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Jan 28, 2018, 01:40 PM
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Modifying the ViFly R130 Drone (+ Quelima SQ12 HD MiniCam)

List of contents:

1: Jumping head-first into the world of FPV
2: Purchasing My First Acro Drone
3: First Flights Compilation
4: Fixing a Battery Disconnect
5: Drone Fire (White Smoke)
6: Replacement 4-in-1 ESC
7: Replacing a Motor
8: Selecting Props
9: Adding an HD Camera

ViFly Drone 4S 850mah Raw Footage - Power and Range (4 min 55 sec)

1: Jumping head-first into the world of FPV

As a drone newbie I thought that I would share my experience of fvp freestyle for those that may be interested. In October 2017 I decided to purchase a racing drone and did not want to build one nor have to do anything too technical. However, within a couple of months I was taking apart, soldering and generally tinkering with my drone while looking to make improvements.

I got a lot of helpful information from my cousin who had already managed to rewire his brain for first person viewing. He had also built several drones so he got me up to speed with the basics very quickly. Prior to deciding to go acro, I owned a Hubsan X4 H107C and I tried also out the Bugs 3 and Bugs 6 drones which gave me some experience of the increased power and 'stabilised' mode.

2: Purchasing My First Acro Drone

I purchased the ViFly R130 v1 BNF, Jumper T8GS controller and VRD2 Pro Goggles from A close competitor to the ViFly R130 at the time was the Rodeo 110 but I fancied the 4S capability of the ViFy.
(I got version 1 but I did upgrade the 4-in-1 ESC as explained later with waterproof coating and better placement of the battery extension lead)
(A compact and versatile controller which I have set-up to use with LiftOff, Hubsan and ViFly R130)
(I got a free replacement set from UnmannedTech as the first had a faulty DVR. No problems since)

I chose Unmannedtech, as being a UK supplier they could support me if I had any questions or needed replacement parts. They have been very helpful and I shall explain more while discussing the modifications I've made. With next day delivery and at very similar prices there was no reason to buy direct from China.

3: First Flights Compilation

Despite being a similar size, I quickly discovered that the ViFly is way more powerful than the Hubsan! With the weather being wet and with me being scared, I played several hours of LiftOff with my Jumper TSG835 to get used to fpv flying in acro mode. It was very easy to set-up the Jumper to work with the ViFly, LiftOff simulator and Hubsan.

Here is a compilation of my first few flights with stock PIDs and DAL props minus the crashes.

Flights tended to last around 3:30 mins and there was some jello at the top end but very easy to learn acro after mastering stabalised and horizon mode. The ViFly was also very robust as I had numerous small crashes.

4: Fixing a Battery Disconnect

I unwittingly tested the durability of the ViFly when I had my first battery disconnect at around 100ft. There was no damage to the drone which was probably helped by the soft grass below.

I had upgraded the props to RaceKraft 3041 which gave me much better control at the bottom end and significantly more punch but also drained the lipos at around 3:30 mins. They were also very noisy being quad blade propellers but I don't blame then for the battery disconnect.

TIP: The ViFly v2 is fitted with a battery extension lead that stops pressure being put on the connector and also the ESC board. (See picture below) You can fix a loose batter connector by widening the pins on the XT30 as in the video url below.

TIP: Even the new connector on the ESC board can split as I found in the pictures below. However, a simple tie has rectified this and I've had no problems since

TIP: In the video above you will notice that some of the footage was out of focus. I did not realise that the camera lens was adjustable and would turn when I cleaned the lens between flights. Once you refocus the lens, some super-glue to fix the lens to the rubber casing will solve that problem :-)

5: Drone Fire (White Smoke)

I had my first major issue in December 2017 when the ESC caught fire. I am still unsure what the cause was but as usual I plugged a lipo into the drone after a number of flights. I then armed the motors and suddenly a fire burst into life (white smoke) from the ESC board. I managed to put the fire out by waving the drone around and dropping it. I then disconnected the battery and then waited for everything to cool down before assessing the damage. The pictures below show the fire damage and burnt out ESC. I emailed pictures and an explanation to Unmannedtech who after speaking with ViFly promptly agreed to send me a new 4-in-1 ESC.

