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Sep 29, 2016, 03:59 AM
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Build Log

Eachine Micro SkyHunter 780mm - full review / build log / owners' thread


Hey guys, I am creating this thread just so we can pool all the Micro SkyHunter information in one place, and I will start this off with my own review and build log of this surprisingly good little model!

The Eachine Micro SkyHunter can be purchased from Banggood, and it comes in two versions - one is with an AIO camera and Vtx, the other is without.

You can also find all of the information about this model as well as a complete parts list in my blog: ArxangelRC.blogspot.com

Since I am always looking for new and interesting planes to fit one purpose or another I just couldn't pass up the Eachine Micro SkyHunter when I saw it over at Banggood. The price was right and the plane looked very promising, besides I have a few planes around that size and will be able to do a nice comparison between them.

In all honesty the plane did surpass my expectations. Yes, there is the occasional tail wag when there is wind, but that didn't happen too often, and I was more impressed by the overall flight performance of this model to pay any attention to the occasional tail wag. Another stunning discovery was that at 780mm wing span and 400 grams AUW for my model (which is about twice as heavy for this wing span as some other models that I have), the SkyHunter absolutely refused to stall irrespective of whether I tried to stall it going upwind or downwind. Motor efficiency was also VERY good even when going at speed, and this one can pick up some speed with ease!

I can absolutely recommend this model for all, no matter what your experience in this hobby!

Eachine Micro SkyHunter 780mm - Surprisingly good performance! (maiden and review) (9 min 24 sec)



SPECIFICATIONS

Wing span: 780mm
Length: 540mm
Wing area: to be determined...
Flying weight: 230g without battery according to specifications (395g in reality, with the battery I am using)
CG: 40mm from LE
Video range: 200m with cloverleafs, more with directional antennas


ARRIVAL STATE


The package arrive very well packed and in pristine condition. Good job on the packaging Banggood.


WHAT I LIKE


Lets start with the box! The plane was packaged very neatly in two separate boxes housed within a larger box with the graphics on it! Really impressive for something so cheap coming out of China!







Mine is the FPV PNP version, which includes the EF-01 camera and Vtx into one unit.



I do like the size of this plane, I managed to fit all of the parts into one photo! Even without the user manual it is pretty straightforward how the parts fit together and how it should be assembled.



Also, all servos, wires, push rods and clevises come pre-installed, which saves a lot of time during the assembly.



One thing that surprised me a lot was that the servos had absolutely NO slop in them! They feel very solid. This is a first for me on a plane that size and on servos that small.



The wings and the elevator also come with carbon strips pre-installed for added stiffness and rigidity, which is always a plus in my book!



The main spar appears to be carbon, and it turned out to be stiffer than it looks.



The ESC is a HobbyWing Skywalker 20A, so I will most definitely will not be replacing that one. I've never had issues with HobbyWing ESCs.



The motor is also nice, it is the same size and Kv used for FPV racing drones, so props are widely available in lots of sizes and pitch ratings.



Another good surprise was the canopy! I didn't see it at first, but it actually splits into two parts, and the bottom half has a plywood plate with pre-drilled bolt holes to mount your FPV gear to, and coincidentally the mounting brace of the supplied camera fits those holes perfectly.



And speaking of the camera, it is a neat piece of FPV gear - camera and Vtx into one! Its super light and can be powered from one of the cells on your flight pack via the provided power cable. If you choose to change the connector on the power lead, you should be able to connect it to your receiver and power it from 5v there.



There is a convenient button on the side of the camera which allows you to cycle through all 40 channels.



The unit's power is 25mW, so it will not cause your flight pack to become unbalanced.



The elevator servo extension wire comes pre-wired in one of the tail booms.



And finally the fuselage looks really nice, the foam feels quite sturdy and rigid with plywood plates inside for easy gear installation and enough openings for easy access.




WHAT I DON'T LIKE


First and foremost... the plane came WITHOUT a manual! Granted, it is easy to assemble and not get it wrong... but come on Banggood! I had to go looking around the web to find where the CG should be on this plane. Not that this is a problem, but it is only natural to include a user manual with a product, especially one that requires assembly!

My only other issue is the fact that the whole tail section and the wings should be glued together, so complete disassembly is not possible unless you spend an unrealistic amount of time devising an assembly scheme without glue so you will be able to disassemble the plane when needed. However, the plane is small enough for me not to care too much about that, even fully assembled it is small enough to just throw in the trunk of your car and not mind it too much until you feel the need to fly!

