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Eachine EV800D Review Ground Station Goggles

Eachine is a popular brand in the drone industry for making quality and affordable goods under a budget, hence appealing to the masses. With FPV in mind Eachine have a created EV800D - cheap goggles for under $100. Another neat feature about this goggle is that it can switch between being a goggle and a portable ground station aka moggle. Without further ado let’s get started.

The Eachine EV800D is the second iteration of the much popular EV800 only much better. The “D” in the EV800D stands for diversity receiver, which means that there are 2 virtual receivers inside the goggles that switch between automatically whichever receiver is having the better strength signal wise.

Imagine you have 2 different brands of sim cards, when moving around one sim may have better strength than the other and we switch accordingly. The same logic applies here.

Unboxing

ev800d-review-goggles

The box contains EV800D (A 5.8Ghz 40CH integrated diversity receiver with DVR) and accompaning 

  • Clover leaf antenna
  • Panel antenna
  • Battery charger
  • User manual
  • Carrying bag for the goggle
  • 3S to DC power cable
  • Wall adapter
  • DC video input cable

Eachine really hit the home run with this goggle. The goggles have pretty cool features that are usually found in high end models; like a diversity receiver and a DVR. The specs are as follows:

  • 5 inch 800X480 crisp LCD panel
  • Screen brightness of 600cd/m2
  • Display ratio of 16:9 and 4:3
  • 3x magnifying Fresnel lens
  • Built in 1200mah 7.4V battery
  • 5.8Ghz 40CH diversity receiver with race band
  • HD DVR recording with up to 720x576 pixel resolution with a class C10 micro SD card
  • Relatively light weight at 362g without antenna
  • 3 way adjustable head strap for a really comfortable fit

Buy the EV800D from: Banggood
Indepth guide on Goggles for FPV

Closer look - First Impressions

Overall for this price point, we are satisfied with what we got. I’d say it is well worth the $100. The charger looks like some cheap Chinese knock off but you can’t expect much for this price point.

Fit around the face

Although the goggle seems comfortable wearing on the face light was leaking from the nose and around the sides of goggles. A little foam to block out the leakage from the nose would have been nice.

ev800d-foam-quality

Another neat thing is the removable face foam. Over time after continuous usage the foam tend to get smelly with sweating and it’s nice to find some replacement foam.

Build quality & Design and comfort

The material with which the goggles are made feels nice in the hands but smells like cheap plastic. The head straps are flexible and seem to do pretty good job of holding the goggles in place but they are not enough.

After a few minutes they seem to sag with the weight of the goggles. If you wear spectacles then you will feel some discomfort after some time. This is where the EV800D, with a fixed focal length of the Fresnel lens has a minor disadvantage.

Though not everyone is gifted with perfect vision, people wearing spectacles might find the video not that pleasing. 

ev800d-moggles-buttons

The buttons for the OSD and the menu screen is placed at the front of the goggles. You can reach out for the buttons with the goggles on your face.

Also the buttons need some practice of getting used to operate while trying to use with the goggles on. But it will come by practice and continuous usage.
The other thing to notice is the cheapo battery charger that comes with the goggles.

If you’re planning to use your laptop charger you will be disappointed to know that the goggles use 2.5mm connectors instead of the 3.5mm connectors. This is kind of a let down from the part of Eachine and kind of weird not to incorporate the standard connectors.

Operating frequencies

ev800diversity-operating-frequencies

Diversity receiver

Diversity basically means that there are 2 virtual receivers working together. The video switching that is displayed on the screen is automatically done by the receiver, based on the signal strength of the receivers.

The receiver with the higher signal strength gets displayed. The quality of the receiver found on this goggle is not top quality but it gets the job done.

In comparison to my Quanum diversity the video quality difference was very much noticable.

Also the stock antennas included are pretty good. Though you can’t complain at this price point, it is still a downside for this goggle.

Eachine also included Auto scan feature to make the life of the FPV pilots easier.  It automatically scans all the 40 channels and locks onto the signal with the strongest strength. This eliminates the need to manually scroll through every channel.

Convertible Ground Station Goggles

As mentioned earlier the goggle detaches, serving 2 purposes- one as a goggle and the other as a ground station.  The cool thing about the ground station is that you can mount it on a tripod stand with a 6mm hole on the bottom of the goggle and let others give some action of FPV.

You can also start off into FPV by mounting on a tripod stand. You can get a feel of the orientation of the drone and start with the real FPV afterwards. The display is bright enough to be visible outdoors. So it should do ok when mounted on a tripod.

eachine-moggles

DVR- Recording made easy

This is where the EV800D really stands out from the rest of the crowd. DVR stands for digital video recording. This neat feature allows you to record everything the goggles displays on the screen. 

Though external DVR recorders are available, they add a few miliseconds of latency, 

The DVR feature eliminates the need for a HD recording device on the drone itself thereby reducing the weight of the drone. It also helps to recover a drone in case one is lost by looking at the DVR footage.

Although it records video getting displayed on the screen, it also records the loss of footage (known as static). The recorded video is also of lower quality when compared to a standalone HD recorder present on the quad.

LCD display  -  Image quality

The 5 inch display is crisp and bright. The OSD screen helps to adjust the brightness and other parameters. Long pressing the SRC menu button on the goggles opens up the menu screen where you can adjust brightness, contrast, sharpness and the aspect ratio.

The Fresnel lens which has 3X magnification factor gives the image a more immersive feel. I remember my first time wearing a FPV goggle, I was disoriented and lost my balance waving my hand trying to reach the object LOL.

The battery doesn’t last long, as claimed by Eachine. The company claims to get a 2 hour battery life. In reality it is more like an hour and a fifteen minutes.

Battery is 1.2Ah, down from the 2Ah from the previous generation, maybe it was in attempt to reduce the weigt of the goggle as much as possible. 

So I’d recommend charging the battery more often, depending on how much you fly.

