How To Build a FPV Drone For Beginners (Choosing Parts)

Learn to build your own FPV drone from scratch with this step-by-step guide, covering everything from selecting the right frame to choosing compatible components for the perfect flying experience!

How To Build a FPV Drone For Beginners (Choosing Parts)
Photo by Benedikt Zinn / Unsplash

Flying a drone might already seem thrilling, but flying a drone that streams live video straight to your goggles for a first-person view (FPV) experience takes the thrill to an entirely new level. Whether you're a hobbyist interested in racing or just want to experience flight from a unique perspective, building your own FPV drone can be an enriching endeavor.This guide provides a comprehensive introduction to FPV drones, detailing the steps to construct one from the ground up, and includes a sample list of parts. We will focus on building a budget-friendly 3.5-inch drone.

What Is FPV?

FPV stands for "First Person View," a method used to control a radio-controlled vehicle from the driver or pilot's viewpoint. In the context of drones, it involves flying a quadcopter remotely while viewing live video footage from an onboard camera through goggles or a monitor. This immersive experience makes FPV flying incredibly popular in drone racing and aerial cinematography.

Why Build Your Own FPV Drone?

Building your own FPV drone isn't just about saving money; it's about customization, learning, and satisfaction. When you build your drone, you choose each component, tailoring your build to your flying style and needs. Moreover, constructing your own drone teaches you invaluable skills and gives you a deeper understanding of the mechanics and electronics involved, which is essential for troubleshooting and repairs.

Custom building allows enthusiasts to:

  • Choose each component based on specific preferences or performance requirements, creating a truly optimized machine.
  • Develop a thorough understanding of how each part functions, which simplifies troubleshooting and repairs.
  • Engage with the FPV community on a deeper level, sharing insights and custom build tips.

Components Needed for Building an FPV Drone

Here’s a breakdown of the components you will need to gather before starting your build:


The frame is the drone's skeleton. It holds all components together and protects them during crashes. Frames vary widely in size and shape, depending on their intended use (e.g., racing, freestyle, cinematic). A good beginner frame should be robust and offer ample space for mounting components.

When building an FPV drone, the first decision you typically make is choosing the right frame, as it influences every other component choice, from the size of the motors, propellers and, FC & ESC Stack to the type and capacity of the battery.

Choosing the Right Frame Size

Frames are categorized primarily by their size, typically measured diagonally from motor to motor. This size determines what type of drone you are building and its potential applications:

  • Whoop Frames: These tiny frames are usually about 2.5 to 3 inches in size and are perfect for indoor flying. They are lightweight and generally used for small, brushed motors, making them ideal for beginners and indoor racing enthusiasts.
  • Micro Frames: Ranging from about 4 inches to 7 inches, these frames are suitable for outdoor flying but are still small enough to be nimble and agile. They can accommodate both brushed and brushless motors and are great for pilots who want a balance between a whoop's indoor manageability and a larger drone's capabilities.
  • Mini Frames: Typically between 7 inches to 10 inches, mini frames are the most popular for FPV racing and freestyle flying. They provide enough space to house powerful motors and larger batteries but are still compact enough to ensure agility and speed.
  • Standard Frames: These range from 10 inches to 18 inches and are commonly used for recreational and cinematic purposes. They can carry larger and more powerful motors along with heavier payloads, such as more sophisticated cameras and additional hardware.
  • Large Frames: Anything over 18 inches falls into this category. These frames are usually used for professional-grade cinematography or specialized industrial applications. They are capable of carrying significant payloads, including high-end cameras and other equipment.

Frame Shape and Material

Frames not only vary in size but also in shape and material, affecting their performance and durability:

  • Shape: The configuration of the frame (e.g., X, H, stretched X) influences the drone's flight characteristics. For example, an X-shaped frame is well-balanced and versatile, ideal for racing and freestyle maneuvers. An H-frame might offer more space for mounting cameras and other equipment, making it better suited for videography.
  • Material: The most common materials used for FPV drone frames are carbon fiber, plastic, and sometimes aluminum. Carbon fiber is favored for its high strength-to-weight ratio, offering robustness without adding unnecessary weight. Plastic is cheaper and lighter but less durable, often used in smaller, less expensive drone models. Aluminum can sometimes be found in elements like the standoffs, but it's less common in the frame due to its weight.
Example Frame: HappyModel Crux35 3.5inch Frame - AliExpress Price: 15.29USD

Flight Controller

The flight controller, often abbreviated as FC, is essentially the brain of your FPV drone. It's responsible for interpreting the pilot's inputs and translating them into precise motor commands. The flight controller's ability to process sensor data and manage the drone's flight dynamics is critical for stable and responsive flight.

