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Aug 03, 2015, 11:06 PM
Thread OP
New Product

ImpulseRC - Alien FPV Frames

Introducing the Alien range of FPV frames from

Alien's are among us! And shipping now

Winning frames of all 3 Drone National titles piloted by Final Gile AUS! (More details to come)
See also Motolab's 'Tornado' F3 FC in the post below which was the winning flight controller.

The Alien frames are designed in the same philosophy as the Warpquad range of acro frames we have produced for coming up on two years.
(Warpquad Thread)

We are extremely proud to finally be releasing a FPV frame. The frame takes the Warpquad centralisation of mass concept by using the X layout. As much mass as possible is moved to the center of the quad. This provides additional benefits in that the arms are keyed together to distribute force from any one arm to all arm bolts. The PDB is under half the weight of conventional H-Frame PDB's while also being 2mm thick with 4oz copper and shorter power lines. The VTX mounts centrally as well so only the flight cam and antennas remain fore and aft and roughly balance each other. This allows the lipo to mount centrally for optimum balance as well.

The proportions of the X are in the simplest Pythagorean triple - 3:4:5. This is done to clear props from view and maintain the simplest motor mixing calculation for the FC. The 3:4:5 proportion simply flew better in testing with consideration to the body mass on the pitch axis.

Warpquad aerodynamics have been used, making the arms as thin as possible to not block thrust. And 4mm carbon used to retain strength. The easiest passage of air through the frame at speed has been maintained wherever possible.

Camera tilt is incorporated in precise 5 degree increments from 0 to 35 degrees. Camera tilt is the deciding factor in how fast a pilot can fly forward. We have been instrumental in introducing camera tilt for sport FPV, and it is as basic a consideration as power system in everything we do.

4", 5" and 6" prop versions are in the works, all with unique flight characteristics.

4" - 185mm - M2M Diagonal
5" - 225mm - M2M Diagonal
6" - 265mm - M2M Diagonal

Our distribution model has always been direct, allowing us to make a better value product at the same price. At this time we are maintaining pricing competitive with established premium frames. The frames will ship direct from us in Australia until we ensure everything is consistently produced to our standard, then we will expand distribution to our warehouse in the UK and a USA warehouse asap. We're aiming to have the most competitive shipping rates, and times of delivery have averaged around 6-8 days for USA Warpquad orders over the last year.

As always, thank you to those who's hard work in the community over the last 10 years or so has made all this possible today, and to all those who directly support the innovators ensuring proceeds go to further research and development. Thank you!!!

Intro Vids...

For anyone looking to add the intro vids (Huge thanks to Sonic Weapon!) please see this playlist. Download links in the video descriptions...

ImpulseRC Stacked V03 (0 min 5 sec)
Last edited by Soma; Jan 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM.
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Aug 03, 2015, 11:07 PM
Extreme Superlative Hyper-Pro
Moto Moto's Avatar
MotoLab Cyclone FC STM32F3 Flight Controller for the Alien Quads

Available **NOW** at ImpulseRC and Heli-Nation

Following the success of the Tornado, the MotoLab Cyclone is designed to provide the most-needed features for racing and acro.

The Cyclone uses the STM32F3 CPU with ARM-Cortex M4 core and floating-point coprocessor for more efficient execution of fast-looptime control algorithms, along with the low-noise MPU-6000 SPI-bus gyro chip for faster acquisition of gyro data.

This board is compatible with the recent revisions of Cleanflight and Betaflight firmware, using the MOTOLAB target files. The PWM outputs are bidirectional, and the board is compatible with BLHeli ESC passthrough programming through the USB port using recent versions of BLHeliSuite.