The goggle also has a video input port on the side. If you are not satisfied with the video quality from receiver, you can always use an external receiver. Many external diversity receivers are available that offer fantastic vide quality.

Pros and Cons

  • Very affordable at $100
  • Built in DVR
  • High quality 5 inch display
  • Ground station modularity
  • Auto Scan
  • External video receiver option
  • Battery duration
  • Weighty at facefront
  • Face foam pad cannot be removed, only replaced

Conclusion

When compared to the older versions the EV800D has some useful features added to an already good beginner’s goggles. The diversity receiver and the DVR feature are a neat addition.

If you are a beginner looking to get into FPV and don’t want to spend a good chunk of cash in the process, this goggles is the way your best choice. The EV800D is affordable and has fair quality. Even though this goggle has some cons, they are outweighed by the pros and I would def. recommend it for a beginner.

Hope you enjoyed reading and helped you in some way in getting some understanding of a good beginner’s goggles. Thank you for reading all the way to the end.

Contributor: Mr. Naidu

Happymodel Mobula 7 Review, Setup and Flight Test

I am really looking to receiving the Happymodel Mobula7 “Power Whoop”, The Winter in the UK makes flying FPV quite hard for a number of reasons (not only the cold weather, but also the wind rain and snow), I can’t wait to get more stick time with one of these new breed of Power Whoops.

This year however instead of their trusty 1s brushed they have had for the last few years, they now have a totally different set of beasts available to them:

2s Brushless Whoops, lovingly called “Power Whoops”.

The Mobula 7 from Happymodel is the a 2s Power Whoop that has taken the FPV community by storm in the Winter of 2018. Given the Poor weather in the northern hemisphere, a lot of people are trying to get their FPV fix from the new range of “Power” Whoops (Brushless Tiny Whoop style Drones that can run on 2S batteries). The Mobula 7 is classed as one of the best in its class.

The Mobula 7 features:

  • 75mm frame
  • 5 amp ESC able to run Dshot600
  • F3 Processor
  • 0802 1600kv Motors swinging 40mm props.
  • Smart Audio (depending on your receiver)
  • Can be run on 1s or 2s.

I am very keen to see how this performs both indoor and outdoor and compare it to my  Betafpv 65s.

Get the Mobula 7 on Banggood, it's currently on discount.

mobula-7-vs-betafpv

In this Review I will be taking a Mobula 7 through its paces and comparing it to my Betafpv 65x, which is a 10mm smaller in frame size but has a similar spec.

Does this frame stand up to the Hype? Is is Rugid enough for a indoor quad? Is it to powerful? And Most importantly is it fun? Let find out.

What's in the box?

I am reviewing the Mobula 7 Standard with an EU Receiver (Frsky XM+) this is the more premium offering and you get more in the box. There is a Basic Version, which is slightly cheaper has only a USB battery charger.

mobula 7 unboxing

First impression when opening is the box is very positive, everything is nicely set out and you even get a proper set of instructions that take you through how to bind to your Transmitter (The same cannot be said for other suppliers).

You get a decent 6 channel charger which can either be powered from a Lipo or from a 12-volt power supply. You have 2 options for the C rating you charge at. You can change between charging Standard Lipos or HV (High Voltage Lipos) and you also have 2 different connectors MCPX (PW) and MX.

The LCD Screen gives you the Input voltage (very handy if you are using a Lipo to charge) and the voltage of each of the batteries. Each charge point has an LED, that goes out when the batteries are fully charged.

Also included:

  • A spare set of 40mm 3-blade propellers
  • Some spare screws
  • A screwdriver
  • A jumper so you can run on 1s (unlike the Betafpv 65x)

Mobula 7 Features & Specifications

The Mobula 7 is a 75mm (diagonally motor to motor) with 4 brushless SE0802 16000KV motor Happymodel motors. It runs on Betaflight and comes with both a built in Frsky D8 Receiver and in my case an External Frsky XM+ Receiver (I live in the EU).

If you buy the non-Eu version, I understand it also offers Smartaudio (change your VTX setting from the built in OSD). However, this is not available on the EU version because there is not enough UARTS.

The 2 Great features that stand out for me are:

  • It can be run happily on 1s - All you need to do is plug in the supplied Jumper and you can “tame” the Mobula 7 and make it nice and easy to fly around your house. This makes it very versatile.
  • Adjustable Camera Angle - This seems like a small thing, but my biggest issue with the Betafpv 65x is that you can not change the camera angle. This makes it very hard to fly indoors. However, the Mobula 7 has this covered, because you can simply loosen the screws on the camera and adjust the angle to your liking.

Other little things are that It has a buzzer and also you can wire up LED’s that can be controlled within Betaflight.

Flight Controller & ESC’s

mobula 7-flight-controller-esc

The Flight Controller in the Mobula 7 is a Crazybee F3 Pro FC that is running Betaflight. It is capable of being powered by either 1s or 2s. It has the Betaflight OSD and a built in Receiver.

As I have mentioned before if you are not using an external receiver you can also use Smartaudio.

The Flight controller also includes the 4in1 ESCs. Which are Blheli_s 5Amp Esc’s that run on Dshot 600. There is also a current sensor, so you can keep an eye on your battery’s voltage.

Overall the flight controller is perfectly adequate and the rates and PIDS didn’t feel like they needed changing out of the box.

Frame & Build Quality

happymodel-mobula 7-frame-build-quality

Out of the box, I was really impressed with the build quality of the Mobula 7. The wires where nicely braded and everything was fitted nicely within the canopy. This was better than the Betafpv 65x which had the motor wires just hanging out of the bottom.

The frame itself has a 3d printed part that allows you to either run 1 2s 300mah battery (xt30 mod required) or two 1s 300mah (or 260mah) batteries. This is a nice touch.

