Race Frog 218mm

By Whiffles on Apr 15, 2017

12 3,123  42 

I really liked the look of this frame, so I thought I'd put together a semi-budget build around it. While it's a tight fit, it's an easy build and weighs in at only 286g. This build supports Dshot600 and offers OSD for voltage monitoring and a built-in blackbox for tuning. It can easily carry a Session or Runcam 3 with a bottom mounted battery, but you can top mount at the cost of an HD cam. These motors are great middle-tier motors, so you've got a wide variety of prop options. I'd probably avoid running 5051s, but you should be fine running up to 5048s.

Apart from the parts listed below you'll need a few additional items that no bench should be without:

  • A nylon nut set with 2mm nuts and 1mm spacers
  • Shrink tubing
  • 20awg wire
  • Double sided tape
  • Zip ties
  • Blue loctite

Knolling

Making it Fit

Extensions

The frame is a little tight, but they offered some extension pieces to raise the stack area by about 4-5mm. If you have a large RX you may need to use them, but an XM+, X4R or Spektrum Satellite should fit fine without them. There's very little documentation, so it's not obvious what these are for. I've seen these extensions used on the back of the frame where the LED panel goes for stack protection and possibly a resting place for a larger antenna. The longer pieces only add about 1mm above the stack, so I don't see much reason to use these.

Standoffs

Finding the right standoffs to build the stack was a challenge, but I found the perfect combination. If you aren't using the extensions you can use the 10mm screws to start to the stack. I added 2mm nuts with 1mm spacers. The spacers are important because you'll end up with too much threading for the vibration dampening standoffs. These also offer just enough room to run a battery strap under the ESC board. While the 4-in-1 ESC came with an assortment of nylon standoffs, they're all far too tall for this frame. You'd probably end up with a 30mm stack if you used those.

Wiring the Motors

Wire ExtensionsParacord

Unfortunately EMAX hasn't caught on to the 4-in-1 trend, so the motor wires were too short. Dig through your wire bin for some 20awg wire as you'll need only about 12 inches of it. If you need to buy some, be sure to pick up some 14awg and 16awg just to have around for future builds. First you need to screw the motors onto the arms. Use some blue loctite to ensure the screws won't wiggle loose. Now to extend the wires you want to lay each wire down onto the arm to get the length just right. Touch the end of the extension to the nearest ESC pad, snip, solder and repeat. Finish each joint off with some shrink tubing and you can optionally add some 550 paracord for added protection.

This 4-in-1 ESC is great because it has a 5v regulator that can handle up to 3amps. The Omnibus F4 also has a built-in 5v reg, but it doesn't support enough amperage to run both the VTX and camera. The ESC plugs directly into the FC using the included connector and the 5v power is passed through the red wire. Now if you'd like a voltage reading via OSD you'll also need to send power to the vbat pins, but the FC will favor the 5v from the ESC to power both itself and the RX. You'll need to bridge the RAM and 5V pins to pass power to the VTX/camera.

One thing to note is that this FC uses a linear regulator to produce 5v from vbat. Since we aren't using the 5v from the FC it will produce unnecessary heat. Here's a guide explaining how it works and how you can remove the regulator to decrease the heat. I didn't do this, but it is an option if heat becomes a problem. You can also exclude vbat if you don't need the OSD voltage reading. This would also reduce the heat.

One thing to note is this frame doesn't come with an XT60 connector, so you'll have to buy a set of them. I used the black ones listed in the part list. Snip the wires short enough that they won't pull the battery leads into prop strike range, but not so short that your shrink tube shrinks before you can sleeve it over the terminals.

Mounting the Camera

I chose the Runcam Swift mini for the size and weight reduction, but the frame isn't necessarily designed for it. You'll have to use the included conversion bracket which offers a nice snug fit. It should be pretty clear which screw holes to use here, but if you have any questions review the photos below. The only thing I'd like to add is that you should use the nylon washers included with the Runcam outside the aluminum plates. This gives you a nice tight fit.

Wiring the FC

This is a fairly straightforward wiring job, but be sure to pull up an Omnibus F4 board diagram to follow along. Mainly what you need to do is wire the camera and VTX and jump the 5v/RAM pins to send them power. Check the photo below for the big blob of solder just below the RX wires to see where to jump the RAM pins. This mainly passes the 5v from the 4-in-1 to the RAM pins along the VTX/camera rails. Also, I soldered the RX to the inverted UART which functions as UART1 in Betaflight. Finally, I passed power straight from the battery to the vbat pins to monitor voltage via OSD.

Top of FCUnder FC

Mounting the RX and VTX

Since the XM+ antennas are extremely long I rotated the U.fl connectors to send the antennas back around the RX. This reduced the length by a few cm which offered the perfect length to send the antennas behind the front arms. You can see how I passed the antennas under the motor wires along zip ties secured with shrink tubing. To mount the VTX I added about 3 layers of double sided tape beside the display, added a wad of hot glue to the U.fl connector and taped it to the bottom of the top plate. I used a zip tie to keep the little dipole antenna from falling down into the props.

