If you are looking for a tough mini quad that can handle some water, mud, snow and hard crashes, the Nimbus 195 from Aerodyne RC might be a good option for you.
The Nimbus is a 195mm carbon fiber monocoque mini quad frame. The special manufacturing process is widely used in the aerospace, bicycle and car industry among others to make components and bodies that are tough, rigid and lightweight.
In this review we will have a look at the mini quad frame and build it. This review is written by guest writer, Oyvinla (IntoFPV).
The Nimbus 195 frame and the BNF version are available here: http://aerodyne-rc.com/shop/.
Unboxing and overview
The quad comes in a nice little box, Under the lid a nice and shiny carbon fiber monocoque body racing drone shell reveals itself.
The quad comes partly pre-assembled and in the box there is a bag with some accessories. A CNC cut aluminium Gopro session mount and a pigtail for the VTX. It also comes with 3pcs of Rapstrap for securing the Gopro and a LiPo strap.
The pre-assembled hardware consist of:
- 8 standoff sets with screws for mounting the electronics
- FPV camera mounts specially designed for the Foxeer Arrow V2 and V3.
A polycarbonate battery mount
- Aluminium parts for mounting the battery plate to the quad body
The quad is a true X with a diagonal motor to motor distance of 195mm. All the electronics is placed inside the body and thus protected against debris and water to a certain point. It isn’t waterproof so I would not land it on water, but it should be able to withstand flying in light rain and crashing in wet grass, mud, snow or even cow poo (See what I did there Oscar? haha).
I would also assume that due to the smooth and rounded shape of the quad, it has better aerodynamic properties than a traditional mini quad made out of carbon fiber plates and standoffs.
The quad is the stiffest and most robust quad I have laid my hands on and I would be very surprised if this quad breaks. I tried to bend the arms with my hands and it shows no sign of bending. The body has a variable thickness to keep the weight down and still maintain the durability. The body isn’t the lightest out there and the weight comes in at about 135 grams, but a lighter version can be ordered on request as far as I know.
FPV camera mount
The FPV camera mount consists of two pieces of CNC cut aluminium which is designed for the two-hole version of the Foxeer HS1190 camera and the camera angle can be fixed at 30 degrees, 45 degrees and 60 degrees.
Even though the camera mount is designed for the Foxeer HS1190- and HS1195-style two-hole case, you can also use other cameras. I tested with a Runcam swift 2 and a Runcam Eagle, and both will fit. The old HS1177 and Swift1 will not fit due to the case design, but both those cameras can be upgraded with the HS1190 and the Swift2 replacement case. What you see on the picture #4 is a Swift1 in a Swift2 case with a Swift1 back lid.
As you can see on the pictures #1, #2 and #3, the Runcam Swift 2 works just fine, but the holes don’t line up with the brackets, and there can only be used 1 screw on each mount. It doesn’t seem to be a problem and mounting it this way opens up for many more camera angles as you have a greater freedom to choose what hole to use on both the camera and the brackets.
Even the Runcam Eagle fits quite well.
The quad has a semi-flexible carbon fibre lid on the bottom that is fastened with a rubber band/clip on each side and on the inside you’ll find the battery bay. According to Aerodyne-RC it can accommodate batteries with a maximum length of 76mm, but I actually managed to fit a 86mm long 1500mAh battery even though it was quite tight. The battery on the picture is an Infinity graphene 70C 1500mAh.
The battery compartment lid is held in place by two rubber straps, one on each side. I like that the battery is placed securely inside the frame and will probably be well protected in a crash.
I’m not sure if I like the way the lid is mounted as I think it is a bit loose fit. I would also like to see it be more waterproof.
Inside the body
On each side of the body there is room for mounting the electronics. It is designed for a FC and 4 in 1 ESCs on one side and a VTX and receiver on the other side. This is optional as you can fit two PCBs with a mounting hole pattern of 30.5mm on each side, a total of 4.
It is possible to put separate ESCs inside each arm, but it will require more wiring work.
A nice feature with this frame design is that all the electronics is really well protected inside the shell from the elements and light rain shouldn’t stop you. Like mentioned earlier it is not waterproof, but morning dew, wet grass snow or cow poo shouldn’t cause any problems at all.