All this being said, the frame is the weak point of the Mobula 7. It is quite fragile. I have done around 15 flights with it and I have managed to crack the one of the ducts. This is not uncommon, so much so that Happymodel have released a V2 of the frame that should be a little stronger.

fragile-frame-mobula 7

Motors

HappyModel SE0802 16000KV Motors

The motors are HappyModel SE0802 16000KV Motors. They have a 1mm shaft and offer plenty of punch on both 1s and 2s. However on 2s you really do get a lot of power which lets you throw the Mobula 7 around like a 5 inch (other than it has very little momentum).

The power draw is pretty aggressive, when I was flying outside I was only getting 2 and a half minutes. That being said, the batteries where not as hot when I had finished as the 65X.

Props

The Mobula 7 comes with 40mm 4-blade propellers. These are fairly strong, offer great control and power. You still get quite a lot of propwash, but that is common in tinywhoops.

In the Box you get a full spare set (2 CW and 2 CCW). Others can be ordered online ether via banggood or a local supplier.

FPV Camera

The camera is an all in 1 Camera and VTX. It has a field of view of 120 degrees and a resolution of 700TVL. It offers a pretty good picture for its size and had no noticeable latency or interference issues.

The video transmitter runs on 5.8Ghz and covers 40 channels including raceband. It can be controlled over Smartaudio (Not on EU or DSMX receiver versions). It outputs at 25mw which is what you would expect from a Tinywhoop. It has a Linear Whip-style antenna which is nice a rugged.

Performance wise, I was quite impressed with A: the Range I could get outdoors and B: the range I could get in my house (which has really bad RF issues). Outside I was able to fly around 700 meters away without issue.

Receivers

The Mobula 7 has 4 options for receivers

Receiver

Inboard/External

SmartAudio

Frsky NON-EU receiver Version

Yes

Yes

Frsky EU-LBT Version

No

No

Flysky receiver Version

Yes

Yes

DSM2 / DSMX receiver Version

No

No

On the versions with external receivers, they are fitted under the canopy so are easy to access for binding.

It is a shame that smartaudio is lost on the external receiver models. However, that being said, I run most of my Drones of Raceband 1 and very rarely need to change it with the people I fly with.

Flight Test

So, how does it Fly?

Indoors, it is fun. I had to make some changes to lower the minimum throttle position because it was bouncing around way too much with air mode enabled. If you fly it in either angle or horizon mode, you will have hours of fun (2 to 3 minutes at a time).

It’s a little bit too aggressive to fly in full acro mode indoors unless you have a lot of space. Power wise, on 2s it can be a bit of an animal but it can be tamed quite nicely by simply going to 1s. This really drops the power, but you still have plenty left to have fun flying around your house.

I was really keen to take the Mobula 7 to an indoor race event, but unfortunately, I simply didn’t get time. I strongly believe that this little pocket rocket in a large indoor space like a sports hall would be tons of fun.

Outdoors, I really didn’t expect to have as much fun as I did. You can fly the Mobula 7 like a full Acro Drone, with the added advantage that is bounces off most things that it hits.

Once you get used to the lack of momentum you can pull off power loops and matty flips on gates or anything you find. I felt confident that I could hit any gap and really found it a joy to fly. However, I could suggest it is not one to take out on a windy day.

The shame is that the frame is quite fragile. I don’t quite know when I broke mine, but I was not pushing it too hard and I don’t remember hitting anything more than a glancing blow. That being said, I am lucky, I have seen people split the frame in half.

Conclusion

I have really enjoyed my time with the Mobula 7 even though I have broken the frame. It is very adaptable, and the setup is pretty good out of the box. What you get in the box is a great place to start if this is your first whoop. A decent charger is always handy. The 1s Jumper and a screwdriver really give you everything you need to get going. If you paired this up with a Frsky X-lite and a cheap set of goggles, you would have a awesome starter setup.

It flies so well, and I cannot believe how much I enjoyed flying it outside. I had only planned to do 2 flights and I ended up going through around 16 packs. I had a smile on my face from ear to ear.

You can grab the Mobula 7 on Banggood, currently on discount.

Mobula 7 vs. BetaFPV 65x?

mobula-7-vs-betafpv

How does it compare to the Betafpv 65x? Well, they both have the same punch, so power wise they are even. The Mobula 7 feels a lot more controllable A: Because you can change the camera angle and B: it just feels more locked in when you are pushing it.

The 65x is always going too fast and when you push it you find it has a lot of prop wash issues. The killer feature for me is the Mobula 7 ability to switch between 1s and 2s. This means you can adapt it to the flying location with ease. The 65x simply cannot do that.

I will admit this is not a totally fair comparison due to the difference in frame size, but you can still draw similarities between the two.

I would strongly recommend the Mobula 7 to anybody. It has a lot of offer whatever level you are flying at. Just make sure you upgrade to the V2 Frame.

Here's my video review including flight footage (also consider Subscribing)

Contibutor:  Paul Rose

Best Drones for Christmas Gift Ideas 2018

The Christmas is approaching and maybe your loved one or friend has a drone on their wish list! As a very young kid i loved flying aircrafts, helicopters and drones, I’m pretty sure every kid also likes these flying toys, but usually the word “drone” is associated with Dangerous Machines or Expensive Aircrafts, not enough people know about toy drones, that are cheap and safe to fly both - indoors and outdoors.

And they are perfect Christmas Gift!

Drones, can be used as learning tools. Some drones on our list need building and programming, this can teach you the basics of programming or building your own drones. Programming is often associated with writing algorithms and coding, but programming drones is usually Dragging And Dropping boxes.

For a beginner drone, there are a few important things, you would want the drone to have. Most people look for long flight time, short charge time and functions like Headless Mode, Return To Home. You can also look for a camera, more features like Auto Land/Takeoff , small size or controller type, it’s up to you! There are many more functions but i think these are the most important one.

kids drones for christmas

RTF Drone

For young adults

EACHINE E010

For beginners and kids around 10 years old. It is really cheap, about $15 but you can find it for $12 on chinese websites. It’s a small quadcopter that comes with everything ready to fly.

