The wait is finally over! My patience has paid off, and now the lovely little ImmersionRC Vortex 150 Mini we first saw a few months ago at the ERSA races in Ibiza has arrived at my doorstep. Thanks to the fast shipping and great service from the team at fast-lad.co.uk this may be one of the first to fly in Scotland.
Tony Cake’s Mini seen here sitting on Joe Scully’s race control table.
The box arrived on Wednesday this week, just in time for our session in the experience go cart track. Perfect timing as otherwise I would have had to wait until the weekend to get to fly it.
The box is small compared to the Shendrones Mako and my Devo 7e transmitter.
Opening up the box, the little Vortex 150 is even smaller than I remember. It’s packaged nicely in the foam, safe from any bumps and bashes which can happen during shipping.
Included are two sets of HQ polycarbonate 3x3x3 props, receiver interface cables for standard servo connector and another which I assume is for a FrSky receiver, a stubby Fatshark antenna and two charged/discharged battery bands.
The Vortex Mini was planned for my fleet since I first saw it, so luckily over the festive period there have been some good deals on batteries. I’ve picked up a selection and will report back on the performance of each. I have three Turnigy Graphene variants: 3s 500mah, 3s 750mah and 4s 500mah and one 4s 850mah bolt LiHv pack.
All these batteries come with xt60, so over the last few weeks I’ve been converting them all over the xt30 to suit the mini vortex.
Here is my quick rundown of the features at hand:
- Spektrum SPM4648 autobind receiver
- Automatic receiver detection
- 1306 3200kv motors, with nice long m5 prop posts
- SMA antenna on the rear
- 4 addressable LEDs, programmable in the OSD menu
- TNR patch to program the integrated IRC Tramp for quick channel and power changes
- nice FPV camera with a large lens. It’s a similar form factor to the common HS1177 style cameras and has been pre tuned by Immersion RC from the factory
- camera hood doubles as the mounting bracket and angle adjustment and has a nice rim to protect the lens in the inevitable crashes ahead.
Setting up the Vortex 150 Mini
Setup is simple, if you are running a Spektrum transmitter that is. Simply power up the mini and after 10 seconds the receiver enters bind mode seen by the rapid flashing led in the tail. Bind the TX and run through the OSD setup wizard.
Keiren was kind enough to lend his Spektrum transmitter for this step after my initial issues with the Devo 7e (read on for my solution on this).
The wizard walks through the transmitter channel and stick throw calibrations. Starting with a new model on the TX just follow the onscreen instruction with each stick , then you are taken through the accelerometer calibration and that’s it.
There are other options that can be changed in the OSD menu, but we just dove straight in selecting the stock pro tune and some nice magenta tail lights.
You can see the set up sped up a little in our video below:
So what was wrong with my initial setup attempt? I’m using the Walkera Devo 7e radio flashed with the Deviation firmware which unlocks the DSM protocols in the radio (I have also added modules for FrSky, FlySky and Hubsan protocols) and the first stumble was binding the RX in DSMX mode.
The RX would detect the bind process (7 TX channels, 20 supported on the RX) but would fail before getting a proper bind and a solid led. Switching protocols to DSM2 let me get a good bind but now the OSD would not detect the receiver.
At the cart track this is where Keiren stepped in and lent me his Spektrum TX.
When I got home, I plugging into the Vortex config tool. This allowed me to manually select the RX and picking Spektrum 1024 got me connected. All is well, but it’s now snowing so I’m waiting for the weekend to fly again.
Flying this little guy is great. Comparing this to my old beater (the LS180) the camera is a huge improvement and the OSD setup features are a nice addition that I have never had before.
The stability and power are much better too, but it should be as this Vortex Mini is fresh out of the box, so I will have to see how it takes its first few crashes. The standard ProTune (beginner) felt a little slow on the rates for me initially, but when flying laps didn’t feel that bad. Next session weekend I will try Chad’s (finalglideaus) tune.
There’s no comparing it to the Shendrones Mako build which is a powerful monster running a good BetaFlight tune. It’s obviously lacking in the raw power and top speed but this was indoor flying. I have to admit that the available camera angles of the Vortex Mini compared to the Mako helped me when flying indoors as it can fly much slower.
We flew with the vtx set to 25mw and it performed really well indoors. Hopefully the footage we captured showed this.
I hope to update this article soon with some battery flight times, prop durability and crash reports in the near future.