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)

Walkera MR Drone

We have been wondering what it would be like to bring couch Gamers and First Person View (FPV) Pilots into one room or rather in one field for an intense world of Mixed Reality (MR) competition? Walkera MR Drone Games are not only Virtual games, but a Reality concept that is applied to Drone Racing. Pilots actually fly their GPS racing drones into virtual Funnel Gates or shooting on virtual targets.

Mixed reality (MR), sometimes referred to as hybrid reality, is the merging of real and virtual worlds to produce new environments and visualizations where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.


walkera-drone-vr-games

Thinking of designing three Real Flight modes: Battle mode, Race mode, Classic Collecting mode. In Battle mode , FPV pilots will begin an intense battle with virtual targets. In Race mode, pilots compete on an Agility Course featuring various obstacles, funnel gates and hairpin turns. Lastly, the classic arcade game, pilots collect as many gold coins with precise FPV skills. If you are not ready for the real flight, switch to Training, pilots can practice with a virtual drone using your personal tablet or phone.

walkera-mr-drone-games
Introducing MR Drone

Now what do you think of that?. The first MR Drone Game, more ideas and development to come.

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Contribution by the DroneMission.com Usability Test Team, a member of the Linux Foundation dronecode.org.  For Immediate Release, Press This RSS

XK X251 WhirlWind Racer Quadcopter

Keeping it simple may be the answer to XK Innovation’s success recently. XK X251 is a new mini quadcopter with powerful brushless motors, designed to be fast and swift. If you are looking for a swift little quadcopter, this may be it, the XK X251 WhirlWind.  Shortly after the initial release, a version 2 was introduced with some slight modifications to cater for beginners. See video about the updates •  DM Press

xk-x251-top

First Impression,  this quadcopter is very fast and can take a nice punch (vertical take-off).  It is easy to fly if you have flown a quadcopter and have mastered your flight orientation.  The XK radios are well made as always, but the spinning dial that gets in the way of your palm is still there on the right.  The beeping spinning dial is not in the most practical position to reach while flying, but for this aircraft, it is only used to navigate the menu. The material of the aircraft is made of a mixed of carbon fiber structure with light-weight Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), a common thermoplastic polymer (also used by Lego), strong but will still destruct on direct impact on a high speed race.  It does not break easily out in the field, if it just falls out of the sky, as the total weight is only 205 grams.

Version 2, great for the beginners, auto flips and returns to rear facing.  This is a trade-off for experienced pilots who are looking for “acro” modes.

User Segment
Keen Beginners, Park Flyers With The Need for Speed, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves, Collectors, Budget USD$109.99 (June 2016 source: GearBest)

What To Expect If This Your First

You can easily spend 12 minutes on each flight, setting up and flying. The actual flight may last 5-10 minutes from our tests. On a Mode 2 radio transmitter, throttle stick is on the left.

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. This will allow the copter to self-level the gyroscope.

Once the red and yellow stops flashes stops, you have successfully bind with the radio. A green LED indicates you are in 6-axis gyro mode and a red LED indicates you are in 3D mode (aka Acro). To fly, flip the throttle hold switch down “on”, the copter is now live.  To lock (disarm), move your left throttle stick down to the lowest point and flip the throttle hold switch back to “off”.

The copter LiPo battery may get a little warm after each flight. When the voltage is low (7 volts), you should manually land within 30 seconds to prevent the battery from over-discharging. Over-discharging a LiPo battery below 3 volts per cell, can permanently damage the battery. It is best to let the LiPo cool down before the next charge.

There are dual rates assigned to the right switch.

led.jpg

Flight Characteristic

The XK X251 is swift with precision responsive controls.

Similar Model Aircrafts

Users have considered these 2016 alternatives:  the Walkera Rodeo 150, Cheerson CX-91, JJRC X1, Blade Zeyrok

xk-x251-unbox.jpg

Factory Specifications
Material: Carbon fiber, mixed composite materials
Radio Frequence: 2.4G
Gyro: 6 axis
Battery: 7.4V 950mAh lipo battery
Flight time: about 12 mins
Charging time: about 60-80 mins
Range: 300m
Flight weight: 205g
Quadcopter size: 177 * 177 * 83 mm

What we love about it

  • Fast and a good punch
  • Hardy ABS frame structure
  • Configurable radio transmitter

What is essential we hope to see in the next version

  • Allow for full acro setup

In terms of ranking, I would say it is in the top 7 favorites during this release recorded May 2016.  (Current Picks dronemission.com/top5).