I know I wrote about the camera and how it is meant to be powered from the balance port of the flight pack as a good and convenient thing, and in truth it is very convenient... BUT I don't think sipping power from only 1 of the cells of a 3S battery is the best way to do it, and I think some more though could have been put into doing this better. For instance it could get 5v via a servo connector from the receiver, or something like that!


THE VERDICT


Well... having read the previous two sections I think you are getting my drift! OK, so it does have a few minor issues, but following my build below should allow you to assemble it pretty easily even without a user manual, and powering a 25mW Vtx and camera from the balance port of the flight battery for 10 mins is not going to ruin the battery either. And at this size I don't really much care for disassembling the plane completely, its just small enough to make it easy to take it anywhere with you.

On the plus side it does fly very well, and the occasional tail wag is not really an issue. Truth be told I only noticed if a few times, but for the most part the plane was flying like a champ! Efficiency is also pretty good, 20 mins are absolutely possible on a 3S 1300mAh pack, which is the recommended size for this model anyway.

And speaking of flight, I did my best to try and stall this thing, and even overweight at 400 grams AUW (courtesy of the bigger battery I am using), I was not able to get it to tip stall and enter the spiral of death no matter how hard I tried. Going upwind or downwind did not matter... it just doesn't stall.

The 25mW video system will not get you much range, BUT it will allow you to "wet your feet" in the FPV scene, and later on you can easily upgrade camera, Vtx, etc.

So yeah, the Eachine Micro SkyHunter is a VERY good product and definitely suitable for experts as well as for beginner pilots, not just FPV'ers.


THE BUILD, AND MODIFICATIONS



Right, lets get on with the build then. For this plane I will use a D4R-II FrSky receiver, and I will also use the new Volantex AX601 flight stabilizer to try it, but its review will be in another video.





Before I started assembly I connected all servos to my servo tester adjusted clevises and push rods so that the control surfaces are neutral. Although as you will see in the video, I did forget to adjust the elevator push rod, and that cause a few failed take off attempts, but the plane is tough as nails! The servos having absolutely no slop really helps with that.



Next I used nail polish remover to scrub all the areas where glue will be applied, and then used some sandpaper to roughen the surface to make sure the epoxy will achieve maximum grip!





Before you glue anything, make sure you figure out how the parts fit. The tail piece with the cutout for the elevator should go right ring half (when looking at the plane from the back). When you put them together, the cutout for the elevator should be looking at the inside of the wing.



But, to make things easy, and also this is what the manual will tell you once it materializes into this world, you should assemble the tail first. Like with the main wing I sanded the glue areas, applied my epoxy, made sure everything was setting straight, and 20 mins later I had the tail section ready. You can use other glues but I have 5 min epoxy and rather prefer using that when I can.



After that it took me another 10 mins to epoxy the tail to the wings, and I was pretty much done! A word of WARNING - make sure you insert the carbon spar in the wing BEFORE you glue the tail section on, because afterwards it will be VERY difficult to fix it!



I tried to make it as symmetric as possible and I think it turned out great. Good news is at this point we are done with gluing and can now proceed to installing the necessary electronics and flying.



And don't forget to plug in the elevator servo into the provided servo extension. Then also tape it out of the way somewhere so it doesn't get damaged on landings.



Next I went on to screw the camera to the plywood plate on the canopy. Its a perfect fit, and the magnets are quite strong, so I am certain that it will not fly away during flight.



Next I mounted the prop to the motor. I did some fiddling to find the optimal position for the prop so there would be minimal vibrations.



I then proceeded to expose the ESCs heat sink from underneath the heat shrink so it will have better cooling. This is something I have gotten in the habit of always doing.



ESC went into the fuselage just under the flight controller plate. Its nice that this plate is not glued, so I can move it around and work freely, then I just move it back into position.



I did all of the AX601 stabilizer calibrations outside the plane just to make sure I have the level position calibrated properly.



The D4R-II receiver went in there next to the ESC. I know this is not the perfect place to mount it, but this plane will not be flying too far away from me, and space is at a premium, so for the time being this is where it will be. Later on I did have to move the ESC and Rx back so I can push the battery further back because it proved too heavy to balance the plane. I will have to get a lighter battery!



The stabilizer went on the plywood plate above the ESC and Rx. It comes with a dual sided tape, so I used it to mount it in there.



Next I plugged in the wing and tail connections and made two holes on top of the fuselage for the Rx antennas to stick out of.



Later on when I moved the Rx further back the antennas weren't sticking out of the fuselage enough to need a tube, so I removed it.