It has prop guards so its perfect for indoors and young pilots. Sadly it doesn’t have a camera but it has headless mode and One-Key Return. It uses a small 2,4Ghz controller, that matches the color of the drone, the range is about 30 meters (100 feet) - that's enough for indoors and small outdoor spaces. You can do 360 degrees flips by just one button on the controller!

The quadcopters size is around 9 x 9 cm (3,5 x 3,5 inches) - its small, light, fast and agile. Flies up to 5 minutes and uses a 150 mAh battery that charges around 30 minutes. It has blue and red led lights which look beautiful at night or in the evening! It’s great for a beginner or kid!

PROS:

  • Small, lightweight, fast
  • Comes with its own controller
  • Charges quite fast

CONS:

  • Only one battery included
  • No camera

Modular Drone

Modular Build Program

AIRBLOCK

A modular drone you build and program yourself! It comes in a few pieces and you can build what only you want! A quadcopter, hexacopter, hovercraft that can hover on water, a car and much.. much more!

You use your smartphone or tablet as controller and you can use the build in presets or code your moves using a interface very similar to scratch - drag and drop. It has about 20-30 meters (65-100 feet) range and it can be used in many ways. It is durable, when you crash you put it back together and go fly!

It can even race and battle against other Airblock vehicles so you can compete against your friends. It is suited for kids above 8. It flies about 6 minutes (depends how it is build). Comes with an 700mAh battery. It uses the Makeblock App that is available for Android and IOS, sadly it has no camera. It is a great pick for kids that want to learn to fly a drone, to program and code working machines!

PROS:

  • Teaches you programming, coding and piloting.
  • Very universal, it can be a drone, a car or whatever you want
  • The Makeblock app works for both - IOS and Android phones

CONS:

  • The range is low

RTF Drone

Recommended RTF Drone

CO Drone PRO

A mini drone you have to program yourself. Great gift for a young kid. There are free tutorial videos online (on youtube or the CoDrone website) which teach you the basics of coding.

You can make your drone fly in less than 10 minutes! The coding is based of the well known and popular arduino. As a controller you use your smartphone, the app is using Bluetooth (At least 4.0), the range is 20-30 meters (65-100 feet).

The drone is small and quite durable,it has propeller guards and it’s made of strong plastic. it flies about 8 minutes and charges 40 minutes. It has IR sensors, a gyroscope and a barometer. It weighs 37 g which is very light. You can buy Add-Ons like the Drive kit which allows it to drove on wheels and the camera Add-On which allows you to use it as a camera drone. It is great for young kids.

PROS:

  • Coding tutorials online
  • Long flight time
  • Optional Add-Ons

CONS:

  • No transmitter

DIY Drone

Recommended DIY Kit

FLYBRIX

Kids around age 14+ can build their own drone using the Flybrix kits,that come in various different versions, the more expensive kits have more motors and a transmitter(controller)

For the cheaper ones, you can use your smartphone or buy an optional transmitter. Bricks similar to legos are durable, so when your quadcopter crashes, you can just rebuild it using the instructions that come with it. It is great for people that like learning, engineering - the app can show you battery power reports, barometer sensor and lots of other information.

The FLYBRIX aircrafts are very light and fast. You can start in around 15 minutes after unpacking the kit - That’s quick for building a drone. Isn’t it? Simple kits with great quality, recommended for young engineers and LEGO enthusiasts. The kits also have tips and tricks online.

PROS:

  • Very durable
  • Simple
  • Lots of ways to use one kit

CONS:

  • Quite expensive (Still, worth it!)
  • The app doesn’t support all devices like the IPad 2
  • The transmitter in not included in cheaper kits

RTF Drone

Recommended RTF Drone

EACHINE E013

A tiny whoop that comes with everything ready to fly, even with FPV goggles! Very similar to the E010, but this one has a bigger controller, a built in camera and FPV goggles for real-time video view!

The drone has prop-guards. Comes with a controller, bigger than the one that comes with the E010! It has very powerful motors, and it flies about 5-6 minutes. The range is around 50-100 meters (170- 340 feet) . The camera is 1000TVL, which means the camera has 1000 horizontal lines, it proceeds very high quality video. It’s size is about 9 x 9 cm and it weights 20g without battery.

It uses a 1s 200mAh and includes an USB charger. The goggles are the Eachine VR-006, they weight 170g and have a built in 3 inch display. The resolution is 500x300 pixels. they come with a built-it 1s 500mAh battery, it lasts for around 1h of working time. The goggles only consume 350-450 mA. They are small. light and have auto Frequency search so you don’t have to search your FPV video. Perfect for people wanting to discover FPV.

PROS:

  • Comes with goggles
  • It is light and small
  • Many features for both the drone and goggles

CONS:

  • Low capacity battery

Camera Drones Christmas Gifts

RTF Drone

RTF Camera Drone

Mavic Air

A great camera drone, from a popular company - DJI. Its foldable, so you can take it everywhere you want. It has a foldable controller which pairs with your phone.

You have a lot of range and even HD video streaming to your phone. The flight time can be as long as 21 minutes! It has a 4K camera, it shoots 32 MP Panoramas or 12 MP Stills. It also records 4K 100 Mbps video or 1080p 120 FPS for slow-motion. It has a camera gimbal so the footage is stable. It has 8 GB internal storage.

Active Track - you can choose a target (for example a car) and the drone will automatically follow it and record it,

QuickShots - you have 6 modes (Rocket, Dronie, Circle, Helix, Asteroid, Boomerang), using one button, it records an EPIC and smooth video, without you having to do anything,

SmartCapture - You want a selfie? Just use your hand to control it. It recognises hand gestures and does what you want.

TapFly - Lets you pick a spot on your video feed or map, the Mavic Air will fly where you want, while making a beautiful clip. You can adjust the speed so you can make the clip slow or fast, depending on how you want your video to look.

