Team Black Sheep Discovery Review
Review by Hudson Northcutt
TBS Discovery frame
8 male to male extensions
TBS 30 amp BulletProof ESCs with 750KV motors 10X5 Graupner Props
DJI NAZA M- LITE with GPS
Zippy Compact 4500mah 35C battery 4 cell Spectrum DX18
JR 921DSM2 Receiver
FatShark Predator V2
Solid, rock solid.
Straight build for those who have built quads before.
Quality is excellent
Customer service is excellent as well.
FANTASTIC design! I love it!
Radio mount, FPV mount, GoPro mount, etc. it all works out fantastic! Everything! Everything about it....except for one thing, see my con.
Manual...It sucks. Please, TBS, write a more in depth manual. Send me another one, and I’ll be more than willing to do it for you! (:
I spent about a solid month thinking about buying a quad. Deciding which one would be the most efficient, the one with the best amount of quality, etc. I pondered on this, and one thing that kept popping on FPV forums, multi rotors forums was the TBS Discovery. While the price tag was what told me differently about this model, I figured, it has been considered the “Best of the best”, when compared to other imports. I will try to hit all of the points/ questions I had, that you can possibly have.
The thing that struck me the most about the quad was the fact that it was a modified DJI flame wheel F450. For Trappy (TBS Brains) to sit down, design a multi-rotor from another one was quite brilliant. While I was debating on this, the Flamewheel etc. , I couldn’t quite make up my mind on which one. Here’s my list that assisted me in making my decisions.
FPV Capable: Well just about anything is FPV capable. But I was looking for a different type of capable. I had in my brain, I wanted my camera to be protected, but yet at the same time, no props in the view. I want crisp, clean, WIDE video recorded via my GoPro Hero 3+ (More on that later). The Team Black Sheep Discovery is specifically designed to hold the GoPro. (Versions 1-3)
Size: I didn’t want a GIGANTIC hexacopter, but something more efficient like a quad. While some hexs’ are efficient, there are some out there, well, that aren’t quite. Not at least in my price range! When comparing the DJI Flame wheel F550 or 450 to the Disco, flight times, and frame design are a big difference. I read somewhere on an FPV that on a F550 with Naza motors and props, with a camera and FPV equipment, a 4500mah battery, you can expect 5-6 minutes.. Pushing it. I didn’t want. I wanted something I could at least fly for more than 10 minutes. That was probably my most critical need. I wan’t a long flight, I mean jeez, I like flying! So there went the Hexacopter. Now I’m down to a quad. Ah, frames next...
Frames: PT: 1 Flip 360, QAV, Mosquitos, Cinetank MK1, F450, TBS Discovery, where do I begin? Who has the best quality? So far, depending on who you are, most frames are either made of Plastic or a composite hybrid. Well, My OCD kicks in 24/7 with airplanes. I LIKE CLEAN! So for this reason I wanted a power distribution board embedded in the frame. I knew that a majority of these frames had power distribution boards embedded, but if it wasn’t this that knocked out the frames from my list, it was who had them in stock. Absolutely no a single company except for resellers of DJI and TBS had the frames in stock. So if you didn’t have any frames in stock, I automatically ruled you out of the ability for me to choose you. Sorry! Could have had a possible customer, but crap happens, huh? So now we are down to the F450 or Discovery.
PT 2: The DJI F450 has a small base frame..It literally looks like a square with electronics crowded like a son of a gun with all of the stuff! I know it’s a 450, but dang, everybody needs their breathing room. Discovery, internal wiring, Receiver and
￼electronics properly spaced, not crowded, room for a GoPro? Not to mention special mounts for FPV equipment?! Hello! I know what a I want!
Efficiency: The TBS with 750KV motors swinging 10X5 Graupners, loaded down with a 4500mah battery, you can get about 10 minutes. That’s considerably well considering all of the gear on board. The DJI Flame wheel 450 with stock DJI accessories gets about 8 minutes. Not loaded....Well, My decision is made!
Purchase: I bought the TBS discovery with the optional 8 extensions for my radio setup. I bought this from TBS over seas in Hong Kong. http://team-blacksheep.com/ Took about 1 week to get to my door. I then thought about flight controller. The DJI Naza LITE W/ GPS was my choice. However, when the Eagle Tree Vector will be released, I will then choose that. (Built in OSD and other functions) I bought the NAZA unit from www.GetFPV.com out of Florida. Batteries, Zippy 4500mah Compact 35C from HobbyKing..The remaining accessories, Motors, props, ESCs etc. from Aerial Visions Inc. based out of NY. I highly recommend this company. Hugo is a great guy and keeps fantastic communication with his customers. He’ll answer any questions you have, even if their at two in the morning and your trouble shooting your quad. (Time change!!!!) He has all the parts you could need to get up in the air, and can even expertly build and tune your quad! 3 days shipping, and it was shipped the morning of my order.
