In this review we will check out the iH3 micro quad – an RTF drone (pre-built) with a Runcam Split Mini HD camera. The Split Mini records 1080p HD footage, and can be used as the FPV camera at the same time.
In many countries, drones above 250g require registration. We are now exploring possibility in smaller quadcopters that are capable of recording HD footage since GoPro is probably too heavy. One popular solution is 3″ micro quad equipped with a Runcam Split Mini camera.
Where to Buy?
Instead of getting each part separately and building it by yourself, iFlight released this RTF model to save you from all the troubles. Take it out of the box, bind it to your transmitter and you are ready to fly!
Receiver options are available for Frsky, Flysky and Futaba, you can also get it without an RX.
What’s in the box?
- 1x IFlight iH3 Drone with Split Mini
- 4x propellers
- 1x Battery Strap
- 1x XT30 to JST adapter
- 1x Battery pad
- Various screws and tools
Let’s take a closer look at the iFlight iH3 Micro Quad
- Flight Controller: iFlight Mini F3 (MPU6000, Betaflight OSD, [email protected] BEC, 20x20mm)
- ESC: Flytower 15A BLheli_S 4in1 ESC (Multishot, DShot600, 20x20mm)
- Motor: Tachyon T1408 4100KV
- Propeller: Emax AVAN Mini 3024 3-Blade
- FPV Transmitter: IFlight Force Mini 48CH 25MW/100MW/200MW VTX
- Camera: Runcam Split Mini 1080P/60fps HD recording & WDR FPV camera
- Antenna: Foxeer Antenna (SMA)
To avoid getting propellers in the camera’s view, it uses an “H” frame design with a long body. Not only the camera can be placed as far out as possible, it creates a lot more room for the guts.
You can buy this frame alone: http://bit.ly/2OYWbKm. If you are building this frame from scratch, you should make sure the motor wires are long enough to reach the ESC.
The side plates allows you to mount two FPV cameras. You can have a dedicated FPV camera if you think the Split Mini has too much latency. And you can use the Split Mini just for HD recording.
It’s a unibody frame, the top plate is held in place by four 22mm standoffs. The standoffs are using M3 screws, while all other screws are M2.
Top plate is 2mm thick carbon fibre while the bottom plates (arms) is 3mm thick. The edges of the frame are all sanded down (chamfered).
Diagonal motor to motor distance is 142mm. Side to side is 118mm, front to back is about 80mm.
The weight of the frame is about 39g. A bit on the heavy side, but the design seems to be pretty durable, so I wouldn’t be too concerned about the weight.
The Split Mini consists of two 26x26mm PCB boards and a camera. It’s really difficult to find a frame that is big enough to fit all the FC, ESC, PDB and Split all in one stack. So iFlight came up with this clever dual-stack design.
You can mount your battery on top of the frame, and won’t have to worry about the screws puncturing the battery thanks to the countersinking holes.
The stack at the front is the Split, at the back is the VTX and 4in1 ESC. The board in the middle mounted to the top plate is the flight controller.
The radio receiver (RX) is simply installed on top of the VTX with foam tape.
At the rear of the frame there is a 3D printed (TPU) SMA holder for mounting your VTX antenna connector/pigtail. You can also mount your RX antennas with it using plastic tubes. I have to say this is a very neat design.
The LiPo battery connector is an XT30.
The motor mount on the arms supports both 9mm and 12mm patterns, allows for a wide range of motors. The motors on the RTF are the Tachyon T1408 4100KV Motors.
Airgap is not super tight, but these must be some strong magnets. The motors are super “notchy” when spun by hand, but surprisingly they are pretty smooth in the air!
Taking It Apart – Components
The first thing you want to do is to bind the RX to your TX. To do that you would need to remove the top plate first. The frame is easy to work with, remove the 4 screws and the top plate pops right off.
I will probably re-do all the soldering in this quad at some point. It works as it is, but the work on soldering is below my expectation to be honest.
Well done to iFlight, the quad comes with a buzzer next to the FC. Buzzers are often left out in these RTF micro quads due to the lack of space. They help you find your little quad in tall grass when you crash.
iFlight recommends using 2S 850mAh or 3S 550mAh LiPo batteries with this quad. I am using 3S 650mah and it works really well. 4 mins of flight time, it’s fast and nimble.
In my first flight, OSD was flickering badly, making it unreadable. Not sure if this is just a faulty unit or a general issue. Anyway I added a 480uF capacitor to the XT60 pads, the flickering is still there but it’s much better. Maybe I need an even bigger cap, but at least I can read the OSD now.
It’s a great little quad with potential. Build quality is not the best, component choices are not the latest greatest. But it flies really well (after some tuning), and HD footage looks really good, no jello.
However I was a bit disappointed by the OSD flickering (out of the box). It clearly wasn’t tested thoroughly. But don’t worry, you can “fix” that easily by soldering a capacitor to the XT60. Also I wish the FC is soft mounted for smoother performance.
Anyway these are not enough to be the deal breaker. If you are planning a 3″ build with the Split Mini, check which is better value (take build time into consideration). The Split Mini is $80 alone, so you are getting the RTF quad for $151 (without RX).