ArduCopter NOOB

Hello Everyone,

I will freely admit that I am a noob, both when it comes to drones, electronics, programming and ArduCopter. Though I am a mechanical engineer, 3d modeler/printer, and machinist.

What I am wanting to build is basically a DIY version of a camera drone with some basic functionality such as: GPS return to home, position hold (via some combination of GPS, barometer, and/or optical flow), gimbal control and camera control (start/stop video recording, take a picture, zoom, and transmitting back some kind of low quality video feed so that they camera can be aimed by the pilot).

I understand that trying to do all of this at once is probably a bad idea, and that starting with the basics is the path forward, but what I am wondering is if this is a good place to seek help, or more geared for those people who have a clue to what they are doing to begin with and THEN run into a specific problem.


Hi Lee
You are in the right place.
Arducopter is complex and it’s important to stick to the setup and tuning instructions.
Start simple, get something flying, then later start adding the cameras and doing trickier things.

A stiff frame is a good frame. You’ll see a lot of carbon fibre. 3D printed plastic or even properly moulded commercial plastic frames (arms in particular) can have problems.

Start by choosing a flight controller and GPS unit, and some sort of frame with a bit of scope for additions.
There are some kits that bundle together a frame and motors, sometimes even the flight controller too.
Cheap stuff from china is rarely much good and usually outdated.

It’s important to go over the documentation. If you run into issues you’ll get asked for an onboard log (or .bin log file).

Feel free to yell out if you want more specifics.

Thanks for getting back to me! I am considering a kit that comes with an Arducopter compatible controller, from Holybro:

Think this would be a good starting point, for the price they are asking? If there’s a better one out there, im all ears :slight_smile:


The X500V2 frame is good. I’m pleased with the airframe and it’s flight characteristics. I haven’t used their motor kit, as my local vendor made a kit for me with different motors, props and ESCs.

The EDU-450 is also a good kit, but having built both now I’d say I prefer the X500V2.

So with this controller, the Pixhawk 6C, does that leave me the provision to later add a gimbal, and a remote controlled camera on said gimbal?

cant go wrong with that. you can mount cameras and such easily and tuning parameters for x500v2 are available as a preset from Mission Planner (someone correct me if im wrong). really cant get easier than that and you will get an excellent drone. just make sure the payload requirements are such that the max thrust is 2x (ideally) the weight. any lower and you risk losing stability.