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Jan 06, 2017, 10:49 AM
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Mini-Review

Rodeo 110 - Walkera's Smallest Brushless FPV Racer Yet! (Review, work in progress)


After a rather positive experience with the Rodeo 150, seeing a smaller brushless FPV racer being announced by Walkera, was a nice surprise. The 150 wasn't perfect, the camera and FPV transmitter weren't the best, and the plastic frame made it somewhat fragile. But flying performance and out of the box tuning were really nice. Will the Rodeo 110 be able to correct the things that weren't so good on the 150, but in a smaller form?



Disclaimer: I don't get paid, or in any other way make money with reviews like these. Product specifications and quality may vary at the manufacturer's discretion, and are beyond my influence. I cannot guarantee you will get a product that performs exactly the same as seen and described in this review. There is always room for a general discussion on the reviewed item, feel free to comment, but if you are planning to add a long review instead of some summarizing remarks, it would be appreciated to put these in a new review topic. And please, no affiliate links!

Note: When clicking a link that is posted in this review, some text or numbers might be added to the link, making it appear to be an affiliate link. However, all links I post in the review are clean, and this addition is done automatically by your browser and forum software, so sadly beyond my influence. If you don’t want this to happen, copy the link, then paste in an address line of a fresh browser window/tab.



For easy navigation, here's a list of contents:

1: Specifications (posting #1)
2: Unboxing (posting #1)
3: Transmitter/Preparing for 1st Flight (posting #1)
4: Flying Performance (posting #1)
5: Preliminary Verdict (posting #1)
6: Suitable for a Beginner? (posting #1)
7: Camera & FPV Performance (posting #2)
8: Hints, Tips & Modifications (posting #2)
9: Suggestions for Improvements (posting #2)




1 - Specifications:


First, let's start with a link and a picture,



http://www.banggood.com/Walkera-Rode...p-1111956.html



2 - Unboxing:

The Rodeo 110 comes in the same size box as the 150, almost cubic shaped, with a carrying handle, except this time in black instead of white.




The reason for this rather large box quickly becomes apparent, the Devo 7 transmitter. Somehow, in their wisdom (?) Walkera decided to cripple the Devo 7E, by limiting it's RF power. As result, when they have to assemble an RTF set, the Devo 7 is the cheapest transmitter offering full range, and thus gets bundled, even with something as small as the Rodeo 110.

When opening the box, the Rodeo 110 is directly visible, well protected in foam:




The quad comes fully assembled, with props installed, and looks really nice:





3 – Transmitter/Preparing for 1st Flight:

The RTF Rodeo 110 comes, like the 150, with the Devo 7 transmitter. Don't confuse it with the compact Devo 7E, the "regular 7" is a bulky full size transmitter. It's got good range, but not everyone may like it's size and weight, since it needs 8 (!) AA cells to run. I still feel Walkera should bundle a more compact, but still full-range, transmitter with their smaller RTF stuff. Like create a new version of the 7E, without the reduced RF output power. This would also allow the box to be much smaller, so less waste.

There isn't much need to setup anything before the first flight. The 110 is running a modified version of Betaflight, labeled 0.3.3. However, when trying to connect to Betaflight configuration app, the firmware is not recognized as compatible, and you can only access the CLI mode. Using Cleanflight configurator, it's possible to check some settings. The only thing I did was perform an accelerometer calibration. Checking on the receiver tab, I found pitch, roll and yaw to be at around 1510, with sticks centered. As quick fix, because I haven't checked yet how to access subtrim menu on the Devo 7, this was fixed with a few clicks of trim. For a quick test, that would do, as I only intended to fly Angle mode, and maybe a little Horizon mode, on the first flight. But it is recommended to either change the stick center value in the flight controller settings, to 1510, or use the subtrim function of the Devo 7, to get a 1500 value reported with sticks centered.

The only other thing I changed, was to assign the beeper to Aux2, so it would be easier to retrieve the quad, should it crash somewhere on the field.