Compatibility with Your Frame

Once you've chosen your frame, the next step is to select a flight controller that fits within it. The compatibility of the FC with the frame is determined by the mounting holes' spacing. Common sizes for these mounting patterns include:

  • 30.5x30.5 mm: This is a standard size for many larger drones, providing a stable base for the FC and often additional room for integrating other components.
  • 20x20 mm: More compact and typically used in smaller drones, this mounting size is ideal for micro and mini frames where space is at a premium.
  • Whoop-size boards: Specifically designed for tiny whoop class drones, these are even smaller and integrate directly into the drone's tiny frame.
When selecting a flight controller, ensure that the mounting holes align with those on your frame. This compatibility is crucial to secure the FC properly and to avoid any unwanted movement or vibrations during flight.

Buying Flight Controllers as a Stack

Most often, flight controllers are purchased as part of an "FC/ESC stack." This setup includes both the flight controller and the electronic speed controllers (ESCs) on one or separate but matching boards. Buying them as a stack ensures compatibility and often simplifies the wiring and installation process, as these components are designed to work seamlessly together and often share the same power distribution needs. It also usually provides a cleaner setup with fewer wires and less overall bulk, which is advantageous especially in smaller builds.

All-In-One (AIO) Flight Controllers

An alternative to buying FC/ESC stack is opting for an All-In-One (AIO) flight controller. AIO flight controllers combine multiple functionalities into a single board, which typically includes the flight controller itself, the electronic speed controllers (ESCs), and sometimes additional features like an OSD (On-Screen Display), current sensor, and voltage regulator. This integration can greatly simplify the building process, reduce the overall weight, and decrease the complexity of your FPV drone.

Considerations When Choosing an AIO Flight Controller

While AIO flight controllers offer many advantages, there are some considerations to keep in mind:

  • Heat Management: Because ESCs generate heat during operation, having them integrated on the same board as the flight controller can lead to higher temperatures. It’s important to ensure that your drone has adequate cooling, especially during high-performance maneuvers or in warm environments.
  • Repairability: If one component of an AIO board fails, you might need to replace the entire board, which can be more costly compared to replacing a single component in a modular setup.
  • Customization Limitations: AIO boards may not always offer the same level of customization or upgrade options as a stack. If you anticipate wanting to upgrade individual parts of your drone in the future, a modular approach might be more suitable.

Choosing Features and Specifications

Flight controllers come with various features that can enhance your flying experience. Some key features to look for include:

  • Integrated OSD (On-Screen Display): Provides critical flight data directly on your FPV feed, such as battery voltage, timer, and altitude.
  • Support for Multiple Flight Modes: From stable, GPS-assisted flight modes to more acrobatic configurations, having multiple modes can significantly enhance your control over the drone.
  • Sensor Integration: Advanced FCs come equipped with sensors like gyroscopes, accelerometers, and sometimes barometers or magnetometers, all of which help in stabilizing and navigating the drone.
  • GPS Capability: For those interested in long-range flight or additional fail-safes like return-to-home functionality, choosing an FC with GPS capability is crucial.
Example FC & ESC: SpeedyBee F405 Mini BLS 35A 20x20 Stack - AliExpress Price 53.99USD

Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs) In Stack

Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs) are critical components of any FPV drone, responsible for controlling the speed and direction of the motors based on inputs from the flight controller. ESCs manage the flow of electrical power from the battery to the motors, and choosing the right ones is essential for efficient and safe flight.

