Building a 250mm quadcopter-Starting out in the Quadcopter Hobby-Part A

OK,  so you are ready to take the quadcopter plunge.   Where to begin?  This hobby can be daunting, but luckily, there are guys like me out there to help!  This post is a followup to another post that I did about the basic components of a quadcopter but it is more specific towards a QAV250 or other 250mm quadcopter build.

So.  You are thinking about getting started with Quadcopters.

What do you need?  What to choose?  There are a ton of options out there to choose from.



The first thing that you should tell yourself, the first thing that you should expect is that you are going to crash.

Crashing is part of the fpv drone hobby. It is inevitable. You will crash, you will burn. You will eventually learn that you can crash in a controlled fashion.  Some rookie mistakes include crashing to the ground at full throttle, or plowing into the brick wall you were trying to avoid.  With practice, you can turn your crashes into hard landings with minimal damage, but the key word here is “PRACTICE”

Crashing is part of flying.  Get ready for it!


Kid with Quadcopter

Kid with Quadcopter

First Time Recommendations

I recommend that you start with a 250mm sized quad such as the Lumenier Qav250.  The 250mm sized quad measures 250mm diagonally from motor to motor.  These quads are the perfect size to start out with because they are small enough that they don’t completely self destruct on impact, yet large enough to hold all of the professional FPV gear.

A word about professional FPV gear.  Strapping a phone to your Phantom tx and using that to fly around is not the FPV that I am talking about.  I am talking about full immersion, acrobatic, fast flying FPV with video googles, On screen display, and actually flying like a bird FPV.  You just can’t achieve that with a video screen.  It is my opinion that video goggles like the Fatshark Attitudes are mandatory for this type of flying.

There are some starter kits out there and some great ready to fly quadcopters such as the Hubsan FPV X4 that have a camera and a screen built into the transmitter but these are not the same as the professional FPV setups that I sell on this site and refer to in my posts.




The things that set those store bought “toys” apart from our quads are:

  • video clarity
  • immersion
  • precision in control
  • range
  • acrobatic ability
  • tuneablility



So these other quads are a good starting point, maybe to see if you like the hobby, but there is a huge difference in performance between the two.


QAV250 vs Hubsan x4

QAV250 vs Hubsan x4


Tools & Supplies



If you are building a 250mm Quadcopter, you will need a good set of tools first and foremost.

  • A good soldering iron is mandatory for this hobby.  You will need to make sure that you select an iron that has good temperature control and a fair amount of power.  I prefer digitally controlled models as these tend to regulate their temps really well.  You can also turn them up or down as needed.
  • a good 5 in one screwdriver
  • a good set of allen screwdrivers T5-T8 are needed.  The absolute best tool that I have found for this is the Bestway 12 in 1 screwdriver
  • Locktite for all screws & nuts ( I can’t stress the importance of this enough)
  • a crimper for servo leads
  • servo lead connectors
  • a good battery charger to charge your batteries.  I recommend a Turnigy Accucel-6 50W 6A Balancer/Charger.  These chargers are amazing in their price and feature set.  Couple it with a parallel charging board and you will be flying within an hour.  Subscribe to the blog for future updates
  • a volt meter ( a general multimeter is needed that reads dc voltage and resistance at a very minimum)
  • a magnifying glass


Radio Transmitter

Any serious pilot will require a good radio.  This is the only thing connecting you to your craft and it is something that you shouldn’t skimp on.

It comes down to pilot preference but a good radio should have the following features:

  • 2.4ghz PPM (pulse position modulation) output
  • Trim capability ( the Naze32 requires that your radio be centered at 1500, so it is important that you can set this from the radio screen)
  • custom switch assignments.
  • Mode 2 for (helicopters).  (this means that the left stick has no spring on the up down (which is what you use to control your throttle.)



The typical naze32 setup uses pitch, roll, yaw, throttle, and 4 switches to control the quad.  The 4  switches can be either 2 position or 3 position switches.  With three position switches you can program more switch options, but most radios only have one or two 3 position switches.  For acrobatic FPV you will not use more than 2 or 3 switch options.

The Taranis X9D Plus is an amazing radio for the price, and it is open source.

Radio Receiver

You will need a radio receiver that works with your transmitter.  The Naze32 will accept either one PPM input or multiple PWM inputs, but for simplicity’s sake, it is better to use a receiver that does PPM such as the Frsky D4R-II.  The D4R-II is small, perfect for mini quads and outputs 8 PPM Channels. The X9D and the D4R-II also work well together because they are both Frisky and they can use telemetry.


There are other Long range 933MHz receivers for Long range operation, such as the Open LRS System, But their application is a bit beyond the scope of this article.



