Author Archive: fpvcentral

FPVCentral is a private, independent news and review site for all things related to First Person View RC model flight. Covering everything from hobby, commercial and military drones, RC models and electronics related to FPV flight, we are not sponsored by any manufacturer or affiliated with any company or project.

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KK 2 Multicopter controller released: $30 at HK

KK 2 Multicopter controller released: $30 at HK

June 20, 2012 11:40 | By | Add a Comment

Now that is a pleasant surprise: The KK2 controller, exclusively designed for HobbyKing by Rolf Bakke, is now on sale at HobbyKing for 30 bucks. For a controller with accelerometers this is a steal. The microcontroller is a Mega324PA, so not exactly a powerhouse, but we’ll see how this new controller stacks up compared to the MultiWii and Rabbit boards out there in our upcoming review.

KK2 Controller Board with integrated LCD announced

KK2 Controller Board with integrated LCD announced

June 20, 2012 0:26 | By | Add a Comment

Just when you thought you’ve seen them all, HobbyKing releases a brand-new flight controller designed by Rolf Bakke, the maker of the original KK flight controller! Press video and tech specs after the break!

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Holybro KK Board, yet another KK clone

Holybro KK Board, yet another KK clone

June 18, 2012 12:13 | By | Add a Comment

Yo Bro! It’s the Holybro KK Multicopter Flight Controller, the latest version of the aging controller board design by Rolf “CapteinKUK” Bakke, featuring… the same old Murata gyros? The same “latest version 5.5” PCB that has been sold for well over a year now?

Look, the KK boards were the mainstay of the multicopter revolution, but in 2012 there’s simply no valid reason for getting one of these anymore. The “Bro” version sold at GoodLuckBuy is relatively cheap at $20 and comes in several pre-programmed versions for X, Y, Single-, Dual-, Hex-, etc. -copter… but why get this when you can get the better Eagle N6 / i86 for the same money? Not only is the i86 smaller and lets you select airframe type with simple DIP switches, but the STM 3D gyro is simply generations ahead of the aging Murata gyros on the KK board.

Hobbyking sells their KK board by pitching those gyros as being “high end” – but in fact the ENC type Murata gyros are not even being produced in volume anymore, they have been phased out back in 2008, and Hobbykings own HK401 helicopter gyro ditched the aging Murata ENC sensor for a new gyro sensor in 2011. It is said that these gyros are less vibration sensitive than SMD gyros, but we tested the i86 with props that were not quite balanced, and the SMD-gyro powered board still flew as stable as any gyro-only board.

 

Crius MultiWii Lite Review

Crius MultiWii Lite Review

June 15, 2012 0:16 | By | 8 Comments

MultiWii is perhaps one of the most well known Open Source multicopter projects. All its hardware and software is open source. Originally based on sensors taken from gutted Nintendo Wii controllers, this project has come a long way – and these days you don’t need to cannibalize a WiiMote or Nunchuk controller anymore. You get a board like the Crius in this review, and you’re set. But how well does it work and how difficult is it to set up? That’s what we’re looking into in this review.

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FreeFlight controller discontinued?

FreeFlight controller discontinued?

June 11, 2012 19:26 | By | Add a Comment

There’s been a disturbing rumor about a discontinuation of the FreeFlight controller. First, chat logs surfaced between an user and an alleged employee of the company producing the FreeFlight boards, in which the employee cited legal tension between the manufacturer of the Rabbit flight controller and FreeFlight as the reason for them stopping both the design of the upcoming GPS module, as well as ceasing to manufacture the FreeFlight controller itself. According to these chat logs, the company behind FreeFlight is now working on a new, completely integrated controller that combines all sensors and GPS onto a single PCB.

These are all rumors of course, and impossible to verify.

However, we received the following letter from GoodLuckBuy.com in one of our recent shipments, which incidentally contained both a MultiWii SE and a KK5.5 flight controller (as well as two fitting USB FTDI interfaces) instead of the FreeFlight controller:

 

Thank you for buying at Goodluckbuy.com!
You may notice that we have sent both MWC SE and KK 5.5 board with your copter, instead of FF board.
The reason is that we recently changed the control board of the quad-copters you bought; also the website descriptions have been changed too. But we also considered that our customers may have not noticed this minor change, therefore we send your order by express with no extra cost, also with two control boards that may give you more options. Hope you would like it.
We also sent our gifts with your order besides the extra control board, to thank you for being a customer of GLB!
Hope to see you soon!

