I have been asked many time to recommend a cheap setup for mini quad, so here it is! This cheap 250 mini quad setup is great for someone who just starting in this hobby. It’s purely based on the parts available on this 250 quadcopter parts list. I have personally tried most of these parts, and they were giving me good results. It’s totally fine to replace any parts you want in your custom build.
This post is outdated, please check out the new recommendation here: How to build a cheap mini quad guide.
Rough Estimation of the Cost Building a Mini Quad
It’s not going to be the best 250 mini quad build in terms of performance, but it’s definitely one of the most affordable setups that flies relatively well. It’s a great training platform for beginners, who just want to learn how to build a quadcopter and to fly.
You’ll need a frame, motors, ESCs, flight controller, FPV camera, many propellers, video transmitter and receiver, goggles or monitor display, radio receiver and transmitter, batteries and a charger. Other accessories including zip ties and heatshrink tubes etc.
To start out in this hobby it’s recomended to get a $40 little Ready to Fly micro quadcopter, some even comes with FPV capability. Here is some tips in selecting a good first quadcopter.
This a very rough estimation of the cost, depends on your choice the cost will vary.
- Frame $10 – $170 (ZMR250 – $30)
- ESC x 4 $32 – $110 (Blue Series 12A – $32, flash BLHeli and enable Oneshot they perform awesomely! OR Afro Ultra Lite 12A – $40 comes with SimonK)
- Motors x4 $35 – $100 (DYS 1806 – $40 OR EMax MT1806 – $60, but if you can upgrade to Cobra motors for $84, 2300kv for 3S, 1960kv for 4S)
- Flight controller $20 – $100 (CC3D – $15 OR Naze32 Acro – $25, Recommend Cleanflight)
- Propellers (x4) $3.5 – $15 (Gemfan 5030 – $3.5, or even 5040 for a more speed and thrust. 12A ESC should handle 5040 just fine.)
- Lipo Battery (x1) $10 – $20 (Turnigy nano Tech 3S 1300mah – $11, dont’ rush buying too many packs of lipo. Practice and learn how to fly first. Later on if you want to go up to 4S, go for it. Or if you decide to stay on 3S, then get some more batteries. I talked about the differences between 3S and 4S setups.)
- Video transmitter/receiver $50 – $130 (ImmersionRC VS Boscam 600mW are both good choices for mini quad, personally I think ImmersionRC gives you a bit more reliability, and Boscam is a bit more flexible since it offers 32ch)
- FPV monitor/ Goggle $30 – $600 (Hobbyking DIY Goggle Set – $30)
- FPV camera $30 – $50 (Sony Super HAD 600TVL – $30)
- Recording camera (mobius or gopro) $70 – $400 (Mobius wide angle – $70)
- Radio transmitter/receiver $60 – $200 (Turnigy 9X – $60, if you got budget, go for the Frsky Taranis! You won’t need to upgrade again for many years :) )
- LiPo charger $30 – $70
- Other accessory (solder station, wires, battery plugs, zip tie, heatshrinks etc) $50 – $150
Not sure if i have missed anything there, so from as low as $450 you should be able to build a mini quad that is capable of doing FPV. But that’s of the lowest spec. The initial expenses such as radio controller/receiver, charger and batteries make starting out expensive, but they are long term investment. When you build a second multicopter you will find it a lot cheaper as you already have the parts and tools.
For custom build quadcopters, there are rarely 2 exact same setup around. Everybody adds their own modifications, components and settings therefore everyone is different. So feel free to use different brands or models for the parts in your build.