Makerfire Micro FPV Racing Drone

Makerfire Micro FPV Racing Drone is the latest entry into ducted fan micro racers joining the Tiny Whoop™ race. For the value and money, this quadcopter comes Ready To Fly or also available Crazepony the Bind-N-Fly version with DSM receiver.  We received a BNF version from GearBest to test against a Devo 10 Deviation with DSM protocol and the results are good.  ■ dronemission.com

Market Segment
Beginners, Indoors, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves,  Budget [$] (PRICE CHECK: $64PNP ■ Mar 2017 Sara’s Pick)

Analysis

Micro quadcopters have come a long way, with Jesse Perkins mounting a small FPV camera and video transmitter, showcasing some amazing indoor racing and calling it the Tiny Whoop™. Several manufacturers have since began to introduce their version of affordable ducted fan quadcopters and Makerfire Micro is noted to be a good entry in this category of indoor racing.  The tall propeller guards allows the micro quadcopter to bounce off the wall without damaging the fans (propellers), surviving most crashes.

It is also beneficial to note that when paired with the popular opensource F3 flight controller, manufacturers are able to lower the cost of production.  With a F3 flight controller, pilots can get several flight modes available instantly.

In Rate/Manual/Expert, this mode is the most challenging flight mode which uses the gyroscopes from the flight controller while the accelerometer is disabled .  It allows the best control of the quadcopter, allowing pilots to do some amazing hairpin turns and aerobatics. This will however require some experience and not intended for beginners.

In Angle/Stability mode, the accelerometer is activated. This enables the quadcopter to self-level. If you don’t put in any input, the quadcopter will remain level. This is the mode that is used on the budget entry level quadcopters. It is however a great way for all pilots to practice control and orientation by flying in a number 8 pattern

In Horizon mode, this is a mix between Rate mode and Angle mode. It gives a pilot the best of both modes to perform flips and rolls and yet self-levels when the pilot centers the sticks but with Rate mode at it’s endpoint.

In the early days of racing drone, an inexperienced pilot would suffer a flip of death (FOD), but to the rescue, came “Air Mode”.  In Air mode, pilots will be flying at all throttle levels, so if you chop the throttle, the stability corrections still come into play, even at minimum throttle, allowing the pilot to perform some amazing maneuvers at low throttle rates.

You will have to assign Air Mode as you would to a switch when setting up flight modes within Betaflight.  The suggested best practices to test Air mode are:

  • Arm motors (motors start spinning idling as an option)
  • Enable AirMode with switch (check to ensure no idling windup on ground)
  • Lift off and fly around (motors will never stop in flight even at lowest throttle and self levels)
  • Just prior to landing, disable Air Mode by switch (as a safety)
  • Land and disarm motors

The benefit of using ducted fans is they are fully protected and prevent the fans from causing any damage to walls, as well it is safe enough to be caught by hand!

One of the best kept secret of a Walkera transmitter is the ability to support multiple protocols with opensource Deviation. So if a pilot is flying a selection of models, such as Walkera, Blade, Eflite, Hubsan x4, Parkzone Micro Warbirds, Spektrum planes, you can turn an affordable Devo transmitter into a power house that supports these protocols.  With a Walkera 12E 12 channel radio transmitter selling at $85 versus a Spektrum JRP12 at $1249, you can see the cost benefit of marketing a Walkera Devo 10 or 12E for micro racing drones.

Pilots can easily spend 5 minutes on each flight, setting up and flying. The actual flight may last 3-4minutes. On a Mode 2 radio transmitter, throttle stick is on the left.

Binding the Makerfire Micro to a new radio transmitter can be a challenge, you will likely need two pairs of hands to hold down the bind button, at the same time power on.  However, you only have to do this once.

Once you have your radio bound to the Makerfire Micro, you will want to run some tests within Betaflight Goggle Chrome App.  You will need a USB cable to connect your quadcopter to a computer.  Make sure your throttle is within range, and the receiver is responding in the right direction for all stick movements.

To begin your first flight, power on your radio transmitter first, make sure your throttle stick is at the lowest point. Check to make sure all your switches are up (position 0). Connect your battery to your copter, lay the copter flat on a hard surface immediately.