Telemetry can send information from your helicopter to your radio through the radio link.  This is handy as you can set up your Radio to give you alarms when your battery gets low or when you get close to getting out of range. You will be able to see this information displayed on the radio while you are flying.  This is extremely handy for when your video link cuts out, or times when you want to fly line of sight or without an on screen display.


Flight controller.


I am a Naze32 guy and that is what I recommend .  There is some learning curve with it, but I have found it to fly really well out of the box.  I will be posting an in-depth look at the Naze32 soon.  If you have any questions about it and want those answered now, please post a question about it here.

when you get your Naze32, you have 2 choices.   You can get an acro, or you can get a full featured version.

The full version includes a barometer and a compass, but these features are not needed if first starting out.






The Qav250 comes in 2 different styles, G10 and Carbon Fiber.

G10 is a very strong, Radio Frequency neutral material that is an excellent choice to make quadcopters out of.  It is a type of fiberglass.

Carbon fiber is a conductor, and whilst being very strong and light, can cause issues for the first time builder.  This issues range from fires, to shorts, to burned out electronics.  I recommend carbon fiber (CF) only if you are familiar with electronics and the concept of grounding.  Carbon fiber is also not radio frequency neutral and it can cause problems with antennas, effecting their range and direction. Carbon fiber is also very expensive.  These reasons alone make carbon fiber a bad choice for FPV quads, but it is still the most popular because of it’s sex appeal.


I recommend the G10 Carbon fiber frame for the beginner.

Both versions of the QAV250 come with a power distribution board, Leds, and an XT-60 battery connector.


FPV gear.

The FPV gear becomes your “eyes” in the sky.  When choosing FPV it is best not to skimp.

The Fatshark Attitude has everything you need to get started with FPV.

The kit consists of a 600TVL Cmos camera, 250mw video transmitter, and video goggles.

This kit is a great all in one solution to get started flying.  The camera requires a mounting plate to use it on the QAV250, but it is a good starting point to get you going.

For more advanced setups, the camera can be upgraded, but you can  use with the goggles and video transmitter with different camera setups.


Motors can be chosen depending on many different factors.

Type of flying, Type of batteries, and Quadcopter type can all effect motor choice.

For the beginner,  I recommend 3S batteries and 2300KV motors (KV has to do with rotations per volt.  More on that in a later post)

I did a motor comparison here to help you choose.

For a more advanced 4S setup, you can choose either 2300 KV motors or 2000KV motors.  2000KV motors such as the Lumenier 2206 2000KV motors are ideal here.


ELECTRONIC SPEED CONTROLS.  Esc are what control the motor.  Brushless motors are 3 phase, so you need a controller that can detect the motor’s position and then modulate alternating current across 3 phases to make them work.  It is some serious tech, but it is what makes these machines possible.

Escs come in many flavors.  Some of the best that I have found are the Red High Voltage N-FET ESC, Compact Simon K blue 12A Escs, and Kiss 18A Escs for expert setups.


You are going to need to select batteries for your build.  1300MAH (milliamp hour) batteries work pretty well on the QAV 250 and other 250mm sized quads.

The Turnigy nanotech 1300MAH battery nets about a 6-7 minute flight.  There are many different factors affecting  flight times.  Pilot style, wind, altitude, hardware configuration, weight, temperature, etc.

I have tried several battery brands and I highly recommend a battery with nano phosphate technology such as the Turnigy Nanotech series of batteries.  Turnigy Nanotechs seem to last longer than any other battery in terms of charge cycles and flight time.

As with any battery, the key to keeping them lasting long is treating them right.  I will be posting a battery post soon  Subscribe to my blog so you know when it goes up.




Good propellers can make or break a quad copter.  I have had good success with GEMFAN nylon 5×3 “5030” propellers.


These propellers are 5″ with a 3″ pitch.  They give moderate thrust with good efficiency for mini multi rotors.  The props are great or learning on because they are very flexible.  They can take a beating and you can still fly with them.

There are some other variations out there such as the 5040 5×4 props (5 inch with 4″ pitch”) These propellers are more aggressive and not recommended for beginners.

Only after you have become an advanced pilot do I recommend stiffer props such as carbon fiber.




Prop Nuts



The Prop nut is extremely important.  Without the proper nut, you will loose propellers mid flight and crash.

I recommend lock nuts be used on all propellers.  If using The prop nuts that come with certain brands of motors, use blue or red locktite on them.  This will save you from having terrible crashes.


So what are my ultimate 250mm quadcopter setups?







 Putting it all together

You are going to have to plan to set some time aside to assemble your quad.  Gather all of your parts together (hopefully from me) and subscribe to the blog as I will be posting Part B of the 250 Quad Build manual next week!

Please subscribe to my blog to get the update once it is written!



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