Relatively new to the market, the Rapidfire is a FatShark compatible goggle module from Immersion RC that features some highly sophisticated software that is able to squeeze the best possible video from our quads analogue system. We will be taking a look at this in detail and deciding if it really is an improvement on the markets current offerings.
A typical diversity module features two separate receivers and uses a switching algorithm to always use the one with the strongest signal. What makes Rapidfire special is it's software which instead of switching between the modules, combines the images in real time along with some clever techniques in order to build the clearest possible picture.
How it works is a bit of a secret however Immersion RC have called it 'Analogue Plus'; here's how they describe it:
Not ‘just’ a diversity module, but a module that has intimate knowledge of analog video signals. A module that can repair the damage caused as the 5.8GHz analog signal bounces around the environment. The rapidFIRE module fuses images together, predicts noise before it is visible, rebuilds analog signals to avoid tearing, rolling, and dropped DVR frames, all with zero added latency.
This is more than Analog, but not Digital, so we called it ‘Analog Plus’.
This all sounds very clever and exciting but the big question is does it actually make a difference?
The answer to the previous question is a resounding yes! The Rapidfire really shines in high multipathing environments. This means anywhere with lots of obstacles like dense areas of trees or near any structure that would typically be very noisy is now very clean and seamless. The picture honestly feels more comparable to an onboard DVR with small hints of noise disappearing very quickly leaving you completely undistracted and able to focus on flying.
In open environments performance is good but not noticeably better than regular diversity modules such as the Furious True-D. Improvements are noticeable however when passing behind odd trees especially those with lots a leaves that normally give a distracting amount of breakout.
Race conditions I would typically describe as a small open area with six pilots all flying on 25mW all very close together. In these situations the Rapidfire did a great job of locking on to my signal and rejecting interference from others. If you've ever raced you'll be familiar with the noise and issues with video most pilots see as they take off from the starting blocks. The module handled this great and I'd strongly recommend it for racing.
It was interesting to note that the majority of pilots at the indoor I Series Championships in the NEC recently opted to use a Rapidfire module over a Clear View system.
I could spend a while describing all the features of the Rapidfire however this article would be huge! Here is a quick outline of what the module operates:
The unit offers a simple single joystick control system with a small OLED display. The menu is as simplistic as it can be allowing quick and simple changes without needing to read the manual.
The mains screen shows your selected band and channel, you can use the joystick to change either of these or move to the other menu options. It's simple and in practice works nicely however is a little strange to use at first.
Rapidfire has some compatibility issues with some cameras, to fix it they offer Rapidfire Mode 1, 2 and legacy. These ensure you are always able to have a working setup however all of my cameras appeared to be compatible by default.
You can select which antennas are active in order to conserve power or even turn them both off. Even when using one antenna I found the performance of the Rapidfire impressive.
This allows you to scan the entire range in order to find you or your flying buddies channel even if you have no idea what they are on. This works but I then find it tricky to then select that channel based on the search. This is something the True-D nails perfectly.
Using an RSSI bar and a series of beeps you can track down a fallen quad. This actually worked really well listening to the beeps in a hotter or colder kind of method and was really easy to use.
This is possibly the best feature of the Rapidfire menu system. The module will actually show you a complete list of channels along with RSSI bars on the in goggle view. This is by far my favourite way to select channels with the Rapidfire and is such a luxury compared to taking off the goggles and then checking the feed to make sure that it is yours.
I would however say that entering the osd is confusing and you can sometimes find yourself changing settings by accident whilst trying to get the osd to appear.
Inside the box you will find:
So really everything that you would need to get the module set up and installed in any compatible FatShark goggle but what is this goggle mod I've mentioned?
Well it turns out that the Rapidfire module draws a lot of power and only recent FatShark Goggles such as the HDOs and Attitude V4s have been designed to send enough power to the module bay.
This means that older goggles such as the HD2, HD3, Dom V3 etc will need to power the module in a different way.
Luckily we have two options available with one being particularly easy for anyone and the over involving some basic soldering which is even approved by FatShark. If either of these seem a bit too much for you Immersion RC will even do the mod for you providing you are happy to send them your goggles.
I run Dominator SE goggles which are not capable of running the module without a mod.
Both options are straightforward and well documented.
Option One - Ribbon Cable
The easiest way to power the module is via the included supply board and cable. All you need to do is plug the included board into your goggles head tracker port and then use the ribbon cable across the front of your goggles to connect it to the Rapidfire. The included stickers can then be used to hide and protect the extra cable.
The great thing about this mod is that you don't even need to open the goggles and everyone should be able to run Rapidfire safely and with no hassle. Of course having the ribbon cable across the goggles is a little inconvenient but you could always run it internally if you felt up to the job.
Option 2 - Bridge Inductors L1 & L10
I have already done the power button mod to my goggles which meant I couldn't fit the power board in the same area and had to proceed with option two.
This mod involves opening the goggles and bridging the inductors marked L1 on the RX board and L10 on the DVR board. I did it with small bits of wire to keep the mod reversible. This mod is a lot simpler than it sounds and once you get used to it opening up your goggles really is nothing to worry about.
