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Nov 09, 2018, 03:25 AM
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Mini-Review

Skystars Baby Turtle 145mm DVR (Build Log + Review)


Another new Skystars release, both available as kit (should be in stock about now) or PNP (expected dec 2018 at soonest).


Update 5 april 2019:

During this build, very little information was available, but later a few instruction manuals were released by Gearbest. One gives info on the flight controller stack that is used, and the other shows the building process. Both files can be found attached to the second message in this thread.



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 written review, instead of some summarizing remarks or a single video, 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: Building & Preparing for 1st Flight (posting #1)
4: Flying Performance (posting #1)
5: Camera & FPV Performance (posting #1)
6: Suitable for a Beginner? (posting #1)
7: Preliminary Verdict (posting #1)
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:



Frame Kit Specifications:
● Wheelbase: 145mm
● Arm Plate Thickness: 3mm
● TOP and Bottom Plate Thickness: 1.5mm
● Side Plate Thickness: 1.5mm
● Material: 3k Carbon Fiber
Flight Controller Specifications:
● Micro F4 Flight Control Board ( D-Shot Version)
● MPU: MPU6000-SPI
● CPU: STM32F405RGT6, dual 8K.
● Built-in Betaflight OSD to adjust PID
● BEC Output: 5V 3A
● Size: 25 x 25mm board
● Installing Hole: 20 x 20mm, mounting holes (M2)
● Support Subs / PPM / DSMX receiver
ESC Specifications:
● 20A 2 - 4S Blhelis 4 in 1 ESC
● Input Voltage: 2S LiPo battery
● Constant Current: 20A
● Peak Current: 28A
● BEC Output: NO
● Firmware: BLhelis
● Size: 27 x 27mm (main board) 27x31mm ( including pad)
● Installing Hole: 20 x 20mm, M2
● MOS Tube: TOP QUALITY MOSFET
● Support Damped Mode, Oneshot125, Oneshot42, Multishot, Dshot150 / 300 / 600, forward and reverse
FPV Transmitter Specifications:
● Mini FPV Transmitter
● Output power: 25mW / 100mW / 200mW switchable
● Control mode:button OR Channel changes
● BAT: 7 - 26V, BEC 5V 1A
● Video system: NTSC / PAL
● Frequency: 5.8GHz 5 bands 40channels, with Raceband: 5645-5945 MHZ
Motor Specifications:
● 1408KV 3800, race edition
Camera Specifications:
● Brand name: RunCam
● Item number: Split Mini 2
● Field of View(FOV): FPV FOV 130 degree / Recording FOV 165 degree
● Video Resolution: 1080 60fps / 1080 30fps / 720 60fps
● Video File Format: MOV
● Image Resolution: 2 MP
● TV Mode: NTSC (720 x 480) / PAL (720 x 576) Switchable
● Interface : Micro USB / UART
● Max Micro SD Card Supported: 64G(need Class 6 or above, recommend Class 10 / UHS-I / UHS-II / UHS-III)
● Hole Distance of Installation: 20 x 20mm
● Dimensions: PCB 29 x 29mm / Lens Module 19 x 19mm
● Power Input: DC 5-20V
● Working Current: 650mA 5V / 270mA 12V
Buzzer Specifications:
● LED X2 BBX1
Antenna Specifications:
● Brass Antenna
Without battery and remote controller


Biggest feature seems to be the onboard HD video recording.

https://www.gearbest.com/brush-fpv-r...109745915.html (non-affiliate, as usual)



2 - Unboxing:

SkyStars seems to consider themselves a gift, as the black box is labeled with "your present":




This "present" did arrive a bit mangled, though:




However the contents seem unharmed:






Apart from this, there is also a sticker sheet, but no manual, or any other documentation on flight controller and VTX.

For those who are considering just getting the frame to install their own electronics, this weighs 33.75g with all screws and standoffs included.



