Quadcopter Tips and Tricks on Building, Maintenance and Flying

Here are a ton of tips and tricks on building, maintaining and flying mini quad (aka FPV racing drones). Some of which also apply to RC models in general.

Quadcopter Building Tips

Quadcopter Maintaining Tips

  • How to repair RX (radio receiver) antennas – don’t panic when you damage your RX antennas, fixing/replacing them is easier than you think
  • How to remove stripped aluminium screws – aluminium screws can strip and become impossible to remove, here I will show you how I tackle that
  • Protect your LiPo batteries from physical damage – An excellent way to protect our LiPo batteries is to cover them with protection such as rubber heatshrink and PVC corners
  • Keeping LiPo balance leads out of the way – or they can get damaged by spinning propellers in the air – simply use a rubber band
  • Don’t throw away broken 4in1 ESC, replace and solder a single ESC off the power and ground and signal wire, you might be able to keep flying with that

Quadcopter Flying Tips

Other Little Tips That Help Your Flying and Building

Use all 4 motor screws!

I see people often use only 2 or 3 bolts mounting their motors on the arm. But it’s best to use all 4 motor screws whenever possible, unless you are really striving for light weight. Motors make vibrations and your screws can get loose over time. Having 4 screws minimizes the chance of losing your motor mid air.

ESC / Motor Wires Protector

Your propellers are flexible plastic, and they can bend (aka prop deflection) and strike your ESC or motor wires mounted on the arms in a crash. To avoid this, simply put a piece of stiff plastic sheet on top of the arms. You can get the material from broken propellers, or water bottles.

Cover Electronics with Tape when Soldering

You can accidentally drop solder on components when soldering and destroy it! Cover it with tape so it won’t happen! I prefer to use masking tape, kaptain tape also works.

How to Mount Vibration Dampers – The easiest way!

DIY GoPro/XiaomiYi Camera protective Case

Best camera mounts are usually 3D printed in TPU, but no 3D printer? No worries, you can make one out of foam.

I love recycle motor foam packaging (this one is from Cobra 2204 motor ). Cut some holes big enough for the USB connection, SD card, and the record button.

diy-gopro-protection-case-foam diy-gopro-protection-case-foam-motor-packaging

Put an extra piece of foam to cover the LCD screen as well. And it also works well reducing jello as the foam absorb some vibration.

diy-gopro-camera-protection-case-foam-fit diy-gopro-camera-protection-case-foam-mini-quad-quadcopter-drone

Use Antenna extension lead to protect your VTX

If you install the antenna directly on the VTX, chances are you can break it in a crash, pulling the antenna connector off along with the solder pads on the PCB. The damage is irreversible, and very difficult to fix. Try find the copper trace and scrape off the mask as shown here.

ripped-solder-pads-antenna-holder-video-transmitter-vtx

To prevent this from happening, I recommend using an antenna extension lead between the VTX and antenna. You can mount the extension lead on the frame so that it relives the strain off the VTX connector in a crash.

arris-x-speed-250-build-video-transmitter-vtx-antenna-extension-lead-moun

vtx-antenna-extension-lead-video-transmitter

Edit History

  • Aug 2015 – Article Created
  • Jun 2017 – Article updated with 8 more tips
  • Oct 2018 – Updated with a few more tips
  • July 2019 – Added a few more tips, removed a few obsolete ones

6 thoughts on “Quadcopter Tips and Tricks on Building, Maintenance and Flying

  1. Vesa Lamminranta

    I have strange problem with two different kind of cc3d another is cc3d atom.
    Both have same problem They are not doing anything to motors 5 and 6 when Iam doing a hexa copter. Same controllers work with same hexa copter with normal open pilot firmware.
    But now Whats wrong with 5&6. if I change motors to differen places they work

    Reply
  2. Nihal

    Hi

    I’ve ordered my ZMR250 V2 frame with PDB V1.03 and as this is my first quad and first build, I like a few advice.

     

    I would like to know if you have the layout or manual for the PDB board. As I’m going to fly with 3S 2200mah lipo, could you give me some basic advice on this build?

    Also I want to know if the 5v and the 12v on the PDB will have power from the lipo battery.

    Much appreciated for your kind assistance.

     

    The following is my setup. ( Please advise if something is wrong )

     

    DYS BE1806 2300KV Brushless Motor

    DYS XM Seris XM20A BLHeli mini 20A ESC V1

    SP Racing F3 Flight Controller Deluxe

    Micro minimosd

    LC FILTER (3AMP 2-4S)

    Ultrasonic Module HC-SR04

    HD 700TVL Sony CCD

    ImmersionRC 600mW 5.8GHz AV Transmitter

    Skyzone 5.8GHz RHCP 4 Leaf FPV Antenna

    OrangeRx SF400S Futaba FHSS Compatible 4ch 2.4Ghz Receiver with FS and Sbus

    Turnigy High Density R/C LED Flexible Strip-Green 12v

     Turnigy High Density R/C LED Flexible Strip-Red 12v

     GemFan 5″ 5045 BULLNOSE CW CCW

     FatShark Dominator HD2 3D FPV Goggle Headset

     Futaba T8J Radio

    Reply
  3. Murray

    Each SMA connector introduces approx. 3dB of loss. It would be better to solder the extension right to the VTX.

    Reply
  4. Alex Gorbatchev

    Thanks for posting these tips, great stuff! Could you expand a bit on which specific parts to order (like names at least) besides the VTX extension cable that allow you to screw it down to the frame? I don’t think everything necessary is generally sold together and I’m having trouble googling up the right parts.

    Reply
  5. Peter

    Hey,Oscar
    can someone help me ?
    I have a syma x8w quadcopter battery but my quadcopter is broken.
    I want to buy another quadcopter .
    I can mount the syma battery in another quadcopter ?
    the battery is een2000mAh Battery , lipo
    happy to help
    greetings
    Petet

    Reply

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