More Quads ++

There sure seem to be a lot of quad copters these days;  some are small, some larger, some are very full featured with GPS and FPV capabilities.  Some are RTF and others are built up from the frame. 

I’d been having a lot of fun with my little Blade Nano at 18gr all up weight.  The Nano is great for indoors but a bit dicey in the wind. 

A friend told me about another small quad called Hubsan from which ships from China for free.  This particular one was $42 fully assembled and with a controller.  Both are pictured below for size comparison.  The Hubsan at 37gr has a bit more weight than the Nano, and handles the wind very well.  The Hubsan also has lights which flash for a low battery.  My trouble is seeing it because it is pretty small at 4.3”!

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Hubsan and Blade Nano

The stock Hubsan only works with its own transmitter which is ok at first.  The provided tx takes 4 AAA batteries.  However, it doesn’t tell you if you leave it on unintentionally, so it’s easy to kill the tx batts.  You can buy blade protectors separately so it’s more guarded like the Nano but it adds to the weight.  

I bought a replacement control board for a Nano and plan to put it in the Hubsan so I can fly it with my spectrum radio(see later in this article).  The control board was $35, almost as much as the Hubsan.  I’ll have to give up the blinking LVC since the LEDs will be direct wired. 

hub1.JPGHubsan, even has “eyes”

I just got a new Tower Talk and Estes has a Dart Quad Copter RTF, that looks almost identical to a Hubsan for $70.  I bet you won’t have to wait 3 weeks for this one though.  LOL!



Packaged Hubsan

Above is what you get in the package.  It comes with a single 1S240mahr batt. 

The site offered 5x 1S350 batts for $15 so I got them as well.  For charging, I bought a parallel charge cable, shown below for a couple of bucks.  I put a micro deans connector on the main end and use a conventional charger.  Interestingly enough, this parallel cable has a way to parallel the parallel cables!

charge cable.JPG

Parallel Charge cable for Hubsan batts

A few weeks after ordering this Hubsan, they came out with a Video Hubsan that also has a camera and spot for SD card for a huge price increase, $53 with transmitter and free shipping.  So I ordered one of these too.  I already bought the control board to swap out.   Looks like tower also has one in the new tower talk by HeliMax.   Banggood has just introduced a 2Mp(mega pixel) vid hubsan for $73.  Below are some pics. 

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Video Hubsan with memory card

The Video Hubsan (51gr with card) is a bit thicker than the regular one shown earlier.  The little card above is what slides into the hubsan and records the video.  To read the videos, you slide the little card into the bigger card and put it into a reader.  My laptop at work has a slot on the side although you can get a box that plugs into USB that does the same thing.  Most computers have the drivers on them already.

vhub with cam.JPG

Video Hubsan Camera(the round thing)

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Video Hubsan, SD card slot below battery



A friend saw an even smaller quad and bought it.  It’s from Estes and shown below next to the video hubsan.  It’s about 2” square and pictured below with the video hubsan for a sense of scale, call it pico. 

pico quad estes.JPG

Video hubsan(left) and pico quad

The interesting thing about the pico is that the circuit board with the electronic components is also the frame for the quad.  Nice packaging.  See pic more detailed pic below. 

pico alone.JPG

Pico Closeup

hubsan and pico.JPG

Above are pico on the left and vid hubsan on the right with their controllers. The pico controller is very small. 

Hubsan Board Replacement

The Hubsan disassembles easily with three screws from the bottom.  Below is a pic with the housing halves seperated.

hubsan apart.JPG

Disassembled Hubsan native board

hubsan and nano boards.JPG

Hubsan board(left) and Blade Nano board

The nano board is a bit wider than the hubsan board but but it will fit inside the housing with a bit of dremel work on the side screw bosses.   You can squeeze the hubsan case from the ends and it opens up, snuggly holding the blade board. 


nano board alone.JPG

Replacement Blade Nano QX board


The connectors on the nano board need to be removed to fit inside the shallow hubsan housing.  The motors are direct soldered to where the connectors are, you can see the wire colors on the following picture to match motor polarity.  The LEDs are direct soldered to the board at the point of battery entry with series resistors (22 ohm).  I connected the LEDs in parallel and used one resistor for a pair of LEDs (blue and white).  If you use red LEDs the resistors need to be 47 ohm as they are more efficient.  

I had a little trouble with the wiring (it’s a tight fit) and needed to replace some of the FETs. 



nano in hubsan2.JPG

Nano board in hubsan (top is forward).

Using the nano board, you have more control on speed of response as compared to the native hubsan controller, even adjusted to max settings.  I use like -50% expo on the yaw to get the rotation sensitivity I like.  On the flip side, the board is tight inside the housing, and not mounted to vibration absorbent foam like the nano;  this lets more vibration to the gyro and can cause some drift.  I wish someone would make a hubsan housing that is just a little bigger. 

One of my san jose friends took his hubsan and turned it into an FPV platform using the nano board mounted outside the housing.  I got a pull on this one last week.  Very cool!

So if you’re looking for something a bit different you might give a Hubsan a try.  Hubsan does have better outdoor performance due to its weight.   If you replace with the nano board it gets even better with a conventional radio. 

Happy flying

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