The design also provides:
* An on-board 600mA switching regulator for direct connection to lipos up to 4S, or up to 6S with power filtering.
* USB interface independent of UART channels.
* Three hardware UARTs. The UART 2 TxD signal is also pinned out to a connector.
* Reverse current protection on lipo and USB inputs for problem-free ESC calibration.
* Dedicated serial LED output with lipo voltage and GND.
* On-board buzzer driver with 5V and lipo voltage option.
* Built-in VBAT monitor with low-pass filter from lipo input.
* Built-in RSSI monitor with low-pass filter.
* Dedicated SAT receiver interface with 3.3v using JST connector for compatibility with Spektrum/LemonRC cables.
* Dedicated PPM and serial receiver interfaces with 5V power using 0.1" headers.
* Compatibility with receivers using Spektrum 1024/2048, SBUS, SumD and SumH receivers with built-in inverter.
* High-quality gold plated 4-layer printed circuit board.
* Connector arrangement for convenient access to serial interfaces, with PWM and other device connections on sturdy through-hole pin headers.

Please note that the drawing indicates that SBUS and S.port can both be connected to UART 2. That is not correct. S.port is actually bidirectional on one wire and cannot share a UART with SBUS. Connect S.port to either UART 1 or 3.

MotoLab TornadoFC STM32F3 Flight Controller for the Alien Quads

Designed for acro and FPV racing, this board provides the most-needed features in a compact and practical form factor, on a 38x38mm board compatible with 30 or 30.5mm mounting hole spacing.

The board is supported with Cleanflight and Betaflight firmware and uses the more-powerful STM32F3 microcontroller, with 256K bytes of flash memory, three hardware serial ports plus USB, and a floating point math coprocessor for fast control looptimes. The board provides stable voltage regulation with the option for a directly attached Pololu regulator for up to 6S operation, high-current buzzer on 5V or 12V, SAT SBUS or PPM receiver connections, serial LED interface, low-pass filtered VBAT monitoring, and 5V buffered PWM outputs to eliminate ESC signal loss at high power levels. Short-circuit protected outputs for 8 motors or 6 motors plus 2 servos are provided.

This is the controller used by FinalGlideAUS on his 6" ImpulseRC Alien quad to win first place in the individual and team race events at the first Drone Nationals in July.

The TornadoFC is also an excellent option for light acro quads, replacing older STM32F1-based designs with a higher performance alternative.

The boards are available through ImpulseRC at and Heli-Nation

Here's a Tornado flown by the WarpSquad Animal of Memphis...

WarpQuad 230 with new Cleanflight FC from MotoLAB (1 min 24 sec)

Technical Support Thread

Setup and debugging issues can be discussed on this thread.

New Firmware Installation

The procedures for firmware installation are documented in this post:

Options for Board Power

There are three separate power rails on the board.

Lipo voltage - Connected to a resistor network for VBAT monitoring and to the pads for an external switching regulator.
5V - Connected to the external regulator output, internal 3.3V regulator input, 5V PWM buffer, and external device interfaces including the SBUS and PPM receivers, 5V buzzer, serial LED and RSSI.
3.3V - Powers the CPU and gyro chip as well as the external DSM2/DSMX receiver on the SAT connector.

The Tornado does not have an on-board 5V regulator. 5V power may be sourced from an ESC BEC or from an external switching regulator. External power must not exceed 5.5V on the 5V rail.

If you're using ESC 5V BEC power, connect 5V and ground from the BEC to the V and G pins of the connector labelled "BEC 5V IN" in the drawing below. Alternately, an external switching regulator such as the 500mA Pololu D24V5F5 can be installed on the dedicated mounting pins for that purpose. The regulator can be installed on the top or bottom side of the Tornado. If more 5V current is required, the 1A 1024V10F5 can be used instead. Connect lipo voltage to the two pins labelled LIPO on the bottom connector to power the regulator.

Warning: Do not connect lipo voltage or any BEC over 5V to the 5V pads on the board.

