Well a while ago I went to a friends place and there was someone with a quadcopter and they had it hooked up to their laptop and mucking around with it. I thought that looks like great fun so I bought some stuff and made my own. I got all the parts from a combination of RCTimer and HobbyKing but I think there is some good advice required for people who want to do the same.

I chose the RCTimer Spider UAV quadcopter:
RCTimer Spider

This is a good medium size quadcopter which has the capability of having a gimbal added to it later. These are the things I learnt that hopefully will help others to make the right decisions for their first quadcopter.

The XT60 connectors seem to be the new standard for all battery connections. You will need to buy male and female connectors to put on your power distribution board and batteries:
XT60 Connectors

Use 3.5mm connectors between your motors and ESCs, they can come loose but it makes field repairs easier. Just make sure you check ALL connections before each flight.
3.5mm connectors

The screws that come with the RCTimer quadcopter are total rubbish, they have ruined at least 4 hex key drivers. I decided to use screws from Element14 (hex head and torx).
Cheap hex head
Stainless steel hex head
Torx head

You need heatshrink, lots of it and some wire as well so you can extend the length of the ESC cables. You should twist the ESC cables that run back to the power distribution board. This will reduce the magnetic interference. AWG16 should be sufficient for a quadcopter this size:
Black cable
Red cable
Get a range of different sizes

Clear heatshrink is good for protecting some components that you need to see LEDs on (transmitters and receivers etc). I’d go into Jaycar and pick some up that looks the right size. You don’t save that much from getting it off eBay.

Make sure you get some nyloc nuts for your props. It is guaranteed that the nuts will come off otherwise, perhaps midair. Check the tightness of props and nuts before every launch. I got my nyloc nuts from Mitre 10.

These are other parts you should buy from RCTimer as well:
Telemetry kit
Spare frame (you will need it)
LiPo bag
Battery straps
Battery monitor
Spare props (plastic is better to start with, it cuts less OUCH!)
Cable ties, you can never have too many
Power monitor (and power supply for APM)

These instructions are great for putting it all together:
Build photos

This is a great guide with more detailed instructions:
Build tutorial

Now for parts you want from HobbyKing, they have a warehouse in Australia so they can send LiPo batteries by truck. You will want batteries, a charger and a transmitter. Start cheap and then work up to good stuff if you want:
4000mAh 4S battery (get two)
Battery charger

You will need a DC power supply for the battery charger. Jaycar has some, they are more expensive than they should be and I’ve had two blow up (one DOA the other after 3 months). But I couldn’t find anything better in Hobart for the price.
Power supply

In my next post I’ll discuss hints on how to make the build go smoothly.

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