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    All the Buzz!

    Caddx Turtle for FPV Racing???

    Caddx Turtle for FPV Racing???

    Caddx Turtle for FPV Racing???

     

    Like many of you out there, I want the ability to record heated FPV racing in HD without compromising performance due to increased weight. There are several small HD/SD FPV camera systems out there now, but can they really be a viable solution to this dilemma. I sought out to answer that question in the most unscientific way possible.

     

    The setup (Caddx Turtle)

     

    There are a few latency tests of the caddx that put it at about 33ms which seems on par with, say, a runcam micro swift 3 (at 23ms minimum and 33ms average). Seemed to me like a winner as I regularly run micro swift 3 on my race quads and am very happy. So here is how I decided to test it. I took 2 identically built Newbeedrone Flyby frames at 6s and flew them back to back on a night track. I felt like the night flying would bring out both the worst video quality and latency on both setups.

     

     

    Here is DVR video of each cam side by side on the same track with my best respective lap times. (Sorry, no HD cause it's already all over youtube) I was honestly shocked at the results.

     

    First off, I would like to point out how much worse the actual video you’ll see in your goggles is from the Caddx vs the Micro Swift 3. I did not adjust any settings on either cam, so both are stock. The quad with the Turtle had a Micro Swift 3 on it before and nothing but the cam was changed. It was a matter of adding the board and soldering 3 wires to the FC. I could deal with this quality difference if the performance was similar… It wasn’t.

     This is where the Caddx became a “NO WAY” option for me as a racing camera.

     The latency was awful. I mean really awful. I could actually see the time between me changing stick input and the video showing the result. I wasn't able to fly nearly to my normal precision and speed. I was over correcting, washing wide and going high on almost every turn. It was like using a Mobius as your FPV cam.

    The Caddx may be good for freestyle in the daytime on a 3-inch quad, but for racing at night with tons of fast pilots, this will let you down. I would even say its a bigger setback that if you were to go from sbus back to ppm. I'm not sure if racing was the Caddx Turtle’s intended use, but it does not work for that. I recommend a DVR board still, for now.

    Let's go micro split v2 :)

    The Hive_16 FPV Stack

    The Hive_16 FPV Stack

    The NewbeeDrone Hive_16 FPV Stack

     

     

              The Hive 16 is a 16x16 quadcopter stack designed for micro quads with up to 2s support and brushless motors. It comes with all needed electronics to build a quadcopter including a Betaflight F4 flight controller with BF OSD, 12a BLHeliS 4in1 ESC, 25-200mw VTX with smart audio, and Frsky or Spectrum diversity receivers. All you need, other than this stack, is a frame, camera, and motors/props to build a micro-sized FPV quadcopter.

     

    When NewbeeDrone gave me this stack to test, along with a Limitless frame, Hypetrain motors, and a BeeEye FPV camera, I was taken by surprise as I didn't even know this new product was being developed. I've never been a huge fan of micro-size quadcopters as I have never known a reason to own one, having many 5 and 6 inch quads already. After building and flying this quadcopter, however, I can now see a real purpose in FPV for this sized high-performance machine, which I'll discuss later.

    The Build:

     

    This is an entire quadcopter (minus canopy, props, and hardware)

     

    I started by partially assembling the frame

    It takes only 4 screws to hold the entire frame together. I put the screws through the bottom plate,df the right side arms, and through the top plate. Then repeat for the left arms. (the arms come as 2 in 1 and go left and right)

     

     

    Next, I added the stack. The stack comes preassembled and has vibration dampeners on the bottom. I screwed the stack in and held the dampeners with needle nose pliers to make sure they didn't twist until a good amount of torque was applied. (The FC mount screws also hold the arms in place, so make sure they are tight enough that the arms don't move at all)

    Then I inserted shrink tubing, twisted the motor wires and installed the motors using 2 M2 screws.

     

     

    Soldering the wires is the only slightly difficult part of the entire build. The way I did it is running 2 of the 3 wires around the standoff, from the front or back of the frame, and held in place with alligator forceps. I then cut all wires to length and stripped. Normally I would pre-tin the wires before soldering, but I found that unnecessary in this instance. I added flux to both the ESC solder pads and the wires, held each wire into the ESC pad slot, and soldered together. (The flux helps to flow the solder into the wires and ESC pads) 

     

    Now repeat 3 more times and solder the battery lead. I kept the battery lead long because its easier to shorten than lengthen.  Remove the top PCB to access the FC/RX and add the RX antennas. How you feed them is up to you. I ran them down the arms in the back and added zip ties to the arms, pointing in toward the power lead and used heat shrink to secure them to the zip ties. (picture shows them on the opposite side of the arm from what I ended up with.

     

    With the top PCB removed (VTX) I added the video antenna and plugged in the BeeEye cam to the connector. (There are solder pads on the opposite side of the cam connector to use a different FPV cam depending on your build) I then installed the VTX back onto the stack. When used, the Limitless frame canopy does not require fastening nuts to be installed on the top PCB. It just squeezes onto the standoffs and secures nicely in place.

     

     

    The build was very easy. The setup will be easy once settings are fine-tuned. I found that having a tiny, fully capable, FPV quadcopter allows me to fly in places too sketchy for a 5 inch or bigger while maintaining all the fun of its larger brothers. It is a killer setup and such a breeze to build. Once I finish tuning the FC for this frame and getting the Betaflight settings dialed in, I will add another blog explaining how it should be set up. Stay tuned...

