Review: Hive_16 FC/ESC/VTX Stack from NewBeeDrone

by Oscar

The Hive_16 from Newbeedrone is a 16x16mm all-in-one stack including FC, RX, VTX and ESC. It’s probably the smallest complete package you can get for an FPV drone right now!

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Note: the sample I tested was only a prototype so there could be changes in the production version.


Hive_16 Stack Spec

The Hive_16 stack is an interesting idea and full of possibility for micro quads in the future. It’s pretty amazing how they manage to cram so many things into this compact form factor. And it was very easy to setup since there is no wiring and soldering.

A Closer Look at the Components

The boards are separated by 4mm M2 standoffs, the height of the 3-board stack is about 15mm.

The boards are connected via small header pins and no soldering is required. This is convenient for the users, solder up the motors to the ESC, bind the RX to your Taranis and you are all good to go!

You might wonder if the header pin connections would break easily in crashes. It’s a valid concern, but I don’t think it’s a problem, because the standoffs are actually made of metal (aluminium alloy I think). I have flown this stack for a while now and had numerous crashes, it’s holding up so far.

The whole stack is soft-mounted on rubber bobbins under the 4in1 ESC.

The top board is the VTX. It has a 3-pin connector for your FPV camera, and a U.FL connector for your antenna or extension pigtail.

The VTX has integrated OSD, allows you to change Betaflight settings and VTX settings using your transmitter. Very handy!

The next board is the flight controller. At the time of writing, the Hive_16 FC uses Betaflight but the firmware file isn’t available yet. Hopefully the target will be added soon.

The receiver is built into the FC, which works on D8 protocol on the Taranis. NewBeeDrone will make a DSMX version too for Spektrum users in the future. The receiver binding can be done via CLI – type in “frsky_bind” and the receiver will go into bind mode. I’ve been told a dedicated bind button will be added later on.

The ESC’s are good for 110X motors with 2.5″ or even 3″ propellers! Voltage rating is 1S-2S LiPo and it supports DShot600.

The Spec of the quad I am testing

Newbeedrone kindly sent me a pre-built model with the stack. Here is the spec of the quad:

  • Motors – Rotor Riot HyperTrain DAB 1104 7500KV Motors (
  • Gemfan 3025 dual-blade propellers (
  • Some prototype frame with TPU canopy
  • Some unknown FPV camera with really wide FOV (NTSC)

This thing is SO FAST! Feels almost as fast as my 5″ it’s insane :D

The Downsides

There is still no manual or pin-out diagram for this stack yet, so I am not sure if it has other capability that i failed to mention in the review.

So far the Hive_16 has been enjoyable to use, but there are still things that can be done better.

The first thing is the lack of buzzer! And there doesn’t seem to be buzzer pads on the FC either. This is huge because if you lose this little thing in the grass, you are not going to find it without a buzzer! For now I am using ESC beacon as a work around but it’s not quite loud enough.

At the moment i can only find 1 UART, which is for Crossfire or DSMX serial receivers as I was told. I wish there are more UART, so we can hook up more stuff to it, like FPV camera control (The Split?), or even GPS! Long range micro anyone?

Update (19 Oct 2018) – Pin-out diagram!

Finally I was given the pinout diagram for the Hive16 FC. It turns out there are actually buzzer pads as well as LED pads. And there is only one UART you can solder to.

Testing in Car Park

This might be the perfect quad for indoor racing :D It’s so fast, nimble and easy to control! It’s so much fun to fly!

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Josh Disher 22nd August 2023 - 2:30 am

Does anyone have a firmware target for this board? I just bought 15 of them (NIB) off EBay for $150 and am about to start building!

Kyle Du4fpv 26th August 2021 - 12:32 am

Is there a fix for the hive 16 with the issue with motors shuttering? I had to stack laying around and I finally put it together because I wasn’t using 2s for anything and now I put it together and I’m having issues with motors shuttering when trying to take off

Gary 17th May 2021 - 11:33 pm

Went to beta flight and still only two motors are working. The other two don’t do anything. And stack is completely together

Gary 16th May 2021 - 10:10 pm

Only two of my motors are spinning. The other two don’t do anything. Was wondering if maybe they needed to be In the certain pattern

Oscar 16th May 2021 - 11:00 pm

No motor wires pattern don’t matter.
Have you tried testing them in Betaflight, Motors Tab?
If still the same, then check if FC/ESC boards are connected properly.

Gary 16th May 2021 - 7:58 pm

Is it a straight Sauter for the motors? Are there any wires that I need to crossover?

Oscar 16th May 2021 - 8:29 pm

Sorry i don’t understand your question.

Cyrus 18th August 2020 - 4:30 am

Hi Oscar,

I was trying to update the esc in blheli but couldn’t find a match. It appears they are y_h_10#, 16.7 right now. Blheli doesn’t seem to have an update and Jess configurator won’t even show its connected. Is there any help or direction you could give?


Tim 5th April 2019 - 2:55 pm

Does anyone know where we can buy that camera connector for the vtx? Mine didn’t come with one :(

Jeff 22nd January 2019 - 11:00 am

My escs are dead. Power on I get no FC tones. BLHeliS suite shows escs as blank. And there is no freaking target for the hive16. Basically I’m dead in water. FC powers up and is bound and that works. Really sucks as this is super expensive.

Oscar 22nd January 2019 - 4:32 pm

have you tried contacting NBD for a solution?

Mr_Jeckyl 9th December 2018 - 6:04 pm

Newbee specializes in smaller drones. This is designed specifically for super light builds that can be used indoors. If you want 3s or 4s, you are going to use a 20×20 stack.

I believe this is designed as a sub 3″ stack, and keeps the weight significantly under a 20×20 stack.

Speculation?- New brushless Newbee drone incoming?

Israel Shirk 7th November 2018 - 7:25 pm

Do you know anything about the ratings of the ESC’s? Thanks! Israel

Oscar 23rd November 2018 - 1:06 am

1S-2S, 12A, as pointed out in the Spec.

Kevin Boyer 24th October 2018 - 12:09 pm

The FPV Camera is a BeeEye by NewBeeDrone ;)

I’ve fitted the stack in a brushless 1s whoop. The whole thing weights only 1g more than a brushed whoop at around 23g

Adam 22nd October 2018 - 1:22 pm

Although you say it’s D8 protocol is there a way to make it compatible with a EU qx7? So D16? I’m just moving to frsky from flysky and it’s just a little more complicated! Thanks
If not can I be flashed etc? I have family that can send over the hive 16 cheap so that’s not an issue

Daniel Balsalobre 19th October 2018 - 7:11 am

Nothing to do with

Oscar 19th October 2018 - 10:03 am

the one you posted has 20×20 mounting, the one in this review is 16×16! And this one even has RX integrated!
crazy right? i know :)

Daniel Balsalobre 22nd October 2018 - 5:35 pm

Yes, its amazing but a little short of amps when mounted in a 2″, and leak support for 3s.

Fahua 18th October 2018 - 4:51 pm

Only 1s or 2s for a 2.5? Can’t take at least 3S?

Keep up your blog, it’s in the top of the top list in the web