building a Quadcopter:

If you want to build a quadcopter, then there are some steps that you will need to follow. There are also some detailed online tutorials, but they are irritating for some people, and they like to read.

Here are some steps that are the most basic and important ones. No matter even if you are a beginner, you can build a serviceable and fun quadcopter by following these steps.

Approaches to Build a Quadcopter:

To build a Quadcopter, there are three basic approaches you need to follow. Each approach has its steps for building a quadcopter, so select the one that best fits your needs.

  1. Ready to Fly (RTF):

Choosing an RTF quadcopter kit is the first approach for building a quadcopter. In this approach, the kits have the necessary items like frame, controller, motors, transmitter, etc. required to fly the quadcopter after unboxing. You will only need some screwdrivers and connectors to assemble these items and make the quadcopter ready.

Sometimes, the RTF quadcopter comes already assembled just on unboxing. But as a beginner, if you want to build a quadcopter by yourself, you can order an RTF kit that needs to be assembled.

  1. Almost Ready to Fly (ARF):

The second approach is ARF, which means almost ready to fly. It is a quadcopter kit with completion needs like a controller, propellers, etc. to successfully build the quadcopter.

In this approach, the kits require more assembly compared to that of RTF. It still gives you most of the required parts, and it becomes easy to build a quadcopter.

  1. From-Scratch:

The most challenging approach for building a quadcopter is from scratch. The word from scratch means that you need to buy all the parts and put them together by yourself. The reason behind the difficulty of the from-scratch approach is they require in-depth knowledge about the quadcopters. One more important thing to consider is the compatibility of the parts. So, ensure that all the parts you buy are compatible when you are going to build a drone from scratch.

The advantage of building a quadcopter from scratch allows you to include features that you want to be in your quadcopter. However, this from-scratch approach used to be difficult for many beginners.

For a beginner, it is necessary to select an almost-ready-to-fly or ready-to-fly quadcopter kit for a smooth end of the quadcopter.

Step-by-Step Procedure:

To build a quadcopter, follow the procedure given in the steps below:

  1. Select a quadcopter to build:

As there are three approaches to building a quadcopter, it depends upon you to select an extensive quadcopter kit or a more advanced one. However, it is necessary to choose the specific quadcopter you want to build.

The fact about building a quadcopter is that the limit is the sky and depends on you to add the features you want to your quadcopter. Even adding these features to your quadcopter can cost you less than the one you buy from the store.

Moreover, it is clear that the more capabilities you incorporate into your quadcopter, the more complicated it will be built. For those who are beginners to quadcopters, adding unique abilities can be more complex to build it successfully.

There is a need to practice advanced techniques like putting a frame together from scratch and adding cameras and FPV features.

Consequently, if you are building a quadcopter for the first time, you may need to select a basic quadcopter to build. It does not imply selecting a boring or cheap quadcopter. Preferably, you should find lightweight, agile, small, and reliable quadcopters to make whether you get it chief or costly.

As a beginner, you can even select acrobatic quadcopters, which are comparatively easy to put together. The fact is to locate a quadcopter that will enable you to get into the quadcopter building hobby without feeling it a complex task.

You will be able to incorporate capabilities to the quadcopter you have already made whenever you become more familiar with building a quadcopter or gradually select more complex quadcopters to put together. With the passage of time and regular practice, you will find yourself able to build functional, sophisticated quadcopters.

The key is to begin where your skill level is, and select a drone with the capabilities you want, but it is still manageable for you to build within your current ability level. After that, select what areas you want to confront yourself in for building your next quadcopter.

  1. Select quality parts:

Whether you buy your quadcopter parts separately or purchase a quadcopter kit, you must have to choose quality parts. Most of the quadcopter parts come from China which is known for shipping lower quality pieces just because they can be built and sent at low prices.

Instead of selecting the cheap parts, think that they are how much reliable, durable, easy to use, and well-reviewed. If you do proper research before buying, then you can find reliable parts, even from China.

Moreover, select something that fits your skill level and has reviews that support its right to be a quality product that will last you for a long time. The result, in the end, should be a more reliable and longer-lasting quadcopter to experience.

We are going to provide a list of some of the other features you must have to consider in all parts of your quadcopter. It will make it easier for you to build a quadcopter, which can be used easily and flies appropriately.

  1. Supporting Frame:

Though it is possible to build a frame from scratch, it isn’t easy to make the appropriate one. It is because the frame needs accurate engineering for stable flight and for getting withstand crashes. As there are many high-quality frames available in the market for buying, you would need to buy an entirely constructed frame.

