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Complete Newbie with many questions

#1
I've never dealt with anything RC, except toy cars, but I always imagined doing it in my head, it's faster, nothing fails and nothing is impossible! So I might sound ridiculous with grand plans. And I don't expect to do this immediately, I need to learn and practice of course, I'm just exploring possibilities. So:

1 For someone like me, that hasn't flown anything at all, would the tricopter be a good idea for a start?
1.1 I've been looking at the price (of course) where the this would fall: tricopter (150$), fpv (58$), transmitter (54$), GoPro (200$); missing the screen for FPV and battery chargers (haven't searched that yet); summed up would be well over 460$, also forgot all the shipping to Portugal...
Am I crazy for thinking this is a good first project or is it a sort of reliable investment? Will I be able to build it, 'program' everything and fly it?

2 Would the Turnigy 9X be a good remote for a FPV Tricopter like the one David built on his video? And good for a complete beginner?

3 Flight duration/number of batteries, meaning, when I go out to fly it, how many should I have? For example, when the FT crew went with the tricopers to the old abandoned factory, did they do everything on one battery?
I get really excited about this, but then I hear that it has 10 min flight duration and feel like it would be a lot of trouble to go to a location I think would be awesome to film, and then I get 10 min… Although I don't know what a 10min flight 'feels like'...
3.1 Battery life: tricopter or airplane? to film, like, landscapes and such; because the tricopter is constantly using energy and the plane can just 'glide around', but is it good for filming? But then, the tricopter is much more versatile for taking off/landing.

I feel I have too many questions, so the following are the less pressing, or just to confirm what I think I know:

1.2 Some of the parts (the KK2 Board, DT750 motors and BMS-385DMAX servo) aren't in stock at HobbyKing, do they replenish it frequently (every week) or is it better to find alternatives?

3.2 Also, I heard that repeatedly using and charging the batteries without a break/cooldown, damages the batteries, does the same apply to the aircraft? So, if I had… 5 batteries, would it be ok to, as soon as a battery dies, change it and go back up, or should there be a cooldown?

4 Another point is that I would probably end up trying everything, like boats; so, the question is, if I bought the Turnigy 9X, would I be able to use it for a boat? The same question for the FPV system? (something about surface and air transmitters?!)

5 In the Tricopter David built, do you connect the FPV system to the 14.9V battery? In the video about Basic FPV the FT crew recommend a FPV system with 12V input; but even then, they use a 11.1V battery so, is 12 to 14.9 not a big difference?

6 Flashing the ESC?! I've searched youtube and the forum about it, and I understand it's not mandatory, but why do anything if it's not as good as possible? So, is there a tutorial or something like that on how to do it?

I'm sorry for making so many questions, I just thought I'd ask all at once... So I don't drag it out...
 

FlyingMonkey

Stuck in Sunny FL
Staff member
Admin
#2
I've never dealt with anything RC, except toy cars, but I always imagined doing it in my head, it's faster, nothing fails and nothing is impossible! So I might sound ridiculous with grand plans. And I don't expect to do this immediately, I need to learn and practice of course, I'm just exploring possibilities. So:

1 For someone like me, that hasn't flown anything at all, would the tricopter be a good idea for a start?
1.1 I've been looking at the price (of course) where the this would fall: tricopter (150$), fpv (58$), transmitter (54$), GoPro (200$); missing the screen for FPV and battery chargers (haven't searched that yet); summed up would be well over 460$, also forgot all the shipping to Portugal...
Am I crazy for thinking this is a good first project or is it a sort of reliable investment? Will I be able to build it, 'program' everything and fly it?
Since you're asking for opinions, here's mine. No. There's really no good RTF (Ready To Fly) or even ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) tricopter packages yet. If you're interested in starting with a multi rotor, I'm hearing very good things about the small budget quadcopters. Many are sold as low as $50.00 RTF.

2 Would the Turnigy 9X be a good remote for a FPV Tricopter like the one David built on his video? And good for a complete beginner?
There's a bit of debate as to which Turnigy radio to buy...

