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Old Oct 02, 2012, 01:59 PM
jesolins is offline
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United States, TX, San Antonio
Joined Feb 2007
15,136 Posts
Micro quads comparisons 101

The MJX X100 and MiniPet V997 both have identical flight controllers and frames, but different Tx's and are decent and close equals in performance, but a notch or two down when I compare to the LB V1 especially in any wind or indoor precision control.

So far I've purchased and tested the following and this is my personal rank order. My rank order is based on my repeatable testing observations, some of which include stable flight performance in winds of 10 kts and in no wind, stability in hover and altitude control, 3d fast flight and flips, quality of the Tx or adapter, the ability to use a hobby grade Tx, extra features such as firmware updatability, LEDs, spare parts availability and overall cost.
1. Walkera QR Ladybird V1, ~$60+, 12cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, arms are 3mm X 3mm CF, full size good feel and responsiveness using a DEVO 2402d Tx. Excellent stability and flight performance. The Ladybird so far is the only micro with a built in firmware upgrade capability. There is a POTI on the flight controller to allow fine-tuning of the gyro performance. There is an undocumented expo setting using the 2402d Tx by setting the AUX2 ON. There are no adjustable rates on the DEVO 2402d Tx which is a full size Tx. The other commonly supplied Tx is the smaller and less precise DEVO 4. Telemetry info is available from the Ladybird V1 FCB when using the better hobby grade DEVO 7e, 10 and 8 and 12 "s" series of Walkera Tx's, however if telemetry is used expect 1-2 minutes less flight time. The less expensive Ladybird V2 does not have an accelerometer or telemetry and is not firmware upgradeable OEM. The main flight control performance difference that I notice between the V1 and V2 is that the V2 does not return to level as quickly of if the pitch or roll angle is beyond 30 degrees. Both versions have a yaw rate that is somewhat limited, but adequate for all but those who like to fly extremely tight turns. The latest V2 has upgraded firmware that allows tighter turns, and you do not have to release the yaw stick as you do with the V1 to allow for more aileron input. Hopefully Walkera will release upgraded firmware for the V1 with that ability. As of now it is still at V1.1 for the Ladybird V1 firmware. You can add some rate and expo with the better DEVO 6 and higher Tx's to compensate for the slower yaw and for even tighter turns, if you want to upgrade the Tx. There is a Walkera MTC-01 Tx adapter available that will work on Android phones and tablets and allow some older Walkera non-Devo Tx's to be used. Flying the Ladybird using the MTC-01 and an Android phone or tablet is nowhere near as precise as the Ladbird will fly when using a hobby grade Tx. There is also a MTC-01 hack by LittleMo that allows it to work on the Turnigy 9x trainer port, so potentially other hobby grade Tx's will work with it too. Weight: 25g minus lipo.
2. Hubsan X4 V1 aka H107, and updated X4 V2 aka H107L with frame strength, LEDs and motor protection improvements. ~$35+ See: Best Deal: Hubsan X4 H107 BNF $27.87 (RTF $36.98) shipped!! (post #1 updated) (rebrands at 2x+ the price are: Traxass QR1 @$70, Estes Dart @$69, Revell QG550 XS @$70, Hitec Weekender Q4 @$90, Heliguy Viper @$90), 9cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, monocoque plastic 2-piece body. The frame can sustain cracks in collisions with hard objects or hard ground. Sometimes it can be fixed with a bit of CA. Since the body is made of plastic, hobby modeler's plastic cement is better and stronger because it melts and bonds the plastic where CA is only a surface bond. The newer plastic on the X4 V2 does not bond very well with model cement, but I found that JB Weld does a nice repair when necessary on both the X4 V1 and V2. The 2-piece body can be replaced for about $5. If you are going to attempt this relatively simple 15 minute job, you must be able to carefully solder the wires to the board. The OEM Tx has a nice feel and OK overall responsiveness despite the pitch/roll stick "deadband" that causes it to initially go several steps into an angle, normal and expert adjustable rate modes, coded stick flips, ability to calibrate the accelerometer level. Excellent stability and flight performance. This is the only one that did not come with a set of extra props, so make sure you buy spares. The smallest of the micros at 9cm/3.75in motor to motor diameter. A very close second in flight performance to the Ladybird V1. Performance outside in wind is excellent. The supplied Tx(fake antenna), although better precision than the others in the list below, is the only con. The plus for the Tx is that it gives you the ability to adjust the pitch, aileron and rudder/yaw stick sensitivity rates in the normal(beginner) and expert modes to your personal desires. It also has a feature to calibrate the sticks. It would be a real plus for this micro to have the ability to bind with better Tx's, perhaps by using something like the Anylink system. It will bind to the better Hubsan FPV Tx which has slightly better stick resolution. PhracturedBlue has posted a firmware and hardware mod to the better Walkera DEVO Tx's that will work with the Hubsan X4. There is a DIY "Hubsan" RF module by Midelic for hobby grade Tx's. See also: Hubsan X4 fine-tuning and trim info 101. Weight 24.5g minus lipo.
