Review and Build: Hibernagen Menel X 3″ Mini Quad Frame

We reviewed the 5 inch Menel Mini Quad frame not long ago, now let’s take a look at it’s little brother, the 3″ Menel X3 from Hibernagen.

Menel X3 Mini Quad frame is available from Hibernagen.

Frame Review

Menel X 3 frame kit contains:

  • 3mm bottom unibody plate
  • 2mm top plate
  • 2 x FPV camera side plates
  • 30mm standoffs and hardware
  • Frame assembly guide

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame unbox

Frame is an unibody desig, weights just 52g fully assembled. Motor to motor distance is 143mm.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame top

There are several cut-outs on the frame to allow fixing lipo straps and antennas.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame side hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame fpv camera mount

Menel X 3 can take HS1177 sized FPV camera, which can be installed either using supplied side plates or camera bracket.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame angle

Carbon fibre quality is excellent, precisely cut although edges are a little sharp (might require addictional filing).

Good things about the frame:

  • Simple, lightweight design
  • Affordable price
  • Good quality carbon fibre
  • Nice packaging (compared to plastic bags that most other frames come in)
  • Allows fitting HS1177/Runcam Swift sized FPV camera, so no more bad quality pico cameras on 3″ frame
  • Option to carry LiPo battery on the to or on the underside of the frame

Things to improve:

  • Carbon fibre finish is a bit rough, edges were sharp
  • Few additional cutouts in the CF plates would be handy for fixing components
  • For experienced builders only because of the limited space

Build Log

Parts list:

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build components parts

I filed all carbon fibre edges using diamond files before I start building. I also applied Loctite 401 glue on the arms, front and back section of bottom plates, to prevent carbon fibre splitting during hard crashes.

Arms are very short on the 3″ frames, so the ESC and motors needs to be mounted in special ways. I soldered the motor wires over the ESC in a loop and heatshrinked it. By doing this the ESC can sit closer to the motor and on the arms.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame motor esc soldering

Soldered ESC to Demon Core PDB along with XT60 wire

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame solder esc on pdb

I found that Demon Core will hit the two standoffs in the middle, so I decided to remove them from the frame. On such small fuselage it wouldn’t make much difference IMO.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame mounting demoncore pdb

Motors were installed to the frame, and I soldered wires for video transmitter and FPV camera to the PDB. Also added LED wires, VBAT and power to flight controller.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame solder wires on pdb

Because of the limited space on this frame, X4R-SB radio receiver was de-pinned, wires soldered directly and heatshrinked.

Next, I soldered X4R-SB directly to Dodo flight controller, and that to the Demon Core PDB. The plan was to sandwich X4R-SB between PDB and FC.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame solder rx on fc hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame mounting fc

Soldered LED strip (with buzzer) and adjusted the length of the ESC signal wire, before I soldered them directly to flight controller.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame solder esc on fc hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame install led bar buzzer

Screwed everything to plastic standoffs and fixed LED strip to the rear standoffs.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame install led bar buzzer (2)

Fixed video transmitter to the underside of the top plate by double sided tape and also a zip tie.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame install vtx on top plate

Attached top plate to the frame, connected all wires and fixed radio antennas to the top plate using zip tie and heat shrink.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame holding in hand

All what was left to do was to connect the power and configure Betaflight. Fully built frame weights just 200g. With 4S 850mah 45C lipo that’s 300g

It is not really a quad to carry a HD camera, but I did a test with RunCam HD and it handles it pretty well, just makes flying a bit mushy in yaw axis because of the weight distribution.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build fpv camera

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build top hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build front

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build side hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build motor prop

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build led buzzer hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build bottom battery strap

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build compared to 6 250

The frame can carry LiPo either on the top or bottom. I prefer to have it  on the bottom because of better weight distribution.

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build with battery hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame build with lipo battery side

Flight videos

Flying experience

I flashed ESCs with Multishot and Dodo with latest Betaflight 2.9. Default PID didn’t feel very locked in, but after tuning the quad it flies amazingly well. At times I couldn’t believe that I was flying 3″ quad and not a 5″.

It’s best to fly without any HD camera due to the size, but to make the most from both worlds I used 2.1mm lens. It is great for close proximity flying and gives a large field of view. The fish eye effect looks great in DVR footage.

I also tested variety of propellers and the best results so far were with DYS 3030 tri blades props. Gemfan 3030 two blades gave better flight time but they were so fragile. DAL 3030 tri blades would make motors hot and give shorter flight time.

I used 850mah 4S lipo on this quad simply because I’ve already had them around :) They give me around 5-6 minutes of flight time which is great compared to bigger size mini quad. I still need to try out other batteries, but for 4S lipos that are below 1000mah are very hard to get.

Conclusion

I really enjoyed building this tiny quad. It is fun to fly, and it’s a great choice for indoor flying, or extreme close proximity like a swing parks for instance where even 180mm quad feels too big :)

hibernagen menel X 3 inch mini quad frame manual instruction

Author : Author

4 thoughts on “Review and Build: Hibernagen Menel X 3″ Mini Quad Frame

  1. Richard

    Oscar another great review. Thanks. Could you please give a pid starting point for BF 2.9. I”m a terrible tuner, so a starting point would help.

    Reply
    1. Artur B.

      Thanks : ) You will enjoy this one. It’s a blast. I am still trying to find the best tune for it as well as the best props. So far gem fan two blade or DYS try blade 3040 were the best. HQ durables or DAL tri bullnose turned out to be too much.

      Reply

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