Quadcopters - getting started with a nano/Tiny Whoop

I met up with Byrn and Aggro last night for a spot of quad flying on campus. Aggro got pretty good with the Inductrix but sadly Byrn was seeing blurry-vision through the goggles. Aggro was interested in what needed to be got, so here's the list of some tried and tested kit. I've grouped the stuff together. I'm stealing a bit from this great post here. Prices after the link.

I've linked to the shops I've used before. You might find better prices elsewhere. EMW - please chime in if you have any thoughts on the below!
Going to campus was a bit last-minute else I would have posted up a more general invite. We'll probably go up again next week, I'll post up here with timing.

Stuff that flies

Stuff you take with you

Stuff that supports you flying

Other shit that might come in useful

  • Maxpedition Fat Pouch 25.
  • Spionet Antennas 28. Get a pair, put one on your goggles and save the other for the inevitable 180. The Dominator goggles come with a reasonable whip antenna but you'll find that you'll get more signal break up in turns.
  • Glasses cleaner cloth. Like anyone would use for specs, for cleaning the lens. Comes in really handy.

Things I've not solved yet are a volt meter for the 1s. I am not sure this a problem because you tend to fly until the quad senses low battery and then recharge to storage or up to full.


If you wanted to get a full fat controller but save a bit of money you could go with something like the Orange t6 it's already DSM2 so you don't need the module and is significantly cheaper (in every respect) than the taranis. If you want to then take the hobby further then you can get very cheap yet pretty good receivers you can wack in a miniquad like the r615x I have several of these things.

The tradeoff is it has no telemetry which the for the inductrix is not an issue but can be useful for battery sense on the bigger machines.

Taranis is a far better transmitter and it's a much more modern protocal than the DSM2 the orange stuff uses but it works and it's cheaper so worth considering. Knowing what I know now I'd probably spend the extra for the taranis if you think you're going to go big one day but if you are content with nano quads it's overkill in my opinion.

Evilmatt's picture

Good shout on the transmitter. I have a Turnigy9x, which is only good after soldering. I wish I had got the Taranis, having battery voltage reported is so fucking useful, it's unreal.

brainwipe's picture

Looks like this sort of thing is becoming really popular and everywhere has sold out of the better motors
If you have access to a 3d printer you can make the frame yourself and then wack in any of the small brushed motors and use something like
Beef's brushed board and a satalite receiver to diy your own tiny whoop. Some places even have kits with this in ready to go just add a frame
or something like this naze32 based boardwhich has an intergrated dsm2 receiver

Evilmatt's picture

If you were looking for something small but more on the mini quad design there are some really interesting 130 ARF (almost ready to fly) builds out there just need to connect a transmitter and away you go pre tuned pre built with FPV camera and transmitter and reasonably cheap and essentially the same size as some of the nano quads. https://www.foxtechfpv.com/tarot-130-fpv-racing-quadcopter-pnp-combo.html

Evilmatt's picture

I blew up my mini camera on Sunday. I think the power wires shorted - the leads had not been cleanly attached and I didn't check. Should've sorted that. Ne'ermind, you can get good ones now for 30 quid! http://www.banggood.com/FX797T-5_8G-25mW-40CH-AV-Transmitter-With-600TVL...

brainwipe's picture

Not that its payday or anything, but have picked up a Tanaris as part of my three stage plan:

1. Buy Tanaris, practice with FPV Freerider
2. Buy Fatsharks, Use HDMI input to run the sim using them
3. Buy Tinywhoop

The weak pound has not helped with the prices it would seem. While Hobbyking (link in Rob's post above) do have it a it the (now) lowish price of £162, once you've factored in shipping (~£23) I reckon you're better to go with RC Geeks for £189, which comes with the charger for the NiMH battery (in-receiver charging) and a hard case over the Hobbyking set.

byrn's picture

I've shopped with RC Geeks before, they're perfectly reputable.