The best frame will be lightweight and enduring. Remember, you will be placing all the parts on the frame, so select a supporting frame for all the pieces.

  1. Motors and Propellers (4 each):

Try to buy an affordable motor that is neither cheap nor costly. Most of the motors lie in the range of $5 to $10, which is safe and does not press your pocket. Moreover, a motor that has a power of about 1000kV (kilovolt) will generally serve.

The information that comes with the motor will help you to decide the type of propellers and kind of electronic speed controls (ESCs) that you will require to build your quadcopter.

Also, the motors you buy should tell you about the size and type of propellers that will work great with them. So, be careful while buying motors and propellers, as they are necessary for collaborating with your quadcopter.

  • Control Board

For a quadcopter, the control board is considered the brain. So, determining the functionality and performance of your quadcopter entirely depends on the type of control board. In comparison to the one which is the expensive and complicated control board, it is recommended to consider the ease of use, price, and performance.

As a beginner, you will need a control board that is easy to fit and versatile. The board’s versatility will allow you to make modifications later on in the quadcopter if required.

There are also some cheap yet high-quality and reliably working control boards you need to buy. It will help you save some amount for use in the future at the time of modification or purchasing any other part at the same time.

  1. Radio transmitter and receiver

Select a transmitter that has a minimum of four channels. If you anticipate yourself executing modifications on your quadcopter as your skill level rises, select a transmitter with more than four channels to control any changes you perform in the future. For more demanding performance, you will need a transmitter with more number of channels.

  1. Battery and Charger

The power that a battery provides to the quadcopter is defined in terms of mAh. The higher the mAh of the battery, the more powerful will be the battery. Similarly, the more powerful the battery, the more massive the battery will be.

For the proper flying experience of the quadcopter, make sure that you choose a battery that your quadcopter can hold while giving full power.

If we talk about the battery charger, prefer a balance charger that will charge the battery cells of the quadcopter at a flat rate. It would be best if you also bought a high-quality charger that might be a little pricey, which implies the long-lasting life of your battery. Buy a quality charger to lessen the risk of heat produced by poorly charging batteries.


If you are selecting an RTF or ARF quadcopter kit rather than building one from scratch, then most of the parts mentioned above will have been chosen for you. You can assure the quality of these parts by buying a top-rated quadcopter kit, which is known through reliable reviews for delivering a high-quality quadcopter. If you are going to build a quadcopter from scratch, you will need to investigate the quality and rightness of all parts by yourself.

  1. Set up the ESCs:

ESCs stand for Electronic Speed Controllers. An electronic circuit serves as the interface between the commands of the pilot and the original motors. To set up the ESCs, follow the steps given below:

  1. Solder the ESCs:

When the ESCs are connected to the power delivery board using solder (a metal that melts on heating), it is called soldering. First, you require to discover where each ESC wire goes on the power delivery board.

The red wire is soldered to the points on the outside of the power delivery board. The black wires need to be soldered to the points on the inner side. Hardly, you will have three differently-colored wires, and three rings marked A, B, and C. Place the yellow wires at A, the red at B, and the black at C.

  1. Locate the proper point:

Find the appropriate location for each of your wires and then cut them so that they reach that point and no further. Zip tie your ESCs to their exact location on the arm of the quadcopter.

By doing this, they will not move while you solder them on the wing. After that, apply solder to the attachment point on the power delivery board and the wire, connecting it to this.

Take your soldering metal, melt it on the wire and then place it on the attachment point. For combining the wire and the power delivery board, melt the solder gently on the attachment point.

  • Check the strength of the solder:

Examine the strength of the solder by pulling the wire. When you get satisfied with the quality of the solder, wrap your work in electrical tape to prevent short circuits and other electrical problems.

  1. Mounting of the flight control board to quadcopter:

As we mentioned earlier, the flight control board acts as the brain of the quadcopter. So, making it connected accurately is necessary if you want to enjoy a well-functioning drone. You may prefer to fix the board in its box to prevent damage from static charges.

If you choose this alternative, you will need to remove the corners of the box and glue the edges of the flight control board to the box for added durability. On the other hand, you can remove the flight control board from the box and attach it to your quadcopter that way.

The method of installing the flight control board is relatively easy. All you need to do is to superglue it in the center of the power distribution board.

Assure that the face of the board is correct, with the buttons on its base. Also, assure that the glue you used is strong enough to keep the board securely on the quadcopter. Otherwise, you risk losing your quadcopter mid-flight or in a crash that displaces the board.

