Review: Racerstar StarF7 6S AIO FC with Built-in 4in1 ESC

Racerstar is back with their truly “All In One” flight controller, the StarF7 6S AIO – an F7 FC with 4in1 ESC on the same board. Although it’s not that special anymore as more manufacturers are making these type of FC, but the “Star” series was one of the first FC that has integrated ESC for 5″ quads.

Further Reading: How to choose flight controller for FPV drones.

Having ESC integrated into flight controller was a very bold design back in the days, hardware was relatively less reliable and noise was a major concern when there is so much current running underneath all the delicate FC control circuits.

But some people love this design, because it’s super compact in terms of size, few soldering/wiring, light weight, and generally more economical. However if anything burns out on the FC, you’d have to replace the whole board, that’s the FC as well as all the ESC’s, and that can be expensive.

Where to Buy

Banggood: https://oscarliang.com/product-r4w1

It comes with the following accessories:

Specs and Features

  • FC + OSD + BEC + Current Sensor + 4in1 ESC on the same board!
  • Input Votlage: 2S to 6S
  • F7 Processor (STM32F722RET6)
  • BLHeli_32 4in1 ESC, 40A per output, 45A burst current
  • MPU6000 Gyro
  • BEC: 5V 3A and 9V 2A (Supports DJI FPV System)
  • Built-in 16MB flash memory for Blackbox
  • Built-in Barometer
  • Supports dual FPV cameras
  • Mounting holes: 30.5×30.5mm
  • Dimension: 51x43mm
  • Weight: 18g

The StarF7 is the updated version of the previous Tattoo F4S AIO FC. I didn’t have good experience with that one, it didn’t end well as the gyro on mine developed a fault after about 30 packs. Let’s hope the StarF7 will do better than that!

Despite the failed Gyroon the F4S, the ESC’s were pretty solid and held up well. It didn’t have much noise filtration onboard, so I had to use a big cap to ensure clean video. The newer F7 version has better FET’s, as well as more ceramic capacitors on board to help with noise, so I expect even better performance in that regard.

Just based on the specs and features, this board makes a good option for a light weight, efficient, long range GPS 5″ quad, or a modest power freestyle quad.

It can be used in an extremely low profile frame as there is only one single board you have to fit. The built-in barometer will enhance GPS features.

It also has a 9V BEC so you can use it for DJI FPV system without hassle of connecting an external BEC.

Build quality and layout are much improved from the previous F4 version I have to say. Solder pads are well sized and should be easy to work with.

There are 6 layers of 3oz copper traces for the power pads and motor outputs to ensure minimal resistance – great for power delivery and efficiency.

There are double arrays of ceramic capacitors for soaking up voltage spikes and noise in the power.

It’s recommended to add an extra low ESR capacitor at the main power as usual, which is provided in the kit.

To my surprise, the built-in 4in1 ESC is actually loaded with BLHeli_32! Normally due to the space limitation, manufacturers would use BLHeli_S ESC’s on these AIO boards. Although performance wise, there is not a massive difference, It just means it’s more future proof when it comes to features. And right now you can also setup custom start-up tones, but BLHeli_S can’t.

And the widened mounting holes are designed to fit rubber grommets for M3 screws, which wasn’t possible with the previous version. With soft mounting the FC, it reduces vibration, as well as protecting the hardware from crash impacts.

The StarF7 isn’t conformal coated like the TattooF4S, so you’ll have to do it yourself if waterproofing is important to you.

Connection Diagrams

Note that the StarF7 FC supports dual cameras – for example, you can connect two cameras to the quad, one facing forward and one facing backward, so you can switch between the two during flight, and fly backward to trick your audience.

I think it’s a pretty pointless feature as I don’t personally use it :) But if that’s kind of stuff you like to do, then it’s great to have :)

There are 6 UART’s available in the Ports tab, but you can only use 2 and a half UART’s due to the limited number of solder pads (UART1, UART6, and TX of UART4). It’s not many, but should be doable. For example, use UART 1 for radio (Crossfire or SBUS). If you use DJI, connect it to UART 6. If you use SmartAudio, you can use TX4, If you have GPS and so on you can also use softserial.

S5 is motor 5, you can use that for softserial.

B+ is battery voltage – it’s not buzzer! Don’t connect buzzer there or you will fry it. It can be used for powering your VTX if it supports the voltage. But there is also 9V which I think is a much better choice, so you might not need to connect B+ pad.

LED pad is also available, and you can use it for softserial too.

The connection is relatively simple, here is the wiring diagrams provided by Racerstar.

On the back of the board, you have another set of solder pads on top. These pads are designed for connecting the DJI Air Unit. Note that it has UART 6 there too, which are duplicates of the TX6 and RX6 pads on the other side of the board.

Board Info

Updates

If I have any issue with this board I will report back.

You can get this board from: https://oscarliang.com/product-r4w1

2 thoughts on “Review: Racerstar StarF7 6S AIO FC with Built-in 4in1 ESC

  1. Sam

    Very interesting board. My first quad was the StarF4, and I didn’t have a problem with that board. I think it would have been better to include an extra UART rather than a second camera. Two cameras seem a lot more niche than needing more IO.

    Reply

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