4 - Flying Performance:


Despite cloudy weather, there wasn't any rain, so nothing was in the way of a first flight. After connecting the battery and powering up the transmitter, both auto-bind, and the quad was ready to go. Arming is the opposite of what most RTF quads use, hold left stick (mode 2) bottom left to arm, and bottom right to disarm.

The quad is nicely solid in hover, and rates are ok, though not very fast. But that should be easy to adjust, either with travel adjust on the transmitter, or with RC-rates on the flight controller. Power is nice for a 2S setup, and the quad was easy to track LoS, despite being so small. The bright front led doesn't really help much with keeping orientation, as it's only visible with the quad hovering, or up rather high. When pitched forward, and flying at lower altitude, you can't see the led.

For more details on how it handles with stock settings, in LoS, please check this video:

Rodeo 110 - First flight, stock settings (2 min 12 sec)




Update 31 january 2017:

One thing that becomes apparent when flying the Rodeo 110 in Angle Mode, is that the max allowed forward pitch, much like the Rodeo 150, is not as deep as you'd expect. With full forward pitch and full throttle, it easily gains altitude, meaning it should be able to sustain more forward tilt, and thus gain more speed, instead of climbing. When looking at the CLI Dump, it became apparent that the max_angle_inclination value was a bit low. This setting defines the max allowed tilt in Angle Mode, and default values are usually between 500 (Racer 130) and 700 (X220 Wizard) but the Rodeo 110 was set to 380. After increasing this value to 500, the quad became faster:

Walkera Rodeo 110 - New test flight after increasing max_angle_inclination value (2 min 53 sec)






5 - Preliminary Verdict:


The Rodeo 110 is in many ways a "shrunk" Rodeo 150. Great punch and agility, but also much more stable than you would expect from such a small quadcopter. The LVC kicks in a little early with the stock battery, with high performance after-market batteries this apparently is much better. The led at the front is a nice touch, though you have to be flying high enough to spot it, when flying fast forward LoS.

Sadly Walkera didn't learn from the mistakes made with the Rodeo's 150 weakness, the camera. Still rather blurry compared to the small cameras used on smaller FPV multirotors, so it's a shame they didn't make some progress with this, when they designed the Rodeo 110.

Still it's a great compact brushless flyer, and it also looks really neat and different. The big bulky radio that you get with the RTF may not appeal to everyone, especially since it relies on 8 AA cells for power, in stock form. But it does have good control and range. Though a compact Deviation TX compatible type, with the same range, might suit this small quad better.



Pros:

- Good power
- Stable but still agile handling
- Nice design
- Easy to replace battery
- CF frame
- Smooth running brushless motors



Cons:

- FPV camera has less than optimal image quality
- Big and heavy radio for such a small quad
- Front led not well visible if quad is flying low




6 - Suitable for a beginner?




(to be continued)
Last edited by SoloProFan; Feb 02, 2017 at 01:51 PM.
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Jan 06, 2017, 10:49 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
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7 - Camera & FPV Performance:

The Rodeo 150 had the camera as it's weak point, being somewhat fuzzy, lacking detail. While Walkera had the opportunity for redemption on this aspect with the 110, they missed this opportunity, and the camera on the 110 has the same shortcomings.

The VTX is a bit unorthodox to operate as for channel selection. On low power, it only offers 1 band, only after switching to high power mode, more bands become available.

Apart from the "soft focus" camera, the light handling and color rendition are quite good. There are some electrical noise lines, but overal the image is good enough to keep orientation. Still, it would be nice if Walkera would manage to improve the camera on newer batches of the Rodeo 110.

Anyway, here's a short sample of the camera quality, with the quad flown LoS:

Walkera Rodeo 110 - Footage from onboard camera (2 min 22 sec)




8 - Hints, Tips & Modifications:



9 – Suggestions for Improvements:
Last edited by SoloProFan; Feb 02, 2017 at 01:50 PM.
Jan 06, 2017, 11:33 AM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Subscribed! Mine should be here Monday, and I can't wait! Looking forward to hearing how you like it.
Latest blog entry: Hobbymate X130 Build & Review
Jan 08, 2017, 07:20 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fastmax
Subscribed! Mine should be here Monday, and I can't wait! Looking forward to hearing how you like it.