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Walkera Rodeo 150 White

Introducing Walkera Rodeo 150, a unique and slick looking 15 cm size quadcopter, with a mix of  racing drone aerobatic features from the F3 flight controller, and the classic Devo 7 radio transmitter programmability.  The quadcopter was designed to weigh less than 0.55 pounds for hobbyist who rather not register with the FAA in the USA.  It is not a full fletch racer but a speedy mini quadcopter with brushless motors, a category of mini quadcopters gaining popularity recently.walkera-rodeo150-top.jpg

First Impression, we love the Rodeo 150 design and the color scheme, a mini-me of the Walkera F210.  Kudos to the Walkera drafting engineers.  You can use an external receiver, which means you can use any programmable radio transmitter you may already have, making this a popular BNF quadcopter.  The material used is light-weight Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), a common thermoplastic polymer (also used by Lego).  It is impact resistance, but not strong enough to take a direct impact against a tree or slamming onto concrete.

Target Users
Keen Beginners, Park Flyers, Ready To Fly, Off the shelves, Collectors, Budget USD$229 MAP (May 2016 source: GearBest)

What To Expect If This Your First

You can easily spend 11 minutes on each flight, setting up and flying. The actual flight may last 6-8 minutes. On a Mode 2 radio transmitter, throttle stick is on the left.

Power on your radio transmitter first, make sure your throttle stick is at the lowest point or you will be reminded with beeps to do so. 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. This will allow the copter to self-level the gyroscope.

Once the red light flashes slowly, you have successfully bind with the radio.  Move your left throttle stick down to the lowest point and to the left, 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 right.

The copter LiPo battery may get a little warm after each flight. When the voltage is low (7 volts), the copter red lights will begin to flash quickly and begin to sound an beeping alarm at the same time.  You should manually land within 30 seconds to prevent the battery from over-discharging. Over-discharging a LiPo battery below 3 volts per cell, can permanently damage the battery. It is best to let the LiPo cool down before the next charge.

There are three flight modes, Stabilize, Intermediate and Advance assigned to the Mix Switches. You can only flip and roll with ease on Intermediate and Advance mode.

Flight Characteristic

The Rodeo 150 is agile.  We are currently completing a few more flights before reporting back.  Standby.

Similar Model Aircrafts

Users have recommended these 2016 alternatives:  the XK 251, Cheerson CX-91, JJRC X1

Camera

The camera is a sharp 600 TVL camera, capable for night flying. PAL/NTSC.  See video for results.

rodeo-150-frequency.jpg

Factory Specifications
Main Rotor Diameter: 96mm
Overall (LxWxH): 137 x 148 x 77mm
Weight: 215g, 0.47 lb (with battery)
Stock Radio Transmitter: DEVO 7 / DEVO F7
Receiver: DEVO-RX716
Main Flight Controller: FCS-Rodeo 150
Transmitter: TX5832(FCC)/TX5833(CE)
Camera: 600TVL DC 5-12V
Brushless motor: WK-WS-17-002(CW/CCW)
Brushless ESC: Rodeo 150
Battery: 7.4V 850mAh 30C 2S LiPo
Flight Time: 7-8mins
Working Temperature: -10℃~+40℃

What We Like About It

  • The speed and agility
  • Credits to the unique and futuristic design
  • Almost everything about it!


What We Would Like To See On the Next Version

  • DVR recording
  • Tail LED lights

In terms of ranking, I would say it is in the top 7 favorites during this release recorded May 2016.  An update to follow.   (Current Picks dronemission.com/top5).

Living Blog.  source: http://youtube.com/diydrone
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Contribution by the DroneMission.com R&D Team, a voting member of the Linux Foundation dronecode.org and board member of Walkera USA

First Drone Formula Race F210 Walkera

The Orlando FPV RotoRacers, a MulitGP league located in Florida will host the world’s first Formula Race F210, where pilots will fly the same model, the Walkera F210, on a “spec” formula race. This will put the pilots to a test of skill with the same radio transmitter, same racing drone. The winner gets to keep what he or she flies for that race! Rules and format will be defined by the club and registration can be found at MultiGP.com. Come participate for a fun filled fellowship day.  Open to the public and free to attend.  This event is made possible by Walkera, DroneMission.com for organizing and the great team of Orlando FPV RotoRacers.   May the best pilot wins!