3. HobbyKing Pocket Quad Ultra-Micro DSM2 MultiWii Quadcopter aka PUMQ. ~$49 plus ship.(HK $43 swarm sale until 8/2/13) 9.9cm motor-to-motor center diameter. One piece frame and flight controller combined. Atmega32u4 processor, six axis MPU 6050 gyro/acclerometer. Spektrum satellite included for use DSM2 Tx's. The fcb also allows hook ups for many other types of Rx's. The OEM uses 45mm Gemfan props with 0.8mm motor holes. USB for firmware upgrades. This micro is well-suited for the DIYer who wants to learn how to load and tune the PIDs for Multiwiicopter firmware. *Requires a user supplied Tx for either the Rx you will use or for the supplied Spektrum DSM2 Rx. Since its rough start with limited documentation last May 2013, It has now matured enough in capability and performance, thanks to open source, to be included in my comparisons. See page one of the title link for build information. AlexinParis, CESCO, GKE, Bradquick and others have made major contributions to the success of this fun and excellent performing micro. The upgrade path for even better flight performance and flight time efficiency is to use Walkera Ladybird props or similar and 720 coreless brushed motors with 1mm motor shafts. This is a great sedge-way micro quad to move on to larger more expensive multicopters. When properly tuned you can perform manual flips in about 2ft. Multiwiicopter code does allow you to define an automatic flip mode too. (i.e. in the sketch: #define ACROTRAINER_MODE 200) Flight performance in wind is excellent. You are able to control the amount of self-leveling in the PID setup, so users can tailor the flight performance to their flying style. The one piece frame seems to be very strong as designed. I have read of no one accidentally breaking one yet. The new V1.1 PUMQ uses separate plastic motor mounts. There is no data at this time as to their strength and reliability. Those spare motor mounts are currently being sold at Hobby King. The frame motor holes worked well for me using the rubber band mount method. NOTE: It would have scored higher in my ratings if it came with the 720 1mm shaft motors and ~54mm props and a 32bit processor and a lower retail price. Weight minus lipo 20.6g
4. JXD JD-385, ~$35, This one is very similar in outward appearance to the Hubsan X4. It is 9cm diameter and uses slightly larger 58mm props vs. the X4 55mm props. It has a 6050 gyro/accelerometer. The accelerometer can be calibrated for level by first putting it in sport mode, then holding the two sticks to the lower left corners for about 2 seconds until the LEDs flash, then let go of the sticks. It is a very stable and controllable micro with beginner, normal and sport modes. It is a bit more twitchy and less controllable that the X4 in wind but still good for a micro. It uses 13 tiny screws on the body with a total weight of 0.5g. I found half of them to be stripped and not really holding the two body halves together tight. For this reason the Electrical Tape arm mod is a good improvement. It uses the same Tx/Rx protocol as the WLToys V2xx series, so those Tx's are interchangeable. The Deviation Tx firmware will therefore work with the JD-385 too. Weight minus lipo 24.4g.
5. RC Eye One, ~$70+, Although this quad is micro-sized at 12cm diameter motor-to-motor, it uses slightly larger motors and a 2s lipo with a proprietary connector and weighs about 3x as much as the other micros that I have flown. Because of this it almost needs its own category since the weight is almost 3x higher than equally sized and performing micro sized multicopters. The more they weigh, the harder they fall applies here. The props are 2.5in. It uses gyros and accelerometers. The arms are 8mm aluminum and almost unbreakable. The center piece that they attach to is plastic and can break in a hard crash where the arm is attached. The OEM package includes an extra set of 4 props and the motor bottom protectors(skids) and the USB lipo charger that is specific for the proprietary lipo connecter. You can easily do several different connector mods to utilize more common and cheaper lipos. There is a procedure to calibrate the accelerometers which is necessary for proper self-leveling performance. The RCE1 is a very stable quad at its OEM AUW and has a very docile beginner mode that will make it easy for Noobs to fly. The sport mode allows for more angle input and higher speeds while still using self-leveling. Both these modes limit throttle so when using them it will not be able to lift much extra weight such as an about 17g 808 OEM keycam without inducing a wobble of death(WOD). The Increased AUW of ~17g WOD can be minimized somewhat by fitting either Walkera QR Ladybird or Mini Pet props. The expert mode has more available throttle and better lift, but does not self-level, so it requires more flying skill. It will maintain the angle that was set and you will have to keep it in visual range to pilot it back to level. None of the modes will allow the RCE1 to do a flip, either automatically or manually. It is the only micro that is not capable due to firmware coding to do a flip. These issues point to the need for the capability to tune the RCE1 gyro responsiveness for higher flying weights in all modes, but that capability does not yet exist. The capability of a firmware upgrade has been mentioned as a future feature, but does not yet exist. The Tx is a smallish game controller type. It operates on 915Mhz vs. the more common 2.4ghz and uses a proprietary protocol. It has two buttons on top that are non-functional. It has ben mentioned that RC Logger is developing an add-on module like the "Anylink" that will allow the RCE1 to be controlled by user's hobby grade Tx's. The flight time with the OEM 2s lipo is 6-7 minutes which is about the same as the lighter micros. The range is about 50M. When the RCE1 loses the tx signal the motors will stop, but they will re-start if it is a momentary condition. Weight is 58.7g minus the OEM 18.8g 2s lipo.
6. MJX X100, ~$35+, 12cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, 4.4mm X 4.4mm aluminum arms. Frame has LEDs. Beginner and Pro selectable Tx rates, throttle adjustment knob on the Tx can be used to fine-tune hover. Coded button and stick flips in Pro mode. Note: The Mini Pet and X100 have the same Tx/Rx protocol and will bind with each others Tx's. The flight control boards appear to be identical, and the arms, motors and props are interchangeable. The flight performance is about the same when using the same Tx. They both perform the best with the MJX Tx. Weight: 29.2g minus lipo.
