Graupner USA - Sweeper Droneball!

What happens when you turn a quadcopter into a soccer ball? Fun, fun and more fun! Here is my review...

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Droneball SWEEPER - A Ball of Fun!

When Mannie from Graupner USA contacted me about the new Sweeper Droneball I immediately called Jason Cole. We were receiving a pair to try out. We had some questions that only flying the Sweeper Droneball could answer. With the weight of the outer shell would it have enough power? How tough would the Droneball actually be and how much fun would it really be in a real-world scenario?

The good news is that we have answers to all those questions and more!

About the Droneball

The Sweeper Droneball is a drone in the shape of a ball. The propellers, battery, and electronics are securely protected by a high density but very flexible frame that can withstand head to head collisions against objects or other Sweeper drones.

While in pieces the ball exoskeleton seems stiff, when you put it all together it is very bouncy and flexible. You can see it in action in our video.

RCGroups Hangout - Graupner Droneball Post Flight Review (53 min 6 sec)

The Facts

  • Cost - $349.90
  • Link to Droneball page.
  • Rotor Diameter Distance -170 mm
  • Ball Frame Diameter - 300 mm
  • Weight - 706 grams
  • Type - RTF

From Graupner

The core of the SWEEPER is around a newly designed flight controller, 4in1 speed controller and powerful motors. The SWEEPER can be flown in mild or wild mode depending on your experience. It has a very wide flight envelope that will even excite the most seasoned drone and copter pilot.

The built-in telemetry warns the SWEEPER pilot prior to battery depletion or when flying out of range. As with all of Graupnerís HoTT systems, you can fly and fine tune the SWEEPER with your existing Graupner radio or use the supplied mz-8p.

Features

  • Expandable and programmable Flight Controller AIO HoTT
  • High performance 4in1 BLHELI 30A speed controller
  • Built-in switchable LED controller
  • Powerful 2207 2000 Kv motors
  • mz-8p high power RC radio Mode 2
  • Solid modular frame for easy service and repair
  • FPV Expansion possible
  • Adjustable flight performance for beginners or experts
  • Transport backpack for SWEEPER, batteries and radio
  • Optional multi-color frames and accessories

Included

  • SWEEPER Frame White
  • Assembled flight control frame
  • mz-8p 2.4GHz telemetry radio
  • G4 AC charger
  • SWEEPER backpack
  • LiPo battery 4S / 1600 mAh 90C with XT 60 connector
  • 6 blade propellers set
  • Quick start manual
  • Miscellaneous parts

Droneball Hot Topics

Autoflip - Press on the right stick (you will feel a soft click) which will activate the autoflip function. To flip, move the stick into the direction you want to do a 360 and watch.

Firmware "No Restraints" Moded - We have firmware for the radio that allows you to also fly the sweeper in rate mode. This will let you fly without any roll constrains. Itís activated with one of the radio buttons so you can always go back to attitude (level) mode. Click here for more info.

Multi Color Cage (Grid) - There are multiple reasons to have a distinct color around your Droneball. It not only differentiates your quad from others, you can also use different colors to see the front from the back. You can view all the color options here.

Battery - You can increase the battery size to about 2000mAh to extend flight times. I got around 4 minutes with my 1600 packs.

The Build

There really is nothing to the build once you get the cages going. Each piece connects to the next via small CF tubes and zip ties.

When you get about halfway done with the cage then it's time to put the drown portion inside. It will rest right in the middle of the cage (which I found tricky to figure out the exact location). The drone body has lips that will rest on the edge of the middle of the cage. Zip tie those on.

There are an exact amount of CF tubes and ties so be careful not to lose any!

NOTE - On the lower portion of the cage where the battery is located be sure to cut the zip tie ends as close as possible. If you leave nubs they will scratch your hand when you reach in for the battery.

Battery

The Sweeper Droneball ships with a LiPo battery 4S / 1600 mAh 90C with XT 60 connector. This battery can get you around 4 minutes flights. YOU MUST put velcro on the battery. The straps are not enough to keep it in place when bouncing the Droneball around. It will pop out.

Flying

Once again the biggest question was power. I'm happy to report the Droneball has plenty of power. Like most drones there are multiple settings that can be accessed with the click of a button on the controller. The mildest setting is docile enough for indoor and tight backyard flying. As shown in the video, the quad can also be pretty wild!

The thing you realize immediately is that the cage really works! In fact, you can bounce the Sweeper Droneball across the runway if you want to. We were rolling it off of rooftops! The safety and durability the cage brings to the game really makes this quadcopter feel safe. Jason flew his into me at a pretty high speed and while this seems/feels unnatural, it was just like a soccer ball lightly hitting you.

In a matter of minutes we were both laughing at how much fun the Droneball really is!

Gaming the Droneball

I brought a couple of RCGroups gates and Jason and I began a Droneball soccer. As you can see in the video it as a ton of fun!

We would each attempt to score a goal while the other person blocked. Not only was this fun, I really started honing my flying skills. Jason used the LEDs for orientation, I just flew the ball in the direction it wanted to go. I would want some red grids for the back for my Droneball for instant orientation. As you can see in the video this was a lot of fun! We even had specators in the parking lot watching us while they ate thier lunch.

The Bag

The bag that comes with the Droneball is actually pretty handy. Not only does the Droneball fit in there but one side can hold your TX and the other can hold your batteries. I dig it!

More Fun = Gates

Graupner has a whole page of possible gates to use with your Droneball. Check them out here.

Final Thoughts

The Sweeper Droneball is a ton of fun! It has all the power you need. The cage is not only durable but bouncy! While flying into people is not suggested this is one of the safest drones out there. Jason and I were both laughing out loud after minutes of being in the air. After mid-air collisions, drops from roofs and bouncing down the runway the Droneball was fine. This might be the best quadcopter trainer out there for safety and durability.

If I had one wish it would the ability to flip the drone over when it's upside down. Currently, you need to manually do this.

After a few hours at the field with the Sweeper Droneball Jason and I both stated that these were keepers and something we would take with us when we're flying. I'm excited to get an FPV camera on mine for even more fearless adventure in the sky. My 15-year-old son also really enjoys flying this quad.

We give the Drones ball two thumbs up!!

More Droneball Thoughts

You can watch our RCGroups Hangout on Youtube. Jason and I talk more about our Droneball experience. We start discussing the Sweeper Droneball at around 9:11 into the video.

RCGroups Hangout - Graupner Droneball Post Flight Review (53 min 6 sec)

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