This video by Joshua Bardwell covers exactly what you need to do: https://youtu.be/nCIOQi3_3Zw
This image shows my bridge on the L1 inductor on the RX board:
Here is the wire across the L10 component on the DVR board (note that you will have to unscrew the board and flip it over). Many guides don't cover this one so well but it is necessary for most people who want to run Rapidfire. I would suggest you do them both now instead of opening the goggles twice over!
Once you have your module powered by one of these methods you can go to the about section and look at the Low Pwr readout. If it says NO then your module is working perfectly, if yes then you may need to check your soldering or ribbon connections.
Support is one of those things that you hope you never need and often never will however when you do have a problem it can be a lifesaver.
In the UK at least FatShark and Immersion RC use the same support, I have used this service a couple of times with my FatSharks and have been very pleased with the service and have never paid a penny. Dave who carries out the repairs in the UK is fantastic and easy to deal with.
Unfortunately I received a faulty Rapidfire unit, sometimes it happens 🙁
I carried out some basic troubleshooting and then asked on the Immersion RC Community Hub Facebook group for support.
Within minutes of asking, Tony Cake, the genius behind the module put me in touch with Dave from UK repairs who got back to me in a few hours to say that they would repair or replace the module under warranty.
Three working days after sending it in I received a complete replacement, the replacement module worked flawlessly.
Now of course it sucks to get a faulty product however having A Class support really puts my mind at ease when ordering expensive products and support is possibly one of the top reasons why I would recommend people pay a little more to invest in FatShark Goggles.
The module was fixed within a week and I continued to test it. The knowledge that my module is repairable whenever necessary is definitely something that helps to justify the price.
On top of just physical support the Rapidfire is continuously being updated with user suggestions and new features and an impressive rate. Tony appears very interested in listening to the community and making the module better and better every day.
The FatShark module market is starting to get very crowded and there is now a large number of options available at different price points.
At £119.99 on Banggood at the time of writing this article the Rapidfire is considerably more expensive than existing options such as the True-D (£63.48) however it is drastically less than than the ClearView module which comes in at £247.99.
If you have the extra cash available I would say the extra £57 for this module over the True-D is certainly worth it. The improved performance, extra features such as the in goggle OSD and first class support add a lot of value to this module.
The True-D or other cheaper options such as the Achilles module both offer fantastic performance for a great price and there really isn't much need for most users to upgrade unless you find yourself in high multipathing environments or find yourself racing competitively.
One odd demographic would be Tiny Whoop or micro quad pilots who find them self flying indoors. Here in particular is where the Rapidfire stands and having clear video dramatically will improve your flying experience.
I don’t own a Clear View to compare to Rapidfire however must pilots who are considering ClearView will be top tier racers looking for the best possible signal. I would consider ClearView just too expensive for typical fun fliers or casual racers.
Contributor: Ashley Norman aka Speed Sloth
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.
The box contains EV800D (A 5.8Ghz 40CH integrated diversity receiver with DVR) and accompaning
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Other little things are that It has a buzzer and also you can wire up LED’s that can be controlled within Betaflight.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Mobula 7 has 4 options for receivers
Frsky NON-EU receiver Version
Frsky EU-LBT Version
Flysky receiver Version
DSM2 / DSMX receiver Version
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Eachine US-UK65 Bind and Fly Micro is currently 23% OFF
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.
Let's take a closer look under the hood in more detail. The US65 is the newest micro quad from Eachine.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
The default bind mode is D16. You can configure it also to D8 in beta flight.
Emax is probably best known for their motors, they've released a series of pretty successful mini quads in the past the Nighthawk, then Babyhawk and the Babyhawk-R, both very popular at the moment. Emax Hawk 5 presents an excellent option for both pro racers and new pilots.
There are lots of superb ready to fly quads available that are well SPECT really well built and incredibly well priced so how will this new Hawk 5 stand up in this busy space in the market? We'll try to cover all needed information about this latest BNF configuration from Emaxmodel.
It's an elegant package as we've come to expect from Emax. Let's take a closer look at what’s in the box:
We've got the usual gear:
First impressions straight out of the box; this is very very nicely built, very strong and solid, excellent.
Emax Hawk 5 Bind and Fly Quadcopter currently 20% off on Gearbest
So let's take a closer look at this in more detail. The Hawk 5 is the newest five inch to 10-millimeter X-Frame Quad from Emax.
It is the first Emax quad aimed squarely at the racer market using high spec components. I'm sure this is their response to the other great FPV racing drone configurations being released from other manufacturers such as Diatone, Holybro and others.
It uses a flight stack connected together with pins and it's got very few wires, arms are incredibly thin but very strong.
The electronics are built around this Magnum F4 Flight Tower.
This is a very neat and tidy stack, with pinned board interconnects between each of the PCBs. The mainboard combines an F4 flight controller and LC filter, a 5-volt regulator, black box and buzzer. It uses an STM32F405 MCU and the popular MP6000 gyro, flashed with Beta Flight 3.30. This has got an OSD as well.
