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Posted by natester | Dec 28, 2017 @ 10:39 AM | 3,702 Views
I did a review of a bunch of box-style goggles a while ago and have finally gotten around to trying out some slimmer (and perhaps more popular) dual-screen goggles. You can read the post on box-style goggles here:

For this comparison, I bought a pair of Fatshark Dominator HD and some Aomway Commanders. The full review is here:, but the TLDR is that there are pros and cons to both the box-style vs. the Fatshark style and you get what you pay for. I'm not sure the Fatsharks are 5x better than the box style goggles, to justify their 5x price.

However, having all of these goggles, I do usually tend to use my Fatsharks, though the picture quality is less immersive than the box style goggles, the overall form factor is much more convient. Also, if you do get two-screen goggles like Fatsharks or Aomway or Skyzones, be sure to measure your IPD (as described in the post). Mine is just slightly wider than the goggles are designed for, which means they barely fit.

Finally, the Fatsharks take way more setup time than the Aomway, especially if you want to install a diversity receiver with antennas on opposite sides of the goggles, like I did.

Keep reading here:
Posted by natester | Sep 04, 2017 @ 01:15 PM | 2,197 Views
I was curious what the best camera low light camera for the money is, so I ordered a bunch of low-light FPV cameras and tried them out. This article details what I found. The RunCam Owl Plus 2 is 350% more expensive than the least expensive camera. Is it that much better?

You can read the whole, formatted article with test setup details and analysis here:

Here are the cameras I compared.

And here is the youtube video comparison:

FPV Camera Comparison (3 min 8 sec)

Posted by natester | Aug 01, 2017 @ 12:48 PM | 4,495 Views
As of Jul 31, 2017, 2:26 PM PDT, Betaflight 3.2 is in the Release Candidate stage and with this release, F7 flight controllers have arrived.

The fully formatted version of this article (with pictures) is here:

That is a photo of an early OmnibusF7 prototype with 2, user selectable, gyros: MPU6000 and ICM-20608-G

While an F7 MCU is not entirely necessary, not yet anyway, having a very fast and very capable MCU is future proof. I expect some of the most exciting new performance features in Betaflight will target the F7 MCU. This article is an overview of the current F7 landscape.

As of this writing, there are 8 F7 targets in the Betaflight source code:

The only 2 that I've got my hands on so far are the OmnibusF7 and AnyFCF7. I hope to add more to this article over time.

Why choose an F7 flight controller?

Compared to the F4 flight controllers, which run at 180 MHz, the F7 runs at 216MHz.

More important than clock speed, the F7's "superscalar pipeline and DSP capabilities" put it ahead of the F4. Ok, sounds cool, but what are "superscalar pipeline" and "DSP capabilities."

DSP stands for digital signal processing, which includes special commands for Multiple ACcumulate (MAC) and Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) instructions. These special instructions let the...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | Jun 12, 2017 @ 09:21 AM | 6,636 Views
Micro quadcopters have made some very big improvements over the last year and I'm especially excited about the Aurora 100, since it is one of the first micro quadcopters to have the full Betaflight OSD.

You can read my full review and setup guide here:

In short, this thing flys like a high-power 210mm quadcopter, but is tiny, lightweight and therefore much less dangerous for learning or flying in a small setting.

Here's what it looks like:

Here's a quick flight video:

Aurora100 (2 min 25 sec)

Posted by natester | Dec 24, 2016 @ 10:10 AM | 6,315 Views
The Taranis Q X7 has landed in the FCC Database and it looks amazing. I go through the documentation in this blog post and take a look at the various features, including speech output, logging (via SDCard) and quad bearing gimbals.

I also take a look at the internals to see what we can learn.

Check out the full article here:
Posted by natester | Nov 16, 2016 @ 12:14 AM | 6,315 Views
Diehertz has released the BlHeli configurator, Steffen has been working on DSHOT for BLHELI_S along with FELIX (for DSHOT on KISS ESCs). BorisB and the BetaFlight dev squad have implemented DSHOT for BetaFlight. #droneLife is awesome!

