Most people enter the FPV hobby by either learning in simulators or flying a Tiny Whoop. There are two types of whoops, brushed and brushless which could be confusing. In this article I will explain the pros and cons and which one you should get.
There are also so many different models! In this Tiny Whoop buyer’s guide, I will feature some of the latest and greatest whoops and help you decide!
Brushed and Brushless Tiny Whoops Differences
Basically the difference is in the motors, brushed tiny whoops use brushed motors.
And brushless whoops use brushless motors.
However you can’t just change the motors to the other type, they are not interchangeable. That’s because the ESC used for these motors are different, and these are built into the flight controller. You cannot switch to another type of motor without replacing the flight controller as well.
Originally, tiny whoops started with brushed motors, as there weren’t too many micro brushless motors options. However brushless tiny whoops are now becoming main stream, does this mean the brushed whoops are dead and buried?
One of the reasons why brushless motors are getting more and more popular is due to its durability, but there are more to consider in terms of performance difference.
Let’s dive into that now.
Brushed Whoops Are Great!
Brushed whoops don’t carry the same momentum in the corners as brushless whoops because they tend to be slower. This may seem like a bad thing, but it gives the brushed whoops better manoeuvrability in tight spaces, and the ability to turn on a dime and feel like they fly on rails.
Brushless whoops sometimes feel as if they drift around tight corners as you can approach corners with so much speed. Because of this, it is easier to overshoot the corner and lose some lap time when flying in a race.
I’ve being flying both indoor for a long time, the brushed whoops are definitely quieter.
This makes it more acceptable in public spaces if noise is a concern, or if you’re trying to keep annoying others in your household to a minimum on a rainy day.
Longer Flight Time
Brushed motors are normally less abusive on batteries, I found they often give 30 or so seconds more of flight time than a brushless whoop. When tiny whoops only fly for around three minutes, this can make a world of difference.
Different Flight Characteristics
Brushed whoops have a more linear throttle response, making them easier to control and fly (at least, in my opinion). The throttle feels less twitchy, making it my choice of whoop in tight racing tracks that don’t have many elevation changes.
More Accurate Flying Indoors
This might just be me, but I feel like I crash less indoors with a brushed whoop as they are easier to fly. They are easier to handle in corners, making it easier to hit gates or gaps when flying in the house at speed.
Brushed Whoop Weaknesses
No Turtle Mode
Turtle mode is a feature in Betaflight, when you crash and the whoop turned upside down, Turtle mode allows you to flip it over without having to go and pick it up.
But this only works in DShot ESC protocol, and brushed motors don’t support DShot.
Further Reading: How to setup Turtle Mode.
Motors Wearing Out Quicker
The brushes inside a brushed motor eventually wears out from use, in fact, a lot faster than brushless motors.
Take for example, in the past 12 months of intensive flying, I’ve managed to go through four sets of brushed motors, whereas I’ve not had to replace a single brushless motor in the same time.
Saying this, replacements for brushed motors are fairly cheap (much cheaper than brushless motors for sure!). They are normally priced at roughly £20 for 3 sets (so 12 individual motors).
Also, it helps longevity if you let the motors to cool down between flights.
Not The Best for Outdoor Flying
Whenever I’m flying outdoor, I always reach for the brushless whoop. Brushed whoops are capable of flying outside, but brushless whoops have that extra power to make flying just that little more enjoyable.
Why Brushless Whoop Are AWESOME
More Raw Power!!
As Jeremy Clarkson would say, more power = more fun.
Brushless motors feel like they have a lot more juice, making outdoor tracks and freestyle exploring a lot of fun. This can however make it slightly more tricky flying precisely indoors, but for flying in open space and it’s a no-brainer.
Because of the extra juice from the brushless motors, it can make flying indoors slightly more intimidating as it takes a bit of practice to keep the whoop from bouncing off the walls and ceilings. Brushed whoops have a smoother throttle curve, making it easier for beginners to fly in a calmer manner in their house.
This is why many choose to limit throttle on brushless whoops especially when flying indoor, so that’s an easy work around :)
RPM Filter Support
BLHeli_S now supports Bi-directional DShot, which means you can now setup RPM filter in your tiny whoop! It really improves noise filtering and flight performance.
By flashing a custom firmware to your BLHeli_S ESC to enable 48KHz, you can improve flight time up to 50%! Maybe not that much in your case but you should see some improvement on efficiency!
Turtle Mode Support
Almost all brushless whoops support Turtle mode these days, as they all have BLHeli_S ESC and support DShot (check before you buy).
Turtle mode is such a great feature, and saves time on having to go and pick up your downed aircraft. However! Be aware that on slick surfaces such as laminated floor, it often just slides across the floor upside down instead of actually flipping back over – it may not always work the way you want it to.
Brushless motors just last longer! However micro motors are very small and hence they don’t often have ball bearings, only bushings that still creates a lot of friction and do wear out over time. Some people oil them which does help with performance and durability.
Better with Elevation Changes
Having more power means they can ascend quicker, and being slightly heavier than a brushed means they descend quicker as well, with less washout when going down stairs for instance.
This gives more confidence when descending, allowing for more aggressive lines in races. Because of this, brushless whoops are definitely better suited for larger more open tracks, that have big elevation changes around the course.
Brushless Whoop Disadvantages
You don’t have to change motors as often, but when you do, brushless motors are way more expensive.
A combination of a higher top speed, and a slightly heavier whoop overall (in comparison to brushed whoops), means that brushless whoops hit the ground (or whatever your target is) a lot harder. This means you have to be more vigilant when flying a public spot as you don’t want to hit anyone with one at full tilt.
So, Which One Should You Buy?
Without question, brushless tiny whoops all the way!
It’s a no brainer because of supports for the absolutely fantasic 48KHz Mode, RPM filter and Turtle mode, not to mention the better power and longevity as well!
Unless there is a unique quality of the brushed tiny whoop that you really want, I don’t see why you’d buy a brushed tiny whoop today.
Check out my Tiny Whoop buyer’s guide, which features some of the best whoops!
Any questions, feel free to ask in our forum: IntoFPV.com
- Jun 2019 – article created
- Jun 2020 – updated with RPM filter, 48KHz mode, and conclusion