It has VIO, it brings a more stable footage and the flight is precise, also it has Return To Home and Sensors. It can fly 70 (68,4) km/h! You can pair it with DJI goggles and get live video feed in front of your eyes!

PROS:

  • One of the best camera drones
  • Stable, high-quality footage
  • ​Many flight modes

CONS:

  • High Price

RTF Drone

RTF Camera Drone

ALTAIR #AA108 Drone

A beginner friendly camera drone from Altair. Suitable for kids and older people. It has propeller guards and you can fly it indoors and outdoors. 

It has functions like Altitude Hold, Return To Home and GPS.It also has one-button take-off and landing. It is powered with a 1s LiPo battery and a USB charger.It has brushed motors and small propellers. It flies up to 10 minutes on one battery and comes with 2 batteries.

The camera has a 120 degree FOV and records stable 720p footage. The drone also streams FPV footage to your phone, using WIFI. The drone is very small and lightweight. It has 3 speed levels available, so you can pick the speed for your shot. It comes with a cardboard pad you can put on your controller, it tells you what every button does.

The drone has LED lights, which make it fun to fly at night. It is very durable and lightweight so you shouldn’t worry about destroying your 120$ drone.

PROS:

  • Lots of functions
  • Cheap
  • ​​Great camera

CONS:

  • No gimbal

FEATURES OVERVIEW

Controller Type - It’s the device you use to control your drone or vehicle. Most drones are controlled by a normal controller (also known as transmitter), but some of them can use a smartphone or even voice and hand gestures.

Body Durability - Drones on our list are durable, because beginners will crash a lot. Toy drones are usually made of plastic. Plastic is a good material for drones, it is light and because that, it is quite durable. It will survive most crashes.

Flight Time - For toy drones the flight time is around 5-8 minutes. For other drones (for example the Mavic Air from our list) the flight time can be up to around 30 minutes maximum.

Maximum Range - For toy drones the range is about 20-40 meters (65-130 feet), more professional drones can go from 300 meters (around 1000 feet) up to like 2 kilometers (1,2 miles)!

Camera - Lots of drones, have cameras. Some of them record HD footage and some send Live Video feed to your device. They can record beautiful footage like on the Mavic Air taht records 4k 100Mbps video!

Weight - Drones have to be light to fly, that’s why they are made of plastic or carbon fiber. Toy grade drones are usually up to 100 g, some basic and small aerial video and photography drones can weigh up to 500g.

Charge time - Most drone chargers plug into an USB port on your computer. Usually it takes from 20 minutes up to 2 hours.

Failsafe - It’s a setting, that will save your drone if it loses signal. Usually without failsafe the drone will do a flyaway. There are many ways of failsafing - your drone can land, return to home or maybe drop on the ground and make a loud noise so you can find it easily. Failsafe is very important.

Headless Mode - Usually when flying a drone, you need to keep orientation and know which way is which, even if the drone is rotated. It’s not that hard to learn, but for your first days of flying, you can use headless mode - it will move your drone corresponding to your sticks regardless of the angle, left is always left, and right is always right. It’s very useful for beginners, that find it hard to keep orientation or when your drone is far away and you don’t know which way it will fly back.

Altitude Hold - Usually you have to control your motor speed to keep the drone in a stable hover. Beginners may also find it very hard - the drone flies too high or flies in the ground. That’s why we have Altitude Hold - If you center your control stick, the drone will automatically find the right motor speed and will hover very stable. There is no need to struggle with keeping it stable in hovering.

Return To Home - When you are far away or your battery is running low, you should fly back and land your drone. This feature allows you to push one button and the drone will do it automatically for you! (Toy Grade Drones only fly in your direction, they don’t land and you have to stop the drone by sticks or it will just fly over you continue going that way. Professional drones will land in front of you)

Obstacle Sensors - While flying, you have to be careful not to hit anything, otherwise you will crash, drones with Obstacle Sensors will see the obstacle and warn you or fly away from it. It is a very useful function that will help you not to destroy your brand new camera drone.

Prop Guards - Usually a plastic basket or half-bowl to protect your propellers. They also protect people from getting hurt, because the plastic Prop Guards block the drone, before the propellers hit anything or anyone. It is very helpful if you want to fly inside, near trees or buildings.

TIPS

Charge your battery, get everything ready… then comes that moment - first flight. I think you should try to hover and fly forward/back and left/right. If you feel comfortable enough, you can try flying forward and turning. You might get lost while rotated, don’t panic, try thinking like if you were on the drone or use headless mode or return to home if you are scared!

You will crash a lot, that is normal. After many flights, you will get better, feel more confident while flying and still crash, but not so often! Try flying every day at least once, if you feel comfortable, if not - ask a parent to look and maybe help you if you lose orientation. Don’t be like me - watch out for high trees you could hang in and street lights you could fly in… 🙂

How to choose drone frame for racing or freestyle?

Whether it’s made of Carbon, Wood, Metal, Plastic or Fiberglass the frame is the thing that holds your Drone together. Without it, you simply would not be able to take to the sky. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as one perfect frame to rule them all. There is a lot of considerations you need to make based around what you want your Drone to do.

This guide will take you through all the things you need to know when you are picking the right frame for you. We will be focusing the most on quadcopter frames.

What is a Drone Frame?

The frame of your Drone is probably the first thing you need to decide when you want to set about building; the size, materials, thickness, space, style and even the geometry will play a critical part in your build, whether it is a Super Lite highspeed racer or a Battle-hardened Bando Slayer.

drone- frame-carbon-fiber

Your Frame (like a car chassis) is there for 2 reasons:

  • Protect the components inside
  • Hold everything together

However, in some racing frames, protecting the components comes secondary to ultimate performance. Aerodynamics do play some part in the design, the focus is on reducing drag and limiting the effect the arms have on the thrust from the prop.

