Review: BetaFPV Pavo20 Cinewhoop with DJI O3 Air Unit – Better Than Pavo Pico?

by Oscar
Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3

BetaFPV previously released the Pavo Pico, the smallest FPV drone equipped with DJI O3 Air Unit. This month they released an upgrade version, the Pavo20. In this review, we will find out what they improved on, how the Pavo 20 compares to the Pavo Pico, and how it performs in the air. Finally I will show you how I set it up for my maiden flight.

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New to cinewhoop style FPV drones? Check out my buyer’s guide: https://oscarliang.com/cinewhoop/

Where to Buy?

You can get the BetaFPV Pavo 20 from these vendors:

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Unbox Accessories

In the box comes with the following accessories:

  • DJI O3 mount
  • Spare screws and rubber grommets
  • two dipole antennas for the O3
  • LED lights
  • Spare propellers
  • USB-C Adapter

Batteries are not included, get some here (make sure either the width or height is less than 20mm).

3S 450mAh:

3S 650mAh:

Get some spare propellers (Gemfan 2015 two-blade 1.5mm hole):

Specifications and Key Features

  • Frame Wheelbase: 90mm
  • FC: BetaFPV F405 2-3S 20A AIO FC V1
  • RX: ExpressLRS (integrated into the FC, UART based)
  • Motor: 1103 8500KV
  • Propellers: Gemfan 2015 2-Blade Props
  • Intended FPV system: DJI O3 Air Unit, Caddx Vista/Runcam Link
  • Battery connector: XT30
  • Recommended Battery: 3S 450mAh – 650mAh
  • Flight Time: 4min with 3S 450mAh
  • Weight without Battery and FPV: 55g
  • Weight with DJI O3: 94g
  • Weight with 3S 450mah: 135g
  • Weight with 3S 650mah: 140g

Installing DJI O3

Out of the box, the Pavo 20 doesn’t come with any video transmitter or camera, you have to install your own.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Unbox Without Vtx Air Unit

Installing the DJI O3 is easy just like the Pavo Pico. First, replace the original antenna with the provided dipole antennas, then install the camera in the plastic bracket.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Replace Antennas

The bracket holds the Air Unit securely without the need for any screws.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Install Air Unit Assemble

Fit the provided rubber grommets in the frame.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Install Rubber Grommets

Then install the bracket with the O3 on the frame with the provided screws, that’s it.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Side

First Impressions: Pavo20 vs. Pavo Pico

At first sight, the Pavo20 might look similar to its predecessor, the Pavo Pico, but the Pavo20 is basically the Pavo Pico on steroid.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Size Compare Pavo Pico

The Pavo 20 is also designed to accommodate the full-size DJI O3 Air Unit, but it has a larger frame, uses larger motors and propellers and higher voltage battery (3S), which makes a more powerful drone that is faster and handles the wind better. The downside is the larger form factor and heavier weight. Price remains the same.

Here’s a comparison table between the two quads:

Pavo20 Pavo Pico
Price $86 $86
Wheelbase 90mm 80.8mm
Weight (Excluding
Battery, FPV Setup)
55g 35g
Supported VTX DJI O3 Air Unit
Caddx Vista Kit
RunCam Link
DJI O3 Air Unit
Caddx Vista Kit
RunCam Link
Walksnail Avatar HD Pro Kit
Supported Camera DJI O3 Camera
Any micro size FPV camera
DJI O3 Camera
Any micro size FPV camera
ND Filter Installation Vertical Only Vertical and Horizontal
Battery Slot Dimensions 20mm*Unlimited Height 16*12.7mm
Recommend Battery 3S 450mAh~650mAh 2S 450mAh 45C
Motors 1103 8500KV 1102 14000KV
Propellers Gemfan 2015 2-Blade Props Gemfan 45mm 2/3-Blade Props

Closer Look

Frame

All the hardware in the Pavo20 sit on a 2mm thick carbon fiber plate, giving it a sturdy feel. The plastic used in the Pavo20 feels noticeably more sturdy and robust than the Pavo Pico’s, the ducts are thicker, should be able to take more abuse. The stiffer frame also aids in flight performance and tuning.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Top

Camera View and Protection

The Pavo20’s design offers camera protection thanks to the camera mount extension. Camera protection is often neglected in other small O3 cinewhoop, BetaFPV has done a fantastic job here.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Camera Lens Proteciton

However this design choice, while protecting the camera, results in prop guards appearing in the footage, especially at lower camera angles. The good news is, you may see the frame in the goggles, but once you stabilize the footage using Gyroflow, it crops in enough and you won’t see the frame anymore. Using a higher camera angle also helps. I wish BetaFPV offered additional mounting holes further out, so users can decide between camera protection and clean camera view.