ESC Stack vs. ESC AIO Boards vs. Individual ESCs

There are generally two ways to integrate ESCs into your drone:

  • Individual ESCs: Each motor has its own dedicated ESC, which can be mounted on the arms of the drone frame. This setup can be beneficial for repairability since a single damaged ESC can be replaced without disturbing the others. However, it may involve more complex wiring and potentially increased weight.
  • ESC Stack (4-in-1 ESC): This configuration combines all four ESCs into one compact board that usually mounts in the center of the frame, aligned with the flight controller. An ESC stack simplifies wiring, reduces overall weight, and makes for a cleaner build. Most modern builds prefer an ESC stack for these reasons, especially in racing and freestyle drones where compactness and streamlined design are priorities.
  • ESC AIO Boards: ESC AIO boards provide a high level of integration, which simplifies the building process significantly. By merging multiple components into a single board, you reduce the number of connections needed, which lowers the potential for wiring errors and connectivity issues. However as mentioned before If one component of an AIO board fails, you might need to replace the entire board. Additionally, AIO boards may not always offer the same level of customization or upgrade options as stack
  • Choosing the Right Amp Rating

When selecting ESCs, it's essential to consider the amp rating, which indicates the maximum current the ESC can handle. This choice depends on several factors:

  • Motor Requirements: The motors you choose for your build will have specific current requirements. It's crucial to select ESCs that can handle the peak current demands of these motors without overheating or failing.
  • Battery Voltage: Higher voltages will increase the current flowing through your ESCs, so make sure your ESCs are rated for the voltage of your battery setup.
  • Flight Style: High-intensity flying styles like racing or freestyle require ESCs with higher amp ratings due to the frequent high throttle bursts.
Example FC & ESC: SpeedyBee F405 Mini BLS 35A 20x20 Stack - AliExpress Price 53.99USD


When building an FPV drone, choosing the right motors is crucial as they directly impact the performance, efficiency, and handling of your drone. Here’s a guide to understanding motor sizes, power ratings (KV), and what might work best for different drone frame sizes.

Motor Size and Configuration

The size of a drone motor is typically indicated by a four-digit number – for example, 1404. These numbers reveal the motor's dimensions:

  • The first two digits represent the diameter of the motor’s stator in millimeters.
  • The last two digits describe the height of the stator in millimeters.

A larger stator means more torque, which can spin larger propellers but may result in increased power consumption and weight. A smaller motor, meanwhile, is lighter and consumes less power but might not offer as much lift or speed.

KV Rating of Motors

The KV rating of a motor refers to the number of revolutions per minute (RPM) the motor will make per volt of electricity supplied, without any load. This is an indicator of how fast the motor can spin:

  • Higher KV motors spin faster, and are suited for smaller propellers or drones where high speed and agility are needed.
  • Lower KV motors have more torque and are better for larger propellers and drones that carry heavier payloads.

Motor Recommendations for Different Drone Sizes

  • Whoop Frames (2.5 to 3 inches): These small drones perform best with high KV motors due to their light weight and smaller propellers. Motor sizes like 0802 or 1103 with a KV rating of 15000-25000 are common, providing quick responsiveness for indoor flight.
  • Micro Frames (4 to 7 inches): Micro frames balance agility and power, needing motors that offer a good midpoint. A motor size of 1404 to 1806 with KV ratings between 4000 to 6500 KV would be effective, allowing for efficient outdoor flight with a good mix of speed and control.
  • Mini Frames (7 to 10 inches): Mini frames are popular in FPV racing and require motors that provide a balance between speed and torque. Motor sizes like 2205 to 2306, with KV ratings from 2400 to 2750 KV, are ideal for ensuring performance without sacrificing too much flight time.
  • Standard Frames (10 to 18 inches): These larger frames are often used for recreational and cinematic flying, requiring powerful motors to handle heavier payloads. Motor sizes in the range of 2806 to 3210, with lower KV ratings around 800 to 1600 KV, are suitable to support larger propellers and heavier loads effectively.
  • Large Frames (over 18 inches): Used predominantly for professional cinematography or industrial applications, these frames need robust motors that can provide substantial lift. Motor sizes like 4210 or larger, with KV ratings below 800 KV, are typically used to maximize efficiency and stability under heavy payloads.
When ordering motors make sure you order them in a pack of 4 or 2 CW (Clockwise) and 2 CCW (Counter Clockwise)
Example Motor: LANNRC 1505 4PCS 3750KV - AliExpress Price: 25.20USD


Propellers play a crucial role in how your drone performs in terms of thrust, efficiency, maneuverability, and overall flight dynamics. Choosing the right propeller involves considering its size, shape, and material, which all contribute differently based on your drone's intended use and size.