The aerodynamics do not provide any lift or control surfaces like you would see in a conventional aircraft. Put quite simply a Drone will fall out of the sky without its motors.

My preference is for a strong freestyle focused frame which can be crashed with limited chance of a total write off. This means my quads are heavy compared to most race frames, but I don’t need that all out speed. I have a few racing frames, but my favourites are my 5 inch freestyle frames.

The main thing I look for in a frame are:

  • Strength - This is important simply because you’re going crash.If you’re a beginner, you will crash a lot. A strong frame will keep on going and will protect all the electronics you build into it.
  • Space - I am always impressed with people who make super neat tiny builds.However, I like the room to be able to install parts and to take the drone apart to work on it when needed. Therefore, having a little bit of extra room makes all that easier. Especially if it’s your first time building.
  • HD Camera mount - This is not critical for everybody, but for me I like to film my flights. I love the footage I can get.

Materials

Most Frames you will find on the market are made of carbon fibre because it is light weight, strong and rigid. The disadvantage is that it is not that cheap, it’s hard to work on and it conducts electricity so you need to insulate the wires (I think every pilot has a story of when something broke because a live wire touched their frame).

Also, carbon fibre is great at blocking radio frequencies, so you need to place your antennas carefully.

There are other frames that are made from plastic (Ragee). These are made of a plastic (HDPE) that is made to take significant impacts without breaking. The disadvantage with these is the weight and working area.

To get the same strength you need more material and to make the frame work you need to find parts that will fit in the predefined spaces.

Ragge-drone-frame

You also need to consider what the hardware (stand offs, bolts and screws) are made out of. Steel and titanium are often used for screws and bolts. Steel is softer and cheaper, whilst titanium is hard and more expensive, but can cause issues when mixed with other metals (galvanic corrosion).

Some frames have aluminium or titanium parts to them. This offers a great deal of strength, but normally it comes at the cost,with a higher price point and weight.

Construction

Frames have 3 main parts; a top plate, a bottom plate and Arms.
The top plate is normally thinner and often has holes for cable tie and battery straps. Also, people attach gopro mounts either by top plate screws or velcro straps.

The bottom plate is normally the thickest part of the frame. It is designed to soak up crash impact. It also has the holes to fit the stand off for all your electronics. This is in either a 20x20mm lay or 30x30 layout (most 5 inch frames are 30x30mm).

The arms may or may not be part of the bottom plate. They hold the motors and sometimes the ESC’s. They are either part of the frame or removable.

Drone Frame SizeS

Frames are normally measured by the diagonal distance between motors. This dictates the size of props you can run on any specific quad. Oddly we measure the frame in millimetres and the props in inches. However, it is common to refer to quads by their prop size. E.g. 5 inch or 6 inch.

While the frame shape can affect the size of props, mainly you can work to the following as a rule:

Frame Size

Prop Size

Use

Example

280mm+

7 inch

Long Range

Mode 2 Shredder 7"

250mm

6 Inch

Long Range / Freestyle / Racing

Halo Archon

210mm

5 inch

Freestyle / Racing

Impulse RC Reverb

180mm

4 inch

Freestyle / Racing

Armattan Gecko

150mm

3 inch

Freestyle / Racing

SlightClub Phuket 3"

112mm

2 inch

Freestyle / Racing

Emax Baby Hawk R

100mm-

Whoops*

Indoor / Limited outdoor

Tiny Whoop

* Under 100mm are not strictly Whoops ( Tiny Whoop type Quads), but they are by far most common.

By far the most common frame is around 210mm, which most people would refer to as a 5 inch frame. This is used in both freestyle and race as it often the best compromise between power, weight and responsiveness.

This is because the 210mm frame (5 inch) allows you to run 5 inch props, which give great power and efficacy. The weight of the frame is slightly lower and the centre of the props being closer to the middle.

This has a positive effect on the moment of inertia in that you have a greater amount of force being applied closer to the centre of mass of the quad.

The freestyle scene is pretty much dominated by this type of frame with a few outliers who use 6 inch frames.

example of 200+mm frame kit build

As you increase the size of the frame wind resistance does play a factor too.150mm (3 inch)frames are massively fast,but they get blown around and usually have short flight times because they need to carry smaller battery to compensate for the lack of thrust.

You would think this would make the 4 inch quad popular, but this is not the case. The speed is not a match as the 3 inch and the control is not that of the 5 inch. So you don’t tend to find many people who fly 4 inch quads.

When you step up to the 6 and 7 inch frames you find air resistance more of a factor. However, you have bigger props pushing you forwards, so power is readily available. Given you’re likely to be looking at long range flights you also have different goals.

You are looking for efficiency rather than all out power, so you are more than likely going to run lower pitched props with a more efficient shape. In addition to this you are probably carrying a larger battery and slightly more electronics (GPS etc).

As a rule of thumb you can use mostly the same electronics hardware between 7 inch and 4 inch frames. They mostly will take the same flight controllers etc (always check first) on a 30x30 mounting pattern, However, some do other both 30x30 and 20x20. 7, 6 , and 5 inch frames mostly all have the same motor mounts nowadays (16x16).

One word of warning, while a 210mm frame can take a 5 inch prop the clearance between the frame and the props on the both motors can be tiny (1 – 2 mm in some cases). Always check these clearances before you fire up.

Frame Shape / Arm Layout

The shape of the frame is dictated by the layout of its arms. We'll focus on the mainstream 4 arm setups. There are other options including more or even less arms as well as other layouts of 4 arms like V-tails or + frames. However, I am not going to discuss them here as they are much less common and mainly flown by specialists.

quadcopter-frame-shapes

The main layout used today are:

H: This is where the frame looks like an H on its side. The Arms stick out directly from the body. This normally leads to a longer body section to avoid the blades touching. While you may find some of these frames around, they are much less common due to the fact they are quite bulky and the motor position is less optional for good moment of inertia (due to the long arms).