     

    The Flyby from NewbeeDrone

    The Flyby from NewbeeDrone

                                                           

               There are a lot of racing quadcopter frames on the market today. Most of us tend to spend our hard earned money on a frame that has been tried and proven by the pilots we look up to. More and more, those frames are created by or co-developed by those pilots. But, if you really do some research, you will find that there are so many other, less popular, but very well thought out, very high quality and very inventive frames that get overlooked regularly by all of us.

              For the most part, the basic quadcopter shape and build materials have become a standard, and big innovation in frame design is now limited by material, battery size, and production costs. We do, after all, fly these things like maniacs and regularly crash and break them and therefore, understandably, the cost is very important.

              We all have our preferred style of frame and, with such a competitive market for race frames being sold today, how does a company trying to enter that market get their frame noticed? NewbeeDrone set out to answer that question. What we came up with is called The FlyBy. 

              The FlyBy is a frame designed to be "compatible" with all racing pilot wants and needs in mind. We put into The FlyBy the most amount of flexibility for the pilot while maintaining the fundamentals of a racing frame like weight, aerodynamics, and durability.

    Features:          

    • Can be configured to support all battery orientations (top, bottom, toilet top/bottom) while maintaining optimal weight distribution
    • When in the top mount toilet top orientation, the frame weight distribution (depending on the size battery) is centered on the prop line and is perfectly balanced on all axis giving the most predictable flight characteristics of any frame on the market as of this write-up
    • Compatible and tested with 4-6s batteries
    • Can support micro and full-size fpv cameras and the lens is protected from impacts
    • Supports motor sizes as small as 1806 and as large as 2307 (bigger if you're into that)
    • Antennas mounts are flexible to elevate damage or catching on racing gates. 
    • Designed around 20x20 electronic stacks (yes, we have found reliable 6s 20x20 4in1 ESC's
    • Aluminum or Titanium electronics cage that is easily removed to access electronics
    • 6mm thin and chamfered arms that are removable by 2 easily accessed M3 screws
    *Disclaimer - arms will ship with 3 motor mount holes, not 4 as pictured. The hole closest to the arm length was found to create a weakness in the frame at that point

      I have been flying this frame for racing for 4 months and personally cannot find something about it I don't like.  What do you think?

        Will FPV Drag Racing Become the Next BIG Thing

                 A year ago, I competed in The California Drone Speed Challenge with ASL in San Francisco. It was a lot of fun, but I never saw another race of this type. Finally, after a year, I got to compete in another drag race at our local Wednesday night race practice here in San Diego, CA. The race was put on by GoodTimesFPV, a San Diego based FPV race organizer. They wanted to experiment with a fast paced, heads-up 1v1 drag race format.

         Pilots were randomly paired with 1 other racer during qualifying, which consisted of a drag race to the finish (about 50m). Pilots would need to leave the start line as soon as the tone sounded and score their fastest time to the finish. GoodTimesFPV even had a way for your average speed to be recorded and announced after each race, which was a nice touch. Pilots were required to stay under flags at the finish in order to be scored. I was told the flags would eventually be switched out for a gate.

        After qualifying, the top pilot would be paired with the slowest, second fastest with second slowest… Then a heads-up race would ensue. Since this was double elimination, the loser was not out of the race. You had to lose 2 times in order to be eliminated. Losers would be added to a second bracket to battle it out for a chance back into the winner's bracket. LiveTime race tracker is not made to seed this type of format so lots of manual changes needed to be done in order to keep things fair and flowing. Pilots were eventually dwindled down to a final race between the 2 most winning pilots of the night and a winner was decided in that race.

        For fans of carnage, drag racing will not disappoint. Holeshots are basically required to have any chance at a win, so tons of races began with a quad (or two) slamming into the parking lot at full throttle and were usually accompanied by sparks and crowd ooh’s and ahh’s.

        The race moved pretty fast and spectating was a blast. One problem I found was that batteries were hardly used after 1 race so I tended to use the same pack for 3-4 races. A better way would be to bring a charger and top each battery after a race.

        This type of racing will require a whole new type of frame design and electronics needs as overall acceleration and top speed are much more important than agility.

        Personally, I think a 1 lap high-speed track with simple flowing obstacles would increase the overall fun as quads are made to fly in 3 dimensions and not just straight lines, but this was still very fun. GoodTimesFPV has mentioned that this is a likely possibility for a future race as well as adding Christmas tree starting lights like a real car drag race, so I’m looking forward to that.

         

        What do you racers think? How can we improve this? I would like to get ideas so we can try them out and give feedback.

         

         

        U.S. Government Tariff Surcharge

        Starting from July 6th, The US government imposed an additional tariff of 25% on many products imported from China.

        The products that are affected by this first round of tariff includes but not limited to ESCs, receivers, motors, batteries, and antennas. There is a second round of tariff that is currently under review which will most likely be taken into effect in September.

        Following the industry response, NewBeeDrone will add an additional 2.9% to each order sub-total to help spread the effect of the new 25% tariff. This will spread the burden across all orders to lessen the effect on individual products. For example, instead of paying an extra 25% on ESC’s or motors, we want our customers to pay as close to the original price as possible.
        Even if some products do not carry a tariff yet, we believe that spreading the tariff cost among all of us is a way to make us all part of the solution. As a company, we will cover about 5% of the total incremental Tariff fees to do our share and support the FPV community.

        Along with the FPV community, the current surcharge we’re adding will likely be adjusted either up or down as we learn more about the actual Tariffs fees, the products affected by it, and the second round of tariff that’s coming.

        The FPV community is united in our love for FPV, and we hope you agree with our approach to work through the current trade war troubles as a community. We are hopeful that our Government officials will work through the ongoing trade disagreements with China and that these Tariffs will disappear quickly.


        The NewBeeDrone Team