QAV-R / Betaflight 2.3.5

 

QAV-R 1

It’s such a great time to be flying those mini racing quads, with all the advancements in the last year or so.  Especially with the advancement on Betaflight with BorisB leads the pack!  Unfortunately, here in the middle of winter with  new releases almost every day, it’s not easy to keep up, as flying outside is not always possible in sub zero temperatures! In the middle of that, GetFPV just released a new quad that got me excited!  Maybe a bit of time in the shop will ease the pain of winter and bring spring closer.  Let’s hope that the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow!(didn’t)  Winter is near the end!

Now with the main event!  The Lumenier QAV-R racing quadcopter airframe is a lightweight, super stiff, finely tuned airframe designed for high performance FPV Drone Racing. The airframe implements 4mm thick removable arms and supports various arm sizes supporting 4″, 5″, and 6″ propellers. Lumenier’s RaceBlade(previous name) brand comprises a number of highly specialized components for the FPV Drone Racer.

The Lumenier QAV-R quad deploys and improves the removable center X arm position made popular in pro pilot circles by the Alien racing quad and further refines the popular center section of the Lumenier QAV210/180 with a number of key innovations. To enable extremely fast arm changeovers in race pit settings, the RaceBlade frame implements custom developed, precision machined aluminum mounting hardware. This hardware allows a pilot to remove an arm by removing 3 screws from the bottom of the airframe without the need to worry about holding nuts or other hardware on the inside of the airframe. One 2mm Allen tool is all that is needed to completely remove an arm within seconds. The custom aluminum hardware also stiffens the frame core and eliminates the need for captive nuts that would have to be press fit into the Carbon Fiber. No structural connection is made between the arm fasteners and the power distribution board to avoid shorts during severe crashes. The bare RaceBlade frame kit weighs only 103g (with PDB, but no other electronics or motors), significantly lighter than the competition.  My 5” came at 120g with the xt60 pigtail and the screws change from the stock one to the steel one provided from GetFPV.

Supposedly, the aluminum screws that came with the first batch of frames were not up to the task.  GetFPV sent me an email reporting that they noticed that a small number of pilots were stripping the aluminum arm screws in hard crashes on the RaceBlade frame, so they offered me a set of steel screws at no charge, great!

The 35mm aluminum spacers are anodized black and, for the first time, have a textured grip surface treatment, which facilitates holding of the spacers during assembly and servicing of the airframe.

Included with the QAV-R kit is the popular Lumenier 4Power power distribution board which can be fitted with an optional Pololu voltage drop-down circuit (to 12v or 5v), a XT60 pig-tail, and the silicone grommet holding method for the pig-tail introduced in the QAV210/180. Like the QAV210/180, the QAV-R kit enables mounting of small FPV camera such as the HS1177 in a fully encased assembly which protects the FPV camera during crashes and enables pointing the FPV camera at a wide variety of viewing angles.

Also included are the new Lumenier Neoprene Landing Pads, which provide a simple, light-weight, crash-proof landing gear option, which also soften the airframe during touchdowns.

Lumenier has a wide variety of accessories available for the QAV-R airframe. The accessories that interest me are the QuickSwap power distribution board and a super bright RGB LED board that are not released yet, but I decided to go with an alternative from HobbyKing that integrate a buzzer.

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Size Versions

Each QAV-R kit comes complete with 4 arms sized to support either 4″, 5″, or 6″ propellers. The corresponding frame sizes are listed below, measured diagonally from motor shaft to motor shaft.

Features

 

  • Full 3K Carbon Fiber airframe featuring a solid 2mm main plate and 4mm removable arms
  • Custom aluminum hardware to enable one tool, quick swapping of arms in race pit settings
  • Black Oxide steel screws
  • Easy grip anodized spacers
  • Lumenier Neoprene Landing Pads
  • Multiple motor mounting holes to fit a variety of motors (M3 and M2 screw mounting patterns).
  • “Bumpers” on the end of the arms to protect the motor during a crash, just like the QAV250.
  • Flight controller cover plate includes cutouts for SMA connector and video transmitter as well as a holder for the included XT-60 Lipo pig-tail.
  • Included Lumenier 4Power power distribution board and XT-60 Pig-Tail to power ESCs and FPV flight electronics. The PDB can optionally be outfitted with a Pololu 12v or 5v voltage step-down (Pololu board not included).
  • Easy Lipo Access (suggested Lipo is a 1300mah 3 or 4s)
  • Support for 32mm board cams as well as 26mm cams in cases.
  • Support to carry HD camera (such as the GoPro 4 or Xiaomi YI) with  our QAV210 GoPro/Xiaomi YI 20° Seat

