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If this will be your first time ordering from Banggood, you should know a few things.
I didn’t expect this. I guess I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. People who are interested in the DJI FPV system are more interested in buying pre-built quads than in building their own. So I’m putting this section at the top of the page. Here are some pre-built, pre-tuned, totally ready to fly options for DJI FPV!
ROTOR RIOT HD1
The Rotor Riot HD1 build-and-tuned bundle lets you fly the exact same quad that Rotor Riot pilots fly on their YouTube channel. The HD1 frame is simple, durable, but largely unremarkable.
The most compelling part of this bundle is that you get your choice of pilot-branded motors. Each motor has different performance characteristics to suit your style. The Hypetrain Freestyle V2 is my pick for a general purpose motor. The Le Drib motor gives a bit more power (and shorter flight time) with a linear throttle curve. The Vortex motor has similar power to the Drib, but with a little more punch at the top end.
This kit has two main down-sides. The HD1 frame has been stretched to fit the Air Unit into it, which results in a longer, less nimble frame. The un-supported length of top plate between the standoffs seems less than ideal, although Rotor Riot reports that none have broken in their testing. Finally, the X-style geometry means props are prominently visible in the HD camera’s view, which some pilots don’t like.
LUMENIER QAV-R HD BUNDLE
With the release of the DJI FPV system, some designers are stretching their frames to make the Air Unit fit. This results in a quad that, put simply, flies worse. Lumenier has found a way to carry the Air Unit in its QAV-R 2 frame without changing the frame’s geometry. So you don’t compromise handling to get HD video. In addition, the H-style geometry minimizes or eliminates props from the camera’s view.
Lumenier’s Zip 2407 motors make ridiculous amounts of power and are pretty durable, but they definitely need to be paired with a capable battery to perform at their best. This combo comes with the patented POPO system for fast propeller swaps with no wrench.
GetFPV’s technical support is one of the best in the business. The Lumenier kit can be purchased with a ticket for 30 minutes (or more) of phone support.
The biggest criticism I have of this kit is the way the accessories are mounted. The antennas are placed below the top plate, which can reduce range, and they are placed exactly where an antenna will strike, so I would expect they might be damaged in a crash. The camera mounts and Air Unit mount allow these components to be knocked out of position in a crash.
DJI FPV SYSTEM
DJI has finally brought FPV into the high-definition era. Until now, FPV pilots settled for a low-resolution, blurry image that turned into static when signal got weak. So why did we all use analog? Previous HD FPV systems all disappointed with excessive cost, high latency, unreliable link, and poor build quality.
The DJI digital high-definition FPV system is the first to actually make HD FPV “just work”. Range is about the same as typical 5.8 GHz analog systems, but in glorious HD resolution. Latency is excellent at best and tolerable at worst. Setup and installation are simple, especially with new flight controllers that are designed for one-plug connection to the Air Unit. The goggle screen is huge, bright, clear, and colorful. The menus are intuitive and easy to use. Everything about the system has the polish and performance that DJI customers have come to take for granted.
The DJI system is legitimately good. But it’s not perfect. What are the drawbacks? Compared to a ultra-premium analog system, the DJI system is not too much more expensive. But a budget analog system can get you into the air for a fraction of the price. The DJI system is bigger than an analog system, so installing it in a frame can be tricky (see below on this page for frames specifically designed to fit the DJI Air Unit).
The biggest caveat when deciding whether to buy the DJI FPV system is how it interacts with other pilots using traditional analog systems. If you’re using DJI goggles, you can’t easily watch your friends’ FPV feeds, and they can’t watch yours. When using the DJI system in a group, I found myself feeling slightly isolated and lonely, and ended up switching back to analog just so I could share in the communal experience of flying together. Another drawback is that the DJI system cannot show the flight controller’s on-screen-display. This means some important troubleshooting information is not available. (However, there are some reports that this will change soon.)
All that being said, the emotional impact of flying in HD is profound. The more I fly the DJI system, the more I love it, and the harder it is to go back to standard-definition analog. Unfortunately, this is impossible to convey via a web page or YouTube video. So if you get the chance to try out the DJI system yourself, do it. But be careful, because you might find yourself pulling out your credit card when you didn’t mean to.
DJI DIGITAL HD FPV GOGGLES
The DJI FPV goggles might be the best FPV goggle ever made. Huge 80 degree field of view. 1440×810 resolution with 120 Hz refresh rate. People sometimes look at Fat Shark goggles and say, “For that price, we should get a lot more!” With the DJI FPV goggle, you do (but no, there’s not a power button).
If you want to use the DJI FPV system, you must use the DJI goggles. It doesn’t work with analog goggles–not even those that have an HDMI input.
Can you use the DJI goggles with your existing analog vTX? Sort of. The DJI goggles don’t have a built in analog receiver, but they do have an AV input that can be connected to a ground station. Not a perfect solution, but better than nothing.
DJI DIGITAL HD FPV AIR UNIT
The DJI Air Unit takes the HD image from the camera and transmits it over the air to the goggles. It’s analogous to the video transmitter in a traditional analog system. The Air Unit also includes DVR so you can record on-board video in maximum quality, even when the link gets weak and the goggle video degrades.
The Air Unit is purchased with camera attached, but you can replace either AU or camera individually if one of them should break.
DJI FPV REMOTE CONTROLLER
Let’s get one thing out of the way: you do NOT have to use the DJI controller to use the DJI FPV system. You can use the Air Unit and Goggles as a self-contained video system. You can continue to use your existing controller and receivers to control the quad. In fact, if you use Crossfire or R9 900 MHz control systems, you might want to keep using your existing controller, because their range is greater than the DJI system.
