Dirt Cheap F450 iNav test platform

By cjdavies on Jul 18, 2018

12  1,792  13

I wanted to play around with an iNav quad but didn't feel like spending much money, so a combination of obsolete spare parts & the cheapest new parts from banggood resulted in this beauty. Special mentions go to the ESCs with their linear 5V BECs & the separate Sparkfun magnetometer because I didn't check realise the GPS I ordered didn't have one.


Part List


Diatone Q450 Quad 450 V3 PCB Quadcopter Frame Kit 450mm RC Drone FPV Racing Multi Rotor (2 builds)

Flight Controller

Matek F405-STD BetaFlight STM32F405 Flight Controller+Matek FCHUB-6S Hub Power Distribution Board for RC Drone (7 builds)


4 x Afro 20A Muti-Rotor ESC (SimonK Firmware)


4X Racerstar Racing Edition 2312 BR2312 960KV 2-4S Brushless Motor For 350 380 400 RC Drone (4 builds)


FCMODEL Upgrade 9450 Self-locking Propeller With Metal Hub For DJI Phantom 2CW/2CCW (2 builds)

FPV Camera


FPV Transmitter

FX796T-2 5.8G 200mW 40CH Audio Video AV Transmitter With Antenna For FPV Multicopter (2 builds)


FrSky X8R 8/16CH Full Duplex Telemetry With New Antenna (8 builds)


FrSky Taranis X9D Plus 2.4GHz ACCST Radio & X8R Combo w/ case (Mode 2) (42 builds)


FatShark Attitude V2 FPV Headset System w/Trinity Head Tracker and CMOS Camera
See Site

HD Camera

GoPro HERO4 Session Video Camera GPCHDHS-102

Misc Parts

5V 12V Adjustable Voltage Dual BEC Output Board Only 1g for RC Drone FPV Racing (2 builds)

Misc Parts

8M Ublox M8N GPS Module for APM Pixhawk CC3D Naze32 F3 Flight Control for RC Drone (4 builds)

Misc Parts

SparkFun Triple Axis Magnetometer Breakout - HMC5883L
See Site

Video Receiver

Aomway DIV006 V4 DVR 5.8G 64CH Raceband FPV Receiver Built-in DVR w/ Auto Save Function
See Site

Radio Module

FrSky R9M 900MHz Long Range Transmitter Module for FrSky R9 Series (54 builds)

Soldering Iron

Hakko FX888D-23BY Digital Soldering Station FX-888D FX-888 (blue & yellow) (19 builds)
Show stores (7)


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Savi-AVSS   Jul 12, 2019  

How do you power up the FC if a DJI Flamewheel F450 is being used as the PDB?

cjdavies   Jul 12, 2019 

I used a small 5V regulator (I added the link to the Misc Parts section).

Mechris   Jan 25, 2019  

Wondering if you're still flying this thing and if so, would you mind sharing your PIDs. I just put together a very similar platform to mess with inav and it has some terrible low frequency oscillations. Thinking I need to lower the "I" values quite a bit from the defaults.

cjdavies   Jan 30, 2019 

I've not flown it since I first built it, it didn't fly particularly well on any of the iNav presets & I never got around to tuning manually. I'm planning to put Arducopter on it (which is supported on some miniquad style F4 FCs like the Matek F405-STD since Copter 3.6) to see if it flies better, especially after an AutoTune, or whether the frame is just too flexible :3

jtm2191   Sep 17, 2018  

Looking great! Exactly what I'm planning to build. What kind of weight does it lift?

cjdavies   Oct 04, 2018 

The power train is essentially the same as a Phantom, so a small action camera + gimbal is the realistic sort of weight you'd want to lift.

Whiffles   Jul 19, 2018  

Awesome! That really makes me miss my F450. How well does it hold position?

cjdavies   Jul 21, 2018 

Maiden'd today in 20mph wind & position hold seemed fairly decent but altitude hold was iffy - not sure if it was the barometer, the tune or the hover throttle/deadzone/etc. settings. Just happy it flew, as the last thing I flew (Pixhawk 680) made it 6ft before faceplanting the ground :3

Amethyst FPV   Aug 08, 2018 

You got foam on the baro? Wind affects it a lot if it isn't covered in foam/

cjdavies   Aug 13, 2018 

Yup, baro is on the bottom of the FC & there's a piece of foam sandwiched inbetween it & the frame. I'm going to wait until I get the chance to fly on a calm day before I make any further judgements.

kozzie   Jul 31, 2018  

so I have a f450 with an old DJA naza FC that i want to swap out for an f4 fc and run inav. I was wonndering how did you manage to mount the FC to the f450 plate. The existing slots dont seems to line up with a stanard 36x36 FC.

cjdavies   Jul 31, 2018 

Mine is a cheap Diatone clone of the F450 & has 30x30 mounting holes.

rolyteamfly   Jul 25, 2018  

Hey, I like your test platform build! I'm looking to test a new Pixhawk too. You've inspired a very similar build, I found a necessary upgrade in reliability for Motors, ECS, and props for just about $45 for anyone else who's got a few more dollars to play with: http://store-en.tmotor.com/goods.php?id=726

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