Build: First thing is first, don’t read the manual. Watch the TBS build video on YouTube. After that, please watch this corresponding video. https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=BqAhJv32vlQ This is a video of, “What I learned” from another user. It hit’s a bunch of sensitive points. Some of which I ran into. (about half, the others have been fixed.) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7h9ny87DOBU The build is pretty straight forward. I’ll go in order that it should be built for the best frustration free build. Solder on the ESC’s, battery lead, PMU, RC leads/ extensions/ pins. I chose not to use the TBS Core. (OSD and Power regulator) Grab the arms, mount the motors with the bolts. Grab your flight controller, plug in the ESC’s, then your rc connectors. Plug in the connectors accordingly to the board. Plug in GPS modules, etc at this time. Mount the board when done. Try your best to fit the controller on the designated mount area. (Indicated by the white square in the center of the board) Mount the red spacers with the supplied bolts. Be sure to either use a high quality Torque wrench, or alan wrench. 2.5MM!!! MM!!!! Turn over the quad. Mount the arms. Connect the ESC’s to the motors. Zip tie the ESC, we like to keep it clean!!! Next, grab the top plate and start mounting your radio. For this, I chose a JR921 DSM2 receiver. I’ve got one stock satellite and a secondary with a 24 inch extension for the front of the quad. IF USING THE JR921 RECEIVER PLEASE REVERSE THE INPUTS FROM THE NAZA TO THE RADIO PINS. 1 TO 8 , 2 TO 7 , 3 TO 6 ETC. THE CONNECTIONS ON THE RECEIVER ARE REVERSED! (You’ll thank me later!) Next connect the Naza unit to the top plate. Connect accordingly to my small addendums!! Bolt down the top plate. Add all of the necessary FPV equipment, if any. I chose to mount the FatShark 250mw on the top plate with a zip tie. TBS sells a VTX vertical mount, but I opted out of this.
I will plasma cut and fabricate one myself. On the front of the frame there is a space to mount the TBS 69 (hehehe) camera. It will bolt directly to the board. Kinda nice actually, but sadly the stock FatShark camera will not mount. Maybe some silicone could fix this? Then I just ran my wires between the boards on the inside. Run the power chord to the back where the battery would connect. Weave it in and out between the red spacers. Connect your GPS unit, and mount it directly on top of the CG mark. Next was mounting my GoPro. TBS sells an item called the “Love Seat” an anti vibration pad. Now, I have a problem strapping a 400$ camera with 0 protection to anything. So I got my GoPro with a sticky mount and cleaned the board, and mounted it where it should sit....Rock solid! Yes it is heavy, but I’ll lose an 80$ frame before I lose a 400$ camera. Man, this has been complicated, your almost done reading! Next, I bound my receiver to my radio. BE SURE TO LEAVE THE PROPS OFF! Next, it’s time to “Re-Learn” the ESC’s please read according to your ESCs. They’re all different. You are about 90% done with building.
Next up is programming the NAZA.
Naza: Plug in the flight controller via USB and open the NAZA assistant software. It’s quite simple actually. Follow the directions on screen. First thing is first, if your running 10X5’s type in these gains: 120 110 110 120 140 140. Those are good numbers to start with. Next setup your three position switch on your radio. I’m using a DX18. (Great radio! See my separate review here also!) I assigned the Gear channel to switch D, three position) Go back into NAZA and setup the three position to however you want it to be. Manual, attitude, GPS, failsafe, etc. I chose, manual, GPS, and failsafe. (RTH) Select your configure on your Naza. You are using “X” config, then select standard receiver if you are using Spectrum. Just please read according to your manuals and the Naza. This is my personal setup. It might not “Fly” with others, but it does with me. I then set my recomendded motor idle speed to HIGH. It’s recommended for the SimonK ESC’s. Start the motors, bring all sticks to the bottom left hand corner and check the rotation. Fix accordingly!!!! When everything looks smooth and is right, add the props. ADD THE ACCORDING PROPS TO THE ACCORDING MOTORS WITH ACCORDING ROTATION! IF YOU DO NOT, YOU WILL HAVE A DEATH CHOPPER!!!
Flight: Go outside in a nice open area. Preferably with some thick cut grass. Just incase if something did accidentally go wrong on a maiden, you can have a little bit of a break for your fall. Slowly apply throttle. Try to get a feel for it. Half throttle will keep it rock solid at about head height. You can’t compare this quad to any other quad. This thing flies like a brick, and I like it because of it, it produces very silk smooth video. Start putting around, and get the feel for it. It’s totally incomparable! The Naza doesn’t make it stop on a dime, but yet slows it down on a brake. It makes for excellent footage, and smooth flying. By far the most stable, most rock solid, most anything I have ever built. This was my first quad build, and even though I ran into some bumps, it smoothed out really well. You won’t be disappointed!
Disclaimer: Due to laws set by the state of Texas, I am unable to give you full in
depth on board flight footage. I do however have the ability, through certain land owners permission, to give you an in depth flight film. However, it will be quite some time until I am able to do so. I am not responsible for any types of miscommunications between authorities and you.
Please preserve this hobby and check with your local laws and or regulations.This is my personal doing. During all FPV flights I preform, I set my RC Failsafe for R.T.H, and ALWAYS have an FPV spotter watching me at all times. Before any flights with onboard recording, I ask all surrounding land owners for their cooperation.