build qav250

Buy Your First Drone: QAV250

In Basics, Build, Review by FlightClub42 Comments

Buying Your First Drone

You want to get into flying FPV drones or quadcopters.  You don’t know where to start.  You get on YouTube and watch FPV videos.  You see the super talented Lumenier pilots (Charpu, Juz) doing some crazy things flying in awesome locations.  Google QAV250, end up at GetFPV, not sure what to buy so you get everything recommended by GetFPV for the QAV250.  This is where most beginners mess up.

That was me when I first started looking into buying a drone.  I knew nothing about FPV drones but wanted to fly as soon as possible.  Just buy whatever the pros are flying and the parts GetFPV recommend.  If they recommend it, it’s gotta work and be good right?

tmotor vs lumenier

Lumenier 1806 vs T-motor 1806

Here’s the truth, they want you to buy the Lumenier branded parts cause they make a lot of money off them.  They are pretty much rebranded parts.  For example, the Lumenier FXC1806 2300KV are rebranded T-motor 1806 2300kv motors.  Look at the specs, they are exactly the same.  Only difference is the Lumenier is $35 whereas the T-motor is $25.

Don’t get me wrong, the parts they recommend will work together and flies good.  BUT there is a better way!

Disclaimer: I have nothing against GetFPV or Lumenier.  I just want to prevent others from making the same mistake I made.

First educate yourself and learn the basics of an FPV quadcopter.  I wish I learned all this before I started buying parts.  It will save you a lot of money and have a much better FPV quad.

Let’s take a look at a breakdown of the parts GetFPV recommends vs a custom built drone.

 GetFPVCustom
FrameQAV250 $150QAV250 $150
4 MotorsFXC1806 2300KV $140Cobra 2204 2300kv $84
ESC12A $68BL20A $52
Flight ControlerCC3D $35Naze32 $25
Battery1300mAh 3s 35C $17Tattu 1300mAh 3s 75c $25
4 Props5x3 Carbon Fiber $52 Gemfan 5040 $6
ReceiverFrSky D4R-ii $25FrSky D4R-ii $25
TransmitterTaranis X9D* $225Taranis X9D $200
Total Base QAV250$712$555.50
OSDNONEOSDoge $70
LC FilterLC Filter $16Built in OSDoge
CameraSony CS-600 $50Sony 600TVL $35
Video TransmitterImmersionRC 600mw $70
ImmersionRC 600mw $70
AntennaIBCrazy Bluebeam $65Spironet Antenna $40
Total with FPV$913$770.5

* This Taranis X9D comes with the X8R receiver.  You can use it but this RX is huge compared to the D4R-ii.

The total does not include the monitor/goggle.  There are so many different options you can go with this we’ll leave it out of this comparison.  (A budget option would be a LCD monitor.  If you have cash to spare, a pair of FatShark Dominator SE‘s would be sweet.)  The total recommended by GetFPV is $913 vs $783 for the custom built option.  The difference is $154.  That’s a pretty big saving.  Let’s take a deeper look at what you get with the custom option.

Pros of a custom built QAV250 vs the recommended GetFPV QAV250

  • Motors – Low profile 2204 Cobra or SunnySky motors.  The Lumenier 1806 motors have a taller profile so they are much more susceptible to getting damaged in crashes.  Bent motor shafts can be replaced (even though it’s a pain in the ass) but if you bend the motor casing, forget it.  It’s not worth the trouble trying to fix it.  Cobra 2204 2300kv with 5040 props will blow any 1806 motor away.  Not even in the same class in terms of flight performance.
  • ESC – BL20A vs Lumenier 12A.  Both support OneShot and Active Braking/Damped Light, but the Lumenier still runs SimonK, which is pretty old school.  BL20A uses BlHeli (easy to program) and is more powerful at 20A.  This is very important when your flying skills improve and want to move to bigger props and more powerful motors such as the Cobra 2208 2000kv motors.  BL20A are lighter also, 2 grams each.  The Lumenier 12A can’t handle 6″ props on 4s.  I know.  I smoked two flying 4s.
  • Flight Controller – Naze32 tested and proven to work well with CleanFlight.  Easier to tune, has built in voltage monitoring and a buzzer output.  Even Lumenier team pilot Charpu switched from the CC3D to the Naze32.
  • Battery 45c vs 35c
  • Props, this one is a toss up.  Carbon fiber props are awesome.  But if you are a beginner, do not get CF props.  It can get very expensive very fast because you will break a lot of props.  For the price of one set of CF props, you can but 13 sets of 5040 props.
  • OSDoge – Even though this is optional, I highly recommend this.  All my quads, except for the Vortex, uses this.  OSDoge’s main function is displaying on screen display in your goggles/monitor but it has many other useful functions.  The OSDoge has a built in LC filter for the FPV part, shows you battery voltage, current flight mode, RSSI (radio signal strength indicator), flight timer and you can tune your PIDs right from the OSD (on screen display) with your transmitter.  Tuning PIDs is a pain in the ass and takes forever without this.  It stacks perfectly with the Naze32 and reduces FPV wires giving you a super clean build.

So with a custom build QAV250 you get OSD, better motors, more powerful ESC’s, better flight controller and save $142.  It’s a no brainer to me.  Take it from someone who is building a 2nd QAV250, this is the way to go.