I've put together a quick guide on why you want DSHOT instead of any other *SHOT firmware and how to flash it to a BLHELI_S ESC using the brand new BlHeli Configurator, which you can download here:

Check out the guide here:

BLHELI_S DSHOT firmware files:

KISS ESC firmware files (scroll to the bottom):
Posted by natester | Nov 08, 2016 @ 03:24 AM | 5,825 Views
The OMNIBUSF4 is here (and has been available for a little while).

Here's a BeeRotor u130 Frame with the OMNIBUSF4 and a Typhoon 4-in-1 ESC:

People have asked about the integrated OSD so I made a couple movies that demo the different features of both the configurator and sticks menu.

Checkout the full post on my blog here, but the big features are:

- drag and drop OSD configuration. note this only works on BFOSD and will not work to configure a MinimOSD (not yet anyway)

- tightly integrated sticks menu that lets you adjust many of the aspects of the flight controller with your transmitter and goggles

Here are the videos:

BetaFlight ODS (BFOSD) Configurator (1 min 30 sec)

BetaFlight ODS (BFOSD) sticks menu (1 min 56 sec)
...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | Sep 11, 2016 @ 09:38 PM | 5,235 Views
I had the chance to install BetaFlight 3.0 on the new Grasshopper F210 this weekend. The grasshopper is an awesome, ready to fly quad and BetaFlight 3.0 is amazingly locked in.

Checkout the full review, teardown and setup guide here:

I'm not an amazing pilot, but on BetaFlight 3.0 this thing is so solid!

Grasshopper F210 4s (1 min 27 sec)

Overall, performance is great, parts are solid. It's designed to look like a bug, which is cool, I guess? It even comes ready to fly with a 1300mah 4s battery. The only thing it's missing is a flight controller with an OSD and SDCard (like the Omnibus) and some extra prop nuts, which are hard to find for the reverse-thread motors.
Posted by natester | Sep 06, 2016 @ 11:45 AM | 5,247 Views
I'm super stoked, I just got my first 3d printer setup and tuned for printing. It's amazing what a $250 printer can do. I've been able to print a bunch of drone parts, which are surprisingly durable.

Checkout the full guide here:

My new thingiverse profile for the LED/VTX holder I designed:

For anyone getting into this, I highly recommending checking out these two design tools: Sketch Up and Fusion360

I've attached some photos and videos from the build.
Posted by natester | Aug 15, 2016 @ 11:27 AM | 4,538 Views
I bought a bunch of FPV goggles and tried them out so you don't have to.

Checkout the full guide here: and let me know if you want to see any other goggles

This is not mentioned in the goggle comparison, but my android app GoFPV lets you use your phone + Google Cardboard as a pair of FPV goggles you can check that out here:
Posted by natester | Jul 23, 2016 @ 10:20 PM | 12,898 Views
I've just received a couple FS-i6 radios and straight out of the box, they're awesome! Amazing value for a beginner radio.


Wiki page, plz help if you can:

Test project, to test drivers / features: (currently just blinks the backlight)

Pin mappings: just request access if you want to edit and I will add you

Radio link works great, there is diversity TX and RX, they're cheap and powerful and the UI is intuitive. Then I thought to myself: self, why not put the DIY 4-in-1 multiprotocol module into the radio. We'll much trial and all error later. It doesn't work. Through that process though, I've decided the best thing to do for this excellent hardware, is build new firmware!

As folks already probably know, there is 8channel and 10channel firmware out there for these. But it's all based on the shipped binaries (I don't think we have any source for this, right?) and to get the DIY 4-in-1 radio module working with minimal latency, it's best to skip ppm entirely.

This post is going to be all about reversing the hardware so we can port it to OpenTX. OpenTX because it has built in support for the 4-in-1 module. I've created a fork with the libs here:

and a chat room here:

Any help would be much appreciated.

The first steps are:

...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | Jun 27, 2016 @ 10:00 AM | 5,388 Views
Chasing some friends with the BeeRotor x200 running BetaFlight 3.0

For the best viewing experience, be sure to watch it 1080p60 (HD)!

The Mini Quad Chase (4 min 26 sec)

Posted by natester | Jun 21, 2016 @ 12:47 PM | 5,465 Views
I just finished building the BeeRotor x200, which is an awesome little racing quad from RCTimer. At just under $250 this is a killer machine at a killer price!

