The Drones Mag http://www.thedronesmag.com The World's Best Radio Control MultiRotor Online Magazine Mon, 04 Dec 2017 21:47:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Inductrix FPV+: A Bigger, Faster, More Capable Inductrix http://www.thedronesmag.com/inductrix-fpv-bigger-faster-capable-inductrix/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/inductrix-fpv-bigger-faster-capable-inductrix/#respond Sun, 10 Sep 2017 14:04:00 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=5068 There’s no denying that the Blade Inductrix from Horizon Hobby has set off a firestorm in the FPV world. From the first custom camera mounted by Jesse Perkins, up through the Inductrix FPV and Pro versions, this tiny little quadcopter has developed a following like no other in the industry. Now, Horizon and Blade have …

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There’s no denying that the Blade Inductrix from Horizon Hobby has set off a firestorm in the FPV world. From the first custom camera mounted by Jesse Perkins, up through the Inductrix FPV and Pro versions, this tiny little quadcopter has developed a following like no other in the industry.

To give this new Inductrix more power and faster speed, Blade strapped some big ole 8mm brushed motors into the model.

Now, Horizon and Blade have upped the ante with their upcoming Inductrix FPV+, which features larger 8mm brushed motors, a battery more than twice the size of previous versions and a cool new feature they refer to as Meow Mode. What’s Meow Mode? Simple, when the drone crashes upside down, you simply engage it to reverse two of the motors to flip the model back onto its feet. That’s pretty damn sweet!

To feed those bigger motors the power they need, Blade went with a 5oomAh LiPo flight pack for longer flight times and added a high current battery connector.

Other features include the proprietary SAFE system for easy beginner flights, the same ducted fan motor shrouds, an LED in the tail and a turtle canopy complete with a 600TVL camera and 25mW vTX. Just add your own 5+-channel Spektrum transmitter and you’re ready to rip it up with this bigger and more powerful micro machine.

Blade is serving the Inductrix FPV+ in both BNF and RTF trim and they should be out sometime in October, just in time for the cold winter months and indoor flying season.

Check em out or pre-order yours at the link below:

BUY IT HERE

LINKS

HORIZON HOBBY

BLADE

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DartDrones Back To School Sale: Your Online Resource For Drone Courses & Training http://www.thedronesmag.com/dartdrones-back-school-sale-online-resource-drone-courses-training/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/dartdrones-back-school-sale-online-resource-drone-courses-training/#respond Fri, 08 Sep 2017 14:25:49 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=5065 If you haven’t seen what DartDrones has to offer for those looking to get into drones from a pure start or to get yourself commercially certified, you need to check them out right now! They are currently offering a 15% off Back To School coupon for classes and workshops, but only until September 11, 2017. …

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If you haven’t seen what DartDrones has to offer for those looking to get into drones from a pure start or to get yourself commercially certified, you need to check them out right now! They are currently offering a 15% off Back To School coupon for classes and workshops, but only until September 11, 2017. Whether you’ve never flown a drone in your life or are looking to get yourself a 107 certification, they are the go-to source for instruction and training.

Check em out at the link below. They have training centers all over the USA and are adding more locations and programs every day.

DARTDRONES

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TechOne FPV Wing Review From Motion RC http://www.thedronesmag.com/techone-fpv-wing-review-motion-rc/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/techone-fpv-wing-review-motion-rc/#respond Thu, 31 Aug 2017 15:13:02 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=5030 By Matt Maziarz PHOTOS BY BRITTANY MAZIARZ   NEED TO KNOW                                                                                         …

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By Matt Maziarz

PHOTOS BY BRITTANY MAZIARZ

 

NEED TO KNOW                                                                                                                                                    

MANUFACTURER: TechOne
DISTRIBUTOR: Motion RC
TYPE: FPV Wing
FOR: Speed freaks and FPV flyers

MINIMUM FLYING AREA: Ball Field
PRICE: $139.00

 

Ready for the maiden!

NEEDED TO COMPLETE:

The TechOne wing comes from Motion RC complete with all the flight electronics, so to get it air worthy, you just need to add your own radio system (that is capable of elevon mixing) and a 3-4S LiPo battery for LOS flight. To get the full FPV experience, toss your own camera and vTX into the nose of the beast and you’re ready to rip from the pilot’s seat.

AUTHOR’S OPINION:

Since FPV wings have come onto the scene, I have been a full blown junky. First, I don’t have the dexterity to keep up with the youngsters when flying drones. Second, I love to go fast and a high-powered wing is all about speed. Third, the TechOne wing is only 139 bucks with all of the flight electronics! So, I was sold on this model before I even had it in my hands, but I also had my reservations as it is not sheeted (duh, it’s only $139) and the early reviews seemed to have folks bashing it as it tended to “tuck” at high speeds and otherwise waiver do to flex. After flying it many times, I can honestly say that it is worth every penny and it doesn’t stray from where you point it all that much.

 

The TechOne Wing slows down very well for a wing, keeping great control authority at all but a snail’s pace.

PROS

– Super inexpensive for an FPV wing

– Incredibly easy to launch

– All flight electronics included (minus radio system and battery)

– Magnetic wing retaining system

– Long flight times on a 2200mAh 4S

 

CONS

– There is a bit of torsional flex as it is not sheeted

 

SPECS

WINGSPAN: 35.4 in. (900mm)
WEIGHT: 608 – 760g (depending on equipment used)
LENGTH: 12.1 in. (308mm)
SERVOS: (2) 11g micro servos

MOTOR: T-motor F80 2500Kv

ESC: 45 amp
PROPELLER: 3-blade 5 x 5

FLIGHT TIME: 5-6 minutes (using the 4S 2200mAh)

 

KEY FEATURES

  • EPP is key when it comes to FPV wings as it is much less susceptible to damage after a crash or hard landing. The TechOne Wing is no different as it is constructed almost entirely of EPP, except it has a super sweet carbon center fuse to give you loads of mounting options for electronics.
  • Magic Magnets! No, there is no adhesive or tape used to secure the wing halves to the carbon fuse. Instead, TechOne buried super strong neodymium magnets in the root of each wing half and the fuse, making for super easy transport and field installation.
  • The F80 T-motor and ESC are pre-installed from the factory. All that’s left for you to do to make it flight ready is install the elevon servos, your radio system and a battery. It can go from the box to flight ready within 10 minutes (if using CA and accelerator).
  • Even with a heavy 4S 2200mAh LiPo strapped to the top of the carbon fuse, the TechOne wing is super easy to launch. There is no pinch-point on the bottom, so the Frisbee toss is the way to go. Simply throttle up to 70 percent or so and let it rip! No wobbling, wavering or any other pucker-inducing behavior. It flies straight ant true every time.
The F80 T-Motor provides excellent power when motivated by the Admiral Pro 4S LiPo.

