FPV Model Racing #7 Drone Review

FPV racing is here to stay and there is no small number of copters to choose from when you're ready to dive in...

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Introduction

Frame Width: 220mm
Frame Height: 50mm
Motor to Motor Distance: 280mm Diagonal
Flying Weight: 480g
Frame Weight: 130g
ESCs: 12A with BLHeli Firmware
Motor: SunnySky X2204S 2300kv
Prop Size: HQ 6x4.5
Flight Board: Flip32 / Acro Naze 32
Battery: 3S 1800mAH
Frame Price: $219.00
Available at: FPV Model Racing

FPV racing is here to stay and there is no small number of copters to choose from when you're ready to dive in. You can buy anything from low end cheapie trainers to mid level racers to ultra high end quality models like the #7 Racer I am reviewing right now. This thing is beautiful, uses the highest quality carbon available and is made right here in the USA. It comes in three versions; frame kit only, frame kit with electronics, and the king daddy ARF which comes pre-built, tested and tuned, and includes a killer custom wooden carry case. I'm reviewing the kit with electronics to show what it's like to build and fly the #7 Racer.

Kit Contents and Other Components

Here are the items used for this review.

Assembly

The frame comes already assembled out of the box so the only things you really need to do are to install the electronics and FPV gear. I started by attaching the motors to the arms with the hardware provided.

The ESC's come with bullet connectors soldered on. I chose to go for a cleaner look so I desoldered them and soldered the motor wires directly to the ESC board. To do this I cut the shrink wrap off the ESC's and then used my own black shrink wrap once done. Make sure you use a fine tip on your soldering iron and don't accidentally bridge any of the connections. The other thing I did before installing the ESC's was to calibrate them to my throttle channel on my radio. I wanted all the ESC's to match to my throttle range so they can function correctly and evenly. After that I desoldered the positive and negative receiver leads from three of the ESC's as I only need the 5V BEC from one of them to power the flight board and receiver. Doing this is not required, but it does make it lighter and you have less wires to worry about tucking away. Once I was finished with all the soldering and shrink wrapping, I used zip ties to mount the ESC's to the bottom of the arms. One nice design feature of this frame is the protrusions in the arms with holes drilled out just for this purpose. I think it looks good and is a secure mount for the speed controllers.

Next I needed to tidy up all the ESC power leads and solder them to the power distribution board which was already mounted inside the frame. I routed the wires to the correct pads on the PD board, cut the wires and soldered them on. This way all the wires were exactly the correct length they needed to be with no access wire to deal with.

I soldered on the pins to the flight board. For a cleaner look here, I put the ESC connection pins on the bottom to hid them under the board and installed the rx connection pins on top facing forward and then connected the leads to the flight board. Once that was done I mounted the bottom plate to the frame.

The next step I did was to install the camera, video transmitter, and solder the power and video leads to the power board. For the cam install I drilled a hole through the middle plates and used a screw and nut I had on hand to attach the camera mount to the frame. The stock attachment holes in the mount for the camera place the camera too high to fit under the top frame plate, so I drilled out some new holes in the mounting bracket. The mount allows you to set a tilt angle for the camera if you wish. I added some up tilt to better see the horizon when flying in fast forward flight. I chose to mount the video transmitter at the back where there is a pre drilled hole sized perfectly for the sma connector. For the wiring, both the camera and transmitter can handle 12V so I soldered the leads to the center positive and negative pads on the power board. This power board can support a 5V output by using the supplied step down module if you run a 5V cam. Since I didn't need that and the 5V output pin is isolated to the VOut pin on the board, I used those to solder the video leads from the cam and the transmitter. This makes for a clean install.

Next I installed the main power leads to the power board.These leads face rearward and fit between the frame and the rear 3D printed LED light mount and run up to the top frame plate where I chose to mount my battery. You can also chose to mount your battery on the lower plate if you would like to run a Mobius or other camera on the top plate for recording HD footage. That completes the electronics and we're now ready to for a test flight. After my test flights I decided to add on a microphone to hear the rpm of the motors while FPV flying.