Regards,
The GLB team

P/S: Our FF board supplier quits their business, so FF board would not be listed on our website now!

 

We have no information whether this means no FF boards from one supplier, or no FF boards at all. There’s also no confirmation about possible legal action from another controller manufacturer. All we know for certain is that there are no FF boards available from GoodLuckBuy in the forseeable future, however their way to deal with this situation was commendable!

Hubsan Spyhawk gets updates

Hubsan Spyhawk gets updates

June 10, 2012 17:34 | By | Add a Comment

While we’re still waiting for our review unit of the Hubsan Spyhawk, it looks like they took some of the criticism by RCModelReviews to heart and made some changes:

  1. Recording can now be toggled remotely with the ENTER key on the transmitter
  2. Stabilizer gyros can now be switched on and off remotely via the EXIT key on the transmitter
  3. Elevator control surface has been enlarged
  4. Cooling vent added to canopy
  5. CG is now marked on the underside of the wings
  6. New servos, with allegedly better performance and no overheating

Apparently all new shipments will come with these improvements.

Alishanmao posted a nice little 3-part video on youtube about the new Spyhawk.

Q450 Fiberglass/Nylon Quad Frame Review

Q450 Fiberglass/Nylon Quad Frame Review

June 10, 2012 14:54 | By | 1 Comment

The Q450 frame sold by HobbyKing is a sturdy, cheap frame with a simple construction that can take quite a beating. It’s being marketed as the RM450 V1 by RcTimer for a few bucks more, and both are completely identical. But how does it fare in the air? Find out whether saving money with this DJI-clone is worth it in our review

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Hobbyking i86 / Eagle N6 Multi-Rotor Control Board Review

Hobbyking i86 / Eagle N6 Multi-Rotor Control Board Review

June 7, 2012 22:34 | By | 10 Comments

At a mere $20, the Hobbyking i86 is a cheap clone of the Eagle N6 V1 board. Unlike KK, MultiWii and most other boards it does not require the user to flash a firmware in order to fly, instead the airframe type can be set via DIP switches. It’s simple, it’s cheap and it’s small, but is it worth saving money on the controller board?

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SkyRC GPS logger measures your speed, slowly…

SkyRC GPS logger measures your speed, slowly…

June 2, 2012 14:43 | By | Add a Comment

The SkyRC GSM-010 is a GPS receiver/logger with an integrated display for current and maximum speed and altitude, trip length, time etc. – it was designed for RC modelers, or so SkyRC claims, allowing pretty much everyone to drop this 40 gram heavy unit into their plane to measure the maximum speed over ground.

In essence this is just a GPS datalogger with a display. The model name (“GSM”) doesn’t hint at a built-in GSM modem, it’s just there because… that’s what they call it. There’s 4MB of data storage, and a USB port so you can download the recorded route to your laptop for display in Google Earth. A miniscule 200mAh LiPo inside gives you 150 minutes of GPS tracking time. You won’t be able to put this into your pylon racer any time soon, as it’s definitely on the bulky side:

The GPS has a 1Hz maximum update rate, which can be slowed down even further using the supplied PC software – you know, just in case you want your top speed measurements to become even less meaningful.

Honestly it’s difficult to see this being useful for anyone but an RC beginner with a mild curiosity for how fast their model can go. The 1Hz GPS receiver pretty much disqualifies this for high-speed planes as you’ll have to sustain your top speed for several seconds before this unit will provide even a half-accurate measurement, the bulky case will make it impossible to place this in cramped or slim fuselages, and the battery capacity is suboptimal as well.

You can buy this for $70 at Goodluckbuy, or you can get the Voltron mini GPS logger instead, a smaller device that weighs only 12 grams despite also having integrated display – plus it connects directly to your receiver. The Voltron is sadly restricted to 1Hz GPS updates too.

 

A much more professional GPS logger can be found by visiting SM-Modellbau (german), their GPS Logger weighs only 11 grams, has a fast 10Hz GPS and a micro SD slot, and it supports telemetry communications with Multiplex M-Link, HOTT and Jeti Duplex receivers out of the box. You can find this product in their shop here. They have a whole range of products for your logging and measurement needs, and best of all, they’re all compatible with each other.

 

The GPS Logger by SM-Modellbau is smaller, lighter, and features a high-performance 10Hz GPS receiver.

 

$19 Hobbyking i86 Multirotor Controller, an Eagle N6V1 clone?

