Buying Guide: n00b to n00b

Hi FT,

A group of friends and I have begun work on an FPV racing group. Only one of us has any prior RC experience, and he has a big cinehex, so there were some feelings of confusion about how exactly to proceed with the build and what exactly to get.

I had to do a bunch of research myself to find out exactly what I wanted. I tried to compile some thoughts that I accumulated along the way.

This information is supposed to very stripped down to eliminate options where possible.

This information is based ENTIRELY on research and NOT AT ALL on any kind of empirical data. But in the hope it may ease someone else's experience I wanted to make it available.

Of course any feedback or insight would be greatly appreciated, we are all still learning.

I can't possibly give credit everywhere it is due, so instead I will simply say thank you very much to both the RCG and FT communities.



Based on the 150 stator displacement of the limited class of our club, you can go all the way up to a 2206. Until someone builds a 2107 anyway. That being said 2206 is not your only option, because we intend to eventually get up to 6” props with these things it would behoove you to go a little larger so that you don’t have to buy all new motors to upgrade your props. Because of this lets eliminate the options smaller than 2204.

This process is frustrated by the situation that some brands don’t make a 2206 and some don’t make a 2204. Lets add another criteria to help make this decision (ha), kv. The Higher kv the more speed and less torque you get out of the motor. Though 2204s seem to be mostly in the 2300kv area. Based on our surrounding I really want to do some deep woods craziness so lets stick with torque rather than top speed since our quads also are particularly light.

Now we are looking for a 2000kv or 2300kv, 2204 or 2206 motor. If you are really concerned about how the motor will hold up with 6” props I would lean more towards the 2206 but a number of 2204s say they can take it so lean gently. If you pay close attention to performance charts however the 2204s don’t seem to be able to take the pitch of a 6” that a 2206 can.

So honestly are far a pros and cons go, stator size and kv is what I understand the least. I usually go to and just goof around until I think I have a good setup.

Oh, to bullets or not to bullets… bullets are lame, learn to solder.

I really don’t know how to present these to you…

This video I found to be very helpful:

Here are some 2204s check the performance charts towards the bottom of the screen for 6” prop compatibility.

Cobra 2204-32 1960kv (ok not 2000kv but really close and they are pretty rockin)

From Rotorgeeks: (best stickers ever)
(they don’t seem to be in stock anywhere right now)

Cobra 2204 2300kv
From Rotorgeeks

Micro Titan 2204 2300kv
From Myairbot

SunnySky 2204 2300kv
From Quadrysteria

Here are some 2206 motors, again check performance charts for 6” prop compatibility

2206 2000kv
From Team-Blacksheep
more info here:

Lumenier Branded T-Motor:
2206 2000kv (I frankly have no idea what is going on with these things, they are more expensive and less performant than a not rebranded T-Motor)
From Getfpv

2206 2300kv (these are weird, not sure what the deal is, T-Motor doesn’t have it but I think it is still a rebrand, maybe it is not up the quality standards of T-Motor)
From Getfpv

Ok, look frankly that it is, you can get multi-stars for 5 bucks less but they look pretty lame. If you want 2206 get the T-motor.

Please Note:
KDE are amazing and make a 2206 2050kv. These are WAY more expensive than anything else and are made to handle 4S. Honestly go drool at them on

Ok, so, those are your options.

IMHO your best option is the T-motor because its what’s running your rig. After that I would go with Cobra it is lighter and has a higher kv, then Titan also high kv.

That being said it would be GREAT if we were not all flying the exact same quad, I think that for a very long time our own skill and quantity of practice will have the greatest affect on success and we will probably mess around with 5” props for a long time as well. So please don’t feel too restricted in your decision.


There are a lot like, really, a LOT of ESCs out there. They are so specific as to the amperage loads that they can accommodate it seems hard to determine exactly which one you want. Until very recently you paid for the amperage capacity of the ESC with weight. As the ESC could take more amps the board got larger, the heat sink got larger, and the wires got larger all of which added weight.

Lately there has been a development of bare-bones mini ESCs. These remove the heat sink capacitors and extraneous crap. This turned what used to be a beefy 20A ESC that could way 20+ grams into a board that without wires didn’t quite hit 2. So, from the stand point of a first time builder this removed the penalty of simply going big and safe.
On top of this the technology is old enough now that prices have gone down. For less than you can get a 12A run of the mill ESC you can now get a 20A mini ESC. This in itself lessens the need for heat sinks that add weight since you will probably not be overly taxing the ESC.

A note on software. Your options are BlHeli and SimonK. I made a decision early on to go with BlHeli, I think its because that is what Bruce seems to use. I have not made a particularly intelligent review of the two beyond that.
So you want an ESC, here are the two seemly better options.

KISS 18A v1.1
So far I haven’t seen anyone argue that KISS is not the most performant ESC on the market. There are some that have had issues with overloads. I have been lucky so far and everyone makes a big deal out of inspecting and cleaning the ESC before use. Solder balls can short circuit the board and cause fires erratic behavior etc. One thing that I really like is that you don’t have to go into a configurator to program these things. Simply hit a solder jumper to enable ONESHOT and another for CCW rotation and you’re done. Oh and hey look, they’re expensive.

