The Eachine Novice I is a brushless 2s capable ducted micro FPV quadcopter that includes a basic transmitter, FPV goggles and batteries making it a genuine Ready To Fly (RTF) kit option for $145-$165 retail. It is available exclusively from Banggood here. The lightweight ducted frame makes it safe to fly inside and around people but it still has enough power to fly outdoors. Since it can run on 1 battery (1s) or 2 batteries (2s) you can fly it slow or fast. It will compete directly with the Emax Tinyhawk RTF which is 1s capable only and is $156 with only 1 battery. I've reviewed the Emax Tinyhawk here if you wish to compare.
A closer look at the components:
Below are all the components, click through for more details or if you need to purchase spares
Build quality and component choice
Make no mistake, this is a Happymodel quadcopter being sold under the Eachine brand, much like the trashcan (review here) and red devil (review here).
The quad: Last year the Mobula 7 (review here) took the FPV world by storm: It was the first mass-market 2s brushless whoop at less than $100 that really delivered on performance. Such was it's popularity that the 10 or so upgrade articles I've written (summarised here) have had A LOT of hits. A year on this market is fairly saturated and we are seeing incremental improvements and I believe the Eachine Novice I is a well-prepared composite of those improvements: Larger EX1102 13500kv motors that offer better reliability, performance and efficiency, a stronger frame now in its 4th iteration, the best of the current crop of nano cameras and an adjustable vtx with up to 200mw power. The main board has also been through half a dozen iterations now and is much more reliable than previous and should be reliable with 1-2s since the ESC supposedly has overhead up to 4s. To be perfectly clear this is a very desirable ducted quadcopter and many requests have been made to release as a quad alone, yet it should also suit the beginner well - it is fast, light, cheap and easy to repair and it can flown indoor or out. The camera even works well at night (video here) and the props are the best I've tested.
The controller: The WT8 is a new controller and is available separately here. This runs the popular FRSKY d8 protocol meaning it should also pair with other d8 receviers as well. There are 8 channels on the transmitter in total: 4 from gimbal directions, 2 shoulder buttons and 2 from gimbal push buttons (like on playstation analogue sticks). You get feedback from aux switch positions by 6 coloured LEDs. Led backlit buttons beside the gimbals are for power on and binding new receivers. 4 x AAA batteries are required to power this transmitter. Nice that this comes pre-bound to the quadcopter. Gimbals are of toy grade which is to be expected at this price point and similar to other budget RTF models. They are fine to get you flying however.
Batteries and charger: Included are 2 or 10 x 1s high voltage 300mah batteries depending on which package you choose (RTF or fly more). You have the option to run 1s but since the battery capacity is low the flight time is poor. You are better off running 2s with a throttle cut which I walk through in this blog post. Please note you need to use 2 batteries at time to run 2s meaning the kits actually offer 1 or 5 flights as 2s. Battery quality from past is experience is just ok. I'd probably recommend the fly more option with 10 batteries so you can keep practicing but would rather recommend you purchase different batteries as you can see in my recommendations.
Setup and custom PIDs / Filters
The Eachine Novice-I comes pre-loaded with betaflight version 4.04 and custom settings from the factory which match the controller and are quite good. I did however take the opportunity to improve on the settings as below, most notably the PIDs and filters which are more suited to these small quadcopters with motors running at high frequencies. Tune is based off Mark Spatz's tune for a brushless whoop quadcopter as per the community presets here. Below is the stock diff all if you ever need to reset, my custom diff and the changes I made in screen shot form. UPDATE: Use these for 1s only and stock PIDs on profile 2 for 2s otherwise you will get a flyaway.
Initial thoughts pre-flight
So that about covers it till I get flying (which I'm now doing in real time). To summarise:
Full flight and FPV review is coming shortly, I'm presently putting this little guy through it's paces. Keep an eye out on my Facebook page or check back here for a link.
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