Furibee DarkMax 220 - The Ultimate Furibee 2xx size? (review, work in progress) - RC Groups
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Sep 25, 2017, 10:50 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
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Mini-Review

Furibee DarkMax 220 - The Ultimate Furibee 2xx size? (review, work in progress)


Another model in the current "wave" of new Furibee products in the 2xx size range. Quite different from the high tech looking X215 Pro, this one lives up to it's name, dark, and mysterious. Does it pay to turn to "the dark side" or is it better to stay in the light?


Update:

Seems newer versions of this quad are shipped with BetaFlight 3.2.x firmware. It could be this makes it fly different than the slightly older 3.1.7 version that my review sample came with.


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 or on your RCG blog page. 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: Additional Tuning, Modifications & Other Info (posting #2)
9: Suggestions for Improvements (posting #2)




1 - Specifications:


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



https://www.gearbest.com/brushless-f...pp_765189.html



2 - Unboxing:

Much to my surprise, and very unusual for shipments from Gearbest, the box of the DarkMax arrived with some damage.




The contents were still ok, but normally samples arrive in an extra box, so the item's box always emerged in pristine shape. Much of the contents remind me of the BFight 210, GemFan props, the quad in 2 bubble wrap bags, it felt very similar.




Btw, when you look at the motors and included prop nuts, you will find that all 4 motors are the same, all using clockwise thread. With lock nuts, it should not be needed to have counter clockwise thread on the prop nuts, to avoid the props getting loose during flight. We'll see if that theory holds when I start flying, but apparently many already succesfully use this system, and it removes the need for producing motors in 2 directions, and included 2 different types of prop nuts.



3 – Transmitter/Preparing for 1st Flight:


The flight controller comes with BetaFlight 3.1.7 installed, and some tuning seems to have been done. Here are for instance the PID settings, for all settings, a full CLI dump has been included. This dump is from the DSM-X version, as that is the version I received, because the FrSky had no stock yet, apparently.




A wire is included to connect to a receiver with pin connector, such as bundled with the XM and XM+. I decided to solder the wires directly onto the XM+ receiver that was going to be fitted to the DM220, so I took a wire with a plug that matches the FC's Sbus connector, and soldered that onto the XM+ connection pads. This picture shows all the connection on the integrated Flight Controller/VTX combo board:




All that was needed to get control response, was to change the provider from Spektrum2048 (the setting for DSM-X) to Sbus, and all channels responded. Including RSSI, since I'd flashed this XM+ to a version that supports RSSI feedback to channel 16, so the OSD can display it too. Here's how the quad looked after receiver install:










Added some flight modes, as none were set, changed the programmable leds to show green when disarmed, and red when armed, and with the option to de-activate with LedLow on one of the Aux switches.

All that remained at this point was testing failsafe, and the idle speed settings, to see if the motors will run steadily in Air Mode.




4 - Flying Performance:


All checks turned out ok, and although the sun was close to setting, I wanted to try it. At the flying spot, there was still enough light to fly LoS and FPV. First impression is that it handles well, even on 3S there is good power. There was also time for a short FPV flight, but more about that in chapter 7, which covers the FPV performance.




5 - Preliminary Verdict:


The DarkMax 220 is a nicely performing quadcopter. Even on 3S, it's no slowpoke, but it apparently really shines on 4S or higher. Anyway, the handling (with BF 3.1.7) is pretty good for a stock tune, and camera and VTX are working well too.



Pros:

- Nice strong frame with chamfered edges
- Good FPV camera
- Looks sleek and powerful
- Hanldles nicely even on stock settings


Cons:

- FPV antenna with 90 degree connector won't last long in a crash




6 - Suitable for a beginner?




(to be continued)
Last edited by SoloProFan; Nov 14, 2017 at 01:33 AM.
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Sep 25, 2017, 10:50 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
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7 - Camera & FPV Performance:


The all in one FC + VTX offers a clearly marked button to select channel and band. Small leds on the add-on VTX board show the channel and band number/character. Setting the power isn't that clear, I could find very little info on this board, so we'll get back to that later.

Camera is really nice, handles a variety of lighting conditions with relative ease, and offers a detailed and colorful picture. And this matches the overall performance of the quad:

Furibee DarkMax 220 - FPV Testing, stock PIDs, 3S 1500mAh LiPo (2 min 47 sec)



Good power, agile, but still rather smooth. It feels like flying a smaller quad, since it reacts so well to the controls. Throttle control is also very good, and a soft landing concluded the flight.



