Makerfire Armor 65 Pro Micro FPV Racing Drone BNF Review
1 - 5
Review by Nicholas Turner, Staff Contributor
- Stock equipment
- Taranis 9x TX
- Nice storage case
- Plenty of extra props
- Extra canopies
- Prop removal tool
- Good instructions
- Lipo checker
- USB port is 90* pointing down from flight controller board. This makes it hard to calibrate gyro when connected to Betaflight
- Can only use 3 of the 6 ports if charging via USB
Open the lids to the two compartments. The top compartment had the extra props, prop removal tool, manuals, and extra canopies. The bottom compartment had the lipos, lipo checker, Armor 65, and charger. The lipos and lipo checker were individually bagged and in lipo storage slots in the bottom of the container. The Armor 65 unit was held in place with a rubber band, which is just added security as the well for the quad holds it securely. The props, and prop removal tool were individually bagged in the top compartment.
The manuals were well written in English and need to be followed closely. I liked seeing the unit I purchased was inspected and test flown by a person and that person's signature was in the manual. This gave a sense of security that the quadcopter was going to work.
The Armor 65 manual shows the basic screenshots of Betaflight for the default settings. I found these settings to be rock solid, especially the PIDs.
Follow the instructions for the FrSky XM RX for how to bind to your FrSky TX. This was my first FrSky experience, so it took me a while to find the button on the RX (under the battery holder on bottom of the quad) and to see the bind LED light.
After binding I recommend connecting the quadcopter to Betaflight and backup the stock settings immediately. After backing up the stock settings, go to the RX tab and check to ensure the inputs are working correctly. I find for me I had to switch my input mappings from FrSky to Spektrum. I then modified the max and min stick settings as well as the dead band area. Once I did this I was able to see proper stick inputs in Betaflight.
Charging the LiHV packs:
The 1S 260mAh packs provided use a larger connector than I have on hand with my LiHV compatible charger, so I used the included charger. Be sure to read the manual on how to use the charger. It's very clear when powered by USB you can only use ports four through six, which is sufficient as you are given three batteries in the Pro package. The charger's ports can be switched from 4.3V for LiHV packs to 4.2V for normal lipos. When charging the port's LED will be red, when finished charging the light will be off. I powered my charger via USB cable to a 5V wall wart charger from a smartphone every time. I found all three lipos would be charged in 30-45 minutes.
The Armor 65 flies extremely stable. The bank is limited, but someone with familiarization to Betaflight should be able to customize this for their preference. Hands off the quadcopter holds its hover extremely well. I can spin on the yaw axis without any drifting. The 5.8GHz vTX worked extremely well in my large house. I was able to go all over the house and not experience video breakup or loss. I found the quadcopter can get some serious speed going in straight flight, which caused me slam into walls and picture frames. The quadcopter's frame proved to be very durable. I slammed into walls, ceilings, toys, picture frames, and tumbled down stairs during my 15 flights so far, and the quad has not broken. One prop has a very small, minor ding. So don't be afraid of this quad breaking and falling apart if you're rough with it.
A couple of recommendations I have are:
- Get out of ground effect quickly. Due to its light weight and size, it gets impacted by ground effect easily and makes it hard to fly really close to the ground for an inexperienced pilot.
- After a "crash" or hard impact, disarm the motors and count to fifteen. I found sometimes the flight controller would be in a wonky state after a hard impact and the motors wouldn't spin up. After disarming and counting to 15, the motors would once again arm and I could continue flying.
The manual indicates flight times of four to five minutes using the 1S 260mAh LiHV packs. Doing so puts the packs lower than 3.7V (the lowest reading on the supplied lipo checker). I prefer to fly my packs down to 3.7 to 3.8V. Doing so will prolong their lifespan and be at storage charge in the event I'm not able to fly for a long period of time. This personal preference limited my flight times closer to three to four minutes.
The vTX is limited to 16 channels. Which should be enough for a small group of people flying together indoors. There is a button on top of the flight controller that changes the vTX's frequency. I had no trouble switching to my preferred channel. The video signal is compatible with the popular 5.8GHz vRXes. I personally used Eachine VR 007 goggles, Eachine VR 011 goggles, and a 5.8GH UVC vRX connected to my smartphone or Windows tablet.
This is my first indoor brushed FPV micro quadcopter and I'm loving it! My kids love watching through my FPV goggles and UVC RX as well as being the ones to flip it over when it's upside down after hitting something. If this is a first quadcopter for you, flying it line of sight is not an issue and is so stable you'll get the hang of it quickly. This is a superb deal and product for its price point. I had to borrow a FrSky TX for this review, but now I'm hooked on this little quadcopter.
Is this for beginners? Yes
What radios can I use with it? FrSky (Taranis, Horus, QX7, etc...)
Is it FatShark compatible? Yes, works with normal 5.8 GHz video receivers
What's the range? I didn't test this as I only flew indoors as it was designed for and it's been too cold and windy to try outdoors.
Is the video quality good? Yes, the 800TVL camera works well in dark and light conditions and transitions well. No night vision though. Do I recommend the Armor 65 Pro? For FrSky users, ABSOLUTELY!