The QAV500 FPV Quadcopter Frame by fpvmanuals

May 01, 2012 Categories: Equipment Review, Featured by 83 Comments

The QAV500 — a purpose built Quadcopter frame for FPV and videography in a 500 size configuration geared toward proficient LOS and FPV pilots. Now shipping worldwide.

Kit Price: $189.99 (w/o landing gear).

Order the new Version 1.2

Build Manual | Videos | FPVLab Thread | Accessories | Needed Building Materials

Frame size details and case ideas.

Share your thoughts and ask questions about this frame in the QAV500 thread at FPVLab



See more videos on the QAV500 YouTube Playlist

Extreme speed, super stable and responsive, and no vibrations in the video picture. (Pilot: Juz)

High quality aerial recordings for commercial purposes. Simultaneous forward and down camn footage in 1080p HD. (Pilot: Dave Slack)

Super stable flight at fast speeds with vibration free 1080p video resolution. (Pilot: Juz)

Stable flight without camera gimbal. (Pilot: Juz)

Looking at the QAV500 during flight performing ‘nose in funnels’ and other maneuvers. (Pilot: Juz)

Flying with hang gliders. (Pilot: K_G)

Pelvouxdrone-shot-one (Pilot: Jerome Walrave)



  • Vibration Isolation Design — The QAV500 is separated into 2 parts: a “dirty” section and a “clean” section. All electronics including flight camera, HD cameras, flight controller, etc. are located on the “clean” part of the frame and are isolated from the “dirty” motor/prop section by custom developed vibration bobbins. Reducing vibrations to the Flight Controller results in smoother flight performance. Reducing vibrations to the cameras results in smoother video quality.
  • 3-Camera Mounts — The frame accommodates 3 cameras: a forward facing HD cam (GoPro), a forward facing flight cam, and a downward facing HD cam (GoPro). The frame can be flown with all 3 cameras in operation at the same time due to a large and unique Lipo mounting area to optimize the CG.
  • Prop Free Video — None of the cameras have any props in view even with 10″ props.
  • Power Distribution — The QAV500 ships with a power distribution board that provides you an incredible 14 power connections for Lipos, ESCs, FPV electronics, LEDs, etc.
  • Power and flight time endurance — The kit is designed to accommodate large multi-rotor motors in the 40mm stator diameter class like the Tiger MT-4006-13 or HK NX-4008. These motors require a 25x25mm and 19x19mm mounting hole pattern or a unique triangular mounting pattern. The kit’s aluminum arms allow you to mount these motors with all 3 (NX-4008) or 4 screws (Tiger MT-4006) unlike the DJI plastic arms, which only accommodate motors with a 19×16 mounting hole pattern.  The kit is intended to be flown with large 4s Lipos. This power train provides lots of lift and long flight times. These motors and 10″ props provide a hover time of 12 minutes with a 3300mah 4s Lipo and 14:30 with a 5000mah 4s Lipo while still landing the Lipo with 14.2 volts remaining under load (measured prior to landing).
  • Symmetrical Design — Unlike other FPV focused quadcopters, the QAV500 is perfectly symmetrical. The motors are 500mm diagonal from motor shaft to motor shaft and the flight controller is centered at the CG point in the middle of the frame. This ensures that the motors/escs work equally hard and that the FC can apply consistant power to level the frame.

  • Machined Aluminum Arms — The arms are machined from of a single piece of airplane grade aluminum. They start out as a solid block of aluminum and are then ground down by a CNC machine to precise tolerances. They are then anodized to protect the surface. They are strong and have no flex. This one piece design creates a very low profile and reduces parts count and possible failure points. Each arm only weights 53g. The arms have large 45mm mounting plates that accomodate large 40mm stator size multi-rotor motors.
  • Large Payload Area — The area for flight controller and FPV equipment is large and completely covered by a Flight Controller cover. The FC cover also doubles as an optional battery tray.
  • CG Optimization Freedom — The lipo can be moved across a large area of the frame to optimize the CG. This enables flying with different equipment and number of cameras. Other, non-symmetrical fpv frames force you to place the lipo in a fixed position which limits your options on what type of lipo to use. The QAV500 can be flown with 3300mah 4s Lipos but accommodates large 5000mah 4s lipos as well. It supports LOS flying with no cameras or flying with 3 cameras at the same time.
  • Frame Kit Materials – the materials of the kit are light and stiff black G10, milled aluminum, and custom aluminum spacers.
  • Weight — One of the largest and most powerful purpose FPV Quad frame designs, the QAV500 frame weighs approximately 500g. Fully loaded with 2 cameras, 3300mah 4s Lipo, and large 40mm stator motors, the AUW is around 1.6kg.