To support local racing clubs, Walkera USA will be visiting the Orlando FPV RotoRacers on May 1, 2016 to kick-off the first Formula Race

race_checker.png

multigp-orlando.jpg

walkera-210-racing.Still034.jpg

Specification:
Model Class: Walkera F210 Racing Quadcopter
Size: 210 mm
Video Transmitter : 5.8 GHz
Antenna: Left
Video Transmitter Power: 200 mW
Battery: 4S or 3S (recommended 4S) XT 60
Prop Size: 5030
Motors: 2500 KV
Flight Controller: F3
Weight without battery: 395 grams

  • Time: May 1, 2016. Gates open at 7am. Registration close at 9:30am. Race starts at 10am
  • SouthPort Community Park, Orlando, Florida: Directions
  • Entry: Free Open to public (local chapters may charged racers $5 for the point race)
  • Race Registration at: MulitiGP

southpark-community.jpg

Additional Information:  Pilots will compete in qualifying rounds in the morning and the top 3 pilots will compete in and for the Walkera F210 at the end of the day.

A DroneMission.com Project

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walkera F210 3D racing drone

Walkera does it again, taking the guesswork out of putting together a 3D racing quadcopter drone.  F210 3D is a quadcopter with an optimized F3 flight controller paired with reversible electronic speed controller (ESC), allowing you to reverse the motor at mid point to fly upside down in a 3D manner. At flight mode 0 (FMOD=0 factory default) normal flight takes it toll 2D, flip the switch to FMOD=1, take-off in 3D mode, motor brakes and reverses at mid-point.
walkera-f210-3d.JPG
walkera-f210-3d-features.jpg
F210 3D is upgraded with faster receiver response time, stronger frame, and superior low lux Sony HD camera.  Pre-installed with a 5.8 gHz video transmitter and On Screen Display (OSD) to assist pilot in flying and replaying every favorite scene of a flight.
walkera-f210-3d-design.JPG

How to engage 3D on a Devo Radio:
•Replace your racing propellers to 3D propellers.
•After binding the radio transmitter, you turn the FMOD switch to 1 or 2.
•This puts the throttle stick at about midpoint, 45%-49% position (show on your screen)
•You now unlock (arm) at the midpoint, by moving the Rudder (Yaw) stick to the left side and hold for more than 2 seconds.
•You will see the right red LED light keeps on and buzzer issues a “B B” tone, indicating the motors are unlocked.
•be very careful now, at this point pushing the throttle up above midpoint will start the motors and lowering below midpoint will reverse the motors.
• To STOP the motor instantly, flip the switch to 2D FMOD=0, and lower your throttle to zero and right (lock to disarm).  This also acts as your safety switch.

Please note, your original F210 can be 3D too, you just need the 3D props and program it yourself (ESC), or you can buy it ready RTF from Walkera.  Your Devo radio are programmed exactly the same.

Complementing with the F210 3D is the Walkera Goggle4, a HD Headplay with 40 channel and DVR, dual diversity antenna with a 1 km 5.8 gHz video range.

walkera-goggle4
We are beta testing this 3D quadcopter this month.  Planned release date May 2016.
Living Blog.  Be back shortly. source: http://youtube.com/diydrone
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.

Eachine Assassin 180 VR-007 HD Goggles I6 Transmitter

The scorpion looking racing quadcopter has arrived with built-in OSD GPS NAZE32 Ready To Fly.  Eachine Assassin 180 FPV, VR-007 HD Goggles with the I6 transmitter.

The 180 racing quadcopter flew really well, it handled a RunCam HD camera 43 grams with ease.  I have not found any issues, no bad flight characteristics. On a Naze 32 flight controller, it was easy to maneuver and I give it a thumbs up.

If you have flown quadcopters manually, this is easy.   For beginners, please note, it is not a drone, it is not going to auto land or auto return home.

Unboxing, I noticed the GPS is glued under the tail plate and actually fell off. Taking a look at the schematics, it seem to be intended to be on the front. However since I may be placing a secondary camera just above that spot, I decided to move it face up, keeping the same location it came with. I think it fits well there. You can see it on my FPV video. The GPS does not serves much, it is not intended for Auto Return Home, but just only to assist with directions.

► Where To Buy

 

The landing skid is made of plastic, so it bounces off concrete, I had to land on grass only, unless you add some padding, which is an easy mod for a hobbyist.

It comes with a tiltable low lux 520TV Lines camera, capable of night flying with some street lights

The only set back on this Ready to Fly package  will probably lies on the battery design. The general consensus is; not only is the battery proprietary, you are not able to tell if all the cells are fully charged, and the adapter indicator is not accurate at all.  Lessons learned, when the adapter LED turns solid green, you may not get a fully charged battery.  It reminds me of mine Nintendo Wii charging station. it never fully charges.

