Tag Archives: reviews

RMILEC Signal Converter V3 SBus PWM PPM

RMILEC Signal Converter Signal Analyzer V3. If you want to test or fly with a SBus receiver without a flight controller the old fashion way, you are in luck; this signal converter is able to convert SBus signal into PWM signal and two-way PPM signal.  It can also convert PWM signal into PPM signal and SBUS signal, or convert two-way PPM signal into PWM signals and SBUS signals.  Amazing!  I will take some video to give you some ideas of what you can potentially use it for, probably more ideas than I can suggest.

Besides debugging signals, we plan to use the FrSky R9 MM, the latest long-range 900MHz mini receiver on a plane, so one option is to use RMILEC signal converter and connect directly to each servo leads.  The RMILEC Signal Converter carries a small footprint, about a size of a SD card.  There is also an older version that incorporate a LiPo alarm of this converter, in that way it also function as a low voltage warning system…

XK A110 Predator MQ-9 EPP Glider 565mm

XK is one of my all time favorite manufacturer that makes ready to fly (RTF) self-stabilized drones.  This XK A110 is modeled after the Predator MQ-9 drone using 3 channels.  XK A110 Predator MQ-9 is very light and uses differential trust, just like a quadcopter, to power the turns instead of using a rudder. Two small propellers, one on each wing. A little disappointing, the back larger propeller is just a dummy prop that only adds some drag.

The pusher propellers are dual-engine powered and rotates in opposite directions to cancel each other out of the counter-torque; that keeps it more stable and in path. Comes built-in a 6-axis gyroscope flight auto-stabilization system with dual rates, allowing me to perform some aerobatics such as loops…

FrSky Taranis X-LITE Review Spring Unloaded

Frsky taranis x-lite

Introducing the FrSky Taranis X-LITE, the ultimate gaming radio transmitter. Made to match the ergonomic modern design of a gaming remote control, this radio transmitter has all the capabilities of a traditional radio and more.

One advantage of this FrSky radio is I can switch out to a R9M 900MHz frequency system for long range, low latency, going as far as 10 km.

First impression is good, it is more refine than anticipated.  The speaker sound is so much more superior than the Taranis X9D .  Equipped with the latest M12 Lite hall sensor gimbals.  Hall sensor gimbals are more precise and durable than traditional gimbals using potentiometers.  The switches may feel a little too small, but for casual flying (not competitive racing), this radio does just fine…

FXT Mars S T71 Micro FPV Camera 1000TVL

Introducing the FXT Mars S T71, easy to setup 1000 tvl fpv camera. In a nutshell, it shows me the voltage and that is a big win for me. The color production and sharpness not so much.

This little camera comes in various colors and displays the voltage balance on screen. Orange and red color is an added advantage to help me locate a lost camera in an open field. Wide-angle, as I can see the cockpit from the wing, on a plane.

Input voltage DC4.8V to 36V allows me to safely power up from the main flight battery or a secondary battery. This camera is super small, about a size of a penny, and lightweight. It is wired ready with a standard JR transmitter signal, ground and power cable. The power cable is separated, so you can power your camera in various ways. However way you decide to power up, keep in mind the screen will display the voltage, a useful feature that is built-in…

F2S Autopilot GPS OSD RSSI All-In-One Flight Controller

Amazing F2S all-in-1 flight controller, I think this is worth sharing.  The F2S coverts your fixed wing planes into a drone with GPS return home.  In addition, it adds all the telemetry information on your screen.  Best of all, no tuning needed.

We configure the F2S on an Eachine Mini Skyhunter Racer for this episode with a Mobius Mini. It does a nice turn on Return Home and circles in a 8 formation upon returning and begins to climb that 328 ft (100 m) preset. I have been flying this plane without Gyro, so at Manual mode, I still retain the full experience and know I can bail out at any time. The Mini Skyhunter is a fast plane, I noticed the Heading Mode seem to zigzag-drift occasionally, other than that, the rest is good so far. I get the most 11 GPS satellites so far. Here is a video of everything you need to get setup.

Pros – can be installed and tested under an hour, multiple flight modes and comprehensive OSD
Limitations or maybe good – little customization or tuning available or needed. Setup by radio, no computer required…

Eachine Mirage E500 VTOL Vertical Take-Off Landing

A vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft is one that can hover, take off, and land vertically. Eachine recently released a budget Mirage E500 VTOL Wing, and this is great venture into the next generation of radio control aircrafts.  When I can take-off and land vertically, I don’t have to worry about a runway.

We received a bind and fly sample to test, and with it includes a basic 3rd party FrSky receiver to complete the tests…

Makerfire Micro FPV Racing Drone

Makerfire Micro FPV Racing Drone is the latest entry into ducted fan micro racers joining the Tiny Whoop™ race. For the value and money, this quadcopter comes Ready To Fly or also available Crazepony the Bind-N-Fly version with DSM receiver.  We received a BNF version from GearBest to test against a Devo 10 Deviation with DSM protocol and the results are good.