Note that the camera protection only reduces the chance of breaking the camera, it doesn’t prevent it completely. It can still get damaged in aggressive flights, so make sure you fly safely.

Also note that the camera protection prevents ND filters that install horizontally, only the ones that install vertically can fit. I am using Flywoo’s ND filters for the O3 which works like a charm.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Front

Battery Mount

The Pavo20 supports batteries with less than 20mm width (or height), it doesn’t confine you to a specific battery size like the Pavo Pico, which I highly appreciate. The battery tray in the Pavo 20 is an open slot design, secured by a velcro strap, so you can use most 3S 450mAh – 650mAh LiPo batteries.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Lipo Battery Slot

it fits standard 3S 450mah Lipo perfectly.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Lipo Battery 3s 450mah

It also fits GNB 3S 650mah.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Lipo Battery 3s 650mah

Flight Controller

The flight controller used in the Pavo 20 is a brand new design by BetaFPV, here’s the product page: https://oscarliang.com/product-yxbh

Like the Pavo Pico, the FC lacks a physical USB port. Instead, a small dongle is provided for connecting the FC to Betaflight Configurator. I understand this is to save space on the FC, but i am not a fan of this design as you have to constantly look for this dongle and if you lose it, you are in trouble. Most 1S tiny whoop FC has USB ports on those tiny boards, so I don’t see why it’s not possible to have a physical USB port on this FC.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Usb Adapter Connector

Anyway, the flight controller has an onboard ExpressLRS radio receiver which makes setup super easy. It’s UART-based and not SPI, promising future support and making firmware updates straightforward.

Note that this new FC has no OSD chip for analog FPV system, as it’s designed strictly for HD systems.

This new FC has a 9V BEC that can be used for powering the DJI O3, instead of using VBAT like the first batch of the Pavo Pico (powering O3 directly from LiPo battery).

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Rear Back Antennas Usb Connector

Motors and Props

Motors are 1103 8500KV, bigger than the Pico’s 1102. Props are press-fit, but those motors also support props with 2-screw T-mount.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Motor Props

LED

An attractive feature of the Pavo 20 is the plug and play LED lights.

You can attach the provided LED strips around the prop guard using double sided tape, and plug it straight into the cable under the flight controller, no soldering required. LED can be turned on/off using a switch, which is configured in Betaflight out of the box. All you need to do is to assign an AUX channel to the USER1 in the Modes tab.

However, these LED adds about 5 grams to the quad, so I chose not to install them, prioritizing performance over aesthetics.

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Led Strip Light

Flight Performance

Almost all other 2-inch cinewhoops carrying the DJI O3, like the Flylens 85 and Mobula8, runs on 2S. The Pavo20 runs on 3S, which makes it more powerful and handles the wind better. However it’s also considerably heavier (about 20-30g more). When recovering from dives, it struggles quite a bit due to that extra weight. But in steady flights it’s really locked in and smooth.

The BetaFPV Pavo 20 hovers around 30% throttle, and gives you a flight time of around 4 mins with 3S 450mah, or 5 mins on a 3S 650mah battery.

Without much vibration isolation design in the camera mount, I am surprised how well it performs, as there’s is no noticeabe jello or vibration in the video. When it comes to indoor flights, the Pavo20 is a bit on the noisier side compared to the smaller Pavo Pico.

If you are new to FPV, you should be cautious about the 3S power, as it might feel overwhelming. It requires good throttle management when flying aggressively, which can be challenging for beginners. The Pavo Pico is more manageable, especially when flying in tight spaces. However, for those wanting a bit more kick outdoors, the 3S power truly shines. It’s more nimble and more punchy than Pico, handles windy conditions better.

Conclusion: Which Micro Cinewhoop is Best?

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3 Size Compare Flywoo Flylens 85

If you’re after the smallest and lightest possible DJI O3 FPV platform, you might lean towards the Pavo Pico. It’s under 100g, extremely nimble and controllable, and it’s less noisy.

However, apart from size and weight, the Pavo20 outshines the Pavo Pico in nearly every aspect, while still under 250g. The Pavo 20 has a lot more power, more suited for outdoor flights, and is more crash resistant.

