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Airwolf RX-F801 and RX-F802 vs X4R-SB

Got some new receivers in that are compatible with the FrSky protocol. No doubt thanks to midelic’s work on RCGroups. Hoping the sqaurish format will allow me to bury it into micro FPV quadcopter builds. It was difficult finding a location for the regular FrSky X4R-SB.

The RX-F801 and RX-F802 were purchased from BangGood.

I will be updating it with the new firmware versions midelic made available. Linked to below. It now supports telemetry and PPM and SBUS.




Some pictures of the RX-801 as I took off the outer plastic casing. The F802 came in a similar case.






Discussion on RCGroups: DIY FrSky TX/RX Modules

Places to buy:



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ZMR-X Custom ZMR Build

As FPV racing matures, new rules and classes are put into place. One of the rule is the “250” size racing quads need to stick with 5″ props. I think having a basher build that is purpose built for this role makes sense.

Shrinking everyone’s favorite low cost frame, the ZMR250 to fit the 5″ prop class and making it into a true X quad was my goal. Additionally, I wanted all the weight shifted to the center of gravity as possible. Including the lipo. In my case, a 3S pack.

So begins the next step of the ZMR Lite build

I think more fun to come up with a design where others can easily follow along with their own frame. So I played with where the existing holes lined up into a perfect X. And then figured out how to cut so it’s easy for others to do. In the end, you essentially “connect the dots” for the most part.


Prototype #1.


Messed with it some more in SolidWorks…


Frame currently looks like this now. Fellow local Team WarpQuad squad is building one. Will update with final build pictures of his and mine at a future date.


Here’s a photo I took before the new antenna plate. Figured it would be easier and more robust with 3D printed antenna mounts.

Some ppl have been asking about my arm mounted ESC treatment…so here’s a closer look on how I do it now. It consist of mylar tape in the color of your choice. I like red. It’s thin, so I feel the FETs can exhaust the heat quicker through this type of covering. Follow by a CF vinyl weave. I use my Silhouette machine to cut it out. The ESC is secure mounted to the arm with Scotch Exterior Mounting Tape. Then cut a strip of Self fusing silicone tape. I wrap the wire/soldered joint and around the arm. The silicone tape only sticks to itself. Holds strongly. And I can easily remove to access the ESC for repair/maintenance.

And a couple of shots from the second ZMR X I put together…

Built with parts I have on hand. So a rev2 AfroMini 32. The new AfroMini 32 rev3 that I used on my ZMRX #1 is even easier to use.daryoon_zmrx_afromini_fc

A look at the the rear where the plugs come out of. The receiver and VTX are attached vertically to the XT60 on the 10mm standoffs. The XT60 mounting board can be purchased at BangGood for $1. Or $1.99 with the XT60 soldered. I like the bare plate and solder on my own black, XT60.
I plan on designing a top plate that doubles as a action cam mount for GoPro or Xiaomi Yi camera. This will put the camera at the COG, so you can record your flight without making the quad’s handling too bad.

LED light ring. Color selectable via dip switch on the board.
ZMRX_light_ring__hacksmods_red_LED ZMRX_light_ring_LED

1st rev of the antenna mount… may add more features to it.
CAD and STL file download:

Categories: Builds, Quadcopters, ZMR
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FVT LittleBee 20A (MRM ZEUS 20) VS KISS 18A ESC

The new “Favorite” FVT LittleBee 20a arrived into the HacksMods lab. So it’s time to take some clear shots of them and compare with the Flyduino KISS ESC. Which is still one of the highest performing multirotor electronic speed controller. The small size and light weight are great for putting on racing quads. Or burying inside heavier aerial photography equipped quadcopters, or “drones” as the media likes to call it.

In the USA, the Little Bee 20a are known as the MRM Zeus 20. Brian (punkindrublik on RCGroups) of  MultiRotorMania help finance and brought these new ESC to market. So they secured the rights as the sole distributor in the USA. However, the ESC should soon be available from some of your favorite multi rotor online stores.

Continuing in the same small by mighty form factor that the Flyduino KISS ESC brought to market, the FVT LittleBee 20 are about the same size. 12.5mm x 23mm x 3mm. Versus the KISS (v1.1) 12mm x 24mm x 3.81mm

What makes these new FVT LittleBee the current popular ESC is that recent test are showing them to perform similar to the KISS ESC. (Here’s one by QuadMcFly) This is in part due to the use of the SilLab F330 MCU. Which has a faster clock speed than the popular ATMEL chip used on most competing ESC. Add to that dedicated FET drivers and it’s performing quite well. This is what BLHeli creator Steffen has to say about it:

Then there is a very promising little ESC, the FVT Littlebee 20A:

This ESC has a good design with fast dedicated driver chips, which gives excellent freewheeling and exceptional braking.