Propeller Size

The size of a propeller is typically indicated in inches, and it generally corresponds to the diameter of the propeller. A larger diameter results in more thrust and potentially more lift, which is beneficial for heavier drones or those carrying payloads. However, larger propellers also consume more power. The pitch of the propeller, which is also indicated in its size description, affects how much air the propeller can move per rotation, impacting the drone's speed and efficiency.

Propeller Shapes and Material

Propeller shapes can vary, with different blade numbers (e.g., tri-blade or bi-blade) and profiles impacting performance. More blades generally mean more thrust but reduced efficiency. Material-wise, propellers are commonly made from plastic or carbon fiber, with carbon fiber offering more durability and stiffer blades, which is beneficial for precision and control at the cost of being more brittle.

  • Whoop Frames (2.5 to 3 inches): These small frames typically use propellers that are 1 to 2 inches in diameter. These tiny propellers are suited for indoor use where space is limited and maneuverability is paramount. They are generally made from plastic due to the lower risk of damage in an indoor environment.
  • Micro Frames (4 to 7 inches): For these slightly larger frames, propellers in the range of 3 to 4 inches are common. These propellers strike a balance between efficiency and thrust, suitable for outdoor flying where both performance and battery life are important.
  • Mini Frames (7 to 10 inches): Propellers for these frames usually measure between 5 to 7 inches. These sizes offer excellent thrust and agility, making them ideal for FPV racing and freestyle flying. The propellers are often tri-bladed for a good balance of responsiveness and control.
  • Standard Frames (10 to 18 inches): For these larger drones, propellers can range from 8 to 15 inches, depending on the specific application and motor capabilities. These larger propellers provide the necessary lift and stability for carrying heavier payloads, such as advanced cameras and sensors.
  • Large Frames (over 18 inches): These frames require very large propellers, usually 16 inches or more. These propellers are specifically designed to maximize lift and efficiency for heavy-duty tasks and professional-grade cinematography. Often made from high-strength materials like carbon fiber, these propellers ensure durability and performance at high loads.
When ordering propellers make sure you order them in a pack of 4 or 2 CW (Clockwise) and 2 CCW (Counter Clockwise)
Example Propellers: Emax Avan Propellers - AliExpress Pirce: 2.49USD

Video Transmitter (VTX)

When building an FPV drone, selecting the right Video Transmitter (VTX) is crucial for achieving an immersive flying experience. The VTX is responsible for wirelessly broadcasting the video captured by the FPV camera to your goggles or monitor. Here are key factors to consider when choosing a VTX: transmission power, video quality (HD vs. Analog), and compliance with local regulations.

Transmission Power (mW)

The power of a VTX, measured in milliwatts (mW), directly affects the range and clarity of the video signal:

  • 25mW is often used for indoor racing to minimize interference with other pilots and is suitable for short-range applications.
  • 200mW to 600mW provide an optimal balance for outdoor use, offering extended range without excessive power consumption.
  • 800mW or higher is ideal for long-range flights or areas with substantial environmental interference, delivering clearer video over greater distances.
Higher power settings increase battery usage and can cause more interference with other devices, so it's essential to select a power level that matches your flying environment and regulatory limits.

Frequency: 5.8GHz Standard

Most modern VTXs operate on the 5.8GHz frequency band. This band is preferred due to its balance of range and interference avoidance, making it a standard choice in both recreational and competitive FPV flying. The 5.8GHz frequency allows for multiple channels, which helps in reducing cross-interference between multiple pilots, especially during races or group flights.

HD vs. Analog Video

  • Analog VTX: Offers lower costs and very low latency, crucial for racing drones. However, it provides lower resolution video with more susceptibility to noise.
  • HD VTX: Delivers higher resolution video, greatly enhancing the visual experience for cinematic and exploration flights. Modern HD systems have improved to offer lower latency, making them more competitive with analog systems.