$19 Hobbyking i86 Multirotor Controller, an Eagle N6V1 clone?

May 29, 2012 6:31 | By | Add a Comment

Hobbyking released the i86 multirotor controller yesterday, and their stock of over 100 pieces sold out in less than 12 hours. The i86 appears to be a clone of the Eagle N6 V1 controller, though with a price of $19.99 – For comparison, Goodluckbuy sells this for $49

UPDATE 2 JUNE 2012: The i86 is in stock at Hobbyking again!

This controller uses a 3-axix MEMS gyro, and is thus in the same league as the KK controller due to the lack of a separate high-resolution accelerometer. How does it compare to the KK controller, and especially the current-generation controller boards with accelerometers? Read the review here on FPVCentral to find out more!

 

The big benefit of this product, aside from the price, is simplicity. There is only three gain potentiometers and a dip switch to select your type of aircraft (airplane, 2/3/4/5/6-Rotors)

 

IdeaFly IFLY4 + Rabbit controller review

IdeaFly IFLY4 + Rabbit controller review

May 9, 2012 7:38 | By | 1 Comment

The IdeaFly IFLY4 is being offered with the Rabbit flight controller for $240 on GoodLuckBuy, and FPVCentral is taking a closer look at this interesting set in our in-depth review!

IFly4 Quadcopter and Rabbit Flight Controller ARF Set Review

IFly4 Quadcopter and Rabbit Flight Controller ARF Set Review

May 9, 2012 7:32 | By | 16 Comments

A complete, receiver-ready quadcopter for 240 bucks? That’s what GoodLuckBuy is offering, but can this ready-to-fly package really satisfy, or is it a useless china gadget? Find out in our review!

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FPV Shops

FPV Shops

April 23, 2012 13:15 | By | 8 Comments

Here is a list of known FPV related online shops. Feel free to add more via comments.

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DJI FPV controller, new Hexacopter

DJI FPV controller, new Hexacopter

April 17, 2012 10:01 | By | Add a Comment

DJI, the same company that makes the NAZA and WooKong multirotor controllers, has shown an integrated FPV controller at the NAB Show in Las Vegas yesterday. The “Ruling” as they call it, is a ground control terminal with integrated video display. According to DJI this system provides compatibility with the AceOne and WooKong controllers, and offers neat features like an integrated full-color OSD with artificial horizon, attitude ladders, etc.

 

Also new by DJI: The S800 hex-rotor craft with injection-molded frame assembly and the ZENMUSE camera gimbal assembly, which when combined, form one badass (and expensive) FPV package.

The MSRP for the S800 is USD 8500.- and the “Ruling” FPV controller is expected to sell for around USD 5000.-

 

SpyHawk RTF plane has a sweet integrated FPV remote

SpyHawk RTF plane has a sweet integrated FPV remote

April 7, 2012 13:51 | By | 3 Comments

Hubsan is offering a range of ready-to-fly FPV products that remove the need for all the cables typically associated with FPV flying. The system uses a remote control with integrated video system:

 

The remote combines a 2.4GHz spread spectrum control system and a 5.8GHz video link

 

The remote has a video output in case you want to use your own glasses, and best of all, the 5.8GHz video system is compatible with most receivers out there except FatShark equipment – then again, FatShark is not compatible with anything but FatShark anyway.

There’s several models available, including helicopters and an EPO-made pushprop-plane called “Spyhawk”:

Interestingly, the Spyhawk has a 5MP camera, gyro-stabilization and an integrated microSD slot for recording the video feed it sends to the RC remote. The Spyhawk RTF package and the helicopter packages can be ordered at onlyflyingmachines.com and cost less than $300.-

A GPS-powered Auto-Return module will also be made available in Summer 2012, and can be just plugged into the Spyhawk to upgrade it to a semi-autonomous drone.

Hubsan FPV Website: www.hubsan.com

 

Technical Specifications:

EPO Crashproof Material
Wing Span:843mm
Overall Length:617mm
Flying Weight: 180g
Flying time: around 30 mins
Motor:C1404 Brushless KV3000
Battery:7.4V 450 mAh
ESC:6A
Transmitter:2.4Ghz 4 Channels vs 3.5″LCD Monitor
Video+Audio: 5.8Ghz Transmission
Camera:5M pixels camera included
Live video distance:400 meters
OSD module included
Auto-pilot module(Option H301A )
Video Recording module(Option H301A )
Memory Card:Micro SDHC class6 2G (Option)
GPS return module (Option H301A)