As the name suggests, the FPV drone power distribution board (PDB) is a printed circuit board used to distribute the power from the flight battery to all the different components of the multi rotor.

FPV Drone Power Distribution Board (PDB) is a printed circuit board

As the name suggests, the FPV drone power distribution board (PDB) is a printed circuit board used to distribute the power from the flight battery to all the different components of the multi rotor. Before PDB became common, it was necessary to use wires to connect all the different components, which often turned out to be like an octopus and weighed a lot because there was a lot of copper and solder joints in the wires.

Different manufacturers offer many different PDBs, most of which offer very similar features. At first, the PDB was very simple, just a thick copper plate with inputs and multiple outputs. With the increasing demand of various components for regulating voltage, manufacturers have begun to install voltage regulators on the distribution box, so that the voltage sensitive components can obtain reliable, stable and clean power. This is particularly important when dealing with video components, which are usually sensitive to electronic noise generated by motors and ESC during flight.

PDB is one of the simplest components on multi rotor, so it is also one of the easiest components to choose. There are three points that should be considered when selecting a PDB for your multi rotor:

Size and layout

Voltage and current capability (on board voltage regulator)

Additional functions

It is necessary to have a good idea of what components you will use in your multi rotor build to ensure that the PDB you choose will have the right functionality and be able to support the power consumption of all components.

Size and layout of FPV drone distribution board

Size is relatively straightforward, but it's worth mentioning that PDBs come in various shapes and sizes. Some are dedicated for certain frames, while most use the 30 × 30 standard installation.

Depending on the framework you choose, there may be a custom PDB available that can replace the carbon components in the framework and greatly simplify the cleanliness of wiring and construction. If your framework does not have a dedicated PDB available, you need to choose a PDB that suits your intended build. This requires a good idea of the other components you plan to use.

Take a look at the layout of the pads in the PDB and check if they are in a meaningful place. What do you think of the components built by Dongfang? If you choose a layout of the distribution board of a useless UAV that is closest to your goal, then the final result will be as clean and lightweight as possible. If you choose one with a bad layout, you'll end up running the chessboard with many wires and some benefits, having a PDB will lose.

One of the most important features of the layout is to consider that the ESC lines will be connected after the main battery lines, which are often the thickest and heaviest wires in the multi rotor, if you can keep these as short as possible, your build will be lighter. Generally, the cleanest construction is to find the PDB with ESC pad near the corner.

Voltage and current capability (on board voltage regulator)

When choosing a PDB, you need to find out the voltages that your components need and make sure that the PDB you choose has a regulator that adapts to these voltages. By doing so, your build will be as clean as possible, both aesthetically and electrically. Typical components that require a specific voltage are FPV cameras, video transmitters (vtx), receivers, and optional add ons such as LEDs.

Voltage

Note that some receivers need 3.3V, while others need 5V. Some popular vtx can be limited to 5V, others can be limited to 12V input, if you want to use 4S 14.8V flight battery, you must adjust it. It's becoming more and more common that vtx can directly handle the voltage from the flying battery, so it's important to check (click here to see the article about vtx).

Another thing to consider when choosing PDB is the characteristics of the flight controller (FC) you plan to use. Many clubs now include the voltage regulator receiver (Rx). If the FC receiver you want to use provides a regulatory authority, there is no need to have two in your multirotor construction. Also pay attention to what the input voltage of FC is, some FC will now accept battery voltage, and pay attention to adjust the voltage of internal components, which means you may not need to output 5V on your FPV drone distribution board.

Current features

The power provided by the voltage regulator on the power distribution box is usually limited by the size of the components used. It is important not to exceed the maximum rated current, otherwise the voltage regulator will overheat and may be damaged. This is very dangerous because it often happens in flight and the components connected to the pressurizer will stop working, which often leads to complete video failure or loss of control.