This is a review and setup guide for the Grasshoper F210 Quadcopter.
Here's how it flys on BetaFlight 3.0, as noted below, I decided to move the antennas out of the view of the HD camera later:
That video is on a 4s High Voltage (4.3v / cell) Lipo.
It flys equally well on the included 4s battery:
It comes in this fancy looking case.
Inside the case is:
A simple balance charger.
An "Ideafly" branded 1300MAH 4s battery.
Some zip ties, sticky sided velcro and heat shrink. The zip ties and heat shrink are to attach your receiver. The sticky velcro is for the battery.
It comes with two sets of "indestructible" DAL-type props, an RP-SMA (as opposed to SMA) whip antenna, which I upgraded to the red circular polarized antenna shown in the pictures.
Notably missing is an 8mm socket wrench for affixing the propeller nuts. No worries though, if you have a 3d Printer you can just print your own with this model from Thingiverse!
You'll also want some extra batteries
The "Ideafly" branded 2205/2300kv motors appear to be the same as these "Racestar" motors.
It's nice the motors come with lock nuts instead of spinners, but I wish they would stop making counter-clockwise motors. Locknuts hold the prop on fine, no matter which direction the shaft is threaded. It's just a pain to find the reverse-thread lock nuts. You should probably buy some extra right off the bat. You're bound to lose one, and that'll keep you grounded unless you have extra on hand. I've found the best price for CW/CCW locknuts is here.
ESCs are Flycolor Raptor 20amp and should run up to 4s. They're stuck down with some double sided tape, which should be fine, but it probably wouldn't hurt to zip tie them down as well.
We can tell the exact ESC model by looking at them in BlHeliSuite.
The flight controller is an SPRacing F3 acro board. This is the board without a barometer (for altitude) or magnetometer (for heading).
The camera is a standard board cam. Be sure to adjust the up-tilt to your liking and tighten the camera before flying. Mine was a bit loose on arrival.
The VTX is an LT200 with RaceBand.
The position makes it impossible to see the current channel via the LEDs on the back or adjust the channel with the small button.
Now that you know where the button is, trim back the heatshrink so you can see the LEDs and use a zip tie to re-attach the transmitter. I've used some clear heatshrink, but just cutting away the black from in front of the LEDs works fine as well.
It also doesn't have a beeper. I highly suggest you install a beeper before flying in tall grass or in any location it might get lost on landing. Having a beeper makes finding an otherwise lost quad, possible in tall shrubbery. Grab a few beepers here and solder it on like so:
Top and side plates are 1.5mm
Bottom plate is 3mm
There are motor protectors, which is nice, but I've never crashed hard enough that this matters... maybe I'm just too careful :)
The LED eyes are a nice touch.
But mine came with the signal wire disconnected. Its unclear to me how these were originally wired, but I've wired mine inline with the other LEDs on the back, like so. To configure these in the BetaFlight Configurator, they'll be LEDs number 4 (left) and 5 (right). I think I'll just make them yellow by default and connected to throttle. Awesome!
Even after wiring up the eye LEDs, they still blink red, so they must have another controller. I'll disassemble the eyes at some point and see what's going on. I guess they'll just blink red for now.
The heatshrink antennas serve no purpose, so I cut them down and heatshrinked my receiver antennas to them. I should have moved them though, since they are visible in the HD camera footage.
Also, there really isn't a great place to put the camera. At first, I mounted it on the top, behind the antennas. This works fine, you'll just need an extra velcro strap, and to move your antennas first. Even though the uptilt seems extreme, the video looks totally natural.
Next, I tried mounting the camera in front of the antennas, but this obstructed my FPV camera view. So, I suggest you move the antennas and mount the camera as shown in the photo above.
Since I usually use the BetaFlight Configurator, I had to resurrect the CleanFlight configurator, expecting it would come pre-installed with CleanFlight, but to my pleasant surprise, it comes with BetaFlight pre-installed! Awesome!
Since it already has BetaFlight installed, I'm sure this thing flys great of out the box. Another interesting note, since the BetaFlight configurator only supports version 2.9.x and later, you'll need to use the CleanFlight configurator to change any settings. I'll go ahead and dump the defaults, then upgrade it to the latest BetaFlight version so I can use the new BetaFlight pid controller and the BetaFlight Configurator.
Make sure you toggle the "Show unstable releases" switch to get the latest firmware version and set the BAUD manually.
Then connect to BlHeliSuite and upgrade the ESCs. Remember to plug in a battery when upgrading the ESCs. Mine came with BlHeli 14.4 and I upgraded to 14.6.
You'll see a confirmation after successfully flashing.
I also chose to overwrite the settings with the current config when prompted.
Then go to the motors tab and calibrate the ESCs by unplugging the battery, turning all motors to max, plugging in the battery, wait for the series of beeps to stop. Lower the throttle slider to it's minimum and wait for the beeping to stop again. Unplug the battery and you're all calibrated up!
I'm using the FS-iA6B, included with the FlySky i6, which supports PWM, PPM and SerialRX (iBUS). SerialRX has the least latency, so I'll use iBUS.
If you're using this radio, checkout my transmitter setup guide for details on aux channels and failsafe.
Hooking up a receiver is easy, the wires for both PPM and PWM come pre-installed. To use SerialRX, as I'll be doing, just switch the plug like so:
Alternatively, solder the SerialRX leads straight to the board like so:
Then turn on SerialRX for whatever serial port your using:
And configure the serial protocol:
If you were using PPM, you would connect it like this:
PWM would be connected like this:
Update your settings. You can find my full config file here: https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/4d9519b63453647e9d8ce7d87c959b07
Be sure to set yaw degrees to 90, since the board is rotated.
Here are my aux settings (make sure your radio matches):
Even after wiring up the eye LEDs, they still just blink red, so there must be something else going on with them. They appear to have their own controller, but I need to disassemble the eyes to see what's up...
Overall these are really good components on a nice frame. The camera does leave something to be desired, but it should be easy to swap out a nicer camera whenever you're ready.
The frame does have this weird cut-away at the front, I think it's suppose to make it look more like a bug, but I'm not sure. I think the whole design would be a bit stronger without this cut, but it's fine, probably doesn't make much difference.
Aside from a few tweaks we made before flying, most of which are optional (tighten the camera, connect the SerialRX pins for our receiver, connect the LED eyes, add a beeper) it was basically ready to fly out of the box, which is awesome.
The flight controller is an SPRacing F3, which is fine, but so 2 years ago (I just made that up, I have no idea how old the Spracing F3 is). My point is that there are a bunch of new flight controllers, F3 and F4, F7's are coming out soon. For a few bucks more they could have put an OMNIBUSF3 which has a built in BetaFlight integrated OSD. I understand they're trying to keep costs down, so this is fine to start, but presents an excellent upgrade opportunity.
Which brings me to the last thing and really the only thing this quad is missing, an OSD. Maybe at some point I'll add an OSD or upgrade to an omnibus flight controller. Until then, this thing flys great on BetaFlight 3.0!
When I was flying, I flew a bit far away. My failsafe is set to drop (as opposed to land), so when I lost signal the grasshopper dropped out of the sky onto a concrete road. The only thing that broke were the landing gear and a bit of carbon fiber under the mouth! This is amazing. It is super durable!