PRO TIPS:

  • If you’re okay with cutting a servo out of a foam wing (if it needs replacing), skip the wooden servo mounts and just toss em’ in the trash. Mounting the servos without the ply cutout provides for a nice level pushrod that is parallel to the wing surface.
  • Thread lock is a must! None of the factory fastened hardware has any thread lock on it. I like the Mercury Adhesives blue stuff because each bottle top has its own brush making it much easier to apply, especially on the adjustable pushrod connections on the control surfaces.
  • Speaking of the adjustable pushrod connections, they could use a bit of finessing as well. They come from the factory with a washer on each side of the horn and have a good bit of slop. That doesn’t make for great control authority. I took the washers off, moved them both to the backside of each quick link and thread locked each lock nut. Yes, I know it sounds redundant, but the threads on each locknut doesn’t bite too far into the nylon in the nut, so it is a must!
  • Use caution when you choose your mounting location for the vTX. I mounted mine right in front of the battery, but in a hard crash (brought on by a loose control rod retainer … see above tip), I went nose first into the ground and inertia slid the battery forward … tearing the wire harness receptacle right off the vTX. If you’re not going to use an HD cam, the dampened mount up top is the perfect spot for it.

 

The CA20 600TVL cam from AKK offers crisp, clear imagery on the goggles or monitor, plus it’s dirt cheap!

ASSEMBLY

TechOne does not supply a printed manual with each model as they have gone “green” and they can be downloaded and printed or saved straight from Motion RC’s website. Said instructions are brief, to say the least, but this is a flying wing so there isn’t much to it.

The first step of the assembly process is to glue the wooden ply servo mounts in place, which I ignored (see Pro Tip #1). Gluing the factory supplied servos directly into the foam created a much better pushrod angle for each elevon, so that’s why I did it. To finish off the servo installation, simply center each servo with your radio system of choice and lock down the rod retainers (see Pro Tip #2). I had to cut about ½ inch off the end of each rod to keep them from stabbing into the elevons at full up elevator … after they were installed and locked down.

The 600mW vTX from AKK provides great long range reception, features 40-channels and has a LCD display for band and channel.

From there, it’s on to installing your receiver and taping down the ESC, which is factory installed and plugged in. There is a carbon tube that the motor is mounted too, so you only have one option to keep the motor wires from chafing on the tube, which is face down. I placed my Graupner GL-12 recevier as far forward as possible, but well clear of the neo-mags in the fuse and routed the antenna back down towards the aft of the fuse for the best reception, after installing the servo extensions.

After your servos are installed, it’s as easy as installing the wing spars and sliding the wings into place. At first (when following the manual, I was a bit confused as to why there was no mention of glue or tape to keep the wing halves secured to the carbon center fuse. Much to my surprise (and … DUH!), the wings are held in place using neo-mags and they are more than strong enough to keep them where they need to be at high speed. Once that’s done (which should take well less than 30 minutes using CA and accelerator), you’re ready for LOS flight.

To top of my TechOne wing, I used a combo from AKK. I used their CA20 cam and 600mW vTX combo as it’s a mighty fine bargain and produces excellent images on the screen. The CA20 cam comes with a swivel mount and there are two different mounting locations to lock it down. I opted for the forward position to keep the front/center cross member out of view and placed the vTX just forward of the battery. In hindsight and from my first crash forward, the vTX has been mounted on the right wing half, just outside of the fuse.

 

IN THE AIR

Maiden flights with flying wings have always given me mud pain (as in, my stomach is so balled up I want to blow mud in my pants), but the TechOne wing is about as easy as they get when it comes to launches. As a matter of fact, it’s even easier to launch than my Theory Type W with the SAFE system. Crank the throttle up to anywhere from 50-75% and give it a gentle toss outward with a slight up-line and you’ll be golden.

Once in the air, the wing is docile, yet agile at all but the slowest speeds. I took it up high to get a feel for it LOS and was pleasantly surprised. I had read early reviews claiming that the model would “tuck” or dive during high speed passes, but found this not to be the case. The wing does flutter a bit when maxxing out the throttle, but it’s not abrupt or absurd, simply keep on the sticks and you can keep it in check. I think the 4 degree down thrust on the motor plays a big part in the “problems” folks were having with it early on, but if you balance the model properly (for which there are locations right on the bottom of each wing half), you’ll be right as rain … as they say.

The wing itself is fully symmetrical, so it will fly inverted with no issues whatsoever. Additionally, the large elevon surfaces provide for excellent authority, giving the wing awesome roll rate and super tight inside and outside loops. Vertical performance is astounding and you can speck the model out in a heartbeat. The F80 motor combined with the 3-blade 5×5 prop not only generates an incredible sound, but it pushes the wing toward the century mark with a quickness. Even if you’re not into FPV, the TechOne wing is a great machine for flying LOS.

Slowing the model down for a stall, the controls will get mushy really quick and it’ll drop to one tip or the other, but a quick burst of throttle will straighten it up and get it motivated in the blink of an eye. Landing is about as easy as launching the wing, but just be wary that it carries speed very well and will float for days off power, so just be sure to make a few approaches before finally letting it settle in. I chose a nice big patch of long grass for my first landing, but after that, I was spot landing right in front of my feet.

The model is just as at home on its back as it is right side up, thanks to the symmetrical wing design.

When it comes to durability, EPP is the way to go and the TechOne wing is no different. On one occasion, I was actually attempting to fly underneath my GMC Sierra 4×4, but chickened out at the last minute … which saw the wing smack bottom side first onto the rear quarter panel and plant itself square in the bed of the truck. Much to my amazement, the model suffered zero damage and I was able to toss it back into the air. After a dozen flights or so, one of the control rods came loose from the retainer on the elevon horn, which had me crash nose first at a fairly high rate of speed into the grass (like I said, thread lock is mandatory). The battery did slide forward and ripped the wire harness clean off the vTX, but the model itself was unscathed. The carbon center fuse and alloy cross member absorbed the brunt of the blow, so unless you plant it nose first into a brick wall, you should be fine even if you plant it lawn jart style.

 

The center fuse is a carbon box that has plenty of space for placing your receiver, vTX and battery. Plus, it utilizes neo-mags to secure each wing half to the fuse, making for nice quick field installation.

THE LAST WORD

I must say that I’m more than just a little impressed with the TechOne wing. It’s tough as nails, easy to build and fly, it’s stupid fast right out of the box and it checks out at a fraction of the cost of most other FPV specific flying wings. Could it be better with a fully sheeted wing? Of course, but that would also drive the cost up considerably. As it is right out of the box, the model is an excellent choice for a first FPV wing or just as an LOS model for speed junkies. If you wanna go fast for not a lot of cash, check it out over at Motion RC … you’ll be glad you did and your wallet won’t be hurting at all.