Possible Causes:
Water or grass on the ESC
Faulty motor
Faulty XT30 battery connection
Something else?

6: Replacement ESC

The new 4-in-1 ESC provided free of charge arrived in a few days. It was very easy to fit as it just plugs in and no soldering is required. However, when I armed my drone (briefly) I found that 2 motors were twitching so contacted Unmannedtech again.

TIP: The new 4-in-1 ESC is supplied with the VIFly v2 and has a XT30 extension lead as well as being coated with a waterproof gel. These would solve two of my previous problems.

7: Replacement Motors

As usual UnmannedTech were very helpful and agreed to send me 2 replacement motors but did warn me that I would need to solder them myself unless I sent the drone back to them. As I was keen to fly before the Christmas break I borrowed my dad's antique but trusty soldering iron and after looking at YouTube managed to solder the motors on with little trouble when they arrived. After fitting the 2 new motors the ViFly armed with no trouble at all and I have not had an issue since.

TIP: If you are very careful you do not need to completely dismantle the drone.....although I did (and have done several times since). It is fairly easy to dismantle the drone but be patient and keep a spare box to house the screws temporarily.

8: Selecting Props

The original stock DAL props were very sturdy but inefficient and noisy with a fair amount of jello.

RaceKraft 3041 - these were a significant upgrade; a beast with great bottom end control. Although I suspected they were quite inefficient being 4 blade props they lasted at least as long as the original DAL props and are just as sturdy. The punch-out power was an impressive set-up from the DAL props and the noise sounded great although quite frightening to casual walkers with a huge roaring sound as if the air is being split apart.. The jello was also less noticeable and only apparent at the top end.

RaceKraft 3076 - I expected so much from these 3 blade props. However, they are not well made and had imperfections upon delivery. They are also not as crash resistant as the first two props above. They were more prone to jello unless absolutely balanced which was hard as I crash a lot. Although the performance was similar I was surprised to find that I preferred the 3041s.

Gemfan 3052 - These are the stock props for v2 of the ViFly R130. They are fantastic; as sturdy as the RaceKraft 3041s and just as powerful with the same control at the bottom end. Best of all, they are significantly the quietest of the 4 propellers and the best punch-out.

TIP: I have eliminated much of the jello with PID tuning and adding Gemfan props. However, there is still some jello as a result of the rubber casing around the camera lens.

9: Adding an HD Camera

After a lot of research I decided to purchase the Quelima SQ12 HD Camera. To fit the camera to the ViFly I decided to first put the battery on the bottom so as to leave space on the top metal bracket. The stand that comes with the Quelima can be tied to the metal bracket and the swivel head allows you to choose your angle of tilt (just like the fpv camera). The set-up can be seen in the pictures below.

I am very happy with the results as the fov is wider than the stock camera and the picture is much sharper. There is far less jello (almost none with a good tune) that with the stock camera (the stock camera shakes against the rubber casing that surrounds it). However, the colours are not as bright as on the stock CMOS camera, nor is the frame rate as fast but it a great cheap option. I picked one up from Banggood for 10 so I won't mind losing it in a crash as much as a Mobius or Runcam.

TOP TIP If you open the camera there are 2 small bit of metal that can be removed to reduce weight.
TIP Increase the iGain to compensate for the battery shifting to the bottom.
TIP Use brightly coloured ties and attach some bright tape to the camera. It is very difficult to find the small black box if it separates from the drone in a crash.

19 January 2018
First flight with 23g hd camera on top (on a 3S!!)

ViFly R130: First test with Quelima SQ12 HD Camera (0 min 54 sec)
Last edited by TinkleWid; Apr 27, 2018 at 07:15 AM. Reason: Update with new props section
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