7. Mini Pet V997, ~$35+, 12cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, 4.4mm X 4.4mm aluminum arms. Frame has LEDs. Beginner and Pro selectable rates. Coded button and stick flips in Pro mode. This one is one step below the X100 due to a slightly more toyish Tx. Both the X100 and Mini Pet have slightly less performance than the Hubsan X4 Ladybird QR V1 and no firmware upgrade capability. Selectable Tx rates. Weight 28g minus lipo.
8. Vitality H36, ~$35+, 12cm, motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro only, 3mm X 3mm CF arms, normal and expert rates, Auto flip button. The Tx has the ability to change Modes 1, 2 and 3 but the instructions do not describe the modes correctly and the switch for Mode1 makes it mode 2. Can be bound with FlySky/Turnigy/Eurgle Tx's. Weight: 26.3g minus lipo.
9. SH-6043, ~$35+, 13cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro and accelerometer (the ads inaccurately say 4-axis), 3mm X 3mm red and gold anodized aluminum arms, Tx uses a proprietary protocol and is a game-pad shape and uses non-standard trim buttons and orientation as side to side for yaw and aileron and a rocker switch on the top right for the pitch, top left rocker switch sets one slower rate mode and a higher rate flip mode. The Tx can be set to modes 1, 2, 3 and 4. No English manual included but one is posted here. Weight is 24.0g minus lipo, canopy weight is 1.4g.
10. Turnigy Micro Q-Bot,(re-branded HiSky Hurricane FF120) ~$35+ 12cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, 3mm X 3mm CF arms. Tx module adapter for Futaba, Jr/Spektrum and Walkera and can be used with Turnigy 9x(WARNING: Check the power cable as it is polarity reversed in the 9x Tx). See Q-Bot Tx adapter and range tests 101
WARNING!: Tie down the Q-Bot when setting up your Tx. If the throttle is either full up or full down and reversed the motors will go to full throttle when the model binds to the Tx which will cause possible damage and injury. Proper Q-Bot coding should never have allowed this to happen! Auto flips very tightly on a full lipo when channel 5 is set high. Good stick resolution on pitch and aileron/roll. Throttle response is excellent. It appears that they did not give the accelerometer much emphasis in coding for self-leveling or for canceling gyro drift. Due to this constant drifting it requires a lot of small stick inputs to keep it in one place. I know there are "CP heli" Gents who prefer that but personally I like to have a self-leveling mode that I can trust when I use it for FPV or when I lose orientation. The lack of self-leveling will make this quad very difficult for R/C Noobs to learn to fly, When you let go of the sticks when it is at an angle it will stay at that angle until you reverse the stick direction. It will eventually come to a level over a period of about 4 seconds, but this is way too slow to do any good. This is not a the typical accelerometer coding for a multicopter that uses accelerometers for self-leveling. It would have been nice for self-leveling to be a selectable option and also to have the ability to calibrate the accelerometers. There are programming pads on the bottom of the flight controller board and the also on Tx adapter board that lend themselves for future firmware hacking. Range using the Q-Bot Tx adapter is a respectable >170M line-of-sight(LOS). Weight is 26.2g minus lipo. The canopy weighs 2.1g. My full review here.
11, Heli-max 1SQ aka Nine Eagles Alien,~$80-$99.12.5cm motor-to-motor center diameter,gyro only, 3mm X3mm CF arms, Tactic Tx or Tactic Anylink Tx adapter for use with hobby grade Tx's that have a trainer port PPM ouput. Anylink adapter range is ~40M. Gyro sensitivity is adjustable for beginner and expert. Code-aided flips by stick. Good hover and flight performance. It can be trimmed indoors with no wind for a few seconds of hands-off hovering. Weight: 25.1g minus 1.9g canopy. WARNING: The flight controller and lipo connectors are polarity reversed from all the others so far on the micros that I have tested. I recommend making the polarity match by carefully removing the connector pins and replacing them so they will match any other min or micro multicopters you own. If you mistakenly use a reversed polarity lipo on a flight controller there will be damage. My review post here.
12. WLToys V202, ~$35+, 13cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, 3mm X 4mm CF arms.(different flight controller but same frame as V939 including LEDs and wire connectors), Selectable Tx rates x5 on top left button. Auto flips with full stick in any direction on 100% rates and produces very tight flips when using a fully charged lipo. Top right Tx button turns LEDs on/off. Most of these seem to require significant trim of 8-10 clicks back pitch and 6-8 right aileron/roll to keep from rapidly drifting off and to make it not flip on takeoff and go straight up. The yaw response is the slowest of the micros here on my list. There is also a glitch in the code that shows up as an occasional drop in the left front motor/arm when you are hovering. If you are experiencing any other glitches and drop-outs then it might be related to the inaccurate antenna lengths. See V212 and V202 antenna length 101 for a possible fix for those issues. Proprietary Tx/Rx protocol with familiar WLToys Tx. Weight: 30.9g with relatively heavy 2.3g "scorpion" canopy minus lipo.
13. WLToys V939, ~$35+, 13cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro only, 3mm X 4mm CF arms. Frame has LEDs. Selectable Tx rates. Auto flip button. Can be bound with FlySky/Turnigy/Eurgle Tx's. Weight: 31g minus lipo
14. UDI U816, ~$35+, 12cm motor-to-motor center diameter, gyro/accelerometer, 3mm X 3mm. CF arms. The throttle control makes this one more difficult to maintain an altitude in hover and requires more finesse control on the sticks. Selectable Tx rates. The Tx uses a proprietary protocol. Weight: 25.9g minus lipo.