I know custom build might sound intimidating to a beginner but it’s built pretty much the same way as the GetFPV recommended way.  Actually with the OSDoge it’s easier and cleaner.  Check back soon for the build.  I will show you step by step how to build this little drone beast in part 2.

 

 

Comments

  1. Kyle

    This is extremely useful for first time drone buyers, way to make sure nothing is left out.

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      I wish someone told me this before I bought my first quad 🙂

       
    2. Jakub

      Also extremely expensive for new buyers, you can do a 1st build for much less than $~1k or even $770. I’m talking ~$300 all in for a non-fpv setup. YOu could add fpv for another ~$200 tops (includes headset/goggles!)

       
      1. Author
        FlightClub

        Yes you are correct. You can build a quad for much less. But if you look at the components used in this build it’s all top quality. People who buy QAV250s are people looking for the best. I could do a post on building a budget quad but I wouldn’t feel comfortable recommending such products. I’ve used them and they are…let’s just say less than satisfactory. I’d rather spend a little more buying once than spending less and buying over and over.

         
  2. Chris

    your website is awesome and your builds are top notch ..I have a kick ass shopping cart …lol.. thanks again

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      Hi Roy, yes I will sell custom built quads like this one. But first I need to finish part 2 of this build :p

       
  3. Cory

    When do you expect to have part 2 ready for viewing? By the way, awesome work.

     
  4. Troy

    Just to be clear, if I use the BL20A this will handle 4s?
    Thanks so much for this…I have been researching this for months and someone finally gave me a decent shopping list and complete assessment. You the man.

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      Yes sir! These BL20A ESCs can handle 4s on 6 inch props.

       
  5. Steve S.

    Really really nice job!!! You’ve done ALOT of research and have basically done all of the work. It is really nice of you to just put this out there.

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      Thanks Steve! I’m just trying to prevent people from making the same mistakes I made 🙂

       
  6. Shyney

    First of all I want to say that I love your how to build Videos! Its very good explained and you make such professional clean builds its a pleasure to watch!
    I have a Question about your Module that you use with your Taranis. Wich Module do you use with your Taranis to bind with the D4R-II Receiver? Is it the FrSky DJT Module?

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      The Taranis doesn’t need any additional parts or modules to bind with the D4R-ii. Just follow the instructions in the video and it will bind.

       
  7. Cameron Crandall

    Would this work with a bigger turnigy 8ch receiver or would I run out of space?

     
  8. abraham

    can you build with spectrum dx9 receiver ? the qav250flightclub? the same price or less ?

     
  9. Ankur

    I’m going to start a new 150mm build soon. Not using an osd. Just a Naze32, DYS BLHeli 20 amp opto esc’s, and a PDB with 5 volt regulated BEC. When I connect the esc’s to the Naze32, do I need to connect the esc ground AND signal wires? Can I just connect the signal wires only?

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      no you don’t need 4 extra grounds going to the naze. you can cut them off.

       
  10. Pablo Contreras

    Hey, I heard the QAV250 isn’t big enough to hold a GoPro? Is this true? I would rather use my Hero3 instead of having to buy another action cam. Thanks

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      who told you the QAV250 can’t hold a GoPro? It’s the most used camera used for filming on QAV250’s and QAV210s.

       
      1. Pablo Contreras

        Oh okay, it must’ve been a mistake. Maybe I’m thinking of the QAV180? But that should hold a GoPro as well right? Would you guys say that the QAV250 is more stable and less twitchy than the QAV180 and hence a better beginner build?

         
        1. Author
          FlightClub

          yes a bigger quad will be more stable. I would recommend the QAV210 for your first quad. It’s much easier to build than the QAV250 because the PDB and ESCs are on the same side as the frame.

           
          1. Pablo Contreras

            Oh okay great, I will look into the 210 then. I’m looking to buy everything off of here because of your great tutorial videos. Build aside though, would you still recommend 210 instead of 250? I’m expecting the build to take me a couple days and with your guides I would think that the added difficulty of the 250 wouldn’t be as bad… Thoughts? Once I have the Taranis and the Fatsharks any builds after the fact will be way cheaper but I still want to ensure that my first build is a great performer. I have been flying line of sight for a while and can fly with no stability. Also been practicing on Liftoff FPV. Thanks for the advice and prompt responses, once again amazing site you put together. Cheers

             
          2. Author
            FlightClub

            I still like the 210 better

             
  11. Joshua

    Do you happen to give out the .stl files for your 3d printed parts? I 3d print as well, but I understand if you don’t release them so that you can get compensation for all your hard work.

     
    1. Author
      FlightClub

      no we don’t. we have before and people started selling our designs. sorry

       
  12. Walter

    Do you you have a pre-flight check list you go over? I noticed in your videos that you also advise to always have your tx antenna connected if not it smokes up the rx.

    I am new to the hobby and I am doing my research.

     
  13. Stefan

    Hello I built a QAV250 just like the one you built on how to build a QAV250 the correct way and my back number for motor when I hit the throttle it moved a little then it stopped it did that twice. So I think motor still good don’t know. and then all of a sudden there’s no more power at all to that one motor everything else seems to be working fine The ESC looks good all connections please help thank you

     

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