Review: Racerstar TattooF4S FC – ESC Integrated Flight Controller

by Oscar
Published: Last Updated on

The TattooF4S from Racerstar is an AIO FC that not only has integrated PDB, but also combines ESC’s on one single board! I am very excited about the idea because it can truly clean up the wiring and make your mini quad much easier to build.

Update (Sep 2020): They released a new version, StarF7 6S AIO FC

Buy the Racerstar TattooF4S from: Banggood | Amazon. Same rebranded board: Lumenier Alpha AIO and Sunrise Siskin.

Further Reading:

What’s Special about the TattooF4S FC?

The biggest selling point of the TattooF4S is the integrated BLHeli_32 ESC’s, and the whole board only weighs 16.5g! This makes it a great option for ultralight weight builds, as well as those require easy and clean wiring.

It’s also relatively cheaper than getting an F4 FC and a 4in1 BLHeli_32 ESC separately, which can cost about $30+ and $50+ respectively. The TattoF4S is only priced at $75.

Lastly, the whole FC is conformal coated which reduces the chance of short circuit (the solder pads are not coated).

Specification

  • F4 Processor, MPU6000 Gyro
  • Input Voltage: 2S-4S
  • Supports Betaflight OSD
  • Built-in current sensor
  • 16MB flash memory for blackbox
  • BEC: 5V/2A
  • Current rating of each ESC channel: continuous 30A, burst 35A
  • Running BLHeli_32 firmware, supports DShot1200
  • Weight: 16.5g
  • Dimension: 41.5mm x 50mm x 6mm

The spec looks sweet with a list of up-to-date features, and I really dig the idea of integrated ESC. We will find out if the ESC’s are low noise and can hold up to abuse, if they are this would probably be my next go to setup.

Close Look at the TattooF4S

In the package, the TattooF4S FC comes with

  • 2x 16AWG wires (9cm long)
  • 5x M3 22mm Nylon screws
  • 9x M3 5mm standoffs
  • 5x M3 3mm standoffs
  • 5x M3 Nylon nuts

I am a little bit disappointed that it doesn’t come with rubber bobbins for soft-mounting, XT60 connector and a low ESR capacitor, though you can get them cheaply everywhere.

Further Reading:

The TattooF4S is in a similar form factor to a normal flight controller with 30.5×30.5mm mounting holes. I am amazed by how many features are packed in this board, it has all the things  that I normally use on an AIO FC, plus the four integrated ESC’s.

Not only it will save space, it also makes building a lot easier and cleaner because there is no soldering or wiring at all. Simply connect your motors to the FC and you are done.

However, due to the compact size, there isn’t a lot of space left on the board for solder pads, some useful pads are simply left out, for example UART3, which is available in the configurator but no where to be found on the board.

As you can probably see in the close up photos, there is conformal coating on the board. I like the fact that all the solder pads are located on the top side of the FC, and nothing on the bottom, this makes soldering a lot easier.

Connection

Here is how I wire up the TattooF4S FC with motors, VTX, FPV Camera, Frsky RX, buzzer and capacitor.

The dedicated SBUS port is inverted so you can’t really use it for anything else apart SBUS. You are really just left with one uninverted UART on the board, UART6 (TX6, RX6).

Since SmartPort Telemetry is also inverted, you cannot connect Smart Port directly to TX6, you need to get the uninverted signal on the RX. Therefore I prefer to connect the inverted SmartPort to the LED pin and enable Soft Serial for it, in that case I don’t need to worry about inversion.

To use SmartAudio, you can use then UART 6.

For people running iBUS, Crossfire, as well as Spektrum, you will have to use UART6 (note that there is already a 3V output for Spektrum Satellite receivers). In this case, in order to use SmartAudio you will need to use Soft Serial and the LED pin.

Installation

I recommend soft mounting the FC using rubber bobbins (Buy: Banggood | Amazon | GetFPV), this will help reduce the amount of vibration getting to the Gyro on the FC.

You are meant to mount this FC following the arrow symbol on the board, but then the USB connector would be facing forward and become inaccessible as hidden inside the frame.

It would probably make more sense to mount it side way. But it really doesn’t matter what orientation you install the FC, you probably only need to plug the FC into the computer for setup the first time and then you can use Betaflight OSD or LUA script for tuning anyway.

You can also use Resource remapping to swap the motor output around if required.

Downsides

I like this FC, but it’s definitely not perfect.

ESC Telemetry is not available on this board despite having BLHeli_32 ESC’s.

It comes with Betaflight firmware 3.1.7, an old firmware that was released back in Apr 2017, and the firmware target is DHF4. However I couldn’t find this target in any newer BF version, I also tried to google it and it didn’t come back with any result.

After some research, it turns out this board uses the LUXF4OSD targetn, and it’s possibly the same board as the Lumenier F4 Alpha AIO. In the end I successfully flashed this board to Betaflight V3.3.

Testing

Update (26/March/2018)

I just had my first flight with this FC today, I am very happy with the board in terms of flight performance! No oscillations at all with the Dragonfly 2207 2500 motors and DAL Cyclone 5045×3 props. And video is very clean, but of course I added a 1000uF capacitor on the power pads and I am soft mounting the FC with rubber bobbins.

However, soldering is really difficult! The pads are really small and close together, they weren’t easy to work with at all. Not to mention there is only one 5V pad so you’ll have to share it with all of the 5V devices such as your camera, VTX and DVR, which means you will have to solder multiple wires on a very tiny pad…

But apart from that, it’s been working great so far, I will report back once I have more experience with it.