  1. Mounting the receiver to the quadcopter:

You should have in your hold both a radio transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter will enable you to control the quadcopter’s flight by changing its height, direction, angle, and more. But, for operating the transmitter, the quadcopter needs to add a receiver that receives the signal from the transmitter.

Once you have the motors, ESCs, and control board in position, you will need to bind this receiver to the power distribution board of your quadcopter.

Repeatedly, this is a relatively easy step (gluing) related to the performance of your quadcopter. The receiver should place anywhere you wish on the quadcopter.

The only condition is that the wires from the receiver be enough to reach the control board, connecting them so they can correctly lead the quadcopter in response to your command through the transmitter.

  1. Add the battery:

The power source for your quadcopter is the battery. Your quadcopter will not go anywhere without it. Luckily, connecting the battery is a simple process. Make sure you start with a charged battery so you can examine your quadcopter right away to make sure that everything is operating correctly.

Fasten the battery to the bottom of the quadcopter using Velcro or zip ties. Put it in the front if you are not planning to attach a camera later. Otherwise, add it to the back to evenly share the weight. Once your battery is in place, you will be able to move on to the propellers.

  1. Balance the propellers:

Of course, a quadcopter cannot fly anywhere without its propellers, no concern how expertly you have fastened up the motors, ESCs, control board, or receiver. Because of it, the next measure you require to take is to attach the propellers to the quadcopter.

To support the propellers, they need to be adjusted to retain the quadcopter upright in the air. It indicates that you need to make sure that every side of the propeller is evenly weighted. Otherwise, one side of the propeller will fall lower than the other, and your quadcopter will be unbalanced.

To freely balance your propellers, you require to use a propeller balance. This tool enables you to place the propeller between the two grooves.

After that, see the propeller either scroll to one side or the other, if it is unbalanced, or hold equally in the balancer if it is correctly balanced. Various high-quality propellers (such as those bought with the best quadcopter kit) will already remain well balanced.

If one side or another of the propellers is drooping, you can add some tape to the opposite side. This small portion of weight should be sufficient to take the drooping side up.

When you have added proper weight to the high side, the propeller’s two sides should rest equally together in the balance. Then you can install the propellers to the quadcopter. Still, checking is a significant move in making sure that your quadcopter will fly well.

  1. Mount the propellers to the quadcopter:

Once you have recognized your propellers, the method you need to fix them, and the proper performance of the motors, you will be able to correct the installation. Before you start the installation, switch off the quadcopter so that nothing is working.

Then you will require to select a large threaded nut and place it on the motor. Turn it onto the motor inside the screw holes given on the bolt and the motor.

Once the bolt is secure in place, turn the propeller onto the bolt. The sign is to secure the propeller as tight as possible onto the bolt. Then, attach the spinner to the tip of the propeller. Likewise, tighten this as much as possible to ensure that nothing is troublesome when your quadcopter is flying.

Once you have accomplished this step, you are nearly done with your quadcopter. You hardly have some arrangement and syncing to take to make all of the parts of the quadcopter operate smoothly together.

  1. Configure the flight control board:

Once your drone is almost complete, you can take the time to check the flight control board. This phrase relates to setting up the board to do the functions you want to perform. It also suggests you must connect the flight control board to the controller, so they communicate with each other.

The exact method of configuration will depend upon the flight controller and the board that you use. You should be able to discuss your handbook to learn the steps to use to complete this process.

Final Words:

Once you go through all the steps mentioned above, you will be in a state to start using your brand new quadcopter. We hope that this article will prove helpful for you on how to build a quadcopter.

The steps are mentioned in such a comprehensive way that a beginner can quickly build a quadcopter. After building a quadcopter, you will need to learn how to use a quadcopter and bring it to the air.

However, as your experience level increases with time, you will be able to build a more complex quadcopter.


I will show you step by step how to build an FPV drone with both analog and DJI FPV systems (also applies to other HD digital systems such as HDZero and Avatar). I will list all the components, explain the wiring and assembly, and tips and tricks that make a reliable FPV drone build.

Can Beginners Build FPV Drones?


Yes, you can just buy a pre-built drone off the shelf, but you won’t learn anything. By building it from scratch, you will learn how everything fits together and it enables you to repair it when something goes wrong.

Building your first FPV drone is not going to be easy, it might take hours, or even days to finish. When you encounter a problem, you might take advice from experienced pilots online, or ultimately end up finding your way by trial and error. Either way, the journey is going to be extremely rewarding.

