This question has probably been asked in the past but I could not find anything recent. Let's assume we all know the pluses and minuses of time and effort, repairs, and self satisfaction of a build and the instant gratification of RTF units.
My question centers around the real costs of a build vs a store bought quad assuming (true in my case) that you have absolutely nothing but a bench when you start.
I want a quad with the capabilities of the Phantom 2+. I don't think I will end up going into the RC hobby culture full force, but others I'm sure thought the same when they started. The DJI 450 ARF seems like a reasonable platform using the NAZA v2 flight controller. From there I have no idea what other components are needed so the build would be similar to the Phantom 2+. For this reason I can't add up the costs of a build to compare it to the retail cost of the Phantom. David
At this point I have read only 3 or 4 replies -and has opinions vary - I may as well chime in now!
On 8th August 2015 - after pouring over YouTube and lurking around a few forums - ordered a Syma X8W from ( can I name names??) a online China based store offering among everything including the kitchen sink - is 6 colours - and since then it seems I have been for Everbuying quad related items. The Syma was junk - to a newbie. As I battled with it and spent hours online scouring for Syma info.
I learned how to reset the gyros, balance props, all to now avail. It would do nothing the sticks were supposed to be telling it to do.
The display said Mode 2 - so I sat it down, armed it and started trying the sticks...it seemed to be a mixture of modes 1&2.
I then switched it to mode 1 - according to the display - perfect Mode 2! By this time I was fed up with it and having learned even more on forums...decided to sell it and buy parts for a 450 DJI copy setup.
This becomes a sage that not yet over. Grieving over lost cash in buying and selling the Syma + us$60 of props and batteries (us$181.00 - about au$250-ish) I started buying - mostly from eBay.
The 450 is a finished item - at least its built.
450 cheapo ebay frame
4x Mars 2123 - 920kv motors
DJI cc/ccw props
4x ZTW Spider 30A OPTO small ESCs with
1 HobbyKing uBeck
2200 and 4000 3s Turnigy batteries
Radio is a Devo 10 ( from the same store as the Syma - long story)
That sounds OK and costs up reasonably well..... until I add in
soldering kit, solder, heat shrink tube, electric ties, prop balance, ( the posh one for DJI props)
neck strap for radio, lipo Battery chargers - 2 Imax B3 genuine and one fake - both are OK.( Imax B6 en-route from Melboourne)
screw drivers and Hex keys ( Allen Keys in UK) and at least a dozen other bits and pieces.
In the mean time, due to lost items, refunds for defective stuff and the need to get things faster costing $$$in DHL deliveries, I also acquired
enough bits to create
550 Alien Frame
4 x 2212 980 DJI motors
4x Emax Simon Series 30a ESC
4500 Flouron 30c 3s lipo ( replacement for a DOA from ebay seller)
Turnigy 5ch radio and rx $32 shipping $20!
At the last count I was upwards of au$900 spending and seemingly the bulk of that is items other than the actual flying bits.
I would like to conclude with an happy ending and a vid of my fleet in action.... but so far 10 feet high after an erratic take off and eventual nose dive is the best I can offer.
Back to reading manuals and watching youTube for divine intervention... unless you are near the Central Coast NSW and want some free beer..
Sorry, omitted to mention that all this came about because I purchased a Phantom 3 pro and wanted to learn more and how to fly manually!