3 – Building & Preparing for 1st Flight:

Well, hoping this will change in the future, and it due to this being an early produced unit, but there is no manual or any documentation inside the box, except whats bundled with the RunCam Split unit. There is a neat sticker sheet though, but unless that contains some hidden info, in the form of a micro-fiche with the quad's blueprints, I'd rather have traded it in for at least an overview of the flight controller and VTX, and a picture or exploded view, how to mount the boards, and route the wiring.

The FC and VTX combo stack do look a lot like the one used on the Helifar Turtles 135, so that might give me some clues on how for instance to orient the ESC, and get the right motor connected to the right output, without having to do any resource remapping. Apparently the Baby Turtle 145 is just the Helifar Turtles 135 with stretched center part, to accept the extra board from the RunCam Split, and bigger motors, to help provide enough power to lift the extra weight.

The FC comes with an older version of BetaFlight, 3.2.4 release, and seems to have had very little, if any, settings changed from defaults. PIDs are default for instance, which is often a sign very little time was invested in setting it up properly. Nevertheless, a full CLI dump of the stock settings can be found attached to the second message in this thread, in case it might be needed to revert back to original settings.


But first, "some assembly" is required. Starting with the frame, which on the bottom part is made with 2 arms, that are attached to the bottom of the lower plate, screws being held in place by the standoffs. The front of the bottom plate has a few cutouts, to accept the camera pod, so you can use that to determine which is front side. The motors are 1408 3800kv type, and are only clockwise thread, with locking nuts. So far to good, but no one as SkyStars seems to have realized that because the ESC isn't mounted in the center, the front motor wires need to be longer than the rear ones. So we run into this...




So time to dig into the spares bin, and source some extension wires coming from other motors, and use these to "bridge the gap":




Speaking of bridges, before installing the FC, some solder bridges had to be made on the bottom side. Luckily during the review I had found that the "Turtles family" seems to use the Spedix IS100 or IS200 stack. And in another thread, someone was kind enough to post a picture showing what each solder bridge was controlling:




Since the RunCam Split needs quite a bit more power than the average FPV camera, due to the recording board, and takes 5-20V, it seemed better to select battery voltage to be supplied to the camera. 5V was selected for the VTX, and the receiver, since I intend to use XM+ receiver.

Nick Burns made a video of what seems to be the same FC, or a "close relative", so this screenshot I captured from his video, probably shows what each connector and pin is for:




Motor wires were soldered onto the extensions, and FC preliminarily mounted, to verify ESC and motor operations. But before that, it's smart to check for continuity between each of the ESC outputs and ground, taking a motor screw as ground point. This to rule out accidentally making a short somewhere. When checking the battery connector, don't be alarmed if at first you hear a continuity beep, as that could be the capacitators charging up. If you check again right after that, you should not hear it.

Turned out 2 motors were already running the right direction, the rotation of the 2 other motors was fixed using BL Heli Configurator. Other ESC settings and firmware were left stock. The motors ran very smoothly when testing with the motor control tab in BetaFlight, so finally something really positive to report.

Flight controller was secured on the stack, making sure to use the right size of stand offs. At first glance these might seem all the same size, but 8 are a bit shorter, and 4 are a bit taller. The short ones should be used between the FC and VTX, since that distance is fixed, due to the 6 pin connector between FC and VTX. The other can be installed where you want, though I followed the same order as on the Turtles 135, short ones between FC and frame, and the taller ones between FC and ESC. This will give the 8 wire ribbon cable that connects ESC and FC more space, instead of risking being jammed between components on the two boards.

When you install the FC as on the pictures, make sure you set the yaw orientation to 180 degrees, as the FC is mounted with the arrow pointing to the back of the quad! Otherwise a first flight will not last very long...






During assembly of the stack, I ran into more problems, this time with the VTX. It just would not give a steady signal. A badly soldered antenna wire was a possible cause, but when trying to remove the antenna to solder it back on, the pad where the antenna was soldered onto, came off with the antenna. So a different VTX had to be sourced, and this was finally settled for an Eachine VTX03S, which has different power settings, and Smart Audio. Since space was tight, and I would likely not at some point try re-installe a new stock VTX, the connection pins were cut from the FC.

