Black Gold

By 7uvoK on Mar 22, 2018

32  1,700  25

Alt Tag
7uvoK's Black Gold: This is my second build. Going for high performance and a sleek appearance. I won't be flying this much right away as I am still getting broken in as a pilot with my first build, Martian Embarkation.

You can purcahse this quad, or have me build a customized variant, here.

Software summary:

  • Betaflight 3.3
    • 8K gyro, 8K PID
    • Dynamic notch filter (for now)
    • Default PIDs and Bardwell rates (for now)
    • Black Box @ 1.5kHz, activated and erased by remote switch.
  • DShot 1200, 5% motor idle value
  • Neato "dead cat" motor mix for Breakneck frame:
mmix 0  1.000 -0.870  1.000 -1.000
mmix 1  1.000 -1.000 -0.570  1.000
mmix 2  1.000  0.870  1.000  1.000
mmix 3  1.000  1.000 -0.570 -1.000

Frame: The Neato plastic side skirt arrives in rough shape right out of the 3D printer. Since this is a bling build, I couldn't accept an unfinished look. Gold PlastiDip looked like shit, so I peeled it off and ended up using spray paint. I wet sanded, primed and painted it. I also had to open up the side skirt where the front motor wires enter and where the receiver antennas stick out. I used a gold Sharpie paint pen and acetone to paint the frame edges.

Flight Controller: The Joshua Bardwell F4 board has a great manual, his YouTube channel is invaluable and he will answer email questions. He even provided a one-hour trouble shooting call on my first build (for a reasonable fee). I will keep using his F4 for the foreseeable future. I did not bother to wire the board to use the current sensor this time.

Receiver: I flashed the newest firmware to the XM+ using the information from Project Blue Falcon (R.I.P. JC). This enabled me to get RSSI onto the OSD. I use pieces of small tapered zip tie, heat shrink tube and bonsai wire to make the RX antenna tubes. The zip tie makes it rigid and the bonsai wire makes it so I can shape (and re-shape) it. I cut the bonsai wire off well below where the antenna is unshielded. To mount the receiver, I had to trim the through-hole solder points and had to wrap in heat shrink because the carbon was causing a short. I hope that the contact between the receiver and the battery strap/upper plate doesn't transmit too much noise into the stack. My motors are soft mounted, the FC has dampeners built in and I soft mounted the entire stack, so it should be okay.

Motors and Props: The HypeTrain motor wires were just long enough to be soldered directly to the ESC, that is all except one. I had to extend it by 5mm. :sweat: These motors are super smooth on the bench. I put gold props on front and black on the back because I still rely on LOS and horizon mode when things get hairy.

VTX: I used a spare piece of carbon to hang the the VTX and the receiver on the top of the stack. It all just barely fits. The VTX will be hard to access but it has TBS Smart Audio. I used the stubby antenna, which I hope is bullet-proof. I used a brass washer on the underside and used hot glue to make the whole connection a bit flexible (i.e. the elbow connector has about 2mm of hot glue between it and the washer and the washer sets directly against the frame, one image displays this). The receiver is very tight between the stack and the upper plate.

Camera: The Predator Micro's bracket didn't accept the hardware I was using. I had to Dremel it out. I was unable to get the remote camera control to work through the OSD. Otherwise, the image quality is great.

Misc.: I tucked a buzzer right behind the camera and at the base of the stack. The wires run under the ESC and back up to the FC pads. There is very little room between the buzzer and the camera. I tried to keep everything clean and indulged myself with all the paracord wraps and heat shrink. I also tucked a 1000uF capacitor in the back. It will be visible outside the skirt, but it is black and gold! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

Post Flight Update: This thing is fast! I need to tune the PIDs as there is some prop wash oscillations. The dead-cat design took some getting used to, there is less stability in hover. Frame: The frame offers a lot of protection. However, I sent a huge amount of grass into a side skirt vent and had to remove the top plate and side skirt to clean it. You cannot access the USB or SD card throught the side skirt, so Blackbox reading and Betaflight adjsutments are difficult (still have Smart Audio to mess with PIDs). Finally, there is no problem with yaw and the side skirt. I had someone comment on that below and it just doesn't exist with this frame. I can spin around the Y axis like a little ballereina. The VTX antenna is great. Its low profile and gives the best signal I have seen in FPV (compared to my other build with same VTX).

More Updates: I reversed the motor direction. One reason is that I broke the camera where the set screws go into the plastic. It is still functional, but is probably one wreck away from it's demise. The main reason is that the standard prop direction mows the lawn and puts all the clippings right into the side vents. Like it packs them full of wet grass. I also switched to a FrSky X-4R so that I can get some of that SmartPort telemetry goodness! Does anyone know why this RX gets so hot?