 

WE USED:

RADIO: Graupner MZ-24 Pro

RECEIVER: Graupner GL-12

BATTERY: Admiral Pro 4S 2200mAh

VTX: AKK 600mW

CAMERA: AKK CA20

ANTENNA: Tactic Omni

GOOGLES: Spektrum Focal V2

 

BUY IT HERE

LINKS

MOTION RC

GRAUPNER USA

AKK FPV

SPEKTRUM RC

TACTIC RC

 

 

 

 

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TechOne 900mm FPV Wing: Go Crazy Fast For Under $150!!!! http://www.thedronesmag.com/techone-900mm-fpv-wing-go-crazy-fast-150/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/techone-900mm-fpv-wing-go-crazy-fast-150/#respond Sun, 20 Aug 2017 15:47:30 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=5024 The gang over at Motion RC hooked me up with their latest offering from TechOne … the new 900mm FPV Wing. Following in the footsteps of their PopWing, this new machine utilizes a center carbon fuselage and the wing halves are held in place with neodymium magnets. This makes for a super quick build, nice …

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The gang over at Motion RC hooked me up with their latest offering from TechOne … the new 900mm FPV Wing. Following in the footsteps of their PopWing, this new machine utilizes a center carbon fuselage and the wing halves are held in place with neodymium magnets. This makes for a super quick build, nice easy field installation and less breakage during hard crashes. The best part though, this bad boy comes with all of the flight electronics included for the low, low price of $139.00!!

Be sure to check back for my flight video and full review.

BUY IT HERE

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AKK FPV Cameras & Transmitters: Incredibly Wallet Friendly Components http://www.thedronesmag.com/akk-fpv-cameras-transmitters-incredibly-wallet-friendly-components/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/akk-fpv-cameras-transmitters-incredibly-wallet-friendly-components/#respond Sat, 05 Aug 2017 18:34:00 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=5017 FPV product providers are a dime a dozen theses days, so what sets one apart from the others? Well, super low prices are always sure to grab folks’ attention, but how do they get you to commit to that “Add To Cart”? Simple, offer excellent “after the sale” support in the way of warranties and …

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FPV product providers are a dime a dozen theses days, so what sets one apart from the others? Well, super low prices are always sure to grab folks’ attention, but how do they get you to commit to that “Add To Cart”? Simple, offer excellent “after the sale” support in the way of warranties and guaranties. AKK might be a relative newcomer to FPV, but they offer all of those aforementioned key factors and they have a US based corporate HQ! We haven’t put power to any of them so stay tuned to see how it all shook down and if they performed as advertised.

BUY OR CHECK EM’ OUT HERE

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RISE Vusion Black Limited Edition House Racer http://www.thedronesmag.com/rise-vusion-black-limited-edition-house-racer/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/rise-vusion-black-limited-edition-house-racer/#respond Thu, 20 Jul 2017 02:42:21 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=5000 By Matt Maziarz PHOTOS BY BRITTANY MAZIARZ So, I’ve been beating the ever living bejesus out of my standard Vusion House Racer, when low and behold, a Limited Black Edition shows up at my door. Initial inspection (and a quick call to my product guru, Natalie Rodrigues) defined that this was, indeed, the same awesome …

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By Matt Maziarz

PHOTOS BY BRITTANY MAZIARZ

So, I’ve been beating the ever living bejesus out of my standard Vusion House Racer, when low and behold, a Limited Black Edition shows up at my door. Initial inspection (and a quick call to my product guru, Natalie Rodrigues) defined that this was, indeed, the same awesome machine I had grown to love and abuse, yet was cloaked in all black and gray. Folks who know me are well aware that I do not screw around and that means I always cut to the chase. Yes, the House Racer is an amazing machine and for the RTF version, you get a hell of a lot of FPV drone for not that much cash. My one point of contention, though, has always been that the damn thing is too big and fast for most indoor venues. That’s not a bad thing, I just think the name might carry too much denotation when prospecting for new buyers.

This is what you get with the FPV-R package for $79.99.

Back to the point at hand, the new Black Limited Edition House Racer is just as cool as the original, but it looks more the “drone racer” part than the “big box toy” part. I am no expert, championship worthy FPV pilot, but I am also no slouch and I can tell you that (lost memory cells aside) I have never cartwheeled an FPV rig so violently and so often as I have the two House Racers. The fact is, though, I have yet to break a single part aside from the motor guards, which retail for less than 2 bucks for a four pack! Yes, the downward facing motors suck outdoors if you “land” on anything other than a smooth surface, but the model screams to be flown outdoors.

Same cam as the original, tilted up for maximum FPV pleasure.

The speed, agility and multiple flight modes are exactly what the doctor ordered for training pilots, not to mention the supreme durability. I, for one, firmly believe that the inherent nature of the House Racer to be flown outdoors is a further selling point to the model itself. For less than 200 smackers, you can get an RTF rig that is tame enough to fly indoors, yet fast enough to tackle any outdoor course you bestow upon it. The Limited Black edition only takes the cool factor a step or two further, by giving the House Racer a whole new aesthetic value. Worried about planting your darker, new House Racer into a bush outside and not being able to find it? Simply turn the transmitter off and follow the beeps (like I did in the video).

Black canopy and gray blade guards … “not too shabby” as a guinea would say.

RISE and Hobbico are serving the Black Limited Edition House Racer up in FPV-R (FPV Ready) fashion, meaning you’ll need to supply your own goggles, 6+ channel SLT compatible transmitter or any such capable transmitter that can run an AnyLink module. Check one out for yourself today, whether you’re just looking to get into the FPV game or are a seasoned pro who is looking for the perfect indoor/outdoor basher. Be sure to check out out initial runsown of the House Racer over HERE. 

LINKS

HOBBICO

RISE

BUY IT HERE

Mini Guinea or Lawnmower Man?
Ready for battle.
Duh.

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Win A BNF Rambo Whoop From Micro Motor Warehouse http://www.thedronesmag.com/win-bnf-rambo-whoop-micro-motor-warehouse/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/win-bnf-rambo-whoop-micro-motor-warehouse/#respond Mon, 19 Jun 2017 21:08:53 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4990 Benedikt and the rest of the crew at Micro Motor Warehouse (MMW) have been producing top notch electronics for our mini and micro machines for a while now and the Tiny Whoop seems to be their specialty. To that end, they put together a sweet Whoop package dubbed Rambo Whoop. WHAT IT’S GOT BeeBrain FC …

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Benedikt and the rest of the crew at Micro Motor Warehouse (MMW) have been producing top notch electronics for our mini and micro machines for a while now and the Tiny Whoop seems to be their specialty. To that end, they put together a sweet Whoop package dubbed Rambo Whoop.