The RunCam Split 2 board was installed as well, and wired up to the VTX connection pads on the FC, with voltage set to battery voltage. In this stage, the frame looked like this:








After verifying all was working, and connecting the free Smart Audio wire from the Eachine VTX to the TX pad of UART3, making sure in BetaFlight it was configured to be associated with Smart Audio, the final parts of the frame were assembled:






And with props installed:









4 - Flying Performance:



Fitst flight was short, as it was done in a limited area, but the quad was very stable in hover, with very little noise, and good throttle response.



5 - Camera & FPV Performance:


Since the original VTX got damage in the attempts to make it work, the FPV performance might not be totally indicative of the stock setup. So the main focus will be on the on board DVR recording and the overall flying performance. Here's a video of the first FPV flight, recorded with DVR screen on top of the car.

SkyStars Baby Turtle 145DVR - First FPV flight, recorded on ground station (2 min 18 sec)



There is some VTX noise, which might require a capacitator to improve this. Power and throttle response are very good, and the motors are rather silent, no rough noises here. The stock PIDs, which are BetaFlight defaults, don't show any massive oscillations, though there is clearly audible and also visible propwash in fast yaw turns. Some tuning will hopefully fix this.


Update 13 december 2018:

Finally weather and time permitted another test flight. This time with SD card in the RunCam Split Mini 2 DVR board. When powering up, the recording starts automatically, as can be observed from the blue led on the front left of the board blinking, and also in the OSD of the FPV signal, you will see a red dot in the upper right corner of the image, blinking as well. The recordings are with sounds, but even on a not too windy day, the sound isn't that much fun to listen too. Maybe some muffling material over the microphone, to reduce wind noises, and such, might help here.

Anyway, here's the first outdoor video I made, with stock settings on the RunCam Split, which seem to be 1080 @60FPS, so expect large files. This clip was over 500Mb. On next flight I might play some with the settings, see how it does on 720 @60FPS.

SkyStars Baby Turtle 145DVR - Video recorded with onboard RunCam Split Mini 2 DVR (2 min 27 sec)





6 - Suitable for a beginner?





7 - Preliminary Verdict:






Pros:

- Motors run smoothly
- Comes with 2 full sets of props
- Frame parts fit well together
- Some extra bit 'n pieces like tie wraps
- Onboard video recordings crisp and smooth
- Good power, even on 3S


Cons:

- Motor wires not long enough for front motors to reach ESC board
- No manual or any other documentation to help with assembly and setup
- No tuning or other setup done on FC
- Stand offs and some screws need to be cut to size


(to be continued)
Last edited by SoloProFan; Apr 04, 2019 at 05:27 PM.
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Nov 13, 2018, 02:50 AM
(͡ ͜ʖ ͡)(͡ ͜ʖ ͡)(͡ ͜ʖ ͡)
JohnCC's Avatar
Looks nice and appears to have a runcam mini split 2.

Lots of questions of course about this one in actuality so I'll be watching this space.
Nov 13, 2018, 02:52 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnCC
Looks nice and appears to have a runcam mini split 2.

Lots of questions of course about this one in actuality so I'll be watching this space.

Don't hold your breath, despite it being in stock, it hasn't shipped, or maybe not even ordered yet...

I must admit it looks nice, the frame shape should make for a clean "no props in view" video. And the Turtles 135 was quite nice, only let down by a limited VTX imho.


Edit: just got tracking number. Apparently the automatic mail to notify me of an order being shipped, was never sent, making it appear that nothing was happening...
Last edited by SoloProFan; Nov 13, 2018 at 04:50 AM.
Nov 17, 2018, 02:31 AM
I'm man like flight as a bird
ONCLEFLY's Avatar
I see him, great with the Runcam Split Mini 2 for this price and a clown of Iflight.
I pay the 10$ for him.
Nov 17, 2018, 02:45 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
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Thread OP
I just hope this parcel won't be stolen by another dishonest delivery guy, who claims having it delivered, but nothing ever arrived here. That's what likely happened to my iFlight sample, that I should have received months ago. Mail company refuses to show me who signed for it, they say it's "case closed" when the box "delivered' is checked, and on paper the parcel was delivered. So when I say I never got it, they basically accuse me of lying, even though they should prove that it was delivered. Combine that reluctance to show proof with the info I got from a local sorting centre that recently a person was fired because of intercepting parcels with "interesting" content, such as smartphones, and I have a pretty good idea where that DVR capable Iflight quadcopter sample went...