Additional Features to Consider

  • Channels and Frequency Bands: A VTX may support multiple channels within the 5.8GHz band, offering flexibility to avoid interference.
  • Smart Audio/Tramp: Allows for remote VTX configuration through your flight controller, enabling you to adjust settings like frequency and power directly from your transmitter's OSD.
  • Pit Mode: Enables low-power operation for safe setup and testing near other pilots without causing interference.
It’s crucial to ensure that your VTX adheres to the transmission power and frequency regulations enforced in your area. Operating a VTX with higher power than allowed can lead to legal penalties.
Example Analog VTX: RUSH TINY TANK Nano VTX 48CH 350mW Transmitter 5V Input w/ LED Expansion Board - AliExpress Price: 24.57USD

FPV Camera

The FPV camera is a pivotal component in your drone setup, as it directly affects the quality and perspective of the video feed that is streamed back to your goggles or monitor. Here are some essential factors to consider when selecting an FPV camera, including the differences between HD and analog cameras, as well as features that enhance video quality.

Analog vs. HD Cameras

  • Analog Cameras: These are the most common type of cameras used in FPV setups due to their low latency, which is crucial for racing and freestyle flying where quick reflexes are required. Analog cameras are generally less expensive and are compatible with a wide range of equipment. However, they offer lower resolution and image quality compared to HD cameras.
  • HD Cameras: These cameras provide a significantly clearer and more detailed image, which can greatly enhance the flying experience, especially for cinematic and inspection purposes where visual clarity is paramount. HD cameras used in FPV are designed to have much lower latency than traditional HD video technology, making them more suitable for faster flying styles than ever before. However, HD setups can be more expensive and may require compatible HD transmission systems to fully utilize their capabilities.

Camera Specs to Consider

  • Resolution: This determines the clarity of the video feed. Higher resolutions offer more detail, which can be especially useful for identifying obstacles or for cinematic recording.
  • Field of View (FOV): The FOV of a camera defines the extent of the observable world at any given moment. A wider FOV will give you a greater peripheral view, which can help in navigating through tight spaces or during races. Cameras typically range from about 90° to 170° FOV.
  • Sensor Type: CMOS and CCD are the two main types of sensors used in FPV cameras. CMOS cameras are more common in modern FPV setups due to their faster frame rates and good handling of varying lighting conditions. CCD cameras, while offering better quality in high-contrast scenarios, are less common due to higher cost and lower light performance.
  • Light Handling and Dynamic Range: Good light handling capabilities and a high dynamic range are critical for flying in different lighting conditions. Cameras that can quickly adapt to changes from bright sunlight to shadows are crucial for outdoor flying.
  • Latency: This is the time it takes for the camera to capture the video and display it on your screen. Lower latency is critical for all types of FPV flying, as it affects how timely you can react to obstacles or other elements of the flying environment.

Integration with Other Components

Choosing a camera also involves considering how it will integrate with your other components:

  • Compatibility with VTX: Ensure that the camera’s output is compatible with the input requirements of your Video Transmitter (VTX). Most analog cameras and VTXs use standard connections and support common video formats like NTSC or PAL. For HD Cameras you might want to buy a compatible VTX as well.
  • Size and Weight: The camera should physically fit on your drone’s frame without negatively impacting its balance or adding excessive weight.
  • Power Requirements: Check that the camera’s power requirements match what your drone’s power system can safely supply.
Example Analog Camera: 1x 1/3 CMOS 1500TVL Mini FPV Camera 2.1mm Lens - AliExpress Price: 8.75USD

Radio Receiver

The radio receiver is an essential component of your FPV drone, acting as the critical link between your commands via the transmitter and the drone’s behavior. Selecting the right receiver involves understanding compatibility, frequency, protocols, and the impact of these factors on performance and price.

Compatibility and Frequency

  • Compatibility: The receiver must be compatible with your radio transmitter. This compatibility includes not just the physical connection or interfacing but also the communication protocols they use. Make sure that the receiver you choose can communicate effectively with your transmitter.
  • Frequency: Most modern radio systems for drones operate on the 2.4 GHz frequency band. This frequency is ideal for FPV drones due to its balance of range and resistance to interference in environments where many electronic devices are present.

