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The Cost of Mini Quads!!!!!!

Are you struggling to pay for your miniquad?


  • Total voters
    29

Robbie

Senior Member
#1
Hey Guys,

Me and my flying buddy Ocean are currently despairing. We are trying to work out whether we can continue flying miniquads. We are both very capable pilots and we are able to fly advanced FPV and LOS acro with no issue but we are probably going to have to stop flying soon because of the sheer cost of flying mini quads.

For example today was an average day flying and here are the casualties:

  • 40+ Gemfan 6045 props
    2 Lipo batteries (connectors ripped high speed crashes)
    VTx, crash ripped off and bent the aerial.
    3 connectors and wires.
    3 prop nuts

Apart from one LOS crash by me where i attempted to do a triple flip and a few knocks from light crashes... not a single one of the crashes was our fault. There were 4 bad FPV crashes the causes of which were:
1. Prop chuck
2. Prop blade simply coming off mid air (caused probably by excessive stress on the blades)
3. control loop/ESC error (no proof just seems the most probable explanation as there did not seem to be a prop chuck or a blade chuck), Quad simple fell out the sky
4. Unknown.

All of these crashes were beyond our control and yet the cost of them was severe, I was curious if any of you experience the same horrific costs and if there is anyway to reduce them.

My build:
Frame: Emax 280
Motor: Emax 2206 1900kv
ESC: Rotorgeeks 30A
Props: 6045
Flight Controller: Naze 32 (PID 1)
Rates: Roll & Pitch: 0.75, YAW: 0.80 TPA: 0.15 - Reason for high Rates - I want to be FGA :0

Oceans build:
Frame: ZMR 250
Motor: Sunnysky x2207 2100kv
ESC: Rotorgeeks 30A
Props: 6045 Gemfan
Controller: Naze32 (Luxfloat)
PIDS: Roll & Pitch 0.4, YAW: 0.40, TPA 0.1

Granted these rates are high but both Ocean and I are good enough pilots to control them and it just angers us how we can't fly as much as we would like because of the issues that plague our quads.


Do you guys have the same issues and are you struggling to pay for you quad?

Thanks guys.
Robbie

*Edit Tips I learnt today.
1. IF you have a large VTx with a large antenna e.g 1.3/2.4Ghz, Velcro it on, that way it comes off easily in a high speed crash.
2. Always check props and prop nuts before a high speed/ high G run
3. Depending on where you mount your battery use a battery extender (about an inch or two of wire with a female to male xt60) This will put less stress on your battery connector in the event of high speed low FPV crash.
4. DO NOT USE TIP 3 for LOS acro, or you will find (as I did) that these extra connectors are prone to coming loose while doing flips and tricks and suddenly you have a 200g battery flinging around.
5. Do a quick visual check of your Quad with every new battery or crash, so often its tempting to just go straight back up and let issue present themselves as you fly but I promise you that is not the best cause of action.
6. Be careful using cheap plastic props again after a crash. Because often stress is put on the blade during a crash which can lead to cracks and fatigue in the prop which are not easily visible to the naked eye. The good thing about HQ props is they shatter instantly.
7. Zip Tie as many cables down as you can, a neater quad is a cheaper quad.
8. Check battery straps and that battery is tighten securely, a 250g 4S carries a lot of momentum when doing flips and tricks in acro, this can lead to the battery coming loose in some cases coming right off. Also probably not a good idea to fly your 250 FPV racer as if it is a warp quad :)
 
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#2
No offense Robbie but prop chuck presumably coming off? and prop blade coming off ARE operator errors. Just like alot of other things you should inspect your quad before you take off EVERY time. If you see prop stress, with gemfans its easy to see or you dont tighten the chuck on every crash (props get stopped motor keeps going and the prop can loosen the chuck) crashes can happen. This means everytime it hits the ground you walk over to it and do a quick inspection don't just take off again.

Just looking at your builds you also haven't selected the cheapest parts. I can TOTALLY understand that, you want some good performance out of the quad. But you're both running ESCs that seem needlessly large and expensive for the quad you are flying.

I certainly feel your frustration though, I had a couple of crashes early on that destroyed my acro naze and had to keep ordering them. I think its just bad luck sometimes but I know one was my fault because the battery slid forward and ripped a pin/pad off the FC. Planning for stuff like this to happen (i bought a little case for my naze, and installed pins to keep the battery from moving forward) has prevented this problem from happening again.

