Drones are becoming more and more autonomous and easier for owners to control. As a result their being more widely used in industries such as construction. In fact, in the coming year drones are slated to become more of a norm on the construction site. That being the case, many of those in construction are still unfamiliar with drones and their operation. Just like any tool, you should know the fundamental parts and how they work. So I’m going to give you a brief rundown of the fundamental drone components and details you should familiarize yourself with.
1. Quadcopter frame
This is a structure (frame) in which all the other parts fit in. It acts as a skeleton in which different components are placed in such a manner that they uniformly distribute the drone’s center of gravity. Different drone designs have different quadcopter frames structure with a minimum of 3 propeller fitting gaps. They are available in various shapes and sizes and their price ranges from $10 to $500 depending on their quality.
Motors are essential for the propeller’s rotation. This enhances a thrust force for propelling the drone. Still, the number of motors should be the same as the number of propellers. The motors are also fitted in a way such that they are easily rotated by the controller. Their rotation enhances the drone control in terms of direction. Choosing the right motor is essential for the efficiency of the drone. You have to check carefully about various parameters such as voltage and current, thrust and thrust to weight ratio, power, efficiency and speed, and so on.
3. Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
This is an electronic control board that varies the motor’s speed. It also acts as a dynamic brake. The component helps the ground pilot to approximate the height at which the drone is running in. This is attained by gauging the amount of power used by all the motors. Altitude is associated with power drain from the power reservoirs.
4. Flight Control/Board
The flight board makes a log of the takeoff place just in case the need arises for the drone to go back to its takeoff location without being guided. This is known as ‘return to home’ feature. It also determines and calculates the drone’s altitude in respect to the amount of power it consumes.
Propellers are clove like blades structured to create a difference in air pressure. When in motion, they cut through the air creating difference in pressure between the top and bottom of the rotors. The top side is characterized by low pressure as compared to the bottom causing the drone to lift into the air. The price starts from as low as $1 and follows an upward trend depending on their make and model. For example, carbon fiber propellers cost around $50. They are lightweight and durable, which are qualities not present in propellers costing around $10.
6. Radio Transmitter
It is a channeled transmitter and a communicator to the drone. Each channel has specific frequency capable of steering the drone in a certain motion. Drones require at least 4 channels for effective operation.
7. Battery, Electronics, and Power Distribution Cables
The battery acts as the power source to the drone. It supplies energy in all the electronics in the framework through the power distribution cables. Nickel Metal Hybrid or Nickel Cadmium based batteries were first used; however, their use has diminished while the use of lithium batteries has increased. They can store a greater amount of energy than the Nickle Cadmium and Nickle Metal Hybrid. The rating of a typical battery is 3000mAh and 4V. It costs about $10. The electrical and electronic part is a crucial part pertaining to the control and operation of the drone. However, in respect to the purpose of the drone, other components can be either included or omitted. The drone may be functional without these parts, though for multitasking purposes it’s advised to include them.
For video footage, cameras are attached to the drones. Cameras with the capability of shooting and storing or sending videos are available and used in relation to the operator’s taste or budget. Some use their own cameras while the quality conscious use GoPro cameras.
9. Landing gear
This is a structure meant for safely landing the drone. However, it can be exempted since an experienced user is capable of balancing the motors speed for safe landing in emergencies. There are two major types of landing gear. One is fixed landing gear and the other is retractable landing gear.
10. First Person Video
Though it is expensive in comparison to the normal control device interface (transmitter) screen, it gives the user an interactive 3D view experience. The first person view (FPV) gives the user an ultimate feeling of as if the user is flying.
There are two major components of an FPV system. The first one is the ground component. The ground component is also called the ground station. It consists of a video receiver and a display system on the ground. The second major component is the video receiver. The video receiver receives the data by matching the frequency of the receiver with the transmitter present of the drone. The most common frequencies used for transmission of video are 433 MHz, 869 MHz, 900MHz, 1.2 GHz, 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz. Advanced versions of ground components have sophisticated antennas which result in greater image resolution.
The airborne component has a camera and a video transmitter on the drone. These are the basic components of a basic FPV system. However, advanced FPV systems have advanced components and functions. For example, the FPV system can be added with a GPS navigation system. It can also have flight data systems. Further advanced FPV systems have “return home” systems which allow the drones to come back to the position from where they initially took off.
Choosing the right components for your drone according to your requirements is a must. You are the one who is going to fly the drone so you know better. The components are available in abundance from various stores.