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Ultimate Freestyle Mini Quad Drone Build October 2017

This is our ultimate guide to every part you need if you want to build the best quad possible in 2017.

Motors: MultiCopter Builders Primo

Multicopter Builders have been in the miniquad scene for a while now, and back in early 2015 we built Epic 280 from them. Now they have started commissioning their own motors from brotherhobby and they have produced this 2207 beast. They weigh a respectable 30g, and produce some of the highest thrust numbers we have seen yet. On a kingkong 6×4 they produce over 1731g, at the cost of 40A at full throttle. We expect the higher 2650kV variant to hit over 1800g, however this will of course come in at again a higher amp draw. They are also an excellent choice for 5S or even 6S setups, as the taller stator will help with heat dissipation.

Thrust data available here.

Buy Here

ESC:Wraith32 Plus

BLHeli_32 is the latest development of BLHeli and provides an upgrade over the older BLHeli_S. The biggest upgrade is a faster, 32 bit processor. This means the ESC can easily run up to DShot32. Indeed there are other features such as current and voltage limiting; current limiting has only been a feature of KISS ESCs before. All this makes the Wraith32 Plus the best option for those after the best performance. Be sure to check out the regular Wraith32 if you are not going to be pulling huge current.

Buy Here


FC:BF F3

The Betaflight F3 offers the pinnacle of flight controller performance. It has all the features you need but none too many. Designed by the great Boris B himself, he made sure to include all the import features we all enjoy. Such as integrated PDB, beta flight compatible OSD, current sensor and MicroSD card slot for blackbox logging. As well as all the usual features that we are used to. This was all made possible thanks to a 6 layer PCB, enabling the power pads for the ESCs to be placed on the bottom of the PCB. This leaves the top for motor signal wires and UARTs, making wiring easier than ever.

US Buy Here

International Buy Here

Frame:Armattan Chameleon

The Armattan Chameleon offers the pinnacle of frame design and manufacture in 2017. The frame centres around a 6061 aluminium camera holder for 25mm board cameras. On top of the board camera mount lies a carbon plate for mounting a GoPro, an essential for any freestyle oriented frame. The rear of the frame features again an aluminium plate for mounting your SMA out of.  These two aluminium plates also acts as spacers for the bottom and top plate, this should save weight and possibly make the frame even stronger. The whole frame itself is only 20mm high, ensuring a lower centre of gravity and smaller moment of inertia. It is worth noting that the bottom plate is a unibody design, thus if you break a plate you can’t simply swap in an arm at the field. However Armattan are so confident in their design, they are offering a lifetime warranty on the frame.


Battery:Tattu R Line

Tattu, as well as its sister company Gens Ace, produce high quality lipos for not only for our application of miniquads but also for large hover ships used for Aerial Photography. These batteries are available in a wider range of capacities than most brands and cell counts, from 3s to 6s (for those of you who are crazy), and 1000 to 2200mAh. Most people think that these batteries perform well, especially the 75C rated packs. However like most high end packs these don’t come cheap, with a 1300mAh 4S 75C coming in at €35.99!

US Buy Here

VTx:TBS Unify Pro

As per usual TBS have managed to create the best of the best in the miniquad hobby. The TBS Unify, though expensive has proven itself highly capable since it first came out. Its main features include: SmartAudio V2 – allows you to connect the VTX to your FC, and change VTX settings with your radio TX and OSD as well as Selectable output power between 25mW, 200mW, 500mW and 800Mw. Finally a small point, but the SMA pigtail is attached with U.FL connector allowing easy replacement as well as ensuring that the VTX isn’t ruined in a bad crash. It should be noted there are different versions of Unify Pro:

  • V2 ($40) – Output power 25mW to 800mW, but only accepts 5V input strictly
  • HV ($50) – Output power 25mW to 800mW, and accepts 2S-6S LiPo input (up to 25.2V)
  • Race ($30) – Output power 25mW to 200Mw (for race regulations), and accepts 2S-6S LiPo input (up to 25.2V)

US Buy Here

Camera: Runcam Swift 2

The Swift 2 is the best camera out on the market currently. It’s built around the classic Sony Super HAD II sensor, but with a number of improvements. Firstly, it comes with an inbuilt OSD that can be connected to your PDB to display the voltage onscreen; this means there’s no need for a separate OSD if all you want is your battery voltage onscreen. In addition it comes with an inbuilt mic for all of you who want to listen to your quad in the air. Finally, it’s able to support 5-36V range so you can power it directly off your battery or optionally off 5V. All in all, the Swift 2 offers the best performance on the market today.