So that pretty much concludes this build for the time being.



Continues in next post...
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Sep 29, 2016, 04:00 AM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
...continued from previous post!

Only thing left was to put the canopy on, and the plane was ready for its maiden flight.







Now its time to head to the flying field.



The battery had to go way back in order for the plane to balance properly at the CG location of 40mm from LE.











After the initial mishaps with the elevator trim, due to a lapse on my part, the plane flew... and flew marvelously!

As advertised, the motor does have around or over 400 grams of thrust as the plane at 400 grams AUW was able to go vertical for a time. Its also amazing how this thing can go quite fast, but can also slow down a lot and not suffer any stalls. I guess if you upgrade the motor and use a higher pitch prop you will be able to reach even higher speeds, and the models certainly seems tough enough to be able to take it!









Here is the video of the maiden flight along with my commentary on the plane. Enjoy!

Eachine Micro SkyHunter 780mm - Surprisingly good performance! (maiden and review) (9 min 24 sec)


UPDATE 1
11.12.2016
(a new FPV setup)

So, it is time for an update on this model! Last time I flew it with the RunCam mounted at the CG behind the flight cam it really bugged me that there was so much stuff getting in the way of that nice HD recording... so I thought up of a way to remedy that!

The answer came in the form of a Mobius camera with a lens extension cable! Basically the main body of the Mobius is still mounted at the CG of the plane, but the lens is now mounted at the front of the plane. I have temporarily move over the Vtx from my XK A1200 plane and have modded an FPV cable for the Mobius to have only 2 wires, and even thinner than the original.

The system looks quite nice considering it is all actually hanging on the outside of the plane! I also repositioned the radio receiver antennas to come out on both sides of the Mobius, I think this improved reception greatly!







Rather than modifying the cable for the XK A1200, I made a new cable specifically for this application. Turned out quite well and also super light and clean.





I am powering the Vtx the same way the AIO camera was powered - through the battery balance lead. Only this time I am connecting to all 3 cells rathern than just 1, so the draw on the battery is more even.



So... now I get to fly this FPV and have HD recording with some nice quality, so possibly my next chase will be more interesting when you actually see the plane I am chasing rather than just the FPV camera in front. Here is a short video showing how it all worked out.

Micro SkyHunter 780mm - FPV with a Mobius (3 min 14 sec)
Last edited by Arxangel; Nov 12, 2016 at 03:23 PM.
Sep 29, 2016, 04:01 AM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Reserved!
Sep 29, 2016, 05:12 PM
Registered User
Pixelpeter's Avatar
Thanks for the thorough review. If I didn't already get a Bix3 recently, I might have gotten this one instead
Sep 29, 2016, 10:32 PM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpeter
Thanks for the thorough review. If I didn't already get a Bix3 recently, I might have gotten this one instead
Well... you know, one more never hurts... besides, the Bix is not exactly a quick low flyer.
Oct 02, 2016, 02:10 AM
Farmer
f.a.r.m.e.r's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arxangel
Well... you know, one more never hurts... besides, the Bix is not exactly a quick low flyer.
i agree bixler is nothing like this plane, this is fast flys low slow proximity tiny and gobs of power. now that being said

I just want to say Arxangel awesome and very profesional review i really enjoyed it came back to read the thread and watch the video 5 times you did an amazing job, im in the middle of finishing my review of the banggood micro skyhunter but to top this review its going to take alot of work this was one of the best ones i have seen

i am definatly using your review as a base line of my review in different format of course

keep up the good work loved this review now this is my 6 time coming back to read and watch the video haha, suprized not many more people complented on all the hard work you put into this review

only problem i have is that the screws that hold the camera to the metal bracket they were broken off in shipping si have to figure another way to fasten the camera. but with my diversity patch and omni the range was superb and video not much break up with my fastsharks and furious true d diversity system my range almost doubled or more

best regards

Farmer
Oct 03, 2016, 07:59 AM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by f.a.r.m.e.r
i agree bixler is nothing like this plane, this is fast flys low slow proximity tiny and gobs of power. now that being said

I just want to say Arxangel awesome and very profesional review i really enjoyed it came back to read the thread and watch the video 5 times you did an amazing job, im in the middle of finishing my review of the banggood micro skyhunter but to top this review its going to take alot of work this was one of the best ones i have seen

i am definatly using your review as a base line of my review in different format of course

keep up the good work loved this review now this is my 6 time coming back to read and watch the video haha, suprized not many more people complented on all the hard work you put into this review

only problem i have is that the screws that hold the camera to the metal bracket they were broken off in shipping si have to figure another way to fasten the camera. but with my diversity patch and omni the range was superb and video not much break up with my fastsharks and furious true d diversity system my range almost doubled or more

best regards

Farmer
Thanks, looking forward to your review!