Here are some other places I've shopped in the past:

Surveilzone (China)
Airjacker - new but excellent kit
AlignTrex - old school RC experts - going to get my gates from here.
Build Your Own Drone - bit pricey

brainwipe's picture

I'm glad you said that, I've already ordered ;)

byrn's picture

I've been looking at things like the mini owl similar form factor to the inductrix but real brushless motors lots of power

some of the smaller ready to flys are getting into the tiny whoop area the 130's and the like but this frame has the prop guards built in for indoor flight

Evilmatt's picture

Hmmm, I do like the look of the mini-owl, does look like a bit of a pain to build (although that might be the guy who was doing the build putting the kitchen sink on it...) but something to consider.

The main reason for the three stage plan is cash availability, so no need to decide for a little while...

byrn's picture

It's a little more challenging than the tinywhoops since they come basically preassembled you just glue a camera to them and swap the motors if you feel like it. This is like a real quad only smaller so due to lack of space a little more challenging. You would need to wire up the motors to esc etc etc it's not too hard tho just a case of connecting things in the right order paying attention to wire lengths to save space and some basic soldering skills. If you really wanted to they do have a preassembled owl that's bind and fly but expensive way of going.

Yeah the advantage of your taranis -> fatshark -> quad plan is you're setup for what ever you eventually fly tiny whoop to full fat racing quad and even things like delta wings and other RC model

Evilmatt's picture

You won't fly a 130 in any of the indoors you have access to, Byrn!

The tinywhoop will totally fly in your flat. I can fly mine from my living room to the main bedroom in my house but it's pretty tight. The Blade Nano QX was about as big as you want to go but I found that it wouldn't deal with walls very well - the prop guards are rubbish. The tinywhoop bounces off everything - even Felix's head! I agree with EMW - your plan is a cracker!

It's nearly pay day, so I'll be getting the 250 up and running with LittleBees 20A ESCs so it won't oscillate quite as much! I'm 99.9% sure it's the old 12A ESC that aren't entirely capable of 4s.

I've also worked out how to set up an "easy fly" profile in Cleanflight that will work on the 250 and 180. I can attach it to a switch that can completely change how the thing flies. When we next go out, I'll be a spotter, we'll fly on campus and you can get some time in on something bigger. At the very least it'll give you something to compare for the flight sim, at best you'll get more time in the air. The best thing about starting with angle mode is that you tend to crash the right way up, allowing you to take off again.

brainwipe's picture

I have to say I'm a tad confused about quad "sizes" still. Some sources say that frame size is the distance between diagonal motor centres, some say it is the distance between non-diagonal motor centres, most don't say at all and no-one really explicitly defines it anywhere. They're also divided into nano/micro/mini/... I haven't found any real definition of these.

The "Mini Owl" (which, by some definitions, would be a micro quad...) is listed as an "88mm" frame, but forensic investigation (measuring a picture with a ruler, comparing known prop size to overall width) gives a frame width of 118mm.

The TinyWhoop/Mini Inductrix has no listed frame size (being a full assembly) but has a listed width of 88mm.

The "Owl" is a "118mm" frame, which would seem (although using two sources for the comparison, so who knows?) to fit into the "mini" category, leading to plenty of confusion...

The information is probably well covered out there somewhere, hidden by using slightly different terms to what I'm searching for or buried in a video (have I mentioned how much I like everything being a video these days?)

I don't really have any idea what size quad is too big for indoors though! The difference in price is also pretty considerable I guess...

I think its abundantly clear I need to go get some coffee now ;)

byrn's picture

Sorry, should have got coffee, then posted :)

Cool, will be great to give it another go, this time with n00b-mode on :D Thanks mate.

byrn's picture

Size is distance between diagonal motor centers. If listed otherwise, they're mental. The other nomenclature that I find is Nano/Micro/Mini quads.

Mini any frame that swings 4" or 5" props. Both my quads are Mini, the 180 is on 4" and the 250 is on 5". The smallest frame I've seen that can swing 5" props is the Armalite SCX 200.

