SPC Maker 90X FPV Racing Quad FRSKY BNF Review
Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
- Stock quad, battery
- FrSky X7
- 1 x SPC 90 X
- 1 x 600TVL camera
- 4 x 3.7V 8520 Motor
- 1 x DSM2 receiver
- 1 x F3 EVO brush flight controller
- 4 x 55mm propeller
- 1 x 5.8G 25mw camera/vtx
- 2 x 3.7V 600mAh battery
- Motor type: 8520 seedless
- Flight control system: F3 EVO brushed
- Image transfer:5,8G 25mw
- Wheel base of the fuselage:90 mm
- Material:3 K carbon fiber plate
- Size:74.5 * 74.5 * 80 mm
- Weight of the fuselage:6, 5 g
- Weight of the fuselage:55 g
- Length of the propeller:55mm
- Fun to fly
- Comes with 2 batteries
- Easily connects Cleanflight or Betaflight
- Poor quality control
- Difficult to find help
- No manual included
- Did not work correctly out of the box
- Video is poor
- Difficult to work on
Ever since modifying a stock Blade Inductrix to make a Tiny Whoop, I have been on the hunt for something slightly bigger and stronger. My Whoop performs decently outside, but I wanted something with more authority against the wind. I have browsed Banggood and GearBest and several other sites to try to find the right thing, but what I have found has been too expensive because of brushless motors, or has gotten poor reviews. Finally, my search ended when I saw BuddyRC post that they were carrying something that appeared to fit the bill, the SPC Maker 90X. Not only was it compatible with Cleanflight and Betaflight, but it also came in 1s and 2s, and Spektrum and FrSky. I recently picked up a FrSky Taranis X7 to review, so I opted for FrSky BNF and since the 2s version was out of stock, I went with the 1s. At the time of this review, the 90X is selling for about $75 dollars.
Unboxing and Set-Up:
My order from BuddyRC was shipped quickly as usual and it arrived just a couple days later. When my mail courier dropped it on my doorstep, I ran downstairs and ripped into the box as fast as I could. The 90X comes in a cute little can where it is nicely protected with plenty of foam. In the package, you also get spare props, extra heatshrink for the motors, two batteries, and a tool for removing the props.
Since there was no manual to speak of, I had to take to Google and Youtube to find some settings. I found some settings that seemed reasonable, so I decided to proceed with those. That only took a few minutes so it was time to bind to my transmitter. Since the Taranis X7 was new, and I had no experience with the FrSky, I had to look up how to bind (the X7 doesn't have much of a manual either). FYI, I am quite savvy with Spektrum and Futaba, but FrSky is totally different. Binding the 1st way I found wasn't working as I was unaware that the receiver in the 90X had a bind button. I went through the correct procedure, and nothing. I tried it about 20 more times and nothing. I took to youtube, google and a few forums for more info. Nothing. People were telling me to do what I was already doing. I reached out to SPC Maker and Buddy RC at the same time. BuddyRC got back to me, but they didn't have experience with FrSky. They told me they'd get back to me.
After about 7 hours, SPC Maker replied. To help diagnose the issue, I took a few videos of the bind procedure, and then the receiver tab in Cleanflight to show that the quad was not binding. I was instructed by the gentleman from SPC Maker to dismantle the quad to see if two ports on the receiver were soldered together. They are tiny dots, so it was hard to tell. I snapped a picture and sent to SPC. He confirmed that it was not soldered, and that I needed to solder it. I'm decent at soldering, but this area is tiny. Anyway, to get to these two ports, I had to cut the heatshrink off of the receiver. Of course, there is not replacement for that included and extra pieces for the motors do not fit the receiver. Regardless, I removed the heatshrink and did my best to solder the two ports together. It was very difficult even using the smallest tip on my iron. When I finally achieved the connection, I tried the bind procedure again and IT WORKED! Yay. In the process of binding, the tiny button broke off of the receiver (I did not handle it roughly), so I guess this will quad will stay with this transmitter. Since I didn't have any suitable heatshrink, I used some thin, heatproof foam to encase the receiver.
After receiving a bit more advice from another retailer on Facebook, I flashed Betaflight onto the flight controller and finished my set-up there. Finally, it was time to take a line of sight test flight and some FPV flying. I get my goggles to the right channel and what do I see, an upside down blurred image. I put another note out to BuddyRC and SPC Maker, and got most of the answer from BuddyRC. The camera actually has a focus feature by just spinning the lens. The camera/vtx combo has two buttons. The one toward the front flips the image, and the one toward the back changes the channel. Finally, it was time to test!
Flight | Line of Sight (first video below):
So after all the drama of getting this quad going, I was ready. I didn't care that the wind was at about 10mph. I always like to start on angle (stabilization) mode. I was instantly impressed with how zippy this little quad was...especially since it is 1s. I hauled ass around my parking lot for a bit on angle mode and decided to check my see what else this quad had to offer on acro mode. This isn't a super powerful brushless quad, so don't expect miracles here, but the punch out is decent. The 90X also isn't bad pulling out of a drop either. You get a little flutter sometimes, but nowhere near the way the most BNF and RTF brushed quads do. I tried a few rolls and was pretty pleased. You'll see in my video that after my first few flips, I drop quite a bit of altitude. I initially blamed it on the quad but realized I wasn't hitting the throttle back up after the flip. When I was mindful of my throttle, I found that not much altitude is lost on flips, you just have to have a few goes at it to find your sweet spot. After a few batteries of LOS flight, I felt the 90X was starting to redeem itself after the quality control issues I had to resolve.
Flight | FPV (second video below):
After my great LOS flights, I was fired up and ready for FPV. For the most part, FPV on the 90X is pretty damn fun. My biggest complaint is that the video feed sucks. I have several other cheap 25mw camera/vtx combos and none of them come close to how bad the feed is. Don't get me wrong, it's adequate, but it's not the clear image I get from my other gear. The video footage was recorded directly from my FatShark Dominator SEs. I also found it didn't do great transitioning from better lit areas to areas in the shade. In the grand scheme of things, it could be worse, but it is worth noting. To be clear, the 90X is just as fun FPV as it is LOS.
I added a 3rd video below, that shows my first ever FPV flight in full acro. It's the first 3 minutes of the video, then I switch back to angle mode for the rest of the flight.
At the end of the day, I am pretty happy with the performance of my SPC Maker 90X. The quality control issues were certainly annoying, as was having to fix them myself. I know many of use experienced hobby guys/gals can fix this stuff easily, but there are people out there who may not have the skills or equipment to do some of these fixes. That's why quality control, especially in the RC hobby is of major importance. The fun I've been having with the 90X and the inexpensive price pretty much cancels out the negative for me, but it does make what would be an A+ review into a B- or C+ review. The overall score is brought down by the lack of information on the 90X and what I had to go through to get the right information. I am still going to recommend this product because it is fun, and it is cheap, and the frame itself seems pretty solid. If you do pick one up and end up having issues with it, let SPC Maker know, let BuddyRC know and please let me know. This information will help SPC Maker in the long run. It allows them to have some feedback to work from. For me, I can add your experiences to this review and also relay your compliments or complaints to SPC Maker.
The 90X is larger and faster than a Tiny Whoop. You can fly it indoor LOS pretty easily, but FPV might be an issue. If you have a big house or access to a parking lot or warehouse, indoor is definitely an option. For me, I'll use my Whoop inside my home and the 90X outside in my parking lot. It's fast enough for exciting flights, but small enought that if I hit something (like my car), I'm not going to damage it.