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthre...t-the-Turnigy-9X-or-9XR&highlight=turnigy+9xr


3 Flight duration/number of batteries, meaning, when I go out to fly it, how many should I have? For example, when the FT crew went with the tricopers to the old abandoned factory, did they do everything on one battery?
I get really excited about this, but then I hear that it has 10 min flight duration and feel like it would be a lot of trouble to go to a location I think would be awesome to film, and then I get 10 min… Although I don't know what a 10min flight 'feels like'...
3.1 Battery life: tricopter or airplane? to film, like, landscapes and such; because the tricopter is constantly using energy and the plane can just 'glide around', but is it good for filming? But then, the tricopter is much more versatile for taking off/landing.
I like at least two or three batteries for any thing I'm flying. Depending on the aircraft and how you fly it, you could get anywhere from five to fifteen minutes of flight. With some aircraft like motor gliders, where you're only using the motor to get you up to some lift, you could fly all day on a single battery.

I feel I have too many questions, so the following are the less pressing, or just to confirm what I think I know:

1.2 Some of the parts (the KK2 Board, DT750 motors and BMS-385DMAX servo) aren't in stock at HobbyKing, do they replenish it frequently (every week) or is it better to find alternatives?
No, sometimes they're out of stock for months. There's an option on each item's page to receive an email notification when stock returns. I use this, it works well. NEVER order something that's out of stock. It will hold up your entire order, and they might never restock it.

3.2 Also, I heard that repeatedly using and charging the batteries without a break/cooldown, damages the batteries, does the same apply to the aircraft? So, if I had… 5 batteries, would it be ok to, as soon as a battery dies, change it and go back up, or should there be a cooldown?
I've done it, and it's likely it does. That's why I liked to have many batteries, and only charge when I get home.

4 Another point is that I would probably end up trying everything, like boats; so, the question is, if I bought the Turnigy 9X, would I be able to use it for a boat? The same question for the FPV system? (something about surface and air transmitters?!)
Technically yes. Although most people use a ground radio for boat and car applications. The air systems put out more range, that for most ground applications is wasteful.

5 In the Tricopter David built, do you connect the FPV system to the 14.9V battery? In the video about Basic FPV the FT crew recommend a FPV system with 12V input; but even then, they use a 11.1V battery so, is 12 to 14.9 not a big difference?
I will sometimes run my FPV system off it's own battery, to prevent loss of video due to a low voltage issue. I've also run it off the balancing leads before. 12 to 14.9 v can be enough difference to kill your system. It depends on what components were used in your electronics.

6 Flashing the ESC?! I've searched youtube and the forum about it, and I understand it's not mandatory, but why do anything if it's not as good as possible? So, is there a tutorial or something like that on how to do it?
I believe this article is what you're looking for. There's lots of great information available on the main Flite Test site.

http://flitetest.com/articles/simon-k-firmware-on-turnigy-ty-p1-esc

I'm sorry for making so many questions, I just thought I'd ask all at once... So I don't drag it out...
This is the place for it. Although, you're likely to get more, and better answers if you have a shorter post. I'm likely one of the few people who likes to do all of the editing that's involved in these long, drawn out answers. Hope this helps.
 
#3
Thanks for the quick reply! I'm new to forums in general, so I'll keep that in mind, shorter posts. (this was actually my first post, ever)
Your answers did help a lot!

Since you're asking for opinions, here's mine. No. There's really no good RTF (Ready To Fly) or even ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) tricopter packages yet. If you're interested in starting with a multi rotor, I'm hearing very good things about the small budget quadcopters. Many are sold as low as $50.00 RTF.
I was originally thinking on building the Tricopter that David built on his video, because I thought the build would also be interesting and I thought it would be a good platform to then go for FPV, maybe I should start with those cheaper quadcopters, but I wanted something that I could, in the future, set up with FPV.

Lol, I'm too eager to start, but don't wan't to wait for the parts that are out of stock, that's why I considered the glider (besides flight time).

Last question, would you recommend buying used parts? for example, for the tricopter, I found a used KK2 board and brushless motors, is it risky to buy them 'second-hand'?
 

Cyberdactyl

Misfit Multirotor Monkey
#4
Flyingmonkey was pretty thorough answering your questions.

Also, here's a guy who does a decent comparison of the 9X and the 9XR; PART1 and PART 2

And there's also the new-ish Orange T-SIX 2.4GHz DSM2 6CH which is getting some decent reviews from some old pros.

As to multirotors. . . if you want to keep it as simple as possible for your first, I would recommend a quad. Quads, of course, don't require a servo and that helps minimize the difficulty.

