Drone Anatomy 101

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All drone components are crucial for a good and safe flight. By gaining more knowledge of the components of a drone, you will gain more confidence as drone owner / pilot. After reading this article you know which drone components you’ll need to check on a regular basis and which parts are easy to replace or upgrade.

Want to hire drone? Even then you will after reading this article are a more confident pilot!

Acquiring knowledge of the components will also help you in carrying out your drone repair. So you can easily track down and solve problems that you may encounter as a drone owner. In this article you will find a list of all drone parts that you’ll find on any modern consumer and professional drone!
A dutch version of this article can be found at dronechecker.nl

A – CW propeller

CW stands for Clockwise.

These propellers rotate clockwise and pull the drone in the air.

Most drone propellers are made of plastic. However, there are propellers of better quality. These are usually made of Carbon Fiber.

Currently we see a lot of changes / improvement in propellers. Better propellers will provide a more stable flight, better control and longer flight time. Also, more and more attention is paid to propellers with low noise.

Tip: Always check the propeller for flight! Flying with bad propellers is dangerous for the environment and the drone itself.

B – CCW propellers

CCW stands for counterclockwise.

These propellers rotate counterclockwise. Because right two motors rotate clockwise and two left motors rotate counterclockwise, it creates an upward force. This also ensures that the drone is not spinning. Because the direction in which the motors are running alternate with each other, the moments are, or the forces of the motors canceled by each other.

Same goes for the “CCW propellers” and “CW propellers” even these are available in plastic and carbon fiber.

C – Brushless motor

Perhaps one of the most important components are the drone brushless motors. Drones almost always make use of brushless motors. These are simply more efficient, more reliable and quieter than motors with brush.

The development of these motors is still ongoing. DJI patented on a newly designed magnet that fits around a brushless motor so that the engine works more efficiently. The DJI Inspire 1 is an example of a drone that uses this new magnet technology.

D – Engine mounting

These usually sit on drone frames. This is an easy mounting place for brushless motors. Sometimes this part of the frame is combined with a simple attachment for Landings-legs. With a unstable flight, it may that an motor is not properly mounted. Minor deviations can cause a unstable flight.

It is therefore very important that the motors are securely mounted.

E – Landing gear

Designs that need high ground clearance may adopt helicopter-style skids mounted directly to the body, while designs with no hanging payload may omit landing gear altogether.
A drawback of this landing gear is that the view of a camera with drone sometimes can partially block.

Some high-end drones like the DJI inspiring one have a retractable landing gear in order to overcome this problem.

F – Arms

Shorter booms increase maneuverability, while longer booms increase stability. Booms must be tough to hold up in a crash while interfering with prop downdraft as little as possible.

G – Frame

This is the central point of the drone. From this the arms are connected. The small space in the middle of the frame is intended for the installation of the necessary components (Flight controller, batteries, cameras, sensors, etc).

H – Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)

Converts DC power to three-phase voltage for powering the brushless motors. Electronic Speed Controllers are essential for any drone with brushless motors.

I – Flight Controller

When we talk about drone parts, the Flight Controller more or less the brain of the drone. It processes incoming data from the receiver, GPS, monitoring battery and other sensors. Also, the Flight controller controls the speed of the brushless motor via the ESC’s.

Without a Flight Controller, you can’t get the drone to fly.

J – GPS Module

Often combines GPS receiver and magnetometer to provide latitude, longitude, elevation, and compass heading from a single device.

K – Receiver

Often a standard R/C radio receiver unit. The minimum number of channels needed to control a quad is 4, but 5 is usually recommended.

L – Antenna

Depending on your transmitter this could be a loose wire or a so-called Helical “rubber ducky” type.

M – Battery

Lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries provide the most current and power. Also, they compared to other batteries have improved life.

Tip: When you fly, it is convenient that you take more than one battery with you. Always read the instructions carefully for storing and recharging the batteries for safe and longterm use.

N – Battery Monitoring

The Flight Controller collects in flight information on the battery level, which can transmit these data to a display that is visible to the pilot. If you plan to build a drone this part is a must have to your list of drone composite parts.

O – Gimbal

Pivoting mount that rotates about 1, 2, or 3 axes to provide stabilization and pointing of cameras or other sensors.

P – Gimbal Motor

Brushless DC motors can be used for direct-drive angular positioning, too, which requires specially-wound coils and dedicated control circuitry that have only recently become commercially available.

Q – Gimbal Controller

Allows control of direct-drive brushless gimbal motors as if they were standard hobby servos.

R – camera or a sensor

There are much different options that can be mounted a drone. A consumer drone will now often come with a very good camera. Such as the DJI Phantom 3 , Phantom 4 and the DJI inspiring one .

Drones supplied without camera, but with gimbal are sometimes compatible with GoPro cameras like the Xiro Xplorer V drone .

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