Custom Whoop Build Guide

By Rice_Bowl on Jan 12, 2024

13  0  7

This is just additional content for my custom whoop build video and guide for those who want to read additional content on the parts I chose. My video is primarily directed towards my local community that mostly stick to bnfs and I am trying to get them to take the leap to custom builds.

Before I start, I do want to mention that this isn't a strict guide and is just meant to be a reference for those who want to build their own micros. It shows my own personal way of choosing parts, things I've learned from people, and things I consider when ordering components. For now, this will focus more on 65mm whoops but some tips should apply to other micros. Also, feel free too comment if you would like to add information for those who are starting out or if I have said anything wrong in this article.

Flight Controller

The flight controller is honestly a component that is very flexible and is often based on its availability. I think we can agree that most whoop-style boards are generally usable and as time progresses, we will get more features - such as newer boards now featuring blackbox. When it comes to quality control, we do have to consider that some brands (such as Happymodel and JHEMCU) have some shakey quality control but we do have more choices now compared to before and that even within a certain brand, some boards are more reliable than others (ie. Happymodel's Superbee F4 vs Diamond F4).

I personally like the Superbee F4 Lite FC given its shape, very low weight, reliabiity, and availability. The cross-shape allows it to fit all frames such as the Happymodel Mobula and BetaFPV Meteor frames. Flight controllers such as the Crazybee F4s, Diamond F4, and other diamond-shaped flight controllers don't actually fit in a frame such as the BetaFPV 65 Pro frame. The Superbee F4 is also one of the lightest flight controllers- being an SPI flight controller with a weight of 2.82g. Though using it will require you to find a seperate VTX and will increase the weight a tiny bit, a seperate VTX gives you control on the VTX specs you want and the ability to easily replace it. In terms of reliability, I do have experience with one prematurely breaking which was honestly easily solved after talking to my seller - later when he sent back the flight controller, Happymodel did say it was a quality control problem. My next few Superbee F4 boards are still working until now after a year of use and thousands of crashes. Lastly, you want to look for a board that is readily available - and for me, the Superbee F4 fits that category. I live in the Philippines [Asia] and I primarily get parts from Happymodel and BetaFPV and brands like Newbeedrone and WebleedFPV have better products but are hard to reach.

I also want to add that in all my flights, I have been using BT2.0/A30 batteries and connector which I prefer over the PH2.0 connector.

Alt Tag

I am planning on trying out some other flight controllers and I actually got a Happymodel Diamond F4 AIO but I only got to check it out after finishing finals and didn't realize it arrived dead. Spoke to the same kind seller but sadly they cannot do anything about it given how much time has passed. We found that one resistor for one of the ESCs felll off (likely when it was shipped) as he took a pic before sending it over and it was still there.

Alt Tag

As a change of pace, I will be getting a BetaFPV Cross flight controller which has blackbox to hopefully get my feet wet in blackbox tuning which has been a goal of mine for a long time now.

UPDATE [31/01/2024]: I got a Betafpv aio cross fc and it came dead on arrival :( one of the escs wasnt doing so well

Alt Tag


Motors

Motors are classified using two metrics: Size and KV. The size of the motor contains two numbers which reflect its diameter and height of the stator inside of the motor. It is also related to the propeller that it can carry. For 31-35mm props, you would use a 0702 motor and for 40-45mm props, you would use 0802 to 1002 motors - assuming its for 1s. Speaking of batteries, whoops mostly use 1s batteries which means the KV of their motors are usually very high - reaching even past 30000kv for some 31mm prop builds and around 26000kv for 40mm props.

In my build, I focused on the Happymodel SE0702 28000kv motors primarily because of their availability, durability, and price. These motors are actually readily available here as online shops sell them at very reasonable prices - both as a set of 4 or as single pieces. The stock of these motors on these online shops rarely sell out which makes it a reliable place to buy motors because, whether we like it or not, motors are consumables. The durability and performance of these motors are average which is not a bad thing considering the price compared to other motors of the same size. Before I ordered these, I already had a set of BetaFPV Dual Ball Bearing 0702 30000kv motors which performed fine but I felt like the the price was beyond what it offered - which btw, failed on me after a few weeks when one motor started to have significant levels of vibrations while the rest were fine.