Board Pinout

Pinout notes:

Pins marked "+" are LIPO voltage. LIPO input voltage is limited to 6S, depending on the regulator used. Pololu recommends an external 33uF 50V capacitor for over 20V inputs.
The LIPO IN pins are connected internally to the VBAT monitor.
Pins marked "V" are +5V ONLY. Do not connect anything over 5V to these pins.
All of the numbered pins are PWM outputs.
The LIPO "+" and BEC "V" pins have reverse-current blocking diodes to prevent powering ESCs from USB power.
To bypass the BEC "V" input diode and output 5V on this pin, short the two-pad jumper below the PWM 1 input.
The Pololu switching regulator may be mounted on top or bottom of the board. Observe the orientation.
If using an external 5V BEC of any kind (including a Pololu not mounted on the board), connect it to the pins labelled "BEC 5V IN".
SAT RX and SBUS use UART 2.
The "S" pin on the buzzer connection is the switched ground. Connect the + pin of the buzzer to either the lipo "+" or 5V "V" pin, and the - pin to "S".

SmartPort Telemetry

Cleanflight and Betaflight can send Smartport telemetry to the FrSky X-series receivers over a single wire. Connect TXOUT from either serial port to the S.PORT pin on the receiver. It only takes one wire because the ground connection is already made with the SBUS cable. The voltage divider for lipo monitoring is built into the Tornado.

To enable lipo monitoring over Smartport:

Enable VBAT and Telemetry on the Config tab
Select Telemetry -> SmartPort and AUTO on the ports tab
Set telemetry_inversion=on in CLI (This is the default in later firmware)

The lipo voltage shows up in OpenTX as VFAS. The most useful telemetry parameters for me seem to be VFAS, RSSI, and RxBt (receiver input voltage).

Comparison of F1 and F3 CPU Performance

From Borisb's post:

Motor update speed of targets to show some differences:
Naze32 results:
PID2: Acro=380us, Level=830us (jitter +/ 15us)
PID1: Acro=250us, Level=720us (jitter +/ 15us)

F3 Results from a few simillar boards:
Acro=180us, Level=330us (jitter +/ 6us) <---same on PID1 and PID2
Last edited by Moto Moto; May 18, 2016 at 02:42 PM.
Aug 03, 2015, 11:08 PM
Thread OP

Build Videos...

Carbon Finishing

*** No pic yet but the flat file is to size the main and top plate cutouts for the K & X mounts *** Take it slow and keep it straight

Also on finishing carbon, take care to round the edges of the top plate where ever the lipo straps will make contact.

PDB Preparation

Alien PDB Preparation (3 min 43 sec)


Screw Pack - Please note the press nuts for the PDB are packaged with the PDB

Screw packs are in steps
1. Motors to arms, inc prop nuts
2. PDB to Main and arms
3. Cam
4. Top

4" Camera Assembly

4" Alien Camera Assembly (6 min 1 sec)

5 & 6" frame camera assemblies

5" & 6" Alien Camera Assembly (2 min 7 sec)

Frame Base

ImpulseRC Alien Build - 01 Frame Base (3 min 23 sec)

ESC Preparation

ImpulseRC Alien Build - Littlebee ESC Preparation (1 min 45 sec)

Motors ans ESCs

ImpulseRC Alien Build - 02 Motor and ESCs (6 min 31 sec)

FC / Flight Cam / VTX

ImpulseRC Alien Build - 03 FC VTX Camera (8 min 11 sec)

Top Plate

ImpulseRC Alien Build - 04 Top Plate (7 min 12 sec)

Pre-Flight Checks - Do Them!

ImpulseRC Alien Build - 05 Pre Flight Checks (1 min 30 sec)
Last edited by Soma; Jan 29, 2016 at 11:56 PM.
Aug 03, 2015, 11:08 PM
Thread OP
*** This is a copy of the original pictorially based build guide until I'm sure its usefulness has passed. All info is in the videos above ***


*** No pic yet but the flat file is to size the main and top plate cutouts for the K & X mounts *** Take it slow and keep it straight

Also on finishing carbon, take care to round the edges of the top plate where ever the lipo straps will make contact.


