This short guide gives you some insight to FPV Drone Racing and a very rough approximation of the cost.
What do I need for FPV Racing?
- Quad (Race-Drone/ Multicopter)
- FPV Goggles
- LiPos (Batteries)
- Battery Charger
- Replacement Parts
The first quad
There are multicopters in almost every imaginable size, what kind of multicopter you want to fly depends on your own wishes and its respective purpose.
Tiny Whoops, the so called “housecopters” are suitable for flying inside buildings. This includes e.g.
- BetaFPV 75x
- Microsquad 75mm X2
Many of these small copters are usually only available in China, e.g .:
price for factory new whoop sets(often incl. battery and charger): 80-130€
Outside and during official races, most pilots fly 3″ to 5″ multicopters in a wide variety of configurations.
Note: In Germany, at least, most organizers restrict the selection of the video transmitter for races, here it makes perfect sense to use a video transmitter of the following types, which are available at most online shops:
- TBS Unify (Pro, Race, Nano)
- FuriousFPV Stealth
- ImmersionRC Tramp VTX
Price for 3 to 5 inch copters are starting at around 80-90 euros and there is almost no upper limit to the amount you can spend. In this size copters are very rarely found in sets, but there are some exceptions. A good video transmitter and a suitable receiver should not only be considered.
When it comes to remote controls you have to be aware that there are two movements. Some trust the cheap FlySky-variant while others prefer the usually more expensive, but better equipped FrSky-variant.
The choice of remote control also determines what kind of receiver is required.
FlySky: FS-i6x (ca. 40 euros) , Turnigy Evolution (ca. 30 euros)
FrSky: Taranis Q X7 (ca. 150 euros), Taranis XLite (ca. 150 euros)
To start with FPV, it is advisable to buy a remote and to then start practising using a simulator, first.(e. g. FPV Freerider, Liftoff, Velocidrone)
Looking at FPV Goggles(no pun intended) it is often considered as both a question of budget as well as your taste. The really “cool” Goggles usually cost upwards of 200 euros, while there are cheaper alternatives starting at roughly 80 euros.
There are two different types of goggles.
- Box Goggles (Big Boxes with a screen in them)
- Fatshark-Style Goggles (smaller Goggles with a screen for each eye)
Many active pilots rely on Fat Shark goggles, which are quite expensive with a price tag of 300-600 euros. In the lower price segment of 200-300 euros there are other well-known models such as the Aomway Commander, the Skyzone Sky02/Sky03, and a few others. In the even lower price segment of 50-100 euros you can often find the so-called box goggles, which are usually developed and manufactured in China(which isn’t necessarily bad), including the Eachine EV800D.
LiPos or „Lithium polymer batteries“ are the de-facto batteries for multicopters. The “power or speed” of the multicopter can almost always be determined by what kind of batteries it uses.:
- 1s = 1 cell (small Tiny Whoops)
- 2s = 2 cells (small Tiny Whoops with a little more power)
- 3s = 3 cells (small multicopters)
- 4s = 4 cells (fast multicopters – old-ish standard for 5″ racers)
- 5s = 5 cells (not commonly used)
- 6s = 6 cells (fast multicopters – current standard for 5″ racers)
The remaining components must of course match the lipo used, otherwise the electronics can burn out quickly.
LiPos for small 2-3 inch quads usually have a capacity of 400-800 mAh, while the LiPos for larger quads usually have a capacity of 1300-1500 mAh, again depending on the respective quad.
The charger should of course be matching the lipos. Small 1-2s chargers are usually being sold for roughly 20 euros. Larger chargers for 3-6s batteries are usually available for upwards of roughly 50 euros.
In this hobby components break extremely quickly, therefore you should always have enough spare parts. Propellers are usually the most damaged part. They are commonly damaged in crashes, but other parts such as the flight controller, the motors or the escs can also be affected by crashing.