You can get the BetaFPV Pavo 20 from these vendors:

3S 450mAh LiPo Battery:

3S 650mAh LiPo Battery:

Get some spare propellers (Gemfan 2015 two-blade 1.5mm hole):

If you’re seeking speed, power, durability and wind resistance, go for the Pavo20. For purely indoor flying through tight gaps, the Pavo Pico might be more suitable. Ultimately, the “best” is subjective and hinges on your specific needs

Betafpv Pavo20 Cinewhoop Dji O3

How to Setup

FC comes with Betaflight 4.4.1, FC target is BETAFPVF405. Stock CLI dump can be found here: https://intofpv.com/t-cli-dump-for-betafpv-pavo20

PID and filters were tuned out of the box, here are the simple changes I made in Betaflight Configurator before my first flight:

  • In Receiver tab, enable Telemetry.
  • In Modes tab, assign switch to Arm.
  • In OSD tab, config OSD elements.

You can bind ELRS receiver by flashing firmware with bind phrase. Stock RX firmware is ELRS V2.5.2, RX target is BETAFPV 2.4GHz AIO RX. Updating the ExpressLRS receiver is a breeze, thanks to its UART-based nature.

ESC comes pre-flashed with Bluejay, so no need to flash it yourself.

You also need to bind and setup the O3 Air Unit, I have a detailed tutorial here: https://oscarliang.com/dji-o3-air-unit-fpv-goggles-2/

Making It Lighter

I wanted to shave some weight off the Pavo20, and since I don’t fly indoor much, mostly outdoor, I decided to remove the prop guard, but keeping the base where the battery mount is. This alone saves around 10 grams.

Make Betafpv Pavo20 Lighter Remove Ducts Naked Dji O3 Prop Guard Weight

I then made the DJI O3 Air Unit “naked” by removing the heatsinks and housing, reassembled using 3D printed spacers. This also saved another 10 grams. You could also use the Flywoo O3 Lite kit if you don’t have a 3D printer: https://oscarliang.com/flywoo-naked-o3-lite-ultra-kit/

Make Betafpv Pavo20 Lighter Remove Ducts Naked Dji O3 Weight Difference Compare Original

The Pavo20 has a built-in receiver and a monopole antenna that is hidden under the FC, it’s good enough for flying within 500 meters, but beyond that would be risky.

I wanted a better radio link and “return to home” capability, so I added an external ExpressLRS receiver and a Flywoo Goku Nano GPS module. This only added around 4 grams of extra weight to the quad, but the improvement in reliability was worth it in my opinion.

Make Betafpv Pavo20 Lighter Remove Ducts Naked Dji O3 Expresslrs Receivwer Gps Weight

This brought the total weight of the Pavo20 down from 94g to 76g, almost 20g lighter and now it also has GPS capability and much better radio link thanks to the external receiver and antenna.

Make Betafpv Pavo20 Lighter Remove Ducts Naked Dji O3 Weight Scale

I also previously modified the Pavo Pico in a similar way, bringing the weight down from 72g to 62g. However, it’s only 2S, using 1102 motors and 45mm props, so it just doesn’t have the “pop” of the Pavo20’s 3S power, bigger 1103 motors, and larger 2-inch props. Moreover, the overall size after the modification is roughly the same!

Make Betafpv Pavo20 Lighter Remove Ducts Naked Dji O3 Compare Pavo Pico

The receiver is connected to UART1 and the GPS is connected to UART6.

By default, UART6 is used for turning the LED on/off via PINIO so you need to config the pins for UART again by typing these lines in CLI:

resource PINIO 1 none resource SERIAL_TX 6 C06 save

Then configure GPS Rescue Mode (return to home) as explained here: https://oscarliang.com/setup-gps-rescue-mode-betaflight/

Some flight footage:

That’s it, happy flying.

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41 comments

Brett 13th May 2024 - 1:41 pm

I finally added a Flywoo Nano GPS to my Pavo20 with TBS and it all works. I followed your instructions and also checked the BetaFPV site to know where to solder the GPS cables. Thanks so much, it is awesome.
Just one question; I tried to upgrade the controller to BetaFlight 4.5 but it failed and it is still on 4.4.1, have you tried upgrading to a later version and how did you do it? Thanks :)

Reply
Oscar 13th May 2024 - 5:21 pm

When you said “failed”, are you getting an error? You probably need to manually put it on Bootloader mode first.