SS M3x6 and washer to pull press nuts into PDB. Make sure washer is used with the curved edges down to not scratch the PDB insulation... Make sure the press nuts are pulled in flush with the top of the PDB.

PDB Polarity. Dot = Positive. Bottom is fully negative so there are no potential shorts.

*** Some insulated wire, or a round, pointed toothpick (with the end 3mm cut off first) can be pressed into the male XT-60 pins to keep them tensioned - *** It is recommended to use two lipo straps to avoid the lipo moving in crashes and putting undue stress on the XT-60

*** XT-60 left for Tornado FC *** (during assembly)

Soldering the XT-60. Make sure the G10 spacer is in, press down and tack. Then solder. It takes a lot of heat as there is a lot of copper. Use a big tip at 400 deg C.

5 & 6" frame camera assemblies

Remove screws and keep

Cam Plate, M2 x 8 and right angles

You can use the original camera screws in place of the M2x8's. Check orientation.

2x M2 x 8 and O-Rings. The o-rings are very important. Theyu put pressure on the back of the cam plate. Don't forget them

Screw the cam down until the o-rings compress and there is no gap between the cam and the CF cam plate

2x M2.5x5. Don't screw them down all the way, leave them just slightly tight.

4" Cam Assembly...

Picture guide...

Remove screws from cam back as above...

Note the countersunk holes

Make sure the screw heads fit fully flush

M2 x 8mm for the cam and small o-rings.

Note orientation

Screw the cam down until the o-rings compress and there is no gap between the cam and the CF cam plate

Main plate mounts

Screw the M2 x 10 in until the thread just show, then add the M2 nut and hold while screwinf the remaining thread in. Then tighten with a 4mm spanner

Ghosts and 4x M2.5 x 5

Assemble just slightly snug. Can add the side screws supplied with the camera as well (as per picture after this one) to hold together.


Some dodgy build pics for now...

Make sure if you assemble motors to arms first you have two arms orientated one way and two the other, so they key together properly in the middle.

Arms to Main

Tornado (Prototype) for spektrum sat rx - (This is a V1.0 board, some connections may vary to the Production V1.1)

The FC cover is the VTX mount to cetralise weight

Cone washers for 5 and 6" frames

Top Plate Alien...

When pulling in the top plate press nut, use the M3x6mm Stainless screw / washer, but also use a 3mm spacer to not scratch the carbon...

The Alien uses the three 3mm spacers to set the right space between the top plate to grip the antenna tubes. The 2x M3x12mm caps go in the back two holes through to the 35mm standoffs and the M3x8mm goes in the front through to the press nut.

A M3x8mm button is also supplied to replace the M3x8mm Cap screw, in case you run a HD cam and the lipo has to move back over that screw.
Last edited by Soma; Jan 29, 2016 at 11:59 PM.
Aug 03, 2015, 11:08 PM
Thread OP
And a little more
Aug 03, 2015, 11:18 PM
Registered User
Strepto42's Avatar
And maybe some info of my own builds here!

If you're good.
Aug 03, 2015, 11:29 PM
Registered User
congrats on the launch! (and subbed)

4", 5" and 6" prop versions are in the works, all with unique flight characteristics.

Are you making different frame sizes for the above?

Then what is the launch size frame?
Last edited by z33; Aug 03, 2015 at 11:54 PM.
Aug 03, 2015, 11:30 PM
Registered User
Charmez's Avatar
What's the dry weight of the prototype?
Aug 03, 2015, 11:34 PM
Team Warpsquad
Mr.Aaron's Avatar
Count me in for 2 aliens and 2 tornados : )

Now I need to figure a way to speed time up a little
Aug 03, 2015, 11:36 PM
Thread OP
Originally Posted by z33
congrats on the launch! (and subbed)
Thanks mate!

