The Ultimate Miniquad “Getting Started” Guide
So you’ve just seen the latest Charpu video online, have some money saved up, and want to get into the hobby. Or you got a toy quadcopter for your birthday, have flown the piss out of it, and want to move on to something bigger, faster and more exciting. Or you’ve been in the hobby for awhile and are about to build a new quadcopter. This is the page for you.
As we’re sure you already know (or are soon to find out), there is a lot of things you will have to learn to move up to the “big boy” quadcopters. When we got into the hobby, we were quite frankly flabbergasted by the lack of cohesive knowledge regarding building and flying miniquads. Don’t get us wrong, all of the information you will ever need to know is out there. It’s just spread out across several public forums, hundreds of blog posts and tons of YouTube videos. If you don’t know what you are looking for, you are in for a painful ride.
Our goal with this site is to organize all that. Bring the best information we found from all over the Internet together into one cohesive guide that will get you through the entire process of learning to fly, researching and buying parts, building your quadcopter and finally flying it. Where there were gaps, we filled it. Our articles also serve as extensions of this guide, providing even more references to valuable blogs, videos and forums you can go to to do more research.
The goal of the drone racing guide is to:
- Provide a neatly-organized directory of articles and videos that can get a newbie with absolutely no experience in the hobby flying.
- Keep this directory up to date so that the miniquad you build will have the most up to date hardware and software, meaning you spend less money making the same purchasing mistakes we, and most others in the hobby have.
Having said that, let’s get into it.
If you are totally new to the hobby, we highly suggest you start from section (1) below and read everything linked in (1) and (2). It could save you a ton of money or prevent you from chopping a finger off or burning down your house.
If you’re not new to model aircraft, you can probably skip around a bit. A few portions of section (1) and (2) are still a good idea to read. Other than that, skip to section (4).
If you’re an experienced miniquad pilot and are visiting this page to use as a reference for building a new miniquad just skip to section (5).
Section 1: Radio Control, FPV, and miniquad basics (learn to fly)
This section documents the basics on drones / quadcopters / multicopters / etc. This is a great place to start if you want to learn the basics, refresh on terminology, or want to start training without actually buying anything too expensive.
- Types of drones – toys, racers, and more!
- What you need to know before getting into the hobby
- Anatomy of an FPV miniquad
- Starting FPV Racing FAQ
- Common terms and acronyms in the hobby
- FPV Racing Simulators: the ultimate list of FPV simulators!
- Learning to fly using a micro quad – the ultimate beginners guide to flying.
Section 2: Advanced Learning & Research
So you’ve decided you want to build a quadcopter. The articles in this section will help you understand what decisions you need to make before buying parts, what the parts do, how to pick the best one, and where to buy it from. It also touches on some of the legal issues in the hobby as well as some important safety topics you should be aware of.
- Decisions you will need to make before purchasing anything..
- Buying your gear
- Everything you need to know about antennas
- What to look for when selecting miniquad components..
- Buying options: build from Kit vs RTF vs parts
- Where to buy stuff
- Do you need to register your drone with the FAA?
- Is flying FPV legal where you live?
- Do you need an amateur radio operators (HAM) license?
- Bringing your quadcopter with you while traveling
Section 3: Community
This section will cover the community and hopefully help you find other like minded individuals interested in flying!
- Quadcopter YouTube channels to check out
- Active miniquad blogs and community sites
- Propwashed.com (this site!)
- Multicopter subreddit – Great resource for information, entertainment, and information on quadcopters
- OscarLiang.net – resource for technical topics mainly covering quadcopters
- FliteTest – Build videos, reviews, and details on all things RC aircraft (not just focused on quadcopters)
- Active online forums for miniquads
- Drone racing
Section 4: Equipment and Tools
Having the right tools available will make your life a lot easier when it comes to building your quad. In this section, we go over all of the one-time-purchase equipment you will need. We also discuss nice-to-haves and explain why you may want to buy them. Finally, we link some tutorials for some of the common things you may want to do with this equipment.
- Purchasing Tools
- Using your tools
- Advanced video receivers (diversity / ground stations / etc)
- 3D printing and quadcopters
Section 5: Building your miniquad
So you have all your equipment and parts and you’re ready to build your miniquad. This section covers the basics of miniquad assembly.
- How to build a racing drone
- Software Setup Guide
- Configuring your RC Transmitter (Taranis/Spektrum/FlySky)
- Flashing firmware
- Configuring BLHeli ESCs
- Configuring Betaflight
- Advanced software setup tips (filters, srates, etc)
- Blackbox Logging
- Advanced components:
- Getting your first tune with in-flight adjustments
- Basic guide Link (Oscarliang)
- Advanced guide Link (iflyquad) Link (Joshua Bardwell)
- Building tips
Section 6: Flying
- Beginner tips for becoming a better pilot
- Getting into rate mode
- Moving from intermediate advanced flying.
- Getting into racing
- Practicing for racing
- Setting up a course at home
- Gear you need for racing
- Organizing your first drone race: a complete guide to drone race event management!
Do you have any links that you think would fit well into the framework above? We are always willing to link to good content, send us an e-mail: