Review: Flywoo Explorer LR – Awesome 4″ Long Range BNF Drone

The Flywoo Explorer LR is a pre-built, light weight, 4″ FPV drone designed for long range FPV flying. Including battery it weighs under 250g, and with a bigger Li-Ion battery it can reach a maximum flight time of nearly 30 minutes! Covering a distance of around 20Km.

Where to Buy

Banggood: https://oscarliang.com/product-ia95

They also offer analogue version with Runcam Nano2 camera if you have not yet bought the DJI FPV goggles.

Buy Spare props (4025×2, you can also use 4024, the difference is minimal)

Buy 4S 650mAh LiPo Battery

Specs and Features

The following data are from my own testing:

  • The whole drone weighs under 250g including 4S 650mAh LiPo (242g to be exact)
  • Up to 8 minutes of flight time with 4S 650mAh (cruising), 12 minutes with 1000mAh, 28 minutes with 4S 18650 Li-Ion battery (Flywoo claims 38mins, maybe they are using a better battery pack, I will re-test this when I get it from them)
  • GPS and rescue mode are set up right out of the box (only needs small changes)
  • Comes with self-powered buzzer (it beeps even when battery is ejected)

Specifications:

  • Goku F411 FC + BLHeli_S 13A 4in1 ESC stack (16x16mm)
  • Caddx Vista (DJI FPV System)
  • Flywoo NIN 1404 v2 2750KV Motors
  • Gemfan 4024 two-blade propellers
  • Crossfire Nano Receiver
  • Goku GM8 Mini GPS Module
  • Flywoo Drone Finder V1.0
  • Flywoo Atomic 5.8GHz Antenna
  • Weight: 163g without battery

Side by side comparison between the Flywoo Explorer LR 4″ (left) and the Holybro Kopis Mini 3″ (right).

Close Look at the Flywoo Explorer LR

The Explorer LR is a collaboration between Flywoo and Dave_C FPV who is the original creator of this micro long range concept! According to Flywoo they spent several months developing this quad and I have to agree – they’ve done a fantastic job!

The frame is a “deadcat” style, the good thing about it is you don’t get any props in the camera’s view.

The Crossfire receiver antenna is mounted under the frame at the front. The tips of the antenna are quite close to the arms, perhaps it could have been mounted a bit further away from carbon fibre. But so far in my testing I haven’t had any issues, and the radio definitely out-ranges my video signal (Crossfire 250mW, Vista 1200mW).

The Flywoo Explorer LR is the first BNF (bind and fly) model I reviewed that comes with GPS pre–installed, GPS and rescue mode are already setup in Betaflight. I wouldn’t call a quad “long range” if it doesn’t have GPS :) And the Flywoo Explorer qualifies!

The motors are NIN 1404 V2 2750KV – quite a small motor for 4″ props, but with the light weight Gemfan 4024 two-blade props, this is the magic combo! Such an efficient setup.

Camera angle is adjustable by loosening the M2 screws on the sides.

I love the design of the TPU mount for the GPS and Buzzer, this ensures the GPS receiver is always facing straight up and getting the best possible signal during flying.

The GPS Module is Flywoo’s own branded GM8 Mini V1.0, you can get it here: https://oscarliang.com/product-5ujn, it works brilliantly. The size and specs look identical to the BN180, apart from the connector pins which are reversed.

The buzzer is the Flywoo Drone Finder V1.0, which has its own battery. If the main battery is ejected in a crash (or goes flat), the buzzer will start beeping to help you find it.

I tested the volume and it’s around 90dB at 20cm distance.

It also has an bright LED that flashes as it beeps, useful for night searches.

The built-in battery in the buzzer is charged through the 5V (when you have the drone battery plugged in), at full charge it can beep for 4 to 5 hours according to Flywoo.

Just like any self-powered buzzers, it will start beeping when you land and unplug the battery, you have to hold down the button for 3 seconds to stop it. (it’s kind of annoying at first but you will get used to it)

The FC/ESC and Caddx Vista are mounted in two separate stacks, the weight are evenly distributed through the frame, and there’s still room for airflow to cool down the electronics.

The 16x16mm FC/ESC stack is absolutely tiny compared to the 30x30mm stack we use on 5″.

The 4in1 ESC’s are rated for only 13A, this is considered pretty low for even a 3″ not to mention a 4″. But I have been pushing this quad to its absolute maximum and it’s holding up well so far. I guess they’ve chosen the smallest FC/ESC stack for weight saving, considering the motor and props combo is very low power, this should do.

The Vista antenna connector holder wasn’t installed properly, Flywoo told me it wasn’t a quality control issue, they just couldn’t get it to fit properly due to the slightly bigger U.FL connector used in their antenna. They reassured me that this shouldn’t be a problem and the antenna shouldn’t come loose.

Anyway, I won’t be able to verify their claim, because I have to change out the antenna. For some reason they sent me an RHCP antenna, while all DJI FPV gears use LHCP.

You shouldn’t mix RHCP and LHCP because it will result in massive signal loss. Be consistent. What’s RHCP and LHCP?

With the LHCP antenna I replaced, the antenna connector holder fits perfectly. This is the Speedybee antenna. in theory you should be able to use any 5.8GHz antennas for the DJI FPV system, since it’s also on 5.8GHz.

How to Setup

Betaflight was more or less already configured for me including PID and filters, I didn’t have to change much. However, I strongly recommend double checking your GPS setup, testing rescue mode over and over again before using it as your failsafe.

If you are new to GPS and Rescue mode, here is my tutorial.

Here’s my CLI dump after setting up: https://intofpv.com/t-cli-dump-from-flywoo-explorer-lr

My Rates

My PID

My Filters

Rescue mode settings

Conclusion

I’ve been flying the Explorer LR a little over a week now, I must say I am impressed! It’s a lot of fun, signal is solid on both Crossfire and DJI FPV system, I can go places that I never dreamed possible with analogue. With such light weight, it has great efficiency and long flight time, just what I have always wanted in a long range model.

Flywoo did a good job with the tuning, PID and filters they sent me are great. I did make a few small changes and now the quad flies ON RAIL! Video is jello-free on a calm day, in strong wind it might get some small shakes here and there, but that’s just the way it is with all light weight drones without image stabilization.

If you want to stay under the 250g limit, you have to use 4S 650mAh, I was getting about 8 mins of flight time so it’s not bad at all!

But for the ultimate flight time, you should give 4S 18650 Li-Ion battery a try, I am getting nearly 28minutes of cruising at 50km/h, it’s ridiculous. (that’s about 23km distance – 14 miles)

When it comes to acrobatics, it’s not what it’s designed for, but still it’s doable. I do feel like I am constantly hitting the limit of the motors when doing extreme maneuvers.

The motors are quite small and don’t have a lot of torque for 4″ props. For example prop wash is more noticeable and very hard to avoid, and yaw movement isn’t as responsive and crisp as larger motors. You have to remember, this quad is meant to be light weight and efficient, once you have bigger motors you lose both of these things, so we have to make sacrifice somewhere.

Love this quad! Recommend!

Get the Explorer from: https://oscarliang.com/product-ia95

Spare props (4025×2)

4S 650mAh LiPo Battery

Pros

  • Flies very stable out of the box
  • Very efficient motor and prop combo – long flight time
  • Good quality GPS receiver, very good signal, I normally get a fix within a minute or two
  • Rescue mode works out of the box, i only needed to tweak a couple of parameters for my flying field
  • GPS can be powered by USB – it helps searching for satellites before flight without powering the whole quad and VTX

Cons

  • no current sensor – it’s very important for long range. Voltage is useful but it can be unreliable sometimes. With current sensor you know exactly how much fuel is left and if you have enough to make your way back
  • Vista antenna is RHCP and antenna connector holder wasn’t installed properly – hope they fix this in production

Carrying GoPro

I designed these mounts for the Explorer to carry a “naked GoPro” with the BetaFPV GoPro Lite Case (V2). Personally I prefer the fixed angle mount (15 degree) as it’s much lighter. But if you want flexibility, the adjustable angle mount is great :)

STL Files available here: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4589570

32 thoughts on “Review: Flywoo Explorer LR – Awesome 4″ Long Range BNF Drone

  1. Denis

    What a fantastic review. I bought an explorer while it is still in stock.
    I have a problem with OSD, my DJI googles always show a permanent « 14 sats » count (default number from beta flight I guess) but never real sat number. Do you have a tip ?

    Reply
  2. Jason Rice

    Hi Oscar

    Brilliant review just what I was looking for thank you. May I ask can we use your PIDS and Rates on the analogue version even though the weight is different.

    Kind regards
    Jason

    Reply
  3. Harry T Murphy

    Another Great article. This looks like one of the best ready to fly BNF quads on the market today for a sub 250 gram Long Range. Thanks.

    Reply
  4. Nic

    On the adjustable angle mount you designed, is the base the standard GoPro mount? My Explorer is in the mail and I’m planning on putting my naked GoPro 8 on it (I kept the folding leg mount portion). Thanks!

    Reply
  5. Luis

    Hi Oscar, thank you for reviews. I about to hit buy on this thing but I live in a windy area. With a Naked Gopro on this, will it be suitable for footage? On average about 15mph winds with gusts of upto 20mph. What do you think? Last thing I want to do is either lose it on a mountain due to fighting the wind or not able to fly it because of too much wind and it not being able to handle it. Thank you

    Reply
  6. pascal BENNEJEAN

    Bonjour ,
    superbe critique et photos concernant l’EXPLORER que je vais commander .
    Pour en revenir aux batteries lipos , qu’elle capacité mah maxi je peux prendre sans risquer de cramer le quad .
    Merci et bonne continuation c’est très professionnel !!!
    pascal

    Reply
  7. Javier

    Hi. I have seen in one video that arms thickness is 1,5mm. I understand it is to save weight. Is it true? Isn’t it a little weak and easy to break?

    Reply
  8. Joseph Donnelly

    Thank you for the thorough review,
    Would there be a significant range issue using the DJI fpv controller vs the TBS Crossfire Nano Reciever??

    Thanks..

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      DJI FPV is 5.8GHz, Crossfire is 900MHz, lower frequency at the same power will have better range and penetration.

      Reply
  9. Paul Twenter

    Since the flight controller only has two UARTs how are they wiring up the caddx vista the GPS and the TBS crossfire since all of those use TX and RX which would mean three UARTs

    Reply
  10. xxrexxmyxx

    Hi,

    Why do you link to 4025 props as the original props are 4024? Is it a mistake?
    I just bought an Explorer and ZOHD LionPack 4S 3500mAh ready to go (Sanyo NCR18650GA). Just have to put XT30 on it and it’s ok!
    Best regards,

    Rx

    Reply
  11. MD

    Wind sensitivity…

    Discovered this BNF after the thingverse from Dave. Having the 3s version. No tuning yet but so far it suffers stability in windy areas and propwash is very present. (comparing to iFlight DC3 3 blade prop)

    Reply
  12. Carlos gonzalez

    Thank you for the review and your great content and I hope you can answer the following question, for a beginner analog user with a limited budget and interested on having a long range drone, which set up would you recommend, the explorer LR with the runcam nano 2 (and buy an insta360 go) or the explorer with the tarsier 4k (but without an action camera)?

    Thank you

    Greetings from Colombia

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Personally, I’d get the Nano 2 over the Tarsier. HD footage without video stabilization is very hard to watch, and not worth the extra cost.
      If you want HD footage, look into “naked GoPro”, this is what I am planning to use on the Explorer.

      Reply
  13. Lênio Frihling

    Thank you for your amazing work in blog format Oscar Liang.
    Please, if you allow me, I would like to ask a question.
    Until I saw your post on the FLYWOO EXPLORER I was determined to buy the HGLRC SECTOR 132.
    I understand that they are kwads for different purposes, but I still ask, which one did you like the most? which has better flight? more strength? more agility?

    Your opinion is very important to me, as it will be decisive for my purchase.

    Thank you

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Depends on what kind of flight you plan to have.
      For freestyle and acro, the Sector132 is better, it’s also stronger against crashes. But you need to change out the TPU mount for the camera for something sturdier to get rid of jello.
      The Explorer is strictly designed for long range.

      Reply
  14. Daniel Cushing

    Thanks for a great review, it would also be interesting to see a video of your BetaF changes / setup.
    Thanks again

    Reply
  15. Utkarsh Verma

    Really nice to have more than 20 minutes of flight, can you please share the mah rating of the Li ion cells

    Reply
  16. Tom Warlow

    Great review, it would be interesting to see if this could cover more ground on a charge than a Mavic mini, although I believe that is 2s Li ion. Similar size props though.

    Reply
  17. Daniel G.

    Thank you for the thorough review :) Would be cool if you could please post your betaflight-dump, because it’s not on the Flywoo page.

    Reply
  18. john walter robertson

    Hello
    I really enjoyed your videos on this new machine.
    I did watch several others before I got to yours and
    I’m pretty sure that they had battery voltage in their goggles.
    NURK was calling out voltage as he was flying and got 18 minutes
    but killed his 4s 1050.
    Are you sure about this not having voltage sensor?
    Again I enjoyed this page and have been a fan of yours for years.
    Keep it up.
    Walter

    Reply

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