Learning the Basics

The goal of this article is to teach you the steps and basic knowledge of building a quadcopter. But before we begin, make sure to get a basic understanding of what an FPV drone is: How to get started with FPV Drone.

If you ever see an unfamiliar acronym, you can try looking it up here: Acronyms and technical terms in FPV.

Parts List

I will be using these parts in this tutorial. These are affiliate links, when you make a purchase using these links, it doesn’t cost you anything extra, and I will receive a small commission which will help keep this blog going.

I have a list of the cheapest 5″ drone parts in 2022 if your priority is low cost.

Tools and Supplies

You will also need the following tools and supplies when building an FPV drone:

  • Soldering Iron and solder
  • Hex screwdrivers set
  • A small Phillips head screwdriver
  • A pair of scissors for stripping and cutting wires
  • Electrical tape
  • 3M double-sided foam tape
  • Digital Multimeter
  • A bunch of 2mm wide zip ties (ideally 15cm or longer)
  • Cloth tape (15mm is a good width, great for wrapping motor wires but can be replaced by electrical tape)

If you are serious about the hobby, here’s a complete list of tools that you might find useful.


I have chosen the latest Source One V5 frame for this build because it’s one of the cheapest frames available. Also, because it’s open source, the design has been constantly updated over the years by the community to keep up with the latest hardware requirements, improving performance and usability. Here’s my review of the TBS Source One V5 frame.

The other cool thing about Source One is a large number of free 3D printing designs available on Thingiverse for enhancement.

FC and ESC

I like getting an “FC stack” that consists of a flight controller board and a 4in1 ESC board, because there is minimal amount of soldering, it’s usually plug-and-play and it just works.

I’ve chosen the Speedybee F405 V3 stack because it’s one of the best value stacks out there at the moment (Nov 2022). It’s packed with features and has built-in Bluetooth for Betaflight configuration from your phone, and much more!

You can see my review of the Speedybee F405 V3 here.

If you can’t get the Speedybee F405 V3 for some reason, here are my other FC recommendations.


Popular motors with similar size these days perform quite similarly, the main difference is usually the build quality. For a 5″ FPV drone, motor sizes such as 2306, 2207, 2208 are all good options here, here’s my reason why I’ve gone with 2207.

The other consideration is motor KV, we are using 1855KV in this build because I am planning to use 6S LiPo battery. For 6S, KV range between 1600-1900 are pretty common, the higher KV is more aggressive and power-hungry. 4S is also a popular option, but here are my reasons why I prefer 6S over 4S.

Here are other motors I recommend and they all perform great.

FPV Setup

The two most popular FPV systems right now are analog and DJI, I will be covering the installation and setup for both systems in this tutorial.

There are other HD digital FPV systems out there, such as HDZero and Walksnail Avatar. The wiring and setup are more or less the same as DJI, so this tutorial still applies.

For the Analog build, I will be using the Speedybee TX800. It’s an affordable yet high-performance VTX that is easy to mount in the Source One frame. If it’s not available to you, here are other VTX I recommend.

For the DJI build, I will be using the Runcam Link VTX and Wasp Camera combo.

There are quite a few DJI-compatible cameras, each has pros and cons. In a nutshell, for the best image quality during the day, I’d recommend the Nebula Pro (almost identical IQ as the DJI OG camera), but it’s rarely in stock nowadays and performs poorly at night. For low light, the Caddx Polar is probably the best, but it doesn’t have low latency mode (120FPS). The Runcam Wasp offers the best of both worlds, decent image quality, and low light performance and yet it’s great in low light while still capable of 120FPS low latency mode. However it’s not the perfect camera and still has some downsides, not deal breakers IMO, but you should check out in my review to make an informed decision.

Radio Receiver

Your choice of radio transmitter will determine what receiver (RX) you can use. If you follow my radio recommendation, then your radio should support ExpressLRS, which is my recommended choice of radio link at the moment (Nov 2022). It’s affordable, high-performance, and just works! I have a whole article explaining why I love ExpressLRS.

There are many manufacturers making receivers and transmitter modules for ExpressLRS, you can get any of them, as long as they are ExpressLRS they will work together. I have chosen the Radiomaster RP1 receiver because I have used them for a few months now and they perform great, and they seem to be always in stock so far.

Here’s my tutorial on how to setup ExpressLRS.

Other Equipment

You will need the following accessories to fly a quadcopter in FPV. Take a look at what gear I use everyday for some ideas. Here is a summary.