The hardest part starting out for my budget was knowing what to buy. I figured out the frame, ESCs, motors, stuff like that pretty fast. But its amazing how little stuff like a cable that runs from one thing to another or these prop chucks suck I want lock nuts can stack up. And when you don't know exactly what you are looking for you end up with some useless stuff before you know what your doing. Or at least I did.

Hopefully you can stick in the hobby, maybe you just need to lower your expectations until you can afford the quad of your dreams?

My friends and I started a little group up and we thought, why not go with 4S straight off. The answer was money. Some of us had smaller budgets than the others and stuff that can handle 4S is simply seemed more expensive than stuff that can handle 3S. So for now we may be going a little slower but it is still a blast.
 
#3
I do not know how those PID setting compare to common Naze32 setting (I use a KK2) but I do know I had more problems when my PID was too high. PIDs that are too high lead to extra oscillations that make it more difficult for the flight controller.

It sounds like you may want to rethink where and how some items are mounted. If something expensive is getting damaged in a crash, that might give you information on how to mount it differently so it is less likely to get damaged in a crash. When something has to give in a crash, better it give/break in a place of your choosing than in an expensive part. For example, my Video TX and antenna are zip-tied to a BBQ squire with that zip-tied in one spot and friction fit in another. This allows the assembly to move and slip out of the way in a crash.

I think another factor of this issue might be how you fly. Some of us might be flying more conservatively which lead to less crashes and less damaging crashes at that. I am not saying flying aggressively is a bad thing. In fact, if you are not crashing, how can you learn from your mistakes and get better? So do push your limits but maybe not so far that you cause significant damage when you crash. Just something to think about.

I fly close to what I know the limits of my skill is and regularly crash but I can usually keep my crashes to just broken props and zip-ties. I do get other items dislodged but, as I indicated above, I do have them attached so that they dislodge instead of breaking which is how I keep my repair cost low.

I hope this helps.
 

razor02097

Rogue Drone Pilot
#4
I answered no because I don't do high speed proximity flying with my mini quad. When I do crash, everything is pretty much zip tied on so all I have to do is zip tie it all back together.
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#5
No offense Robbie but prop chuck presumably coming off? and prop blade coming off ARE operator errors. Just like alot of other things you should inspect your quad before you take off EVERY time. If you see prop stress, with gemfans its easy to see or you dont tighten the chuck on every crash (props get stopped motor keeps going and the prop can loosen the chuck) crashes can happen. This means everytime it hits the ground you walk over to it and do a quick inspection don't just take off again.

Just looking at your builds you also haven't selected the cheapest parts. I can TOTALLY understand that, you want some good performance out of the quad. But you're both running ESCs that seem needlessly large and expensive for the quad you are flying.

I certainly feel your frustration though, I had a couple of crashes early on that destroyed my acro naze and had to keep ordering them. I think its just bad luck sometimes but I know one was my fault because the battery slid forward and ripped a pin/pad off the FC. Planning for stuff like this to happen (i bought a little case for my naze, and installed pins to keep the battery from moving forward) has prevented this problem from happening again.

The hardest part starting out for my budget was knowing what to buy. I figured out the frame, ESCs, motors, stuff like that pretty fast. But its amazing how little stuff like a cable that runs from one thing to another or these prop chucks suck I want lock nuts can stack up. And when you don't know exactly what you are looking for you end up with some useless stuff before you know what your doing. Or at least I did.

Hopefully you can stick in the hobby, maybe you just need to lower your expectations until you can afford the quad of your dreams?

My friends and I started a little group up and we thought, why not go with 4S straight off. The answer was money. Some of us had smaller budgets than the others and stuff that can handle 4S is simply seemed more expensive than stuff that can handle 3S. So for now we may be going a little slower but it is still a blast.
Thanks man,

Just to clarify Ocean has been in the hobby for over a year and I have been 5 months.

The ESCs are not too large, the sunnyskys draw 27A WOT on 4S and I in the process of putting 2208s on my Quad which will draw between 25A and 35A 4S.

We do inspect our quads reguarly but as always the temptation to get straight back in the air is a big one. The main problem i think lies with this insistance of having different direction motors. If Ocean and I were to start again we would get alll CW because we run nylock nuts on that direction and there are never issues its always the CCW ones which cause problems.

