Tag: Controller

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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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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$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)

 

2012: The year of the multicopter controller flood

2012: The year of the multicopter controller flood

January 11, 2012 14:19 | By | 14 Comments

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of all the multirotor controller boards and units out there. While the level of sophistication is increasing with most of these offerings, some are just open-source projects rebranded and sold under a different name. Here are some of the more interesting offerings at the moment which are either extremely sophisticated, or come at a price that makes it easy to get into this hobby.

 

 

DJI Wookong

http://www.dji-innovations.com/minisite/index_en.html

Source: $1099 at Goodluckbuy

The DJI Wookong is probably the most expensive, and the most complete package out there. This is not only a mere multicopter controller with three gyros. It also incorporates S-Bus compatibility, GPS for position-hold, return home and other nifty functions. At a price of just over $1000 it does not come cheap. However, by adding a data downlink transmitter (=another 300-400 bucks) and using the supplied PC based flight control software you essentially get a turnkey drone system. A quad or tricopter can be built or bought for under $100 these days, and a sub-2000 dollar pricetag for a drone system that is easy to set up and lets you place waypoints on a screen is pretty damn good. Yes there’s the open source Paparazzi project, but that’s far from easy to get to work.

 

 

DJI NAZA

http://www.dji-hobby.com/naza/index_en.html

Source: $238 at Goodluckbuy

The DJI Naza is the low-cost alternative for those of us who don’t need PC control, GPS and all that. At a price of over $200 it is more expensive than the open source counterparts, but it does offer S-Bus compatibility as well as a 2-axis gimbal output for stabilizing camera mounts, and comes with documentation, software and upgrade capabilities.

 

 

Bumblebee

Source: $186 at Goodluckbuy

The Bumblebee controller looks very much like the NAZA, and for a good reason: It’s essentially a stripped down OEM version without S-Bus support and gimbal output. It also only supports quadcopters.

 

 

XAircraft FC1212-S

http://www.xaircraft.com

Source: $150 at Goodluckbuy

The FC1212-S from XAircraft is part of a modular system similar to DJI. In addition to support for an external GPS module and other features, the FC1212 features a 3-axis camera gimbal stabilization output AND a camera shutter output. It should be noted that a high-quality 3-axis gimbal mount will cost you another $300 dollars, but for that you get the best possible camera stabilization.

 

 

Rabbit Flight Controller

Source: $90 at Goodluckbuy

The back says “Love it” and it sounds rather unconvincing. The board features 3-axis accelerometers in addition to the 3-axis gyros, and supports 4, 6 and 8 rotor craft. It supposedly also supports return-home via a GPS addon, but there’s only a flimsy pdf manual, and the included software is not fully translated to english.

The Rabbit software, note the weird button labels...

We have tested the Rabbit flight controller, check our Review for more information!

 

 

FF Free Flight Controller

Source: $50 at Goodluckbuy

The cheapest offering is also one of the best: 3 axis gyro + 3 axis accelerometer, 2 axis camera stabilization, solid PC software, firmware upgrades, and manuals in english and french language. Only drawback: It only supports quadcopters.

On the other hand, you can get the IFLY-4 folding quadcopter kit including this controller for under $200 right here, including the quadcopter frame, 4x 1200kv motors, 4x 12A ESCs, the FF controller and a no-soldering ESC connector board. Even the props are already included.

 

In conclusion, all of these controllers are suitable for FPV flight, and most boards offer stabilization output for creating smooth and stabilized action footage with your DSLR or GoPro HD. Note that it’s not advisable to mount the FPV camera itself onto the gimbal, unless you’re used to flying with a stabilized camera – it’s very difficult to judge your relative motion if you don’t “see” what angle the craft is at.

While a self-made quadcopter was a novelty in 2009, it’s safe to say that the sky will be buzzing with the little buggers in 2012.