Needed Building Materials

The below are suggested parts. There are many more choices available which we will try to include here over time as we get feedback from our users on which ESC/Motor/Lipo combo has worked well for them. The one definite recommendation we have is that you should use high quality and perfectly balanced propellers. More than any other part on your build, propellers have a dramatic impact on the amount of vibrations you will experience. Our favorite props are the Graupner E-Prop 10×5 and the XOAR 10×6 matched pair (see videos of the XOAR on the QAV500 from user ‘berthrsd‘).

Motor Choices

MotorAprox. CostQualityFlashed ESC ok?DescriptionLink
Tiger MT-4006 (Recommended)$78.00*****Yes (latest SimonK)A 40mm stator motor.Info
FPV Manuals FM-4006$48.99****Yes (latest SimonK)A 40mm stator motor.Info
FPV Manuals FM-4008$38.99***YesA 40mm stator motor.Info
FPV Manuals NX-4008$36.99***Yes (latest SimonK)A 40mm stator motor.Info

Other Parts

ItemRating (out of 5)Source
4 ESCs (esc can not be much higher than 10mm)
Turnigy Plush 18amp****HobbyKing
Tiger 18amp ESC*****GetFPV
4 Propellers 2 CW ("pusher" or "left") and 2 CCW. Get spares! props tend to nick or break often and easily.
XOAR Matched Pair 10x5 or 10x6****GetFPV: 10x5
GetFPV: 10x6
Graupber E-Props 10x5 and 10x5 Pusher*****GetFPV: 10x5
GetFPV: 10x5 Pusher
1 Flight Controller Many choices available.
KK Board****GetFPV
DJI Naza*****GetFPV
Landing Gear
Carbon-Fiber Landing Gear*****GetFPV
"Rib" Landing Gear****GetFPV
Lipo pigtail (XT-60) or HXT 4mm (depending on Lipo)n/aGetFPV
HobbyKing HXT 4mm
4s Lipo (3.0-5.0 amps). We use 3300mah Nano-Tech (HXT)n/aHobbyKing

Test Flight

Test flight with 3 cameras (2 GoPros and one Flight Cam). The GoPros in this video are simply mounted on the stock frame with a bit of velcro and some neoprene tape underneath it.

Vibration Isolation

Vibrations on a multi-rotor cause havoc to the sensitive sensors that are at the heart of every flight controller (“FC”). The FC constantly checks for the smallest of movements to counteract them so that the multi-rotor stays level. Vibrations to your FC are the equivalent of noise and static in your FPV video signal. In addition to the negative impact on your FC, for FPV and videography, vibrations negatively impact your recorded video signal and disturbs your flight camera picture. The QAV500 was designed to reduce vibrations to the FC and your cameras by separating the frame into “clean” and “dirty” parts which are separated by custom developed vibration mounts. Finding a way to decouple the vibrations coming from the motors/props to cameras and the FC is one of the most compelling aspects of this new platform.

Prop Free Video

The QAV500 accommodates 3 cameras. All of these cameras are mounted on the “clean” part of the frame and do not show any props (10″ prop is the recommended prop size).

Long Flight Times

With high quality motors (like the Tiger MT-4006), 10″ props, and a 5000mah 4s Lipo, you can achieve 14:30 flight times.

Center of Gravity Optimized

The frame was designed to accomodate large 4s lipos and use them as your counter balance to create a 100% vertically balanced design even with the GoPro and flight cam sitting all the way at the front of the frame. You move the lipo forward or backward to zero in on your CG.  The frame is horizontally balanced as all the equipment sits in the center of the frame. The “Z” axis is balanced by moving the Lipo to the prop line. The lipo can also be positioned on the top of the FC cover when flying without any cameras (LOS) or with an optional, downward facing GoPro HD cam (at the back of the frame).

Recommended Build

The QAV500 is designed to allow you to cary a lot of equipment and provide you long flight times. While you can build the QAV500 with any out-runner motor you’d like that can swing a 10″ prop and produce about 1kg of total thrust, we recommend Tiger MT-4006 720KV or HK NX-4008 620kv motors with 10″ Graupner E-Props, 18A Plush ESCs and a big 4s Lipo (3300mah or larger).

Different thrust configurations for the NX-4008 with 3s or 4s and 9″ and 10″ props.

Prop Size3s Lipo4s Lipo
1 Motor4 Motors Total Thrust1 Motor4 Motors Total Thrust

Identify your videos that are flown with the QAV500 with the video logo or full screen video slide.

Download: Logo | Full-Screen Slide



83 Responses to : The QAV500 FPV Quadcopter Frame by fpvmanuals

  1. pglennon says:

    Ok, this looks like a very well thought out frame. When can I order one?

  2. I’ll take one as well. Looking forward to the ordering info.

  3. Wreck_nz says:

    Looks interesting. Will this fold down for easy transport?

