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Nov 24, 2016, 02:16 AM
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FAQ

Tiny QX/EX Series Tips & Tricks Thread (FAQ info on first page)


As these "Tiny Series" brushed small quadcopters are gaining in popularity, and offer a nice FPV experience in a very convenient shape, people start running into issues setting up their quads, or have other questions. This thread will attempt to gather and list the info needed to get these tiny FPV quads in the air, and have more fun with these.

As with previous FAQ threads I had the pleasure of maintaining, this will largely depend upon input and experience from others, as I don't have every model and type QX/EX quad, or haven't run into a problem that someone else has. Your contributions will be greatly appreciated


This first message will focus mostly on version differences, and getting the quad ready to fly. A few of the more common issues are presented, with possible solutions.

The second message will revolve more about flight controller settings, tuning, etc... Attached to the second message will also be a number of CLI dumps, mostly of default settings, and in some cases, of improved settings.

And lastly, the third message will discuss modifications and other enhancements.


Here's a Table of Contents.

1 - Overview, Differences between various 1S powered Models, and variations within a single Model
(posting #1)
2 - Getting Ready for the First Flight + Troubleshooting Common Issues (posting #1)
3 - Cleanflight (posting #2)
4 - Betaflight (posting #2)
5 - Basic Modifications (posting #3)
6 - Extensive Modifications (posting #3)
7 - Running on 2S LiPo (posting #4)
8 - Overview of various 2S powered models (posting #4)



1 - Overview, Differences between various Models, and variations within a single Model:

Currently the following models are available in the 1S powered Tiny QX/EX series. (For an overview of the models that run on 2S, check posting #4):



QX70



Slightly bigger version of the "Tiny Whoop", looks promising, but many units are plagued by excessive vibrations being amplified by the ducts, causing erratic flight behavior. Also, with the included 600mAh battery, it's somewhat overweight, limiting performance. Can be modded to perform better, or transfer hardware to a 90-ish size frame.



QX80



[no direct experience with this one]



QX90




The first (?) in this series, and overall made a nice impression. Comes with a good camera, but is a little on the heavy side for the motors it's using, at 56g with battery installed.



QX90C



About 5g lighter than the QX90, using a single piece plastic frame instead of carbon fiber and rubber motor grommets, as well as a flight controller with integrated receiver, aka AIO board. Also allows for easy battery changing due to the small battery cage at the bottom, so no more messing with rubber bands. Vastly outperforms the original QX90, but the camera doesn't perform as well in different light conditions.

(My review: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...in-progress%29)



QX95



About the same weight as the QX90, but featuring more powerful motors (though BG uses the same part number for QX90, QX90C and QX95 motors) and programmable leds at the rear side. Using the same camera as the QX90C, so that's a small drawback (though camera can be improved with a small mod) and the frame isn't very durable.



QX100



Looking more like a brushless quad, featuring a tower with CF plates, holding and protecting the camera, though leaving the VTX antenna unprotected. Smooth flyer, but somewhat underpowered. Camera appears to be a decased Eachine EF-01, 800TVL, 25mW, NTSC/PAL.



QX105



A bulky looking design, featuring 10mm motors, instead of the usual 8mm ones. Also has OSD, which can be programmed directly from Betaflight configurator. The heavier motors put higher strain upon the ESCs though, and several users have reported these burning out. Also, the higher weight means more impact with a crash, and breaking the frame.



QX-110 V-tail

Very similar to the QX105, except this one uses 8mm motors, so the risk of burning out the ESCs has probably been fixed with this.



EX100



[no direct experience with this model]



EX105



[no direct experience with this model]



EX110



Somewhat heavy for it's motors and props. Does better after replacing the stock props with Ladybird ones. Comes with a nice camera, and overall is a smooth flyer, even in windy conditions. Not a "screamer" but can perform some basic aerobatics.

(My review: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...in-progress%29)



Apart from the apparent differences in frames, and props, there are some hidden differences. The first batches of some models were using a separate flight controller board, and separate receiver, but later on, an integrated flight controller/receiver combo started getting used. While offering a weight reduction, this also means that if you ever want to change receiver type, you can no longer just replace the receiver, but have to replace all electronics. Here's a nice overview made by another RCG member, listing the different receiver/board combo's. As the message containing this overview gets updated on a regular basis, instead of quoting it, I will post a direct link instead: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...9&postcount=24

Note: Some receivers/AIO boards (flight controller with integrated receiver) have no failsafe!


