Accidents in the FPV hobby are common for both beginners and professionals, as a result of which something always goes wrong. In this video, Drew from Rotor Riot shared with the community the top 10 tips to make your FPV drone stronger and more durable. He clearly demonstrated how to protect important parts of the drone in order to prevent fatal damage later on and thereby reduce the cost of purchasing components lost as a result of a crash, and also told how to crash properly to minimize damage.
Andrew Camden (Drew) is a well-known personality in the global FPV community, since 2017 the President of Rotor Riot, LLC, which develops and sells high-performance components for FPV drones, as well as filling educational and entertainment video content as part of the development of the global FPV community. Graduated from Tulane University (or Tulane University) with a bachelor’s degree in engineering physics. Prior to Rotor Riot, he worked at General Motors in Detroit, Michigan, where he quickly reached the level of systems engineer. He left a successful career as an engineer at GM in favor of his favorite hobby and passion for FPV freestyle.
FPV Freestyle by Drew.
1. Frame selection
Choosing the right frame is important if you want to have a solid drone. Drew recommends choosing a frame that’s at least four millimeters thick, and that the body plates don’t have too many “technical holes”—holes that provide weight savings that negatively affect the overall integrity of the frame.
Another equally important thing to consider when choosing a frame is how well it protects the components of the drone. Drew mentions the presence of a mounting frame that allows you to mount the FPV camera a little deeper into the drone so that the lens does not protrude beyond the main frame, which in itself will protect the camera from destruction. It is also important that the beams of the frame have ledges at the ends, which will protect the motors from direct impacts during a crash.
2. ESC and wire protection
It is equally important to protect the ESC and wires, as they are often located in an open area and can be damaged by rotating blades in an accident. A simple workaround is to use one of the props, by attaching it directly over the ESC and wires, so that in the event of a crash, the stowed prop will take the brunt of the impact. But you can get confused and use a 3D printer to create protection according to your preferences.
3. Antenna protection
A good way to prevent the FPV antenna from coming off is to mount it in such a way that only the flexible part sticks out of the drone, which will allow you to take hits of much more force than its rigid connector.
4. Antenna top protection
The upper part of the antenna covering the “clover” itself is quite easy to break. The easiest way to keep the case intact is to wrap it with heat shrink tubing, which will prevent the case from splitting on impact and make the top of the antenna more impact resistant.
5. Prevent battery separation
One of the worst things that can happen during a flight is battery separation/ejection, causing a de-energized drone to fall to the ground, making it harder to find the drone later as the buzzer will not work. Drew has a simple tip to solve this problem, he recommends securing the battery with not one, but two battery straps. This approach negates any movement of the battery during the flight and thus excludes the possibility of its separation during a crash.
6. Correct stack assembly
It is important that your e-stack is properly built. Drew recommends ditching the standard split nylon standoffs for stacking boards, and instead use metal standoffs where each one will go through all the boards in the stack. This approach will provide greater strength and will not allow the stack to fall apart in a crash.
7. Soft mounting sleeves
A great way to improve the durability of the e-stack on any racing drone is to make sure the e-stack has rubber/silicone grommets that can absorb not only vibrations but also shocks. The presence of such rubber bushings allows the bushings themselves to take most of the energy from the impact, and thereby protect the electronic part from damage and cracks.
The ends of the arms of racing drones are the part that often hits the ground first in crashes, which shortens the life of the entire frame pretty quickly. Drew recommends using 3D printed bumpers. Cheap consumables can significantly save on costs.
9. Landing pads or stands
Using landing pads or stands means that the bottom of your drone won’t get scratched or shattered from frequent contact with the ground when landing or performing a trick. They come in different types, now many people use pads made of foam, since this material is cheaper and significantly absorbs the negative impact of a hard landing, however, such pads are prone to quick separation, which generally depends on the quality of the adhesive used. Drew recommends the use of hard-mounted plastic stands as they also protect the drone while allowing you to combine flying with surface gliding for tricks as the plastic is quite hard.
10. Learn to fall properly
A final piece of advice, which is slightly different from the above, but also contributes to the longevity of the FPV drone, is to learn how to fall properly. Drew says that at times when a crash is unavoidable, it’s best to lift the nose of the drone up so that it’s the bottom of the drone that hits the ground, not the front. This approach ensures that less damage is dealt and you don’t have to rebuild your drone as often.
Be sure to watch the video below for a complete understanding of Drew’s recommendations.