May 132013
 May 13, 2013  Posted by  Components, ESCs, Quadcopters, Uncategorized 8 Responses »

I like to scan the new products at HobbyKing to see if there are any cool things worth trying out. They recently made available the Q Brain 4 x 20A Brushless Quadcopter ESC, which is featured in the video above. The idea of a 4x ESC has been around awhile with the Hobbywing Skywalker Quattro available in many different sizes and prices. I have been hesitant to give them a try because I didn’t want to change the whole thing out if it goes bad. Replacing just one ESC made more sense to me.

However, with the cost of these 4x ESCs dropping, I decided to order one and give it a try. The total cost ends up being less than ordering 4 separate ESCs of most brands.

An obvious advantage to using the 4x is that it can be mounted conveniently in the center of the quad with all of the other electronics where it is can be protected and perhaps less vulnerable in a crash. Also, it should look cleaner than a bunch of ESCs dangling on the quadcopter arms and could make for some interesting builds. On the other hand, it may require an additional center plate on some quads.

It appears that it uses the standard Turnigy or Hobbywing programming cards. However, I can’t verify this until I try it. I also don’t know if it can be reflashed. When I find out, I will post the information.


May 032013
 May 3, 2013  Posted by  Drones, News, Quadcopters 2 Responses »

The above clip is of a news story that ran today on the financial cable channel CNBC. The piece featured 3D Robotics and their founder and CEO, Chris Anderson, who I recently interviewed here. It also mentioned the company AeroVironment, who is marketing its drones to police and fire departments. It is amazing to see quadcopters and drones get so much media attention these days. I recently did another post exploring the question of whether a quadcopter is a drone. So, is all this media attention good or bad? It probably means quadcopters will be under more scrutiny, but it also shows what amazing growth is occurring in this area.
Apr 222013
 April 22, 2013  Posted by  FPV, General, Quadcopters No Responses »

I have an older Walkera Ladybird V1 quadcopter that I use to practice flying. It’s great because it takes a beating and still flies. It’s a tiny micro quad, but I can even fly it outdoors if there is not a lot of wind. It is so light that it rarely suffers much damage even with a hard landing. I have replaced a motor, a couple of props and the center compartment over time. I bought the replacement parts on ebay and they weren’t too expensive.

New FPV Version

Now Walkera has come out with an FPV version of the Ladybird. The quadcopter is equipped with a tiny camera and video transmitter and the radio has a video receiver and color display panel to view the video as if sitting in the cockpit. At under $170 from HobbyKing, this looks like an inexpensive way to try FPV. I don’t own one and can’t comment on how well it works, but compared to spending the money on a full blown FPV setup, it sure seems interesting. Judging from the video above, it looks pretty cool. However, the addition of video electronics to the quad may make it more susceptible to costly damage.

When I looked on HobbyKing’s site they were already sold out, but I noticed the quad is available on ebay for as little as $200 with free shipping.

*First Person Video (FPV) – allows the pilot to view video transmitted from an RC aircraft while flying. This gives the pilot the feeling of sitting in the cockpit.

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