Move your left throttle stick down to the lowest point and to the right, to unlock (arm) the motors.   The copter is now live.  To lock (disarm), move your left throttle stick down to the lowest point and to the left.  You can change your setup to switches with Betaflight.

Flight Characteristics

The Makerfire is easy to fly on Horizon mode and can be switched to Angle mode or Rate mode.   It accelerates at a high speed, so setting up dual rates is a good idea.  Low rates at 70 scale on 30 exponential is a good start.  It survived all of our indoor and outdoor crashes, which makes this quadcopter a hardy little thing.

Competitors / Similar Models

Users have considered these 2017 alternatives: Furibee F36s, KingKong Tiny6Eachine E010s, Blade Inductrix

Camera

The camera is a acceptable 520 TVL camera, capable for night flying. See video for results.

Factory Specifications
Flight controller: F3 EVO with STM32 F303 MCU
Receiver: DSM 2.4GHz 8CH
Video transmission: 5.8G 40CH 25mW
Video resolution: 520TVL
Receive distance: 300m
Motor: 615 coreless motors with 65000 RPM
Battery: 3.7V 200mAh 35C
Flight time: about 5 minutes
Charge time: 30 minutes
Charging method: USB

Market Demand Trending

Buy/Sell.  Manufacturers and dealers, these tiny inspired whoops are hitting the market as fast as the first phantom and 350 pros were a few years ago, as hobbyist takes a turn towards micro quadcopters; showing a steady growth in the market.   A snapshot from Grand View Research 2016.

consumer-drone-market

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Makerfire 2017. From the DroneMission.com Desk Industry and Competitive Analysis (ICA)

KingKong Tiny6 65mm Micro FPV Quadcopter

KingKong Tiny6 is the latest entry into ducted fan micro racers, this tiny inspired whoop (or Inductrix) is hitting the market as fast as the first phantom and 350 pros were a few years ago.  Weighing just 24.7 grams and at 65 mm, will bring you 3 minutes of fun indoors or outdoors.  Best of all, it does not break that easily and very affordable. ■ dronemission.com

Market Segment
Keen Beginners, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves,   Budget [$] (PRICE CHECK: $54.99 BNF ■ Dec 2016 Arthur’s Pick)

What To Expect

TBD.  Coming Soon

Flight Characteristics

TBD

Competitors / Similar Models

Users have considered these 2017 alternatives: Furibee F36s, Makerfire Micro Eachine E010s, Blade Inductrix

Camera

The camera is a sharp 800 TVL camera at 150 degrees.  See video for results.

Factory Specifications
Brand:KINGKONG
Item NO: TINY6
Battery Power:3.7V 250mAh 30C
Wheelbase: 65mm
Propeller size: 31mm
(FC): Micro F3(Betaflight)
VTX: 25mW/16CH
Camera: 800TVL/150°
Frame: ABS high-quality
Motor: 615 Brushed
Charger: 200mah/500mah
Basic version: 1s,  Charger USB Powered
Advanced vesion:Switchable 1s Five -way Charger USB or 2~6s  Lipo Powered
Weight: 19.2g (without Receiver and Battery)

Market Demand

  • TBD

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KingKong From the DroneMission.com Desk Industry and Competitive Analysis (ICA)

XK X300 Quadcopter

XK X300 quadcopter. XK Innovations has made several great budget quadcopters, so this is a welcome innovation to include an optical flow sensor in their latest XK budget quadcopter.  An optical flow sensor is a vision sensor capable of measuring optical flow or visual motion and producing a measurement based on an image sensor chip connected to a processor programmed to run an algorithm.

xk-x300-optical-sensor.jpgMarket Segment
Beginners, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves, Budget [$] (PRICE CHECK:  Jan 2017 Sara’s Pick at Gearbest)

What To Expect we took this budget quadcopter for several flight tests. If quadcopter piloting is new to a user, the auto take-off is a nice introduction for beginners.   The optical flow sensor performed flawlessly, providing a good position hold. With the help of the barometric sensor, the quadcopter tracks pretty well flying straight, low while holding it’s altitude.