WHAT IT’S GOT

  • BeeBrain FC (FrSky)
  • MakerFire E010S Frame
  • F-01 AIO
  • Prop Set
  • Battery foam
  • PH2 Battery Lead
  • 20 & 35 Degree Camera Mounts

All of these awesome parts that normally retail for 100 bucks can be yours for a 2 dollar raffle purchase. Slap some MMW Fast or Insane motors in that bad boy and power it with some of the 205 or 255 HV packs they just got in and you too can have one bad ass Whoop. Check out the Video from MMW right HERE. 

You’ve got less than two days to enter, so get on it!!

LINKS

MICRO MOTOR WAREHOUSE

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Hot Tip Tuesday!! Protect Those Wires From Chaffing On The Frame http://www.thedronesmag.com/hot-tip-tuesday-protect-wires-chaffing-frame/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/hot-tip-tuesday-protect-wires-chaffing-frame/#respond Wed, 14 Jun 2017 03:59:38 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4984 It’s a necessary evil … carbon fiber, that is. It’s strong, looks amazing and gives our machines the ultimate in rigidity, but it also chews through wire insulation if not prepped properly. It’s super easy to file and seal your frame or to simply cover it with fuel line or some other soft-ish material to …

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It’s a necessary evil … carbon fiber, that is. It’s strong, looks amazing and gives our machines the ultimate in rigidity, but it also chews through wire insulation if not prepped properly. It’s super easy to file and seal your frame or to simply cover it with fuel line or some other soft-ish material to protect those vital wires from wearing thin. Check out the video for all you need to know and be sure to hit us up on Facebook.

LINKS

FACEBOOK

RISE

SKY HERO

DELUXE MATERIALS

GRAUPNER

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FLIGHT REVIEW FRIDAY: Air Hogs Star Wars Imperial Aratech 74-Z Speeder Bike Drone http://www.thedronesmag.com/flight-review-friday-air-hogs-star-wars-imperial-aratech-74-z-speeder-bike-drone/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/flight-review-friday-air-hogs-star-wars-imperial-aratech-74-z-speeder-bike-drone/#respond Sat, 10 Jun 2017 02:24:36 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4958 Words and photos by Matt Maziarz The Star Wars Imperial Aratech 74-Z Speeder Bike drone is a must have for any fan of the movies, whether you fly drones or not. The scale details are absolutely amazing and the flight performance is on par with drones from reputable hobby suppliers that are fully rebuild-able and …

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Words and photos by Matt Maziarz

Man, this thing just looks so cool!!

The Star Wars Imperial Aratech 74-Z Speeder Bike drone is a must have for any fan of the movies, whether you fly drones or not. The scale details are absolutely amazing and the flight performance is on par with drones from reputable hobby suppliers that are fully rebuild-able and much more expensive. Not only that, but this drone features sensors for altitude hold capabilities indoors or out and is pretty darn quick in experienced hands.

Those who are more than familiar with the franchise are also well familiar with the Aratech 74-Z Speeder Bike. While in the movies, it didn’t make an appearance until Return of the Jedi, it was actually featured in many of the earlier “episodes” before the recent prequel releases. The staple reserve of the Imperial forces for recon and ground patrol, the 74-Z is fast, nimble and deadly in the right hands and now you can be blasting past rows of trees and vines on your own Speeder Bike drone thanks to Spin Master and Air Hogs.

 

NEED TO KNOW:

MANUFACTURER: Spin Master/Air Hogs
DISTRIBUTOR: Various retail and online sources
TYPE: Scale RTF drone
FOR: Anyone
PRICE: $39.99
BUY LINK: http://amzn.to/2sXeZNI

 

Staring down the barrel of an angry Scout Trooper on a sweet ride.

SPECS:

WEIGHT: 3 oz (85g)
DIAMETER: 248mm
FLIGHT CONTROLLER: Integrated board

ESCS: Integrated board

MOTORS: Brushed

PROPS: 4.75 in.

BATTERY: 450mAh 1S LiPo

FLIGHT TIME: 4-6 minutes

 

INCLUDED:

The Speeder Bike package contains everything you need to get into the air and performing your own chase scenes on the surface of Endor. The manufacturer includes the drone itself, the radio/charger, a small USB cord and manual.

 

HOT POINTS

  • The detail on the Speeder Bike drone from Air Hogs is incredible. From the armaments and communications arrays on the bike itself, to the foam molded Scout Trooper that looks like the real thing, this drone looks amazing whether in the air or perched on a display shelf.

 

  • Priced in most locations at just under 40 bucks, the Speeder Bike Drone is a pretty decent bang for your buck. You get a fairly large machine, completely ready to fly and it’s fully licensed by Disney for the Star Wars name.

 

  • Height Lock … in such an inexpensive machine from a big box store? Yep, and it actually does work. There is a small barometer sensor on the bottom of the drone, allowing for worry free altitude holding capability whether indoors or out. There’s even a “Jump” button on the top right of the controller that can be employed to clear a fast approaching obstacle while cruising in Height Lock mode.

 

  • I was fully expecting the Speeder Bike drone to perform in a toy-like manner … anemic power and control response at best. I was wrong. This little gem from Spin Master and Air Hogs actually flies pretty well and is fun to pilot. It’s no 250 class 4S race rig, but it’ll get a pretty decent lean on and pick up the pace in a hurry.

 

  • The flight battery for the Speeder Bike is hardwired into the drone itself, so there’s no chance for quick battery swaps (unless you want to dissect such an attractive airframe and MacGyver something together as far as a battery plug). That also means you have less to carry with you when you head out for flights.

 

  • Keeping with the “less is more” theme, the radio for the Speeder Bike doubles as the charger for the flight pack in the drone. There is a little hatch in the lower right of the face, from with unfurls a small charge lead. The AA batteries take a beating when flying and charging for multiple cycles, but the drone includes a micro USB cord that can be plugged into the radio while charging, negating the drain on the AA cells.

 

The included radio has all the functions for normal 4-channel control as well as Height Lock and charge capabilities.

PROS:

>> It’s a freakin’ Star Wars Speeder Bike drone!!

>> Awesome “scale” detail

>> It flies surprisingly well

>> Transmitter doubles as the charger for the drone

 

CONS:

>> Not a single replaceable part available … one and done

>> Outdoors only in little to no wind

 

The “Jump” button allows for popping over obstacles while in Height Lock mode.

