Review: Flywoo HEXplorer LR 4inch Long Range Hexacopter

Review: Flywoo HEXplorer LR 4inch Long Range Hexacopter

Flywoo was the primary to launch an RTF micro lengthy vary FPV drone, and now they’re the primary to launch a micro lengthy vary hexacopter! It’s mainly the the Explorer LR quadcopter with two additional motors and upgraded {hardware}.

Wondering what’s the Flywoo Explorer LR? Check out my evaluation right here https://oscarliang.com/flywoo-explorer-lr/

DJI Vista / Nebula Pro Version

Analog Version

It comes with these equipment within the field:

These micro lengthy vary FPV drones are small in comparison with conventional lengthy vary rigs which are usually 7″ quadcopters and weighs over 700 grams. The Hexplorer’s makes use of 4″ propellers and the load is within the 250g to 350g vary with a 4S LiPo battery. Here’s a weight break down of the completely different mixtures:

  • hexacopter alone = 216g
  • hex + 4S 850mah LiPo = 314g
  • hex + 4S 850mah LiPo + Naked GoPro = 347g
  • hex + 4s Li-ion pack  (18650 3000mah) = 421g
  • hex + 4s Li-ion pack  (18650 3000mah) + Naked GoPro= 449g

Using a 4S Li-ion pack is ready to offer you over 25 minutes of flight time (on a peaceful day).

It’s geared up with Caddx Vista and Nebula Pro. I examined the brand new Nebula Pro digicam and it’s each bit nearly as good as the unique DJI digicam. They additionally supply analog model with Caddx Ant digicam if you’re not into DJI’s FPV system.

By utilizing a lightweight weight HD digicam just like the bare GoPro or Insta360 SMO 4K, you will get some gorgeous FPV footage. With the 50% improve in carry, the hex can truly carry a full dimension GoPro with out points, which the Explorer LR Quad would positively wrestle to do.

Here’s the specs of the HEXplorer (DJI model):

  • Goku F745 HEX Nano Stack 16×16
  • Flywoo Nin 1404 V2 2750kv motors
  • Gemfan 4024 props
  • Goku M8N mini GPS v2.0
  • Flywoo Finder v1.0
  • Flywoo Bt-nano Bluetooth module
  • Atomic 5.8 G Antenna LHCP
  • Caddx Vista (VTX)
  • Caddx Nebula Pro (FPV Camera)

Unboxing

First factor that I seen was the lengthy cable that wasn’t related to something.

It’s the ability cable for the SMO 4K digicam by Insta360. I plan to make use of this drone with my Naked GoPro, so I can be changing this cable.

Frame

There are six arms sandwiched by two backside plates, every arm might be swapped out independently if you happen to break them.

The arms are strengthened by braces. Arm thickness is 3mm.

Flight Controller & ESC Stack

The flight controller had an enormous improve, they really re-designed the stack specifically for the hexacopter (which wants 6 motor outputs).

It’s now utilizing an F7 MCU which is spectacular not due to the elevated processing energy, however the variety of UART’s it presents. There are 7 spare UART’s! That’s in all probability greater than sufficient for what we wish to do right here 🙂 One criticism I had with the earlier LR4 quad was the dearth of UART, and the Vista has to connect with the FC through softserial and the OSD turns into unreliable. This is not a problem with the Hex.

The FC has built-in Barometer for extra correct altitude studying.

Below the FC is the 13A 6in1 ESC which Flywoo created only for this hexacopter! Probably the primary on the planet I believe?

Both USB connectors for the FC and Vista might be simply accessible from the facet.

It’s good to know that additionally they added a Bluetooth module contained in the body (positioned behind the FPV cam), so you need to use the Speedybee App in your cellphone to vary Betaflight settings wirelessly, which is helpful when you’re exterior within the subject.

GPS & Buzzer

The GPS module is mounted in a TPU mount, barely tilted to compensate for the pitch angle when the drone is flying ahead.

They tried shielding the GPS sign wires with copper foil from the DJI Vista VTX as you’ll be able to see within the following image.

The Hexacopter is utilizing a self-powered buzzer beneath the GPS module, which has a tiny built-in lipo and it might proceed to beep for hours even when the drone’s battery is disconnected in a crash.

FPV System

It’s utilizing DJI FPV system, the VTX is Caddx Vista and the digicam is the most recent Nebula Pro, which has virtually the identical picture high quality as the unique DJI digicam, however a few grams lighter.

This time Flywoo lastly shipped me the right antenna – an LHCP one.

Receiver

The Crossfire Nano receiver is resting freely on prime of the FC, I believe it could be higher to make use of double sided tape right here, to attenuate vibrations to the FC throughout flight.

One factor might be finished higher is the Crossfire antenna mounting, the ideas are actually touching the carbon fibre which could impression vary.

Power

Exact identical motor and propeller combo from the earlier Explorer LR Quad: Flywoo Nin 1404 V2 2750kv motors and Gemfan 4024 props.

The LiPo connector is an XT30 and the battery is designed to be positioned on prime of the body.  The good high quality battery pad helps cease the battery from sliding.

The prime plate has a really intelligent design that lets you put the strap by way of the center, so the battery might be mounted sideway. This permits extra room for the HD digicam within the entrance when utilizing a big battery equivalent to a Li-Ion pack, and it additionally retains the centre of gravity within the centre of the craft.

I’ll clarify the steps I took to setup my HEXplorer for the primary flight. Here’s the official handbook if you wish to have a look: https://cdn.shopify.com/s/recordsdata/1/0010/7410/2324/recordsdata/FLYWOO_HEX_LR4_HD_Manual.pdf

Firmware

The Flywoo Hexplorer comes with Betaflight firmware 4.2.0, the board is FLWO/FLYWOOF745HEX (STM32F745).

