The Emax Tinyhawk is a 1s brushless whoop-style quadcopter that has steadily grown on me since I first reviewed it here. It's certainly not the fastest but is probably the most well designed ducted quad available at present. It comes stock with very good 3-bladed emax props that perform well except that lack thrust when running in reverse meaning "turtle mode" does not work. I've installed and reviewed their new 4-bladed props where turtle mode works and how they perform in general.
Why are there so few prop options?
Due to the motors being set up pointing down (pusher) rather than up as most traditional quads it means that, at this stage, you are limited to Emax tinyhawk props only. It's not bad news though, both the original and new props are light, well designed and balance and made of VERY durable material.
Before I get into the flight performance, you can see below that the weight is very similar for the props meaning the sum total difference for all for props is just 0.3g. Now I'm a stickler for weight, especially on micros but 0.3g just doesn't factor for me.
Performance is similar but I get more response down low which is consistent with having an extra blade. What was unexpected though was that I felt I had more thrust at the top end. My best guess this this has something to do with the different blade design and is a welcome feature. In term of efficiency I think I had a little less flight time, perhaps 10% when flying in the same location. Across 4 flight I averaged out at 190 seconds (3:10) on the 4-bladed props and about 208 seconds (3:28) on the 3 bladed props on the stock emax 450mah batteries.
Yes. It works. To embelish on this the reason this is so crucial is that it can can sit on your lazy arse if you are flying around home but more crucially you can get back in the air and racing if you crash to the ground. You may not win but you also won't get a DNF placing. This is well worth noting because tinyhawk spec racing classes are becoming more and more popular since the tinyhawk is well designed, relatively inexpensive, extremely durable and is also available as a cost-effective ready-to-flykit with goggles and transmitter.
Just get them and give them a try. They're only $2 for a set and given the durability of the frame and the props themselves they will last you a very long time. In new news I see emax have just launched in smokey grey. Beyond performance improvements I love the idea of customisation and think these would look great with the new black frame.
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.
To those of you that choose to upgrade the vtx in your hawk 5, like I did with the AKK infinite VTX/DVR (in this walkthrough here) I've updated my recommendation for the powersupply. Previsouly I relied on the flight controller's 5v BEC circuit that also powers the receiver and of course the board itself. I've now updated this recommendation to use the VBAT (or VCC) power supply instead assuming of course your VTX can take up to 24V as most modern full-sized VTXs can, including the AKK infinite I installed. This is because the BEC struggles at higher output making the video feed noisy. Over the longer term this is likely to irreversible damage the BEC rendering the flight controller pretty well useless but not before having random failures as a result of the compromised BEC. Picture below is using the power supply from the original VTX - the flight controller's 5V BEC:
The Emax Hawk 5 is arguably the best bind and fly quadcopter going as I found in my initial review but can also be greatly improved with a few budget modifications as I wrote about in my blog on bang for buck improvements. I do however see a number of people complain about the stock Emax Hawk 5 vtx however mine has been functioning well. That being said, you cannot adjust setting in betaflight OSD via smart audio or tramp telemetry which is a let down on a 2018 quad. In the interest of sharing I've removed the stock VTX and replaced with one of the larger VTXs currently available (the AKK Infinite VTX/DVR) to prove it can be done.
The VTX I chose is the AKK Infinity DVR VTX. This is very similar to the HGLRC VTX/DVR that was reviewed here. As the name suggests this is a smart audio VTX in 30.5mm VTX with a built in DVR. I chose those for 2 reasons: First it's big. If I can fit this in you can fit anything! Secondly I like the DVR for recording breakup-free footage. For me I like the nimbleness of the Hawk 5 and don't want to weigh it down with a HD Cam. Other key features of the VTX/DVR:
Just quickly I used the following tools and parts in the instructions below:
Please note all the pictures below relate to the install of the AKK Infinite but install should be identical or at least nearly the same for others. I had to remove the buzzer and relocate the receiver for this VTX but depending on the size of the VTX you install you may need to do only one or neither. Follow picture left to right then down. All pictures will enlarge if you click on them.
What did I learnt from the install?
Firstly I can appreciate how Emax has made the most of the space with compact components. If I were to do this again I'd consider a smaller vtx to see if I could get away with removing less components, possibly an AKK FX2 ultimate mini half board or even an AKK nano 2, nano 3 or Oscar's backpack which may allow you to keep the buzzer AND receiver in place. That being said I'm really pleased I installed the DVR unit for extra functionality and did manage to retain a proper SMA antenna mount.
Set up and flight performance
I'm pleased to say that on the very first power up it functioned as expected. All Ineeded to do was to allow smart audio as a peripheral funtion on UART 6 in betaflight and smartaudio (VTX channel and power control through OSD) was fully funtional.
For video signal performance please see below for goggle DVR recording comparing the stock VTX on 25mW and 100mW compared to the AKK Infinite VTX running 25mW, 200mW, 600mW, 1000mW. A quick spoiler: 1000mW was unstable. This is likely because of the load the VTX and DVR units place on the 5v flight controller BEC (which also supplies the camera). 2 solutions here - run at 600mW or below or power the VTX from the VCC pad (picture below) instead of the 5V supply used by the stock VTX. This gives the VTX full access to battery power which is fine since it is rated up to 26v. For me I'll run 200mW maximum since I don't like to overload BEC circuits since it can make weird things happen - FC brown out, flickering OSD etc.
Update December 2018: I now recommend using vbat/vcc to power the vtx as covered here.
Overall for me video performance was comparable. The AKK VTX does however offer greatly improved functionality:
I'd definitely recommend changing the VTX for a different unit that supports Smart Audio if your VTX is not working as well as you'd like, but as you can see above it does take some planning and work. Even if it is working well some of the extra features that can be had on more modern VTXs may be worth the jump especially if you are confident with this type of work. Even if you aren't confident this guide should hopefully help you. AKK tend to make a good budget VTX with a lot of features but you can subsitute your favourite model here easily enough.
If you liked this article please click on the 'like'or 'share' buttons below. Thanks!