RX

Configuration

If you wire the motors as illustrated they won't be in the proper positions in BetaFlight, but BF 3.1 has a great resource command which lets you swap motor positions. You never need to worry about motor wire positions or swapping wires to set the rotation. All of this can be changed in software and allows for the cleanest wiring possible. Here's a short checklist to follow before you maiden:

  • Flash firmware to the latest version of BF.
  • Use resource commands to order the motors.
  • Use BLHeli Configurator to set motor rotations.
  • Bind TX/RX and set inputs and ranges.
  • Set switches to arm and change modes.
  • Configure OSD.
  • Set your rates.
  • Use camera OSD to adjust your camera settings

Final
Final

Photos

Part List

Frame

Frog Race Frog Lite 218mm Carbon Fiber 4mm Arm X Frame DIY Frame Kit
Banggood.com
$27.99

Flight Controller

Omnibus Betaflight F4 Flight Controller V1 STM32 F405 MCU Integrated OSD (7 builds)
Banggood.com
$24.49

ESCs

Racerstar RS30x4 30A Blheli_S 2-4S 4 in 1 Brushless ESC with 5V 3A SBEC for FPV Racing (2 builds)
Banggood.com
$46.99

Motors

4x Emax RS2205S 2300KV Racing Edition Brushless Motor for FPV Racing (15 builds)
Banggood.com
$74.00

Propellers

Ideal Prop 5048 Tri Blade Propeller (Green Clear) (4 builds)
Readytoflyquads.com
$2.99

Propellers

RTF Premium 5040 QUADBLADE Prop (Smoke)
Readytoflyquads.com
$0.99

FPV Camera

Runcam Swift Mini 130 Degree 2.5mm Micro FPV Camera Build in OSD PAL/NTSC Orange/Black 22*22mm
Banggood.com
$34.99

FPV Transmitter

Eachine VTX03 Super Mini 5.8G 72CH 0/25mW/50mw/200mW Switchable FPV Transmitter (39 builds)
Banggood.com
$13.99

Receiver

Frsky XM+ Micro D16 SBUS Full Range Receiver Up to 16CH (40 builds)
Banggood.com
$12.99

Batteries

Infinity 4S 14.8V 1500mAh 70C Graphene LiPo Battery XT60 Support 15C Boosting Charger For Racer Drone (11 builds)
Banggood.com
$21.89

Misc Parts

RunCam RC21/RC23/RC25 FPV Lens 2.1mm/2.3mm/2.5mm FOV 165/150/130 Degree Wide Angle for Swift Swift2 Mini
Banggood.com
$7.06

Misc Parts

5 Pairs Black XT60 Bullet Connector Plugs for RC Battery (2 builds)
Banggood.com
$4.99

Misc Parts

2 x 4 PCS Realacc M3*7+4.5 Flight Controller Anti-Vibration Fixed Screws for FPV Racer
Banggood.com
$5.58

Misc Parts

550 Paracord Black Jet Black Made in USA (2 builds)
Paracordgalaxy.com
See Site
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Discussion

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Oeliboeb   15 days ago  
2

Almost the EXACT same setup arrived this week. I got the same motors (2600kv though), esc, fc and frame. I like the frame as well but the lens of my camera sticks out just a few millimeters. The alluminium is really light and the cf is good. I also wished the frame was just a few millimeters higher so i can use a pdb with current sensor. I'll finnish my build soon and I'll share it for comparison ;)

Show previous comments
Whiffles   2 days ago 

How's your Race Frog coming together? Hope to see the build here!

Oeliboeb   1 day ago 
1

I will maiden it this weekend! I had some problems with my fc because for some reason it deleted all my betaflight settings (probably my fault though) The build itself turned out really thight but cleen and with the vtx in the back I can see the little display and i can reach the button. I think i'll post the build either today or tomorow.

stefan   3 days ago  

I have the "lite" version of this frame and it's next in line for the workbench (apart from repairs). I'm really impressed with the quality of this frame. The machining looks good, the screw holes are the right sizes and the carbon is super stiff. I'm really looking forward to this build but I'm sure it won't be as neat as yours.

Whiffles   3 days ago 

It's a really neat frame. I really like the look of it and this was the smoothest, most trouble-free build I've done to date.

jra2140   5 days ago  

Just blew a 4 in 1 ESC. Have you had any issues with the racestar?

Whiffles   5 days ago 

I have not had any issues. Which one went out on you?

freddys   7 days ago  

sick build mate! do you have any idea what the top speed is?

Whiffles   6 days ago 

That's really up to the prop and motor combination. I never test how fast these things go, but I do know this one is pretty quick. It's a bit of an adjustment for me.

UnXisT   6 days ago  

Wow i really love this build! How do you like the fight controller? I have the same frame on the way and would like to go for a simulour setup..

Whiffles   6 days ago 
1

I haven't had any issues with it. It does get a little hot due to the linear regulator, but that can be removed if you're using an external regulator. There's a newer V2 board that I'd like to try as well. It has a current sensor so you can monitor your mah usage via OSD.

nimane9   11 days ago  

How do you like the receiver? I've heard about people having issues with them but the price is right so I'm curious as to how they work

Whiffles   11 days ago 

Seems just fine, but I haven't really had a chance to put this guy to a serious test. From all the accounts I've heard so far the XM+ is the way to go if telemetry isn't a requirement.

Chameleon   12 days ago  

can I fix the battery above (on the top)?

Whiffles   12 days ago 

You could, but you wouldn't have any room for an HD cam.

Sky   13 days ago  
1

Looks durable as all hell. Curious to know how she crashes. Also, super clean build man! I love it!

Whiffles   13 days ago 

Thank you! My only concern is that little dipole getting cut up by the props, but the alu is solid.

ZERONEST   14 days ago  
1

very nice!

 Respond  
metropolis   15 days ago  
1

Daaaaaaaaaamn bud! Super clean, super informative, and super cheap! I'm really enjoying the way you're writing about your builds. Keep it up!

Also jesus that build is way cheaper than say, my Style.

 Respond  
UnderDawg   15 days ago  
1

Very clean build!
I really like the looks of that frame... and I so happen to have a few boxes of Emax 2205's laying around waiting for the right frame. Lol.

Whiffles   15 days ago 
1

I love it. It's by-far the best looking frame I've used. The quality is quite decent as well.

Querk   15 days ago  

Did you link the wrong props or did you just use those quad blades for show?

Whiffles   15 days ago 

Mostly for show, but I just linked them up as well.

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