And then we're not even talking about a parcel with 3 quads, that they also lied about, that supposedly 3 delivery attempts were made, but all 3 times no one was home, when I can prove someone was home the entire day, and then no note was left in the mailbox, which should have been done when a delivery fails, so I wasn't triggered to ask at the local sorting centre for my parcel. Then, after 2 weeks expired, the parcel was supposedly returned to the sender, but it never arrived there. I'm beginning to think these 3 quadcopters suffered the same fate as the iFlight sample, just either another dishonest person, or the same person, but using a different approach to steal the parcel...

Total "tally" would then be 4 quadcopters in 6 months lost, presumably stolen.
Last edited by SoloProFan; Nov 17, 2018 at 02:50 AM.
Nov 17, 2018, 03:32 AM
I'm man like flight as a bird
ONCLEFLY's Avatar
Thin a dishonest delivery and a thief.
Nov 17, 2018, 04:06 AM
monkeymagic
QuadifyRC.com's Avatar
Just a quick note. Last time I saw this they had it on promo for $126. The runcam split mini 2 is $60-$70 so yeah, seems like a bit of a deal.
Nov 17, 2018, 04:11 AM
I'm man like flight as a bird
ONCLEFLY's Avatar
Yes 126$ and now 136$, I don't know why ?
Nov 17, 2018, 05:58 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by ONCLEFLY
Yes 126$ and now 136$, I don't know why ?

Prices go up and down all the time, as they often put new things on flash sale right from the start, even before it's physically present in the warehouse. Also, if something is highly anticipated, often prices go up, and down as soon as first reviews are not that positive. Let's say that prices are very dynamic at times.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Nov 17, 2018, 06:02 AM
I'm man like flight as a bird
ONCLEFLY's Avatar
Thank you.
Nov 17, 2018, 01:01 PM
Registered User
chrys_burge's Avatar
On GB there is a PNP version and a Kit version.
Is the kit version truely come in kit form and we build it from the ground up?
Nov 17, 2018, 01:05 PM
Time For Me To Fly!
fastmax's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrys_burge
On GB there is a PNP version and a Kit version.
Is the kit version truely come in kit form and we build it from the ground up?
If it is like the other Skystars kits then yes, it will need to be built, soldered etc.
Nov 17, 2018, 02:56 PM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrys_burge
On GB there is a PNP version and a Kit version.
Is the kit version truely come in kit form and we build it from the ground up?

KIt means building, PNP means installing receiver, BnF means bind and fly. SkyStars is no different.
Latest blog entry: For the love of the hobby!
Nov 17, 2018, 03:41 PM
I'm man like flight as a bird
ONCLEFLY's Avatar
The Components are for 4S true.

Yes, for me the composments is sure for 2S, 3S and 4S, because the motors and ESC.

20A 2 - 4S Blhelis 4 in 1 ESC -----> 4S
Input Voltage: 2S LiPo battery
● Constant Current: 20A
● Peak Current: 28A
● BEC Output: NO
● Firmware: BLhelis
● Size: 27 x 27mm (main board) 27x31mm ( including pad)
● Installing Hole: 20 x 20mm, M2
● MOS Tube: TOP QUALITY MOSFET
● Support Damped Mode, Oneshot125, Oneshot42, Multishot, Dshot150 / 300 / 600, forward and reverse

1408KV 3800, race edition ---> 4S

The Runcam Split mini have a good audio and nice pictures.

Mini FPV Transmitter
● Output power: 25mW / 100mW / 200mW switchable
● Control mode:button OR Channel changes
● BAT: 7 - 26V, BEC 5V 1A
● Video system: NTSC / PAL
● Frequency: 5.8GHz 5 bands 40channels, with Raceband: 5645-5945 MHZ

I don't know if is have the audio and smarth audio too.


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