Part List


Neato 205 “Breakneck” Frame (4 builds)

Flight Controller

RDQ Bardwell F4 3-6S 30x30 Flight Controller V2 - JBF4 AIO FC w/OSD (159 builds)


Lumenier BLHeli_32 32bit 35A 4-in-1 ESC 2-4s w/ BEC 3A/12v, 1A/5v, DSHOT 1200 (9 builds)


4 x Rotor Riot Hypetrain Freestyle 2306 2450kv Motor V2 (96 builds)


RaceKraft 5046 Tri-Blade (Set of 4 - Gold) (2 builds)


RaceKraft 5046 Tri-Blade (Set of 4 - Clear Smoke) (5 builds)

FPV Camera

Foxeer Predator Micro - 1000TVL Super WDR FPV Camera - Black (14 builds)

FPV Transmitter

TBS UNIFY PRO 5G8 HV (SMA) Video Transmitter


Lumenier AXII Stubby 5.8GHz Antenna (RHCP) (232 builds)


FrSky X4R-SB - 3/16 Channel Receiver with SBUS and CPPM without pins (128 builds)


TATTU R-Line 1550mAh 4s 95c Lipo Battery (81 builds)

Misc Parts

Paracord Planet 1/4 Inch para-Max Paracord 1200 lb Tensile Strength (Gold, 10 Feet) (11 builds)

Misc Parts

iFlight Motor Spacer Shock Absorber Pads Damping Washer Silicone Material for Emax RS2205 iPower Motor iF2205 2204 2206 2208 and (3 builds)

Misc Parts

5 PCS Super Loud 5V Active Alarm Buzzer Beeper Tracker 9*5.5mm for RC MultiRotor FPV Racing Drone (33 builds)

Misc Parts

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Sign in to comment

Pirat   May 16, 2024  

I was passing by and I thought that Neato was really good for its time.

lb2e   Apr 07, 2020  

really cool , i like it . You inspire me for my quad .

Fernando12PR   Nov 08, 2018  

The cleanest build I've ever seen. Congratulations.

drewbagel423   May 18, 2018  

How did you bring power to the FC?

Show 1 more comment
7uvoK   May 18, 2018 

on second thought, on this build I didn't quite do it like that. I just ran small gauge wires from the 4in1 esc to the vbat terminal on the flight controller

7uvoK   May 18, 2018 

I'm rebuilding this quad with an all in one FC ESC, so I have the originals out. here is a photo. the two wires dangling off the FC were soldered to VBAT terminals on the ESC. this arrangement did not allow current sensing

drewbagel423   May 18, 2018 

Gotcha. Could you have utilized the Vbat/Gnd wires coming out of the ESC connector instead?

bingerz   Mar 31, 2018  

sick build, you did a great job!! i like how you wired up the esc's inward. awesome man!!!

delta_fpv   Mar 20, 2018  

ive heard having side skirts ruins yaw performance, is that true?

Show 1 more comment
delta_fpv   Mar 20, 2018 

awesome build then, goodluck!

7uvoK   Mar 25, 2018 

Maiden flight today and I felt like I had plenty of yaw. I only had time for one lipo, and this thing is fast!

delta_fpv   Mar 28, 2018 

ah good to hear, ofcourse "ruins" was a hyperbola but would be intresting to compare, and again its very pretty.

Apeian   Mar 26, 2018  

Hey....let me know how she flies...solid work bro!...You have real skills ;)

Jodie Froster   Mar 20, 2018  

I can fap to this.

nguyen220   Feb 23, 2018  

found you through Sacramento Drone Group on Meetup. Already on a second build after finishing the first? WOW!

Show 2 more comments
7uvoK   Mar 01, 2018 

Are you in Sacramento?

wesblake   Mar 19, 2018 

I'm in Roseville, what's the meetup? This thing is GORGEOUS BTW. Like an Aston Martin vs a Honda or something, as Burning said above, breathtaking.

7uvoK   Mar 19, 2018 

Hey wesblake ! We just joined the Sacramento Drone User Group. I haven't actually attended an event. I fly in the Land Park baseball diamonds on weekdays, when its empty. DM me if you wan't to fly...

Burning North   Mar 18, 2018  



This thing is BREATHTAKING. Bravo on the build, what a work of art.

7uvoK   Mar 18, 2018 

Thanks! Building these things is addictive

Currently   Mar 18, 2018  

Wow, even the capacitor matches the color scheme.

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