PDB (power distribution board) is used widely in mini quads, they make builds much simpler. This Arris PDB has dual BEC (5V and 12V) and LC-filter built in. What’s interesting is the integrated OSD that can overlay vital flight data: for example timer, voltage and mAh used from current sensor. It can also be used as a convenient tool for PID tuning in the field.
This PDB+OSD is provided by Arris Hobby, this review is written by Konrad.
- Support up to 6S LiPo
- 5V and 12V power outputs (LC filtered) – selectable for FPV gear such as camera and VTX
- Size: 36 x 36 x 6.5mm, stackable with most flight controllers
- Built-in OSD (MWOSD 1.6 pre-installed on my unit)
According to the official specification, this PDB’s 5V BEC can supply up to 3A of current (rectifier diode DC-DC conversion). That means it can be used not only to power its OSD, FC, FPV equipment and receiver but also possibly enough for an HD camera such as a GoPro or Runcam.
Most OSD users choose Micro MinimOSD as it’s widely available and very small. Installation of this OSD is a whole different story though, users often have problems with FTDI adapters, Arduino software version incompatibility, electrical noise problems that cause blackouts in FPV feed etc.
PDB’s with built-in OSD can easily solve some of these problems, reduce wire clutter caused by multiple necessary connections (because they can test the whole setup in development). This one also has FTDI unit built in to make connection between OSD and PC much easier. My unit came with MWOSD 1.6 firmware pre-installed with default settings.
Let’s take a look at the layout of the board. There are + and – ESC pads placed on both sides of the board. They might cause a bit of wire crossing that could have be avoided by providing separate pads for every ESC. But these two larger copper pads will act as a heatsink to keep whole PDB cooler.
On the front we have a micro USB port and six header pin holes for your FPV camera and VTX. After soldering the header pins there has proven difficulties accessing the USB port, especially when you have the servo leads from VTX plugged in. This can be avoided by direct soldering wires or soldering angled headers from the bottom.
I think one thing this board can improve on, is to move the VTX pin holes to the opposite side of the PDB (rear of the board), because that’s normally where we place our VTX, at the back of our quads.
On the front there are also two sets of soldering pads, where you can select your preferred voltage (5V or 12V).
OSD is located on the underside of this PDB. One thing worth noting is there are also two un-bridged pads labelled as PAL, probably NTSC/PAL selectors. I have yet to verify this as it was set to PAL in the OSD firmware. There is also additional tantalum capacitor placed there to reduce noise in power for OSD.
Quality of this product seems good, component soldering is very clean. As for its durability – I can only tell after some more unplanned landings :)
- Integrated OSD – saves hassle, space, wiring mess
- FTDI built in for MinimOSD
- ESC pads available on both sides of board
- User can choose 5V or 12V for camera and VTX separately
- 5V regulator can supply up to 3A current (according to specification)
- USB port at the front of the board (hard to reach when build is finished, can be avoided by changing board orientation, but not everyone will want to do that)
- Angled VTX pin headers will block USB port when soldered “as intended”
We found the same PDB available from BG under a different brand name.
Bench Test Update (11 Sept 2016)
I tested the PDB with my FPV setup and got it up and running with 4S LiPo. OSD is working without flashing firmware (I only needed to configure it with 1.6 MWOSD GUI earlier) in PAL mode.
The problem was that the overlay text was flashing rapidly. I checked 5V output of the board again and confirmed that it gives 4.95V which should be enough for MinimOSD to work properly. I also checked voltage on tantalum capacitor mounted on OSD side and measured 4.66V – that is probably the source of this issue as Micro MinimOSDs are known to be very strict in terms of required voltage. Blinking OSD text is very annoying on a slow flying model and certainly will not be usable at all on a fast racer. Also if it has such problems without even having any load on the system, it’s highly probable, that it will fail during aggressive manoeuvre.
After seeing this, I cannot recommend this board, at least not if you are planning to use it with built in OSD.
Author: Konrad Stepanajtys