Last week I discovered a new nickname for myself.. ‘Shorty’.. Apparently I have a habit of shorting stuff out in my builds and causing minor releases of magic pixie smoke..
Long story short this week I thought I killed my KISS FC so I went online and found this little guy for a mere £22 (get it here of you can find them in the UK for a little more). Thats cheaper than a new Naze Rev 5 from some shops :p
Turns out however that my KISS FC was actually fine and I had just soldered the SBUS connection in reverse.. Should have went to Specsavers! Moving along swiftly..
I decided to swap out the KISS FC in my QAVX 210 (clone) Racer to this little Matek to test out some new budget tech!
Normally I would be concerned with the quality of some of the budget clone kit out there but having had various Matek PDB’s and LED’s I’ve been very happy with their stuff. The manufacturing quality of the F405-OSD FC is equally as good as their other stuff, everything is clean and tidy and the PCB layout is well thought through.
Lets get down and dirty with the specifications:
Size: 36x36m Board with 30.5mm mounting hole spacing (standard layout)
Power: 5V in to power, has 3.3V out if needed
MCU: 168MHz STM32F405 (F4 Chip)
IMU: 32K ICM20602 Accelerometer and Gyro
Ports: VCP and 5 UARTS in total (4 if using PPM), built in inverter for SBUS, supports soft serial
Blackbox: Yes – has micro SD card slot capable of up to 4GB
OSD: AT7456E Chip with BetaFlight OSD loaded
Other: Has battery voltage sensor, ribbon cable connection available for use with the Matek PDB for easy supply of power and also current sensor to the FC.
Hardware: Comes with 4x soft mount anti vibration M3 standoffs but no screws or nuts.
The MCU and IMU combo supports Betaflight running with a 32kHz Gyro Loop and 16kHz PID loop. This is double the capability of my old F3 boards which could only handle 8kHz max on the PID loop. Compared to the KISS FC which only actually runs at 1kHz PID loop this new board is lightening fast!
Having said that there are many debates out there about loop times and the advantages of faster loops times. We wont go into this but lets ignore all the debate and just see how it flies!
The layout of the PDB is well thought through. The ESC signal and ground pins are on the 4x corners of the board to keep wiring nice and tidy, IF you use the standard board orientation.. Additionally there are 4x pads on the underside which have S1-S4 and G all adjacent to each other which makes it very useful and tidy for those using an AIO ESC setup.
The USB is offset from the center of the board, works okay for me but could cause other POD users issues if the POD doesnt align. Next to that is the handy little boot loader button.
The SD Card slot also opens up to the same side as the USB and boot button so everything you need regular access to is on the same side. Great! The other pads (Rx, UART, Power, OSD) are nice and accessible at the edge of the board and are available top and bottom which gives you nice options for wiring.
Overall the board was easy to build into the racer and and easy to set up. Time will tell when we maiden this wee guy.
> Quality and performance for the price you pay is second to none on this board. I’ve paid more for worse FC in the past (i.e. a Naze Rev 6 Clone).
> Integrated OSD – very handy with betaflight these days, tune PIDs, even control your VTX from it. Very easy to setup both physically and firmware wise.
> F4 Processor and IMU combo means you can run super fast loop times without an issue, 32kHz Gyro and 16kHz PID Loops.
> Board layout is sensible (if in default orientation – see the bad points). Pads are easy to get to for soldering along the edges of the board top and bottom.
> Bootloader button – No more getting a tiny bit of wire or solder to jump bootloader pads, just use the little button.
> Micro SD Blackbox – Great little addition, I don’t (havent) really used blackbox in anger but can pop a Micro SD up to 4GB in there and record data.
> Comes with M3 anti vibration standoffs
> Plenty of UARTs available for all the various features you want such as IMRC Tramp Control
> Can use with Matek PDB to have current sensing and easy connection through the ribbon cable supplied
> Lack of hardware supplied – could have done with nylon screws / nuts for mounting the FC. Also if you choose to use pins you will have to supply your own.
> Layout of the 5v and Gnd pads for powering the FC IMO could be larger, they’re fairly small, also if you solder to the lower side of the PCB it blocks access to the SD card slot.
> Design of the board works well if you have the board in the default orientation. Had to run my board 180 deg from the default yaw for the USB to suit the QAV X Pod. Problem this creates is that if you want to run the default motor layout, the signal pads for the ESCs are no longer in the correct place and you have to trail the ESC signal wires across to the opposite side.
> 5V power supply – I guess this was designed for a 5V supply and has no onboard regulator for direct lipo voltage as it is designed to be used with the Matek PDB. However still a disadvantage of the board is that it requires a 5V input.
And now for my spaghetti build! Threw it together quickly so I can test fly this weekend. Will tidy up when I have some more time.
That’s all for this review at the moment, I will update with more information once I have tested it out in the air.
Cheers for reading,