I’ve been a great fan of the BeeBrain V2, never had such an easy and fun experience building and flying a tiny whoop. It’s about to get better with the new BeeBrain Lite, a more compact and better performance FC for the Tiny Whoops!
Further Reading: Here are some of the best Tiny Whoops on the market. See my review of the BeeBrain V2.
Where to Buy?
What’s Special about the BeeBrain Lite?
I am amazed by how NewBeeDrone keeps pushing the limit and making Tiny Whoop electronics smaller and better.
The new Beebrain Lite is an integration of flight controller, OSD, radio receiver, VTX and FET’s (ESC’s for brushed motors), all in one single board!
Not only it takes less space, weighs less, it also makes building easier. Simply install the FC on the frame, plug in your battery and motors and it’s ready to take off!
The build with BeeBrain Lite is nearly 3g lighter than the one with BeeBrain V2! That’s a massive weight saving for a tiny whoop! (over 10%)
There is also flight performance improvement which we will talk about in a bit more detail later.
Update – Production Version
Finally NewBeeDrone sent me the production version, where they removed the huge capacitor. The rest of the review shows photos of the prototype board, but the assembly and performance are the same.
Closer Look at the BeeBrain Lite
Here is the review of the prototype board. To my surprise upon opening the box, there is a huge electrolytic capacitor soldered on top. The cap weighs around 0.5g.
Fortunately I was told this will be replaced by something smaller/ more robust in the production version. (maybe one of those SMD style tantalum cap?)
The reason for having a big capacitor is not only for reducing video interference, it also acts as a storage for the power from regenerative braking.
Yes, you read that correctly, regenerative braking! It’s similar to active braking in BLHeli, which slows down motor RPM faster essentially making your quad more responsive. But it also puts back current into the power system causing voltage spikes.
According to NewBeedrone, without this cap on the BeeBrain Lite, it’s possible to burn out your board if the motors are too powerful, such as the Gold Edition and Unicorn motors.
I have also been told, flight time can benefit from regenerative braking. However I am not really noticing any increase in flight time personally.
The motors connectors and USB port are located on the bottom of the board.
There is a tiny 3-pin connector on the top of the FC, which is for the FPV camera. The onboard OSD is a fully function Betaflight OSD which allows you to change PID, rates, VTX channels, and other Betaflight settings.
The improved motor braking feature should have the most benefit when flying in acro mode with air mode on. I did see a slight increase in punch/power with the Lite. It’s more responsive when doing sharp turns for example, but note that the motors are also brand new so that isn’t a 100% fair comparison :)
The build is overall lighter thanks to the more compact electronics, which contributes to the great flight performance!
I mostly fly angle mode because of my small house :) I really enjoy flying in angle mode, I felt like it would go exactly where I wanted it to go, and it’s got more than enough punch even when it’s approaching the end of the battery pack.
Using 250mAh batteries, I was getting approximately 3 to 3:30 minutes flight time. With my Taranis X9D, radio link is performing normal and I had no issue flying around my house.
The camera that the Lite comes with seems to be slightly different than the V2. Image quality feels more or less the same, but the Lite has slightly colder white balance, so the color actually looks more neutral/better in low light.
Do I Recommend it?
YES! The BeeBrain FC is one of the most user-friendly and feature-packed whoop flight setup out there right now.
NewBeeDrone is going the right direction with the BeeBrain Lite. With all the improvements, it’s making the already best Whoop on the market even better.
I am sold, can’t wait to see the final production version!
Before installing, I think it’s a good idea to bind it to your TX first :)
- Connect FC to Betaflight Configurator via USB cable
- Go to CLI, and enter “frsky_bind“, hit enter and your Beebrain Lite will enter bind mode
- On your Taranis, in model setup, hit the “Bind” option
Binding only takes a few seconds. Power cycle both FC and Taranis, and confirm in the Receiver tab.
Edit: There is also a physical bind button on the FC – power up the FC and press the bind button to enter bind mode.
How to Install BeeBrain Lite FC in AcroBee?
I thought the Beebrain V2 was quick and easy to build and setup, the Beebrain Lite is an eye opener for me.
Parts I used in this build:
- BeeBrain Lite – Sign up for updates
- BDR Gold Edition – Product Page
- Cockroach Super-Durable Frame – Product Page
- KINGKONG 31mm Props – Product Page
- Nitro Nectar 250mAh HV LiPo Battery – Product Page
Insert/push grommets on BeeBrain Lite FC. Install FC in the frame. Put the rear screw on first.
Note there is no arrow on the FC and it can be confusing to first-timers which orientation to install it. Just remember the big cap and VTX antenna should be the rear.
Make sure the FC is installed in a way so that you can still access the USB port from the bottom.
The receiver antenna looks fragile, so I used a piece of sellotape to secure it to the outside of the duct.
Plug in the FPV camera and install it on top of the FC.
Note that there is a little holder for your VTX antenna on the back of the camera.
Simply push the motors into the motor mounts.
Make sure the motors are installed in the correct order, blue/red – CW (motor 1 and 4); black/white – CCW (motor 2 and 3)
Front 4 2 3 1
Connect the motors to the Beebrain Lite board, and use the rubber rings provided to secure the motor wires.
Finally, install the props and it’s done!
They removed the huge capacitor. not only it now looks neater, more durable, it’s also lighter too! The whole build weighs only 20.3g without battery.