Update (13/April/2018)

After going through about 30 batteries, the FC started to develop some “gyro drifts”, the quad would just randomly drift during flight. That’s probably either related to build quality or component quality. Maybe it’s just a faulty board I have…

Anyway, I like how easy it is to build (despite the tiny solder pads), and compact it is. The concept is great, but they could have done better at the execution. Look forward to a V2 :)

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22 comments

Luis Pinho 7th June 2020 - 12:34 am

Hi Oscar,
I bought this controller a few years ago but due to some problems, I was unable to finish my build.
But now, 2020, I’m able to proceed :)
Do you know if its possible to connect this controller to the micro minimosd.

I organized the pins as you have it here: https://oscarliang.com/ctt/uploads/2015/04/micro-minimosd-soldering-pins-easy-access-compact-heatshrink-tube-wrap-150×150.jpg

I bought your battery strap, they are great, thanks for this site.

Best Regards

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Federico Trotta 19th January 2019 - 7:16 pm

Hi Oscar, I have a Racestar StarF3S. Should I put SmartPort Telemetry on LED pin like you did here?

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Oscar 22nd January 2019 - 4:19 pm

Yes you can.

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Tony 26th October 2018 - 10:42 pm

I cant get the Blheli configurator (chrome osx) to display anything after hitting read config. The betaflight fw is 3.5.2, anyone else having this issue?

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Martins 30th July 2018 - 6:29 pm

ON this board “save” settings from Beta Flight never reconnects.
If I change anything and press save and reboot, betaflight disconnects and never allows to reconnect (Error: Failed to open serial port), unless I unplug/replug USB physically.
Save command from CLI does the same.
I managed to update BetaFlight to latest “stable” LUXF4OSD 3.4.0 – only by using Impulse RC driver fixer.
But still no working save command.
Exiting from CLI also disconnects.,

And cannot save serial port configuration at all.
Any serial port configuration changes are ignored.

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Ramil 23rd July 2018 - 9:36 pm

“The FC started to develop some “gyro drifts”, the quad would just randomly drift during flight”
I have the same problem! How to get rid of it? And does other versions of this board have the same problem?

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Oscar 24th July 2018 - 6:44 pm

No I couldn’t fix that, I believe it was a hardware issue and I had to replace the FC.

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Todd Le Brell 12th July 2018 - 3:33 am

Hey Oscar, what’s the BF target name for this?

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Oscar 24th July 2018 - 6:20 pm

LUXF4OSD

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Phil Cogswell 1st July 2018 - 4:54 pm

What would the values be for scale and offset to get Good amperage in OSD?

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Oscar 24th July 2018 - 5:37 pm

I forgot to document it when i calibrated mine, and I no longer use this FC. But here is a tutorial on how to calibrate your current sensor.

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rob 17th May 2018 - 5:29 pm

@IanF Wow thanks for the tip, i just picked one up, looking forward to building a clean build.. :D

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steffenFPV 4th April 2018 - 6:09 pm

Hey Oscar, im in love with you.
I bought this FC and i had some issuse. First i soldered my ibus Rx on the Sbus port and it didnt worked, yeah im so stupid xD. After i read your post ist soldered it on uart6 and boom it worked. I also wanted to use smartaudio but i had no clue how the only free uart i was useing for the Rx.
So i read the page how to soft-serial and How does Resource Remapping. I was able to remap the LED Strip for softserial and smartaudio. BOOM it work. Now im feeeling like some kind of hacker.
So thank you very much. Your articels are on point and are good to understand for noobs like me. And also my english is not very well, but the way you explain the things are very good.

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Oscar 5th April 2018 - 5:46 pm

That’s great to hear Steffen, Thank you for the useful feedback :)

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deadmoo 27th March 2018 - 9:08 pm

I believe the DRP FIRE F4 AIO from droneracingparts.com is also a rebranded version of this board.

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Greg C 27th March 2018 - 1:27 am

I have the Lumenier version of this board. It works pretty well, but I had some terrible vibrations that wouldn’t come out through tuning or anything. Eventually I found that if I went into the BLHeli32 configurator and turned the PWM Frequency up to 48khz. This mostly solved my oscillations, I can probably tune out the rest now.

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Oscar 1st April 2018 - 1:04 am

What motors are you using? and with what props?

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Yatti 19th March 2018 - 6:35 pm

Love this board so compact perfect for Merica frame using the new low profile “eagle”canopy. I fortunately after a pretty hard crash my gyro is not functioning correctly. I get twitchi g of motor when frame is powered up and sitting still in the floor .
So I just dropped another $78 for a new board. I will keep using this bird as wiring up a drone is clean and easy

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Hypurr 19th March 2018 - 1:03 pm

I’ve been using the Lumenier version of this board for a few months and really like it. I have had no issues with the board itself. I did have a bad crash a couple of weeks ago which broke an arm, bent a motor and pulled off one of the ESC pads for that motor so I had to get a new FC. I bought the same one but this time when I installed it I clocked it 90 degrees so the USB port will be on the side and the ESC connections are better protected. I am running BF 3.3 on it and have no issues with SBUS or oscillations as mention by others here. Of course, it could be motors and frame differences, but I needed the compactness for this build and see no reason to change it at this time.

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IanF 18th March 2018 - 6:47 am

This board can be bought for less on Hobbyking under the MultiStar brand.

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Josh 17th March 2018 - 7:36 pm

Yeah I tried to use this board. I could not get rid of some violent mid throttle oscillations. Went so far as to even change motors. No change.

In the end I gave up on it when the usb connector broke off. This is a known weakness on these boards. Maybe if I ever have enough free time I will try to solder it back on…

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MIKELPFV 17th March 2018 - 6:29 pm

Good morning,

I have this flight controller for a long time already and after trying the luxf4osd target I have a problem on the sbus, the actions are amplified compared to the rc especially the pitch ! I’m curious to get your feedback!

Mikel FPV

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