I flew the plane this weekend again, and I have some more footage to show, this time with the stabilization on and off! This thing is wicked quick! Now I am flying it with a 1400mAh 40C MultiStar battery, its 20 grams lighter than the one I used before... for a 10 min of mostly high throttle the charger again put back around 650mAh out of the pack! This time with a directional antenna I was able to get much better signal and get further out without a hitch.
Oct 07, 2016, 02:18 AM
Registered User
Arxangel, i just ordered micro skyhunter. My current small fpv plane is firstar 200.
You tried both.
Is micro skyhunter much harder to fly, especially to land, because of speed ?
Oct 07, 2016, 03:16 AM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studebaker01
Arxangel, i just ordered micro skyhunter. My current small fpv plane is firstar 200.
You tried both.
Is micro skyhunter much harder to fly, especially to land, because of speed ?
Actually the Micro SkyHunter can be just as slow, but also a lot quicker than the Firstar! I do not think you will have any issues slowing it down for a landing, especially if you get a flight stabilizer with an auto-level function such as the Volantex AX601, which I am also using in this plane:

Volantex Xpilot stabilization system - reiview and flight test (6 min 11 sec)


Really calms the plane down and for this particular one will keep the wings level even at very slow speeds.
Oct 07, 2016, 12:02 PM
Registered User
Thanks for answer!
Oct 10, 2016, 10:11 AM
Wanton construction
Pouncer's Avatar
Arxangel,

Thank you for taking the time to make and post this review.

I'll be interested to see how it behaves with stabilization because honestly I'm not too impressed with what I see flight-performance wise, and let me first assure you it's not a critique of your flying!

It's that on every video I've watched so far the MSH behaves the same way: more or less constant tail waggle (side to side), sluggish turns (to nose is reluctant to come around, and then invariably drops) and now as demonstrated in your video porpoising (up and down) in what I assume is a power dive?

Micro planes can be made to fly much, much better than this..
Oct 10, 2016, 11:59 AM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pouncer
Arxangel,

Thank you for taking the time to make and post this review.

I'll be interested to see how it behaves with stabilization because honestly I'm not too impressed with what I see flight-performance wise, and let me first assure you it's not a critique of your flying!

It's that on every video I've watched so far the MSH behaves the same way: more or less constant tail waggle (side to side), sluggish turns (to nose is reluctant to come around, and then invariably drops) and now as demonstrated in your video porpoising (up and down) in what I assume is a power dive?

Micro planes can be made to fly much, much better than this..
Actually the only time when it would jump up and down (porpoising) was when I throttle down to 0 and give it full up elevator trying to stall it on purpose! Other than that there is some little tail wagging on mine... but honestly I only notice it when I watch the DVR recording on my laptop, not while I am flying because it is very little and not often enough! I flew with the RunCam attached to it yesterday and on it I can barely tell something is going on!
Oct 10, 2016, 12:07 PM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
And here is the flight from yesterday! Had a good HUNT with a friend of mine around the flying field. The RunCam is mounted right on top of the CG so it doesn't affect the balance and I have to say the plane took the extra weight quite well! I am also flying with a new MultiStar 3S 1400mAh pack, which is 20 grams lighter than the Nano-tech I used before and it definitely showed when flew without the RunCam.

Eachine Micro SkyHunter 780mm - the HUNT is on! (with a RunCam on board) (3 min 27 sec)
Oct 16, 2016, 02:41 PM
Registered User
I can fly well enough to land with wings level, but this stabilizer looks nice, it obviously can help in wind, it is not always easy to wait for calm day

My experience with such things is zero, do i need spare radio channel for stabilizer to turn it on/off or change mode, or it is done at ground before flight?
Oct 17, 2016, 01:10 PM
Registered User
Arxangel's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Studebaker01
I can fly well enough to land with wings level, but this stabilizer looks nice, it obviously can help in wind, it is not always easy to wait for calm day

My experience with such things is zero, do i need spare radio channel for stabilizer to turn it on/off or change mode, or it is done at ground before flight?
Not sure what radio you are using, but for the Micro SkyHunter you would need only 4 channels, since it doesn't have rudder, so you can use the 4-th channel to switch it on/off in flight!