Nano are the tiny ones that have weeny props like the Inductrix (TinyWhoop)/Blade Nano QX and Hubsan X4. The TinyWhoop is the smallest of those three at 83mm square. You tend not to talk about prop sizes for Nanos because they all have their own prop configuration so not standardised. Nano are all about being indoors first.

MicroAnything in-between Nano and Mini. Where you talk about prop size (2", 3") but it's unlikely to swing a 4" prop.

There's nothing official on any of this. People tend to talk frame size more than anything.

brainwipe's picture

The other thing worth noting is that if we ever get to an indoor funfly event (held in a sports hall) then you'll be on a 4" prop setup. They're still madly fast - imagine my Tweaker 180 in a sports hall! It'd cross it in 2 seconds.

I think the Mini-Owl is too small for your flat. Once you get handy being outdoors, you'll want a bit more range and for that you want a 4" or a 5". I think the 4" with 4s setup is a sweet spot.

brainwipe's picture

Thanks mate. I was going a bit mad trying to find that info. Seems like there's lots of information out there, but coverage is a bit patchy still!

A mini-owl plus infrastructure to run it would probably make the three step plan into at least a four step, so I'll probably stick with the TinyWhoop in the near term

byrn's picture

As you've seen: you can fly the tiny outdoors but the range isn't good. Once you have all that kit, the next jump is to a Mini. By the time you get the cash, you'll have had a bunch of batteries worth of flying on a mini.

brainwipe's picture

I saw a tiny 130 quad that had 5" props that overlapped relying on them being out phase to prevent them smashing into each other :S
check it out


The frame stuff is confusing and often listed differently in different places.
The mini owl uses custom cut down (you cut them down yourself with a dremel they provide a widget to do it) 1.88" props to get the 88mm frame diagonal

There are also the pico quads like the estes proto x which are usually one to two inches diagonal with tiny maybe half inch props

Does the inductrix use 3s batteries then? I thought it was 1s so not of any use for a mini.

Evilmatt's picture

The Inductrix Tinywhoop is a 1s. There is the Inductrix 200, which AFAIK is 3s.

Yes, that's mental. Would like to try a Pico, although I am not sure about how fun they are without a camera. Once you've gone FPV, it's very hard to go back.

brainwipe's picture

there are some that have cameras in the pico range but they are mostly wifi based I think
this one even has a simple barometer based altitude hold

Evilmatt's picture

That mini is pretty insane - I have to admit I don't really understand how the props could be consistently out of phase, as either a yaw or a pitch would cause the speed of those two motors to be different...

I don't really have a handle on the aerodynamics involved, but from a forces perspective it would seem that a larger frame, all things being equal (including weight!) would have a longer lever arm for pitch/roll/yaw rotations, and hence require smaller differentials in motor speed to achieve the same angle rate or angular acceleration, which would mean that you wouldn't need as much throttle reserve to allow for rotation, and could increase the effective throttle maximum, giving more acceleration (and presumably speed as you can overcome drag due to the brick like nature of the platform at a higher airspeed). Or you could use the greater lever arm to give even faster angle rates, although from watching some videos that doesn't seem to be much of an issue!

Of course, all things aren't equal, but extending the arms of a frame and running longer cables from the ESCs to motors (or PDB to ESCs) would only seem to be an increase in the grams range...

Have my Taranis set up in FPV Freerider and was happily slewing around the desert crashing into things for a bit last night without the resulting repair (and retrieval time)!

byrn's picture

Aerodynamics where we're going we don't need aerodynamics just raw power :D

It is somewhat funny that quads are basically flying bricks with motors glued to the corners even the most aerodynamic ones with tilted motors and body shells drop like rocks when they lose power.

