Birdbrain RC Recce 5

By CarbonRain on Jul 23, 2020

18  304  6


Something a little different! I was looking at the parts I had, and figured I'd build a micro for a change. Then over a couple of design iterations in my head, I realised what would be more useful would be a long range scout quad, something a bit less scary and less expensive to check lines and routes before commiting a big HD quad.

Designing the frame was pretty straightforward - right from the start, I pencilled out the design features I wanted (2 20x20 stacks, individual arms, deadcat layout, 5" props, capacity for big VTX and RX gear). I also wanted holes for both M3 and M2 stacks. Working the stack holes around the arms was a minor challenge, but I worked out a layout and configuration that worked without anything fouling. Frame was meant to be cut with 4mm arms, 2mm base plate and brace, and a 1.5mm top plate, but I accidentally used a sheet of 2mm when I cut the top. Frame weight is 45g, so going forward I may just keep all the body plates 2mm - saves some machining time if nothing else!

I'd decided I wanted to use a TrueRC Bardpole for my RX (because I had 4 on my shelf), a Matek GPS, and also have an SMA for the FPV antenna rather than going straight to the MMCX connector. That ended up making for quite a challenge in the tail design! Did eventually work it out though, stoked with the result. The camera mount was straightforward enough, but when I did the build I did find I'd like some extra room between the camera and FC, so pushed the camera forward a little to give extra clearance.

When it came to the build, I did have to get a little creative. I wanted to use Emax RS1408 motors (the 2003/2004 motors that are starting to come to the market look fantastic too but the 1408s were available and cheaper), however, they're not designed for 5" so the wires were far too short. I ended up desoldering all the wires, and replacing them with longer ones. Added bonus was I could colour match to the rest of the build :)

The Bardpole added another challenge - whilst I may do a diversity build using an R9 Slim+ in the future, in this case I wanted to use an R9MM. With the little IPEX 4 connector though, I was struggling to work out how I'd connect it up. Hunting for IPEX 4 pigtails was unsuccessful, but in the end I found some wifi antennas with nice long pigtails on Amazon, so picked up a few, chopped one down, and soldered it to the Bardpole.

After that, it was all pretty smooth - the Mamba stack went in sideways to put the battery lead in a more sensible place, and since it doesn't have I2C I simply ommited the compass wiring. The build without LiPo came in a shade over 200g, but since it was never intended to be a sub-250g project, I'm more than happy with that.

Haven't had a chance to fly it yet, but I'm cautiously optimistic it'll be a blast for cruising around - if it is, I already have most of the parts to build another with a Split 3, should be fun for lower risk long range HD exploration!


Part List

Flight Controller

MAMBA F405 Mini MK2 Betaflight Flight Controller & F25 20A 3-4S DSHOT600 FPV Racing Brushless ESC (94 builds)


4 x Emax RS1408 Brushless Motor (2300Kv, 2600Kv, 3600Kv) (2-5S)


Gemfan Hurricane SL 5125 Tri-Blade 5" Prop 4 Pack - Choose Your Color (5 builds)


2 Pairs HQprop Toothpick Durable T5X3 5 Inch 5030 Propeller Grey Poly Carbonate for RC Drone FPV Racing (6 builds)


HQ Durable Prop T5X2X3 (2CW+2CCW)-Poly Carbonate (3 builds)

FPV Camera

Foxeer Toothless 2 Micro 1200TVL 16:9/4:3 PAL/NSTC CMOS Switchable FoV Starlight FPV Camera w/ M12 Lens and 1/2" Sensor (1.7mm) (5 builds)

FPV Transmitter

TheFPV Chaos Mini VTX 600mW 20×20 (MMCX and UFL, Smart Audio) (2 builds)


TrueRC OCP 5.8GHz Antenna (SMA Long)


TrueRC Bardpole 868MHz (U.FL)


FrSky R9MM OTA SBUS Long Range 900MHz Micro Receiver (ACCESS) (47 builds)


2.4G 5G WiFi NGFF Antenna MHF4 IPEX Connector for 3G 4G LTE WCDMA Network Signal Receiving DIYmalls (Pack of 5)

Misc Parts

Matek M8Q-5883 GPS Module w/ Compass (27 builds)

Misc Parts

FullSpeed Lucky Box Beeper Buzzer 90dB 5V Built-in Battery for RC Drone FPV Racing (17 builds)
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dafunk   18 days ago  

wow, impressive design and you kept it budget friendly
Well done !

DrewFPV   19 days ago  


jdmkramer   19 days ago  

Beautiful design and build!

StickyRice   19 days ago  

im getting a bit of a "tiny hawk freestyle but bigger"vibe from this hahaha...Looks super clean tho!!! im so shocked you got everything to fit so well. Not to mention a white xt60? hahah...hope it flies well dude!!!

CarbonRain   19 days ago 

Thanks! I was surprised there was as much room for everything (I've done a few really tight builds lately, so maybe that plus 20x20 components made things easier). As for the XT30, it's actually just covered in white heatshrink!

Jodie Froster   20 days ago  

What a great looking bird. Frame design is beautiful!

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