Review: GEPRC Rocket Lite 2″ FPV Drone with Caddx Vista

The Rocket Lite from GEPRC is a tiny “bind and fly” FPV drone with 2″ propellers. It comes with Caddx Vista installed and is compatible with DJI FPV system. Some said it’s one of the best pre-built DJI micro drones, but is it?

Where to Buy GEPRC Rocket Lite?

Product Page:

The Rocket Lite has Caddx Vista pre-installed, but the Vista doesn’t have onboard video recording. However you can record video through the DJI goggles which has a maximum resolution of 720p 60FPS without audio.

Here is some high quality footage i recorded with this drone:

If you want better video quality in your recording, check out the Rocket Plus (coupon BGROCKET for 15% off).

The Plus version has basically the same specs as the Lite, but with the full size DJI Air Unit instead of the Caddx Vista, which allows you to record 1080p videos with audio inside the Air Unit. All that for only about $15 more. But the videos you see in the goggles are the same.

Personally I don’t find it necessary, I prefer the lighter VTX which is very important for this small 2″ drone. And I only fly with this little guy around my local parks and I don’t intend to make many videos with it. If I really want to, i can always use my Insta360 GO for that and it even has stabilisation to smooth out all the shakes and bumps in the footage.

There are the following items in the box:

  • The Rocket Lite drone
  • Battery pad
  • 3x LiPo straps
  • A spare set of props
  • M2 Allen key
  • Stickers
  • Plastic tubes for RX antennas
  • Zip ties

Specs

  • Supports 2S to 4S LiPo
  • Frame
    • Top/bottom carbon plates are 3mm thick
    • Wheelbase 112mm
  • GEPRC F4 AIO FC board with built-in ESC
    • Input voltage 2S to 4S
    • MPU6000 Gyro
    • 5V 1A BEC
    • 20A 4in1 ESC (BLHeli_S Firmware: G_H_30 – 16.7)
    • Built-in current sensor
    • Flash memory for Blackbox
    • Mounting 26.5×26.5mm
  • GR1204 5000KV Motors
  • Emax Avan 2″ props (4-blade)
  • Caddx Vista
  • Crossfire Nano Receiver with Mini-Immortal antenna
  • weight: 132g without battery

Closer Look

The Rocket Lite is priced at $334 with Crossfire Nano receiver, which is considerably more expensive than the HGLRC Sector132 I just reviewed, which is only $284. For $50 less, the Sector132 actually has a FC/ESC board with better specs, and it supports up to 3″ props – flies better and has more power.

But the Rocket Lite flight performance make up for the extra cost, it didn’t need any tuning at all and video looks jello free. The Sector132 has been quite tough to tune.

The GEPRC Rocket Lite doesn’t have the best looking frame, but it’s definitely one of the most functional designs. Very sturdy and durable (both plates are 3mm thick), easy to take apart for repair and very stiff for good flight performance. The arms are straight (not the usual X shape we see in other FPV frames) and so it uses less carbon fibre material to keep the weight down.

The bumpers at the front and rear are made of light weight aluminium.

The antenna mount is 3D printed in TPU, it also acts as stress relief for the XT30 lead / solder pads, very nice design.

It’s a bad design choice to use Mini Immortal antenna for the TBS Crossfire Nano receiver in my opinion. The range is reduced to roughly only 1/2 compared to using the normal Immortal T antenna, and all it does is saving 2 grams of weight. And from our testing, the Mini Immortal T antenna seems to favour 868MHz frequency over 915MHz, so if you are from the US you will get even less range than I do.

Mini Immortal T would be great for weight critical builds like the Toothpicks, but the performance loss is not worth the weight saving for the Rocket Lite. I will definitely change it back to the original Immortal antenna.

This is the normal Immortal-T antenna I’d use:

They use all counter-sunk screws on the frame to keep the surface flat so they don’t dig into your battery in crashes, very nice touch!

You can change camera angle, but it’s hard to get to the screws on the sides of the camera without removing the front prop guards. Edit: you can actually do it with the Allen key provided in the kit, it’s a very tight fit.

The Vista camera is well protected by the aluminium braces, but it’s still possible to get damaged as the gap is quite wide. Consider using a TPU lens protector. Here is my design, try the slim version: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4548568

Very durable poly-carbonate prop guards.

The motors are CR1204 5000KV, running 2″ Emax Avan (4-blade version) props. I tested these props and they aren’t the best, the 3-blade version of Avan actually perform better in almost every aspect.

The better 3-blade Avan props are available here:

This is a $334 drone, and I am disappointed by the low quality battery straps and pads they use here. They don’t provide enough grip to hold the battery down in crashes. They do get the job done, kind of, but if you can, replace them.

Better battery strap (get the 16cm): https://oscarliang.com/product-q0iz

Get Ummagrip battery pad (lite version):

The DJI Caddx and FC board are mounted separately, with the Vista installed under the top plate. I think this is because the FC has “non-standard” mounting holes. I do like this design a lot, because you can now work on the FC more easily, without removing the Vista.

