21 Top Tools and Gear

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Must-have multirotor accessories

It’s said that the right tool makes the job easy, and that’s especially true with multirotors. Protect your investments with these products, which have all been tested by our editors and have the RotorDrone stamp of approval. Check ‘em out!

Time to Recharge


When you’re on location, you need an easy-to-carry charger that can get you airborne again fast. The 55-watt Hitec X1 Touch uses an 11 to 18V DC power source or an internal AC power supply and has a high-resolution touchscreen with internal cell balancer and multiple safety functions. $99.99 hitecrcd.com

Eye in the Sky


This kit makes it easy to attach your GoPro Hero and GoPro 2 to your drone, and includes everything you’ll need. The faceplate is laser-cut to keep the LED indicator and screen clear, and when installed with two bolts, the aluminum servo mount clears the side of the camera and avoids any chance of vibration. Weight is minimal at just a half ounce, and the mount can easily control a camera that’s hanging, upright, or sideways. $9.99 servocity.com 

Safety First


It may not look like it could save your house, but this Hobby People Battery Safety Bag is a worthwhile investment. It’s a rare event, but lithium-polymer batteries have been known to catch on fire while they’re being charged, and by putting them in this bag, you avoid the chance of anything nearby going up in flames. (And even with the bag, never leave charging batteries alone!) $16.99 hobbypeople.net

More Air Time


We think having extra charged LiPo packs is the key ingredient to a great day of flying and filming. You can get a variety of packs to suit your multirotor from MaxAmps, and they can also custom-make packs to your exact specifications. Whether you fly a mini quad or a maxi octorotor, extra batteries will keep you airborne. Prices vary. maxamps.com

Bad Vibes


Vibration is the bane of rotor drone pilots: it adds wear and tear to your aircraft, blurs your images, and increases the chance of connections coming loose — definitely not good. One of the best ways to reduce the shakes is to make sure your propellers are balanced, using the precision Tru-Spin balancer from Du-Bro. It’s easy to set up and incredibly accurate. $27.99 dubro.com

Monitor This 


Any good first-person-view ground station needs to have a way of displaying high-quality video that’s streaming from your onboard camera. You don’t want your monitor to switch to a blue or black screen if the video signal starts to degrade, and you do want a screen that’s bright enough to see on sunny days. Ready Made RC’s LCD screens have all of these attributes and are available in sizes starting at five inches. Starting at $82.99 readymaderc.com

Control Freak

castle quad pack_cc

Speed controls are the brain of your multirotor power system, so you want them to be reliable and easy to program. Castle Creations has you covered with their Quad Packs and Expansion Packs. Available in 25- and 35-amp versions, they come with and without BECs so you can customize your setup. Prices vary. castlecreations.com

Secure Connections

TrackPower Solder Station_cc

When you get into larger, more complex multirotors, you’ll find that you need to make electrical connections between motors, batteries, and speed controls. The right way to do that is with a solder station like this high-quality unit from TrakPower. The 60-watt tool heats up quickly and makes soldering connections a breeze. $79.98 trakpower.com

A New View


Want to get into first-person view but not sure where to start? The FatShark Teleporter V3 from HobbyKing is just the ticket. It has a large screen and comes with all the equipment you need to take a virtual ride on your rotordrone, all while recording your HD footage with its PilotHD onboard camera. $199.99 hobbyking.com

Knowledge is Power


You’ll always be in the know (at least as far as your battery status) with the Futaba BR-3000 battery checker. It lets you know the state of 2- to 7-cell LiFe, LiPo, and Li-Ion packs, and displays the pack’s total voltage and remaining capacity. $49.99 futaba-rc.com 

FPV Favorite


With an intuitive display and simple plug-and-play setup, the Eagle Tree Vector FPV controller has everything a first-person-view pilot needs, and then some! Features like color graphics, a built-in flight data recorder, current sensors, altimeter, magnetic compass, and more make the Vector a must-have device. $279.99 eagletreesystems.com

No More Jello Shots


Tired of the “Jello” footage you’re getting? Mount your GoPro Hero 3 in the ACK Brushless Gimbal from HobbyKing and you’ll get ultra smooth and stable video. Each unit is assembled, adjusted, and tuned before it ships, so setup is a snap. $137.80 hobbyking.com

Replay Your Adventures


Looking for a small, simple camera that can record high-definition footage as well as audio? The Replay XD1080 is just what you need. Its hard-anodized aluminum case is rugged and water-resistant, and it can even stream live video straight to an external HD recorder or transmitter. $249.99  replayxd.com

King of Chargers


When only the best will do, you need the Graupner Polaron EX. It can charge two batteries at once, store information for 40 packs, show you the internal resistance of each cell in a pack, and much, much more. The Polaron EX has an easy-to-use, touch LED screen that makes programming a cinch. $319 openhobby.com 

Here Comes the Sun


You’ll never lose sight of your rotordrone in flight if you’re wearing Extreme Glare Sunglasses, which are even available with prescription lenses. Zurich’s lenses block the sun and provide a crystal-clear view of digital instruments — so your monitor is always in focus. Prices start at $99. z-xg.com

Keep it Tight

ZAP Thread Locker photo6_cc

If you don’t use thread-lock on the bolts and screws that hold your multi-rotor together, you may find that they become loose over time. ZAP Glues has you covered with two types of thread-lock: Z-42 Blue for standard use (parts can be disassembled with hand tools) and Z-71 Red for areas that you really want to lock down (parts can be disassembled with heat). A .20-ounce bottles start at $5.95 zapglues.com 

Perfect Pitch

3Blade Series L_cc

The right propellers can make a huge difference in multirotor performance, so it’s important to use a set that has been optimized for your setup. Windsor Propeller has worked with “heavy lifting” entrants in aeronautical engineering competitions and have expanded their line of 3-blade and electric props for optimum lift capability. Prices vary. masterairscrew.com 

Smoother Flights


Add a full stabilization system to your drone, then turn it on and off with the flip of a switch! Features such as 2-position gain settings, head-locking, spin recovery, and cross-wind takeoff assistance are just a few of many items you can program into this compact, easy-to-install system. The Bluelight Technologies Ice-Man will work with all radio brands. $69.95 xflighttech.com

Field & Bench Tool

GAUI Tool 4cc

It’s easy to keep all the tools you need in one spot with the Gaui Hexagon multi-tool. It houses six double-ended tool shafts, covering most commonly used metric and English hex-wrenches as well as Phillips and standard screwdrivers. A spring-loaded button allows instant release of the shaft when changing tools, and it also allows you to adjust the length as needed.
$19.95 allerc.com

Get in the Know


Never worry about flying for too long with the HobbyKing Quanum, a telemetry system that audibly warns you when your battery pack gets near 3.2 volts per cell. It also displays current, temperature, and milliamps, and won’t interfere with other nearby devices. $49.99 hobbyking.com

Power Up

protek power supply_cc

If you have a DC charger you’d like to use at home (without bringing your heavy car battery inside), a power supply is the perfect solution. All of ProTek’s power supplies have internal cooling fans and feature the latest technology; they are available in a variety of sizes and are easy to use. Prices vary. amainhobbies.com

 By: Team Rotordrone



Updated: December 9, 2014 — 7:26 pm

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