AUTHOR’S OPINION

As a child of the late 70’s and early 80’s I, like most other fellas the same age, am a die hard Star Wars fan. Of course, my first few times watching the first two movies left me with more questions than answers, being such a young lad, but when Return of the Jedi came out in 1983, I was about as pumped as an 8 year old could be to see how the rebels would defeat the evil Lord Vader and the Emperor. Of course, I was all smiles when the good guys won and was all giggles about those stupid, furry little creatures (don’t get me started), but the one thing I was most pumped about in the new movie was the Speeder Bike chase scene with Leia, Luke and the Imperial Scout Troopers. That scene alone sticks with me to this day and is probably the reason I love woods cruising with my FPV rigs so much. Now that I can fly a drone modeled ridiculously well after such an iconic vehicle, my only other wish is for a functioning light saber.

 

IN THE AIR

Charging the flight battery is as simple as stuffing six AA batteries into the radio and then plugging the charge cord into the belly of the drone. Oddly enough, there is no polarity to the charge lead or corresponding plug on the drone. The light on the radio will flash red while charging and turn solid green once complete. My initial (and subsequent) charge took 25-30 minutes … kind of long for a battery that can’t be swapped out, but oh well. I opted to use the USB cord, plugged into the 5v out on my Graupner Polaron to save some life in the AA batteries.

Dual sensors that allow for altitude hold in Height Lock mode.

Once ready to rock, I grabbed the Speeder Bike and radio and headed outside. It’s certainly small enough for flying indoors, but I wanted a nice soft lawn to ditch onto if anything went awry. After turning the radio on, I switched the drone on and placed it flat on the grass. Once it was armed and ready to fly, I bumped the throttle to about half and the bike lurched skyward, assuming a level hover right in front of me. Two first impressions … Holy smokes this thing is quiet and holy smokes this thing is stable. I popped the throttle again to gain some altitude and nothing happened so I landed. WTF?!

Turns out, I had the radio switch on Height Lock, where the throttle is only used for takeoff and landing. Like they always said, haste makes waste and I rushed out the door without checking the radio over per the instructions. Either way, I had the Speeder Bike back up and ready for action after disabling the Height Lock function. A couple quick pirouettes and I began some forward flight. The drone will lean quiet a bit will full forward elevator, which looks awesome with the rider assuming the pursuit stance. Carving figure-8’s was not only effortless when coordinating rudder and aileron, but it felt like a much more expensive machine while doing it. I was also surprised with how quick the Speeder Bike can get when you really push it.

The geared brushed motor drive system is efficient and surprisingly quiet.

In Height Lock, the Speeder Bike keeps a consistent altitude thanks to the dual sonar sensors on the belly of the drone. Simply flip the switch to “locked” and mash the throttle to takeoff. The bike will assume a level hover four feet or so off the ground, awaiting your next command. You still have full control of the rudder, ailerons and elevator, but to vary the altitude of the Speeder Bike, you have to use the two up/down arrows beside the Height Lock switch. Also, while cruising in Height Lock mode, you can press the big orange Jump button above the right stick to pop the bike over an obstacle. Again, pretty damn snazzy for a 40 dollar drone.

I was suspect of the advertised 200 meter range of the radio system included with the Speeder Bike (who the frank can even see LOS that far?!), so I had to push the envelope a little. Heading off to the local ball field, I was able to fly from home plate, way out over the center field 400 foot marker and back, without a single glitch. On the way back, I opted for slalom approach rather than a straight line, for which I paid the price. At such great distance, I lost orientation with these old eyes and had to plop it down. I was worried that I might have done a number on any one of the plastic detail parts or Scout Trooper, but nothing was broken or even bent. The plastics used are mighty flexible and even if your happen to decapitate or explode your rider alla Princess Leia, you can always glue him back together with some foam safe CA glue.

Use the USB cord and plug in the radio to charge the flight pack … unless you want to burn six AA batteries every few flights.

Subsequent flights in the back yard proved to be the most fun. I strapped a Spektrum AIO camera/vTX unit to the front of the Speeder Bike and was blasting past trees just like a Jedi (I really need to get a few of the local club guys to get one and do the same so we can race FPV Endor style). Later in the afternoon, the wind picked up a bit and I quickly realized the limitations of the little Speeder Bike. With all the plastic fairings on the bike and the foam Scout Trooper sticking up like a mast, the drone does not like wind. It is extremely lightweight and even though the onboard accelerometers will keep things level, anything more than a 4-5 mph breeze was enough to take control of the drone from me and put it into the hands of Mother Nature. More than once, I had to ditch it in the neighbor’s yard because I wasn’t able to penetrate the mild wind.

 

In the belly you can see the charge plug and on/off switch.

THE FINAL WORD

All I gotta say is, for 40 bucks the Star Wars Imperial Aratech 74-Z Speeder Bike is a must have drone for any Star Wars fan, any drone fan or any Star Wars fan who flies drones. The thing looks plain awesome and the performance isn’t bad at all for something you can buy at Walmart. A couple sub micro AIO FPV units up the fun factor immensely and even though you can’t buy replacement parts, the flexible and resilient airframe will take some hits and keep doing what it’s supposed to. Spin Master also makes a battle set with infrared lasers that contains an X-Wing and Tie Fighter as well as a couple different Millennium Falcons. Check em all out to get your Star Wars Drone fix.

 

LINKS

 SPIN MASTER

Notice: Some of our articles, videos and descriptions may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we may receive a small commission. This helps support the website and social media channels and allows us to continue to produce content. Thank you for the support!

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Hot Tip Tuesday!! Custom Foam Storage/Transport Cases With VIDEO http://www.thedronesmag.com/hot-tip-tuesday-custom-foam-storagetransport-cases/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/hot-tip-tuesday-custom-foam-storagetransport-cases/#respond Wed, 07 Jun 2017 02:28:56 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4947 I’m sure you’ve all suffered the same fate as me at some point or another. You reach into that spare parts bin for a replacement camera, only to find out the lens is all scratched up from flopping around in the compartment it was in. Perhaps those replacement motors you grabbed to repair your race …

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I’m sure you’ve all suffered the same fate as me at some point or another. You reach into that spare parts bin for a replacement camera, only to find out the lens is all scratched up from flopping around in the compartment it was in. Perhaps those replacement motors you grabbed to repair your race rig before the next heat have dirt in the magnets from rolling around loose, exposed to the elements. Maybe you grabbed your AP rig to grab some sweet video of a spectacular sunset, only to find out that your filters are all dirty from not being stored properly or that SD card is no where to be found in the case. All of the above are frustrating for sure, but there’s a simple and dirt cheap way to effectively store and transport all those tiny bits and pieces we are so direly dependent on. Custom cut foam parts trays made from material you probably have laying around the shop or man cave.

I took all of about 30 seconds to trace the outline of the Spektrum 1100 AIO, cut it, shove the unit in the foam and then jab four holes next to it for the Race Edition motors from tinywhoop.com.