Alt Tag

Going back to kv for a moment, I have learned from other pilots in the internet that it is better to buy motors with high KV and lower the motor output limit. This basically turns a motor with high KV into one with a lower KV. This tip may be for people starting out who may want to have less sensitive throttle or for pilots, such as myself, that fly primarily in a small room. For example, my 28000kv motors have a motor output limit of 85% which correponds to almost 24000kv. Here is a video from Albert Kim talking about motor output limits:


Frame

When it comes to whoops, we honestly don't have too many frames to choose from. We have brands like Newbeedrone, Happymodel, and BetaFPV which all use plastic frames while Fractal Engineering is focused on their carbon fiber frame. After talking to some whoop pilots from Reddit and Youtube, the consensus I found was that:

Plastic Frames (Newbeedrone, Happymodel, BetaFPV)

  • Cheaper to get spares and easily sourced
  • Less complex to build
  • Requires more time to tune well
  • Deforms over time but can be fixed with adhesives

Carbon Fiber Frames (Fractal Engineering)

  • Extra weight (ducts + longer screws)
  • More durability and cost
  • More complex to build
  • Less time required to tune

With regards to the BetaFPV 65 Pro frame I used for my build, I like it because it allows me to use 35mm props which produces more power compared to 31mm props. It also perfectly fits the Superbee F4 with the OVX300 attached to the bottom of the flight controller - making the build cleaner and keeping the vtx protected. The downside of the frame is that diamond-shaped flight controllers (such as the Happymodel Diamond F4) do not fit on it. There are some mods to fix this issue such as these from SpeziLover: https://rotorbuilds.com/build/30483 and https://rotorbuilds.com/build/30190

Alt Tag

The BetaFPV 65 Pro frame is fairly durable too and I've only had to replace the frame, once because it cracked, and a few times because my OCD bothered me - seeing the ducts not perfectly circle. Random tip: you can actually heat up the frame a bit with a lighter or heat gun and reshape those ducts. I've also tested the Happymodel Mobula frames and they are slightly stiffer than the BetaFPV frames but they are not great for pusher configurations as the ducts don'y fully reach the top of the prop the way the BetaFPV frames do.


Propellers

I only really got to try two 35mm propellers for this build which are the Gemfan 35mm Triblade and Quadblade props. The triblade seems like the standard for these 35mm builds - it performs well especially in turns and they are well-balanced. In terms of durability, I have managed to break a blade on several ones after hard crashes but I wouldn't say it was too often. The four-bladed props was honestly an impulse buy as I saw others cutting them down to make biblades but even after that, I have not managed to make them work. They were not producing a significant amount of vibrations when held compared to the triblades but I just could not get them to fly well.

Alt Tag


Camera

Choosing the right camera for a micro consists of of four major factors: weight, dimensions, picture quality, and FOV. As the builder, you will be the one to set your own balance between these four factors depending on your preferences. Weight is a contributing factor to the whoops perfomance given that we generally want less weight but we can always reduce weight via lighter motors or flight controller. The dimensions of the camera also matter as we want to have the appropriate canopy for the camera. Picture quality may be subjective but analog cameras also are characterized by the number of TV lines they have - where the higher TV lines they have, the clearer the image is. Picture quality also encompasses color and light handling which some micro cameras struggle in. Lastly, the FOV is also dependent on preference. Personally, I find much higher FOVs easier to fly with in small environments such as my room but others have mentioned that a smaller FOV will make it easier to "aim" for a gap.

The Runcam Nano 3 is the lightest whoop camera at 1.1g but its picture quality is standard and its FOV is narrower than other whoop cameras making it difficult flying in very tight places. It also follows a different mounting method compared to other whoop cameras - where the Mobula BNFs use a bracket attached to its back to allow it to have adjustable angle.

The Foxeer Pico, my personal favorite, has excellent FOV and picture quality. Its dimensions are standard so finding a 3D printed or injection molded canopy will be easy. However, it is the heaviest among the whoop cameras that I have tested with a weight close to 2g. Some weight savings can be made if picture quality is a priority for you. At least in the online stores in the Philippines, this is one of the most expensive whoop cameras (close to $25) with limited stock.

The LDARC 199c V2.1 camera is a relic sporting a high FOV - close to the Pico's - but at 1.5g. It is currently around $12.5 in online stores in the Philippines, making it the cheapest out of the ones I've tested. The drawback of this camera is its picture quality which is reminiscent of 2018 brushed whoops with limited color and 800tvl compared to the Pico's 1200tvl. If picture quality is not a priority for you, this may be an option worth considering.

Alt Tag


Canopy

The canopy is taken in consideration while looking for a camera as some cameras have mounts, some just attach to the lens, and some have brackets. Theres two routes that can be taken when it comes to choosing a canopy: Injection molded or 3D prints. Injection molded canopies such as the Beebrain canopy, Mobula canopy, and the BetaFPV lite Canopy are canopies that are bought and are made of a semi-flexible lighweight plastic. They are usually lighter than their 3D print counterparts but will break on hard sudden impacts. I strongly advise not to get the BetaFPV lite canopy as I've ordered 10+ pieces that have all broken at the same spot within a few weeks. I have spoken to some pilots about it - some suggested to pre-heat the bent sections before bending them, which only extended their life a tiny bit.