Camera Differences:

Quite a few different cameras are being used on these small FPV flyers. Here are the different types, including most specs:

- Eachine EF-01 (decased) AIO Camera: 800TVL, PAL/NTSC switchable, and 25mW VTX. Channel selection with push button, short press for channel number change, longer press and hold for different band, and even longer press and hold for changing between PAL and NTSC mode. Weighs 6.14g with clover leaf antenna, but with lens cap removed.

- "Super Mini Light" AIO Camera: 520 TVL, PAL/NTSC switchable, 25mW VTX. Front push button selects betweenn PAL and NTSC, press and hold for inverting camera image. Short press on the rear push button cycles channel numbers, longer press and hold selects different band.


- Prop Differences:

Other differences include the props that are used. For instance the QX90 and QX95 use black and white props with elliptically shaped tips, while the QX90C uses red and black props, with blunt tips.



- Motor Differences:

Motors also are reported to come in different versions. I haven't been able to confirm this myself, the motors on the 3 QX series quads I own look totally identical, same color bottom plate with same markings, same wire colors, same amount of holes on the top, same dimensions. The only difference is that the QC90C motors come with a plug, because the All in One receiver/flight controller/ESC board, that it uses, has plugs for the motors.


Update 4 december 2016:

It appears that spare motors now come with plug, as some have reported getting motors with a plug bundled with their QX quad. If so, it's a nice development, as on quads with boards with motor plugs, replacing a motor becomes plug and play, and on those that didn't come with motor plugs, it's just a matter of cutting of the plug, and soldering the wires directly onto the board.




Getting Ready for the First Flight + Troubleshooting Common Issues

Since these quads are sold as BnF, some steps are involved to get it flying, and some pitfalls need to be avoided. Hopefully the following info will help to make this process as smooth as possible, and fix some common issues that you may encounter when trying to get these small FPV quads up and running.



- Binding



Though the manual is pretty good on this part, actually performing the task isn't always easy. The older models, with seperate receiver, may have a bind button, that needs to be pressed down while powering up the quad, to get it in bind-mode. However, the new integrated receiver/flight controller combo board, just has 2 solder pads, that need to be shorted while connecting the battery. It work, but may need several attempts.

On my QX90C, using a screwdriver to short the pads didn't work. Eventually, using the end of a stripped copper wire, I got the green led to go solid, indicating the receiver had been put into binding mode. After that, it was just a matter of setting the transmitter, in my case a Taranis, to bind, and a few seconds later the connection was made.


Note

With satellite receivers, it might be necessary to use the CLI of the Cleanflight app, to put the receiver into bind mode. As I have no such receivers, I can't verify, but hopefully some more info on this will become available soon.


Note #2

For FlySky users with a fairly new transmitter, capable of supporting AFHDS2A protocol, switch back to AFHDS protocol. The current FlySky receivers that are installed on the QX/EX series quads, don't support the latest protocol, only the older FlySky protocol. Users of older transmitters, like the original Tunigy 9X, should be able to bind without issues, as their radio only supports AFHDS.


Note #3

Around march 2017, a "new release" version of the F3 board with integrated DSM receiver appeared. Many people are reporting binding issues with this board. A fix has been proposed, which involves removing a resistor from the board. More detailed into to follow soon.




- Basic Flight Controller Setup



NOTE! The newer versions on the Cleanflight Configurator app will not connect to any of these brushed FPV flyers that come with Cleanflight 1.1x installed. Instead a popup will tell the user that the quadcopter needs to be updated to continue. While updating the firmware can result in better flight performance, it can also be a pitfall, and change a perfectly flyable quad into a paper weight. Also, it's generally smart to first verify the quad is working well, before tinkering with it.