Originally Posted by fpvpilotrc
What's the dry weight of the prototype?
I'll get you the dry weight asap mate and add it to the first post.

AUW with 2204's and a 1000mAh 4S is around 470g.

Originally Posted by Mr.Aaron
Count me in for 2 aliens and 2 tornados : )

Now I need to figure a way to speed time up a little
Thanks mate! And I need to slow time down
Aug 04, 2015, 12:04 AM
Team Drone Art
Daryoon's Avatar
Gonna be another good thread.

Edit to add Nov 6, 2015 - Build Progress...

Alien Autopsy - a photo journey

Oct 31, 2015 - Splayed on the Table

My 5" Alien on the build table.

Following Soma's build guide. The PDB is up first.

Soma said to ensure the smooth side of the washer is the side touching the PDB. This ensures a scratch free installation. This is what each side of the the washer looks like. Pretty obvious which side is the smooth one.

Goes on like so. Pulling the press nut in from the bottom of the PDB board.

It should look like so when completed. Very easy process and learn something new. I still don't know where I can get some, but on all my previous builds, I have been using T-nuts for the same purpose.

Next, I grabbed the XT60 with spacer already installed. Ensure the spacer is fitted all the way if you're planning on soldering the connector directly to the PDB without a extension. I like that Soma is following best practices...where you have the mating XT60 inserted. This ensures you don't overheat the pins and put it out of alignment. Make sure your soldering iron is up to the task though.

Mine looks like this once soldered.

Here's the silicone wire mod that was mentioned in the build post on the first page. I used 22awg wires, cut to about 2-3mm long. And it fits in perfectly. It helps to keep the pins from compressing...ensuring max contact with the mating XT60 pins. I do this to all my XT60s now. It maybe stiff at first...but with use, should start to friction fit perfectly.

A question I had when getting the arms installed to the frame...was which holes are the 8 longer screws and which ones for the 4 shorter screws. This picture should help.

The length of screw mates perfectly with the nylock nut above the PDB.

I like how each arm meets in the center perfectly. And allow the other arms to share the load and shock of impact.

The Alien kit comes with a set of black screws too. That you can use in place of the aluminum if you want maximum strength. Here's one inserted in the cone washer.

I put doublesided tape on the flat side of the Pololu. And soldered the pins like so.

I chose to mount the Pololu on the bottom of the TornadoF3. It's oriented like this when completed.

Time for Halloween trick or treating with the kids... be back later.

Nov 4, 2015 -Smoke Test
Sick and barely kept my eyes open as I put more of the Alien 5 together late last night.

The build is too easy IMHO. I kept staring at it making sure I didn't miss something. I kept to my promise of keeping to a standard build. (At least the first time around)

Here it is, ready for the smoke test. Then I'll button up the ESC, after ensuring the motors all spin in the proper direction.

Never power up without making and using one of this:

I like to use a depleted lipo or one at storage voltage. And get ready to disconnect quickly.
Last edited by Daryoon; Nov 06, 2015 at 11:08 AM.
Aug 04, 2015, 12:05 AM
Registered User
Nice! Was planning a build around the bolt250 but I'll wait for the release and pricing of this!
Aug 04, 2015, 12:15 AM
Registered User
I am planning on pulling the components off my current FPV racer and putting them on this frame. Would the tiger 2206 motors at 2000 kv be a good motor for this frame? I currently run them on 4s but with only a 5x4 prop.

The Tornado looks awesome, I assume it will have a spot to solder on a spectrum comparable Lemon Sat?
Aug 04, 2015, 12:18 AM
Registered User
Will there be different frame sizes eventually? (like warpquad)

What is the launch frame size?
Aug 04, 2015, 12:38 AM
Registered User
Flits's Avatar
Woot this is awesome

Soma said apparently you warpsquad guy's are a bunch of fine gentleman and he holds you in high regard and i have to behave myself!...

Don't know how that's going to go but you lot are stuck with me now!

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