A Radio Transmitter (Buyer’s Guide) is used for controlling the drone, right now (Nov 2022) I recommend getting the Radiomaster TX16S MKII (see my review), as it’s probably one of the best-value radios out there.

A pair of FPV Goggles is for watching real-time video from the drone, here is my FPV Goggles Buyer’s Guide. The best-in-class analog FPV Goggles right now would be the Skyzone SKY04X (Nov 2022). If those are beyond your budget, you can check out the Skyzone Cobra X (review) which I think is the best budget “box goggles” at the moment (Nov 2022).

To use the DJI FPV System, you will need a pair of DJI FPV Goggles (see review), doesn’t matter if you are getting the V1 or V2, they have identical performance and will work equally well for custom-built FPV drones.

As for LiPo batteries, some 6S 1000mAh-1300mAh would be perfect for this build, see this post for my LiPo Recommendations. Make sure to spend time learning about LiPo in this Battery Buyer’s Guide, they can be dangerous when mishandled.

Finally, you will also need a battery charger, here are my LiPo charger recommendations. Again, take your time reading about how to choose LiPo chargers and power supplies.

If you want to see other mini quad parts that I have tested and recommend

1. Frame Assembly

It’s optional but a good practice to “prepare” the frame before building:

  • Sand down the sharp edges on carbon fibre pieces, especially the outer side of the arms and plates. Sharp edges could cut your wires and battery strap in a crash. The chamferred edges can also make carbon fibre sheet less likely to delaminate in crashes
  • Wash all carbon fibre parts in soap water to remove any carbon dust that remains after cutting, drilling and sanding (note that carbon fibre is conductive), then dry with towel

Assemble the frame by first sitting the arms and arm lock on top of the front bottom plate.

Then put the rear bottom plate (which has push nuts) on top of the arms, and fasten with screws from the bottom. Finally install the 8 aluminium standoffs, but watch out for the different heights, the four front standoffs are longer.

2. Installing Motors

You can now mount the four motors to the arms. It’s recommended to use threadlock on the motor screws. That’s because motors make vibrations and those screws can wiggle free over time. The good news is that the screws that come with the Xing2 motors already have threadlock applied, so we don’t need to worry about it.

The arms are 6mm thick, so those 8mm screws are just the perfect length. There is no need to use washers.

If you use ordinary screws, you should get some loctite (thread locker). Make sure to get the blue liquid type, the red liquid type is intended for permanent use and you will have a very hard time undoing those screws later on.

Finally, make sure the motor screws are not too long and touch the motor winding. Here is how to check if your motor screws are too long if you can’t tell from looking at them.

3. Wiring Diagrams

You should draw a wiring diagram on a piece of paper about how to connect all the components. If you are using the same components that I recommended, here is a connection diagram you can follow.

You can “dry fit” all the components in the frame without actually connecting and soldering any of the wires. This allows you to see how long the wires need to be, where to place the components, and spot any potential issues with spacing.

4. Installing ESC

The Speedybee F405 V3 stack comes with long M3 30mm bolts, which I will be replacing the four shorter screws in the frame with.

Just slide the 4in1 ESC and FC boards into the four long screws. Watch out for the orientation of the ESC board – the power pads should be facing backward, with the motor solder pads facing up. To identify which side of the frame is the front, just look for the cut-outs for the camera mounting plates.

Check the bottom of the ESC to make sure it’s not touching the frame, and also between the ESC and FC, there should be nothing touching either.

You are about to do some soldering next. If you are new to soldering, please check out my tutorial “How to Solder for Beginners“.

Check how long the motor wires should be, and cut to length (it’s a good idea to leave a little slack, better be too long than too short).

Also secure the motor wires on the arms with some cloth tape (or electrical tape).

Then strip the tip of the wires (about 2mm) and tin the ends.

You should now have a bunch of spare wires from the motors you just cut. Take two of the longer ones and solder them to the input power of the ESC (preferably on the bottom side). Mark the positive wires with a piece of tape. We will solder the capacitor to these wires later on.

Now tin all the solder pads on the 4in1 ESC. It’s good practice to cover area of the board where you are not soldering with tape. You can use electrical tape, kapton tape or masking tape, as long as it doesn’t get burned through easily by molten solder. This will prevent solder accidentally dropping from your soldering iron onto the components and causing electrical shorts when you plug in the battery.

Solder the motor wires onto the ESC. Don’t worry about wire order and motor direction for now, we can change it later in the software.