I get mine from Flyduino: (shipping doesn’t take that long)

They can also be found at Getfpv: (notice the price difference, they are rarely in stock?)

Honestly I have never used these myself, this is what I have gathered. They seem to be very similar if not identical to the KISS esc in construction and the difference seems to be in the software. They have the same capacity for ONESHOT, but you have to either wire them backwards or configure them in BlHeli for CCW. There aren’t a bunch of angry threads about these things bursting into flames which is obviously a plus. They come wired up and heat shrunk so can simply be slapped onto a quad. There are a number of arguments about whether you want heat shrink on an ESC insulating it from the cool air outside so that is at your own discretion. Again on 3S swinging 5” props your probably not taxing a 20A ESC.
From certain reviews it has been stated that these perform at 90% of what a KISS will give you. That only a pro can tell the difference.

These things are FAR cheaper than KISS ESCs and even cheaper than some “budget” older components.

They seem to be in stock here at RTFQ pretty regularly: (and it is the US based supplier)

For other buying options simply google SN20A, but the above link is by far the cheapest place to find them. Notice some come with SimonK installed.


Now you need to power this god-awful monstrosity.
3S roger… wait, lets do some math.

So each of your motors can take 180w, divide that by 12v, you get 15a. Mulitply that by 4 cause duh and you get 60a. So your battery needs to get 60amps sucked out of it. This is the safe math way without the empirical data.
A battery provided its C rating times is ah rating in amps. Notice 1000mah is 1ah so 1800mah is 1.8ah.
There are a metric ton of battery sizes out there. Since we will be flying like a bunch of drunken jackasses for a while I figure a battery that can last a little longer will give us more practice. I went with 1800mah. Lets assume you do the same, so, 60 divided by 1.8 is 33.

Based on this I would pick up a 1800mah 35C+ battery. On to quality. Again without any empirical data and judging only by reviews on forums, they all suck. Maybe this one will suck less or something but whatever.
There are some obviously more expensive batteries out there but a lot of people seem to be doing just fine with the cheaper ones. I went the cheaper but overpowered route with the idea that again if I’m not taxing it maybe it will hold up better.

Here are some options in the order that I would rank them based on the above criteria.

Turnigy A-Spec 1800mah 65c from HK: (I went with this)

Zippy 1800mah 40c from HK: (a lot of people seem to use this one)

Again there are too many options out there to list them in any fashion that I can understand.

Flight Controller

Get an Acro Naze32 install Cleanflight on it.
From (hey look they can’t keep anything in stock)

From Rotorgeeks: (everywhere else charges a dollar for pins, get them here, good stickers)

Get a case from ebay by searching for naze32 case. They are all 3D printed some are better than others pay attention to the straight or right angle pins they can handle, that being said I have a Dremel so anything is possible.


Ok, these things are downright expensive. The more channels you get the more it costs the more reliable it is the more it costs the shinier it is the more it costs.

Unlike the replaceable parts of the quad itself, this thing should stick around for a while if you treat it right so I don’t feel comfortable suggesting it in my limited experience.

I can say that I have the Spektrum 9x. I figure it will continue to serve me through a bunch of models so the money is well spent. If I did not have cash burning a hole in my pocket I would certainly have gone for a Taranis but it is also not the cheapest option.

More channels is good, if you ever want to fly a bigger rig or do funny stuff with your racer you will need those channels.

Higher resolution on the chip of the controller means that the sticks with be more precise.
Take a look at what is out there and what you are willing to spend on the hopefully non-replaceable part of your kit.
Some brand options include:



Your choice of controller will dictate your choice of RX however I suggest something that operates over PPM, which may need to be a $12 third party receiver.


Frame selection is the most arbitrary decision to make, get something that looks cool. The 20-30 grams you will gain/lose by selecting one over the other is fairly insignificant. There are different schools of thought when it comes to carbon fiber vs G10. G10 flexes so it can takes crashes, CF is tough so it can take crashes… I went with CF because you do get some weight savings out of it, it looks cook, and most importantly the arms are more rigid.
I would suggest a symmetric frame because I hear they are easier to tune.

I would suggest a frame that is fairly generic, there are some cool ones out there like Vortex that has all this crap built in which could become a pain. That being said RTF or bind and fly aren’t all bad as long as it is built in a way that can be upgraded.

Since we are not limiting the frame size in any way you could certainly go nuts with a 500mm quad but that adds weight blah blah stay small.

On the flipside we want to eventually use 6” props. If you are ok buying a whole other quad for that feel free but there are plenty of frames out there than can handle 5” and 6” props or have little arm extensions/extended arms you can buy to make this change.
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I am in Tempe AZ, you're in flagstaff? Maybe we can race together one day! looks like a great post, thanks!

Yeah we are up here in Flagstaff. We plan to have our first event in September hopefully, I will put something up on the forums about it as we get closer and have a real date.