Luckily there is a way, it's still possible, when switching to developer mode in Chrome, to manually install an older version of the Cleanflight app, alongside the latest version, and connect to a quad running CF 1.1x and alter settings needed to make a first flight. This video shows the steps involved in this:
Cleanflight 2.0: Installing an older version (step by step) (6 min 40 sec)



Luckily most of the settings that these "Tiny" quads come with, will allow to get it in the air. However there can be a few problems being in the way of a succesful first flight.


- Motors spinning up right after the battery is connected

Though this should not happen with stock firmware and settings, and often occurs only when flight controller firmware is altered, it's a recurring issue, so it's only fitting to put it here. There are 2 possible causes, wrongly set motor PWM rate, and/or wrongly set ESC protocol. The latter is easiest to verify, connect the quad to the computer, battery unplugged naturally, and navigate to the Configuration tab. With Cleanflight, make sure the option for OneShot is not checked, on Betaflight, select "brushed" from the dropdown menu, instead of the default setting of OneShot125. Remember to press the save button on the bottom right corner to store the changes.

This may already be enough to solve the issue, but if you want to be fully sure, navigate to the CLI tab, and type: set motor_pwm_rate = 1000 followed by enter. Then type the word save and press enter again.



- Incorrect Channel Order:

The channel order could be wrong, so the sticks are not correctly mapped to the 4 different controls, yaw, aileron, elevator and throttle. To verify this, and make changes if needed, connect the quad to the Cleanflight app, with transmitter connected, and go the Receiver tab. Moving the sticks should result in the bars moving too, and giving visual indication of the channel map. If the mapping is wrong, you can alter this on the transmitter, or simply change the order of the letter/numbers combo that is visible at the top of the screen.

Say you have Aileron and Elevator swapped, and the line on top reads AETR1234, you delete the A, and type it behind the E, so it reads EATR1234, and that's it. Just remember to hit the save button at the bottom right. If you go to a different tab before saving, all changes are lost.



- Can't Arm the Throttle:

Another problem could be not being able to arm the quad, so the motors won't start spinning when adding throttle. If no setting were altered, the default is that arming goes by moving the switch that controls Aux1. To find out what switch this is, you could go to the Receiver tab, with transmitter turned on, and verify this.

If preferring to not have a switch arm the motors, but with stick control, the way to unlock throttle is by holding the throttle stick to lower right corner for a few seconds, if you are using a mode 2 layout, so throttle and yaw on the left stick. If still connected to the Cleanflight app, you will see a yellow warning triangle icon light up, top in the middle, right below the battery icon.

If nothing happens, with quad and transmitter still powered on, and the flight controller connected to the Cleanflight configurator app, go to the receiver tab, and note the value of the throttle channel, with stick fully down.

The low throttle value, that was noted earlier, should be lower than 1100 (variable called min_check) to allow arming. This is what the flight controller sees as throttle down. If you don't get throttle low enough with moving the stick down, it's time to adjust the endpoints in the transmitter for the throttle channel, so it can get below that 1100 value. As quick'n dirty fix, you could add some throttle down trim, but this may affect the ability to let the motors run full throttle. As quick test, or when your transmitter doesn't have the option to alter endpoints, it's the only way, besides altering some settings on the flight controller, which involves working with the (text only) CLI (Command Line Interface) mode.



- Drift Issues:

Quite a few users have had trouble with drift issues on their QX/EX quad, when in a self leveling mode. One of the possible causes could be a badly calibrated accelerometer. To verify that, connect to the computer, put the quad on a level surface, and press "calibrate accelerometer" button.

With that verified, if there is still a drift issue, go to the Cleanflight receiver tab, with quad powered on, as well as transmitter powered on, and check if Roll, Pitch and Yaw are around 1500 with sticks centered. If not, either use subtrim to make corrections, or if all channels are off by the same value, change the stick center value in Cleanflight. If the value tends to fluctuate a bit, like 1499, then a little later it's 1501, set a little deadband, something between 2 and 4 would do nicely. What you do with this, is tell the Flight Controller to consider very small variations in the stick values as noise, and ignore these.

