Well first..i love (like most of us) to build stuff myself. Absolutely there are TONS of drones on the market. Some very cheap with good capabilities. But the idea is that you can put together a very small..agile..tough and fun indoor drone to do FPV...and take video and have a bunch of fun. The "Tiny Whoop" market is huge...and people are doing crazy stuff with them...the indoor drone racing leagues are an offshoot of these.
So a little background.....what started all this? The blade Inductrix is generally agreed on as the start of all of this. Horizon hobby released this little guy a bunch of years ago.
they are $40 now..but $50 when i bought mine. For that price you get a BnF micro drone running off the common 150mah 1s lipos used in the micro helicopters and drones like the Nano Qx. It is lightweight...super stable and fun to fly around indoors. It can go outdoors but only in about zero wind. You got 3 minutes of fun out of it. And with the ducts around the props you could bump into stuff and not hurt it easily (or yourself
Then..with the advent of the cheap micro FPV cams....someone had the bright idea to stick one of those cams on top of an inductrix...and Tiny Whooping was born! Now it is a HUGE industry..and pretty much any drone you buy these days has a camera on it...and a lot are coming with their own FPV monitor attached to the transmitter.
Ok..so back to the inductrix. So the inductrix had the advantage over other small drones as being a little tougher and being able to handle the weighty of a cheap but semi-decent FPV cam. 3d printed mounts became available quickly..and better and cheaper cams were released fast. Then came motor upgrades...larger batteries and better connectors. All to improve flight times. Then the inevitable control board updates...stand alone ones and more. There is a great site here in the US that sells all kinds of parts to build your own..or upgrade..or even buy one built outright... it is http://www.tinywhoop.com
OK...WHEW! Back to me. So i got my inductrix. Flew it a few times...had fun. And then looked to upgrade. I bought a 200mw FPV cam from banggood i think. It was $30 at the time. I then had the bright idea to add a 2nd connector to Y off the power cable and run the camera. This way i could remove the camera when i wanted and still not have it wired full time. A $3 camera mount again off of bangoogd.com and i was cookin! Mounted the mount..stuck the cam on there held in with some rubber bands...and hooked up the extra Y harness i made...and flew it! Yes i had a set of goggles already so i didn't need to buy those. And...it was FUN! Except the power. The stock motors were not up to the added weight of the cam and the larger lipos i had (did i mention i bought 205 mah lipos too?)
So flight time dropped from about 4 minutes with just the stock setup...to close to 2 minutes max with the cam and extra big battery. SO.....next step was motors. I bought a set of extra powerful motors (special sauce they are called) and swapped those in. Tiny tiny power wires on those..and you pull the stock motors and solder the power wires to the board. Where are my glasses!!!
Then..finally my setup was done (sort of) With the powerful motors i had plenty of power to lift the drone and the camera and have some fun. Flight time went back up to a bit over 3 minutes...and it was faster by a bunch. But fast + indoors + more ballsy flying ='s crashes! And quickly i broke the frame..one of the ducts legs snapped...(a common problem). Frames are not expensive....but i didn't want to swap the whole deal over. So i found a carbon brace on ebay for about $8..just slips over the motor pods..and i was fixed. Still running that way today..broken duct leg and all.
So all in... $50 for drone....$30 for camera (now they are about $18)...$3 for brace....$7 for bigger lipo....$8 for bag of extra micro power connectors....$8 for brace....and $20 for upgraded motors. About $126 invested. And i have now flown in probably 100 times and it flys great. Again..i had a set of goggles already..and ended up with a FPV monitor ground station with DVR capability. So i'm able to record the video that I see in the goggles.
Here is a quick vid i recorded around my buddies apartment to show you what you can expect to see..
Next post will be about the cheaper E010's I have....and my journey with them!