Neonman

By LowDash on Feb 05, 2024

15  0  22

This build was very finicky. I worked on it off and on for about five months, but in the end, I'm really happy with how it came out. I managed to cram a 12A AIO with serial ELRS (a must), a Walksnail VTX, beeper, and GPS all in this frame.
This BetaFPV AIO has a plastic JST connector and adapter to USB C. The connector was too tall for the stack to even pretend to fit, so I desoldered it and extended it out with some wires. You'll see it on the port side sticking up next to the battery holder.
The GPS mount was actually the camera mount that came with the frame kit, but I just cut the upright loops off flush with some side cutters then used some E6000 glue to attach the GPS. It has to be mounted sideways otherwise the wires interfere with the top plate and battery holder. Fortunately the wires can sneak back into the frame through a lower hole. In this configuration I can still adjust the camera angle from straight ahead to further up than I'd want to take this cruiser, probably 35 to 40 degrees. At max tilt, the GPS can definitely be seen in the goggles.
The camera is mounted upside down with the MIPI cable sticking up to make room for the buzzer and ELRS antenna. The orientation can be flipped in the goggles.
I've only test flown it in the basement, so I'm not yet sure of the flight time. I opted for this AIO as well because it supposedly has a strong BEC that can handle more current than usual for the Walksnail VTX so it doesn't brown out at the low voltages that a LiIon cell can handle. I'll try it out one day this week.

Photos

Discussion

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Tokyo_Dom   Feb 21, 2024  

Nice one, i recently built one of these too (but with smaller motors) - havent posted it here on RB yet. I highly recommend going with the Fractal Engineering Boostyboi voltage regulator so you dont waste 30-40% of your flight time not being able to go under 3.2v. You can fly down to 2.4v with a boostyboi. I'd be curious how you go with flight times, since i am thinking you might be close to 70g with the bigger motors you have.

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LowDash   Mar 04, 2024 

I get eight-ish minutes of flight time at the moment. The FC has a beefy boost regultor built-in that keeps everything going down to 3.0V. Since this has the AT32 microcontroller on board I'm running BF 4.5 RC2 on it. I do think I have something not configured properly though. Once it hits that voltage, there simply isn't any power to keep it in the air. The voltage doesn't tank, it just doesn't seem to have enough muscle to keep flying. I got what I thought were good cells, but maybe not. I'm looking into it.

Tokyo_Dom   Mar 04, 2024 

Catch22Mania on youtube has done a lot of experimenting and pushing the limits of these flying 18650s. He has mentioned that some FCs just have bad ESC configurations that make them not give enough lift under 3v. That AT32 FC also has a new type of ESC right? I think that might just not be a good choice here.

Also, i am not sure if you weighed it, but those motors are very beefy for this format. I know they are the recommended size for 1s babytooth builds, but what makes them fun in that format may just work against you here - lots of torque from the larger stator, but also quite amp-hungry. I have my money on it being the FC though.

I put INAV on mine since i also have a baro and compass configured but i am on the verge of going back to BF4.5, too much hassle trying to get position hold/navigation modes tuned correctly! GPS Rescue looks much better now in BF

LowDash   Mar 05, 2024 

I'll definitely check out Catch22. I'm not sure about the ESC, I'll look. When flashing it to 24kHz BlueJay, it was an odd looking format that I don't think I've seen before. C-X-20 maybe? It just had all the other features I was after and thought I'd take an AT32 for a spin. It is a BetaFPV product though so if it's messed up or bad in some way, I'm not surprised. In fact, I almost expect it at this point.
I chose these motors as they're the exact size that Fractal puts on the BNFs they sell, just maybe a 100KV difference, and I already had them. I'm not sure about the weight difference between them and the HappyModel ones. I'll look into that, too. What size did you end up going with? Also, what FC?

LowDash   Mar 04, 2024  

UPDATE: This build has been problematic. First and foremost, as a probably obvious warning, don't crash this thing in any place that you can't get to it. As can be expected as soon as you crash it, the arms fold in some making flight impossible. You won't turtle mode out of anything.
Second, I ended up ordering the 12mm stack add-on kit. Everything fit with the stock 10mm height, but the heat sink of the VTX was touching the carbon. The battery right over top of it meant that no air was getting to at least half of the main processor. This caused the VTX to start to overheat even during flight. The extra two millimeters meant that I could put another washer between the FC and VTX to get some more space below it and have a small amount of space between the top and the carbon to get some air moving that completely solved the problem. I could have removed the heat sink to get the height down a tiny bit, but I don't want to.
Third, the GPS has been kind of funny. It initially refused to pull in satellites when running on battery. Eventually, I just hooked it up to the computer with BF configurator open and it got a great lock with twelve satellites. Flights after that have had no issues. I'm not sure if this is a BF bug or what.
Fourth, I'm not sure if it's the FC or what yet, but the ELRS receiver on this thing is def as hell. The range is terrible. I'm aware that the antenna placement isn't ideal since a small part of it is literally touching the carbon in two places. I've temporarily moved it as a test, but haven't flown it yet. I'm going to replace it if it's no better. I also removed the wire antenna and replaced it with a UFL connector. It's possible I screwed something up there, but I'm no stranger to micro soldering and it looks great under the microscope.