Initial stress testing on 4S with a Cobra 2208/2000 with 6×4.5 prop, doing repetitive immediate accelerations from low rpm to full throttle went well.
During the initial acceleration, this setup pulls about 100A, so it’s a tough test for a small ESC (and can break other small ESCs).
Hopefully this indicates that the ESC will prove to be a reliable performer.

And so far, this is the closest performer to KISS that I have seen in this size.

Very clean layout and manufacturing placement of components on the PCB. Definitely KISS quality for sure. It seems like they used higher temp lead free solder. My Metcal MX500 soldering station usually makes quick work with lead free solder. But I admit, it took a split second longer with the solder joints on these Little Bee 20. This may be to prevent overheated MOSFET from desoldering itself like what appears the DYS SN20a are doing in some of the recent batches. Also, keep in mind that having to flow the solder at a higher temp usually slows down the manufacturing process. This, along with how clean the ESC looks and components are laid out…continue to signify a high level of quality control. So kudos to Favorite and MultiRotorMania.

favorite_FVT_littlebee_opto_20a_mrm_zeus_20_closeup_sidebysidefavorite_FVT_littlebee_opto_20a_mrm_zeus_20_macro_signal_wire_side favorite_FVT_littlebee_opto_20a_mrm_zeus_20_macro_mosfet_side

Weight of the FVT LittleBee 20a as it came out of the package is 6.73g.

Weight of the FVT LittleBee 20a without heatshrink and wires is 2.12g. I know some of you guys want to know things like this. I know as a hobbyist, I do. So very similar to the KISS 18a which I weighed here. And about .70 grams heavier than the ZTW Spider 18a Opto Lite.

Signal wire polarity in case someone needs this info in the future. (That’s would usually be me.)favorite_FVT_littlebee_opto_20a_mrm_zeus_20_amp_polarity

I have a few new frames I’d like to use these LittleBee on. Can’t wait to see them fly.

Some of my favorite places to buy from that carries these FVT LittleBee/MRM Zeus 20:
MultiRotorMania: MRM Zeus 20 Amp ESC

BoltRC: Little Bee 20A ESC

MyRCMart: RCX 20A (Little Bee) Mini BLHeli Multirotor ESC

MultirotorParts: Favourite Littlebee 20A
Supreme FPV: Littlebee 20a esc 2-4s

More info can be found on RC Groups discussion thread:
Little Bee and MRM Zeus 20AMP ESC’s

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ZMR 250 Lite Build

daryoon_zmr250_flight_controller_access_hatch daryoon_zmr250_flight_controller_programming_header daryoon_zmr250_fpv_pod daryoon_zmr250_fpv_pod_front daryoon_zmr250_fpv_pod_front_angled1 daryoon_zmr250_fpv_pod_fronttop_angled

daryoon_zmr250_fpv_pod_tilt daryoon_zmr250_lipo_battery_connector_and_distribution_center  Dimon372_599791_zmr250_bumper_big_side_shielding  ZMR250_KISSPDB_KISS_ESC Daryoon_ZMRLite_250_LED_inside_afromini_amaze Daryoon_ZMRLite_250_FrSky_X4R-SB ZMR250_KISSPDB_SN20a_ESC

Alternate configuration with the battery plate. Allows more space to hide things.

Categories: Builds, Uncategorized
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ZTW Spider 18a Lite vs KISS ESC

With DYS/RCTimer SN20a and BL20a possibly having a bad manufacturing batch. Plus, you lose about 10% thrust versus competiting ESC. One of the new ESC some of us have started buying instead are the ZTW Spider 18a Opto Lite as some retailers are calling them. Performance seems good so far. We’ll learn how their fare in crashes and general abuse as more and more people use them and report back.

The BLHeli firmware to use are BS12a or BS20a. either hex will work fine according to sskaug (Steffen), BLHeli creator.

Mine came with the SimonK bootloader. And I was able to use my USBASP to flash BLHeli bootloader on there. Here are the ISP pad locations for your reference:


Weight as they come out of the package. I took off the heatshrink and it was about .2g lighter.

Heatshrink is thin, clear and shiny. Same types they use on many battery packs.ZTW_18a_Opto_Lite_out_of_package

Weight of the naked ESC.