You can read the full guide here:

It weights a bit over 300g and has about a 10:1 power to weight ratio.

Contained in this guide is a FrSKY X4R-SB receiver setup guide:

Among other things, I cover VTX and OSD wiring and configuration:
Posted by natester | Jun 12, 2016 @ 12:17 PM | 5,825 Views
For just over $100, the DYS x160 is a fun little RTF FPV drone. It's quick and nimble on BetaFlight 2.7+ so this is probably a good second drone.

The full guide describes strength, performance, RX setup and has some flight video!

The SMA adapter on top needs a little re-enforcement before flying, follow the full guide for directions.

Read summary on the full guide for details.

...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | May 24, 2016 @ 09:29 PM | 6,158 Views
Thanks to everyone who came to visit at Maker Faire Bay Area 2016 where we were showing folks how to build their own mini quad!

If you didn't have a chance to check out the booth at Maker Faire, all the basic info needed to choose parts, order and build your own mini quad is over at Your input and feedback is much appreciated!

Another great resource are the build guides for specific drones on my blog.

Be sure to scroll down to the bottom of and join the community based organization to fly under our guidelines.

...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | May 10, 2016 @ 08:44 AM | 6,689 Views
I just built the new Rctimer BeeRotor ultra 210 and it is awesome! Not only is it easy to build, but with the latest BetaFlight, it also flies amazingly well.

Checkout the full build guide, setup and review here:

Here is some video from the maiden flight:

Dusk (0 min 59 sec)

You can download my BetaFlight configuration and PIDs here:

Here are some photos from the build:

...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | Apr 07, 2016 @ 09:57 AM | 6,645 Views
I flight tested a few Hobbyking Graphene and Bolt High Voltage LiPos and compared them some other brands.

You can read about my methodology and the full analysis of my results on my blog:

Here are the results:
Posted by natester | Apr 02, 2016 @ 02:33 PM | 6,194 Views
I've setup my 9x for in-flight-adjustments, allowing me to tune my PIDs while flying. Checkout the guide here:

The idea is that the nob controls which component to tune, P, I or D. Gear controls the direction (up or down) and the momentary switch TRN makes a 1 step adjustment when switched on.

This is a little tricky as I use the only 3 position switch for flight modes, but with some magic mixing, it all works out.

...Continue Reading
Posted by natester | Mar 31, 2016 @ 10:46 AM | 5,702 Views
If you live in the SF Bay Area, come to Make Faire on May 20-22 and build a drone with me!

I'll be hosting an exhibit called Drone Building 101 where I'll be helping folks build their own FPV mini-quad. We'll be building stuff like this little 160mm FPV racing drone: BeeRotor160 Build.

Fill out this google form so I know you're coming:

Here are some ways you can join in on the fun:

If you're into drone building and would like to help others with their builds, fill out the above form and I'll add you to the schedule!

If you have a mini-quad you're working on building, bring it and we'll help you get it setup and flying! Wondering what else you need to bring or what day to come? Fill out the form and I'll coordinate!

If you're new to the scene, order all the parts for a mini-quad, bring it to Maker Faire and we'll help you build it! Wondering what parts to order? Fill out the form and I'll help you out!

If you're a supplier, I'm looking for sponsors to help other Maker's make drones. Let me know, fill out the form!

You can see the profile page for my exhibit on the Maker Faire website here:
Posted by natester | Mar 29, 2016 @ 10:00 AM | 6,361 Views
So, you want a flying camera to take videos of you and your awesome friends doing amazing things. You've thought about getting one of those pre-built drones by DJI or 3D Robotics, but those are expensive little drones that only carry weak little cameras.

Building a giant rig to carry your full frame DSLR isn't ideal either, because it will need to be huge and therefore less portable.

So what should we do? Build something to carry our NEX-5T micro 4/3rds camera! This camera weighs 397g with the standard lens and the video can be viewed and the camera controlled over Wi-Fi, ideal for when we're in the air.

Checkout my build guide and review here:

In the process of building the Q600 quadcopter to carry my NEX-5T, I also wrote guides for the various subsystems:

ASP Gimbal:

...Continue Reading