Communication Protocols

  • ACCST (FrSky): FrSky’s ACCST protocol is popular due to its reliability and range. It’s compatible with a wide range of receivers and offers features like telemetry, which provides real-time data from the drone back to the pilot.
  • AFHDS (FlySky): AFHDS and its upgrade, AFHDS 2A, are used by FlySky and provide a budget-friendly option with good performance. They are less commonly used in professional settings but are an excellent choice for hobbyists.
  • Crossfire (TBS): This protocol, developed by Team BlackSheep, operates on a different frequency (900 MHz) and is renowned for its long range and robust interference handling. It is favored by long-range and freestyle pilots.
  • ExpressLRS (ELRS): An open-source protocol that stands out for its ultra-low latency, high reliability, and long range. ELRS is rapidly gaining popularity among those who prioritize robust performance and customization in both racing and long-range FPV drones.
We highly recommend choosing ELRS, as it offers the latest technology compared to Fly-Sky and is more affordable than CrossFire.
Example Receiver: SpeedyBee Nano 2.4G ExpressLRS ELRS Receiver - AliExpress Price: 7.86USD

Radio Transmitter (Controller)

The radio transmitter, or controller, is your direct interface for piloting your FPV drone. It's not just a tool but an extension of the pilot's intentions, translating subtle hand movements into precise responses from the drone. When selecting a controller, consider several factors to ensure it matches your flying style and the technical requirements of your drone setup.

Key Features to Consider in a Radio Transmitter

  • Ergonomics: The feel of the transmitter in your hands is crucial, especially during long flying sessions. Controllers come in various shapes and sizes, and what feels comfortable is highly subjective. Some pilots prefer a heftier controller that feels solid, while others might opt for something lighter and more compact. Adjustable stick tension and switch placement are also important ergonomic considerations.
  • Number of Channels: The number of channels on a transmitter refers to how many different aspects of the drone's behavior you can control. Basic models typically start with four channels (throttle, yaw, pitch, and roll), but more advanced flying requires additional channels for functions like camera control, gimbal movement, and more. Most hobbyists find that anything from 6 to 12 channels suffices, though more channels offer greater flexibility.
  • Compatibility with Your Receiver: Ensure that the transmitter supports the communication protocol of your chosen receiver. This compatibility is crucial for ensuring reliable and responsive control over your drone.
    • ACCST (FrSky): FrSky’s ACCST protocol is popular due to its reliability and range. It’s compatible with a wide range of receivers and offers features like telemetry, which provides real-time data from the drone back to the pilot.
    • AFHDS (FlySky): AFHDS and its upgrade, AFHDS 2A, are used by FlySky and provide a budget-friendly option with good performance. They are less commonly used in professional settings but are an excellent choice for hobbyists.
    • Crossfire (TBS): This protocol, developed by Team BlackSheep, operates on a different frequency (900 MHz) and is renowned for its long range and robust interference handling. It is favored by long-range and freestyle pilots.
    • ExpressLRS (ELRS): An open-source protocol that stands out for its ultra-low latency, high reliability, and long range. ELRS is rapidly gaining popularity among those who prioritize robust performance and customization in both racing and long-range FPV drones.
We highly recommend choosing ELRS, as it offers the latest technology compared to Fly-Sky and is more affordable than CrossFire.
  • Transmission Power (TX Power): The power of the transmitter dictates its range. More powerful transmitters can send signals further, which is essential for long-range FPV flights. However, it's important to comply with local regulations regarding transmission power to avoid interference with other devices and legal issues.
    • 25mW: This is the lowest commonly used power setting, often used for indoor flying or in situations where regulations restrict power usage to prevent interference with other users. It's suitable for short-range flights.
    • 100mW to 200mW: A step up, this range offers increased distance and better signal penetration through obstacles without a significant increase in interference potential. This power setting is adequate for most recreational outdoor flying within visual line of sight.
    • 500mW to 1000mW (1W): Higher power settings like these are used for long-range flights or in environments with many obstacles (e.g., dense urban areas). While they provide extensive range, they also require careful handling to avoid breaching local transmission laws.
We've observed that typically, your Radio Transmitter (Controller) will outperform the VTX in terms of range. Therefore, it's important to prioritize build quality in your selection.
  • Build Quality and Reliability: A well-built transmitter can withstand the knocks and bumps associated with regular use, especially if you're flying outdoors or in rough conditions. Look for transmitters with a reputation for durability and reliable performance.
  • Additional Features: Modern transmitters offer a range of additional features that can enhance your flying experience. These may include:
    • Telemetry: This feature provides real-time data from your drone back to your transmitter, such as battery voltage, signal strength, and GPS data.
    • Switches and Dials: More switches and dials allow for finer control over additional functions and settings.
    • Customizability: Some advanced transmitters offer customizable firmware and software settings that allow pilots to tweak every aspect of their control experience.
    • Integrated Screens: Some models come with screens that display vital flight information or even live video feeds.
Example Transmitter (Controller): Radiomaster Pocket (Recommended By Reddit Users) - AliExpress Price: 63.89USD | Jumper T Lite - AliExpress Price: 59.99USD

