I needed a frame to test BLHeli_S and the Hibernagen Menel X 5 looks like a good frame for the task. It has a minimalist design and very light weight. In this review/build log we will look into the goods and bads.
Get your Menel X5 from Hibernagen.
Frame Unboxing and Assembling
The packaging is very nice.
- 4mm Bottom Plate
- 2mm Top Plate
- 2 camera side plates
- 6 aluminium standoffs
- some steel bolts
This is a simple, minimalist unibody design Frame design, yet with a very rigid 4mm bottom plate (arms). Assembled frame weights only 87g.
The frame has an exact square motor layout (width = length), motor to motor distance is about 213mm.
Carbon fibre milling is very clean, no rough edges etc
The provided camera mounting side plates is designed for HS1177 / Swift type of cameras. It’s convenient that allows you to set whatever tilt angle you prefer, but you would have to use 2 screws on both sides of the camera to hold that angle, which doesn’t feel very reliable to me. I prefer mechanism like this bracket (picture on the right) that came with the Runcam Swift.
Good things about the frame
- Very simple, clean and minimalist frame, easy assembling
- Carbon fibre cutting is clean and no rough edges
- Good slot locations for straps and components mounting
- No big cut-outs on the top and bottom plates that might weaken the frame
Things that I didn’t like
- Screw holes on top plate not drilled big enough for M3 bolts
- Motor mount screw holes not big enough for M3 bolts
- Top plate is only 12cm long, no mounting for HD camera unless you mount your battery underneath. If this frame is designed for racing and not supposed to carry a GoPro, then I would probably go to the extreme and get a Armattan F1-5 style frame where CG is even more centralised
I am using some of the most popular components at the moment for mini quad. However I am back with the good old Naze32 board :)
- Runcam Swift FPV Camera
- FX668-2 40ch 200mW VTX
- Naze32 Rev5 FC
- D4R-II Receiver
- Micro MinimOSD
- DAL 5040 Triblades
Sand down carbon edges
First of all, sand down all the sharp edges of the carbon fiber parts with a file, or diamond pad. Some people also put a layer of CA glue or epoxy on the edges after that to make it even stronger against crash or from delaminating. Also remember to do this under water so you don’t breath in carbon dust.
Unfortunately the Demon Core PDB isn’t compatible with this frame. Because of the 2 middle standoffs I had to rotate the PDB 90 degrees to make it fit. The work around is a bit awkward but it worked out nicely.
Learning from past experience, I try to avoid using header pins connectors, and just solder the wires on the PDB directly. This reduce the chances of loose wire in crashes.
Notice the exposed solder joints on the left and right sides, I should put liquid tapes on them to make them water proof and prevent electrical shorts.
Connecting the flight controller to the PDB and the OSD. It’s not a pretty sight :)
But because all the wires are underneath the FC, there is none visible on top, makes it look like a much cleaner build :)
I designed and 3D printed this red piece myself. I use it to protect the FC, as well as mounting my receiver on top of it. If you wish to print this yourself the file is available here. I can also print and send them to you.
Video transmitter is mounted under the top plate.
The LED bars are mounted on the rear standoffs.
Looking at the quad from both sides.
Some finished build pictures.
Mounting HD camera
So I spent some time and worked out how to mount a GoPro or Xiaomi Yi camera on this frame. Because of the short body, it’s challenging to mount anything else on the top plate apart from the battery.
But luckily the way I mounted my VTX and antenna, I was able to move my LiPo back an inch or two to free up some room for an HD camera. (I wouldn’t be able to do so if I used the hole for SMA antenna connector)
Maiden flight with no tuning (27/06/2016)
With the new setup, the quad flew pretty well without any tuning :) First time using DAL 5040 Prop, they scream and seem to be pretty efficient too. But I still want a bit more top speed :) so I might upgrade to 5045 triblades :)
This is the absolute first flight… not used to the rate or quad response at all, but still a joy to fly.