And yeh cables and props are the biggest killers. BTW does anyone know where to get wholesale props like 200+ peices
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#6
I answered no because I don't do high speed proximity flying with my mini quad. When I do crash, everything is pretty much zip tied on so all I have to do is zip tie it all back together.
Yeh we should point out that we do push our quads hard we both run 30 degrees camera tilt and we fly fast. This puts a lot of stress on the props and prop nuts. In all honesty we should probably be running HQ with the kind of stress we pull however they are very expensive a break even more easily then the Gemfans.

In response to bitogre one of the reasons Oceans VTx broke was because the antenna was sticking out of the back (its large due to the fact we run 1.3Ghz) One neat trick i have found is to Velcro on the the VTx this means that in a crash it comes free. However it does lead to more broken and wrenched cables. However both Ocean and I have little harnesses where both the camera and VTx are using Servo leads. this does limit cable damage to some degree.

The thing about the PIDs is interesting, both our PIDs (mine especially) are very high, because we do a lot of acro and fast/agile manoeuvres. And I know Ocean has been having problems with some small Oscillations And there have been one or two crashes in the past where our quads have just inexplicably fallen out the skies.

I think the biggest killer is the props and the prop nuts though because it adds up.
 
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PHugger

Church Meal Expert
#7
BTW does anyone know where to get wholesale props like 200+ peices
Wait, what? I thought you were out of money?

Seems pretty simple to me.
If you are crashing and breaking too much, SLOW DOWN.
Your skill should increase until you reach your theoretical maximum.
Have you reach that point yet?
Not everyone can be Charpu, FGA, Metal Danny or Warthox.
If you can't afford to fly the way you want too.....
Just sayin'

Maybe we need to come up with another fun multirotor activity besides racing through trees or parking garages.
Forget it - I can't think of anything fun that wouldn't involve a lot of crashing.
We need DTF miniquads - something you aren't afraid to crash.



Best regards,
PCH
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#8
Wait, what? I thought you were out of money?

Seems pretty simple to me.
If you are crashing and breaking too much, SLOW DOWN.
Your skill should increase until you reach your theoretical maximum.
Have you reach that point yet?
Not everyone can be Charpu, FGA, Metal Danny or Warthox.
If you can't afford to fly the way you want too.....
Just sayin'

Maybe we need to come up with another fun multirotor activity besides racing through trees or parking garages.
Forget it - I can't think of anything fun that wouldn't involve a lot of crashing.
We need DTF miniquads - something you aren't afraid to crash.



Best regards,
PCH

Yeh we do push hard but we are still coming better because of it. In fairness we only broke 10 props through pilot error. All the rest rest of the component breaks and broken props were because of mainly prop chucks and mechanical failure.

The reason we want to order 200+ props is because in the long run it will save money. Currently we are paying around 55p a prop we want to get it under that number.
 

RichB

Senior Member
#9
I don't mean this to sound harsh, but if you are killing that many props and batteries and parts in a day, then you are probably pushing your skill set too hard.

Your skills will develop even if you are pushing the boundaries gently. Pretty soon you'll be able to do all day long the kinds of things which now cost you 5 crashes and a dozen props to pull off one time.
 

RichB

Senior Member
#10
Wait, what? I thought you were out of money?
We need DTF miniquads - something you aren't afraid to crash.
PCH
Full speed, went inverted and pulled up (down) into an asphalt roof. That's what it took to finally break something other than a prop on my Tick Quad. That was a cracked boom. Still flyable, but needed to be changed.

It hit the roof so hard that an SMD diode flew off the circuit board inside the mobius. Nothing touched it, it just had enough inertia to come off the board.
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#11
I don't mean this to sound harsh, but if you are killing that many props and batteries and parts in a day, then you are probably pushing your skill set too hard.

Your skills will develop even if you are pushing the boundaries gently. Pretty soon you'll be able to do all day long the kinds of things which now cost you 5 crashes and a dozen props to pull off one time.
Today was a abnormally bad day, which is what drove me to do the post. The thing which really got us was we were unlucky, I mean the two crashes which took out the Lipos and the Vtx: one was a prop blade which came off mid flight, which was annoying because it was brand new out of the packet which means it was either damaged in travelling or a manufacturing defect. The other one was simply the quad dropping out the sky, either a control loop/ECS error due to high PIDs or a lose solder joint, either way it was annoying.

