As some many may have heard, GetFPV / Lumenier was recently fined by the FCC. This has caused no small amount of fear and consternation in the community, many of which are now once again wondering if they need a Ham license (short answer: as much as you need a drivers license in a car).
Tim Nilson posted a response to the whole issue, and brings up a good point. I’m going to paste it here, and add in some commentary as well.
This has come up a lot lately because of holiday travel, but is a frequent question: How does one travel via airplane (from here on out, I’m just going to say fly) with their drone batteries?
The short version is: discharged, with a cap, in a LiPo Bag, as part of your carry on.
The long version is below the cut, and isn’t much longer. Both versions come with the following disclaimers:
OK, let’s get travelling! Read more ›
So my kids have been begging to Whoop, and who am I to say no?
I’m a dad, that’s who.
But then I found the Eachine E013 “Small Pepper” on Banggood and I figured at the sale price of under $70 each (retail $130) it’s worth the shot.
Ever seen a pilot lose video in a race and not disarm? How about a pilot trying to save a quad that just bounced off the start/finish gate?
Where’s their quad going to go? A quad moving at 60mph covers 88ft. in one second. Have you been to a local race where all people in attendance (and 80% of their vehicles) weren’t within 88ft of the track? Even if you’re actually watching it, your chance of ducking a quad headed for you at that speed is sketchy at best.
Take precautions! Protection is cheap. Take a cue from baseball fields and put some bird netting in your race day pop-up tent bag. Attach it to the front of your tent. As long as pilots and spectators are not behind a safety barrier they are in danger.
For one tent:
For the flight line:
On May 1st, a beloved staple and innovator of the Tiny Whoop community, NewBeedrone, made its return after its surprising 1 year anniversary sale at the end of March that also turned into a sort of “going out of business” sale when they also announced they had been acquired.
And then they went dark. Support was still rolling though, and they didn’t entirely abandon their community.
But as I said they were back, and there is some buzz (hah – get it?) in the community once again about these guys. But what can we say about them today?
First and foremost, it’s good to see the return of a lot of their staple products to the market. Even though I myself am starting to move away from being as Whoop-heavy, I absolutely love their batteries being a reasonable balance between quality, cost, and power. The BeeBrain is back too – the first board to bring Betaflight to the Whoops and really inspire more a trend with other boards that parroted and took it a step up like the Acrowhoop and the Beecore.
Also returned is their foray into micro brushless, with their own 4S 550 & 850 mAh Lipos and many of the staple products seen on micros. Their Stingerbee 120 frame is sadly missing though
So while I’m glad to see their staple products back, and I’m hopeful to see what they do to innovate over the next year, I do have some trepidation. While NewBeeDrone has always sold products they themselves don’t make, there does seem to be a lot more of it on their site now. What was a great site to go to for very cool, innovative products is now flooded with lots of staple products that many vendors import from Gearbest & Banggood and then resell.
This isn’t bad entirely. For example, they’re one of the many vendors out there selling the new Emax Babyhawk but one of the few selling its replacement motors & props. Combining this with NewBeeDrone’s reputation for speed and customer service, then you’ve got a potentially winning combination.
But this almost feels like a dilution of a solid brand, and as an old man who yells at clouds it is something that takes something that was great and makes it.. less.
Here’s the thing though about old men who yell about change: We’re often wrong, and when we step back and think about why the changes we may see why it was necessary. You see, it’s all well and good for me to grouse that they should just stick to their unique products, but to be honest their products AREN’T unique anymore. There are more batteries out for the Whoop out there than I can name, many of them re-brands of the same, and a pilot looking for just quantity over quality will gravitate to the cheapest one they haven’t heard of exploding on someone yet (yes – it DOES happen with 1S packs). And the board that made their name has a half dozen competitors many of which are at half the cost.
What diversity in their product line does lets them re-align their core business and focus on the BIG thing that makes NBD great: Customer service. That’s the key thing. I’ve seen people complain about RaceDayQuads’ service, or about how slow TinyWhoop is to get packages out, but NBD – not a peep. So then focus on service, sell the other products that keep the business going, and then they can use the profits from that to try and continue to innovate.
So pilots, give them a try again. And let’s see where the next year takes them!
Because I’m cantankerous some times, I just didn’t like leaving this board sitting by the wayside. The first thing I wanted to do was get off of Cleanflight and on to Betaflight. From there, my plan was to copy the settings for the Acrowhoop and start from there.
Betaflight was the most challenging bit. A bit of searching and I landed on this post. In short, the target is SPRACING F3 and the big trick is that you need a baud rate of 115200. Thankfully, no bootloader shorting required. Just plug and wipe.
After that, I configured the board up nearly identical to my Acrowhoop V2, especially in regards to tuning which were pretty much stock anyway. What I did end up needing to do was adjust the motor_pwm_rate. On my Acrowhoop, it’s set to 16000. On the initial setup for this board though, following advice from another source, I set it to 32000. This… was not pleasant. When I tried the 16000 pwm rate, I did notice a marked improvement. After playing around a while, I noticed that I at least had a lot better flying out of it with 8000.
It flies, a hell of a lot better. I did once swap around the boards and the Acrowhoop V2 does a lot better on the same hardware, but this still does the job, and does it OK. Telemetry took some tweaking, but it does the job I want it to. In all, it’s not a favored whoop, but I’ve decided to leave it, the batteries & charger with the Picoblade 1.25 JST plugs at my office. This way if I want to fly something with less power than the Acrowhoop (say in office) I’ve already got it here.
A few weeks ago, someone pointed me towards this forum post on Micro Motor Warehouse which had a new, vacuum formed mullet canopy for Whoops. Being curious, I offered to test on an Acrowhoop board and while he didn’t need that, he did offer to send me some.
A few exchanges, a bit of money, and I find myself in possession of a new mullet canopy, sort of.
So I sat down and started trimming with my hand hobby knife and small pair of scissors
I didn’t do a picture of this (I’ll try and add one later), but one thing I did was left most the rear of this in tact, and instead punched a small hole for the dipole whip antenna to get out the rear. This adds support for the dipole whip inside the canopy.
I used a needle to start the holes for the screws. The screws are then in the camera mount, and then finally in the frame itself.
All total, weight wasn’t that different with the Tiny Whoop canopy I’ve been using.
The real test is in the impact, and after about seven packs it is still on pretty solid. I may take this one off and trim up a second one a bit better for use, as I know there’s still surplus plastic tucked inside it. What I really do like is this very much helps with wire management inside the canopy, making it easier to attach and remove. While I do have to remove the canopy to get access to the board, I do so very rarely so it’s not much an issue.
If you want one, they’re pretty cheap on eBay. Just check out viperjet90’s seller profile here. Price is $8.50 for two or for for $12.50.
So a few weeks ago, I inadvertently let the magic smoke out of my Acrowhoop V2 board. Miffed as I was, I saw this as an opportunity to check out the FuriBee F3 32-bit Brushed Flight Controller. At the time, I only paid about $20 for it and figured at the worst, I’ll get annoyed with it and buy a new Acrowhoop or a Beecore.
Please note that this is not a review copy. I paid for this thing with my own money.
One question that comes up a lot for people wanting to get started with a Whoop is what all they need to get started. The short version of what you will need to get in the air and flying FPV with a Whoop is:
This page is dedicated to Tiny Whoop-like products (just referred to as Whoops), but many of these products will include remotes and potentially FPV gear. Some terminology before I go on:
Also, unless otherwise noted, expect that cameras require a Ham radio license to legally operate in the United States.
Let’s get started, shall we?