Yeah it's somewhat difficult to compare a lot of these quads since like for like is almost never the case they use different sorts of motors and different props different weight and power distribution

The motors tend to be a trade off smaller motors have less torque but tend to spin faster ie a 250 will use 2204 2300Kv (22 is the diameter of the motor/rotor 04 is the height 2300kV is the speed sort of rpm =kV * V so for a given voltage a motor will spin at a given speed ie 2300kv given peak power 3s @ 12.6v = 28900 rpm 4s @ 16.4v = 37720 rpm) smaller motors spin faster 1806 or 1306 typically is 3100kV 1104 is anything from 4000kV up

for instance the mini owl uses tiny 1104 6500kv motors (so peak rpms of 81900) at the other end of the spectrum the lumbering beast of a tricopter I have used these fat 2213-980Kv motors (peak rpms 12348) twice the diameter and over 3 times the height

Then you have prop size most of the 250's use 5-6" props 180's 4-3" littler machines like the mini owl use custom sizes 1.88" in that case the tricopter I have uses 10" props. General rule of thumb is larger the prop the bigger the motor needed to turn it but there are factors in the propellor design too. It's to do with surface area (bigger props shift more air but turn slower they tend to be more stable but they can't respond as quickly) and pitch of the blade(angle of the prop also defined as the travel distance of a single rotation low pitch more torque blades spin faster motors have to do less work more responsive and stable higher pitch shift more air higher thrust but less stable draws more current motors work harder) as well as number of blades (more blades "grip" the air better due to more surface area but there is a tradeoff decreased in efficiency as you increase blades due to weight etc sweetspot tends to be 2-3 blades in most cases) and there is also the shape (bullnose/blunt ended props for instance provide more thrust than conventional props at the cost of efficiency).

Beyond that there is the esc in terms of how much power they can source and how quickly (which of course depends on the battery as well) but also the technology in the ESC to allow for better response some have features like oneshot125 (a way of sychronising ESC and flight controller so it reacts to commands from the flight controller as they are generated and doesn't miss one) active breaking (where the motors actively stop rotating when powered off rather than just allowing the blade to spin freely) and a host of other features and options

And of course individual manufactures products vary in quality.

makes for a lot of possible options in the real world

Evilmatt's picture

I've recently purchased a Taranis and it's brilliant! Much better than the Turnigy 9XR. Being able to setup all the models through the PC interface saves a lot of dicking about. I need a spare day on a weekend to bind up the big ones but have been flying around the TinyWhoop. As this will be Byrn's entry drug, I thought I'd share a couple things I've found:

Binding the Taranis to the Tinywhoop

The video shows a slightly different (older) module to the one I have but the process was the same.

I needed to reverse a couple of channels on the Output config screen and I always find myself messing with the trim when I first take off.

Removing the ratchett from the throttle

I'd forgotten that I'd done this on the Turnigy 9XR radio but it makes a lot of difference to the smoothness of your flying. It's considered a bad habit for multirotor flyers. The excellent Oscar Liang shows how with simple instructions.

brainwipe's picture

If you want a tiny whoop but think the inductrix is too expensive fear not there is now a chinese knock off the eachine e010 available from banggood for 15 dollars and basically a one for one clone of the inductrix in style and shape http://www.banggood.com/Eachine-E010-Mini-2_4G-4CH-6-Axis-Headless-Mode-...

just add vtx

If you want to run a proper transmitter with it you either need a deviation transmitter (all the walkera's use devo protocal) or there is a module for the taranis you can get see here https://oscarliang.com/binding-eachine-e010-taranis-tx/

Or just use the tiny controller that comes with it not very good but good enough to get started

The reviews suggest this complete cosmetic copy of the inductrix is actually a pretty good tinywhoop maybe even better than the stock inductrix

Evilmatt's picture

Yeah, I've joined a group where they all fly the E010, it appears to be identical!

brainwipe's picture

I have wondered about the wisdom of some of the tinywhoop craze especially the trend to buy an inductrix then replace motors and controller meaning you are spending 60 dollars on a plastic frame if you are going to do that then the e010 makes more sense or even just build one yourself out of the bits and a 3d printed frame

Evilmatt's picture

Yes, I might have bought and inductrix and then replaced the motors and whacked a camera on it. I think you're right, an e010 BNF (without controller) should be good enough. The FB I'm in has loads of people having good fun with them. When Byrn gets closer to getting one, I'd push him in that direction. Also a co-worker MINION has purchased them too.

brainwipe's picture