Build Log: XE180 Mini Quad from XElites Drones

Not long ago we reviewed the XElites 180 Mini Quadcopter Frame. It was a long wait for the motors to arrive, but we finally made it!

Maiden flight, not easy to find a calm day here, I have to do it after work.

It was straight-forward putting this mini quad together, so let’s get to it right away.

And this is on 4S!!! :)

Here are everything I will be throwing into this 180 mini quad.

  • Naze32 Acro
  • Sunnysky 1306 3100KV
  • Blue Series 12A with BLHeli 13.1

xe180-mini-quad-build-all-components

Because of the compactness of this frame, I tried to make use of space as efficient as possible. So I soldered the pins slightly differently on the Naze32 Acro flight controller.

Naze32-space-saving-soldering-pin-for-xe180-mini-quad Naze32-space-saving-soldering-pin-for-xe180-mini-quad-receiver-cable-rx

Getting ready, putting RX under the PDB. And solder the ESC on the power distribution board.

xe180-mini-quad-build-spacers-bottom-plate xe180-mini-quad-build-rx-receiver xe180-mini-quad-build-solder-pdb-ESC

And this is the FPV camera I was recommended by XElites Drones, CMOS 520TVL Mini FPV Camera. Being 90 degree FOV, I really prefer a better camera with larger FOV and WDR, but this would do for now. It’s light and small enough for this tiny frame.

I am also fitting a micro minimOSD in this quad, mainly for tuning PID in-flight, and monitoring battery voltage level.

xe180-mini-quad-build-fpv-camera xe180-mini-quad-build-fpv-camera-tilted-cable-tie xe180-mini-quad-build-connectors-for-camera-vtx-voltage-reading

A few more close up picture after it’s put together.

xe180-mini-quad-close-top-plate xe180-mini-quad-build-tilted-fpv-camera-angle xe180-mini-quad-build-FC

I am still not sure the purpose of the front lower plate, since it’s too small for the recording camera. I would feel much better if single top plate design is used, that allows more space to work with.

However I accidentally found it’s a perfect spot to to your GoPro. :) And the result is actually incredibly cute! (This quad is powerful enough to lift a gopro just fine, a little slower, but still be able to rolls and flips pretty nice)

xe180-mini-quad-front-plate-wont-fit-mobius xe180-mini-quad-gopro-camera xe180-mini-quad-gopro-size-comparison-250

Since the mobius / Runcam HD camera has to be put on top of the taller top plate, I will have to rearrange the whole setup, e.g. where to put the lipo battery, which has to go underneath the frame.

I wasn’t 100% sure about putting battery at the bottom of the quad, as it might cause pendulum effect when making sharp turns. But it seems flying okay with this configuration.

xe180-mini-quad-runcam-battery-bottom xe180-mini-quad-lipo-battery-bottom

Thoughts

After flying this quad a couple of times now, I really like it. I love the small size and light weight, you can just carry it in your backpack anywhere. It’s pretty fast and powerful, allowing you to do all sorts of acro moves just like on a regular 250 mini quadcopter. It’s so light it’s pretty damn difficult to break the frame i think.

Small size also means it’s harder to work with, it takes some effort to think about where to put the electronics and cables.

Because it’s so light, it doesn’t handle wind as well as 250 mini quad. But it’s better for indoor flying than 250 for sure.

The 520TVL CMOS camera isn’t really good enough for my liking, I will swap it out with a Sony Super Had mini once I have a chance. I think I will have to tweak the frame to make it fit.

At the moment it weights 350g (including lipo), 4 mins flight time with 3S 1000mah, in which case I think I can remove 30 to 50 more grams) in the next rebuild!

Converting to 4S :) – Update 07/Sep/2015

Basically similar components, but I am swapping out the FPV camera to a Sony CCD 650TVL Super Mini. Because this cam only takes 12V, so i will be adding a voltage regulator and LC filter in there as well.

xe180-4s-rebuild-canopy

Replaced the front top plate with a 3D printed Canopy (made by XELite Drones). Using some foam to mount my FPV camera.

xe180-4s-sony-650-ccd-camera-mount

On 4S these Sunnysky 1306 motors can generate nearly 390g of thrust, over 25% more power than on 3S. With the extra lift I am planning to put a GoPro or Xiaomi Yi on top :)

I also updated the MinimOSD firmware to MWOSD 1.4 (1.5 doesn’t work for some reason, it just doesn’t read the config in GUI), and updated BLHeli 14.0 on the Blue Series 12A ESC.

11 thoughts on “Build Log: XE180 Mini Quad from XElites Drones

  1. Alexandru

    How did the time change after switch to 4s battery? I’m going to build Tweaker180 on 1000mah 3s batteries and was curious how long it will fly on 3s and should I switch on 4s. I have 2 small parks close to the office and 4s will require large space to fly.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      it really depends on how fast you fly. if just hovering flight time hasn’t changed much… 4S is slightly longer.

      Reply
  2. yogi

    i would prefer battery on top vs at bottom.. but if battery is on top, mobius won’t fit. i would have preferred it to have full length top plate.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      I think one just need time to get use to the new config :D I was against putting battery at bottom, but after a while just got used to it.
      Even with full length top plate, it’s still too crowded for the mobius with battery :D

      Reply
  3. scale

    Oscar, I followed your lead and built one of these for myself and LOVE it! Couldn’t be happier… question though, how hot should by SunnySky 1306 motors be after 3-4 minutes of fairly intensive flying (w/HQ4045) ? Mine are getting blazing hot, is that normal or could it be because I’m running them on 3S? The motor specs state max 2S… I’m worried I’m going to cook things.

    Reply
    1. Oscar Post author

      Mine get hot as well, but not untouchable. I usually keep flying for 4 packs of lipo non stop without any problems, the airflow will help cooling them down i think.

      Reply
      1. Chris

        I have been using the cc3d it was a pain to get started but now that I’ve got it all setup it’s running beautifully… My tricopter is… Well a bit special.
        Running oneshot125 to the escs with BL Heli flashed over 20A mystery escs
        Cppm / one wire to the orangeRX receiver
        All that on a tricopter with a tail servo and cc3d starts to get limited as far as options goes but i got it all to cooperate.

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