It seemed sluggish at times during flight with the brushed motors with the default 60% low rates. Brushed motors are one of the simplest types of motors that uses an armature, a commutator, brushes, an axle and a field magnet.  The advantage of using brushed motors is the low cost of production, they are replaceable, but the speed and torque is moderately flat. At higher speeds, brush friction increases, thus lowers the speed range due to mechanical limitations on the brushes.  Sand can easily get into the brushes which can affect it’s overall performance.

The yaw turn is fast, so completing a coordinated turn with the aileron stick will provide a better bank turn. The descent is slow and controlled by the barometric sensor.  On the positive side, it is not going to drop if the throttle stick is lowered too fast. The x8 radio transmitter includes an auto-flip function. The auto-flips could be improved, as it requires the user to release the stick to a halt or it will keep flipping while losing altitude.

Users can easily spend 20 minutes on each flight, setting up and flying. The actual flight may last 15 minutes or less.  ■  dronemission.com

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Appearance

Consistent finishes. No conspicuous flash marks when molten plastic leaks out of the cavity, resulting in a thin layer of plastic protruding from the part called flash and no short shots when there is an inadequate amount of plastic material to fill the mold.

Competitors / Similar Models 

Users have considered these 2017 alternatives: MJX Bugs 3.

Camera

The camera is a 720P 90°Wide Angle HD Camera

Factory Specifications

XK X300-W RC quadcopter
Frequency: 2.4G
Channel: 8CH
Gyro:6 axis
FOV:90 degree
Motor: 050 core
Quadcopter Size:26.5 x 34 x 15cm
Flight Weight:About 370g
Flight time: About 15-17minutes
Control distance: about 200m
FPV Distance: About 250m
Battery for quadcopter: 2S 7.4V 2000mAh (proprietary casing)
Adapter: 10V 800mAh
Battery for transmitter: 6 X 1.5V AA battery

Xk x300 categorized as a entry level quadcopter flying with low speed, ready to fly with a good position hold.  In terms of ranking, we would say it is in the top 5 budget favorites in this category, as recorded Jan 2017.  A positive recommendation for distributors and dealers.  Low risk.  An update to follow.   (Current Picks dronemission.com/top5).

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Reptile S800 FPV Flying Wing 3-Axis Sky Shadow 820mm

Reptile S800 is the latest Flying Wing entry into the world of FPV racing and at an affordable  price.  Looking like the recent release of BLADE FPV Manta, flat on the nose block, FPV ready. A 3-axis gyro for stable flight and a 700TVL Camera is included for the PNP version. The PNP is almost a kit, requires complete assembly ■ by dronemission.com

s800.jpg

Market Segment
Keen Beginners, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves,   Budget $ (PRICE CHECK: $109 PNP & $59 Kit ■ Dec 2016 at Arthur’s Pick at Banggood)

Design  the material used is light-weight Expanded Polypropylene (EPP), a durable flexible foam. It is impact resistance, and strong enough to take a direct impact against a tree or slamming onto concrete.  Why EPP, for some racing pilots a key component to racing wings (see experiences).

reptile-S800_1.png

Competitor / Similar Models

Users have considered these 2016 alternatives: Blade FPV Manta, Blade Theory

Camera

The camera is a sharp 700 TVL camera with low latency

Factory Specifications
EPP foam construction, durable and lightweight
3-Axis flight control ensures a more stable flight
200mw image transmission enables real-time image transmission
700TVL camera gives you a clear fun FPV

Package Included:
2 x Wings
1 x Fuselage
2 x Small Wing Tips
1 x Nose Block
1 x Main Hatch Cover
2 x Emax ES08A Servos
1 x 3-Axis Flight Control
1 x Flight Control Circuit Board Base
1 x Sunnysky2205 Motor 2300KV
2 x 6045 Propellers
1 x 700TVL Camera
1 x 200mW AV Transmitter
1 x 20A ESC
1 x Sticker
1 x User Manual

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Upload 360 videos Youtube

What the Andoer Dual-lens 360°, Ricoh Theta S and Samsung Gear 360 have in common are the dual-lenses that allows you to film and upload 360-degree videos.  This give rise to a new perspective if drone aerial first person view

YouTube and Facebook now supports uploading and playback of 360° spherical videos. To watch 360° videos, you need the latest version of Chrome, Opera, Firefox, or Internet Explorer on your computer. On mobile devices, use the latest version of the YouTube app for Android or iOS.

