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Drone Replacement Parts: How to Choose the Right Gear

Posted by Drone Parts Blog on

Choosing the best drone replacement parts is a key part of your rebuild. Don't miss this guide to give you tips on how to find the right gear.

Keyword(s): Drone Replacement Parts

 

Despite all the political alarmism and sci-fi-esque warnings, drones have gone from being a niche curiosity to one of the fastest growing hobbies in the world.

And it's no wonder why. Who wouldn't want their own futuristic robot helicopter? Especially when you can use them to capture amazing photography and video.

But it's not just hobbyists who are taking advantage. Drones are being used to deliver items, replant forests, and aid in search and rescue efforts.

In a world where drones become more and more commonplace, it's inevitable that drones are going to become damaged.

If your drone needs repairs--or if you want to give it an upgrade--you've likely searched for drone replacement parts. But in such an open-source market, finding the best parts can be difficult.

There are hundreds of people making and selling their own drone parts, so the part you need can get lost in the crowd. Even if you built your own drone from a kit, the maker you got it from might have gone out of business.

In this article, we'll walk you through how to find the highest quality drone replacement parts to get the best possible performance out of your machine.

Come along, as we drop some knowledge.

Basic Drone Parts

No matter the size or number of rotors of your drone, all drones have the same basic components. Here's a rundown.

Propellers

Also called rotors, the propellers are the part that lets the drone fly. They come in almost every size imaginable and are made of plastic, rubber, or a type of metal.

Propellers can be rigid or flexible depending on the material.

Deciding on stiffness and material is dependent on how you use your drone. Rigid propellers are a good choice if you do most of your flying in large, open spaces.

But if you fly in close quarters or areas with lots of trees, you want your props to have some give to avoid damage.

Motors

Just as there's a large variety of propellers, there are hundreds of different motors available.

You want to make sure your motors give you the power you want, without draining the battery too much or adding too much weight to the drone.

Again, you want to choose a motor based on how you use your drone.

If you race your drone, you're going to want a high-powered motor that doesn't prioritize battery life. If you use it for long-range remote exploring, energy conservation is more important than power.

Your motors will also need good mounts to keep them attached to the frame without shaking loose. Low-quality mounts might detach in flight, which will leave you looking for a lot more drone replacement parts.

Landing Gear

What goes up must come down. And when your drone comes down, it needs some quality landing gear to protect it from the harsh ground. Some smaller drones skip landing gear altogether, but it's common on larger models.

There are two main types of landing gear: fixed and retractable.

Fixed landing gear does not move in flight. These can be small legs or landing skids are static bars that hang directly beneath the drone, like a helicopter.

However, some people have noticed that their landing gear can get in the way of a really great camera shot. To avoid this, they opt for a drone with retractable landing gear that tucks up against the body of the drone.

Landing gear must be sturdy enough to withstand damage in the event of a rough landing.

Main Frame

The frame of the drone is often taken for granted. This is the foundation where all the other parts are connected. Many commercial models are enclosed, while kit drones and DIY drones are usually exposed.

You want to make sure that your frame is lightweight yet sturdy.

Electronic Speed Controllers (ESC)

An Electronic Speed Controller is absolutely necessary for precise drone flight. Without an ESC, the motors have two settings: On and Off.

An ESC varies the voltage between the batteries and the motors. This is how you are able to have any control at all over the direction of your drone's flight.

Most store-bought frames already include an ESC, so you likely won't have to worry about it much. Even if you built your own drone, most ESCs come preprogrammed.

If you have the experience (or cockiness) to program an ESC yourself, you can do so with an ESC programmer cable.

Flight Controller

The flight controller is the brains of the operation.

This is the part of the drone that interprets data from your remote control or the autopilot program and tells the rest of the drone what to do.

When you're looking for drone replacement parts to upgrade your drone, you probably won't touch the flight controller. However, if your drone stops responding properly, there's a good chance the flight controller is the issue.

GPS Module

If your drone has any sort of autonomous flight modes--return-home failsafes, waypoint navigation, or autopilot mode--it has a GPS module.

The GPS module communicates with satellites to tell the flight controller where it is. If it goes out of range of your remote control or nears the end of its battery life, the GPS module allows it to return home safely.

Like the ECS and flight controller, most GPS modules do not require any programming.

Receiver and Antenna

In order to receive and interpret data from your controller, your drone needs a receiver and an antenna.

The receiver sorts between all the radio frequencies in the airwaves to focus in on your controller only, while the antenna "hears" the signal.

Antennas are some of the most common drone replacement parts for pilots hoping to expand the range of their drone.

Battery and Monitor

A drone can only fly as long as it has power, so your battery is important. The ideal battery is going to change depending on the use of your drone.

But typically, you want a battery that gives enough power without adding too much weight.