Alt Tag

Note though that the Mobula canopy is primarily made for the runcam nano but I have made this 3D printed adaptor that would allow you to use it with a Foxeer Pico camera: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6429658

When it comes to the 3D printed canopies, they are generally made out of TPU which has a relatively higher density compared to the materials used in injection molded canopies. However, they are significantly more durable and resistant to breaking which make them a viable option for these small whoops. Personally, I prefer using canopies that are not printed flat as they seem more rigid and less flimsy. Here are a few of the 3D printed canopies that I have personally used and liked:

Jakob_Duus 199c Canopy: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:5344838
My Own 199c Lite Canopy [23 Degree Cam Angle]: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6426836
SpeziLover's Canopies: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:6426836
Dave_C_FPV Runcam Nano 3 Canopy: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4153777
Babouch's Pico Canopy: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:4642297

Alt Tag


VTX

Personally, I have not flown too far so 25mw has always been enough for me to fly around my room and go through our house's open spaces. However, the output power is generally what people look out for when looking for VTXs. Aside from output power, you should look for reliability, antenna connector, and weight.

The OVX300 (and OVX303) is capable of going from 25mw upto 300mw. Though I can't find a definitive power output test to verify if the advertized output powers are accurate, I have used this VTX for numerous builds and have had a good experience with the distance I am getting. I've bought and used around five of these by now and only the oldest one has died after several months while the rest are still functioning with no issue - so I would personally think it is reliable. The OVX300 is one of the smallest and lightest VTXs with a weight of 0.9g without an antenna. It has an input voltage of 5v and it uses a ufl connector - standard for most whoop VTXs.

Alt Tag

To lower weight a little more, you can easily make your own basic linear antenna. I show that in the video in my build guide and if you guys want to read more about it, here is the Oscar Liang article I based on: https://oscarliang.com/make-simple-whip-antenna-5-8ghz-linear-polo/


Screws

Just as an added bonus, I wanted to include the screws I used which are PEEK screws from BetaFPV. They sell it by itself but I found out that they include those screws with their 0702 (Black dual ball bearing) and SE0702 (Blue lightweight w/ brass bushings). I find that the motors aren't that special as I hoped which made me think they were overpriced. Nonetheless, these screws are significantly lighter compared to their metal variants - weighting 0.1g for 12 pcs (lighter by 0.46g). It is not a necessity but It allows you to choose other parts (such as the camera) to be heavier.

Alt Tag

Photos

Discussion

Sign in to comment

rosiewilsonnsjh   11 hours ago  

great

lisadsouza   6 days ago  

Are you disturbed with life? You have feelings, YES. Today, a man can be worried for any reason at all with his wife or by some girlfriend. Goa Russian Escorts are here to serve you at the lowest and best prices. If you simply want to chat with a girl identical to your girlfriend, or become exasperated with the situation at work; pay for our criminal escorts and Goa call girls so that both in long conversation you can enjoy their entertainment. In fact, beautiful women really are just a few steps away. contact only me, and use this phone number to call or WhatsApp one hot lady now!.

annata20   Jan 25, 2024  
1

I also really like the shape of connections the Superbee F4

ButterflyFPV   Jan 15, 2024  
1

Love your Guide! Great work! Especially for the beginners..

Rice_Bowl   Jan 15, 2024 

Thanks! been wanting to make one for the beginners in my community who asked for the video initially. While I'm here, I just want to say that I've been enjoying your recent videos too man especially your pusher 1002 content! really interesting to see your findings

SpeziLover   Jan 12, 2024  
3

great post with much details. This whoop is a beast.

Rice_Bowl   Jan 12, 2024 
1

I appreciate the compliment man! especially coming from someone who inspires me too!

Guides & Reviews

Jun 21, 2021

AirbladeUAV has done it again and this time they've brought long range to the 5" class! Based on the popular Transformer Mini, the new Transformer 5" Ultralight adopts a lot of the same design philosophies with larger props and more payload capacity. It can fly upwards of 20 minutes on a 4 cell Li-Ion battery pack and in ideal conditions it's got a range of over 4 to 5 miles. In this guide I'll walk..

Read more
Mar 04, 2021

With the release of the DJI FPV Drone cinematic FPV has become a lot more accessible, but you certainly don't want to crash a $750 drone! The QAV-CINE Freybott is a compact, lightweight cinematic FPV drone that can take a hit and keep going. It's a lot safer to fly indoors and around people. With a naked GoPro or the SMO 4k you can capture some great stabilized footage. In this guide I'll show you..

Read more