(Flipboard not compatible. Best viewed in youtube app directly by opening this link https://youtube.com/360)

andoer-dual-lenses.jpg

For an immersive experience, you can even watch 360° videos with a cardboard goggle attaching the YouTube Android app.

After a week of filming, we begin to discover that is just a few things to consider before creating the video.

  • Decide the best way to mount the camera without appearing to be holding a tripod or showing too much head (realizing you are being filmed no matter where you stood in 360).
  • What if you want to incorporate text on the video or include a logo, not knowing if your audience is looking front, back, sides, down or up.
  • Storyboarding and sequencing scenes in 360.  How do you you mix 2D and 360 footages.

The following 360 cameras are compatible with YouTube and are available today:
• Andoer Dual-lens 360° (budget $125 source: Nov 2016 camfere.com)
• Ricoh Theta S
• Samsung Gear 360

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andoer-unbox.jpg

For the best results, encode your video at a high resolution and according to YouTube’s advanced specifications. YouTube currently supports 360° videos with 24, 25, 30, 48, 50, or 60 frames per second. We recommend uploading 16:9 aspect ratio stitched videos in 4K (3840×2160) resolution as a loss of resolution is inevitable when playback in youtube 360. A 1080p video, when stretçhed and wrapped around the sphere will look like 480p.

When uploading your 360° video, don’t make edits to the video using the YouTube Video Editor and Enhancements tools on desktop or mobile. These tools don’t currently support 360° videos.

Before publishing, schedule the video for a later date and verify that the file has 360° playback enabled by watching the video on your device. It may take up to 30 minutes for 360° playback to be processed after uploading.

360° videos on a browser feature a pan button in the top left, and can be rotated using the WASD keys, so look for these features to confirm your video is in 360.

If you take the video straight out of the camera and try to upload it to Youtube, it’s not going to work properly. The video will upload and be available, but when you go to view it you’ll see a stereoscopic image–an odd-looking video of side-by-side circles, each showing the hemisphere captured by one of the two lenses.

circle.JPG

To make it work properly there are two steps you have to do before uploading it.

1. You will need to convert the image from stereoscopic view to an equirectangular one. That will combine the two hemispheres into a wide view with dimensions where the width is exactly double the height (otherwise known as a 2:1 aspect ratio). And the tops and bottoms of the frames will look strange and stretched. But when used in a specialized 360° player those stretched parts of the frame will fill out when you look up or down, wrapping around the sphere 360.

If you own the budget Andoer 360 camera, you can use the recommended unregistered Symax 360 software – Open Convertor, set Video Quality = High, Start.

2. In order to upload and playback a 360° video file, you’ll need to modify the metadata of the video file with an app or script before uploading.

Follow these instructions to install an app that will add the necessary metadata into a new file for you.

spatial-metadata-injector.JPG

  1. Download the 360 Video Metadata app for Mac or Windows recommended by YouTube
  2. Un-zip the file, then open the 360 Metadata Injector app. If you’re on a Mac, you may need to right-click the app and then click Open.
  3. You can also add the metadata using a Python script.
  4. Select the original or edited 360 video file
  5. Select the checkbox for My Video is Spherical (360) and click Inject Metadata. Do not select the “3D Top-bottom” checkbox. For more information, refer to upload instructions for virtual reality videos.
  6. Save the file that will be created suffix with “injected.mp4”.
  7. Save the file. A new file will be created automatically in the same location as the original file.
  8. Upload the new injected file to YouTube.
  9. Wait for the 360° conversion to process. This may take up to 30 minutes for a 7 minutes video.

