LAST UPDATED: 21/6/2017
Building Mini Quads can be a minefield when it comes to component selection due to the ever increasing number of products on the market and continued improvements in technology as the hobby develops.
Odds are, the parts we would recommend you buy six months ago probably wouldn't be the same parts today. That being said, this doesn't mean to say that the quads we flew six months ago were no good - we loved them and most of the time they were far faster and more powerful than we could even handle. However, new components, new protocols, new firmware and generally different styles of building are constantly being introduced. We will update this build as things change - some parts will stay recommended for a long time, others will be replaced by superior options quite quickly - that's just the nature of the beast!
We don't expect everyone to agree with us with every component choice but rest assured that we see a lot of products come and go. Many don't even make it to sale so we know the ones which perform and the ones which are reliable. If you want to try different components or something is out of stock, many of the parts listed below are interchangeable so just let us know and we can recommend suitable alternatives.
The QAV210 has taken the QAV250's crown as the go to mini quad frame of choice. With a wealth of accessories and spares available, choosing a popular frame is a smart move as you'll find spares readily available and plenty of other people's builds which you can learn from. You'll struggle to break Lumenier's 3mm high quality 3K carbon fibre unibody base plate but if you're that way inclined, there is a 4mm upgrade plate available.
At nearly half the price of the QAV250, the QAV210 takes all the standard 250 class components; it spins 5" propellers and has a shorter MTM distance giving you an agile and responsive airframe.
NOTE: The QAV210 ships with a Lumenier 4Power PDB which needs a Pololu voltage regulator (not included) to provide your system with 5V or 12V power. We think it makes more sense to replace the PDB entirely - see below for our recommended replacement PDB.
Flight Controller: 1x DYS F4 Pro
The DYS F4 Flight controller is a high quality all-in-one board featuring a fast F4 processor. The board includes an integrated on screen display which you can configure through Betaflight configurator.
Emax motors have always been a favourite of ours - their low price belies their reliability and performance every time. The 2205 2300kv motor is perfectly suited to a 210 size airframe spinning 5" props. Rated up to 4S, they will happily spin high pitch props such as 5045BNs and the specially design cooling fins will direct air over the coils, keeping them cooler for longer. You can't go wrong with an Emax motor!
They might not be the newest, biggest most powerful motor but for a beginner they will be easier to get the quad stable and will have plenty of power.
When Little Bees first hit the market, it quickly became clear that they were going to be very popular. A fast SiLabs processor and dedicated drivers for the N-Channel MOSFETs make the Little Bees the ideal choice for almost any mini quad build. 35A gives plenty of head room for aggressive flying. They support the latest protocols like DSHOT and have proven themselves to be very reliable over time. Having individual escs rather than use a 4in1 is a good idea for beginners as its reasonably easy to destroy an esc in a bad crash.
Made from polycarbonate/plastic DAL T5040 V2 are the obvious balance between efficiency and raw power. You probably won't be replacing these quite as often as we used to do with older nylon props but it's still a good idea to get a few packs just in case.
The FrSky Taranis has taken the mini quad world by storm and is undoubtedly it's transmitter of choice. FrSky's ACCST protocol is rock solid with a range exceeding 2km. There is a great selection of telemetry sensors and receivers, each suited to different applications (see below for our recommended receiver).
Another huge benefit of opting for the Taranis, is simply the fact that so many other people are using it - you will find endless tutorials and setup guides on the internet making your life so much easier. The Taranis can be as simple or as complicated as you like - getting your first mini quad set up and bound won't take you too long and if you want to do anything more tricky then you can be sure that somebody will already have done it.
With a 60 model memory, actively developed open source software, voice alerts, haptic feedback and a range of telemetry options, the Taranis will do everything you need it to without breaking a sweat. You simply won't find another radio system which is as feature rich as the Taranis at the same price point.
You'll may have seen a lot of reference to the older D4R-II receiver but don't be fooled! The newer X4R-SB is the same size and supports the lower latency SBUS protocol. Most newer flight controllers support native SBUS input but if your doesn't, you can still use the CPPM protocol with a special bind process.
The diversity whisker antennae snap easily onto the receiver using u.FL connectors. This means that you can replace them in no time at all should they get chewed up by your props - you can even replace them with amplified PCB antennae for (up to) 25% greater range.
You don't necessarily need to buy your FPV gear at the same time as the rest of your build; many people build their first mini quads and then add FPV into the equation at a later stage. This can spread the cost of building and gives a bit of LOS flying experience before you dive into FPV.
The Runcam Swift Rotor Riot edition is a high performing camera that comes pre-tuned out of the box. With optimal settings and a premium lens you will find this camera is a popular choice for those who want to spend less time tuning and more time flying!
FPV Transmitter (VTX) - TBS Unify Pro 5G8 HV 5.8GHz Mini FPV Transmitter Race (SMA)
In a world where video transmitters seem to die for no apparent reason, the Team Black Sheep Unify Pro Race edition is good choice providing good value for money and adjustable power outputs.
This video transmitter supports the newer RaceBand channels and can also be set to output just 25mW (UK Legal Limit) - perfect for those looking to compete at officially organised race events.
Circularly Polarized Antennae - TBS Triumph 5.8GHz Antenna RHCP (SMA) (2 Pack)
If you think you can use those little black linear antennae which come with your video transmitter and receiver, think again! These will work at close range but any further away, on a constantly banking quad, you will find that your signal drops out far too much. Without boring you with the specifics of radio waves and antenna design, omni-directional circular polarized antennae are far better suited to mini quad applications.
Your antennae are the single most important factor in your FPV setup so it's best not to skimp in this department. The TBS Triumph antennas are proven as being reliable and perform well. The extra small footprint and positionable coax cable make the Triumphs our antenna of choice for mini quad FPV.