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Brett 20th May 2024 - 1:25 pm

Thanks I haven’t tried that. I will give it a go. Cheers

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RickSmitth 10th April 2024 - 11:24 am

Hello
Can you use the pavo20 with full potential/charge of 3S HV Lipos?
Thank you for the answer

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Dany 29th March 2024 - 11:22 pm

Hello sir, can you help me, it seems that I failed to set the external elrs and gps, can you help me get back to the way I was, this is the latest that I followed

PINIO 1 none resource SERIAL_TX 6 C06 save

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Oscar 30th March 2024 - 1:20 am

You can find the stock CLI Dump here: https://intofpv.com/t-cli-dump-for-betafpv-pavo20

Copy this into your CLI will bring Resources back to its original state:
# resources
resource SERIAL_TX 6 NONE
resource PINIO 1 C06
save

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Brett 13th May 2024 - 1:52 pm

I recently added GPS to my Pavo20 which also has TBS. I configured the various GPS settings but the GPS icon wouldn’t turn on. To fix it I “saved backup” in Presets (in BetaFlight). I then loaded the saved backup file into Notepad. I then deleted the resources section and saved it. I then loaded the updated file via “load backup” in the resources section, and then the GPS icon lit up. This might be an option to try. Cheers :)

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Dany 29th March 2024 - 1:57 pm

Hello sir, how to set the internal elrs so that it does not interfere, external elrs as you added to pavo20

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Brett 24th March 2024 - 9:31 am

Hi Oscar, I really enjoy your helpful website. I recently received the BetaFPV Pico, Pavo20 and Pavo25, all have O3 and TBS. They are all fly well and have long battery life. I would like to add GPS to the Pavo20 and I read your comment about configuring UART6 for GPS. If I do that can I still control the LED light with USER1 on one of the TBS controller switches. I currently can toggle the LED light on and off, depending on what I am doing and I would like to keep this feature if possible. What do you think? Thanks and keep up the awesome work. Cheers, Brett

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Oscar 25th March 2024 - 3:17 pm

No if you use UART6 for GPS you won’t be able to control LED anymore. Unfortunately you’d have to give up one thing due to the lack of UART on this FC board.

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Jonas 16th March 2024 - 10:39 am

I soldered external rx to uart1 and switched ports in betaflight, however, internal rx is still pairing with tx. Am I doing something wrong or should I remove resistors on uart3?

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MB 26th February 2024 - 9:19 am

Hi Oscar,
I burned my flight controller in Pavo20 and I don’t know what happened there. I bought plug and play drone so I didn’t solder anything there, I flown two day this drone (inside) so I think it was not my fault (maybe it was). I hitted my drone to wall and it falled down form 2 meters on the flor and finally it burst into flames (low speed). Fortunataly it was not battery just flight controller. I don’t know why? I’m begginer in FPV, it’s my first drone and I would like to buy new FC to repair of my Pavo20 but I’m scare if a new flight controller will burn as old one. What should I do or check to avoid that situaltion? Is there any configurations which I should do before I flight? I just upgrade the ELST version on drone but I think it didn’t caused the fire.
Greetings,
MB

Reply
Oscar 26th February 2024 - 5:15 pm

Assuming the fault was caused by the crash (as it happened during a crash), the reasons for the smoked FC could be:
1) some components fell off and short-circuited the board.
2) the motors were spinning hard and obstructed during the crash and burnt out the ESC.
Anyway it’s hard to tell without close inspection of the board. I would suggest taking some pictures and report it to BetaFPV and see what they say. Maybe they can offer a new FC to you. It’s worth a try.

Reply
Neil 21st February 2024 - 2:25 pm

Hi Oscar,
Nice review as always.

Do you know if the onboard rx supports 500hz link speed?

Thanks

Reply
Oscar 21st February 2024 - 4:11 pm

Yes it supports 500hz.

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Neil 26th February 2024 - 9:05 pm

Thanks so much

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grey 18th February 2024 - 7:59 pm

Oscar,

the pavo 20 kit comes with multiple screw lengths, and looking at many reviews, i’m the only one dealing with Jello.

maybe i used the wrong screws to attach the camera/vtx cage, because there isn’t supposed to be guess work, with the screws bottoming out. which screws are used to attach the cage to the frame?

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Shawn Herb 7th February 2024 - 5:40 pm

Is there anyway to get the prop guards out of the fov? I got this for house tours

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Oscar 7th February 2024 - 8:49 pm

1. you can try to tilt the camera higher.
2. once you applied gyroflow stabilization it should get rid of the prop guard as it zooms into the center of the frame.

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Pitik Lupad 5th February 2024 - 12:44 pm

you remapped resource SERIAL_TX 6 C06 for gps. how about the rx? gps comes in 4 wires right?

