While drones are one of the hottest new toys for adults and children, they have actually been around for quite some time. These high-tech toys have been used by clean-up crews, security staff, the government and photographers for several years. Their intriguing designs and advanced features makes them far more desirable than a regular remote-control helicopter.
Modern drones are complex machines with a lot of different uses. While there are dozens of different body types, sizes and attachments, most drones have the same components. Most have tiny little engines and powerful turbines that keep the soaring high above the sky. A GPS tracker and flight-control system allow hobbyists to navigate through the skies. High-quality cameras allow people to easily see everything going on in the sky right on their smartphone.
Each of these components uses the latest technology and fits together perfectly. Whether you are planning on building your own custom drone or just want to know more about how this popular hobby works, here is a quick breakdown of each part and the role it plays.
- Flight-Control System – While this device may sound like a small disc, it actually takes up most of the space on the drone. Each system includes everything you need to fly, from the peripherals t the modem. There are several different varieties of systems based around the type of drone being used. Like any central computer system, these parts can be built from scratch, but most people choose to purchase a kit.
- Sensors – Making sure the drone is flying correctly is important. Sensors are used to identify potential risks around the drone during flight. Everything the sensors pick up is processed by the flight-control system. While the user does see some sensor data, most of these details aren’t reported or tracked.
- GPS Tracking – Almost all drones have some form of GPS, even toys. In order to track the movement of the drone, a small GPS chip is included somewhere in the design. The technology enables several features, but it is mostly used by the flight-control system to see how high the drone is off the ground.
- Receiver – In order for the drone to receive commands from an external controller, a receiver needs to be included in the design. The receiver is tuned to a specific frequency so that it can communicate with the remote control. Range can very quiet a bit, but sophisticated systems can allow drones to be miles away from their controller. Most toys use short-range frequencies, similar to a walkie talkie. Advanced hobbyists may work towards achieving a farther range, but they should be prepared to pay the price.
- Transmitter – This is the part the hobbyist is using to control the drone. Most toy drones use a small plastic controller with simple commands. Higher-end models may turn the user’s smartphone into a transmitter. There are several different ways to set this system up, depending on how you want to control the device.
- Electric Motor – While gas-powered motors aren’t unheard of, especially in larger drones, most toys and household drones keep it simple. Small electric motors power the drone and keep everything moving while in flight. When not in use, simply turn off the drone and attach it to a charging device. As you can imagine, there are hundreds of different choices when it comes to drone motors, each one offering different amounts of power and range.
While there are many other components to drones, such as bases, propellers, and casing, the key features custom drone makers are worried about are listed above.
Build from Scratch or Just Buy?
People who are trying to get into the hobby should look for a complete kit or a cool drone like the one at http://www.rotorcopters.com/traxxas-latrax-alias/. There are several small components of a drone and the cost of building from scratch can quickly add up. Knowing a little more about how your new drone works will allow you to make custom upgrades later.
Drones can be a great hobby for people of all ages. Whether you are trying find an interesting way to spend the day or want to show off to your friends, knowing the inner workings of your drone can help make it happen.