If that doesn't help, it could also be excessive prop/motor vibrations, messing with the leveling gyro. Using the CleanFlight or BetaFlight app can help resolve this. Go to the Motors tab, and unlock motor controls. Now you can move the sliders and run each individual motor, while keeping an eye on the gyro graphs on top of the screen, registering vibrations. A flat line would be perfect, a little movement on the graph is still acceptable, but if there are bigger spikes, it's clear something needs to be done. Often it's an off-balance prop, or one with bent blades, so the tracking is off. But it could also be the motor. Keep swapping out parts, until the noise is much reduced.



- Quad making a strange noise when the motors are running

When powering up the motors, many perceive a humming sound. This is caused by the ESCs, as the frequency at which these control the motors, is set to 1000Hz as default setting. This is a frequency the human ear is very sensitive for. When flying FPV outside, it's not noticable, but if perceived as annoying, it's possible to set this to a higher frequency, making it less audible.

To do this, start up Cleanflight (or Betaflight) and navigate to the CLI tab, then type:

set motor_pwm_rate = 1000

Followed by [enter], then type save and againg press [enter] to confirm. The number represents the frequency, so for instance if wanting to change the value to 4KHz, replace the 1000 with 4000, etc, etc...

Note: Some have reported that higher settings for PWM frequencies make the motors have less power. But others have been running frequencies as high as 32000 and reported the quad is flying great. So the final verdict on this isn't there yet.

Update 16 april 2017:

Apparently these motors also benefit from ESCs running at high frequency. With recommendations to set to 8000, or 16000.


Props coming loose during flight or even just when increasing the throttle

On some occasions, the props can have a loose fit, and may come off during flight, or even just when thottling up, for take-off. There are a few ways to prevent this, assuming it's not a matter of the props not being pushed on far enough on the prop axle. This video shows a few ways to cure this:

EASY FIX: 3 ways to fix your props - how to secure propellers on micro brushed motors (3 min 51 sec)
Last edited by SoloProFan; May 28, 2017 at 02:41 PM.
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Nov 24, 2016, 02:16 AM
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Updating Firmware, Tuning, etc...


3 - Cleanflight:


Stock Settings:

The QX series quads, like the QX90, QX90C and QX95, all come with Cleanflight 1.13.0, and basically the same stock PID settings:


What may differ is the RC Rate for Yaw, on my QX90 it was set to 0.80, but the QX95 and QX90C came with a value of 0.50.

Note: Recently the scaling of PID values was changed, removing the point from all values, except rates. So 8.0 becomes 80, and 0.030 becomes just 30.




Additional Cleanflight Tuning:

As it seems that all QX series quads use the same PID settings, there is a good chance these are far from ideal for each type. This chapter will list tuned settings for the stock firmware, when, or if, these become available.




4 - Betaflight:


Recovering from a failed firmware flash attempt

It's possible that a firmware flash fails, and the board will no longer connect to the firmware flasher app, giving a bootloader error. To recover from this, the board has 2 solder pads that when shorted when powering up, will put the board into boot mode, and make it possible to connect again, for a new flash attempt. Remember to manually set the baud rate to 256000 for best results.


Motors spinning right away when battery is connected

One common issue encountered after a successful flash, is that the motors start spinning as soon as the battery is connected. This is because Betaflight has OneShot125 as default setting, and this is not valid for a brushed motor setup. So instead, select "brushed" as "ESC/Motor Protocol"


6 - Betaflight PID Settings

As BF handles rates etc a bit different compared to Cleanflight, it's well possible after an update, the quad won't fly well with stock PID settings. I'll try to list here some settings that have been comfirmed to work well.


QX90:




[more tune settings to follow]
Last edited by SoloProFan; Dec 29, 2016 at 02:12 AM.
Nov 24, 2016, 02:17 AM
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Modifications, Spare Parts, etc...


5 - Basic Modifications:


Adding a buzzer:

Since these small brushed quads don't come with a low voltage warning. Fly it too long, and the quad will just drop down. It's possible to feel when the power starts fading, but still some extra indication can be convenient. The flight controller has the option to connect a small buzzer, and thus get an audible warning of low voltage.

Current versions of the Cleanflight configurator app, however have no option to adjust the warning voltage, except through the CLI. The following commands are needed:

set vbat_min_cell_voltage = 33
set vbat_warning_cell_voltage = 35

These are the default values, where the 3 digit number represents the voltage per cell. With 33 meaning 3.3 volts, and 35 means 3.5 volts per cell. To adjust, paste one of these lines in the CLI text input line, and adjust the numbers to the desired value, then press enter. So store the adjusted value, type "save" and again enter.



