Review: Skystars Talon X110

The Skystars Talon X110 is one of the first “toothpick” style micro quad that supports 4S. It has a slightly stretched-X frame with reinforced struts for the arms. It’s using Skystars’s own 20x20mm F4 FC stack with a powerful 15A 4in1 ESC.

Where to Buy?

Banggood: http://bit.ly/2yFo7vx

You can choose one of the following receiver options:

  • Spektrum DSMX/DSM2
  • Flysky IBUS
  • Frsky SBUS D16 (XM+)
  • No receiver

In the box we have the following accessories:

  • LiPo strap
  • Various 3D printed LiPo mounts for different size batteries
  • One spare set of propellers
  • Stickers

Specifications

This micro has a stretched X frame with a 110mm wheelbase, similar to the Fullspeed toothpick. Here is the specs:

  • F4 FC
  • 15A BLHeli_S 4in1 ESC
  • Skystars 1103 8000KV
  • Frame size 110mm
  • Propellers: 65mm or 2.5inch
  • 100mW VTX
  • Runcam Nano 2 FPV camera
  • Weight: 45g 50g (without battery)

The weight is exactly 50g without LiPo battery, heavier than what they claim on the product page. To be honest, that’s a bit too heavy for my liking, but I wouldn’t be too mad if the extra weight is compensated by better components. Let’s find out.

Talon X110 size comparison to Sailfly and Fullspeed toothpicks

Left to Right: Sailfly, Talon, Fullspeed

Frame

These reinforcement struts between the front and rear arms really toughen up the frame, and improve stiffness. They also create additional protection for the camera lens. The best part is that they are removable, so if you rather save a couple of grams, you can.

The frame alone is around 15 grams.

Top and bottom plates are carbon fibre, the camera mount is 3D printed TPU. The arms are part of the bottom plate, which is 2mm thick. Top plate thickness is 1.5mm.

They offer two ways to mount your battery, either with velcro strap, or with various 3D printed TPU mounts they’ve provided that fits different sized batteries. Personally I think the strap is probably a more convenient and flexible solution.

Beware that the motor mounting are non-standard (M1.6 with 8.5mm diameter) – so you are stuck with Skystar’s 1103 motors with this frame.

FC/ESC Stack

One of the reasons this quad is priced so much higher than the Sailfly and RedDevil is probably because of the more premium components. Apart from the Runcam Nano 2 camera, it uses Skystars’s very own flight controller stack, and not the cheaper Crazybee V2 board which many people don’t trust.

You can take a closer look at the FC/ESC stack here: http://bit.ly/2OECRpt

There are three board in this stack, the top board is VTX, middle is FC and bottom is 4in1 ESC.

Here is the specs of the FC:

  • F4, MPU6000
  • Input Voltage: 7.4V – 22V (2S – 4S)
  • 5V 1.5A BEC
  • Supports Betaflight OSD
  • 3 UART
    • UART1 is free (can be used for DSMX and iBus)
    • UART3 for VTX SmartAudio
    • UART6 for Frsky SBUS (built-in inverter)
  • Dedicated solder pads for LED, Buzzer and RSSI

Beware that’s a 20x20mm stack, which means it’s a couple of grams heavier than the typical 16x16mm stack we normally use on these tiny quads. While there is a small weight difference, 20x20mm boards are usually slightly more reliable as heat dissipation is better, and there are more room for the essential components like capacitors. That’s also why you don’t see an extra cap attached to the battery lead here.

My main concern is the lack of soft mounting. I wish they replace the nylon standoffs with rubber o-rings and long screws.

Here is the specs for the 4in1 ESC:

  • BB21 MCU, BLHeli_S Firmware 16.6
  • Input Voltage: 2S – 4S (7.4V-16.8V)
  • Current Rating: 15A Continous, 20A Burst
  • ESC Protocol Support: Oneshot125, Multishot and Dshot600
  • Board Size: 25x24x4.8mm

The ESC’s are rated for 15A, but I probably wouldn’t push them that hard when the motors are connected via a plastic connector, which is clearly a performance bottleneck. If you wish to push this ESC to the limit, it’d be better to direct solder your motors to the ESC. As for the Talon X110, I think it’s fine with the connectors, these 1103 8000KV motors are not pulling too much current running these 65mm props. Typical 3S 300mah LiPo can’t sustain that kind of current draw anyway.