8 Additional Tuning, Modifications & Other Info



9 Suggestions for Improvements:
Last edited by SoloProFan; Nov 14, 2017 at 01:30 AM.
Sep 28, 2017, 11:40 AM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
I look forward to your thoughts, and some flight video. I will probably be getting this one soon too. I wonder how it will compare to the BFight 210 which should be arriving to me in the next couple days.
Sep 28, 2017, 03:33 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fastmax
I look forward to your thoughts, and some flight video. I will probably be getting this one soon too. I wonder how it will compare to the BFight 210 which should be arriving to me in the next couple days.

I made a short flight today, both LoS and FPV. Flies really well, clean camera image, even in low light. Rolls were rather snappy. At first comparison, it seems a little more lively than the BFight 210, but the 210 is ultra smooth.
Sep 29, 2017, 02:42 AM
Registered User
Sumfear's Avatar
Just have wayched some vids with this beast at 6s. I like how it screams...
Sep 29, 2017, 08:44 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Added first fpv video, just 3s, but already quite zippy and agile.
Oct 13, 2017, 11:18 AM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
My DarkMax should be here Monday or Tuesday, and I am very excited to get it in the air.
Oct 13, 2017, 01:39 PM
...fast but crashy...
Bongocopter's Avatar
Had to get one as it is so fast on 5S or 6S. 5S 1300mAh seems to be the sweet spot. Stew (UAV) got 99mph on 5S and 100mph on 6S. I've got some Dinogy Mega Graphene 2.0 1350mAh 75C batteries coming. 190g...could all end in tears or laughter or both...
Oct 13, 2017, 02:15 PM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bongocopter
Had to get one as it is so fast on 5S or 6S. 5S 1300mAh seems to be the sweet spot. Stew (UAV) got 99mph on 5S and 100mph on 6S. I've got some Dinogy Mega Graphene 2.0 1350mAh 75C batteries coming. 190g...could all end in tears or laughter or both...
I just watched that video and WOW!
Oct 14, 2017, 01:20 AM
Registered User
Mostly new to the hobby here, a friend got me addicted about a week back and I've been catching up on a lot of the basic technical stuff... Curious if anyone here would be familiar with the flysky X6B receiver.

Question is will this F4 board support the X6B reciever out of the box if I bought the PNP model of the darkmax 220?
--
Edit: Figured out I can just make a double ended JST SH 1.0mm 3-pin wire and should be good...
Last edited by NukaSoda; Oct 14, 2017 at 08:09 AM.
Oct 17, 2017, 12:49 PM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Is there something special I need to do to get this to talk to a Flysky PPM RX? I received a Frsky BNF, removed the Frsky RX, soldered a matching plug onto one of my Flysky RX's plugged it in, it bound right away with no issues, I switched to PPM RX in Betaflight config, and I still get no stick movements in the receiver tab. Never had an issue like this before. Am I missing something simple?

EDIT- Ok, I figured it out. I had to turn off LED_Strip in the configuration tab. With it on, I had zero communication between the radio and the quad. As soon as it was turned off everything started working normally.
Last edited by fastmax; Oct 17, 2017 at 02:02 PM.
Oct 17, 2017, 05:02 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
I rarely use PPM. Some small FlySky receivers don't have FailSafe on PPM, only on ibus. Also, there should in theory be less latency with sbus/ibus.

Shame you don't live next door, I could always use an extra FrSky rx.
Oct 20, 2017, 09:42 AM
Newbie || Furibee Darkmax
Hi @SoloProFan! Thanks for your review so far. Do you already have some insights for tuning the darkmax? Any vibrations/oscillations noticable?

I'm looking forward to receiving mine in the next weeks
Oct 20, 2017, 10:15 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrizFPV
Hi @SoloProFan! Thanks for your review so far. Do you already have some insights for tuning the darkmax? Any vibrations/oscillations noticable?

I'm looking forward to receiving mine in the next weeks

Mine flies great. Would consider it as high ranking in my current 2xx size top 5.
Oct 21, 2017, 11:04 AM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
I absolutely love my DarkMax. It is, at this point, my favorite 2xxmm quad that I have flown. I had an absolute blast with it yesterday on my new Tattu 4s batteries. I didn't realize how tired my old Turnigy 4s packs were until I flew with these new packs. The difference was like going from 3s to 4s.

Have batteries charging now, and will be heading out for some more flying in just a few


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