Jeti MULi Telemetry Module

One of the things I love about my Jeti DS-14 radio is the ability to get real time telemetry to the radio. On my older quads I would attach a little battery alarm to the balance tab of the pack and let it warn me by beeping loudly when the voltage dropped to a user defined voltage. On the Jeti I can get the battery voltage on my radio. Normally I would use a MUI Sensor which can tell me the voltage, capacity used, and amperage. It goes between the the battery and the ESC, but since I have four ESC's I decided to go with the MULi battery sensor. It connects to the balance lead of the battery and will read out the total pack voltage as well as the individual cell voltages. I set an alarm on the radio to warn me when the voltage reaches 10.6V so I know to come on in and land. It keeps me from over discharging my batteries, works perfectly in this application and is smaller and lighter than the battery alarms or most OSD's.

Flying

Flying these 200-300 class quads all really feel the same to. At least I don't notice much of a difference due to the frame design alone. It mostly comes down to how you setup the flight board and your flying style. I can say that the #7 with the included flight board running cleanflight is flying really great for me. It's stable, does what I want it to when I want it to and I can't ask for much more than that. The BLHeli code on the ESC's using OneShot on the flight board makes descents incredibly stable. I definitely recommend you go for the BLHeli option on the ESC's. The copter flips and rolls well and will do it as fast as you want to program it. I flew in manual mode for running around and it feels locked in. I'm really looking forward to some more practice and it's a blast on the race course whether you are blasting through gates or shooting gaps in some trees. I haven't crashed it yet and I'm not going to on purpose for the review. I'm sure it will happen eventually, but I'm not worried at all. The carbon is awesome and the design should hold up just as well as any other quad I've owned.

Photos

Video

Conclusion

The #7 is a fantastic copter. The design is well thought out and the quality is the best you can get from the carbon used in the frame to the aluminum hardware. It's not a copter for bargain hunters, but if you have the money, it's well spent on this frame. I'd suggest going with the BLHeli code on your ESC's as they have been working great on mine and it feels more locked in than any other ESC code I've tried. I like the way the frame looks and builds, the power board is awesome and you can really do a clean install on the electronics. You can tell these guys were thinking when they came up with this design. I haven't done a lot of proximity flying before this quad, but it makes me want to go out and find new locations and find some gaps to fly through. Now that the review is finished I plan on making this my primary quad for racing and playing. I really do like it that much.

Pros

  • Slick design
  • Highest quality carbon fiber
  • Very strong and light
  • Frame comes pre assembled
  • Designed and made in the USA

Cons

  • Need to drill a hole to mount the FPV cam
  • Cost is high for the average racer

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Jul 01, 2015, 09:04 AM
Registered User
Great documentation. Really love the Jeti!
Jul 01, 2015, 11:56 AM
Waiting for 2nd Person View
B Rod's Avatar
Jason, I'm surprised that you had to drill the hole for your camera bracket. My #7 frame came out of the box with a predrilled hole. No big deal though - easy fix.

I love the way that my #7 quad flies. I was concerned at first about the forward motors being further outboard than the rear motors, but the flight controller easy handles this and shows no bad tendencies. I used the tune from my Blackout as a starting point, and I haven't touched it since. A big plus of this frame is that it looks unique to everything else on the market - it gets a second look from passersby everywhere I take it. That's definitely a good thing with the large amount of cookie cutter mini quad frames out there.

BTW, I can attest to its crashworthiness. I've had my fall straight down from ~100 ft altitude with no damage (other than props).
Last edited by B Rod; Jul 01, 2015 at 12:01 PM.
Jul 02, 2015, 04:16 PM
RCG Admin
Jason Cole's Avatar
Thread OP
Great news on the crash durability. I'm sure I'll see my fair share of hard hits soon.
Old Jul 07, 2015, 04:56 AM
Vivi_Flysight
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Oct 29, 2015, 04:21 PM
Registered User
The Valkman's Avatar
$219 for a frame??? Are you kidding me?
For some CNC cut carbon fiber plates a few standoffs and screws and a bec?
An Emax frame will be as strong as this, fly the same, and cost about $30. Not $219 !!


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