The XT30 battery wires are 20AWG. XM+ receiver antennas are already nicely mounted on the arms with zipties and heatshrink, great touch!

FPV Setup

Finally someone is using a proper FPV camera – this Skystars TALON X110 Toothpick is equipped with a RunCam Nano 2 camera with 2.1mm lens. This is probably one of the best nano camera on the market right now in my opinion. I will do a separate review on this cam soon.

The lens is slightly sticking out, but it’s not a biggie if you are keeping the strut between the front arms.

The VTX is sitting on top of the FC stack. Here is the spec:

  • Output power: 0mW (OFF) /25mW / 100mW switchable
  • Settings via push button OR VTX Control (SmartAudio Protocol)
  • Voltage Input: 5V, 40mA @ 100mW
  • Antenna Connector : IPEX (U.FL)
  • Frequency: 5.8GHz 5 bands 40 channels
  • Weight: 0.9 g
  • Dimension: 16*13*3mm
  • Mounting Hole: 20mmx20mm

The VTX antenna is a 3dBi Dipole with IPEX connector. So far, I’ve found the build quality of the Talon X110 to be excellent, except how they’ve mounted the VTX antenna. Wish they somehow secure it better (with ziptie?) instead of leaving it hanging like this, it can get pulled off easily in crashes.

Motors

Skystars claim their 1103 8000KV motors support up to 4S! They didn’t mention what props I should use on 4S, but guess i will just try it as it is.

The stock props are just some 65mm bi-blade props. Notice the prop rotation is reversed. Here is a close up of the motor stator and windings.

These motors have “weird” motor mounting pattern – 8.5mm diameter with M1.6 screws.

Talon X100 Setup

It’s kind of disappointing there is no instruction manual included. Not a problem at all for someone experienced like me, but it still would be nice for new comers.

Beware that the USB cable powers up the FC, RX and FPV Setup – so don’t not leave your quad plugged in for too long on the bench to avoid having heat built up.

Flight controller target is OMNIBUSF4SD, and it comes with Betaflight 3.5.3. You can update it but it should work as it is. I don’t recommend you to upgrade as it will mess up the tuning – I believe they are actually tuned in the factory.

If you got the Frsky XM+, here is how to bind the RX.

Setup modes for arm and buzzer.

Turn on DShot Beacon (motor buzzer), since there is no physical buzzer.

And please disable “Motor Stop” in the configuration tab, otherwise your quad will just “freak out” when you are doing inverted stunts. Not sure why they enable that in the first place.

Battery Choice

I think 2S 450mAh and 3S 300mAh would be adequate for this quad. For recommendations see my LiPo Testing.

I will also try 4S and report back – but I expect it would just hit a max RPM and will not gain any more power/speed after a certain throttle level. A lot of the models on 3S already have this problem and some people actually setup a throttle cut off at 80% or 90% throttle because anything beyond doesn’t actually give you anymore speed, but just loss of efficiency and oscillations probably due to prop deflection. I expect something similar would happen on 4S, if it doesn’t blow up first :)

Conclusion

This is hands down one of the best performing “toothpick” style micro quads I’ve tested so far.

It was super easy to setup, flies really nice out of the box. A little bit heavy but doesn’t seem to impact performance much. Maybe a little pricey compare to some other options, but you do get what you pay for – better camera, VTX, range… overall a better experience.

The only downside for me is the non-standard motor mounting – you are stuck with Skystar’s own 1103 motors as long as you are using this frame.

I don’t see many people reviewing the Skystar Talon X110, maybe because it’s not a well known brand and being overlooked by the community. It’s a shame really.

I have a dozen of these models, but I find myself flying this one the most. That probably tells you something :)

5 thoughts on “Review: Skystars Talon X110

  1. Henk

    I like my X110 so far as well. It handles pretty well on stock settings, the camera has nice image, and the motors run pretty smooth, even on 3S. On 2S, I had raised D-term somewhat, for more smoothness, but on 3S you need to keep D-term low, or it will have audible oscillations in every turn. Here are a few flying videos I made so far with mine:

    https://youtu.be/2_JYiQZoZaI
    https://youtu.be/qcpjcsKh3SQ

    I might try making mine a lot lighter, by removing the shark fin, cross braces, and maybe remove one rear stand off, and mount the other more to the back, in the middle. That should shave off some weight.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      that’s a good idea to lose one of the standoffs :D
      Yea I managed to get the weight down to 47g without battery :) flies so nice now!

      Reply

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