The 6in1 ESC is operating BLHeli_S 16.7 firmware (G-H-30).

Here’s the inventory CLI dump in case you made a mistake and wish to return: https://intofpv.com/t-cli-dump-for-flywoo-hexplorer-lr4-hexacopter

DJI

Activate Vista in DJI Assisstant 2 program, and replace firmware to 1.00.06 (inventory is 1.00.05). Latest firmware lets you use 50mbps mode which presents higher vary and picture high quality.

Then bind Vista to your DJI FPV goggles.

And right here’s swap to FCC mode (required for 50mbps mode), and if it’s authorized the place you might be, you could possibly even do the 1200mW hack.

BetaFlight

The Hexplorer has clearly been tuned in manufacturing unit, equivalent to PID and filters. Ports, GPS settings and Crossfire are additionally pre-configured out of the field.

All that I needed to do was binding receiver, assigning a swap for arming, beeper, and turtle mode. Oh, and don’t neglect to set your charges as effectively.

One factor I want they did was enabling Bi-Directional DShot and RPM Filter (tutorial). It can cut back vibrations to sure lengthen with out a lot effort, and fewer vibration is at all times higher for effectivity.

You may additionally wish to “clear up” the OSD as a result of they’ve included virtually all parts on the display, it’s fairly a large number 🙂 Remove those you don’t use.

There are 4 vibrant RGB LED’s on the corners of the FC, I’m utilizing them to show GPS standing: pink = no sat, orange = no lock (discovered sat however not sufficient), inexperienced = lock.

By default, Flywoo allows “Allow arming with out repair” (setting below Failsafe tab), it lets you take off with out getting a satellite tv for pc repair.

It can typically take a minute or two to get a sat repair, however it will get a lot quicker after that even when you’re altering batteries. Remember if you happen to take off with out a GPS repair, GPS rescue received’t work. To have dependable GPS rescue, it’s greatest to have not less than 5 sat lock earlier than taking off, the sat quantity might be displayed in OSD.

I additionally modified failsafe settings for my switches:

Installing Propellers

If you’ve by no means flown a hex earlier than, then this may be a bit complicated for you. Here are the principles that assist me keep in mind the rotation of the props:

  • entrance props – props in like a quad
  • center props – reverse of the entrance props
  • rear props –  reverse of the center props, identical as entrance props

This picture would possibly assist additionally:

Flywoo listened to the neighborhood after the discharge of the Explorer LR4, and carried out many enhancements on the Hexplorer, together with {hardware}, PID tuning and GPS settings. It flies nice out of the field.

With the 2 additional motors, the hex has 50% improve in thrust to hold additional payload and carry out higher in windy situation.

GPS works effectively for me, whenever you lose radio sign, the drone goes into GPS rescue mode and flies in direction of its take off level. GPS Rescue will also be triggered by the pilot at any level, say if you happen to lose orientation. It takes 1-2 minutes to get a satellite tv for pc lock, and I usually get round 14 sats which is admittedly good.

The F7 FC with extra UART’s is unquestionably a welcome improve, it solves the OSD difficulty with Vista from the earlier Explorer LR4 quad.

The newly added Barometer may not appear to be an enormous deal, however by offering extra correct altitude measurements, it might probably assist save battery in GPS rescue mode.

And you’ll be able to flash the brand new F7 FC with iNav firmware if you would like extra superior GPS options.

This hexacopter is significantly heavier than the Explorer Quad. Yes the hex has extra energy so it doesn’t actually care concerning the additional weight, but when weight is vital to you, you’ll wrestle to remain below 250g. It’s virtually unattainable if you would like first rate flight time.

The hex is just not as environment friendly because the quad it appears, I get barely shorter flight time with the identical 4S 850mAh, 8 minutes of cruising with the hex, and 10 minutes with the quad.

You have props within the body when flying with DJI FPV Goggles, however it’s not within the HD cam’s view.

Lastly, the hex is configured to run “props in” (entrance propellers spinning inward), any water or grime on the entrance props will get thrown on the FPV digicam lens. Maybe use props out, Flywoo?

It relies upon. First of all I believe the Hexplorer is made for lengthy vary *cruising* flights, similar to the Explorer LR Quad. But if you wish to carry one thing heavy like a full dimension GoPro 9, the 50% improve in carry from the Hex will certainly assist.

Left: HEXplorer; Right: Explorer

The flight traits of the hex is sort of completely different from the quad, it has extra punch, extra grip and feels extra locked in. However because of the bigger disk space, it additionally feels extra floaty and isn’t nimble as a quad. It can get a bit bumpy when it’s windy, however if you happen to use Reelsteady or FlowState, it might virtually fully get rid of all of the vibrations and it seems silky easy.

The hex is fairly quiet for a 4″ FPV drone, however nonetheless barely noisier than the LR4 quad.

There are {hardware} enhancements talked about, just like the F7 FC and GPS V2 module, however I believe Flywoo has additionally up to date the LR4 Quad with the identical {hardware} now (It’s referred to as Explorer LR4 V2), so we will say the LR4 is not less than simply nearly as good because the hex by way of options.

4S 850mAh appears to be the most effective stability between flight time and weight, giving me round 8 minutes of flight time, bigger LiPo batteries have diminishing return and impacts efficiency. For final flight time you’ll be able to take into account 4S Li-Ion 18650 pack (3000mAh), this could offer you not less than 25 to 30 minutes flight time.

Whether or not the hexacopter is healthier than the LR4 quad is actually debatable, however kudos to Flywoo for introducing so many new and attention-grabbing concepts of their new product!