The integrated LC filter with the 5 Volt/3A voltage regulator. Means clean power for all the other components and boards. Then the black box flight recorder has got 16 MB flash memory, and there's a buzzer mounted on the PCB.
On the PCB, because the stack is pinned together with connectors, there's hardly any wires. Other than the camera, and the main wires to the quad motors from the 4in1 ESC, there's nothing to be seen really. This makes it an incredibly neat build and the quality of the soldering is excellent.
The Magnum Tower also includes a Frsky XM+ receiver. Although it's very small, the downside of this is you don't get telemetry, but you do have the Beta Flight OSD to show your battery voltages in your FPV goggles. And it would be nice to have seen them using something like XSR receiver which is smart port enabled with full duplex transmission for telemetry. But I guess they don't see is being necessary for racing quad.
The VTX has 48 channels which are switchable from 25 mW to 200 mW which is perfect for race events.
It comes with a lightweight dipole whip antenna, but you also get this 80-millimeter extension with an SMA connector to U.FL, so that you can use your own antenna.
Additionaly, there's a couple of Pagoda V2 antennas in the box which is a really nice touch.
But watch out though these are both left hand polarized, they didn't provide one of each; left hand and the right hand polarized. To fix them on you'll only need to add the extension, flip it onto the board and tie wrap under.
And at the bottom of the stack is a 30 a 4in1 ESC and current sensing board running BLHeli_S firmware - they support D Shot, Multi Shot and One Shot 125, so take your pick. But I suspect it will probably be D Shot 600. Emax claims that this can run 6s with a lower kV motor.
The build quality is outstanding. It's got nice tidy wiring and good solder joints. I pulled this apart before the review to take a look under the hood and I'd have been thriled if I built this.
The frame is a true X and it's amazingly solid and stiff. It uses the regular sandwich style of frame construction with top and bottom plates. This means it's very stiff and it's easy to change the arms if you break one.
The frame and the arms are nicely finished, and the arms have got a good amount of extra carbon outside the motor diameter here and this provides lots of crash protection. The camera is fairly well protected and easy to adjust with 2 mm dome head bolts on each side.
Other than the motor bolts all the bolts are countersunk and easy to get to, it's got a very nice finish. And each arm has got two bolts and they're easy to change without having to pull the whole thing apart.
The thickness of the arms is 4x5 mm by 9mm; these are pretty low drag arms. The quality of these is pretty good. And although they don't have sharpened edges, they're not sharp and there's some good degree of crash protection to stop the bell of the motor getting damaged.
Top plate is 2 millimeters thick and these interesting reinforcing braces along the side here. Those are 1.5 mm.
On the bottom, you've got the standard two plates sandwiching the arms. I have a good feeling this will be pretty tough to break in a crash.
The top plate has got a small cutout so you can see the VTX channel and the channel selector button. Although it's quite small here, is nice and easy to get to on the side.
And one thing I've noticed with most BNF quads is there's always something silly that hasn't been quite finished off: the buzzer isn't connected or the battery strain relief isn't there, and similar details which can frustrate you along the way.
But with the Hawk5, everything's just ready to go. The battery wires have got some strain relief with a cable tie, and the buzzer is integral to the flight stack and the flight stack uses these nice flexible vibration mounts.
They've even fixed a 470 microfarad capacitor across the power supply connectors on the PDB to suppress noise. It's a very nice touch, and very nicely finished.
And as you'd expect from EMAX they've used some of these powerful LS 2206 2300 kV Lite Spec racing motors, and it'll be interesting to see how these nuts up using their new props. EMAX achieved to combine such requirements into a motor that can meet all aspects by reducing the weight while maintaining the durability and performance in check.
EMAX make quite a lot about these props. They're 5x4.3x3 and are designed to give a constant 4.3 pitch across the whole blade, which apparently gives a linear control feeling across the whole throttle band.
Most of the weight is around the hub which means it's got a low moment of inertia, basically that makes a very responsive propeller, because the way it is all centered around the hub.
For the camera they've used the low latency Foxier Arrow Micro V2. It's a 600 TVLine CCD camera with a wide-angle 150-degree lens which is perfect for fast racing.
One clever feature of this frame is that you can choose where you want to mount the battery on the top or on the bottom.
Everyone's got their own preference and this is the first time I've seen this. It doesn't solve the problem of who's right: top mount or bottom mounters, there's arguments for each way and what flies best for Acro and what flies best for racing.
Personally I think it's what works best for you. And the Hawk 5 gives you this option. In fact you could easily do it back-to-back test if you wanted to.
If you bottom mount the battery there's plenty of room on the top for a GoPro. But there's no mount so you'll have to find your own. If you're going to use this to race you probably don't want the extra weight of a GoPro on the quad.
Weight without the battery is near enough 260, with props on it's going to be 270 grams, which is what the spec says.
On the face of it this is an outstanding and properly complete mini quad that will get you racing straight out of the box.
Spares seem to be readily available although I suspect you won't be able to buy individual boards from the F4 tower.
Cost-wise this is only around 250 dollars, which is slightly cheaper than most of the BNF quads in this 5 inch range. But it doesn't compromise on parts, they're very high spec so it's great value for money which is always a good thing.