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).
TYPE: FPV race quad Rx-R
FOR: Beginners to FPV ﬂight
• Carbon/Foam composite construction
• Pretuned ﬂight control board Inexpensive, yet feature packed
• JST tap pre-wired for VTX install
• Visually striking for VLOS ﬂight
• ESC’s have zero airﬂow over them
• Manual could be more “Hobbico-esque”
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.
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.
WEIGHT: 10.6 oz. (300g) without battery or FPV gear
MOTORS: (4) 1806-2280Kv
ESCS: (4) 10 amp
FLIGHT CONTROLLER: Pre-tuned CC3D
FLIGHT TIME: 3-6 minutes
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.
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!.