I must reiterate that only props were broken due to Pilot error, not the major components which got broken today.
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#12
Full speed, went inverted and pulled up (down) into an asphalt roof. That's what it took to finally break something other than a prop on my Tick Quad. That was a cracked boom. Still flyable, but needed to be changed.

It hit the roof so hard that an SMD diode flew off the circuit board inside the mobius. Nothing touched it, it just had enough inertia to come off the board.
In the crash which lost the VTx and the LIPO connector, the problem lay with the fact i was doing High speed low proximity FPV, when the prop blade did break off, the quad was ripped across the ground at high speed, leading to the connectors being violently ripped off and destroying the VTx. I do admit that its a risk you take when flying high speed but it is annoying never the less because I am not a fan of hovering and it seems now Ocean's and my skills are being let down by our equipment. And once again the problem lies with money because we don't have the money to buy immersionRC or Fatshark (we hit almost 50mph using the Hobbyking £20 goggles :) )or HQ props or cobra motors or black out frames, and I am starting to realise that the cheaper gear simply wont perform as well as the more expensive stuff. Which is a real shame.
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#13
If you are really pushing these machines as much as you say I think you should consider switching to HQ props and ditch the Gemfans. They cost a little more, but you should save in the long run if the majority of your prop loses comes from in flight failure. I'm impressed that you and Ocean are pushing it so hard, but I think if you want to save money and decrease the frustration you should tone it down a little bit. Overall though it sounds like your props are letting you down.
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#15
If you are really pushing these machines as much as you say I think you should consider switching to HQ props and ditch the Gemfans. They cost a little more, but you should save in the long run if the majority of your prop loses comes from in flight failure. I'm impressed that you and Ocean are pushing it so hard, but I think if you want to save money and decrease the frustration you should tone it down a little bit. Overall though it sounds like your props are letting you down.
Yes i think you are completely right, Ocean and I were discussing getting some HQ props because those gemfans don't show fatigue very well and its scary how many time i have had blade chucks mid flight.

The problem is you can't see blade fatigue with a visual inspection on those props and so you keep flying and pushing them, unaware of the weaknesses.
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#16
Also switching to 3S will decrease the cost of almost every component of your quad.
Yeh i have 8 3S batteries which i use for a lot of LOS and then I have 4 4S batteries I use for FPV. I have found that it can sometimes be a bad idea flying FPV on 3S because you tend to pin above 80% throttle depending on how heavy your quad is. This is incredibly dangerous because it doesn't give you the necessary power to correct a mistake. Also often low fast turns on a mini quad can give you a lot of momentum especially if you speed up out of the turn to fast. And you often need the 4S power to stop yourself smashing into the ground and counteract the momentum from high speed manoeuvres.
 

Robbie

Senior Member
#18
Cheers man will have a look, I am always open to new product recomendations because lets face it my current gear evidently isn't working very well, haha

Having looked are those Thrust tests I am very impressed by the 6040s they only give ~60g less thrust then the 6045s and are probably a lot more efficent. I have a look at those, do you know if they are bendy like Gemfans, rigid like HQ or chip like diatone?
 
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#19
I would like to confirm that I broke ZERO propellors today due to pilot error/pushing too hard. Despite the fact I check props after all flights, props are still thrown along with other random failures where the quad literally just falls out the sky for no apparent reason (I now suspect gemfans). We both spent around 4 hours preparing the quads yesterday and we make sure everything is tied down sufficiently, however this is to no avail.

Only the active portion of the antenna was outside the quad, this means any force pushed onto the antenna mostly goes on the frame, with little on the actual VTx. This has worked well for over 20 flights now but looks like it has finally packed it in, there is minimal damage though, only a button to change channel is broken yet it still won't turn on, I am beginning to suspect a possible broken cable.

I believe oscillations are due to the Gemfan propellors, I had similar issues on my cinetank and will be trying HQ props to see if there is any difference.
 
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#20
If you are really pushing these machines as much as you say I think you should consider switching to HQ props and ditch the Gemfans. They cost a little more, but you should save in the long run if the majority of your prop loses comes from in flight failure. I'm impressed that you and Ocean are pushing it so hard, but I think if you want to save money and decrease the frustration you should tone it down a little bit. Overall though it sounds like your props are letting you down.
Yeah I agree I'm very tempted to get some HQs. I've had a few in the past and am impressed.