True X: As the name suggests, this is where the frame is shaped exactly like an X. The Distance between all the motors is equal. This provides the most balanced performance as each motor operates equally. The angle of the arms means that the body can be smaller as it does not need the length to separate the arms.

Hybrid X: The title does not really describe it too well. This is frame type takes the best of the H and X frames and joins them together. You get a longer body which is good for space and you get the more optimal arm placement of the X frame. This setup is what you see in something like the highly regarded Impulse RC Alien.

Stretched X: The main objective of a stretched X is to move the front and rear propellers away from each other. Imagine either an X that has been squeezed from the sides or an X with a bit added to the middle. This frame shape is designed to reduce the effect the front and rear props have on each other. The aim is to improve the highspeed handling. However, due to the unequal distribution of force over the centre of mass, there is often a need to tune these frames more to get them to fly as desired.

Square: This is frame type is pretty much an enclosed X Frame. In effect you are joining the arms together with material between each motor. Like drawing a square around anX. There are a few frames that do this but the most obvious is the TBS Oblivion. The advantage of this type of frame is strength. This comes at the cost of increased weight as well as an increased surface area which is lightly to increase drag.

Unibody Design

What is a Unibody? It’s a frame that has all the arms as part of the bottom (or in some cases top) plate. The other option is separate arms. This can either be totally individual arm or pairs (e.g. Both front arms as one piece).

unibody-drone-plate

Why does this matter?

The Unibody design is normally considered to be stiffer and stronger due to there being less joints and thus less week points (or so the theory goes). However, if you break an arm then you have to replace the whole plate, which is not always that cheap.

In comparison, with separate arms you can simply replace the arm if you break one. This is very common in racing frame where they run light weight arms to decrease mass and are happy to just replace the arm if its get broken. There are some designs which pretty much overcome the issues of having more joints by having clever mountings and screws.

This is one of the areas that personal preference is the main factor.

Carbon Fibre Thickness

There are many factors to the strength of carbon. Quality, lay up, flexibility and thickness. It’s is not totally true that thicker carbon is always stronger. But it is fair to say that you want the thickest carbon on your frame to be where your frame is most at risk. However, the thicker the carbon the, heavier the frame.

So, where do you want thick carbon? Well the Bottom plate is always important, it normally takes the brunt of the impacts and also holds everything together. If you have separate arms you normally have 2 choices;light arms you are willing to replace when you crash, or heavy arms that will take a beating.

As a rule of Thumb 4mm Carbon will give you good rigidity and strength on your main components.You want this for your Bottom plate and Arms (3mm if you want to save some weight). For your top plate 3mm or 2mm is fine as these are easier to replace.

Filing Carbon Fibre Edges

Do you need to file down the edge of your Carbon?

Possibly, some frames come with chamfered edges which mean the hard work is done for you. Other more premium frames have very well-cut carbon where is it not really needed. Cheap frames quite often need some finishing off as they have very sharp unfinished edges.

Why do I need to do it?

Carbon fibre, like metal, when cut normally leaves shape edges. This can cut your hands when handling the craft, but also more importantly it can cut your wires if they are rubbing against a sharp edge over time.

Warning! If you do file the edges of your frame, do so outside or in a well-ventilated area and with a mask. Carbon when it gets into your lungs is bad for you. Your body cannot do anything with it, so you are stuck with it forever.
Tip: If I ever file carbon, I do so under running water so that it’s washed away.

Racing vs Freestyle

There are people that race freestyle frames and freestylers that use race style frames. There is not hard and fast rule. That being said, freestyle frames are normally stronger and have more space for gopro mounts, whereas racing frames are lighter.

fpv-racing-drone-freestyle

For me, I use both. Infact, having a dedicated race frame allows me to focus the setup on speed and responses. Whereas my freestyle setups are aimed at flow and Punch.

If you are starting out, I would recommend a freestyle frame as they are easy to work on and tend to take more punishment (because you’re going to crash, it’s inevitable).

Battery Location

Battery placement is a very much a preference. The weight of the drone battery is quite a large proportion of the craft, so where you place it very much effects the handling. The ultimate aim is to get it as close to the centre of gravity as possible. Ultimately you can put it in 2 places; on top or underneath.

top-mount-quad-frame-battery

Most free style frames have top mount batteries with the battery inline with the frame. This protects the battery in most crashes. However, it is not optimal for performance due to the weight being balanced above the centre mass of the craft

Bottom-mount-quad-frame-battery

Racing frames mostly opt for bottom mounted batteries. This means they are slung under the frame, so the weight is hung under the frame which is good for cornering as it has a positive effect on the handling as you are not having to balance the weight so much. However, the battery is more a risk in crash landings.

There is also the concept of a mid-mounted battery which is where your battery is sideways to the top of your frame. This spreads the weight in a more even way over the centre of the frame, however you need a very specific frame setup to avoid the battery getting caught up in the propellers.

Other Considerations

FPV Camera tilt angle, protection and size

quadcopter-frame-camera

Your FPV Camera is what you use to see, so you need to makesure it is well placed. You need to be in a location where you can get a good clean line of sight. It is common to have some props in view especially on stretched x frames, but you don’t want to have it blocking most of your view.

You need to be able to have a range of angles. The Camera angle is such an important part of your xxx. If you get it wrong you will make your life really difficult. If it’s too low, you will end up looking at the ground more often than where you are going. If it’s too high you will end up going to fast everywhere. If you are starting out 25 degree to 30 degree is a pretty good place to start. Some pilots use 60 degree tilts, but I would strongly advise not to start there if you are a beginner.

Camera protection is a preference. Some pilots will hang their camera out the front with no protection to give them best view and extreme angles. This puts them at a much great chance of being damaged or destroyed in a crash.

Others like to keep their camera slightly more protected inside the frame. This often limits the angles, but means you don’t spend your time constantly replacing cameras when you crash into something.

