Hobbyking FPV250 Quadcopter Frame
Recently small size quadcopters just became so popular, many new designs and products emerged around this area. Most of the mini quad frames are priced over $70 some even at $100, Hobbyking has recently pushed out an affordable FPV250 frame which is only $10! I figured I’d give that a try and do a review on that.
The FPV250 frame looks pretty strong, but has a bit of flex though. It’s reasonably light weight given the toughness of the frame.It’s not the most durable frame, but it does take a good impact to break.
It’s a very cheap mini quad frame for FPV. However I found it a bit difficult to fit all my FPV equipment on the provided space. As you might notice most of the frame are H-quad configuration meaning they have more space to put the gear. The X configuration frame provides very limited space.
Here comes the solution, the Diatone Cage Long Frame Kit
Diatone Cage Long Frame Kit
This is a commercial modification to the simple FPV250 frame, priced at around $20. It adds a rectangular cage to the existing plastic X quad frame, making it looks like a “H-quad”, and you get much more space to put your gear. I personally find it very interesting, so I bought one of them. I am still at the process of building it, I will share my view about this frame soon. The picture is the current V3 of the frame, previous versions have the cage on top of the frame.
By adding the cage on top, it now looks and works more like a high end FPV mini quad, for example the QAV250 or the Blackout mini H quad. But how does this cheap plastic frame compare to the expensive fibre carbon frames?
Carbon Fibre VS Plastic for Mini Quad Frame
Carbon fiber frames are lighter and more rigid, that’s for sure, but I personally think the plastic FPV250 frame flies just fine without being at that level of lightness and rigidity. Although it might have a positive effect on the flight performance, I don’t know because I don’t have an expensive carbon fibre frame to test and compare.
Carbon fibre might be tougher against crashes, it still depends on how bad the crash is. I have seen a lot of people broke their fibre carbon frames just as badly as the plastic frames. And beginners are more likely to crash and to break their frames.
At a cost effective point of view, if you are a beginner and just want to learn how to fly, Carbon Fibre is not needed. Plastic frame is cheaper to replace when broken. Don’t forget some carbon fibre frames can cost you $100+ easily to replace.
Blackout Mini-H Quad VS QAV250 VS FPV250
Apart from looking at the type of material, we also need to look at the design of the frame, what purpose does it serve the best. Some are designed for speed, while some are designed for toughness.
As far as flight performance is concerned, forget about pilot skills, you should be able to get the same performance out of the FPV250 frame, with similar setup (motors, ESCs, flight controller etc).
DIATONE has made a smart move, aiming at a market that currently has very few players – the low end mini quadcopter market. And eventually there will be more people using their frames, because of its low price advantage, and more people can afford it. (there are more poor people than rich people, let’s face it :-p) Not saying the expensive frames will suffer, there is always a market for people that want to pay more to get the confidence of having something better.
To close this discussion, material wise, to me, carbon fibre is not worth it. Design wise, some expensive frame might look better, and might be tougher to crashes, but I just can’t afford it. To go on and compare it to other frames is a bit like comparing a Honda with a Ferrari, they will both get you from point A to B but they are targeting different user groups. It is pointless to compare them.
Most common question would be “What battery should I use?” Depends on your setup, motors, ESCs, the weight of your quad etc. But the rule of thumb is to look at the size of your ESCs. Assuming you have 10A ESCs, here is how you can figure out what battery fits the best.
Four 10A ESCs would draw a max of 40A. So you need a battery that is able to provide 40 amps of output. You take the battery capacity mAh multiplied by the “C” rating to find the max amp draw from a battery. For example for the 1300mAh batteries with different C ratings.
1300mAh 20c battery = 1.3 Ah * 20 = 26A 1300mAh 25c battery = 1.3 Ah * 25 = 32.5A 1300mAh 35c battery = 1.3 Ah * 35 = 45.5A
In this case you should get at least a 35C battery. Or if you want to look at different capacity batteries, these should do too for the above example.
850 mAh 50c battery = 0.85 Ah * 50 = 42.5A 1000 mAh 40c battery = 1 Ah * 40 = 40A 1500 mAh 30c battery = 1.5 Ah * 30 = 45A
You should be able to get away with slightly under powered batteries, but their life can be shortened if you start over stressing them. Here are some other good recommendations for a quad with 10amp ESCs:
3 Blades VS 2 blades Propellers
It’s common to use either 3 blades and 2 blades props on mini multicopters. As I understand it, with the motors, the 3 blade props produce a little more thrust than the 2 blade props of the same diameter, making the 3 blades a little more efficient. Also 3 blades works better with a slightly lower KV motors.
However 3 blades props can break more easily, and it’s harder to balance than 2 blades props.
Where can I buy it?
A few days after I talked about this frame, Hobbyking started selling the long frame upgrade kit on their store. You can buy it here.
V2 and V3 Frame
Diatone has released a new version called the V3 Frame. It has a dirty-clean top plate with rubber ball. This frame is great for jello-free videos, however, the new cage plate design is really weak! It’s very easy to break where the big holes (cutting) are. I have broken 4 plates at the exact same spots.
I had much better luck with the V2 version, it was much tougher and lasted much longer than the V3 frame. I have 3 broken V3 frames in 2 weeks, while my V2 frames is still in good condition since June!
Edit: For some reason, All the V2 frames now adopted the V3 design (parts excludes rubber balls and extra plate), which means they will be more vulnerable to crashes.
I hope they can fix this in the future, I don’t think I will continue to buy this frame as long as they use this design. I recommend taking a look at the ZMR250 frame, see my review here, and my quadcopter build using this frame.