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Oct 23, 2020, 02:46 PM
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What I've learned... Post your tips to help others

Here is some personal experience.. might help others. Some of these things I learn hard way by FAILING bad.

* Addictive hobby. Dont stop at building 2 or 3.
* Cheaper to buy BNF and change 1-2 things than buy parts seperetly and tons of shipping overhead.
* DO buy box set of M2 screws or M3 screws
* DO buy 10 pack of XT30, IPEX antenna, rubber rings etc.

Where OK to save $$ money
* Get 2.5" to 4"Toothpick/Twig instead of typical 5" 4S/6S. Just as fun. A 3" 1204/1303 as low as $140-150.
* FC. You can get AIO 25mm/20mm JHEMCU 6S capable 20-35A for $30. Few people really need a $100 FC stack.
* Goggles. Go DJI DiJ or stick to $70 EV800D.

* CF != CF. Frame design will make build piece of cake or nightmare. Worth saving $10?
* You WILL break some frames. Buy extra arms or frames if you dont want to waste a month and $$ on shipping.

* I have 10+ and all work same. F411 on AIO limited to 3 (typically 2 UART - enough for FPort + VTX) and max 120Mhz, so watchout running soft_serial. If you wanna run DJI and/or GPS get F405/F7
* Mamba pin hole pad is joy to work on. Others, PITA.
* All stack not equal. Some holes cant use metal screws. Some frames have narrow columns that pads can short on.
* If you need it, worth $$ to buy "pro" version that supports 9V for DJI, I2C, Barometer, Blackbox etc.

* Avoid ESC with 2 channel FET. They fail easy.
* Avoid "cheaper" brands, just to get higher "fake" 40A rating. A quality ESC will have less noise and last longer.
* Always use low ESR. Buy 10 pack 300-470uF. Huge reduction in noise. Better close yo ESC than on XT plug.
* If you solder/plug batter in reverse you will get pop and black soot on plug.
* Short between any ESC pad and + or - means bad FET.
* Calibrate your current sensing/mah reading. Each board is little different

* Never buy <$10 motors. Curved magnet, strong shaft, naked bottom, and 220C enamel are standard/required.
* $20 vs $30 motor.. not going to make difference, unless you're already top3 in world.
* If building 5" or bigger, buy 6S 22.2V KV setup. You can always run on 4S for smooth stable cruising.
* First few testflights only 10-20sec. If hot, bad dterm filtering, shorted FET, motor screw shorting winding or something rubbing. Some cheap motors always run hot. Unlike JoshuaB, I never have hot motors flying <60% throttle.

* Most C rating are as real as that 180mph on a Corolla spedometer. Real world more like 50C.
* Always fly within 2 days of charging. Never leave fully charged.
* Never fly below 3.5V per cell. Damage. For longevity, land at >20% when above 3.7V per cell. Dont do full throttle at end of flight. ie I fly my 4" 14.8V drones down to 14.8V, but after rest battery settles around 15.1V.
* Long range. Plan on turn around at 60%. Earlier if windy.
* Do not undersize battery. Got deal on cheap 450mah? Wondering why quad feels sluggish?
Plan on battery being 70-85% dry weight. Ex. 100g 4" quad. 80g 650mah battery.
* Prefer Gaoneng 120/130C and Tattu RLine when possible. A good battery, well maintained, will last hundred+ flights.

* You will BREAK some RX/antenna. Get receiver with IPEX instead of soldered antenna
* Buy spare IPEX antenna
* Buy quality RX for your scenario. In general NEVER rely on built-in SPI receiver (typically 100m max), and 900Mhz TBS CF or R9M is recommended for LR.
* Telemetry - spend extra $10? Personal preference. I'd say yes.
* ALWAYS setup and test failsafe. In general RTH is not reliable in Betaflight, and drop/land is preferred.

* Most VTX power mw level is just marketing. Notorious on Eachine.
* Double mw is not double range. You need 4x.
25mw may be legal max, but often not enough. Always better high quality signal and antenna than pump 400mw+ through omni.
* Quality Rush/TBS will have better signal, especially around buildings.
* I use circular polarized Pagoda type antenna when possible.
* I dont have DJI Digital yet, but if I could go back, I would have bought it early,
* Goggles. EV800D is good enough. Probably better to spend $$ elsewhere. DJI maybe.

