It takes a competition winning FPV drone racer to recognise the difference between good and great racing parts, and anonymity allows racers to provide this information free from sponsor influence. ‘Racer X’ has gone incognito to share his recommendations for FPV drone racing parts, firmware and simulators (in his own words). We also contrast the choices of Racer X with the choices of the wider FPV community to explore the influence of marketing. If you’re an FPV drone racer that would like to share your ideal parts list please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Xnova 2207 lite – light, excellent torque, good bearings, no burning issues, durable to impacts and low noise (fewer filters needed) – its a great choice if money is not a problem.
Emax ECO 2306 – light, good bearings, incredibly noise free (perfect for Kiss setups or for those with filters problems), super cheap – Cons: not many KV options available – its the best choice for performance/money.
Both Racer X and the FPV racing drone community recommend the Xnova 2207 lite, whilst the Emax ECO 2306 is recommended exclusively by Racer X but unrecognised by the community (April 2019 community vote below).
Airbot Furling32 – Airbot had some early issues like every other brand in the market – in 2018 every pilot I know burned their 4in1 ESC no matter the brand. For the first time, with the Furling32, I have run a 4in1 without any burn in about 4 months.
The Furling32 supports 45A, 55A burst. They deliver more power than other good 4in1s I’ve tested, with more Amps delivered. I don’t know why, but its a fact.
For racing, it’s important in the blheli_32 configurator to change the “motor timing” from between 23-31 “PWM frequency” to 48Khz for more power and avoid desync in some cases.
The Airbot Furling32 recommended by Racer X is relatively undervalued by the FPV racing drone community, who favour the Aikon AK32 V2 35A and Hobbywing Xrotor Micro 45A (May 2019 community vote below).
FPV racing drone cameras
Foxeer Predator or RunCam Racer 2 – They are two incredible cameras, with very similar performance and features (they actually come from the same factory!). Personally, I prefer the Foxeer lens, because it has less chromatic aberration.
Both the Foxeer Predator and Runcam Racer 2 are favoured by Racer X and the wider FPV racing drone community, though the community was only polled for micro FPV cameras (May 2019 community vote below).
Firmware & flight controllers
I have Betaflight, KISS and Flightone setups. In 2018 I ran only KISS setups, but this year I’ve got a top setup of each!
Firmwares; betaflight 4.0, KISS V2 and Flightone with FalcoX (still in beta version)
My conclusion is that when the PID’s and filters are well adjusted, every one of these options will deliver the same performance and a similar feeling.
Right now I’m using FalcoX beta in Flightone. The feeling is so good, super locked-in, and predictable feeling right from the stock PIDs and filters. If they solve the beta version bugs, this will be the easiest flight controller setup in the market.
However, each one of the three options has PROS/CONS points;
Pros – the most popular FW, opensource and a lot of features/innovations.
Cons – requires a very experienced pilot to tune all the options available. Every time a newly updated version comes out, you may have to start the tune all over again because your old settings don’t work anymore. Smart audio problems in many FW versions.
For betaflight I used Foxeer F722 Dual, which is very reliable hardware. There are many other brands in the market that work just as well for betaflight.
Pro – your old settings may work in the future FW, when well tuned the control feels very direct, but also very smooth. Not many features, but they always work without problems (example: smartaudio)
Cons – expensive, infrequent updates, no OSD, lack of features such as launch mode, very sensitive to some noisy motors (almost impossible to tune).
Flightone (Falcox beta)
Pro – Very easy to setup using only the OSD, existing presets works really well and you can feel the difference between a more locked-in/direct feeling (race) or a smooth and zero prop-wash flight (freestyle).
Cons – Stock problems, many times you can’t find stock anywhere, FalcoX only works with OSD versions, still in beta version so you may experience some bugs.
Both Racer X and the FPV racing drone community recommend the Foxeer F722 dual, though FlightOne flight controllers are the clear community favourite.
VTX and RX
Racer X recommends the TBS unify nano VTX, but this is relatively undervalued by the FPV racing drone community (February 2019 community vote below). The FPV racing drone community has not yet been polled to determine their favourite RX, and this section will be updated in due course.
Tattu R-Line 120C 1300mAh 6S V3 – best performance, least SAG – ideal for events.
CNHL 100C 1500mAh 6S PLUS SERIES – The number of cycles this battery can run is incredible – perfect for a training battery.
Perhaps due to its recent introduction, the Tattu V3 recommended by Racer X does not command a high vote count in the FPV racing drone community, whilst the CNHL 100C remains entirely unrecognised, unlike the CNHL 70C (April 2019 community vote below).
Azure 5150 – better for low kv – Durable, powerful, great grip in corners.
Gemfan 51466 – better for high kv – Durable, powerful, light – great acceleration.
Both Racer X and the FPV racing drone community recommend the Azure 5150 and Gemfan 51466, though for racing, the community place the Gemfan 51499 and Dal Cyclone 5050 ahead of these choices (May 2019 community vote below).
In a surprising instance of synchrony, both Racer X and the FPV racing drone community favour the same racing frames, with Racer X not stating a specific favourite (March 2019 community vote below).
I tested a lot and its always so hard to tell if there is any difference. In general, I like stubbies because they do the job and the price is great.
Both Racer X and the FPV racing drone community favour stubby-type antennas for racing (July 2019 community vote below)
FPV Racing Drone Goggles
I started with the Fat Shark HD V2, so I got used to that big screen. Many say that the corners are blurred for them and they claim its impossible to fly like that. For me, the screen on all other goggles looks so small. But goggles are a very personal choice. I now use the FatShark HD2 T2, already prepared for rapidfire, so no need for mods.
The FPV racing drone community has not yet been polled to determine their favourite FPV racing goggle, and this section will be updated in due course.
I use a Taranis Special Edition with race gimbal for throttle (shorter course).
The FPV racing drone community has not yet been polled to determine their favourite radio/handset, and this section will be updated in due course.
Both Racer X and the FPV racing drone community recommend Velocidrone, though Liftoff proved the community favourite in a June 2019 poll. In contrast, the DCL simulator mentioned by Racer X did not feature in the FPV racing drone community poll.