FUS SPARTAN V3 Review: Everything you need to know about this budget toothpick micro
The FUS Spartan V3 is the first fully assembled quadcopter from FUS. It is a toothpick style micro with AIO FC/ESC and larger than normal 1104 5400kV motors. Most noticeably it has a VERY low price - just $85 before any discounts are applied (read on for those). In this review we will take a close look at components and the build quality. I'll share my recommended ESC and betaflight tune including VTX tables and of course review flight performance on 2s and 3s batteries including DVR. I'll also recommend a better set of propellers than the stock ones they are delivered with plus other cheap or free improvements.
Breaking down the specifications piece by piece
All of the components used are off the shelf parts meaning replacing or upgrading is a very straightforward affair. Below are all the parts that make up this assembled quad:
Build quality is good! There are a lot of clever design features that have been executed well including the captive M2 nuts on the canopy, the quality of the 3 print and the mounting for both VTX pigtail antenna and receiver antenna. After being distressed that all the 5v and ground pads on the board were taken, I was relieved that this was because the wires for a (SBUS) receiver were already pre-attached make the addition of an Frsky XM receiver super simple. This slotted easily in the canopy but would think anything larger (even and XM+) might be a little tricky - stick with something small.
Stock betaflight was version 4.1 and didn't include any customisations of note. Stock dump is below but I chose to go straight to my own settings.
For my ESC settings the first thing I did was to update the BLHel_S firmware to JazzMaverick with 48kHz PWM for improved efficiency and bidirectional d-shot which allows RPM filtering. The firmware I chose is directly below and is for GH-30 ESCs. Please check your ESC is the same before blindly flashing.
For betaflight I enabled RPM filtering and backed off on filtering as a result and added my customisations to Aux switches and OSD. If you'd like to use this as a startpoint my CLI diff all is below are are an explanation of changes on the screen grabs. Also I've included the VTX table which I can confirm is working
Hardware changes before the first flight
With the software setup there are some immediate changes I'd strongly recommend prior to the first flight.
Much much better than I was expecting. Even on 25mw with my skyzone 03O goggles and ORT dual shield antennas I enjoyed a crystal clear feed. Obviously I pick up some static behind objects but a boost in power will easily solve these. I'll let the DVR do the talking below
Flight performance on 2s
With the stock props I'd never try this on 2s, a combination of weight and motor kV means it just doesn't generate enough thrust. On 2540 tri-blade props however the extra pitch and blade area mean this is a little slow but viable. This is a great option when you don't want to make too much noise (as was the case above) or you are in a small spot. The other usage case is if you are beginning, you get a lot of throttle resolution without the top end speed to get you in trouble. With that covered flight was smooth and easy to control. You could feel the weight a little more than a normal toothpick-type quad but this was nice for a change - not quite so floaty. As you can see from the above video I go about 3.5 minutes of flight on a 450mah battery in a large area with a mixtures of big long runs plus some twisty stuff thrown in. For this flight I used this GNB 450 mah 2s battery but never HV charge them.
Flight performance on 3s
3s has a lot more urgency, a little bit more noise and it handles the weight much better. Pulling out of loops is obviously much easier and requires less thought. I keep mentioning weight but this is by no means a heavy quad. In fact, it is lighter than the lightest micros of the last generation when we used 20mm stacks but it is heavier than a typical toothpick build. I must say I actually ENJOYED flying this better than flying a toothpick style ultralightweight - it felt more assured and planted without the floatiness and so I felt that throttle management was much easier that the more binary feeling I get from lighter quads. In terms of flight time I used the new CNHL 3s 550mah batteries I get around 4 minutes of hard flying or up to 6 minutes of just cruising which I'm pretty happy about overall. This is no doubt thanks to the larger motors with lower kv (1104 5400kV) than you would typically find on a toothpick style quad of the same size (1103 8000kV). Even though the motors are of an older design I felt they did not let this quad down in any way.
Durability and other thoughts.
I've had a few decent tumbles so far but nothing catastrophic. The frame doesn't look especially strong but I think the skinny start shaped arms at least give the benefit of allowing the thrust to come off the props cleanly. At first I didn't like them because they looked too hefty but I am loving the 3d printed parts. The canopy is very sturdy and keeps the antennas (VTX and receiver) EXACTLY where I want them. The added benefit of course is that it makes a great platform to use turtle mode from. The bottom 3d print holds the battery on nice and secure with the right rubber bands. As silly as it sounds, a functional battery mount is really important for me. Last of all I do like the way everything is so securely mounted, It gives me confidence that nothing will shake or pull loose in a crash - the VTX is electrically isolated and firmly in place, the canopy is held by 4 stainless steel M2 screws and captive M2 nuts on a very solid 3d print. The VTX antenna is even firmly held in place. To me, this is weight well spent.
I like this quad, this is one that has surprised me and I will be keeping it for myself. Hopefully that helps you understand how much I enjoy flying it. This wouldn't be my opinion if I had used the stock props though, they are poorly matched. But between 2 or so dollars for a set of props (which are consumables anyway) and less for a pair of small rubber bands, this really is an excellent little quad. 4s is an option to make it really scream but personally with this setup I feel that 3s is the sweet spot. All this an I haven't talked about the price since the beginning. $85. Even less with a code (try BGAFF10off or drones6). This is really good value especially when you consider the components are ok to great and the build quality is actually really good.
Thanks for reading, if you found this article useful please feel free to like or share, the facebook links below directly link/like this article. Links are affiliated and help me buy the bits I need to produce this type of content. If you are looking for quads or parts check out my coupons and discounts page which I keep updated with only the parts and quads I like at a proper discount
21/10/2020 06:56:50 am
It should be noted that this quad is currently listed and shipping with 1106 3800 KV motors. This makes a totally different quad that likely doesn't have an ideal match of components for lower cell counts.
Crash n burn
18/4/2021 02:26:55 pm
Just got one first flight. Video was good for about three seconds then it breaks up can’t see. Have to land. Wondering why any thoughts?!
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