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Oscar 5th February 2024 - 4:42 pm

rx was already configured correctly so no need to remap it.

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Pitik Lupad 19th February 2024 - 1:12 pm

You mean you have a rx 6 pad but no tx 6?

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Rostyslav 13th January 2024 - 8:15 pm

Hi Oscar!
By default, motors are NOT reversed
Should I change it to reverse to prevent camera pollution?

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Vitaly 7th January 2024 - 1:41 pm

Greetings! I want to update Bluejay from 0.19 to 0.19.2 What PWM settings should I choose, 24, 48 and 96 kHz?

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Jonas 23rd December 2023 - 4:14 pm

Do you still get 4k resolution after cropping the video so the frame would not be visible?

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Oscar 24th December 2023 - 5:46 am

Yes you can stretch then crop the part you want and still render it as a 4K video, however it might begin to look a bit blurry.

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StJin 1st December 2023 - 11:31 am

Any chance one can sling a Li-ion battery onto one of these and turn it into a LR quad or would it become too heavy?

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Luca 28th November 2023 - 5:43 pm

Hi Oscar, was thinking to go 450-4S with 1404 3800kv motors and 2.5” props … would those fit? Is that bad idea?

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Oscar 29th November 2023 - 12:39 pm

this frame will only fit 2″ props.

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Luca 16th May 2024 - 2:38 pm

UPDATE
I did the 4S and it’s a little rocket … I’m happy like a little kid.
I just purchased some 2750kV 6S motors – wish me luck

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Ivan 8th November 2023 - 12:39 am

Thank you for the reviews, they are really helping me to get started with FPV.
I see you mounted the GPS module and ELRS receiver antenna on the sides of the frame. Is that the mounting method you recommend for the Pavo20?
What material did you use to wrap the GPS module?

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Oscar 8th November 2023 - 9:45 am

Not necessary the best place, but it’s certainly better than mounting it near the VTX antenna. It’s just an easy place to mount those components.

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Tyler Shvartser 6th November 2023 - 1:01 am

Love the review and actually got the drone from this however I also got a gps unit but am new to fpv and thought I can do it but a very lost. Any chance you can make a tutorial on adding it or help!? Thanks regardless!

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Oscar 6th November 2023 - 6:44 am

It’s just a matter of soldering the GPS unit to a spare UART on the flight controller.
I believe UART 1 in this drone is free.
Then you just need to enable GPS for UART 1 in the Ports tab and configure the settings to your liking, I have a tutorial on this: https://oscarliang.com/gps-mini-quad/

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Linus 26th October 2023 - 6:50 pm

Im struggling between paco 20 and the flylens 85. Both seem very nice, which would you choose for a compact travel drone with some freestyle capability?

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Oscar 26th October 2023 - 10:51 pm

If you have a naked DJI O3 (using Flywoo’s O3 Lite kit), the Flylens85 might be better because it makes it a lot lighter. If you have the original O3 without any modifications, then the Paco20 would be better IMO, 3S makes it more capable.

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Vince Sanga 20th October 2023 - 10:45 pm

I recently bought the Pavo20 and upon setting it up yesterday, initially it was not recognizing any stick and aux inputs from my DJI RC2. After tweaking here and there, oddly it worked, however, one of the motor / prop was showing incosistent rotation hence I stopped and continued again today to isolate the motor issue. I swapped the rear motor/props but upon booting up the drone, I’m back with the same issue of the drone not recognizing any stick and aux inputs from my DJI RC2 despite following the configuration as instructed by BetfaFPV. I am now stuck not knowing what to do next. I’m excited to fly the Pavo20 but sadly it the issues are preventing me to do so.

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Aitor 6th November 2023 - 3:19 pm

Try to use UART5 and disable UART 3

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CK 17th December 2023 - 10:37 pm

Hello Vince Sanga, did you figure out the motor issue with the Pavo 20 after? I have the Pavo 20, DJI RC2 remote, Goggles Inegra. Am able to bind all, but can’t get the drone to fly. I can move my sticks in BetaFlight. Any assistance is appreciated. Thanks.

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Viet 7th January 2024 - 3:46 am

Did you figure this out?? I have the same issue as well. Have everything setup, and am getting a video feed from my goggles, and it even shows the RC2 Is bound, however, I’m moving the controller sticks but nothing responding. Any leads would be super helpful! TIA!!!

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Meshfpv 2nd February 2024 - 5:10 pm

switch to uart 5 and also change receiver to sbus

Reply