* Avoid anything under $20. Unless it has good reviews. In general, avoid AIO whoop style.
* Caddx has shoddy QA. Sometimes good. Sometimes bad. Likewise Eachine. YRMV
* Hot glue wires on camera. Twisting? Pulling canopy off often? Can easily fray or pull off.

BF Tuning
* BF 4.2 and RPM Filtering a must.
* Dial in FF for responsivness. >800 rates usually fly worse. Can set switch to change rates.
* NEVER disable all dterm filtering.
* make 1-2 changes at a time.
* Use blackbox logging and blackbox explorer and/or PID Analyzer. No built in? Use OpenLog or OpenLagger.
* 48/96KHz greatly improves high rpm <= 3" flight times.
* Bad flight times. Noisy ESC? Noisy gyro? Hot motors? Damaged props?

* NEVER buy cheap banggood solder / flux. Its crap. If its chalky. Gray. or unleaded.. You will have bad time.
* Always use flux if re-heating / fixing solder joint.
* Aliexpress practice soldering kits. Buy at least 2.
* A $10 60W iron is good enough. Save $100.
* Conical pointy tip. Only good for small SMD. Dont be cheap. Bevel and flat/edge tips make some jobs much easier.
Last edited by romangpro; Oct 24, 2020 at 06:58 PM.
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Oct 24, 2020, 07:07 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
* for high power 6S 5", 7", 9" .. use 2+ straps. Kevlar. Metal buckle.
* watch for protruding frame screwheads.
* use silicone grip pad
* rubber bands. Invaluable at holding battery balance cable.
* ziptie XT30/XT60 to frame to avoid tearing pad.
* cheap $1 antenna tubes.. a must. keep antenna out of props.
* Fly bag. Extra props. Extra vtx antennas. USB cable to hookup FC to SpeedyBee on smartphone for diagnostics.
* spare goggle/radio battery. can often use same brand/size, and cheaper to get 3x pack.
Oct 25, 2020, 09:06 AM
Registered User
My #1 tip. Watch all of JB's youtube vids on betaflight. There are vids by others that are very good also.

IMO, BF is a disaster for newbs. I know I almost gave up due to how clunky it is. Now that I've used it a bunch it's not that big of a deal. But the driver install is a disaster, some needed commands are only in CLI and not in the gui, etc.
Oct 25, 2020, 09:04 PM
Registered User
My #1 mistake was cheaping out on my gear. Pay for quality stuff and your experience is going to be much more enjoyable. Your gonna end up buying quality stuff later anyway, so just do it at first.
Oct 26, 2020, 07:50 AM
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Ace12GA's Avatar
Originally Posted by win FPV
My #1 mistake was cheaping out on my gear. Pay for quality stuff and your experience is going to be much more enjoyable. Your gonna end up buying quality stuff later anyway, so just do it at first.
+1 on this. I wasted so much money cheaping out in the beginning. Good gear is way cheaper now too.
Oct 26, 2020, 09:30 PM
Registered User
Thread OP
Originally Posted by win FPV
My #1 mistake was cheaping out on my gear. Pay for quality stuff and your experience is going to be much more enjoyable. Your gonna end up buying quality stuff later anyway, so just do it at first.
$$$ on unusable "40C" batteries.
bent shaft and messed bearing on $12 motors

For me, building is huge part of hobby. No fun if you just pickup a ready drone.
But trying to realize my random part list drone, I wasted so much time and shipping $$$, because M3 too long, FC too wide, no 9V BEC, SmartPort vs FPort. etc.

Copy a known working build. Or buy PNP and change 1-2 things.
Oct 30, 2020, 12:31 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by romangpro
* cheap $1 antenna tubes.. a must. keep antenna out of props.
use a zip tie and some heat shrink instead, more durable than the antenna tubes and holds up to crashes better, and doesnt crease like the antenna tubes will.

Hot glue is awesome in this hobby. Rubbing alcohol will soften it to make it easier to remove.

Never throw away any extra connectors or silicone wire, you never know when you'll need it again.

If you buy something and it comes with spare screws, hang onto them. You *will* need them again
Yesterday, 11:49 AM
Registered User
* Don't plug in your battery to your transmitter(controller) the wrong way. I did that, smoke came out, and now I have to buy a new motherboard for my TX16S

* Don't leave your soldering iron on a pad for too long! It will be toast
Yesterday, 02:14 PM
humayraykinaon's Avatar
I've learned that with this hobby no matter what, you'll be spending $$

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