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Diving into quads

aashabah

Junior Member
#1
Hello everyone,

Over the past couple months, I have become extremely addicted to the quad racing and freestyle scene. Currently the only outlet I have to get my quad fix is zipping around with the little Eachine E10C. Before I get started, I will say that I have been doing a ton of research about racing quads and know not to get in too much over my head. Flying a race quad is not something I take lightly and I completely understand how dangerous they can be. That being said, I realllllyyy want to get myself an RTF package to get me started. I plan to eventually do my own builds but right now I'm looking for something I learn to fly on that doesn't sacrifice too much. I've looked into a few different RTF models from different companies and heard pros and cons for all. There's the Eachine Racer, the Walkera Runner and more that I've looked into. Ideally, I'm looking for something that won't break the bank, comes with almost everything I need to get flying (besides FPV goggles), allows for some customization/easy part swapping for when I crash and isn't a huge lemon that I will regret purchasing. I see some RTF quads like the Walkera Rodeo 150 package which seems like a great package, but seems that it also limits the owner. I don't want something that is going to be a royal pain in the ass to swap broken parts on, etc.

Basically, I would love to hear what RTF quads out there are great for the price and quality. I know the Immersion Vortex Pro is a great RTF quad, but it's up there and price and I would need to purchase a transmitter with that as well, getting even further from my price range.

Here are a couple packages I've been considering:

1. Walkera Runner 250 (older model) - http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...vo_7_Battery_Charger_Camera_VTX_OSD_RTF_.html

2. Walkera Runner 250R - http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/...e_w_Mode_2_Devo_7_Battery_Camera_VTX_OSD.html

3. Walkera Rodeo 150 - http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/uh_viewItem.asp?idproduct=105887

I've also considered the Flite Test Versacopter as possibly a good way for me to get started on a first build to get some experience with that. This option would most likely cost a little more in the end though due to how much additional equipment I would need to purchase before getting off the ground.
 

Rzar

Junior Member
#2
Hey, and welcome from another newbie who is enamored with the idea of racing quads and flying them FPV. Seems I am on the same path as you. I am currently using a LaTrax Alias to learn to pilot, and for LOS skills. I plan on picking up my first racing quad in the next few months.

What transmitter are you going to use? I picked up a Spektrum DX6. A good option is to hook up your transmitter to a flight sim. I am using Liftoff and can use my transmitter. It is a good way to learn and I highly recommend it.
 

aashabah

Junior Member
#3
Thanks for the response Rzar! In regards to transmitters, I don't really have my mind set on a particular model but I know the industry standard seems to be the Taranis. When the time comes I'll most likely get whatever comes with the RTF package I get or if one isn't included, I'll do some more research for the best trans that is in my price range. I'm still far away from getting my first racing quad but it doesn't hurt to do my due diligence in researching as much as I can up to that point.

I have seen that people recommend the flight sim a lot to practice on. My concern is that my Macbook is pretty outdated and not sure if it will run the program haha. I'm not sure how many quad flight sims are out there but do you know if the one you have is Mac compatible?

In regards to a practice/beginner quad, I know the Blade Nano is supposed to be a great product for learning and can't be recommended enough by the Flite Test crew. I may pick up one of those as a second beginner quad before moving onto a race quad.
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#4
Hey aashabah, welcome to the forum! I would suggest you build your first race quad. Sure you don't get everything in one package, but you can build much better machines for the same or less price than the RTF ones. Plus you will get the building and tuning experience that you will ultimately need if you continue with race quads. The RTF machines are completely built up, but you will crash, and you will eventually break parts. So either way you're going to learn how these things are put together soon enough.

If you look at this episode of RotorRiot you may realize that an RTF quad can actually be kind of constricting. You'll get flight characteristics that are less than optimal, or at least probably not suited to your taste, and have no way of changing it. A lot of the RTF packages are not designed well to take a hit. So you'll be repairing more often, and dealing with proprietary parts. A scratch build quad will give you the freedom to tune for optimal performance and change out parts to your liking.

If you want to get a small practice/beginner quad first check out the Blade Nano FPV and Big Whoop (Blade Inductrix with FPV cam). Those machines can really zip around the house and give you some good FPV experience.

Also check you FPV Freerider as a sim. You can get a free demo to see if it works well.
 