Battery & Charger

Lithium Polymer (LiPo) batteries are the primary power source for FPV drones, providing the high energy density needed for the short, intense flights characteristic of drone racing and freestyle maneuvers. Understanding the nuances of these batteries and the associated accessories is crucial for effective drone operation.

Understanding LiPo Batteries

LiPo batteries are marked by several specifications that determine the drone's performance:

  • Voltage (S rating): LiPo batteries are made up of cells with each cell providing approximately 3.7 volts. The 'S' rating indicates the number of cells in series. For example, a 1S battery has one cell, a 2S has two, and so on. The voltage increases with the number of cells, providing more power to the motors.
  • Capacity (mAh): This indicates how much power the battery can store, measured in milliamp-hours (mAh). A higher capacity usually translates to longer flight times but also results in a heavier battery.
  • Discharge Rate (C rating): This tells you how quickly the battery can release its energy. Higher 'C' ratings are needed for drones that demand high power output for fast maneuvers and acceleration.

Choosing the Right Battery

  • Whoop Frames (2.5 to 3 inches): Typically, these use 1S to 2S batteries due to their small size and lower power requirements.
  • Micro Frames (4 to 7 inches): These frames commonly use 2S to 4S batteries, balancing power and weight for outdoor agility.
  • Mini Frames (7 to 10 inches): A 4S to 6S battery is ideal here, providing the necessary power for competitive racing and freestyle performance.
  • Standard Frames (10 to 18 inches): These larger drones often require 4S to 6S batteries, depending on their specific applications and the weight of additional equipment like cameras.
  • Large Frames (over 18 inches): Typically, these use 6S batteries or higher to efficiently handle significant payloads and extended flight times.

Connectors and Compatibility

  • XT30 and XT60 Connectors: These are the most common types of connectors for FPV drones. XT30 connectors are suitable for smaller drones that do not draw a lot of current, generally used with batteries up to 4S. XT60 connectors, offering the ability to handle higher currents, are standard for batteries from 4S up to 6S. It's essential to match the battery connector with the one pre-installed on your drone's electronic speed controller (ESC) or power distribution board to ensure compatibility and safe operation.

Charging LiPo Batteries

When it comes to charging LiPo batteries, using a charger that can balance-charge is critical for safety and maximizing battery life. Balance charging ensures that all cells in the battery are charged equally, preventing any single cell from overcharging or undercharging, which can be dangerous.

  • Charger Specifications: Ensure the charger can accommodate the types of batteries you are using based on voltage (number of cells) and capacity. Most hobby chargers handle a range of LiPo batteries from 1S to 6S.
  • Balancing Leads: These are necessary for connecting the battery to a balance charger. The charger checks and balances the voltage of each cell, critical for maintaining battery health and safety.

Choosing the right batteries and chargers, understanding their specifications, and ensuring compatibility with your drone setup are key factors in achieving optimal performance and safety in FPV drone flying.

Example 4s Battery Charger: ToolkitRC M4 Pocket - AliExpress Price: 19.93USD


FPV goggles are an essential part of the drone flying experience, providing the pilot with a first-person view from the drone's camera. The choice between different types of goggles largely depends on the pilot's preferences, budget, and the type of flying they intend to do. Here's what beginners need to know about selecting FPV goggles:

  1. Box Goggles: These goggles have a single large screen inside a box-like enclosure, which the user views through a set of lenses. Box goggles are typically less expensive and can offer a large field of view. Their size and shape provide ample room inside for those who wear glasses. However, they are bulkier and heavier compared to other types.
  2. Binocular Goggles: These are more compact and feature two small screens (one for each eye), providing a more immersive experience. They tend to be lighter and more comfortable during long flights. Binocular goggles can range from moderately priced to very high-end models featuring HD displays and extensive adjustability options.