Solder the XT60 power lead to the power pads on the ESC. Watch out for polarity (positive and negative). This is possibly the hardest soldering you will do in this build, because it takes a lot of heat to melt the solder on those large copper pads. Use higher temperature on your iron and be patient. It’s going to be downhill from here.

Soldering Tips:

  • Use a good amount of solder and solder flux (solder paste) for the large pads, and make sure the solder joints are shiny and full; if you can see the wire strands, it’s a sign that you haven’t applied enough solder
  • If the solder “sticks” to the tip when you remove it from the joint, then you should apply more flux
  • It’s okay to use high temperature when soldering large solder pads like these, the important thing is to make it quick and avoid heating the pads for too long. I personally use 450°C (840°F) for motor wires and XT60, and 380°C for signal wires.

Now solder the 1500uF capacitor that comes with the Speedybee stack. Firstly, bend the legs with a pair of pliers and cut shorter, then tin them with solder.

On the bottom of the capacitor, stick a little piece of double sided tape.

Solder the capacitor to the wires that we soldered to the ESC power pads earlier. Watch out for the polarity, the side with yellow marking is the negative side of the cap.

You may wonder, “why solder a capacitor to the ESC power?” Well, it’s for reducing voltage spikes and electrical noise generated from the ESC and motors. Even if your mini quad is “super clean”, when you have a bent prop, you will begin to get more noise from the motors, and a capacitor can have you covered in those situations too. See this post to learn more about why adding extra capacitor to FPV drones.

Now connect the FC to the ESC with the 8-pin ribbon cable provided. When installing the flight controller on top of the 4in1 ESC, make sure the arrow on the FC is pointing forward.

5. Testing ESC and Motors

Time to test the ESC and motors, which means we will be plugging in a LiPo battery for the first time!

For safety, you should always check continuity first to ensure there is no electrical short. This means using a multimeter in continuity mode, and use the probes to test the positive and negative terminals of the XT60 (or directly on the solder pads).

Here is a tutorial explaining what multimeter you should get and how to test your drone with it.

If there is a short circuit, the multimeter will be beeping continuously. If this happens, you need to find out what is causing the short and fix it, and DO NOT plug in the battery or it will fry your components. One common cause is excessive amount of solder used on one solder pad and it might have spilled over to the neighbouring pads.

Pro-Tip: sometimes the meter might beep for a split second then stop. That can happen when there are capacitors. When you touch the positive and negative pads with your probes, it charges the caps so there will be a flow of current, and the meter thinks there is a short. But when the caps are charged, the current flow stops and the beep will also stop. If you get a short beep for a second or two, that’s completely normal, it shouldn’t be a problem if the meter doesn’t continue to beep.

For the first time plugging in a battery, always use a smoke stopper (review). This is a great and simple device to avoid “magic smoke”! A smoke stopper is not mandatory, but it’s a worthy investment that I strongly recommend.

Now it’s time to test the motors, but DO NOT install propellers yet!

Plug in the battery, and connect the USB cable to the flight controller, then go to the Motors tab in Betaflight Configurator, and spin up the motors one by one (just move the slider to around 10%), and verify if the motors are spinning in the correct direction (instructions).

If a motor is spinning the wrong direction, then you should reverse it. You can change motor order as well as motor directions inside Betaflight Configurator (Motors tab), you no longer need to do that in BLHeliSuite, and do resource remapping in CLI.

betaflight motor spin direction order

Troubleshooting tips:

Motors are not spinning at all? Did you connect the battery? If so, did you hear the ESC beeps when you plug in the battery? Did you connect the ESC to the FC?

If all motors are spinning except one, it’s possible that the ESC or that motor is faulty, or the ESC isn’t getting signal from the FC. You can try swapping that motor with a working one on the same quad, this will help rule out whether it’s the faulty ESC or motor.

6. Receiver Setup

Solder the RX to the FC. Unfortunately the RP1 does not come with wires, so you need to get your own, 26AWG-28AWG are great.

I will be mounting the RX in front of the FC with some double sided foam tape (you can zip tie it too). You can mount it anywhere you see fit, there’s plenty of free space in this frame.

Mount the RX antenna under the closest arm using a couple of zip ties. Wrap around the antenna wire with some tape so it doesn’t dangle around and get caught.

You need to bind the receiver to the radio (TX module), I have a detailed guide explaining how to setup ExpressLRS, so I won’t repeat it here. Then in Betaflight configurator, you need to apply the following configurations:

  • Go to Ports tab, for the UART we have connected the receiver to, enable “Serial RX“. In our example, it would be UART2
  • In the Receiver tab, select “Serial (via UART)” in Receiver Mode, and choose “CRSF” in Serial Receiver Provider

Once that’s done, you want to confirm the receiver is fully working in the Receiver tab. When you move the sticks on the radio, the bars (channels) should move as well.