Rzar

Junior Member
#5
Looks like both FreeRider FVP and LiftOff are Mac OS X compatible.

I was just looking at a Blade Nano too as my second practice quad because the Flite Test crew like them so much. I also want something I can fly indoors, I live in Oregon and it rains often here! I was thinking of getting a BNF one and use my DX6 transmitter so I can start to work on muscle memory for the controller I will eventually use with a racing quad.
 

aashabah

Junior Member
#6
Thanks so much for the advice Snarls, a large part of me agrees with you to just build my first quad from the ground up. Honestly, I love building and putting stuff together so the thought excites me, plus I'm sure it's extremely gratifying knowing you built your quad yourself. I have considered the Alien pack that Rotor Riot has in their store, not only because I trust those guys to offer a great product, but also because there is the alien build episode with Chad that is a perfect road map for anyone who is building for the first time. I think instead of going for an RTF, I'll get myself the Blade Nano or Tiny Whoop for my first FPV quad and then once I've built up enough practice and experience, I can start my first build.

Also Rzar, thanks for looking into that flight sim info for me. I'll have to see if my computer will allow me to download the demo.

Thanks guys! :)
 

PsyBorg

Just cant shut up!
Mentor
#7
First welcome to the madness here at FT.

Having been in the exact same boat you are now in I can offer some advice that may save you time learning as well as a bunch of money. Like you I wanted to get my feet wet in quad racing. I did all the research and decided that the original ( at the time) was the best option for me. I loved to fly it and did all the mods to help make it more reliable and resilient like reinforcing the bottom plate, The set minimum throttle to keep the props spinning to avoid the inherent flip of death, and other smaller less important stuff. I lucked out and got one of the models that has reliably flown and still does to this day a year later. I am using that to train neighbors who are getting into it after watching me fly all the time.

The Number one drawback to RTF models is this. You do not know what you are getting and whether it will fly correctly or even work out of the box. (learnt that with a Walkera V200do3 heli that has never done anything but a hover) The second draw back is that 90% of anything RTF is you are forced to rely on proprietary parts which are far more expensive then a DIY build. You also either have to keep a well stocked box of spare parts or be forced to twiddle your thumbs waiting on that row boat from China to bring you more.

As for a first build there are MANY ways to go and many great things about them. Mixing and matching parts for a first build = bad until you have greater knowledge of what everything does and how they function together. That is one of the reasons I went with the Versacopter as my first build. I went with the stock build step by step in the video using the recommended power pack and I was surprised how much better even bore any tuning was done it was then the Runner 250.

I am not putting down the runner as I enjoy buzzing around looking at land scape and nature with it more as a self pleasing AP unit. It is great for when I don't want to zoom all over or grind practice runs learning tricks. Unfortunately like I said with any RTF you roll the dice for what you get. The Versa is tried, tested, and true as well as VERY customizable as your skills and needs grow. I have done several upgrades on mine in the rise to being a better pilot. Its now sporting an SPf3 clone (sorry guys thought a US seller would have an original), 30 amp esc's and am working on 4s flight with tricks as well as racing.
 
#8
...the alien build episode with Chad that is a perfect road map for anyone who is building for the first time.
I'm new to quads as well, and have just built an alien 5" as per Chads build in said episode. It is definitely the way to go! I will echo the others advice to steer clear of RTF packages and scratch-build. Not only will you end up with a much stronger and crash resistant quad, you will gain a big understanding of how they work and how all the components interact. It's a steeper learning curve, but it's very rewarding and the quad you end up with is 10x better performing than an RTF would be :)

Also, the support from the rotor riot guys is nothing short of excellent, they will answer any questions you have during the build very promptly.

My build:

http://forum.flitetest.com/showthread.php?28528-Alien-5-quot-RR-Build

Good luck with your upcoming decisions! And yep, simulate hard before you fly the real thing and you'll be fine :)
 

aashabah

Junior Member
#9
Thanks for all the helpful advice you guys. I think the Versacopter is the way I'll go, the Alien is another strong consideration as well.
 
#10
I have been looking at the Tarot 130, a micro ARF (you have to add a receiver and radio) but for the price US$140.00 and the reviews its been getting looks like a winner. Plus is small enough to fly in the backyard.