Here’s a shot of the ZTW Spider Lite on the far right. Next to it is the new KISS 30a. And to the far left, is the KISS 18a.


Picture of the MOSFETs and a peek at the soldering. I don’t see any left over solder splashes/balls.

KISS 18a on the left. ZTW Spider 18a Lite on the right side.KISS_18a_vs_ZTW_18a_Opto_Lite_MOSFET_pads

Side by side with the KISS 18a v1.1. Which is simply about 1mm longer than KISS 18a v1.0. You can see that the ZTW Spider 18a is slight shorter. And also thinner.


A look at the opposite side.

Here’s the Spider 18a Lite mounted in the lower plate of the Aura 250 FPV quad.aura250_afromini_spider_lite18_esc

And a couple of closing shots of the Aura 250.

I modified the top plate so I can slide in a 4S 1400mAh lipo pack.auro250_5045bullnose
The links below are my favorite places to buy:


Readytoflyquad: 18a Spider Lite Series ESC
MassiveRC: MassiveRC OneShot125 18a ESC

BangGood : ZTW Spider Series 18A Lite

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RCTimer and DYS SN20a ESC versus KISS

I got the new RCTimer SN20a ESC in today. These are the new crop of ultralight and small ESC, using the latest MOSFET tech. It all started with Flyduino’s KISS ESC.

The first thing I did was desolder all the wires. Then gave it a quick inspection. Follow by some photographs of them sidebyside with the KISS 12A ESC v1 I have.

The KISS are supposely 12mm by 23mm. I measured with my digital calipers at 12.25mm by 23mm. While the SN20a measured at 11.94mm by 23.33mm.

So they are both roughly the same size. However, keep in mind that the latest KISS v1.1 have larger pads so they gain about 1mm in length. It’s nice to see that the SN20a ESC comes with larger pads by default.

The other pluses for the SN20a is that all the wires come presoldered and the ESC heatshrunk. And best of all, the 20A are less than $12 in qty of 3 or more!!!

Runs BLHeli with dampening and OneShot capabilities.




And near identical in weight as well…


And thanks to Zachary, he pointed me to the pinout someone shared on RCGroups.


Discussion Thread:
RCGroups thread: RCTimer / DYS Mini SN20a esc

For flashing…I suggest getting an Arduino Nano. You can use BLHeli Suite to program it into a 4 interface flashing toolstick. This will allow you to flash SN20a ESC with either SimonK or BLHeli bootloader as well as other things. This makes it the most versatile toolstick…and least expensive too at < $4 shipped from the USA warehouse. I’d grab a 3pack or 5pack just to have extra. For friends or other projects that require the Arduino. ;)
The links below are my favorite places to buy:


BangGood USA Warehouse: DYS SN20A with BLHeli Mini 20A SimonK ESC OPTO
MassiveRC: SN20A OneShot125 20A ESC

Armattan (blheli pre-flashed) http://www.armattanminis.ca/armattan-20a-opto-esc/

BangGood : Rctimer OPTO mini 20A Brushless ESC SimonK 2-4S for RC Multicopter
RcTimer : http://www.rctimer.com/product-1280.html


**Update 2015-07-28** DYS rep recommend updating to BLHeli 14 to avoid any issue of burnt ESC.

3 Comments on RCTimer and DYS SN20a ESC versus KISS

Mini CC3D board

I have a CC3D board that I hope to build a second ZMR250 with. So I can play with OpenPilot and compare to the Acro Naze 32 flight controller board running CleanFlight. I always like small, lightweight components on my mini and micro quadcopter builds. So it’s with great interest to see the mini CC3D Atom board.



I like that it comes with the protective casing. And you can choose between straight pins or right angle pins soldered on for you. Plus it also comes with cables, double-sided tape, a isolated dampening platform. As well as an Antenna mount and instructional flyer helping you to hook up a Satellite RX.

Here is a photo I took of it side by side with the AfroMini Naze board. (After I remove the case of course.)


Weight of the FC without the protective case that it came in.

Categories: MultiRotor, Quadcopters
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Nano QX Paper Canopy

Thanks to Darsh, the original creator of this 3D model. I created a few color variation of the Nano QX paper canopy.

More info and original content in this RC Groups thread by Darsh.





Each of the photo below links to the PDF file you can download and print. Good luck and have fun.

White and Red Nano QX Paper craft canopy

Blacks and Yellow Nano QX Paper craft canopy

Red Nano QX Paper craft canopy

Yellow and Blue Nano QX Paper Craft Canopy

Categories: Canopies, MultiRotor
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Quick HiSky HCP100 LiPo Comparsion

I need more lipo and wanted to try something lighter weight to see how the HCP100S will do. The Hobby King Nano-Tech 330mAh made for the Trex 150 touts 45-90c. Let’s see how it matches up to the HiSky HCP100S stock 450mAh 25c pack.