Tip: Andoer Dual-lens 360° 960p on Premiere Pro, follow 1920x 960 size, h.264

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Walkera Aibao Airbot

 

Walkera Aibao Airbot is the new generation of drone technology  incorporating games into radio control aircraft with what is pioneered by Walkera as Mixed Reality. This allows for pilots to actually fly their GPS drones into virtual funnel gates, besides using it as filming platform. ■ by dronemission.com

 

User Segment
Beginners, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves, Collectors, Budget $469 (source: Aug 2016 Walkera)

Camera

Camera: 16M (4640*3480), 12M (4000*3000), 8M (3264*2448), 5M (2592*1944)
Video: mp4/mov: UHD (4096*2160p) 25 fps or (3840*2160p) 30 fps, FHD (1920*1080) 60 fps, HD (1280*720p) 120 fps.
Storage Supports: SD/SDHC/SDXC Micro SD

Factory Specifications
Quadcopter Size: 280
Features: Mix Reality (MR) Drone Experience, GPS
Flight Duration: 17 minutes
Pro Class Radio Transmitter: new F8 with gaming functions, 2.4 gHz and WIFI. 8 or 18 channels
Radio Range: 2 km
Games: WIFI
Video transmitter: 5.8 gHz, 200 mW (800m range)
Estimated Price: $400 range

Release date: Q4 2016, available at all retails, online stores, including Amazon.

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Radiolink CP620 750W 30A Hybrid Balance Charger

There are over a hundred lithium polymer (LiPo) battery balance chargers in the market, but not much has changed for a while, the same user interface and the same programming codes reused.   Radiolink is among the few that has taken the lead to change electric radio control (RC) with the CP620 hybrid charger and rethinking how to improve efficiency and low consumption in todays RC  ■ by dronemission.com

radiolink-cp620.jpg

First Impression,  an interesting charge methodology.  The CP620 starts charging through the main power cable with the maximum 30A in series at the suitable charge rate, once any cell is fully charged, it will then automatically changed to the independent balance charge mode charging through the balance port.  This increases the charge efficiency.  With a charge current of 30A, you have a maximum current of 6A for each cell to optimize the charge.

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User Segment
Hard Core Electric Hobbyist, Beginners, Park Flyers, Commercial Events, Budget $149 (source: August 2016 Banggood)

Similar Model

Users have considered these 2016 alternatives: Eachine GERMINI 2100, iCharger 406 , SkyRC D100, Extreme Dual 200W

Factory Specifications

Brand Name: Radiolink
Item No.: CP620
Item Name: Hybrid Balance Charger
Input voltage: 10.5~30V
Power output: 750w
Charge current: max 30A
Balance current: max 6A
Discharge current: 0.1~3A
Compatible battery type: 1~6S LiPo/1~16NI-MH/ lead-acid cell, nickel-cadmium cell and the lithium-ion battery
Lithium charging mode: mixed charging, large current series charging, independent balance
Voltage accuracy: 0.001V
Charge port: 2 ports, automatically charging in cycle mode
Working mode: cycle/alternate/discharge/storage mode

1. Faster
CP620 starts max 30A series charging through power wire and then automatically change to independent balance mode that charging through balance wire once any cell is full, six independent power supply integrated ensure max 6 cells charging for each port, the max charging
current for each cell will be up to 6A, 12 times of the present max balance current 0.5A. A 5000mAh battery takes 15 minutes only.
2. Precise
Voltage precision is 0.001V. By using Radiolink patent independent technology, 20 times of the average data, prolong the battery life.
3.High efficiency
Charging efficiency can up to 97%. 135mA working current ensure the temperature of CP620 always less than 30 degree no matter standby or full power charging.

4.Safe

(1)Power protection
Wrong input protection, even the charger is connected with power source by wrong polarity, the unit will not be damaged. When the input voltage goes down than 11V, the unit will automatically adjust current to hold the battery voltage, which protects power source when connect with autos.

(2)Battery protection
Wrong input protection for every port, it will not damage the battery or the charger when connected with wrong polarity or cut the power supply.

(3)Temperature monitoring
It will start alarming when the temperature goes to the preset data, the unit will automatically lower power output.

5.Majordomo
Integrate 2 ports charger, automatically charging 2 groups battery. Six independent power supply ensure every group with max six cells battery charging and the max balance current of every single cell is up to 6A.

What we love about it

  • TBD

What is essential we hope to see in the next version

  • TBD

In terms of ranking, I would say it is in the top 5 favorites during this release recorded May 2016.  An update to follow.   (Current Picks dronemission.com/top5).

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Editorial from the DroneMission.com Review News PR Team