And keeping three primary components inexpensive and easy can help greatly.

- A dirt cheap, but decent and almost indestructible frame
- The KK2 control board
- Preflashed SimonK ESCs

There's one thing Flyingmonkey is maybe a touch dramatic about. :D While HK does indeed have stuff go in and out of stock frequently, rarely, if almost never does a popular item remain out of stock for more than a couple weeks. The DT750s and the KK2 are good examples. If you click and sign in for an email notification for those items, you'll find they will be replenished generally in a few days. . .a couple weeks at most. Once you get the email, you need to jump on it immediately.
 
#5
Hey Cyberdactl,
First of all welcome to flite test and welcome to the hobby. You've gotten some good advice here so far, I would definitely recommend a quad over a tricopter for a first multirotor. That said however I will warn you that any kind of custom built large multirotor is an expensive proposition, especially if you don't have the support equipment. Once you get a radio, battery charger, batteries, soldering iron, glue gun, etc you're quickly in for several hundred dollars. Much of these are things you will re-use so if you're really serious about the hobby they're good investments.

If you're just interested in getting flying there are some much cheaper options that really may be a better way to get your feet wet. I have had great luck with the small helis from Blade like the mcx2, msrx and nano cpx. The mqx also gets good reviews if you're really interested in a quad rotor, and the e-flight micro vapor is a great little plane you can cruise around your living room. You can get the RTF versions of these and they have everything you need in one box, you'll be flying in no time. Then once you've built up some skills flying and working on them you can take on a bigger project with a lot more confidence (and fewer questions ;)).

Just a suggestion, I wish you luck.
 
#6
Hi again!
Yeah, I feel really lucky and thankful for every reply!

I grew up helping my father around building and repairing stuff (nothing RC), so I think I have all the tools needed, but I've been studying abroad for 3 years, and I'm going back home so I was looking for a project to have fun, also I was interested in getting to know the workings of the thing I'm flying... And, since I was also thinking about getting a boat, I feel (maybe wrongly) that it would be cheaper if I built both...
 

crlock

Senior Member
#7
Hi Filipe, i'm going to give you MY opinion regarding controllers, or anything for "starters" i don't want to scare you or anything, this is just my opinion/story

A few years back, when i was just entering the hobby with RC Cars, i thought it would be a good idea to start with something cheap, in case i end up breaking something, i could easily replace it with cheap spare parts.
To my surprise, i could not be more wrong. it was a nightmare to maintain that vehicle, parts would break with a little jump, screws would come loose every single time, the transmitter would lost signal within a few seconds, the motor loose compression after a few tanks, all this despite the fact that i was doing everything according to the manual.
I got to the point were i almost gave up, and against my common sense (and my budget at the time jejejeje) i bought a Big brand name RC car. that was a whole different story. i loved the car from the first time i put nitro in the tank! and the support on the forums was awesome as well.
Granted i learned a few things about what to do and what not to do with the first car, but if i would have bought the (lets call it BIg car) big car in the first place, i would have spend a lot less money in the long run, and that became my rule of thumb from then.

For my Tri, i bought a good radio right away (the Aurora 9) its super easy to set up, it has a big touch screen with a menu that is super easy to understand, and it was not very expensive either.
I'm not saying that the turnigy 9x is not a good radio, hell it was my first choice when i started the project. But then i remembered all those head aches i had when i bought the "cheap" (that ended up being as expensive as the big car) car instead of the "expensive" one.
Maybe in your case, a radio with a good user interface is the best option, since you have no experience setting up or programming radios.

Again this is just my opinion

A note aside.
Be prepared to end up spending more than 460 ;) think of it, everything times 3

Motors $16 x3 (you should buy a couple to spare as well)
esc $20 x3 (spares, i can't stress this enough)
battery $13 x3 (spares for god's sake!)
kk2 board $20ish
cables, connectors, screws, heatshrink, charger, props (a lot, trust me), digital servo, materials for the frame, soldering station (assuming you don't have one), fpv equipment, RC simulator (this is a MUST if you never have flown anything) $around 250-300
and finally the radio $70-200 (depending on wich you want to start with)
To all of this, add the shipping and handling costs

And time, a lot of time and nagging from your girlfriend/wife/friends

Cheers
 
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