I had a few foam pieces left over from a recent charger acquisition (Dynamite Passport Ultra Duo) that came upon the chopping block during a heavy cleaning session. I was about to trash them, when it occurred to me that I was always worried about my FPV parts and pieces getting all bashed up in my transport cases. I snatched a few cams and vTX’s from said case, traced some rudimentary outlines with a sharpie and had some custom cut foam parts trays made within seconds for all my small, and vital, yet usually expensive components. The foam I used seems to be somewhere in the neighborhood of polyethylene or polyurethane, but it really doesn’t matter what you’re working with, so long as it’s available and flexible.

Safely store and transport all your micro 1S packs. This block will hold twenty of them standing straight up (Some larger 180-255mAh LiPo packs might need to be laid diagonally to fit within your chosen hard case).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • Leftover foam from a recent purchase
  • A hobby knife with a new blade
  • A cutting mat or some cardboard (To protect your work surface)
  • A marker/pen to trace your parts

THE RECIPE

  1. Trace a rough outline of your parts on the foam
  2. Cut said outline with knife, making sure to cut a bit inside the lines (Don’t worry, with flexible foam, the parts will fit and be nice and snug)
  3. Cut entire piece into a block that is slightly larger than the bays in your case
  4. Stuff part into foam and foam into case
  5. Voila … safe and secure parts cases!!
This teeny, tiny micro cam with wired vTX could easily get damaged if not secured within my case. Now it’s snug as the proverbial bug in a rug.

WRAP IT UP … I’LL TAKE IT

Seriously though, I’m kinda pissed I didn’t think of this earlier … like, back in the 80’s when I was racing RC cars and couldn’t ever find what I needed because my parts box was an utter disaster. It literally costs nothing (in most cases), it takes mere seconds to do and the benefits of making such trays pays big dividends in the long run. If you’ve got loads of crucial, but delicate components floating around in your parts boxes, dig around and see if you’ve got any foam you can scavenge to protect your investments.

Until next Hot Tip Tuesday … Keep it real and keep it up.

LINKS

DYNAMITE

REVELL

HOBBICO

TINY WHOOP

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GIVEAWAY: Thrust UAV Custom Riot 250R Pro http://www.thedronesmag.com/giveaway-thrust-uav-custom-riot-250r-pro/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/giveaway-thrust-uav-custom-riot-250r-pro/#respond Mon, 05 Jun 2017 00:28:18 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4943 Wanna win one of the most potent ARF racers on the market, that’s built and supported entirely in the USA??!! Well, you have less than one day to head on over to Thrust UAV’s site and register in any variety of ways. Just hit the link, click one of the icons just below the photo …

The post GIVEAWAY: Thrust UAV Custom Riot 250R Pro appeared first on The Drones Mag.

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Wanna win one of the most potent ARF racers on the market, that’s built and supported entirely in the USA??!! Well, you have less than one day to head on over to Thrust UAV’s site and register in any variety of ways. Just hit the link, click one of the icons just below the photo of the Riot and sign up. Entries are taken until midnight (CST) June 6, 2017, so what have you got to lose … aside from your next FPV race because you won’t be flying a Riot if you don’t sign up?

ENTER HERE

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Flight Review Friday: RISE Vusion House Racer RTF http://www.thedronesmag.com/flight-review-friday-rise-vusion-house-racer-rtf/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/flight-review-friday-rise-vusion-house-racer-rtf/#respond Sat, 03 Jun 2017 03:29:07 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4925 Words By Matt Maziarz – mattm@iconrcmedia.com Photos By Matt Maziarz and Brittany Maziarz While RISE is a relatively new name in the RC game, drones are their one and only focus, so they’ve been honing their machines since the original release in the RXD 250. The Vusion House Racer is the cure-all for those trapped …

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Words By Matt Maziarz – mattm@iconrcmedia.com

Photos By Matt Maziarz and Brittany Maziarz

While RISE is a relatively new name in the RC game, drones are their one and only focus, so they’ve been honing their machines since the original release in the RXD 250. The Vusion House Racer is the cure-all for those trapped indoors due to weather, work, agoraphobia or any other suck malady. It’s a 125mm (actually closer to 120mm) brushed race machine packed with all the FPV essentials, including a flight controller with three independent flight modes. The coolest part is it’s a bit bigger than most other custom-tailored indoor rigs, but it’s also a heck of a lot faster than nearly any other brushed drone built for FPV action.

RISE serves up the Vusion House Racer in two different manners: an RTF version as reviewed here as well as an FPV ready version. The RTF is loaded with everything you need to get into the air and flying from the headset on the first pack. It includes the drone itself, a 2.4GHz 6-channel radio, flight battery, FPV monitor with DVR, headset for the monitor, a spare set of props and a screwdriver for the frame screws. The FPV ready version just includes the drone, battery and charger (both House Racers are SLT compatible, so you can use your favorite Tactic radio with them).

 

Everything you need in one box, except for a micro SD card to record your FPV exploits

NEED TO KNOW:

MANUFACTURER: RISE
DISTRIBUTOR: Hobbico
TYPE: Mini RTF FPV Quad Bundle
FOR: FPV Drone pilots
PRICE: $179.99

 

SPECS:

WEIGHT: 2.4 oz
DIAMETER: 120mm
FLIGHT CONTROLLER: Integrated board

ESCS: Integrated board

MOTORS: 8mm brushed

PROPS: 2.3 in.

BATTERY: 650mAh 1S LiPo

CAMERA: 600TVL

VTX: 25mW

FLIGHT TIME: 5-7 minutes

 

The headset with the monitor inserted makes for some great FPV flying, especially if you need to wear glasses.

INCLUDED:

The RISE Vusion House Racer RTF Race Pack is an all-inclusive package. It not only includes the drone itself with camera and vTX as well as the radio, but also includes the Tactic FPV monitor that can be mounted to the radio or slipped into the headset and a spare set of props. Of course, the flight battery and charger are included as well as batteries for the radio, so you’ll need nothing other than your two thumbs to get into the air and flying FPV for real … for far less than 200 dollars!

 

HOT POINTS

  • Unlike most RTF FPV micro machines, the House Racer comes with the already tilted upwards somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 degrees or so. That means you can get this little quad ripping without worry of losing sight of that next gate.

 

  • The vTX on the House Racer is no slouch. It’s a full blown 25mW system with a full complement of 40 channels to choose from, so you can race your friends without worry of channel interference.

 

  • The reverse mounted motors (with the downward facing props) offer superior blade protection during crashes and bumps. Not only that, but the House Racer comes complete with a set of upper blade guards that you can add for extra protection.

 

  • Everything you need to fly FPV for less than the cost of a decent set of goggles. You’re not going to find more bang for your buck anywhere in the FPV drone world and to have the Hobbico name supporting you after the sale, you really can’t go wrong if this is your first foray into FPV. The reception on the headset and monitor isn’t HD quality, but it isn’t horrible either.