Weight

  • Airframe: 120g (airframe + hardware + PDB + XT60 Pigtail).
  • AUW: The QAV-R is flown with an AUW of ~300g depending on motor choice (includes all flight electronics and FPV gear, but without Lipo or HD camera). Mine is at 357g and 443g with a GoPro.

Includes with the kit

  • 1x RaceBlade Carbon Fiber airframe
  • 4x 4mm Carbon Fiber Arms
  • 1x Board camera mount
  • 1x 26mm camera mount
  • 1x Set of lightweight aluminum screws and hardware including knurled spacers
  • 1x Lumenier 4Power Power distribution board + set of 6mm stand-offs
  • 1x XT-60 Pig-Tail and silicone grommet
  • 4x Neoprene Landing Pads
  • 1x Lumenier lipo strap

Electronics used:

If you are using BlHeli ESC like the Little Bee, you will have to flash them to the latest firmware as of today(19/01/2016) 14.103, go to this link: BLHELISUITE .  The only thing I changed was to enable “Damped light” and to reverse a motor as required.

The Build:

So, let’s get down to business! I’ll let some pictures do the talking, it really is a work of art!

Raceblade 1

QAV210 GoPro/Xiaomi YI 20° Seat fit like a glove! Available here

Raceblade 4

I built the QAV-R with 2206-2150kv with DYS 20a esc that I had on hand and it actually is an amazing combo with plenty of power for a small budget.  Some folks on RC Groups expressed concern that the base plate is too weak and in the case of a violent crash, will crack because of the lightening of the inside holes to close to the middle where force is coming from the arms.  To be honest, there’s always a place where it will break but GetFPV came to the rescue with a new stronger base plate and a top plate that is now 2mm instead of 1.5mm and also a x carbon fiber plate to sandwich the arms where they attach to the frame.  All that will make for a strong frame, no doubt!  Thumbs up to GetFPV to make it even better!

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HS1177 FPV cam fit perfect on the QAV-R

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A nice touch to get some LED with a buzzer in one unit

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Dragonfly fit perfect on the QAV-R and perform good!

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FRSky X4R depinned for a small size factor!

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Everything has a place in the QAV-R!

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The key in a mini quad is to keep it to the essentials only to keep the weight down!

Bl Heli 14.3 DYSSN20 RaceBlade

PID 6 Feb

 

Value for the money:

For about $325, you get an amazing quad with the latest of everything.  The frame is nicely finished and has a nice X design.  To be able to change an arm quickly at a race if an esc failed on you is a good idea for sure, but I think that I still prefer to have a backup frame!  For any frame like this, the key is to use only the minimum equipment to keep the weight down and you should be able to survive most crashes.

Weight:

  • frame naked: 120 grams with PDB, XT60 Pigtail and Steel hex screws all around
  • frame ready to go:  357g.
  • frame ready with GoPro 3+ Black:  443g.
  • frame ready with Session and a 1300 4s 65c: 595g.

Conclusion:

Well, what can I say? It’s a really, really nice frame! I flashed the latest version of Betaflight.  It’s 2.3.5 right now!   It’s  performing amazingly!  The PID I used in the video were stock.  I will probably increase the P and that should be good.

If you are looking for a race quad – I would highly recommend this frame. I suspect that this frame should be a popular model at any race event in 2016.

Cheers guys!  Have a good day and please subscribe to my youtube channel  and like my Facebook page to stay in touch for more reviews.  Please come on Facebook to discuss what equipments to use on my Luminier RaceBlade!  If you would like me to build this model and have it ready to fly for you, please contact me to purchase.