US Buy Here

International Buy Here

Goggles: Fatshark HD3 V3

The HD3 is one of the most powerful, versatile and portable FPV goggle solutions on the market today… but it is also the most expensive!!! It is often the top choice of many professional drone pilots but maybe not the best. It’s new features include twin displays which offer an SVGA 800×600 resolution in a 16:9 format, matching the aspect ratio of HD systems. The field of view on the HD3 has been adjusted to 42 degrees to maintain a large-screen experience whilst delivering a sharp picture for OSD readability. However, it still does not come with diversity out of the box which for many is more important than an optional head tracking module. All in All we just feel that rather than innovating Fatshark is just tweaking its existing line up and continually increasing the price.

US Buy Here

Transmitter:Taranis X9D+ Special Edition

This was pretty obvious wasn’t it. The Taranis has been well known since the start of the miniquad crazy to be the most capable radio for the least cost. Everyone at Drone Insider uses the Taranis 9XD, and we all love it. Its telemetry features are second to none, and the OpenTX firmware is limitless if you are willing to put in time to learn the intricacies of the programming. Perhaps the greatest advantage in our opinion is the availability of cheap receivers, for only $25 you can get a full range SBus capable receiver that weighs only 4g. A futaba equivalent would be 3x this price. Finally, the protocol FrSky use is bullet proof, and only a physical defect or the wrong antenna would ruin your radio link. FrSky have updated the Taranis with a new “SE” version that features a custom case which you can choose as well as upgraded hall effect gimbals, among a few other upgrades.

Taranis X9D+ “Special Edition” US Buy Here

Taranis X9D+ “Special Edition” International Buy Here

Receiver: FrSky R-XSR

The R-XSR is the latest receiver released by FrSky, and in our opinion, their best yet. The R-XSR keeps all the features of the XSR such as diversity antennas and full telemetry, yet it is significantly smaller than its brother the XSR. Unfortunately it still uses a connector, meaning if you break the connector you’ll have to replace it, which can be very difficult given the number of different types of connectors out there. At 1.5g it’s lighter than the XM+, but not quite as light as the XM receiver.

US Buy Here

International Buy Here

Charger:iCharger Duo 202

This is the best it gets when it comes to lipo chargers. The iCharger 4010 has a whole of features essential if you are big into this hobby. Firstly it has a dual output, so it is possible to charge 2 different batteries at once. Although we doubt you will be charging only 2 batteries with this machine! This charger does not take safety light. Indeed, it has automatic temperature cut offs for both internal and external thermometers, as well a cell count check feature to ensure the number of cells matches the charge cycle selected. The power capability of this machine is tremendous, it can push over 70A at 2000W. The iCharger 4010 Duo is not cheap, but you get what you pay for; and it is a must have if you are a professional or just really keen!

US Buy Here

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2 comments

  1. Pretty good selection of components.

    The only one I’d really quibble about is the flight controller. Why build a fairly best-in-class quad today with an F3 board? I’d go with an F4 board, one with a 32K capable gyro. I’d want the extra CPU of the F4 to run the higher 32/16 loops and also the Betaflight 3.2 dynamic filtering.

    For the motors, maybe just go with the real thing and use Brotherhobby 2306 2450KV Deadpool. For freestyle, I would want lower KV motors, since we’re after torque, not massive top-end power (like for racing).

    It also seems a little redundant to have the Swift 2 with an OSD, and a flight controller with the full Betaflight OSD. Using a RunCam Split, if it can fit, would give HD recording without needing to strap a Go Pro on it.

    • Zzyxx, firstly, the beta flight f3 board is just so rock solid. It has never failed on me, and I am sure drone insider feel the same. Something else that is interesting is that high KV motors don’t actually have less torquier the usual KV’s for mini quad motors. And for freestyle, you do not want any latency, so the run cam split in my opinion is a no go, especially for a 5 inch quad. And lastly, the run cam is probably the best fpv camera out on the market today, but it has no current sensor, and now that I have a current sensor on my quad, my batteries have lasted so much longer

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