Different Props

The stock props can be rather loose, apart from not being pressed on very tightly in the factory, the fit can be so loose that it throws a prop when airborne. This can be fixed with a tiny drop of CA glue, but some have reverted to different props, that fit more tightly, and may also offer some performance advantages.

Popular props are the Walkera Ladybird type.


Update 5 march 2017:

Member MuteFPV recently posted a video doing some comparison of static thrust between various props. You can find this video here:

BEST FOR LESS: Propeller shootout for 8,5x20mm brushed motors (Thrust Tests on Racerstar 8520) (8 min 23 sec)




Better RX Antenna Position:

In stock form, the antenna is often kept flat, aligned with the receiver board. This isn't exactly the best location for good range. Here's a suggestion, posted by user marbelo, for the QX90C, which can probably also be applied to other models:







6 - Extensive Modifications:


QX90 Partial Rebuild by muteFPV

For those that want to go much further than some small changes, here is a link to a topic that shows how to do some extensive modding on the QX90. Some of the used ideas may also be appliccable to other "Tiny" quads: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...w-profile-mods



Convert to Pusher Config

To avoid props flying off, some have converted their quads to a pusher setup. This message shows more info: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=111

To be able to do this, the props need to be mounted upside down, and the holes need to be drilled through. This message gives more info on how to do this: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=114
Last edited by SoloProFan; Mar 05, 2017 at 03:31 AM.
Nov 24, 2016, 02:17 AM
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7 - Running on 2S LiPo:

The popular F3 Evo board, that is used in many of the QX and EX quads, has the option to run on 1S and 2S. To set the board up for 2S operation, 2 solder pads on the board need to be bridged. The following picture shows which pads are involved:




Running a board that is configured for 1S on a 2S battery, can cause it to fail instantly, or after a few minutes, but fail it will.



Also, some models have been released, running on 2S right from the box. Just like with the 1S powered models, these will be listed here:


Eachine Fatbee FB90



Using Tiny Whoop style props, and featuring bright programmable leds as eyes. Indeed looking like a fat bee, and out of the box, also flies like one. The ducts tend to amplify vibrations, causing erratic movements on yaw, and drifting issues. Requires some modding to unleash it's potential. For instance, with ducts and canopy removed, and replacing the 4-blade props with Furibee F90 3-blade props, plus adding some camera tilt, it becomes a very smooth and capable flyer.



Furibee F90 Wasp



Looking similar to the Eachine "Bee" but better straight out of the box. Only mods I performed were adding rubber washers under the FC, to fix a progressive drift in self leveling modes, removing the canopy, adding a little camera tilt, and putting the VTX antenna in a different angle. Has no leds, but instead comes fitted with a buzzer.



Eachine Flying Frog Q90



Performs pretty well without mods, but comes with very bad PID settings. Strong VTX, rated at 200(!) mW, and due to the good power to weight ratio, and 2-blade props, can fly quite long on the stock battery. Camera has a fixed angle, which seems to be hard to modify, and there are some issues with the stock FrSky receiver, causing fly away, or random twitches on the controls.



EX120



Something a little different, a brushed FPV hexacopter. Should have some good power, running on 2S, but also can be a little sluggish compared to the more agile flyers, like QX90C. Comes with a nice camera, appears to be a de-cased EF-01, as well as beeper and leds.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Apr 09, 2017 at 05:42 AM.
Nov 24, 2016, 04:59 AM
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any opinion on a pusher config? what about box shaped drones like the owl mini? how small can you go but still be able to fly outdoors?
Nov 24, 2016, 06:39 PM
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Never seen that, but in theory it should be possible to install the hardware on a different frame and make it a pusher. However, the props will not be very efficient when run upside down, so different props would need to be sourced.

As for outdoor flying, something as small as the GW008 Skull Drone can still fly very well outside.
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Nov 25, 2016, 12:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
Never seen that, but in theory it should be possible to install the hardware on a different frame and make it a pusher. However, the props will not be very efficient when run upside down, so different props would need to be sourced.