The flight controller is GEPRC’s own toothpick style FC with 26.5×26.5mm mounting holes. But the frame also has 20x20mm mounting holes if you want to replace it.

The solder pads on the FC appear to be quite small, could be difficult to work with for the inexperienced. They used epoxy glue to reinforce the small wires and solder joints.

It’s hard to get the USB cable plugged in for both FC and Vista, because the prop guards get in the way.

For this I use a magnetic USB cable, works like a charm in this build, you can also use a 90-degree USB adapter which is cheaper.

Get the magnetic USB cable here: https://amzn.to/2YTqQQ2 (make sure it supports data transfer).

You can leave the magnetic connector plugged in if you want, it also protects the USB port from sand and debris getting stuck :)

Many people complained about wrong voltage scaling in the past, I didn’t have this problem myself, maybe they fixed it in later batch. Default current sensor scaling is also correct.

It has two RGB LED at the rear, makes it ultra visible at night :)

How to Setup

Because it has a buzzer, it gets loud and annoying when setting up the drone :) I had to block the beeper with some “blu-tac”, you can just use a piece of tape for this.

It doesn’t come with a manual, I couldn’t find an online manual on GEPRC’s website either. But it wasn’t particularly difficult to set up.

Setup Caddx Vista

Binding Receiver

Follow the manual of your radio receiver and bind it to your transmitter. Here is how to bind the Crossfire Receiver.

FC Firmware

The Betaflight firmware target is MATEKF411, and it comes with version 4.1.1 pre-installed. For my first flight, I didn’t update Betaflight because I wanted to see how well it flies out of the box.

UART Ports

They’ve already setup the UART’s for you, so there is nothing to do here. There are only two UART on this FC, but enough for this setup:

  • UART1 is set to MSP, for the Caddx Vista OSD
  • UART2 is set to Serial RX, for the Crossfire Nano Receiver

Betaflight Configuration

In Configuration tab:

  • Under DShot BeaconTurn on RX_SET – in case the buzzer in the quad fails to work, you have a backup
  • Disable Telemetry and Softserail – not using these and could save some processing power

In Modes tab:

  • Assign switches to arm, beeper and turtle mode

In OSD tab:

In PID tab, change rates to your preference:

  • My rates are: RC Rate 1.3 / Super Rate 0.64 / Expo 0.22

Here is the original CLI dump: https://intofpv.com/t-original-cli-dump-for-geprc-rocket

Flight Performance and Tuning

The GEPRC Rocket Lite didn’t need any tuning at all, it just flies so damn well out of the box. There is no jello whatsoever!

All I did was changing the rates and that’s it, I didn’t even have to enable RPM filter. It’s very nimble and responsive, to the point I had to lower my rates :)

It will take both 3S and 4S Lipo batteries, both work fine on this quad, but I think 4S is the better choice, it flies much better, faster and more nimble. 4S 450mah and 650mAh are both great choices – I get about 3 mins of flight time on 4S 450mAh. You can get up to 6 minutes on 4S 850mAh but you can really feel the weight.

From my testing of 4S LiPo, my recommendation is GNB 4S 450mAh: http://bit.ly/2K2mD4z

I’ve heard the Rocket Lite is a very quiet drone, but I have to disagree. It sounds just about the same as any other 2″ or 2.5″ whoops. Actually my 3″ Eachine Twig and 3″ Sector132 are much quieter, probably because of the lack of prop guards.

Conclusions

The GEPRC Rocket Lite is for you if you are looking for a small pre-built DJI drone that flies well out of the box, and doesn’t need any tuning. It’s durable and can take some abuse, suitable for beginners to practice on. It’s not a super powerful quad, but you can get some fun freestyle flights and cursing from it.

Everything seems to just work and I don’t actually have too many complains which is rare. I didn’t change much apart from the receiver antenna, battery pad and strap, props, and USB port.

The jello-free video is most surprising to me, probably the cleanest feed I’ve seen so far on a 2″/3″ size DJI micro drone, and remember this is without any tuning. GEPRC did a fantastic job with the stock tune i have to say, and that justifies the extra cost.

Buy the Rocket Lite from:

You might also want these spare parts:

Pros

  • It flies very well out of the box, no jello at all!
  • Very functional frame design, durable, stiff and easy to repair
  • Good build quality, so far reliable
  • It has a buzzer, easier to find when crashed; although it gets annoying when updating Vista firmware
  • Easy to setup, as most of the Betaflight configurations were already set correctly

Cons

  • No manual
  • More expensive than other options with similar specs
  • Tricky to plug in USB cables to both FC and Caddx Vista
  • Low quality straps and battery pad for something at this price tag
  • Not the best prop choice, but gets the job done
  • Would love a bit more camera protection – I use 3D printed lens cap
  • Reduced range due to the Mini Immortal T
  • Brittle prop guard, they could learn a thing from the Sector132 – try not to crash too hard
  • Doesn’t fit 2.5″ props (the tips touch) even if you remove prop guards; You can file the tips down, but I’d avoid doing that as it changes the flight characteristics of the props

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