Analog vs. Digital Systems

  • Analog Goggles: These are the traditional choice for FPV systems. Analog video transmitters and receivers are generally less expensive and have extremely low latency, which is crucial for racing drones. However, the video quality is lower than digital systems, typically capped at standard definition.
  • Digital Goggles: A more recent development in FPV technology, digital systems offer significantly higher video quality, often comparable to HD television. They also provide a more stable video connection. However, digital goggles and systems tend to be more expensive and can have slightly higher latency than analog systems.

Compatibility with Video Transmitter (VTX)

When choosing FPV goggles, one of the most crucial considerations is ensuring compatibility with your drone's Video Transmitter (VTX). The compatibility affects not only the type of video feed you can receive but also impacts the overall quality and reliability of the video link during flight. Here are the main points to consider:

Frequency Bands

  • Ensure that your goggles support the frequency bands used by your VTX. Common frequency bands for analog systems include 5.8GHz and 2.4GHz. For digital systems, specific frequency ranges are allocated by manufacturers (e.g., DJI's 5.8GHz frequency range).
  • Additionally, check if your goggles support Raceband or other frequency band adjustments commonly used in FPV racing events.

Channel Selection

  • Analog VTXs typically offer multiple channels and bands for transmitting video signals. Your goggles should be capable of tuning into these channels to receive the video feed from your drone.
  • Digital systems may have specific channel and frequency requirements set by the manufacturer. Ensure that your goggles support the channels used by your digital VTX.
Consider the future compatibility and upgrade paths when choosing goggles. If you plan to transition from analog to digital FPV or upgrade to a different VTX system in the future, ensure that your goggles support these changes without the need for significant additional investment.

Key Features to Consider

  • Resolution: Higher resolution goggles provide a clearer and more detailed image. For digital systems, look for at least 720p, while for analog, check the highest TVL (television lines) you can afford.
  • Field of View (FOV): This determines the extent of the world that you can see at a glance through the goggles. A wider FOV provides a more immersive experience but can sometimes result in a "fisheye" effect, which some pilots find disorienting.
  • IPD Adjustment (Interpupillary Distance): This feature allows you to adjust the distance between the center of the lenses to match the distance between your eyes for maximum comfort and clarity.
  • DVR Recording Options: Some goggles have inputs for external devices or the ability to record video directly to an SD card. This can be useful for reviewing flights or sharing footage.
Example Goggles: BETAFPV VR03 FPV - AliExpress Price: 62.29USD

Additional Hardware (Optional)

Depending on your build, you might need additional hardware such as a GPS module, LED lights, or a buzzer for finding your drone if it crashes. Tools like a soldering iron, heat shrink tubing, and precision screwdrivers are also necessary for assembly.

Building Your FPV Drone

  1. Assemble the Frame: Start by assembling your frame according to its manual. Ensure everything fits snugly and is secured.
  2. Install the Motors: Attach your motors to the frame, ensuring the wires are long enough to reach your ESCs.
  3. Mount the ESCs: If using an ESC stack, mount it centrally on the frame.
  4. Wire the Motors to ESCs: Solder the motor wires to the ESCs carefully, ensuring solid joints and electrical insulation.
  5. Install the Flight Controller: Mount the flight controller on the frame, connect it to the ESCs, and any other peripherals like the radio receiver.
  6. Set Up the FPV System: Install the camera securely in the designated spot on the frame, mount the VTX, and connect them. Ensure the antenna is properly mounted to avoid damage.
  7. Connect the Radio Receiver: Solder the connections from the receiver to the flight controller.
  8. Final Checks and Setup: Before attaching the propellers, do a thorough check of all connections. Use the controller to configure the flight controller's settings in BetaFlight.
  9. Test Flight: Conduct a controlled test flight to ensure everything is working correctly. Adjust settings and components as necessary.


Building your own FPV drone can be a challenging yet highly rewarding project. Each component plays a crucial role in the performance and capabilities of your drone, and understanding these can greatly enhance your piloting and troubleshooting skills. With patience and practice, you'll not only enjoy the immersive experience of FPV flying but also gain the satisfaction of having built your own custom drone from scratch. Happy flying!