  4. oddcopter says:

    Really cool looking frame Tim. It’s a quad too! I bet this is a hot item. Mind if I use your pic on my blog?

  5. Pingback: QAV500 FPV Quadcopter Frame » Odd Copter

  6. vo2fpv says:

    Will the kit have some sets of legs?

    • Tim Nilson says:

      The landing gear for the kit will be optional and we will offer a couple different landing gear choices to start. I did that because people may want to hang things of the bottom of the kit and would need custom or at lease taller LG options.

      • vo2fpv says:

        Thanks Tim. Can’t wait to see the landing gear. The frame itself is an awesome design!

  7. wdelarme says:

    What control board are you using in the prototypes?

  8. Slavik says:

    I am interested in the same question , about space for DJI Wookong ?
    The arms can be anodized in a different color?

    • Tim Nilson says:

      There is plenty of space to accomodate the Wookong, but I have not tried it myself. The arms are currently only clear anodized to show the aluminum color. We may offer different colors at some point in the future. Which color are you interested in?

  9. Slavik says:

    Front – Red !

  10. logicwins says:

    Tim, Can you shoot me an email? I made a mistake on my order – forgot to add the landing gear and I dont want to pay shipping twice..!

  11. Rick says:

    Really Nice, I see one or two (lol) in my future.

  12. JD says:

    Tim, I’m one that pre-ordered the frame. Can’t wait to see it. Also I have this kit that I purchased and it’s sitting awaiting for the QAV500 frame. I plan to install this kit on the QAV500 frame. Do you think this kit would be good enough being the frame that came with it is a bit smaller than the QAV500 frame. I like to stay all Dji product because I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about programming problems with Naza when you start mixing different brand parts with it like esc, motors…etc
    My co-worker was programming his Naza controller with different brand esc and motors, when he installed the blades to do a final check, the quadcopter took off at full speed and luckily his buddy was close by and was able to grab and hold it.Below is the kit that I have. Your frame is a conversation piece at work. Awsome looking frame.Thanks Tim…….JD

    • Tim Nilson says:

      JD — I looked at the kit. I do not know the specs on the 2212 motors. You have to make sure they can produce enough thrust for the QAV500 which is a larger frame than the 450 Flamewheel. It’s larger in diameter and much longer — and therefore heavier. If the 2212 can spin 10″ props (which looks like they can) and can produce around 800g or more of thrust, you should be ok. You might need to fly with a 4s lipo to generate this much thrust and you have to ensure that these motors and the 30amp ESCs support that.

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  14. BrundleFly says:

    Have you considered using CF on the upper two plates, leaving the PDB base plate as it is, of course….?

  15. Bourney says:


    I see DJ (above) is concerned about mixing esc’s and motors with the Naza, you have been using one haven’t you? if so could you please confirm the exact esc’s and motor combo you have been using, I too would be using the Naza, and to know that there is a suitable set-up that wont send the Naza nuts would be good.


    • Tim Nilson says:

      I have been flying the Naza with regular Turnigy Plush 18amp ESCs and Tiger Motor MT-4006 Motors. The Naza has a slight wobble in wind and in altitude mode, but other than that, it’s a great FC and easy to set up.

  16. Bourney says:

    Damn………… I missed out! when do you expect to have stock again?

  17. altereddezignz says:

    Yup i missed out to. Do you think that the Mediatek GPS and
    ArduPilot Mega would work on this? Also i am looking at lifting at the heavist my canon eos xti that weights 800 g or 1.75 pd?

    • Tim Nilson says:

      Lifting that type of camera is not what the QAV500 was designed for. I suggest you consider a Hexa frame with a gimbal.

      • altereddezignz says:

        Thats what i was thinking but since i am using a gp2 and i ahve 2 of them probable just set one to record and one to stills since it is 11MP. that and i have a smaller really nice quality 415g point shoot camera that would only be ruffly 15g more than 2 gopro’s. Well i am waiting on some information from forums since this will be my first ever quad build and alot of this is all greek to me. Thank you so much for the reply.;

  18. Tim Nilson says:

    Stock should be back in the next 10 days.

  19. Pingback: QAV500 released, first videos, and crash reports — fpvmanuals

  20. laboy says:

    what is “tbd” in Source?

  21. ibrahimsaa says:

    from where i can bay QAV500 ?
    please help me

  22. Fredster says:

    Have you considered a possible Octo (QAV1000?) I’m interested in using a DSLR and the weight the multicopter can carry is important to me. How much would you say the QAV500 can reasonably carry?

  23. Jake Wells says:

    Just came over from flitetest. This quad looks amazing. I saw one on Johnny Beavers site a couple days ago. Very nice design and well thought out. Props!

  24. cwozny says:

    I also saw this frame from the FliteTest ad. The quality of this QAV500 is astounding. It’s like the GoPro is just floating in midair!

