Hi! I’m Lexie (aka MaiOnHigh) and welcome to your FPV essentials! Whether you are a beginner or a pro – a tool bag is an essential part of #FPVlife and every pilot has one. Tool bags vary from one to another, but today I want to talk to you about the essentials that every pilot should always have on hand.
All the links to the mentioned products are in the text.
Now – this toolkit is nothing that you can buy prepared, but it is something that I have customized to my specific needs. What you can buy is the bag itself. I am using the TORVOL sling bag and I enjoy working with it. If you want to copy this entirely or get just a couple of things that you may find useful – check the links. If you think that the Sling bag is a bit too much for you – totally give a try to the TORVOL Freestyle Tool Case.
Now, Even though we will be talking about the toolkit – I would like to somehow split it into categories:
- Drone tools
- Soldering kit
- Screws, cables, heat shrinks
- Spare parts
- Filming accessories
So in this blog post I will explain each tool or add-on and why I consider it as important. Please just keep in mind that sometimes I am taking less or more depending on the type of a trip I am going to. So I will obviously take less spare parts for a freestyle trip, rather than a racing event. I will also finish this list with some ready-made toolkits that you can simply buy and later adjust to your needs.
1. Drone tools
The first tools you will see in my bag are the hex screwdrivers and screwdrivers in general. Wera screwdriver set has everything a beginner pilot needs. I am also having an electric screwdriver and a set of bits here.
You can choose between the SEQURE smart screwdrivers (or the Wowstick, they are both great for FPV). Those are the most used tools in my bag and I need them to disassemble & reassemble my frames. But also to tighten the screws before the flight because believe me – the screws will get loose with time, and you don’t want to risk losing your drone because of that.
Another thing that is always good to have is the hex nut screwdriver set (which is already included in my Wera set).
The next most used tool in my toolkit is the prop tool. Either from ETHIX or any other provider. It is easily the most versatile tool you can get when it goes to all-in-one tools, but I think it’s comfortable for changing props.
Another thing that I have in here are two types of tweezers. Some of the cables need them angled, while the others work well with straight tweezers. i use it mostly for soldering or plugging in small plugs such as camera plugs. Those are absolutely needed for soldering as you should not touch the cables with your bare hands. Things can get hot.
Next off we have pliers which are needed to cut cables, zipties etc.
Another thing I need in my toolkit are needle nose pliers, which I use for holding bigger things such as frame parts, big screws that got stuck etc.
An absolute lifesaver is the smokestopper. Whenever you change something on the drone. Either because you had a bad crash on the race or had to exchange something in the field. Smokestopper will make sure you won’t fry the quad in rush. This tool is saving you from shorts and lets you know if everything is correct by a green light or a red light.
This is something I usually keep in my LiPo bag just for convenience but it’s a battery checker. I am using a ISDT battery checker to check on my cells health, battery status and if needed – to use the remaining juice to charge my cameras or phone through the USB port, which has proven very useful more times than I can count.
2. Soldering kit
I know that for many beginners: Soldering may be scary, but! We have just recently made a video about how to solder, so be sure to check it out here.
My soldering kit is actually all thrown into my essentials bag. The soldering iron I am using is the TS-100 or SEQURE SQ-001 Soldering Iron. I am just plugging it in to my 6S lipos (and you can plug 3S+ Lipos to it) and it’s good to go.
Along with that I have a flux pen. And for those of you who don’t know – flux is helping to transfer the heat better and makes your soldering smoother and looking more sleek as well. I am also keeping a solder tube which is really handy on races and on the field because it’s light, clean and easy to work with. I do have a little stand with a sponge in it, and I should probably use it more often… but I do solder on my knee a lot which is something you should not do. Now this takes us to the third category of essentials.
3. Screws, cables & heat shrinks
I think those need their separate category because maintaining the right amounts and setups of those may be challenging. And those seemingly boring things are having a crucial role in your drone. You don’t want stuff to be loose or flopping around in your quad because that causes more vibrations in the quad. Always make sure that everything is fastened and tightly secured to avoid jello, vibrations and crashes.
First of all – electrical tape. This is the easiest way to keep things secured and fastened to the frame. I am actually using it to hold my VTXs on the top plate, while securing them from carbon. I am also using it on race wires, so they don’t touch the carbon either: Because you don’t want that!
Since we are on tape I am also having a double-sided tape that works great for things that have to be separated or a bit higher, when you don’t know where to put it such as receivers.
I am also having the dual-lock tape but I am holding it in my Lipo bag from Torvol as I am using it for the Lipos and the bottom/top plate. Wherever I want my batteries to be. Just to be sure that batteries don’t cause extra vibrations or get lost in flight.
The next on my list is a box of screws. I am using this separated small compartment box I got off a random store to separate various sizes of the screws for a quick repair.
Zipties! I recommend having small and big zipties for various reasons. The bigger ones are usually stronger and can hold bigger parts, while the smaller zipties work well with smaller components, loose cables etc.
Heatshrinks: For the moments when you have to connect two cables, or secure a component – heatshrinks are an absolute must. I know that many people use those with heat guns but I am usually jus walking around the race looking for people with a lighter or have one on me when going somewhere alone. Heatguns are just too big and heavy for me.
4. Spare parts
Now that we are done with the tools and essentials – let’s go to my spare parts bag.
I am usually taking it for racing events only and it consists of everything I may need to repair on the race. Basically this bag has a racing drone worth of parts, in case of emergencies. What you can find here are motors, spare ESC, FC, LED straps, VTX, VRX, cameras, camera lenses, antennas, frame parts, and much more. For freestyle trips I usually take just the antennas, maybe one spare motor, spare arm and a camera, but I just throw them into a small baggy or something. The racing bag is the only specially prepared setup.
5. Filming accessories
I am a YouTuber and as you may imagine – having the good content is my priority when it goes to anything I do. Therefore, there are a couple of things I always have with me for all the drone related trips and events…
- SD card holder
- ND Filters for Gopro from TBS or Neewer It’s a great way to protect your lens, plus it works like sunglasses for your cameras, minimizing the sun reflection, getting better colors and footage as well as just making sure that the light doesn’t do too much to your footage.
- If I am going for a longer trip I also keep some spare batteries for my camera as well as some other filters for it.
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And this is basically all that I have in my essentials toolkit. Leave me a comment below if you think there’s something I am missing out on, or that I should get rid of. Or what do you think is an absolute essential in your toolkit! We are all different and I bet there are so many different toolkits all over the place!
Thanks very much for reading!