Tokyo_Dom   Mar 04, 2024 

Good summary - i hadnt really expected much crashability on this build. I dont think i even configured turtle mode on a switch - i figured the only time it is crashing is if something went catastrophically wrong.
Those M10 GPS take aaaages to take a first lock. And it may be almost never if you have Walksnail blasting out next to it as its looking. I have a switchable power supply for walksnail so i can leave that turned off while waiting for GPS. Typically takes 5 minutes for the lock if i havent used it for more than a day. But then i'll get 15-16 satellites for the entire flight.

LowDash   Mar 05, 2024 

Thanks for that GPS info. This is my first M10 unit. I was almost wondering if something was wrong, but it's the smallest M10 they make so I'm guessing it is perpetually struggling. I suspected that Walksnail might be messing with it, but I don't have it on any sort of pit mode capability on this thing. I probably should install a real pit but I'm kind of running out of room and this thing is already a bit chunky. If it takes that long though I'm going to have to do something.
If you built one of these, where did you end up putting your RX antenna? In the small holes at the bottom of the camera cage like me? If so, how's your range? Your Yokto is bananas, by the way.

LowDash   Mar 05, 2024 

Extra reply: I'm sorry, I just noticed your previous comment saying yes, you built one. I'm still curious about your antenna placement if you went with a T style and not something else.

Rotorenpilot   Feb 21, 2024  

Hi, nice build. I second those "please DVR" requests and admire the courage to run this with a digital system. Well done, and if it works that would also speak strongly for Walksnail. The JST to USB-C solution is a bit weird from my viewpoint...why not just use a regular USB-C extension? Is there a weight advantage?

LowDash   Mar 04, 2024 
1

Thanks! I'll gather some here in the next few days. The JST connector actually came on the flight controller with another USB-C to JST adapter. I just extended it out with some wires to get the stack height down. With it soldered directly to the board there was no way it and the Walksnail VTX was going to fit.

Rotorenpilot   Mar 04, 2024 
1

Oh yes, nice. What a great point! I might use that on some of my builds to get the stack height down. I've honestly never thought about it, but it makes so much sense as micro USB and USB C ports are pretty chunky and easily add a millimeter or two to the PCB. I recently completed a build where stack height came into play, making me think about using an AIO, but the combination stack I used was just so cheap. Great idea though, thank you

Jodie Froster   Feb 20, 2024  

I am impressed with your tetris like fitment!
I am worried that you are going to brown out on smol punches due to your high weight single cell power system, and digital vTx.
I think you have enough weight to necessitate a 2 cell setup at minimum (especially since you are going LiOn, instead of LiPo).

LowDash   Mar 04, 2024 

Thanks! It doesn't brown out thankfully, but that's due to the beefy boost converter that's built into this particular FC. I've ran the cell down to 3.1V without issue.

airrage   Feb 09, 2024  

Nice!! Flight times ?

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Tokyo_Dom   Mar 01, 2024 

Thats somewhat disappointing for analog. Should be at least close to 20 minutes if you've built it light.

BaTTaN   Mar 03, 2024 

Yeah I think there maybe some issue with the Nameless GPS I have got installed on it. I only have about half a dozen flights on it but Its never seemed to work right and I disconnected it on the last flight with an older cell and seemed to be getting better time.

Tokyo_Dom   Mar 03, 2024 

It could very well just be your battery - there is a big problem with fake 18650s out there - most if not all sony VTC cells are fake - i asked the manufacturer and they said they never leave the factory outside of sealed battery packs - so anything without traces of the nickel tab welding isnt real. Molicel does seem to sell individually, so that seems a safer choice.
The NamelessRC GPS is pretty bad regardless, i would be using an M10 GPS, there are lots of choices, very cheap now.

BaTTaN   Feb 29, 2024  

I built an along setup like this a while back and had to adjust voltage levels in BF so I could run the 18650 down to 3v to extend flight time. I built light but still can fly pretty flat. Cant imagine how the extra weight of digitial effect it...

wind_rapport   Feb 15, 2024  

dang been interested in doing a similar build - Looks clean! Have any DVR?

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