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  26. Parra says:

    When will you have more stock of the NX4008 620KV Multi-Rotor Motors? You currently have 3 in stock but I’m obviously wanting 4 to go with my QAV500 :)

  27. Jesse says:

    Can I spin 11″ props on this frame? I really need to find a solution for my big propeller problem. Got Tiger Motor 2814-11 710KV on a 4S running and they don’t give enough thrust on 10″.

    And when will the frames be back in stock?

    Thank you very much.

  28. KGflyer says:

    Hi Tim
    I too found your site from Flitetest, the QAV500 looks awesome, exactly what I’ve been looking for in a quad. Have you thought about sending one over to Flitetest for a review. I will likely be ordering one very soon. Quality looks great, nice job!

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  31. TZZDC30 says:

    Why the heck are there so many revisions to this frame? I’m a little annoyed at possibly considering one only to find out there’s a 1.1/1.2/etc out now?

    Cant the little refinements to screw sizes and parts be made prior to actually selling the frame?

    • Tim Nilson says:

      I am always trying to improve our products if possible. If I (or users) find a way to make a part better, we’ll consider it and if it makes sense implement it. Overall, these are small improvements. The threaded mounting holes are just a little bit cleaner, but the frame performs the same with the earlier version of the arms and longer screws with nuts.

  32. kemelos says:

    can you tell me if this motor is a good configuration please
    With a 4S et 1047 prop carbon

    Or I’m waiting.. when you have a stock for your motor

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  34. Adam says:

    Hi Tim,

    I’ve been watching videos on the QAV500 and I am looking at buying one from you. Are you able to send me a parts list with what is included in the QAV500 kit, and also the other items needed to make it fly? I just want to get a rough estimation on the total price. Also, does it come with an instruction manual on how to configure the QAV500 with the other components (Motor, ESC, etc.) ?
    Thanks a lot!


    • Tim Nilson says:

      On this page is a table with needed and recommended parts. On the manual (linked to above) is a list with all the parts included with the kit. The information on how to wire the ESCs, Motors, and Flight Controllers is not included here, but you can find it on the forums that we link to above at the top of the page.

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  36. xrtfg6 says:

    Hi Tim
    Are there any plans for a QAV500 V1.3 in the near future?

  37. Pingback: QAV500 in the French Alps — fpvmanuals

  38. Feiafox says:

    I´m new to Quadcopters and i´m trying to figure out how much i would need to spend to get a complete quadcopter with FPV equiptment. Are you selling a complete set where everything is included?

  39. alexv says:

    Just finished my build. NX4008, 18amp Esc, 3300mah 4S, Arducopter APM 2.5. Did my first test flight with a Panasonic Lumix taped on, the video came out amazingly clear. Had to tune the PIDs to Roll P = 0.1440, Pitch P = 0.165, everything else is default. Solid stability for now. Will tweak more as I gain more experience.


    • Tim Nilson says:

      Thank you! Glad you are having good results.

    • alexv says:

      Did a bunch of flights today. I was getting a little roll wobble and went back to the default settings. I’ve found that Arducopter APM 2.5 is rock solid out of the box with defaults.

      I also learn that people get really irritated when you fly over their property. It’s Santa Cruz, so you know what they are growing ;-)

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  42. lexandco says:

    Hi Tim,

    When will the QAV-500 available again?

    I also need the EZosd which is out of stock.

    Any ideas when they will be back?


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  44. Pylo says:

    Is it possible to get CAD blueprint/plans for this frame. I own CNC and can cut it for myself. I won’t redistribute it. I’m ready to pay for them. Is it possible?

  45. Fenton says:

    Tim, is it possible to have the 500 RTF with the longer arms?

    • Tim Nilson says:

      You’d have to specify that in the comments section of your RTF order. We’ve not done this previously and just need to look out for it.

      • Fenton says:

        I’ve got one on order and you guys are currently building it. I’ve asked Tristan and he told me that I could buy the extra set and he would include them with the order but it didn’t sound like they would be installed. I don’t really need a pair of the short arms and I’m not really excited about having to tear apart the 500 to add the longer arms when it arrives. Can you please help? Thanks

  46. Fenton says:

    The, [HobbyKing Multi-Rotor Control Board V2.1 (Atmega168PA)] HobbyKing Multi-Rotor Control Board V2.1 (Atmega168PA) is still available through HK. However, they have discontinued the USBasp AVR Programming Device for ATMEL proccessors device. I have built your tricopter and I need to flash the control board in order to fly this thing. Any suggestions??

  47. stwaller12 says:

    Newbbie here, I was looking to get one of these frames and have these motors already. RCTimer HP2812-1000kv

    Will these work with this frame? If so, what size props would work with these motors and what battery cell and mAh?


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