Note 1: The Ladybird does manual flips nicely when you set the FCB to gyro only. The flips are even better when you set the rates higher on a better Walkera Tx. All the others listed except for the RC Eye One do coded automatic flips using either a stick or button. The RC Eye One will not do flips at all.
Note 2: The sizes are all personally measured in the proper motor-to-motor center on the same axis which give you the more useful diameter size of the multicopter.
Note 3: Prices stated reflect the best price found and will vary.

^The micros listed above are all fun to fly and have decent flight performance.^

Tested and not recommended:
1. Tian Long H-G140 USO140 Hurricane DEVO compatible?, ~$35,
Not recommended due to poor quality control and flight performance issues. The flight controller has an Ivensense MPU 6050 gyro/accelerometer. The frame is 14cm motor-to-motor. The arms are 3mm square aluminum. The motor mounts have rubber bumpers on the bottom. The props have built in collars that are adequate as motor savers. The weight is 28.1g minus lipo. The canopy weighs 1.7g.My review:Tian Long H-G140 USO140 Hurricane review 101

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Originally Posted by Stenkryparen View Post
jlcamp7 thanks for sharing your experience, I also ordered the Ladybird, should arrive any day.

After reading your statement my waiting time is even harder.

I Am looking forward to see if me to think the LB is the king of micro quads, i really like my 2 MJX X100.
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Last edited by jesolins; Dec 02, 2013 at 03:48 PM.
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