Analysis

Micro quadcopters have come a long way, with Jesse Perkins mounting a small FPV camera and video transmitter, showcasing some amazing indoor racing and calling it the Tiny Whoop™. Several manufacturers have since began to introduce their version of affordable ducted fan quadcopters and Makerfire Micro is noted to be a good entry in this category of indoor racing.  The tall propeller guards allows the micro quadcopter to bounce off the wall without damaging the fans (propellers), surviving most crashes.

It is also beneficial to note that when paired with the popular opensource F3 flight controller, manufacturers are able to lower the cost of production.  With a F3 flight controller, pilots can get several flight modes available instantly.

In Rate/Manual/Expert, this mode is the most challenging flight mode which uses the gyroscopes from the flight controller while the accelerometer is disabled .  It allows the best control of the quadcopter, allowing pilots to do some amazing hairpin turns and aerobatics. This will however require some experience and not intended for beginners.

In Angle/Stability mode, the accelerometer is activated. This enables the quadcopter to self-level. If you don’t put in any input, the quadcopter will remain level. This is the mode that is used on the budget entry level quadcopters. It is however a great way for all pilots to practice control and orientation by flying in a number 8 pattern

In Horizon mode, this is a mix between Rate mode and Angle mode. It gives a pilot the best of both modes to perform flips and rolls and yet self-levels when the pilot centers the sticks but with Rate mode at it’s endpoint.

In the early days of racing drone, an inexperienced pilot would suffer a flip of death (FOD), but to the rescue, came “Air Mode”.  In Air mode, pilots will be flying at all throttle levels, so if you chop the throttle, the stability corrections still come into play, even at minimum throttle, allowing the pilot to perform some amazing maneuvers at low throttle rates.

You will have to assign Air Mode as you would to a switch when setting up flight modes within Betaflight.  The suggested best practices to test Air mode are:

  • Arm motors (motors start spinning idling as an option)
  • Enable AirMode with switch (check to ensure no idling windup on ground)
  • Lift off and fly around (motors will never stop in flight even at lowest throttle and self levels)
  • Just prior to landing, disable Air Mode by switch (as a safety)
  • Land and disarm motors

The benefit of using ducted fans is they are fully protected and prevent the fans from causing any damage to walls, as well it is safe enough to be caught by hand!

One of the best kept secret of a Walkera transmitter is the ability to support multiple protocols with opensource Deviation. So if a pilot is flying a selection of models, such as Walkera, Blade, Eflite, Hubsan x4, Parkzone Micro Warbirds, Spektrum planes, you can turn an affordable Devo transmitter into a power house that supports these protocols.  With a Walkera 12E 12 channel radio transmitter selling at $85 versus a Spektrum JRP12 at $1249, you can see the cost benefit of marketing a Walkera Devo 10 or 12E for micro racing drones.

Pilots can easily spend 5 minutes on each flight, setting up and flying. The actual flight may last 3-4minutes. On a Mode 2 radio transmitter, throttle stick is on the left.

Binding the Makerfire Micro to a new radio transmitter can be a challenge, you will likely need two pairs of hands to hold down the bind button, at the same time power on.  However, you only have to do this once.

Once you have your radio bound to the Makerfire Micro, you will want to run some tests within Betaflight Goggle Chrome App.  You will need a USB cable to connect your quadcopter to a computer.  Make sure your throttle is within range, and the receiver is responding in the right direction for all stick movements.

To begin your first flight, power on your radio transmitter first, make sure your throttle stick is at the lowest point. Check to make sure all your switches are up (position 0). Connect your battery to your copter, lay the copter flat on a hard surface immediately.

Move your left throttle stick down to the lowest point and to the right, to unlock (arm) the motors.   The copter is now live.  To lock (disarm), move your left throttle stick down to the lowest point and to the left.  You can change your setup to switches with Betaflight.

Flight Characteristics

The Makerfire is easy to fly on Horizon mode and can be switched to Angle mode or Rate mode.   It accelerates at a high speed, so setting up dual rates is a good idea.  Low rates at 70 scale on 30 exponential is a good start.  It survived all of our indoor and outdoor crashes, which makes this quadcopter a hardy little thing.

Market Segment


Beginners, Indoors, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves,  Budget [$] (PRICE CHECK: $64PNP ■ Mar 2017 Sara’s Pick)

Competitors / Similar Models

Users have considered these 2017 alternatives: Furibee F36s, KingKong Tiny6Eachine E010s, Blade Inductrix

Camera

The camera is a acceptable 520 TVL camera, capable for night flying. See video for results.

Factory Specifications
Flight controller: F3 EVO with STM32 F303 MCU
Receiver: DSM 2.4GHz 8CH
Video transmission: 5.8G 40CH 25mW
Video resolution: 520TVL
Receive distance: 300m
Motor: 615 coreless motors with 65000 RPM
Battery: 3.7V 200mAh 35C
Flight time: about 5 minutes
Charge time: 30 minutes
Charging method: USB

Market Demand Trending

Buy/Sell.  Manufacturers and dealers, these tiny inspired whoops are hitting the market as fast as the first phantom and 350 pros were a few years ago, as hobbyist takes a turn towards micro quadcopters; showing a steady growth in the market.   A snapshot from Grand View Research 2016.

