Whether you’re an aspiring drone hobbyist, land surveyor, wildlife tracker, or construction site mapper, picking the right drone for what you intend to use it for is crucial for your enjoyment and success. And as you can probably guess, not all drones are made the same, since not all drones are meant for the same purpose. That being said, understanding the basics of drones and their parts is essential to choosing the right model. This will not only help you pick the right drone but also shop for drone replacement parts when your current ones wear down or you’re looking for upgrades. Here are all the parts that play a major role in the performance of drones.
Standard or Tractor Propeller & Pusher Propeller
This propeller is located at the front of the drone, and it pulls it through the air like a tractor. While many drones look more or less the same, no matter what angle you look them from, there’s always a front and back. Drone propellers are made of either plastic or carbon fibre. Some people add drone propeller guards which are essential when flying near people or indoors. These parts are prone to innovation, and quality designs assist in longer flying times and smoother flying experiences.
The pusher propeller, on the other hand, is located in the back of the drone and it pushes it forward, hence its name. These contra-rotating propellers cancel out motor torque during stationary flight. Again, they can be made of plastic, with higher-quality propellers being made from carbon fibre. You can also buy guards for this propeller as well.
Most drones use brushless electric motors, which are the most efficient, reliable and quiet type of electric motors. Motor design is one of the most important things, as the more efficient they are, the more battery they save and provide you with more flying time, which is what every operator wants. It’s important to examine your motor frequently and make sure it’s free from dust and clean overall. Listen to your drone and get to know how it sounds. Once you start hearing weird noises, it’s probably time to go to a drone replacement parts store and get a new motor.
Sometimes, the motor mount is part of the UAV frame, or it’s built into the combination fittings with landing struts. These parts are easy to replace on most drones, and you should frequently check the mounts and areas close to the motor for stress cracks. If there are stress cracks and your drone is under warranty, you can send it back to your vendor and have it fixed. You should examine the motor mount as soon as you get your new drone, as sometimes the screws on it can be too tight and crack the frame.
Some drones that require high ground clearance adopt helicopter-style skids which are mounted directly onto the body, whereas others, that have no hanging payload may not feature any landing gear whatsoever. Many fixed-wing drones that cover large distances don’t have any landing gear and they still land perfectly fine. However, most drones have landing gear, and higher quality models feature retractable gear which allows for a 360° view when flying in the air. If your budget allows it, opt for a drone with retractable landing equipment. You can also buy leg height extenders for most newer models, which are beneficial for flying in areas with long grass, for example. Always inspect the landing equipment after tough landings, as it protects the sensors, the expensive camera, and the drone overall.
Longer booms improve stability, while shorter booms improve maneuverability. Regardless, the booms shouldn’t interfere with the propeller down shaft and they must be tough enough to hold up in a crash. In many drones, the boom comes as a part of the main body, while in others, definite booms come as a separate part. If the boom is bent, your drone’s flying capabilities will be highly affected.
The main body part is the central hub from which the booms radiate similarly to spokes on a wheel. It houses the mainboards, battery, processors, cameras, avionics and sensors. Most drones aren’t waterproof so it’s important to keep the internal components dry. A hard landing might not necessarily break the body, but the shock that comes with it can easily damage the internal components.
Electronic Speed Controller (ESC)
The ESC is a circuit that has the purpose of varying the motor’s speed, direction and acts as a dynamic brake. It converts DC battery into 3-phase AC power for driving the brushless motor. This part is an essential component of every drone, as they offer high power, frequency and high-resolution AC power to the motors in a compact package. It’s located inside the main frame, and you more than likely would never have to do anything with it. However, there are some drones that can be customised, and they allow you to reprogram the ESC.