On-The-Cheap FPV

My first quadcopter started as the base Syma X1. I felt it was pretty much perfect for learning how to fly, due to its cost and durability. The idea of fpv seemed too cool to not try, so I've slowly modded the X1 to its current state:

  • CL-0720-12 motors
  • 808 #16 V2 (120) keychain camera
  • Boscam Audio Video Transmitter Module TX5823
  • Homemade antenna

I'm flying with a Turnigy 9x controller, using an RC805 Rx, and an EasyCAP usb video capture dongle to view the video on a laptop. I've used a step-up voltage regulator to allow me to power the RC805 from usb, so everything on my base station just runs off of a laptop battery. I'm using tvtime or dscaler to view the video, but still have ~100ms lag or so.
Overall I'm really happy with the setup I've constructed. I'm going to keep practicing with this for a little while, but can't wait to move on to something slightly larger.

For this specific build I wasn't going for the absolute cheapest thing I could make while still using the Syma X1 as a base, but I've made up a couple of options which bring the price down a bit for something similar to what I'm flying:


TOTAL: $63 Nothing else needed to fly, base station still required


TOTAL: $58 Controller and frame needed to fly, base station still required.
The benefit here is possibly lighter weight. +~$10 gets you better motors.
I would recommend making a light frame from wood, or having someone print one for you.

Base Station:

TOTAL: $34-$44

TOTAL FOR FULL SYSTEM: $92-$107 I haven't bought these specific parts and put them together, this was more of an exercise in how low I could push the cost with easy to find components.