If the wrong channels are responding, try a different Channel Map, it’s normally either “default (AETR)”, or TAER.

You will need to setup at least two switches on the radio (instructions), one for arming and the other for buzzer. You might also want a 3rd switch for flight mode (such as angle mode). Again, confirm it’s working in the receiver tab, when you flip the switches, AUX1 and AUX2 should respond.

If you have any questions, post in our forum:

7. Installing Analog FPV Setup

This is for the analog build, skip to the next section if you are using the DJI FPV system.

Install the camera between the side plates.

Install the camera inside the frame, and cut the camera wires to length. You can twist the wires to make it tighter.

Solder the camera wires to the FC. Red goes to 5V, black goes to GND, yellow goes to CAM.

Put double sided foam tape on the bottom of the VTX, cover any copper so it doesn’t come in contact with the frame when mounted.

Put 2mm zip ties through the mounting holes and tighten. Also tighten down the battery leads at the same time, it kills two birds with one stone.

This is how it looks from the bottom of the frame.

Finally solder the VTX cable to the FC, and make sure it doesn’t dangle around.

And strap the VTX antenna to the standoff.

To setup the VTX in Betaflight, go to the Ports tab, for the UART that you have connected the IRC pad to, select IRC Tramp under Peripherals.

Then copy this snippet in the CLI (this is the VTX Table for the Speedybee TX800 that will enable you to change VTX settings in the OSD menu).

# vtxtable
vtxtable bands 5
vtxtable channels 8
vtxtable band 1 BOSCAM_A A CUSTOM 5865 5845 5825 5805 5785 5765 5745 5725
vtxtable band 2 BOSCAM_B B CUSTOM 5733 5752 5771 5790 5809 5828 5847 5866
vtxtable band 3 BOSCAM_E E CUSTOM 5705 5685 5665 0 5885 5905 0 0
vtxtable band 4 FATSHARK F CUSTOM 5740 5760 5780 5800 5820 5840 5860 5880
vtxtable band 5 RACEBAND R CUSTOM 5658 5695 5732 5769 5806 5843 5880 5917
vtxtable powerlevels 5
vtxtable powervalues 25 200 400 600 600
vtxtable powerlabels 25 200 400 800 800

8. Installing DJI FPV Setup

Here’s how to install the Runcam Link and Wasp camera in the DJI build.

Mount the Wasp camera between the side plates and install it inside the frame just like how we did it in the analog build.

Take the DJI Air Unit cable that comes with the FC, and cut the ends and solder it to the Vista. Here’s the pinout of the Vista:

We won’t connect the SBUS and GND pads in the Vista, so we can cut those two wires off in the cable.

Put double sided foam tape on the bottom of the Runcam Link (Vista).

I prefer to run the camera cable beneath the 4in1 ESC board, this makes a cleaner build. You could leave it on top of the FC if you want, but I don’t like having a cable constantly hitting the FC (or the gyro) during flight. If you need to disconnect the camera cable from the video transmitter, here is how.

To install the Vista in the frame, I simply use some 2mm zip ties (ideally 15mm or longer). And strap the VTX antenna to the standoff like so.

In order to have OSD for displaying battery level and other flight information on screen, you need to configure Betaflight. This page explains how to do it in detail.

To sum it up, in Betaflight configurator, you need to:

  • In Ports tab, UART1 enable “Configuration/MSP
  • In Configuration tab, under Other Features, enable OSD
  • Inside your DJI Goggles, go to Settings, Display and turn on Custom OSD

That’s it!

As a final check, you might want to power the drone from a LiPo battery again using a smoke stopper, to make sure it works properly before moving on to the next step.

9. Finishing Off

Put nylon nuts on the FC. Don’t over-tighten it, just touching the rubber grommet is fine. Compressed grommets reduce vibration damping and defeats the purpose of soft mounting.

For the capacitor, use a zip tie to strap it to the camera plates.

Install the top plate and put a battery strap under and through. The Source One V5 comes with rubbery battery pad, it does work quite well, but if you want something of top notch quality, check out Ummagrip battery pad. It’s very sticky, washable, and the thickness keeps your battery safely away from the bolts.

