What's the best ArduPlane hardware?

Hello. I am new to ArduPlane and would like to buy some hardware. I have flown a lot of RC planes, so the hobby is not completely new for me.

I have done a bit of research of my own (ArduPilot docs, YouTube etc…) to find out what I should buy and not. The only thing I really found out was that there was so much to choose from. Therefore, I thought I could ask here for some help.

I have a FT Explorer that I want to use as my first airframe (1447 mm wingspan). I’m thinking of using the plane as FPV, autonomous and use a ground station with mission planning etc. I will maybe add a small gimbal if it suits the frame.
I would like to have different sensors. Is this something I can add as long as there is enough pins on the flight controller, or do I need a specific flight controller for specific sensors?

I currently fly my RC planes on an old Futaba T6EX (2,4 GHz FASST). The range on this, as far as I know, is only a couple of kilometers at it’s best. I would like to fly a lot further away than that!
Is there a possibility to change the frequency on my Tx to for example the MHz band? What’s the best frequency? Is it possible to go back and forth with the MHz band and 2,4 GHz? Or is it simply best to buy a new Tx with longer range?

I have a lot of questions, so I will summarize them here:

  1. What’s the best flight controller for me? Does it matter if it’s open or closed hardware?
  2. What types of sensors can I use on that flight controller?
    3a. Can I change the frequency on a Futaba 2,4 GHz FASST to for example 433/915 MHz?
    3b. If not, what’s the best transmitter for long range FPV?
  3. My airframe currently runs on a 3S 2200 mah LiPo. Does the autonomous setup require a battery of it’s own, can I use my current battery or should I buy a bigger battery to support all the features and extend the flying time?

I have a limited budget, but I’m interested in hardware that will last for some time. Therefore, I’m not after the cheapest hardware, but again not the most expensive either…

If someone would be kind to help me find hardware (either cheap or expensive) I would be grateful! :smiley:

Good day,
as flight controller you can look for the mro x2.1 777 - mro x2.1 with f4 or the mro control zero… both are very friendly form factor and customizable., control zero is very tiny. You have also new series gps and uavcan sensor, and air speed sensor, the hardware is really solid and in case of doubt you have the live chat for the support.
As radio you can look for the RFD 900 or 868 but you must check first the allowed frequency in your country…868 in Europe and others…915 USA.
As Rc you can look for the taranis x9d evo plus with rm9 module and receiver.
You must check the size of the frame so you can check the correct battery…

Hello David: dont you have issues with x2.1 and micro sd? Mine destroy two and freeze the fc, always in calibrating moment fortunetly, in a new vtol build, im afraid to fly now.

Good day, i don’t have any issue with my fc x2.1 f4… x2.1 777… they work perfectly

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Hello, and thank you for your reply. I looked up the mro, and I will consider it. I have also looked at the Matek F765 Wing and PixHawk4. How do these two compare to the mro?
Say I have unlimited space for a battery, can one just say that bigger the battery, the better?

One big factor in the decision is if you want a IOMCU (failsafe co-processor). It was the case that IMU redundancy was important for some but the F765-Wing has that. The integrated functionality on the Matek board, and other F4/F7 boards, is nice. OSD, direct battery voltage power, BEC’s, current and voltage sensing, etc.

Mro x2.1 777 have the stm32f777 and is more recent… you will have also the failsafe co-processor (IOMCU), more UART port and it support CAN BUS in case you want add a can node or the new powerful Kitcan node… Mro x2.1 and x2.1 777 have a good redundancy.
The matek F7 MCU is a dowgrade than the MRo x2.1 777.
In my opinion better have a separate board as power module… just in case you damage it, you can replace it immediately but in case you want add more battery cells you have different options with Mro.

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That’s a good summary.

After some thinking I will go for a cheaper board than the mRo. None of you didn’t not recommend the F765 and I can pick it up for 67 dollars.

However, how is it with compatibility between sensors/boards across different brands? Will a cheap chinese sensor work with all types of flight controllers, or should I go for only same products of the same brand?

Just consider that some sensor cannot work or are supported by ardupitot…, the pinout can be inverted and you must adjust it with a little bit of DIY.
For flash the bootloader and firmware you must put the board in Dfu mode, but also you can use SWD pins with a jtag programmer (nucleo board or stlink)

Alright, thank you for all your help. Looking forward to begin my ArduPilot “career”!