Finally, you must consider size. Make sure your frame can fit the camera. There are 3 main sizes of camera:

  • Standard: 28mm wide, often referred to as Hs1177 size cameras
  • Mini: 21.8 mm wide, but often come with brackets to fit standard mounts.
  • Micro: 19mm wide, Some come with upsizing mounts but most don’t

HD Camera Option

Most freestyle frames either have a built in Gopro (or other HD camera) mount, for recording high resolution footage or a space of a 3D printed mount. There are mounts for racing frames, but they not always the primary consideration.

I use 3D printed mounts as I want my gopro as well attached as possible to the frame. I don’t want to lose A: the Camera and B: the footage.
- Protection for the motors

carbon-fiber-drone-frame-protection

Damaging motors is a real pain. Usually, any damage means the end of your flying day, so protecting the motors is very useful. When you look at the ends of most frame arms you will see the end extend past the bottom of the motor. This is to protect the motors so the frame takes the hit first. In some cases, people use 3D printed bumpers, to help, however this add weight.

Spare parts

Having easy access to spare parts is useful to keep yourself in the air. If you have separate arms having at least one spare can make your day of flying might not be over after a heavy crash. Having a frame that is hard to get spare parts for can keep you grounded for a long time.

If you have a Unibody design you may not want to have the expense of the having a spare bottom plate, so you may just have to accept the downtime.

Stand off etc are fairly easy to come by if they are broken. In fact, in a lot of cases there are spares in the pack.

Warranty

For me this is one of my main considerations. There are some suppliers in the market who offer either a limited or unlimited warranty on their frames. Now there are rules to what qualifies (you need to see the suppliers websites for this information), but if you crash and break say a bottom plate or an arm, you can claim this under warranty and get a replacement free of charge (there maybe a shipping cost).

This really reduces the risk for me as I know that I am an email away form replacement part being sent to me for free (which on Unibody is fantastic). I have used this on more than one occasion and it has saved me money in the long run.

In my opinion Armattan offer one of the best Warranties on the Market. As long as you stick within their rules, they will always keep you in the air, and they have done for me for the past 2 years.

Top tip: If you have a Warranty and you have separate arms, having a spare arm mean when you break it you don’t have to wait for the replacement to come, you simply replace you spare with a new one.

Contributor: Paul Rose

Eachine US65 Review | Micro Brushless for Indoors

In this review we're gonna be taking a look at the Eachine US65. This is a 65 mm brushless micro quadcopter that runs on 1s lipo. It's not super powerful but absolutely well-balanced little micro, thus making it perfect for indoors whooping. Let's go over its features, show you how to set it up, and fly it both indoors and outdoors. 

The micro US65 is available in various country-design options. Not our favorite choice, but you can switch to other frame&canopy options, like from it's brushed counterpart UR65. You can choose between two types of receivers; Frsky and Flysky options. 

UNBOXING

eachine us65 tiny whoop

Package includes:

  • US65/UK65 Instruction manual
  • 3 250 maH 1S batteries
  • Six channel charger
  • Set of extra 4 blade propellers 
  • Rubber bands
  • Extra screws

The charger here is really nice touch, you also get three 1S 250 milliamps batteries, some tools and some extra propellers.

But pay attention that you're getting two types: one is four edge prop and the second one is a three-edged. So since you get in only one set of each propellers I recommend to get a couple of extra ones.

The instruction manual is detailed and straight to the point.  

Now the VTX isn't the greatest VTX on board. I did test it outdoors, it doesn't have much penetration. But again this is not meant for outdoors because it was fighting the wind like absolutely crazy. 

Features & Specifications

Let's take a closer look under the hood in more detail. The US65 is the newest micro quad from Eachine.

eachine us65 uk65 review

This little tiny thing has got 19,000 KV 0603 brushless motors. And I think we are now at a point where we can actually have usefull brushless motors in a tiny whoop. 

Up to now every brushless motor that's gone in at a tiny whoop hasn't really been a benefit, compared to the brush version. But with this one, Eachine has hit the sweat spot it terms of size and the power. In my opinion definitely better than a brushed tiny whoop.

eachine-us65 micro-brushless-motors

Eachine managed to keep the weight pretty similar to the original brushed tiny whoops that came out. Without a battery it weighs 21 grams. Around about 19 to 21 grams is where you want to be at with a tiny whoop. It is 28 grams with the included battery.

Eachine-US-UK-65 drone

We have got Crazybee all-in-one F3 board here. This is the version 1.2. It features a built-in receiver either Frsky or Flysky depending on the version that you bought.

Crazybee F3 board Eachine us 65 uk65

It's got ESC is built into it, they are DShot 600 capable. You can have beacon on the motors, you can also do the turttle mode.

It also has a SPI receiver built into it with telemetry. So if you are doing Frsky it will send the RSSI back to the transmitter. You can do Lua scripts, so you can do PIDs from your transmitter. It's got a built in 40 channel 25 milliwatts VTX that is connected up to smart audio. It really does do absolutely everything.

The camera of the front is a CMOS camera; but you really have to have that with a whoop anyways, and it's a pretty decent quality.

The batteries that you get are a high volt, they're 250 milliamp and it says that they are a 80C. I mean that doesn't really mean that much with a tiny whoop. And there is standard 2 millimeter JST connector to plugin the bat.

The charger input voltage is between 7 to 25 volts and you can power it using an XT60 battery,  DC 12V  charger or USB . In addition you can set the terminal voltage per cell. By default it is set to 4.2 you can also choose 4.35 volts. 

Binding 

Binding Eachine US 65 is done by pressing the bind button, which is located on the top of the Flight Controller. It is accessible without removing the top canopy, but I would recommend to screw the canopy off and have clear view there, or you might damage the bind button.

bind-button-eachine-us65

The default bind mode is D16. You can configure it also to D8 in beta flight.

In part 2 we're gonna cover all the aspects in detail. For now I ordered extra frame and canopy from UR65, just to upgrade the aesthetics 🙂

Part List: