Drone News & Drone Directory

MultiRotor Pilot Mag

RISE Mini High Frequency Brushless Multirotor ESCs

Looking for the perfect stocking stuffer for you or a fellow pilot? RISE has just released their newest brushless speed controls. Each is equipped with ONESHOT programming software for superior high-speed communication with your flight controller. Available in 12A, 20A, and 30A versions, and available now.

Click here for more info –

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Makin’ Bacon for Cancer Research

This article was originally published in the October/November 2016 issue of The Drones Magazine.

Let me preface this short, but sweet article with the notion that I certainly do not need an excuse to do some FPV flying, whether it’s through gates or freestyle. Give me a crowd to do it in front of and the chance to raise some loot to go towards research to end children’s cancers and I’m there in a heartbeat!

For the past seven years, the Goshen Stampede, a local rodeo in northwest Connecticut, also featured an RC car race to generate money for cancer research. Originally dreamed up by Pat Bovat and Steve Palmer (formerly of Pin Shop Hobbies), the car racing had been handed over to Lester Bastenback of Wolcott Hobbies for 2014 and 2015. The weather was not friendly, to say the least, and the fact that most racers were running nitro rigs meant that indoors was not an option. After almost a decade of car racing fun for charity, the Race For A Cure was done.

Fast forward to 2016, just weeks before the event. Stampede organizer, Sean O’Neill, reached out to Bovat who then contact Petr Hejl and myself to see if we could put on a show for the crowd if given the “swine barn” to play indoors. Of course we accepted the challenge and of course the weather was beautiful all weekend, but I digress. We managed to cob together a small venue, complete with bleachers protected by safety netting and an 80 inch monitor in front of the seats for live viewing of whatever pilot was up at any given time.

We also set up an RC crawler course that was basically a scale rig with an FPV setup out front. The driver who got the fastest five laps of the weekend with the goggles on went home with brand new Temper crawler from Horizon Hobby. The barn itself, with high roof and open rafters was perfect for the Tiny Whoops and every pilot that showed up was packing one. Venom Power even provided an ample supply of their new 150mAh 1S packs for all the Tiny Whoop pilots. There were loads of other raffle prizes donated to help raise more funds for the cause and for that, I must thank Hobbico, 2DogRC, Hitec and again, Horizon and Venom.

Though TrackMate Racing hooked us up with a sweet deal on a timing system, there were no organized events as the space was simply too small for 200-250 class machines to go up against each other. That, however, did not stop Michael Nieves and Ken Pleil from putting on a show for the crowd. Yours truly constructed seven gates. Complete with LEDs so there were plenty of obstacles to dance around. Petr Hejl and Chris Dileo kept the action going when the big machines were down, getting up close and personal with the higher rafters and keeping the crowd enthralled. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend. We had a great time, we made a bunch of money to donate to The St. Baldrick’s Foundation and we showed a heck of a lot of people just what FPV is … in addition to dispelling some myths. If you’re in the Northeast on Father’s Day weekend in next year, be sure to check us out at The Hog Barn FPV 2016!

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RISE RXD250

Crash Resistant and Tons of Fun!

This article was originally published in the October/November 2016 issue of The Drones Magazine.

FPV racing is all the rage these days in the drone world. Sure, there are loads of cool new aerial media rigs popping up (some of them in this very issue), but nothing is progressing at quite the pace that FPV race specific machines are. Hobbico has taken due notice and for that reason, they have revealed to us a new brand name, packing new FPV machines. RISE has picked up where the HeliMax line has left off , bringing the rotary winged machines of Hobbico to the masses in the form of the new RXD250 (RXD … Rise eXtreme Durability).

NEED TO KNOW
MANUFACTURER: RISE
DISTRIBUTOR: Hobbico
TYPE: FPV race quad Rx-R
FOR: Beginners to FPV flight
PRICE: $179.99

PROS ‹
• Carbon/Foam composite construction ‹
• Pretuned flight control board ‹ Inexpensive, yet feature packed ‹
• JST tap pre-wired for VTX install ‹
• Visually striking for VLOS flight

CONS ‹
• ESC’s have zero airflow over them ‹
• Manual could be more “Hobbico-esque”

REVIEWER’S OPINION
The RISE RXD250 stands out as the first true 250 class “beginner” machine, and for good reason. It boasts a carbon/foam composite frame, dappled with plastic and strategically place G-10 glass plates for the ultimate in durability. That means novice pilots can get up and running, pushing themselves to the limits right out of the gates without worry of destroying their machine. Even better, the RXD250 is a pleasure to fly and it looks plain cool, whether cruising in the high noon sun or during night flights with the super bright LED’s.

KEY FEATURES ‹
RISE touts the RXD250 as “The Extreme Durability Racer” … and they weren’t joking. The carbon/foam composite material offers the perfect blend of rigid- ity and fl ex when considering the needs of those pilots new to FPV or RC in general. Not only that, but the bright white fi nish of the carbon/foam looks great and makes the RXD250 easy to find when it’s downed in the grass from clipping a gate. ‹

The CC3D flight controller might not be the pinnacle of racing boards, but it is the perfect platform to get newcomers into the world of open source programming. Better yet, the board is pretuned, so all you have to do is setup your transmitter. The manual recommends calibrating your radio using the LibrePilot software, which worked great for us. Though, there are a host of other platforms for free download, if that suits your fancy. That’s the beauty of open source components! ‹

A complete package. Though the RXD250 is an Rx-R model, it can easily be completed and race prepped quickly and for a wallet friendly price. Using select components from RISE, Tactic and FlightPower, you can have your model ready for FPV flight within a few short hours. ‹

Aside from the CC3D controller, the RXD250 also comes with preinstalled motors, ESC’s, LED lights front and rear as well as a hard mounted battery plug. All you need to get this quad into the air are your radio, receiver and flight pack. To fully immerse yourself in the FPV realm, you’ll also need to supply your own camera, video transmitter and goggles or monitor with receiver. ‹

The CC3D flight controller included with the RXD250 features three independent flight modes: Stability Mode limits the bank angles of the quad and will re-level itself when the right gimbal stick is centered; perfect for beginners. Rattitude Mode offers a more exponential feel around center stick, still offering self leveling when centered, but removes the bank limits so that flips and rolls are possible. Finally, Rate Mode removes all the accelerometer assistance and only relies on the gyros. Tilt the RXD250 forward and it will stay there until you direct it to do otherwise. This mode is for experienced pilots who want unencumbered control of their machine.

IN THE AIR
Once we had our radio programmed and calibrated to the CC3D, we charged up a few packs and headed out to the parking garage near our office. The facility rarely ever has a car in it, but is chock full of poles and is packed with three levels of indoor/outdoor excite- ment for FPV flying. Powering up the RXD250, we armed the motors with a quick full right yaw input (you can choose which fashion you’d like to arm your motors in the LibrePilot program) and spooled em’ up.

In Stability mode, the 250 climbed up a few feet and simply hung in the air. Control inputs felt a bit mushy for our experienced thumbs, but the docile handling characteristics in this mode are exactly what newer pilots need when honing their skills. The vertical performance is not incredible, by any means, but the RXD250 has plenty of pep for those just breaking into the FPV world of flying. A higher discharge LiPo and some stiffer props would undoubtedly improve performance … when the training pilot is ready for it.

In Rattitude Mode, the RXD250 is loads of fun. We were instantly zipping in and out of the “pylons” and moving from floor to floor, both up and down the ramps as well as outside of the structure. The fact that you have full cyclic control in this mode, yet retain the stability of self leveling is confidence inspiring for those just transitioning up from a smaller machine or from Stability mode on this model. The quad was also much quicker with flat line speed in Rattitude mode as we could now pitch the nose in further.

Rate mode is where it’s at for the seasoned pros on the FPV sticks. When ripping up some gates on a race course (or our impromptu course in the parking garage), we generally used Rattitude mode to keep our thumbs in check. Once out at the field, no where around any structures, it was time for some big air. Rate mode is perfect for recording HD video (The Tactic DroneView WiFi cam fits perfectly on the upper, grommet damped plate) as the reaction of the machine to stick input is much smoother in this mode. There are no acceler ometers trying to bring the machine back to level if inputs are not precise enough, so you’re left with a smoother feel and smoother video … if your skills are up to the task. Busting big flips over the tree tops and stomach churning pirouettes was awesome. Just be wary that the gains in the CC3D are set on the modest side of the spectrum, so if you’re looking for a more crisp feel, modifying the PID’s of your own board will be in order.

Worth mentioning, the heli-style landing skids not only make takeoffs from longer grass possible, but they also make for some super-sweet touch-and-go maneuvers both forward and backwards! Just make sure to keep that battery lead nice and short if doing so. We had to shorten the lead on our FlightPower pack by nearly 3 inches. Also worth noting, the feed on the RISE FPV camera is amazing. We used both our Tactic diversity monitor as well as a set of Fat Shark Teleporter goggles and the image was crystal clear in open field situations. Even in the parking garage, laden with concrete and steel, we only saw minimal interference. The 25mW Tactic vTX is more than up to the task of doing some higher free style action, but if you really want to stretch the legs of your RXD250, Tactic also offers up a 200 and 600mW version of the transmitters.

SPECS
WEIGHT: 10.6 oz. (300g) without battery or FPV gear
DIAMETER: 250mm
MOTORS: (4) 1806-2280Kv
ESCS: (4) 10 amp
PROPELLERS: 5×3
FLIGHT CONTROLLER: Pre-tuned CC3D
FLIGHT TIME: 3-6 minutes

WE USED
RADIO: Tactic TTX850
RECEIVER: Tactic TR825
BATTERY: FlightPower 1800mAh 25C
CAMERA: RISE 600TVL
VIDEO TRANSMITTER: Tactic 25mW
MONITOR/RECEIVER: Tactic FPV 7 inch

What sets this rig apart from the myriad of other frame kits and ARF’s is that it’s fully assembled and pre-programmed … perfect for first timers to the world of open source boards. Though I’m quite capable of dealing with most any programming rituals out there today, there was a time when my keyboard was subjected to mindless threats as I travailed throughout my first flight controller learning curves. The RXD250 comes out of the box with little more to do than programming your radio and then calibrating it to the flight controller before you’re ready for your maiden flight.

Once you’ve got your RXD250 up and flying to your specs, simply add your own FPV gear and your ready to start exploring gate crashing and freestyle flight for your self. Luckily, RISE just released their very own FPV camera that is a nice press fit directly into the camera mount included with the quad. The mount has two different slot sets for camera angle, but our outer set that places the camera closest to the horizon were not cut wide enough to accommodate for the tabs on the camera plate. A quick “massaging” with a high speed bit on a rotary tool remedied that issue with haste.

ASSEMBLY
To get our RXD250 ready for flight and FPV action, we were provided with a host of components from Hobbico. The RISE 600TVL FPV camera slips right into the included mount on the 250, it’s easy as can be to wire up, it weighs in at a scant 11 grams and offers a field of view to the tune of 120 degrees. To compliment the RISE camera, we went with a Tactic 25mW vTX. The manual for the camera suggests two different wiring sequences. The first of which has the power and ground lead running to the radio receiver. This proved not to work in our test model, so we simply modified the “bypass” wiring sequence, basically soldering a y-harness for the JST tap leading from the vTX. This provides a steady flow of 11.1 volts directly to the camera and vTX, courte- sy of the prewired JST leadalready on the RXD250, completely bypassing the receiver.

Once we had figured all the FPV system wiring out, it was as simple as following the manual to connect the CC3D flight controller to the TR825 receiver with the included wire harness. The wires aren’t labeled, but they are all color coded and using the clearly illustrated photos, getting your radio system wired up is a no brainer. Once that’s done, down load and fire up the LibrePilot app, calibrate your radio for stick commands and a flight control switch and you’re ready to go!

THE FINAL WORD
All in all, the RISE RXD250 is an awesome machine. The pre-programmed CC3D board eliminates the hardest part about getting an FPV rig into the air … open source programming! Using the instructions included for the quad and the online tutorials for LibrePilot, you’ll have those tuning skills up on par with the flying skills in no time. The RXD250 is something you can beat up without worry of spending a fortune in repair parts … if you actually manage to break it. Even through a few direct hits with large trees and even concrete poles, the foam on the nose of our machine is a bit dinged up, but the model still flies as good as new. If you’re looking to try your hand at FPV and are unsure of where to go, check out the RISE RXD250. Along with a few other select parts from Hobbico, you can be out and flying from the goggles in no time!.

LINKS
HOBBICO hobbico.com
RISE explorerise.com
TACTIC tacticrc.com
FLIGHTPOWER flightpowerbatteries.com

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Quadra-Box Review

Professional Protective Case for DJI Phantom 3 & 4
By John Waike

This article was originally published in the October/November 2016 issue of The Drones Magazine.

I purchased my DJI Phantom 3 Professional the night before taking a well deserved vacation to Aruba to celebrate my wife’s birthday, and to leave the cold Winter behind, even if only for a week. Having been to the island a few years before, I knew this time I wanted to pack a drone, but what to do when the smallest rig you have is a F550? DJI had just announced the P4, but that wasn’t coming out for another couple of weeks so that wouldn’t work … BUT … that meant P3 prices would be slashed, yeah! Off to Best Buy and walked out with P3 Pro, back pack and three ba eries, enough to satisfy my portability issue and now I could take it with me as a carry on to the island.

NEED TO KNOW
Mfg/Dist: QUADRA-BOX Included in Package:Case, Shoulder Strap, Custom Cut Foam Insert
Price: $89.99

While the DJI backpack offers wonderful molded insert and room for most everything needed for a day of flying, up to four ba eries, where this case failed me was I that own an iPad Air which will not fit in the slot provided for a tablet. That means I need to carry my iPad, sunscreen and filter pack along with my backpack. No big deal, but definitely inconvenient on long hikes. So when asked if I would be interested in reviewing the Quadra Box Phantom case I jumped at the chance, especially when it looked like it might accept an iPad Air!

SPECS
DIMENSIONS: 16.3 x 9.4 x 14.4 inches
WEIGHT: 6 pounds
MATERIAL: Case: Durable black canvas covering a hard molded plastic shell, Polyethylene foam insert
MISC: 14 Day Money Back Guarantee, check manufacturers website for more details

PROS ‹
Compact Design ‹
Can be converted from P3 to P4 with slight modifi cation (manufacturer has video to explain) ‹
Lightweight, handle or carrying strap ‹
Flat design allows it to be used for launching ‹
Can fi t a lot of gear into small footprint ‹
Bargain priced compared to stock
DJI backpack and competitors

CONS ‹
Although you can pack plenty of gear inside, including an iPad Air, there are concerns of parts contacting one another (iPad and motor housings) ‹
Have to remove props ‹
Shoulder strap could use a bit more cushion

My first impression was this is small compared to my backpack … same height and width, but only about 16 inches in length where my DJI case measured in at 19 inches. So I began unpacking my backpack and started arranging my everyday gear, seeing where things might fit, first and foremost the iPad, which slipped right in, yes! Drop in the P3 and that’s when my enthusiasm faded. Although the slot allows the Air to fit in it comes at a cost, the bottom of the motor housing rests on top of the iPad’s edge, which is not good in my opinion, but I may have found a little way around this issue. I’m going to take a couple of thin pieces of dense foam and put it between the two points. It will need to be thin, otherwise it will cause the cover to put pressure on the motor spindle when zipped up. You will fi nd this a nonissue if you use any device less than 7.5 inches in length.

The layered foam insert is precision cut for a snug fit on a P3 and with a little modification can accommodate a P4 when you upgrade. The company provides a video on their website to help with the modification which shows you where you need cut the foam to allow for the longer landing gear, gimbal clamp and spare battery. There are enough cutouts to drop four P3 batteries into the case and if you so choose, one in the quad’s belly, but I personally don’t recommend that practice. The two corner locations that will accept ba eries are cut deeper, allowing them to sit underneath the motor housings, but it might be worth cutting a couple of small, dense foam pieces for that spot while you’re at it. I was able to lay my sunscreen on top of the P3 and when I took my Polar Pro filters out of the case I was able to find a spot for them inside too. The charger and cord slipped into a nice space that allowed me to also store two sets of props on top and yes, you must remove the props to store. Tablet cable, micro SD cards and a few other little accessories found their way in as well so now I could easily travel to any location on foot or in a vehicle with everything I need all in one case. The carry handle has a nice rubber grip, the shoulder strap seems comfortable enough and the case is definitely light, even fully stocked.

THE LAST WORD
The price point at which they offer this case seems to be a sweet deal for those looking for a budget case. Although you can fit a lot of stuff inside, there isn’t much “wiggle room”. You have to remember which pieces to take out first, like the radio before the Phantom, and as I mentioned before, if you are cutting a slot for a tablet as big as the iPad Air you should plan beer for where to place it so there’s no interference with the motor pod. Maybe I’m nit-picking, but just because you can design everything into a compact package, it doesn’t mean you should. I’m eagerly looking forward to more test flights with my Quadra Case, especially to see how it holds up in real world conditions. You really can’t get much more case for less money and the lightweight design is excellent for those long treks.

LINKS
DJI dji.com
QUADRA-BOX quadrabox.com

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Turnigy Graphene LiPo Batteries

Power with a knock-out punch!
By Adam Strong

This article was originally published in the October/November 2016 issue of The Drones Magazine.

The new Turnigy Graphene LiPo batteries are designed for high output and available in a range of sizes and capacities to suit everything from the smallest racing quads up to the biggest aerial photography setups. The Graphene packs use carbon in the battery structure to form a single layer of graphene just 0.335nm thick. The graphene forms a dense compound that allows electrons to fl ow with less resistance compared to traditional LiPo technologies. This means better discharge and more consistent voltage through your flight, all while staying cooler and providing extended cycle life with claims of lasting over 600 cycles. Compared to an identically rated Turnigy NanoTech LiPo the Graphene pack does come in a few millimeters larger and more than a few grams heavier, but the consistent high power output more than makes up for the weight penalty. The jewelry case style packaging grabbed my attention the second I opened the shipping box and had me itching to try them out.

BATTERIES TESTED
14.8V 1300mAh 65C #9067000128-0
14.8V 1500mAh 65C #9067000131-0
11.1V 1800mAH 65C #9067000132-0

I have now been using these packs exclusively in my RCX 170mm and Armattan 225mm race quads for a few months and have really put them through the paces in real-world conditions. High throttle, high energy freestyle flights are loads of fun and the Graphene packs definitely maintain the extra punch needed for aerobatics and ripping around trees at my private field. Cruising around the race course, the high discharge is very noticeable in hairpin turns when you need the extra thrust to hold tight into the track and cut back to the next gate. I have abused the packs a bit to see how well they hold up to over discharge. Even after repeatedly taking them lower in voltage than advised, they have held up excellently without any puffing or loss of performance. The packs have also seen their fair share of impacts and I have found them to be very tough, sustaining little more than a few scrapes and some torn shrink wrap with no deformation at all.

In the pits, the Graphene batteries require only a standard LiPo capable charger and can handle high charge rates of up to 15C on some packs.  Charging at my typical 3C rate has them full in around 20 minutes time from around 70% discharge. In my use and testing, they have lived up to the capacity and discharge ratings very well and have maintained the low IR numbers in spite of the abuse.  The silicone wiring and thick shrink wrap are very durable and will easily stand up to the occasional drop or pull on the wires without any consequence.

The quality feel and excellent performance have made a big impression right from the start. I wouldn’t hesitate to use them in my quads or any other RC machines whether it’s race day or just ripping around for fun. The magnetically sealed boxes and velvet-like bag that each battery comes in are only the icing on the Graphene cake.

LINK
HOBBYKING hobbyking.com

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