NewBeeDrone VIM V2 - 3" Digital with RunCam Thumb

By Jayembee67 on Oct 10, 2022

4  218  0

I've had this NewBeeDrone VIM 3" frame kicking around for ages - a friend built one out with a full-sized Air Unit, and had a high opinion of it, so I had picked up the frame, but then had not done anything with it.

Recently, however, I have been experimenting with the RunCam Thumb Pro 4K on my larger builds, and have been quite impressed with the results - certainly for a $90 camera - and so on a whim picked up the even cheaper original 1080p Thumb. Which of course is correspondingly even smaller and lighter than the 4K version. And yet in my 'walking about in the garden' tests it was surprisingly good - especially when the output was passed through Gyroflow. So I have a couple of 3" machines I could put the Thumb on, but this seemed like such a good excuse to dig up the VIM frame and build it out as a lightweight RunCam hauler ("hauler" - the camera weighs 9.8g, the TPU case likely weighs nearly as much).

I was planning on using lil' 1404 motors, keep things light, and as the frame has 25mm mounting holes, I went with an AIO Whoop ESC / FC, to keep things lighter still. I chose the SpeedyBee board because it has a plug for DJI Air Unit support, but in the end that didn't work out so well - during the multiple assemble / dissemble / assemble cycles of the End Build, the JST came off the board - unfortunate - and so I had to hardwire the Vista to another UART. Happily as the board is an F7, there are plenty of UARTs available - but all the same, poor show. I have to say, while the F7 is welcome, it does feel a little bit wasted when the ESCs are BLHeli_S. Loads of DSHOT headroom instead...

Because of the single board, I tried something I have never done before, and soldered everything on the bench before putting the resultant octopus of components into the frame. This worked out well with the small and fiddly pads groove pads (my advice is don't get old, it really doesn't help with doing these sorts of tasks...) and the fitting everything into the frame wasn't too bad. The VIM frame is thoughtfully designed, and has mounting holes to hang the Vista unit from the top plate - which is necessary when using Whoop boards. But this does make the final assembly a bit fiddly - which I suppose is why doing it enough eventually removed the DJI JST port - still, it makes for an overall tidy build.

And so there it is. 183g with the Thumb camera. I'm sure I could have shaved off a few more grams, there's wasteful TPU all over, but I wasn't going for the magical two-fifty, just something small and light, and ideally relatively quiet. From my back yard hover tests, it appears I've got what I was hoping for - it hops into the air quite briskly, and dashes back and forth nicely. And it is pretty quiet too, so it's looking good.

Maiden Flight

This was a test of both the quad and the RunCam Thumb - and both did pretty well. The VIM is excellent, and fulfills everything I was looking for - quick, light, quiet, efficient, and acrobatic enough. But the RunCam is still a bit of a work in progress. The settings I had here were somewhat over exposed, and I am still messing with Gyroflow settings, but even still this isn't bad. And for a fifty dollar camera, this is objectively pretty darned great.


Part List


NewBeeDrone VIM V2 DJI HD FPV Frame

Flight Controller

SpeedyBee F745 35A BLS 25.5x25.5 AIO Flight Controller (3 builds)


4 x iFlight Xing2 1404 3800KV Motor (18 builds)

FPV Camera

Caddx Polar Vista Kit Starlight - DJI Digital HD FPV System


TBS Crossfire Nano Rx - FPV LONG RANGE DRONE RECEIVER (1484 builds)


Pyrodrone Graphene 850mAh 4S 14.8V 95C Lipo Battery - XT30 (2 builds)

Misc Parts

Runcam Thumb Action Camera
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