As for outdoor flying, something as small as the GW008 Skull Drone can still fly very well outside.
You can also drill the props from the opposite side as I had to do with the nanoQX2 (by blade). the QX2 is a pusher config - but I only had standard tractor props. Drilling with a tiny pin vice drill works a treat.
Nov 25, 2016, 01:35 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Almond Joy
You can also drill the props from the opposite side as I had to do with the nanoQX2 (by blade). the QX2 is a pusher config - but I only had standard tractor props. Drilling with a tiny pin vice drill works a treat.

That might work if performed with precision. Thanks for the suggestion.
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Nov 25, 2016, 08:57 PM
FlyLikeAnEagle-LandLikeADove
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Subscribed. I have one on order. I am not looking to do any special tuning, just want to fly in angle mode, It comes with Cleanflight 1.13. Can I stick with that? Could someone provide a link to where I get the download for the correct version? I see several different things when I Goggle it, including apps. I don't have a cell phone and this app thing is kind of a mystery, Thanks.
Last edited by u2builder; Nov 26, 2016 at 07:33 AM.
Nov 26, 2016, 12:14 AM
Registered User
I have had the qx95 frsky for about a month now. Flashed betaflight and installed gemfan 65mm props. It flies great and im getting about a 300 feet range ( 2 football fields) easily.

I would like to see some prop comparisons and how the affect flight. I ordered the eachine 3 blade props and the gemfan 65mm props when i ordered the qx95.

The stock props tend to pop off at high power. I will say the stock props seemed to give the best punch out though.

The 3 blade props are trash and wont stay on and the motors seem to get hot when i use them. I tossed them in the trash.

The red gemfan 65mm props also wont stay on.

The white gemfan 65mm props stayed on for over 30 packs with multuple crashes with no problems. The props were turning green from being in the grass so much but the thing still flew great. These gave me the fastest speed and the tightest handling. I ordered 5 more sets of white props today.

On the about the 65mm sze props is that the front right props tends to hit the antenna stem. I just adjust or bend the stem over and tilt the camera back and its all good.

If there are any other good props out there i would like to know





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Nov 26, 2016, 02:09 AM
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Thanks for the info about the props. How is the balance with the white Gemfan props?
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Nov 27, 2016, 03:17 AM
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I read about the QX95 having stronger motors than the other QX series quads. Strangely enough, the motors on my QX95, QX90 and QX90C all look identical, same amount of vent holes at the top, and the only difference being the QX90C uses plugs.

Can someone clarify the differences, if there are still any? Maybe they've done the same as with the camera, use a single model for all quads, despite at first the QX90 having a different camera than the QX95.
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Nov 27, 2016, 10:37 AM
Registered User
I ordered the EX 110 which is on it's way with inbuilt DSM2 receiver .

Unfortunately, my DSM2 transmitter doesn't work anymore . Throttle channel is going crazy on it.

I do have a DSMX transmitter but it doesn't bind with a DSM2 receiver .

Is there a way to remove that inbuilt receiver from the board and could I solder a DSMX receiver instead or should I order a new board already ?
Nov 27, 2016, 11:00 AM
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LittleFish's Avatar
Does anyone have info on these props? 2 sets for $1.67. They say
Quote:
recommended motor: 2mm shaft coreless motor
But that doesn't seem right. They look something similar to BayangToys X9 props but they're bigger
http://www.tomtop.com/multicopter-pr.../p-rm6683.html
Last edited by LittleFish; Nov 27, 2016 at 11:08 AM.
Nov 27, 2016, 02:40 PM
Registered User
FWIW, I built a second QX95 with spare parts and found that spare QX95 motors and Hubsan 107C motors work well together. I have the QX95 spares in the front and the 107C motors in the rear. They also physically look identical.

Can't say whether the other QX series motors are different or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
I read about the QX95 having stronger motors than the other QX series quads. Strangely enough, the motors on my QX95, QX90 and QX90C all look identical, same amount of vent holes at the top, and the only difference being the QX90C uses plugs.

Can someone clarify the differences, if there are still any? Maybe they've done the same as with the camera, use a single model for all quads, despite at first the QX90 having a different camera than the QX95.


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