3D Robotics

Best entry-level UAV platform?

I just got what might the best entry-level UAV platform yet. It's the Busy-Bee RTF from HobbyKing and at first glance it looks practically perfect for our needs. It comes totally ready to fly (just ten minutes of attaching things), with a brushless motor, ESC and all servos and pushrods installed, all for $70! Just add RC gear and a battery. It's got all the elements we need for a UAV platform: --Four channels, with ailerons --Pusher prop --High-wing trainer style, so should be easy to fly and relatively slow --Steerable nose wheel (gear is removable for grass landings) --Loads of room in that cockpit! The tinted window is a bit unfortunate for camera use, but otherwise it's perfect: easy to get to and easy access to the rest of the equipment area in the body --Easy to repair foam A few notes: The picture on the product page shows that it comes with a JST battery connector, but it actually comes with a standard Deans connector. The box says that it comes with cheap FM RC gear, but thankfully that's not the case (it comes with no RC gear at all). The included propeller is actually black and pretty good looking, not the yellow toy in the picture. If you want to upgrade the motor to a more powerful outrunner, it's easy to do; it uses the standard mounting holes. The motor is rated at 8.4v, so a 7.4 20c LiPo battery is probably safest. But if it seems really underpowered with that, I may try pushing it with a 11v battery. Overall, it's hard to beat this one for the price, features and ease of assembly. I'll fly it this weekend and see how it performs.
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  • any updates?
  • 3D Robotics
    PS--the UAVDevBoard put the plane into a death spiral when switched into auto, so it's going to need some tuning (as expected). Sigh--it was that kind of day.
  • 3D Robotics
    Oh, and it appears that the foam is not EPP, since it didn't hold up to the crash well at all. The front was crushed and the wing broke in half (the carbon spar is actually two spars, with a weak join between them. Had there not been so much damage, I would have just glued it together again, but I'd say this is one of those planes you don't want to crash much (nothing like the great Elapor foam of the Multiplex planes, which you can crash all day).

    The crash managed to rip the GPS connector off the UAVDevBoard, so I've got some soldering to do. I think I'll move it to a spare EasyStar (and switch the code to MatrixNav, for the rudder control), while I wait for the replacement Busy-Bee to arrive.
  • 3D Robotics
    Well, I crashed and totalled it. But that was due to radio failure, rather than the plane itself. Until it crashed I would say it flew okay, but was too underpowered to handle the relatively high winds I was flying in. Had I not crashed it, I would have switched to an 11.1v LiPo (I was flying with the recommended 7.4v) and seen if that made enough difference. It's weird that I lost the radio, however, since I was flying pretty close and the radio is a good one. I wonder if the ESC's BEC failed and killed the radio power.

    At any rate, I'll get another one, and start with a new ESC and 11.v battery and see how that goes.
  • How did the weekends flights go? I am interested in getting one for testing before I put the brains in my larger platform.
  • 3D Robotics
    No, flat wing. Designed for mild acrobatics
  • any dihedral?
  • 3D Robotics
    Yes, but they've revised the model since that thread, which is almost two years old. I can't guarantee that the plane doesn't have any issues, since I haven't flown it yet, but it's obvious that the plane has been improved since then and I have a newer version.
  • There is a thread about the Busy Bee over at rcgroups. The claim is advanced that this plane has some design issues. Hopefully they are fixed by now.

  • Moderator
    Especially usefull since there's no fuel residue to ruin them!

    (that used to be a major annoyance at the flying field)
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