Since you don't want your drone to be stranded when it runs out of juice, you want a high-quality battery monitor as well. A battery monitor will trigger the return-home failsafe if your drone's battery runs dry.

Gimbal

If you use your drone for photography or video, you're going to want a good gimbal.

The gimbal holds the camera beneath the drone and turns it to face your subject.

If you only take snapshots, you don't need an advanced gimbal. However, if you are a videographer, a cheap gimbal can make your footage jerky, or even keep you from properly framing the shot.

There are also smart gimbals that can be programmed to stay focused on a specific object regardless of the flight path of the drone or movement of the subject. This creates stunning shots.

Many drones have built-in gimbals and cameras. If you want to be able to upgrade with drone replacement parts, avoid ready-to-fly models.

Cameras

The first upgrade most people make to their drones is to the camera.

Cameras are easy to upgrade, which is good news for any photographers who want to get stunning aerial shots.

And with the availability of lightweight 4K cameras with built-in live streaming capabilities, aerial photography has never been easier.

But if photography isn't your top priority, there's nothing wrong with purchasing a cheap camera that gets the job done.

Fittings and Brackets

When most people look for drone replacement parts, they tend to forget about the pieces that keep them all together: fittings and brackets.

You can have the highest quality carbon-fiber frame, state-of-the-art prop motors, and a $10,000 camera, but if you're using cheap parts to keep them in place, you could be looking at a costly oversight.

Don't skimp on fasteners. After all, if they fail during flight, the rest of your drone fails with them.

Choosing the Right Parts for Your Drone

Even though most drones have the same basic parts, the purpose of the drones are different. The right drone replacement parts are going to depend on how you use your drone.

Racing Drones

If you use your drone for racing, you are going to want to prioritize speed and power over everything else.

Most drone races are short, so you can afford powerful motors that give a low battery life. You want your props close to each other so you can get better maneuverability.

Since agility is paramount, you need a flight controller with lightning-fast processing speeds and quick response times.

You're going to want to save as much weight as possible. Choose a lightweight frame without an external shell. Get a smaller camera. You might also want to forego landing gear.

It's important that you don't sacrifice durability though. Many of these races can put you in close quarters with other drones. Colissions are inevitable. You want a drone that will be able to take a licking and keep on ticking.

Otherwise, you won't just be looking for drone replacement parts--you'll be looking for a whole new drone.

Cargo Drones

If you use your drones to carry a payload, like for a delivery, speed and maneuverability aren't nearly as important.

You want a large, steady drone with stable motors. Long propeller arms will reduce its agility, but it will make it more stable in flight.

Since it's carrying a large amount of weight, buy heavy-duty drone replacement parts. Larger propellers, a sturdier frame, and industrial strength fasteners will keep your drone--and it's cargo--flying safely.

Depending on where your drone carries its payload, you'll also want to get landing skids with plenty of clearance.

If your drone makes long-distance deliveries, spend a little more for a state-of-the-art GPS module to make sure it doesn't get lost along the way. A larger battery pack will keep it flying longer, even when it's out of your eyesight.

Photography Drones

If you use your drone to get fantastic aerial shots and professional video footage, you are obviously going to want to get a high-quality camera. You want a gimbal that is responsive and moves smoothly. Nothing ruins footage like the jello effect.

While you don't need the sturdiness of a cargo drone, your going to want to prioritize stability on your photography drone. Cheap flight controllers can cause jerky motions that mess with your footage, so invest a little more there.

The type of propellers you want depends on where you're shooting. If you're in a wide open space, rigid propellers are a fine choice. But if you shoot in close quarters, flexible propellers will give you protection against obstacles.

You probably also want to spring for retractable landing gear so your skids don't ruin the shot.

Explorer Drones

For the adventurer who uses your drone as a scout, or for the capeless hero sending their drone on search and rescue missions, your drone needs a combination of agility and endurance.

You won't need to maneuver as quickly as a racing drone, but if you fly your drone through close quarters, you need the maximum control possibility.

Whether you're exploring an abandoned building or the rainforest canopy, a small, agile drone will allow you to avoid obstacles and stay flying.

You also want to prioritize durability. Flexible props are a better choice for drones that can face damage from falling debris, tree branches, or attacks from wild animals.

Explorer drones also need to stay flying for long periods of time.

Since you're far away from your aircraft, you need to prioritize a long battery life, accurate battery monitor, and a state-of-the-art GPS module in case it needs to return to you quickly.

Find the Best Drone Replacement Parts

No matter how you use your drone, you want to make sure that you find your drone replacement parts from a trustworthy seller.

For drone replacement parts for a variety of models and types, turn to Drone.Parts.

Our store is stocked with a large variety of the best drone replacement parts so you can find the right parts for your drone with no hassle.

Stop scrounging through message boards and eBay auctions for drone replacement parts.

Come to us instead, and get back in the air!


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