Who should be thinking about buying the DJI controller? The DJI controller has excellent build quality. The main thing going against it is that it only works with the DJI Air Unit. You can’t fly any non-DJI quad with it. So if you only intend to fly aircraft with the DJI system, the DJI controller offers a much easier-to-use and better integrated solution. But if you intend to fly any aircraft without the DJI system, you would probably want to skip the DJI controller and get something else.
LUMENIER AXII ANTENNA UPGRADE
Want to increase the range of your DJI FPV system? Unlike with analog systems, you can’t just crank up the output power. But you can upgrade the antennas. These high-performance Lumenier Axii antennas increase range compared to the stock DJI antennas.
The DJI Air Unit is bigger than analog video transmitters and many modern frames simply can’t fit it. But the overwhelming popularity of the DJI system has frame designers scrambling to build frames specifically intended to carry the DJI Air Unit. Here are a few of the best.
CHEAPEST WORTH HAVING
ROTOR RIOT HD1
The HD1 is based on the community-designed Rotor Riot CL1 frame. It’s been stretched to hold the Air Unit, and it comes with 3D printed parts to mount the camera and antennas.
The HD1 uses a classic 2-plate design, which is simple to build, roomy, and durable. It’s capable of mounting both 30mm and 20mm flight controllers, with an additional 20mm mounting section in the rear. It has interchangeable arms so you can easily swap one if it breaks or if the end gets too scuffed up.
The CL1 was designed to be affordable, and the HD1 continues that tradition. If you’re looking for a basic frame to carry your DJI system securely, the HD1 is the one you’ll buy.
INTRICATE BUT NOT DELICATE
CATALYST MACHINEWORKS BANGGOD
Catalyst Machineworks makes some of the most innovative frames today. In the past, I’ve criticized some of their designs as too complicated for everyday use. But with the BangGod, I think they got it just right. It carries over the features of earlier frames, such as shock-absorbing front end, infinitely adjustable camera mount, and reinforcing front brace. At the same time, it opens up the frame to a more livable 22mm height, with open access for easy maintenance. This is a hell of a good frame, from a fantastic designer who deserves your support.
You should also pick up the 3D printed mount for the DJI antennas.
The link above goes to the 5″ version of the frame, but it also comes in 6″ and 7″ versions if that’s what you’re looking for.
In case you’re wondering about the name, Catalyst got tired of their frames being cloned–sometimes without even changing the name! So they named this frame as a way of thumbing their nose at the cloners. (I suggested they just name it the F. U.)
FLOWN BY THE MAN HIMSELF
When ImpulseRC dropped the original Alien frame, it re-defined what a mini quad frame could be. Now, the Apex puts ImpulseRC back on the map. It’s a low-deck design for centralized weight and neutral, responsive handling. It’s based on the simple two-plate, removable-arm design pioneered by the original Alien, which means maintenance is easy. The Apex comes with accessories like skids to protect the arms when landing (or crashing) and covers to protect the wires from bent props.
DJI users should know that the accessories provided with the Apex are not compatible with the factory DJI antennas. The Apex is designed to be used with after-market SMA antennas and MMCX-to-SMA pigtail wires.
One thing that makes the Apex stand out is that it’s the frame flown by Mr. Steele himself. Although the frame was originally designed to be used with the analog FPV gear that Steele prefers, it still fits the DJI system without compromise.
The DJI Air Unit has a few quirks that make it more complicated to connect to a traditional flight controller. It’s only rated for up to 4S voltage, so the pilots running on 6S must install a hefty voltage regulator to power the unit. And soldering up the wires that connect the Air Unit to the FC can be messy and tedious.
The flight controllers in this section are all designed to work with the DJI Air Unit. They have built-in voltage regulators that can power the Air Unit reliably so you don’t have to think about whether you’re using 4S or 6S batteries. Some of them even have a single plug that connects all of the wires directly to the Air Unit–no soldering required!
The Kakute F7 HDV has all the features you’d expect from a top-tier Betaflight flight controller. A fast F7 processor lets it run all the latest features at top speed. Six hardware-based UARTS for all the peripherals you could want. All UARTS support inversion so Frsky users don’t need to stress about “uninvert hack”. An SD card slot lets you store basically unlimited blackbox logs.
The Kakute F7 HDV has a built in plug that connects to the Air Unit with the included cable. No soldering is required! It’s got an 18-watt voltage regulator for the Air Unit (twice as much as the AU pulls, just to make sure voltage stays rock solid).
Betaflight is great for racing and freestyle. But If you intend to build a quad that holds position via GPS, or that has return-to-home capability, Betaflight can’t do that. The Kakute F7 HDV can run iNav firmware, which is focused on long-range and autonomous flight. In addition, the Kakute F7 HDV has built-in barometer, for precise altitude hold.
The Newbeedrone Infinity30 is the jack-of-all-trades in this roundup. It has a plug that provides no-solder connection to a DJI Air Unit, but it still supports a traditional analog camera and video transmitter.
But if you’ve got glorious DJI HD, then why would you bother wasting space on the FC supporting analog video? Putting DJI on all your builds might be too expensive. The Infinity30 lets you use the same FC in all your builds, whether they use DJI or not.
This flexibility comes at a price. The Infinity30 has an F4 processor, not an F7. This means it can’t run the latest firmware as fast as possible. It also means the UARTS are less flexible and you won’t be able to use as many peripherals at the same time as you could if the board had an F7. The Infinity30 also doesn’t have blackbox logging capability (no SD card or even dataflash chip).