The motor mounting pattern is the standard hole pattern you will find on most 5 inch miniquads and a variety of motors will fit. The middle hole is just 5.5mm in diameter, and unfortunately I could not fit RCX RS2206 V2 motors. The motors have a 4mm shaft and an E-clip sticking out which is 6mm in diameter. Aerodyne-RC have been notified about this issue.
The motor cables is going through a hole on the outside of the arm and they should be long enough to reach out of the bottom opening for soldering them to the ESCs. This could be a potential weak point as the cables coming out of the motor are a bit exposed to cuts in a crash.
HD camera mount/Gopro Session Mount
The quad comes with a fixed 30 degree Gopro Session mount made of CNC cutted aluminium and is bolted directly to the Nimbus body. It provides a good fit for the Gopro on the mount and is secured with a Rapstrap.
The propellers and nuts are a bit too visible on the gopro footage for my liking.
I am a bit concerned about the mount as I would think that the Gopro would easily be ejected in a crash and it doesn’t provide any protection. There is not any obvious way to protect the gopro and I would even think that the gopro could be damaged or scratched in a crash due to the sharp edges on the mount.
List of components used:
- FC: Xracer F3 V3.1 w/Betaflight 3.1.7
- ESC: Racerstar Shot 30A 4in1
- Motors: Racerstar 2205 (Temporary while waiting for Aokfly Phoenix 2205 motors)
- Camera: Runcam Swift
- OSD: Micro Minimosd
- VTX: Eachine TX526
- RX: Frsky X4R-SB
The first thing that needed to be done was extending the motor cables as they were not long enough for reaching the 4in1 ESC. The racerstar motors was just something I had lying around but I am planning to change them eventually for something more powerful.
A quick tip is to double check the length of the motor screws. I did it on one arm and assumed that the rest would be okay, which it was not. That mistake costed me almost a day of troubleshooting what I thought was an unstable minimosd…
After having some issues with getting to the ESC signal wire connector on the ESCs, I decided to rotate the 4in1 ESCs by 90 degrees. There is a lot of room inside the body, but it could be a bit hard to get to certain places, and it is advisable to have some plans.
As you can see, the Runcam Swift in a Swift 2 case fits nicely in there as well.
Also note that I did not use the provided hardware for the flight controller. I find it easier to soft mount the FC with silicone o-rings and long acrylic screws where I remove the threads at the height of the FC.
Unfortunately, the black screws for the FPV camera mount is not the strongest and it is very easy to strip the head. The head is supposed to be 2mm, but none of my 2mm allen keys would not fit properly. Two screws where stripped when disassembling the mount.
3pcs of Panasonic 470uf low ESR capacitors was soldered together with wires and connected to the battery pads on the ESCs. The capacitors are tucked away nicely inside one of the arms.
The micro minimosd and X-Racer F3 FC prepared for installation. On this build I wanted to try using 1.25mm JST connectors on all of the components for convenience.
The pigtail is directly soldered to the VTX and both the VTX and RX is mounted on each side of a piece of FC protector or whatever it is. It doesn’t come with the frame but it was something I had lying around from another frame. It would be convenient if there was something similar in the kit as I couldn’t find any better ways to mount them.
The VTX pigtail goes through a hole in the body and is secured with a nut. I had to ask Aerodyne-RC about the easiest way to mount the RX antennas as there are no dedicated holes in the body for this. The solution was to fasten the zip-ties and antennas in the motor holes. I think this is quite clever and the antennas are just long enough to not get into the propellers.
All the electronics nicely placed inside the body.
The battery plate is the finishing touch of the build.
The complete build weighs at 365 grams which I would say is pretty decent. There are lighter quads out there but I cannot say they would be as tough as this guy.
All in all it was a pleasant and fun build despite I had some issues with motor screws touching the stator (I blame the builder, not Aerodyne-RC). The engineering behind the frame looks to be very good and I like that they have managed to get so much room to build even though it is quite small.
The body itself is most likely bulletproof and I would find it strange if there are a lot of people that manages to destroy the quad (obviously there is always someone that manages to break whatever you put in their hands…).
I like the fact that the battery and electronics are inside the frame for protection. If you crash, it is less likely that the battery ejects and makes it easier to recover the quad since it is still powered. On the other hand I am a bit concerned about improper cooling of the VTX, but it didn’t seem to be a problem when I did some test flights.
On the downside, I wish that the Gopro mount would be a bit better as I don’t think that the Gopro is properly protected and secured.
Review written by guest writer, Oyvinla from IntoFPV