The only easy way to tell if the main battery is fully charged is to either press the smart battery button or to look at your On Screen Display voltage status. However on the plus side, when the battery is low, not only does it show on the OSD as a warning, but it shows on my transmitter and the alarm eventually begins to sound.  The 180 quickly descends and will not power up again to protect the battery. Note that it does descend, hard landing and not return home.

VR-007 goggle.  I like it.

It is comfortable and light, and if you are planning on building one yourself, for $60 plus dollars, this might be worth the consideration to just buy it ready. I have not tested the 40 channels, but if it is accurate, this will include the alpha, beta and race channels.

I like the two usb smart batteries provided.  I believe they will work on other goggles, so if they are priced well, this may become popular.

Products Description Features
Eachine Assassin 180

Size(mm): 128x180x74

Total Weight: 343g

Camera: 520TVL, supports HD night flight, adjustable camera angle

Brushless motor: 1806-2300KV

ESC: 6A(3S)

Flight controller: Naze 32

Battery: smart battery 3S 1000mAh

Image transmission: 5.8G 600mW 40CH

Propeller: 4 inch

Flight time: 7-9 minutes

Delicate and compact, light and portable.

NAZE 32 flight controller, high stability flying.

Integrated barometer, electronic compass, acceleration sensor, GPS.

Supports Baseflight and Cleanflight.

520TVL, highly integrated, supports HD night flight. Camera angle is adjustable.

Highly integrated camera, recording every moment of flight experience, experience colorful life!

Built-in OSD to display flight altitude, flight speed, course, battery voltage, image transmission frequency.

OSD data will popup a window to remind low battery and the drone will also have flashing taillight and alarm.

Smart battery, 3S 1000mAh, extractable and quick-release design, easy to replace. Using lithium polymer battery, performance security, quick charge, abandon the traditional balance charger.

Eachine VR-007 HD Goggles

Dimension(mm): 148x176x102

Screen size: 4.3 inch

Screen resolution: 480×272

Working temperature: -20℃-80℃

Ultra-lightweight design: 256g(battery not included)

Battery weight: 24g

Power voltage: 800mah 7.4V standard configuration(2S smart lipo battery, with power display function, supports USB 5V charging)

Antenna: 5.8G 3dB

Power dissipation: 500mA

Frequency channel: built-in 40CH 5.8GHz A/V automatic search receiver

Language choice: multilinguals can be choosed in osd menu(English, French, Italian and so on).

Small size, light weight.

Designed according to ergonomic.

Settled three-point fillet can reduce the pressure of long-time wear to the head.

High softness, ventilate and environmental sponge fit the contours of the face, more comfortable, less ambient light.

Customized eyeglass, myopia below 400° needn’t to wear glasses.

Built-in 40CH 5.8GHz A/V automatic search receiver.

Two groups of standard 800mAH 7.4V (2S) Lipo battery, with power display function, supports USB 5V charging, long life.

Eachine I6 2.4G Transmitter

Channels: 6 Channels

RF Range: 2.40-2.48GHz

Bandwidth: 500KHz

Band: 142

RF Power: Less Than 20dBm

Sensitivity: 1024

Low Voltage Warning: less than 4.2V

DSC Port: PS2;Output: PPM

Charger Port: No

ANT length: 26mm*2(dual antenna)

Weight: 392g

Power: 6V 1.5AA*4

Display mode: Transflective STN positive type, 128*64 dot matrix VA73*39mm,white backlight.

Size: 174x89x190mm

On-line update: yes

Model Memories: 20

Works in the frequency range of 2.405 to 2.475GHz.This band has been divided into 142 independent channels,each radio system uses 16 different channels and 160 different types of hopping algorithm.

This radio system uses a high gain and high quality multi directional antenna,it covers the whole frequency band. Associated with a high sensitivity receiver,this radio system guarantees a jamming free long range radio transmission

Each transmitter has a unique ID,when binding with a receiver,the receiver saves that unique ID and can accepts only data from the unique transmitter.this avoids picking another transmitter signal and dramatically increase interference immunity and safety.

This radio system uses low power electronic components and sensitive receiver chip.The RF modulation uses intermittent signal thus reducing even more power consumption.

a contribution from DroneMission.com, Leo is a voting member at Linux Foundation dronecode.org & Walkera USA R&D