XK A600 DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver

XK A600 with 6G is a 6-axis gyro DHC-2 de Havilland Beaver single-engine, high-wing, propeller-driven airplane. Notably the DHC-2 was designed as a short takeoff and landing (STOL) aircraft, widely adopted by armed forces as a utility aircraft.  XK brings the model A-600 to life with this fun RC electric model of the DHC-2, with 10 minutes of flight time, on an attractive orange and white paint scheme.  ■ dronemission.com

Market Segment

Beginners, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Collectors, Budget $78 (source: GearBest Oct 2016)

What To Expect If This Your First Flight

You can easily spend 15 minutes on each flight, setting up and flying. The actual flight may last 8-10 minutes. On a Mode 2 radio transmitter, throttle stick is on the left.

Power on your radio transmitter first, make sure your throttle stick is at the lowest point.  Check to make sure all your switches are up (position 0). Connect your battery to your plane, lay the plane flat on a hard surface immediately. This will allow the plane to self-level the gyroscope.

Once you have successfully bind with the radio, the sticks come to live.

Practice taking off and landing on a runway using a flight simulator, this will help you tremendously with your final approach.  Use rudder to keep the plane in a straight line and use throttle to control your rate of descent.  Keep in mind the throttle is mixed with the elevator.  More throttle will ascend this plane.  I take-off with 6G but usually find it easier to land in 3d mode on the final approach, because of the mixed-in elevator and throttle

Flight Characteristics

There are two flight modes, Stabilize (6G) and Aerobatics (3D).  You change the modes by pressing down on the aileron right stick.  Since it uses the Futaba® Radio Control Systems, you can easily use a compatible radio transmitter as a substitute.  No mixing is needed, as they are programmed into the flight controller.

You can loop, fly inverted and roll with ease in 3D mode but yet the gyro will keep it locked on course and compensate for any wind.

In 6G mode, the A-600 has it aileron and rudder pre-mixed to provide a smooth and gentle coordinated turn.   Adding more rudder will give you a very sharp turn. When you throttle up, the elevator pitches up gently to ascend, therefore you may find yourself needing to pitch down just a little during landing, as you will need some speed to prevent it from stalling while landing.  Your challenge is to keep the speed as constant as possible and descending as slow as possible without stalling.

In 6G it will not let you exceed 45 degrees angle to perform any aerobatics.

The A-600 handles 10 mph winds well, which allows you to hover in the air for an extended period of time or even fly backwards

Opinions

Xk A600 categorized as a entry level RC Plane, durable, and aerobatic.  In terms of ranking, we would say it is in the top 3 budget favorites in this category as recorded Oct 2016.  A positive recommendation for dealers.  An update to follow.   (Current Picks dronemission.com/top5).

ZEROTECH Dobby 2 Pocket Selfie Drone

The highly anticipated DOBBY is here and in our lab, compact and optimized for photography, taking pictures by voice control and gesture control, assisting users to capture the perfect selfie “Kodak” moment of this generation.

DOBBY Pocket Drone is an AI-powered drone using Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 chipset, piloted with GPS and GLONASS, featuring object tracking and facial recognition. DOBBY can take off by voice control and one click on APP. Selfie lovers can enjoy creative photos from unique perspectives rather than taken by other shooting tools like cell phone cameras.

If you are into smartphone technology Qualcomm comes to mind; anyone who uses Wechat or QQ knows what Tencent can do.  Known to few, the two giant firms are among the core influence to bring ZEROTECH to the limelight with Dobby. However with all that investment backers and publicity behind it, there seem to be an underlying issues uncovered as we take it for several tests.

Eleven Hobby F8F Bearcat 1100mm

bearcat f8f

Lots of buzz about the Eleven Hobby Bearcat F8F recently.  The Bearcat has always been a favorite warbird but few models have been made for it.  Bearcat F8F is one of the best looking and famous wings that served the US Navy.  It was designed primarily as an interceptor-fighter and this model is docile yet commanding presence in the air. It arrived today, tight, protected and double boxed.  For those who are still guessing who is Eleven Hobby, their recent T-28 was very well received. It comes as no surprise to some, as Eleven Hobby shares it’s affiliation with FMS, a leading manufacturer of RC Planes.

First Impression,  the Eleven Hobby Bearcat F8F asssembly was easy and fast, the cuts are precise and snugly fitted, bolt down the wings and horizontal stabilizer with 6 screws and the rest is adding your receiver and programming your radio.  Wingspan is a perfect 1100mm (43.3in) that fits into a typical car boot (trunk).  Optional gluing needed, if you plan to add the wing cannons. It is very tail heavy, but you have some room to move everything to the front. I would not recommend this plane unless you are a experienced pilot, as it is not easy to fly.