LoS video is currently uploading.
Jan 08, 2017, 07:58 AM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Great! Looking forward to it.
Latest blog entry: Hobbymate X130 Build & Review
Jan 08, 2017, 08:37 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Video added.
Jan 08, 2017, 03:35 PM
Epilepsy Awareness
Chap1012's Avatar
Nice vid Henk. WOW that sucker is fast. Your piloting skills with these quads are awesome Bud

Mike.
Jan 08, 2017, 03:42 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chap1012
Nice vid Henk. WOW that sucker is fast. Your piloting skills with these quads are awesome Bud

Mike.

Thanks for the praise, Mike. It's indeed fast for it's size, though I think it could be even faster with some higher rates. I've flown faster ones recently and you get used to speed and agility really fast. When comparing vids I've made a while ago, I notice that quads I considered "really fast" when I started with flying, I would now give a much slower ranking.
Jan 08, 2017, 04:24 PM
Oldie, not Moldie
Ssayer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
Thanks for the praise, Mike. It's indeed fast for it's size, though I think it could be even faster with some higher rates. I've flown faster ones recently and you get used to speed and agility really fast. When comparing vids I've made a while ago, I notice that quads I considered "really fast" when I started with flying, I would now give a much slower ranking.
Yeah, and what I thought was really good battery life has gotten considerably worse for the same reason.
Jan 08, 2017, 06:51 PM
Registered User
How long does the battery last?

Thanks
Jan 08, 2017, 06:58 PM
Registered User
Merch's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoide
How long does the battery last?

Thanks
I can get near 6min on the nano tech 850mah but on the stock battery around 5,maybe the stock battery is a little under the weather
Jan 08, 2017, 07:21 PM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merch
I can get near 6min on the nano tech 850mah but on the stock battery around 5,maybe the stock battery is a little under the weather
Thanks!
Jan 09, 2017, 12:43 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoide
How long does the battery last?

Thanks
Quote:
Originally Posted by Merch
I can get near 6min on the nano tech 850mah but on the stock battery around 5,maybe the stock battery is a little under the weather

Haven't timed flights yet, but LVC beeper comes on pretty quick. I found out why, I think. When looking at the CLI dump file, the warning is set on 3.7 volts, and critical level on 3.5 volts. Normally these settings are 3.5 and 3.3 volts. After a flight, my battery is at 3.80 volts, so about storage level, instead of resting voltage at 3.7 volts. So I will reduce these settings, and see if I can postpone the loud LVC beeper till the battery is really almost empty, instead is leaving still a lot of power left in it. 3.80 volts roughly means about 40% still left in the battery, while it can be safely discharged to 15 to 20% without any extra stress for the battery.

The Nanotech will probably hold voltage better under load, and thus allow an extra minute of flight. Did you check what voltage the battery has after the flight? I think the Nanotech will be closer to 3.70 volts when resting after flight, than the stock battery.
Jan 09, 2017, 04:42 AM
Registered User
Ok,about the big tx, it is not just walkera problem. Even the taranis look ridiculous when flying a tinywhoop.
Jan 09, 2017, 04:43 AM
Registered User
Merch's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoloProFan
Haven't timed flights yet, but LVC beeper comes on pretty quick. I found out why, I think. When looking at the CLI dump file, the warning is set on 3.7 volts, and critical level on 3.5 volts. Normally these settings are 3.5 and 3.3 volts. After a flight, my battery is at 3.80 volts, so about storage level, instead of resting voltage at 3.7 volts. So I will reduce these settings, and see if I can postpone the loud LVC beeper till the battery is really almost empty, instead is leaving still a lot of power left in it. 3.80 volts roughly means about 40% still left in the battery, while it can be safely discharged to 15 to 20% without any extra stress for the battery.

The Nanotech will probably hold voltage better under load, and thus allow an extra minute of flight. Did you check what voltage the battery has after the flight? I think the Nanotech will be closer to 3.70 volts when resting after flight, than the stock battery.

No i did not check the voltage and i doubt i will be able to do any outside flying for a while to test the batteries even more because there is an arctic blast heading our way,bring on the snow and out with the RC truck


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