I have two of the HiSky 450mAh and three of the Nano-Tech 330mAh.


Click to view the larger graph…


I was only able to pull 2A from my iCharger 106B+. And I estimated that the HCP100S pulls about 2.8A or so. But the graph above gives us a good basis for comparision.

The NanoTech claims 40-90C. And it does gives an ok discharge the first minute or so. The HiSky 25c does keep the voltage up longer.

I get about 6mins with the 330mAh pack. And about roughly 8mins with the HiSky 450mAh.

The HiSky’s ability to maintain a higher voltage through the flight makes up for the fact that it’s a heavier pack. My skill level doesn’t allow me to feel the weight on the HCP100S. The brushless motor sill makes it super power and peppy to me. And the weight makes it feel more stable in the breeze.

But the Nano-Tech are about half the cost, factoring HobbyKing shipping. And 5-6mins is a good amount of time for flying. You just need to install a balance plug to use the Trex 150 compatible lipo.

Just thought I’d share.

update 2015-07-01: I currently like the  Nano-tech 300mah 2S 45~90C. The measured IR is about 20ohm versus the 50-60ohms of the Trex 330 version. And it seems the Trex 330 version is already slightly puffy even though I haven’t flown it much.

Categories: HCP100S, Helicopter, Test
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Hubsan X4 Quad Plus updates

At CES 2015, Hubsan had a good presence and brought out their new line up. Many of us are familiar with the original Hubsan X4 and it’s rebrands such as the Traxxas QR-1…as well as the many, many clones that tries to mimic the form and function of the first Hubsan X4. That does say something about Hubsan’s design and engineering prowess.

First up, the regular Hubsan X4 with LED gets an update. The H107L is now known as the H107P aka Hubsan X4 Plus.

Next up, the Hubsan X4 (H107C) with camera is now known as the H107C+, aka Hubsan X4 Camera Plus. The camera records at 720P and the quad itself gets an altitude mode. This should allow for smooth flights, making it easier to maintain the same altitude level without too much throttle management. Smooth flights at the same altitude level regardless of speed or entering and exit turns are signs of a proficient pilot.
Hubsan X4 H107C+ X4 Cam Plus product photo

Hubsan X4 H107C+ X4 Cam Plus real picture


Here’s a photo of the bottom. You can see where the micro SD card resides. You can also see that Hubsan uses more screws to secure that part of the X4 that used to pop apart during crashes. These new micro quads do feel very solid in the hand.

Then there’s the Hubsan X4 (H107D) FPV. It gets the plus designation and now known as the H107D+, aka Hubsan X4 FPV Plus. From the product manual, it appears they are still keeping the old H107D in the lineup with the H107D+. The H107D+ maintain the same 720P recording resolution. It’s unknown if the quality is better or not. It also get the altitude mode upgrade. This is definitely a welcome feature for FPV beginners.

And a couple of images from the CES show…



Finally, the new additions to the X4 family. Both are much bigger than the size of the X4.

The H109 aka Hubsan X4 Brushless, is a quad that was leaked a year ago and many have been awaiting with bated breath. It’s Hubsan’s first brushless quad. The size reminds me more of a Blade 200QX. And it keeps the Hubsan styling, with lights on each of the motor pods. Along with the X4 Brushless, Hubsan introduced a new, larger transmitter to help tame that brushless power. Hopefully, the protocols are backwards compatible and will allow flying the smaller X4. Many of us Devo 7e users know that a X4 flies soooo much better with a good TX.

Besides the design aesthetices, the brushless power plant obviously makes the H109 attractive. What really get me interested though is the claim of a 20min flight time.

And finally, topping up the line up is the Hubsan’s DJI Phantom Vision+ competitor. The H109S, aka Hubsan X4 Pro. It touts a 1080P HD camera, GPS and automatic return to home. Even has a parachute in case something goes very wrong up in the air. The video at the bottom that Hubsan was running at their CES booth will give more highlights of the feature the H109S has.

It definitely looks like a badass and FPV ready. 3axis gyro stablization gimbal. And an Android power TX to control to round out the package. Very pro looking.

And I also saw a Hubsan FPV goggle on display. However, I don’t see it mentioned in their brochure. So I would be curious as to how they compare to Fatshark or SkyZone goggles.

Categories: Hubsan
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