 

  • The House Racer comes with its own RISE controller, but it is also SLT compatible, which means you can use any higher end Tactic transmitter or the radio of your choice with an AnyLink adapter. I, for one, actually like the feel of the included radio, so I really have no need or desire to use my TTX850 as the stock radio feels good and the House Racer flies great with it.

 

  • The video monitor that can be mounted to the radio or placed within the headset for a fully immersive experience packs a full 40 channels to complement the vTX in the drone itself, but it also has a built-in DVR so you can record and upload all of your FPV exploits for all the world to see.

 

In action, in my kitchen.

PROS:

>> Complete FPV package without anything else needed

>> Great performance out of a tiny machine

>> 100% designed, built and supported by Hobbico

>> Lost model alarm beacon

>> Fast enough for outdoor adventures (see below)

 

CONS:

>> Grass is a killer … especially with the inverted motors

>> A little too fast for some indoor venues

 

AUTHOR’S OPINION

When I first saw the size of the House Racer, I knew I was in for a thrill ride. However, the connotation of the name itself had instilled in me expectations of something much slower and smaller. The fact of the matter is, the House Racer is bigger than most indoor machines and is also quite a bit faster than most other brushed rigs, but that’s all good as far as I’m concerned as such speed and agility allow this model to venture outdoors as well. A word of advice though, keep it in Mode 1 if you have anything other than a chateau with long, wide open expanses for a domicile … at least for the first flight or two.

 

I see you.

IN THE AIR

As I mentioned before, starting off slow with the House Racer is the key to success if your living quarters are fairly humble size-wise. My 900 square foot cape has large rooms, but no hallways or openly adjoining rooms to speak of, but my pride had me thinking “bah, I’m an experienced pilot. I don’t need no stinking Mode 1!” Well, needless to say, my first flight lasted exactly four seconds before the humbling walk of shame with me muttering about how darn fast the House Racer was. I was so used to flying my Tiny Whoop and Nano QX at full tilt through my kitchen, into the dining room and then back out to the living room again that I employed the same throttle burying technique with the House Racer, to no advantage.

The House Racer is fast for sure, so I flipped back into Mode 1 and started things a little more cautiously through my makeshift race course. There are lots of hard 90 degree turns so I crept through the first lap and was glad I did as the stock monitor setup fed me quite a bit of interference once a couple walls and rooms were between it and the drone. A quick repositioning into the center of my course allowed for decent image transmission throughout the full run of the course.

Mode 1 – Bank angle limit of 30 degrees: Docile on the cyclic controls, but can also get the House Racer scootin’ pretty darn fast. In this mode you have full 6-axis gyro and accelerometer assistance, giving you easy flight with auto-leveling. My first few batteries in my house were flown in this mode until I got a little more familiar with the handling characteristics.

Mode 2 – Bank angle limit of 45 degrees: A little snappier on the elevator and aileron channels, but noticeably faster in a flat line. Now, the angle limiters are increased so you can pitch the House Racer further forward and open the big motors up for some blistering runs. Once I got familiar with my race course setup, I was all about Mode 2 while cruising in my house.

Mode 3 – No bank angle limit: For you experience FPV racers and flyers out there, this is your Rate Mode. There is only the 3-axis gyro feeding stabilization to the House Racer in this mode, but no self-leveling from the accelerometers. Pitch the drone forward and it will stay in that orientation until commanded otherwise. My house was way too small for Mode 3, but I did open it up and use it once outdoors. Other folks with larger indoor areas and/or better thumbs than I will surely be able to utilize this mode for indoor flying.

The integrated board that serves as the ESC’s, flight controller and receiver. The big round thing is the beeper that emits a loud tone when the radio link is lost or the battery is low.

Auto Flips – Like many other RTF drones, the House Racer can do auto-flips with the push of a button. The House Racer does it as well in Flight Mode 2, but I was a little perplexed when after reading the instructions that outline the procedure contradicted what I was actually seeing with my own eyes. The manual explains that you need to push and hold the “Flip” button on the left side of the radio, but that button is actually labeled “Picture” (The Vusion House Racer RTF uses the same radio as the Vusion Extreme Racer). Once Hobbico support cleared that up, I was flipping like a pro, though the little House Racer does lose a bit of altitude when performing such aerobatics, so just keep a little distance between it and the ground when flipping.

Black props out front with whites in the back. Both the props and arm ends are labeled for either A or B, so prop changes are easy.

Crashing: The House Racer is about as durable as any other mini/micro lightweight FPV machine. However, even with the prop guards added, there is still a good potential for blade strikes. After a few bumps with a makeshift gate (a café table’s legs) the House Racer would always end up on its lid. Once we employed a little rudder to allow the prop guards to take the brunt of the blow in such scenarios, the model would most often stay upright and aloft. The bottom line is, I crashed a lot and I crashed hard, but the House Racer showed no ill effects aside from a bent landing foot or two that were promptly rectified with a little elbow grease.

Race Gates: Unless you live in a cave, chances are you’ve seen at least some of the cool videos of folks flying in their homes with all sorts of gates borne from their own imagination (or 3D printers). RISE and Hobbico have you covered though, with their Race Gate system for the House Racer. For $40 you get two hoop gates, one logoed bridge gate and a turn flag. They also sell LED lit versions as well as arch gates and elevated hoops. I turned to Amazon.com for some LED ropes on the cheap and setup my own course using the Race Gate System and a bit of ingenuity (be sure to check back for a separate feature on how/where to get the setup I built).

I got to fly my House Racer, in the house, as well as a few other locations. I used my side yard at night, lit with my LED gates, which was awesome … especially when I could use the lost model beacon to find my downed machine in the dark … until I got close enough to see the red LED on the drone (just watch out when flying over grass at night as it’ll grab the House Racer with haste. I also got to fly quite a few packs over the turf track at The Hobby Hangout in New Milford, CT, abusing their drone race track for all the House Racer was worth. I must say, the model really excels in larger areas and is perfectly at home outdoors with little to no wind.

 

The camera on the front of the House Racer offers excellent imagery and it is tilted up around 20 degrees or so.

THE FINAL WORD

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been fairly impressed with just about every release from RISE. From the RXD 250 up through the Vusion Race Pack, the House Racer is no different. It allows would-be FPV pilots to get everything they need to jump into the pilot’s seat for $179.99 and it surely doesn’t skimp on performance for those with more seasoned thumbs. Best of all, it’s distributed by Hobbico and that comes with a huge piece of mind in the form of support after the sale. Oh, and one other thing. Just because it’s called the House Racer, you can still buy one of these awesome little rigs if you live in a condo, apartment, your mom’s basement or a cave (assuming said cave has a USB outlet to charge the battery). Be sure to check back in for our FPV video.

