Seriously, the X-Racer X1 could be the Tiny Whoop killer. In this review we are going to have a look at the micro racing drone that FPVModel spent a long time developing.
When I first got the X-Racer X1, I was thinking “okay, another Tiny Whoop lookalike”. But after trying it the first time I knew I was wrong. This is going to replace my tiny whoop, big time!
The X1 is available at FPVModel: https://www.fpvmodel.com/x-racer-x-1-bnf-with-two-batteries_g1262.html
Content of XRacer X1
There are 2 versions, one is the BNF (bind and fly) which come assembled and only requires binding to TX. The other version is a DIY Kit that requires user assembly. We got the latter.
The DIY kit includes the following items:
- FC with VTX/Camera already soldered together
- 4 motors
- 2 sets of props (8 in total)
- frame and canopy
- 2 LiPo batteries
- USB LiPo charger
- soft shell box
What’s special about the X1 micro quad?
Flight Controller and Receiver
The X1 comes with a F3 flight controller. It’s developed by FPVModel and runs Betaflight firmware, which means you have full control of the PID, rates and expo. It has a built-in RX that is compatible with Frsky Taranis QX7, X9D, Horus and XJT modules.
The mounting pattern is exactly the same as the tiny whoop: adjacent screws at 25.5mm, diagonal screws at 37mm.
The included motors look similar to the ones on a Tiny Whoop, but don’t let the appearance fool you. The original tiny whoop and E010 motors are 6mm diameter brushed motors, while the X1 uses bigger 7mm motors! It has so much more power than the 6mm motor and that makes the most significant difference in the whole setup IMO.
The X1 hovers at 40% throttle while the E010 with FPV Setup hovers at 55% to 60%. I found the Tiny Whoop would quickly lose altitude when flying fast, and that’s not the case with the X1.
You might be asking, can we not use 7mm motors in Tiny whoop? The answer is NO due to the size limitation of motor holders in the frame. The FET’s current rating might not meet the requirement either (FET’s are the tiny “ESC” for brushed motors on the FC ). Most Tiny Whoop FC’s are rated for 6mm motors only.
Frame and Canopy
The canopy and frame are made of flexible plastic. The canopy is designed to protect all the electronics: FC and VTX/Camera.
HV LiPo Batteries
The last special feature is the batteries that come with it – HV LiPo batteries! Normal LiPo batteries can be charged up to 4.20V, while these HV packs allow you to charge them up to 4.35V!
HV LiPo are known for storing higher voltage and more capacity than normal lipo in the same size and weight. However there have been reports about issues with longevity with some 4S HV batteries recently. We will confirm if this is an issue with these tiny 1S HV batteries once we have used them long enough.
The 1S 250mah 60C HV Lipo weights 6.5g. Flight time is about 3 mins with these HV batteries. (not hovering, but actual flying around)
X-Racer X1 Size Comparison to the Tiny Whoop
Despite the more powerful setup, the X1 is identical to the Tiny Whoop/E010 in terms of size. And thanks to the compact design it’s actually shorter in height.
Assembly and Setup
Unfortunately, there is no assembly instruction but luckily it wasn’t too difficult to put together.
First install all 4 motors in the frame. Note that motors orders are different from other brushed quads, both motors in the front have “black & white” wires, and “red & blue” are in the rear. I actually made a mistake in some of these pictures so please be aware.
I asked FPVModel about this motor order, and they confirmed it’s just a mistake they made in the demo units (only 20 of them, including the one I have). They will fix this problem in the production unit, and it will follow the traditional motor order like other brushed micro quad. So it’s best if you stick to official assembly manual.
When powering brushed motors the wrong polarity, it might work but the motor will die much quicker, and you are not using 100% of the power. Discussion about it here: http://intofpv.com/t-tiny-whoop-that-runs-7mm-motors-spoiler-i-like-it?pid=19877#pid19877
FC and FPV setup
Then install the FC, with 4 vibration dampeners and screws. VTX is stacked on top of the FC with double sided tape. It’s important to make sure there is no direct contact between FC and VTX PCB in case of electrical shorts.
And the camera is placed in the designated holder in the frame.
Flip the quadcopter over, twist the motor wires and plug them in to the FC.
And during assembling, I encountered a problem with the canopy, it simply wouldn’t close. I traced the issue back to the VTX, which is lifted a few millimeter higher than it should be by the rear screw and VTX antenna.
There is no way I could get it to fit, so in the end I had to use rubber bend to hold the canopy in place.
I reported the issue to FPVModel, but we couldn’t find an answer as they have not had report of this problem before. Maybe it’s just a weird issue with this particular unit.
Rubber band fix is pretty ugly, but at least it gets me going for now. VTX is definitely pushing on the canopy. The button could hit the canopy in crashes, which changes the channel unexpectedly. LOL :(
The quadcopter weights 34g with the 250mah battery, 27.5g without.
Radio binding is very simple:
- Hold down bind button on the FC (there are somehow 2 bind buttons on the FC, but it seems only the one closer to the front works, the one on the right didn’t work for me)
- Power on the quad, there should be an LED constantly flashing
- Turn on your Taranis, put it in D8 mode
- Enter bind mode, once they are bound the flashing LED on FC should turn off
Let’s take a closer look at the FPV setup. the XRacer X1 has a 25mW Micro 5.8GHz 48ch VTX with Dipole antenna on board.
Range wise, it’s comparable to the FX797 which is on my E010. But it doesn’t penetrate walls as well as the FX797 maybe because of the type of antenna used (cloverleaf on FX797). But for durability, the dipole is much better.
The X1 FPV setup has a higher contrast and smaller FOV as you can see in the images below (FX797 on the left, X1 on the right).
Betaflight Settings and PID
The flight controller came nearly configured, default PID worked well, I only had to change rate to make it fly the way I want.
I left PID at default and my rate is:
set deadband = 4 set yaw_deadband = 4 set rc_rate = 85 set rc_rate_yaw = 75 set rc_expo = 10 set rc_yaw_expo = 10 set thr_mid = 45 set thr_expo = 15
I also changed Gyro refresh rate and PID loop frequency to 4K/4K. I tried higher, but CPU load shoot up to 100% when gyro is 8K (it’s probably using i2c bus with gyro). Micro quad this size wouldn’t benefit much from faster looptime anyway so it’s completely fine.
It’s a great quad! With a few more adjustment I think it could make a perfect indoor flying machine.
- So much more powerful than Tiny whoop, yet good flight time
- Great price for what you get, it will be way more expensive to upgrade the tiny whoop
- Really easy to assemble and get running, no soldering required
- Robust VTX, antenna and camera design concept, they are well protected against crashes
- Comes with a nice box for transportation
But it need some improvements!
- It would be nice to have VBAT added to it, and some form of telemetry to report voltage
- Maybe it was just me, but I wasn’t very happy about the canopy design. I think maybe they can make it taller to leaves more room for the VTX
- I would also suggest to replace HV LiPo with normal LiPo, and offer HV LiPo as an upgrade option perhaps. Not everyone has a charger that is capable of charging HV LiPo, and the charger that comes with the X1 only charge up to 4.2V, so not everyone will benefit from HV batteries
- It would be nice to use the efficient duct design in the frame, like the Tiny Whoop
- Please provide assembly and setup guide