Armattan Tadpole - HD Edition

By Jayembee67 on Feb 22, 2020

18  2,706  12

Holy cow, another Armattan Tadpole? Really?? Yes, well, guilty as charged, what can I say? Everyone should make them, they're great.

Anyhow, I have been delighted by the Tadpole I very recently built (yeesh, this hobby and bank accounts...), but I have been constantly disappointed that such a fun little machine is relegated to goggle DVR for post hoc video. And that's no fun on the big screen TV, right kids?

So I wondered if it would be possible to squeeze on-board HD recording into a Tadpole, and after doing a bit of digging, realised that the fancy new Whoop boards that are showing up could be just the thing; Armattan make a Whoop board adapter plate for the Tadpole, so they obviously want you to engage in this sort of mad science. I ordered a new frame, a passel of parts and when they arrived, did a certain amount of Tetris-ing.

As such, it is with considerable pleasure that I present, fresh from it's maiden flight in the park this very evening, the Armattan Tadpole HD; 78g of 2.5" Acro flying fun, recording all those daring, but smallish-scale, aerial japes in silky 1080p@60fps. I thank you!

This is the maiden flight, well, 3rd pack, and it looks like this build is going to be just fine. In truth, I didn't really expect it to work very well, that I would have to build shims to raise the plate heights to get things to fit, but in the end, it all squeezed in. It is a bit messy, but it works. The hardware is supposedly 3S-4S capable, I'm running 3S here and it lacks a bit of punch, the ground does arrive somewhat faster than anticipated. Not terrible, but a bit alarming at first. So maybe I need to invest in 4S packs...?

But even still, out of the gate this is flying well. It's running stock 4.1.1, with a few tweaks for smaller frames, and seems to be behaving itself. It's quick, stable, agile, not quite as snappy as I would like, but I am getting 3 minutes from a 350mAh pack with those bigger motors, despite the extra weight.

Plus it's still teeny, tiny but is recording HD video like a grown up quad. I'm actually pretty chuffed with this one.



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Keeph   Feb 21, 2021  

great build. I love these little tadpoles... I did some what the same as you did. I used a whoop aio f'/c and paired it with the Caddx Loris HD dvr. its amazing how we can take these tiny little drones and get some pretty good hd dvr from them. by no means a gopro video but way better than HDO2 dvr. Thanks for the right up and sharing, great job!!!!

Jayembee67   Feb 22, 2021 

Thank you! And yes, it's funny, I was actually flying my Tadpoles over the weekend - I have a new Jumper radio I wanted to test - and I absolutely agree, sure it's not Hero8 quality, but it flies really well, captures interesting footage and is truly ridiculously tiny!

chinti   Oct 02, 2020  

nice build, is the wires for menu, rx, and tx on the baby turtle connects to anything or do you just leave it?

Jayembee67   Oct 02, 2020 

Thank you! So the Menu and Gnd that go with it, attached to the JST plug, are for connecting one of those little joystick things for changing internal camera settings, like brightness, contrast, etc. And the RX and TX are, I think, there for doing the same thing from the FC. But I have no idea how to set that up, and really don't need to make lots of changes to the camera, so I left those pads unconnected. :-)

garbfink   Jun 24, 2020  

Hey Nice build. I'm working on something similar as I type this. One question though. How did you manage to fit the 26.5mm flight controller to the 25mm camera board. You're looks nice and clean and I'm struggling with it at the moment.

Jayembee67   Jun 24, 2020 

Ah. Hrm. So I actually used the specific Caddx Baby Turtle Whoop edition, which has a slightly larger board with the diamond configuration for the Whoop layout. As such it just stacked onto the Whoop FC without issues. If you have a standard camera board, you might need to print an adapter or something.

garbfink   Jun 25, 2020 

Yeah I have the whoop board but it's holes are 25mm apart, I can't even get it on the tadpole whoop bracket. I've solved the issue by filing away the corners of the board so they are open. Don't know how you managed it but hey. whatever works, I'll take!

Jayembee67   Jun 25, 2020 

Oh, weird. But good, I'm glad you got that sorted. It's going to be a fun little rig, for sure!

ChristianProgrammer   Mar 29, 2020  

Nice detail work,. I Guess I will be de soldering my motors now thanks to you and adding shrink over the wires about the arms. Seriously nice deail work.
I always shrink my receiver and VTX as well like you did. A little scared of AIO boards though. but very nice job sir.

Jayembee67   Mar 29, 2020 

Thank you so much! I like to try to keep builds tidy, not that it's always possible. But it is worth the effort.

And yes, with 4S and 65mm bi-blades this is a really great machine. It's flying like a much larger rig, and of course that AIO is recording 1080p, so you really are getting a lot of machine in a very small package. And so far the AIO is holding up its end of the bargain just fine; both flight and video are all perfectly acceptable!

L0stB1t   Mar 01, 2020  

Quite impressive. How much does it weigh? Before trying 4S batteries I'd try a higher pitched prop though, like the Emax Avan Rush?

Jayembee67   Mar 02, 2020 

Thank you. It weighs 83g, which is a bit chunky for such a small machine, but given what it does, I'm ok with that. In the end, I did both. I put on Gemfan 2540 triblades, which were good but ate my battery, and so then put a 450mAh 4S battery on top (which looks a bit comically large in truth).

And it's a fine combo. 3-4m of solid acro flying, faster and with more snap, and the extra weight is actually a plus; it makes the handling feel a bit more like a full-sized quad, definitely easier to loose altitude. I am seeing more shake at high throttle, so some tuning is needed, but otherwise, I am pleased with where this now is.

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