BUY LINK: http://amzn.to/2sQ8XmM

 

LINKS

RISE

HOBBICO

 

Notice: Some of our articles, videos and descriptions may contain affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, we may receive a small commission. This helps support the website and social media channels and allows us to continue to produce content. Thank you for the support!

 

 

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Hot Tip Tuesday!!! DIY LED FPV Gates On A Strict Budget With VIDEO http://www.thedronesmag.com/hot-tip-tuesday-diy-led-fpv-gates-strict-budget-video/ http://www.thedronesmag.com/hot-tip-tuesday-diy-led-fpv-gates-strict-budget-video/#respond Wed, 31 May 2017 03:55:06 +0000 http://www.thedronesmag.com/?p=4913 Words, photos and horrible video by Matt Maziarz We’ve all seen the super cool videos of FPV racing on LED courses. Folks like David Moquay from FPV Lightrax create dazzling displays using the LED Neon Rope lights, sculpting them into incredible shapes and then laying them out in a sweet course to challenge, yet entertain …

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Words, photos and horrible video by Matt Maziarz

We’ve all seen the super cool videos of FPV racing on LED courses. Folks like David Moquay from FPV Lightrax create dazzling displays using the LED Neon Rope lights, sculpting them into incredible shapes and then laying them out in a sweet course to challenge, yet entertain the pilots and spectators. The problem is, many of us (myself included) dream of flying such courses at our own fields or even in our own yards. Heck, I’m sure that many of you have rigged up some sort of LED course in the dark just to get your fix. Well, I have done my fair share of trial and error DIY gate building and have finally settled on a setup that works incredibly well, looks great, is easy to transport and setup and best of all … is mighty friendly on the wallet.

The two small circle gates included with the RISE FPV Gate System kit, rigged with a small LED rope from Amazon.

I tried LED ropes from the big box stores with varying success, but couldn’t ever get the lighting just right. I also tried LED strips from various hobby purveyors, but also had issues with setting them up and eventually looked elsewhere as the cost and labor intensive nature was wearing me thin. What I ultimately found was some super cheap, but super bright battery powered LED neon ropes from Amazon.com that are marketed for “party” types (raves and such) to wear during their festivities.

They come in either nine or sixteen foot lengths, are powered by two AA batteries and can be programmed to stay on solid, blink slowly or blink rapidly. Here’s the best part: for $17.95 I got a 5-pack of different colors in nine foot lengths and two sixteen foot sections for around $8.00 a piece. The LED ropes themselves are only 2.3mm in diameter, but are very bright and so flexible that they can be folded back onto themselves. They can also be cut to any length needed.

 

A shot of the inside of the bottom of the control box. I soldered a JST plug for a 1S LiPo to those big ole pre-tinned tabs easily (Positive is the one without the spring).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

TRANSLUCENT PIPE: PEX pipe from Home Depot

PIPE/CONDUIT STRAPS: ½ inch 2-hole metal electrical straps

HARDWARE: Wood Screws to secure your gates to a foot pad

MISC: Strapping tape, batteries, scrap wood

 

Before getting started, let me clear something up first. I used the PEX pipe from Home Depot because it’s translucent, it’s amazingly flexible, it’s very cheap and Lowes doesn’t carry ten foot sections of the white stuff in 3/8 inch diameter.

It took me literally less than two minutes to form the pipe, tape it in place, screw the entire hoop to the wood (Using a Ryobi driver) and thread the LED into it.

Basically, what I did was bend the ten foot PEX pipe into a circle, doubling up the pipe on the bottom with a six inch overlap (to utilize the nine foot strips of LED rope). Once formed into a circle, I wrapped the overlap section with two pieces of the strapping tape and then bolted them to a 24 inch piece of leftover deck board I had in my wood stash. I used ½ inch straps (even though two pieces of 3/8 inch pipe together is bigger than ½ inch) to crush the pipes together to a certain degree so that the circle would stand up straight. Once the circle was in place and upright, I threaded the LED rope all the way through and was ready for action.

The nine foot diameter pipe and LED gates provide for a 34 inch diameter circle, which is more than large enough for Tiny Whoops, Nano’s and House Racers. However, there are a number of barbed 3/8 inch fittings that can be used to create all sorts of shapes for gates, including hanging gates and elevated sections. I considered hot gluing or screwing the bottom of the cicle to the wood, but ultimately decided to leave the pipe clamps as the sole means of retention for two reasons: 1) because I’m lazy and 2) because if anyone smacks a gate, it will flex and bend, rather than breaking. Even if someone folds a gate in half, it can easily be manipulated back into shape. If tiny machines indoors are not your thing, the ½ inch PEX pipe is much more rigid, but still bendable enough to form a nice tight circle if you want to create larger gates for larger drones.

A shot of the 1S Dromida LiPo packs I used to power my LED’s.

To finish off my custom race course, I used the two longer LED ropes. On the ends of the sixteen foot sections, I taped the LED down onto linoleum tiles in the shape of arrows, leaving about ten feet of length in the middle. That lets them serve as course markers, laying them out in between gates. I normally set them on the rapid blinking while the gates themselves are set on constant. Using the smaller circle gates from the Gate System, I had about three feet of LED leftover, so I also equipped them with linoleum arrows. Lastly, I tend to use my gates outdoors and in the dark (duh). Such an endeavor could be hazardous to electronics, even if it’s not raining, as there might be dew present. To rectify that possible problem before it reared its ugly head, I snagged a few outdoor extension cord union weather-proof boxes, effectively sealing each control box and batteries in a sealed box (The LED strips themselves are waterproof).

 

A shot of the control box, revealing the button and status LED.

CLIFF’S NOTES:

  • Bend pipe to desired shape
  • Tape pipe ends together with overlap
  • Secure pipe gate to wood (or other such pad) with straps
  • Thread LED rope into pipe
  • Have a ball!

 

BTW

Each PEX gate, LED’s included, cost me less than 10 bucks! That’s insane considering what you’d pay for such gates from a reputable dealer or source.

 

WRAP UP

My race course is awesome, I really must say so myself. So far, I have only built two of the 34 inch PEX circle gates, but have also LED equipped two of the small circle gates from the RISE Race Gate system as well as the square bridge gate. Using the longer arrowed sections in combination with the gates transforms my small house into the ultimate LED race course. I did grow tired of burning through AA batteries, so tore open a bunch of the boxes to add secondary battery plugs for 1S LiPo batteries with a JST plug. Honestly, I was chewing through so many AA’s because I kept forgetting to turn them off. I get about two hours of light time on an 850mAh 1S from Dromida and about twice that on two AA’s from MaxAmps. Ii hope this helps some of y’all out there in drone-land create your own drone amusement park and by all means, get creative and do much, much more than I did!

 

LINKS

HOBBICO

RISE

AMAZON

 

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