The weights of the finished drone are:

  • Drone = 360g
  • Drone + 6S 1100mAh LiPo = 560g
  • Drone + 6S 1100mAh LiPo + GoPro 7 = 680g

When installing the propellers, be aware of the different rotations – CW (clockwise) and CCW (counter clockwise). Make sure to install them on the correct motors, otherwise your quad is not going to take off, or simply flip over when trying to.

M5 nylon lock nuts are used to hold the propeller securely on the motor, so it’s not likely to come loose even when the motors are spinning at very high speed. It can take some effort to tighten down when they are new, over time it will get easily. You don’t want it too tight or the prop hub can shutter. Just tight enough that the prop can’t move when you try to rotate it with your hand while the other hand is holding the motor bell.

Using a dedicated prop nut tool like this can speed things up when changing props.

When mounting the battery (and GoPro), make sure the COG (centre of gravity) is as close to the centre of the drone as possible. To check if you have placed the battery at the right spot, simply grab the middle of the top plate with 2 fingers, and see if the quad stays level.

It’s important to make sure the COG is right at the centre of the four motors. For example, if the quad is front heavy, the front motors will have to work harder than the rear motors in order to maintain level, and this will impact flight performance.

And we are ready for a test flight!

Here’s the DJI build:

10. Using 3D Printed Parts

If you want a cleaner, slicker and more durable build, you should use 3D printed parts.

You can find many different designs online, just search for the frame “Source One V5” on Parts for other frames might also work on the Source One. I got my 3D printed parts from, excellent service, highly recommended. If you can’t find the parts you want in the shop, just shoot them a message with the thingiverse link and the filament color you want. I am sure they will be happy to help you out.

Here are some good ones I found:

The front bumper and arm protectors are great additions that will protect your frame in crashes. You will need some longer motor screws for those arm protectors, M3 10mm is what I use.

On the analog build, with the 3D printed antenna mount, I am able to use the MMCX to SMA extension cable that comes with the TX800, and upgrade the VTX antenna to a circular polarized one for better signal quality.

You could use 3D printed parts to mount the camera, and even the capacitor.

Here’s how the DJI build look with 3D printed parts:

Using a 3D printed mount holds the Vista antenna in a more optimal angle when flying.

11. Setting Up Betaflight

To setup Betaflight for your first flight, follow the instructions in this guide “how to setup Betaflight for the first time“.

12. Tuning

Tuning your quad is basically making it to fly and behave the way you want. Betaflight has come a long way, you don’t have to tune your quad and it will probably fly just fine with stock settings. But if you are serious about performance, then you have a few more things to learn! 😀

For me, tuning a mini quad is basically going through these settings and get them dialled in:

  • Filters
  • PID and related settings
  • RC Rates and Expo

If you don’t know how to use Blackbox, this is how to tune your FPV drone in 10 simple steps. If you know how to use Blackbox, here’s an in-depth guide on how to tune filters and PID.

This is my PID and Filter tune for this build, but it might not work well for you if you are using different components. It’s quite an aggressive tune, make sure to do a short test flight and check your motor temperature before using it. I highly recommend tuning your build from scratch following this guide.

My rates for freestyle are (Actual Rate):

  • Center Sensitivity 180
  • Max Rate 750
  • Expo 0.56

13. Learning How to Fly

If you have little to no experience in flying a mini quad, you should definitely check out these tutorials to get started:

  • Practice with FPV simulators
  • Tips and Exercises to learn FPV flying
  • Finding FPV flying difficult? Here is some advice from different pilots

Any questions? Let me know in the comment below.

Improvements and Upgrades

There are things we can do better to improve the performance of the FPV drone we just built. I didn’t include these as I wanted to keep the guide simple and easy to follow. But once you mastered the basics, you can start taking a look at how to make your drone better. Here is a list of upgrades and improvements you can do:

  • Flash Bluejay firmware to the ESC (you will have to choose between 24KHz or 48KHz versions. The 24KHz is better for responsiveness and torque, while 48Khz is better for smoothness but slightly less torque). Then in Betaflight, you should enable bi-directional Dshot, which allows you to turn on RPM filter which is one of the best filters
  • Get some 3D printed parts if you haven’t already for improved durability and usability
  • If you have an analog build, consider upgrading the VTX antenna to a circular polarized one. The dipole antenna that comes with the TX800 is ok, but not the best
  • Properly tune your PID and Filter
  • Reverse Motor Direction (props out), so it’s less likely to get caught by branches, also keeps your camera lens clean from grass juice
  • If you have the DJI build, consider performing the root hack to get full OSD support.