Emax BabyHawk R BNF


Written by Matt Ruddick
When mini isn’t small enough, micro is the way to go
Product review
As seen in the Spring 2018 issue of
Park Pilot.



Specifications:

Type: BNF micro multirotor
Skill level: Intermediate to advanced
needed to complete: Three- to four-cell LiPo battery; four-channel transmitter
Power System: Avan Micro 2-inch propellers; RS1106-6,000 Kv CW motor; Emax Tiny receiver; F3 Magnum (OmniBus firmware) Bullet 12-amp (BLHeli_S) 4-in-1 ESC
weight: 82.8 grams
Flight time: 2 minutes
Price: $149.99
Info: emaxmodel.com


Features:

>> Mini Magnum Tower all-in-one flight controller/ESC
>> 112 mm carbon-fiber frame
>> Plastic shell canopy with adjustable camera positions
>> Pretuned Betaflight firmware with OSD
>> 40-channel 5.8 GHz VTX switchable 25/200 milliwatts
>> Foxeer Arrow micro CCD sensor camera


Product Review

>> While the standard 5-inch mini quad is at a peak in its usage among FPV pilots, there is a movement within the community to fly something even smaller than “mini.” Micro brushless quadcopters have become a go-to tool for pilots who want to travel compactly and still retain the thrust-to-weight ratio that they’re used to.

Emax, one of the first companies on the market with a BNF (Bind-N-Fly) brushless micro racer—the BabyHawk—has released a successor to that product, the BabyHawk R.

The Emax BabyHawk R is a 2-inch brushless FPV quadcopter that comes in PNP (Plug-N-Play) and BNF (Bind-N-Fly) configurations. The BNF version features a custom FrSky (frsky-rc.com) receiver on an Emax Mini Magnum Tower. That powerplant is composed of an F3 flight controller, 4-in-1 12-amp BLHeli S ESCs, and is rated for three- or four-cell LiPo batteries. The flight controller runs Betaflight, complete with on-screen display, and comes pretuned for an optimized flight experience.




High-quality components, such as a Foxeer Arrow Micro camera, offer great value for the price.


It should be noted that the BabyHawk has been tuned with the new and included Emax Avan Micro 2-inch propellers, which I will discuss later. Emax included its RS1106 6,000 Kv brushless motors on the BabyHawk R, which offer a ton of power for such a small package. The camera is a Foxeer (foxeer.com) Arrow Micro camera that provides a 650 TVL (TV lines) picture through the 40-channel 25/200 switchable VTX (video transmitter).

The BabyHawk is covered with an injection-molded plastic canopy that is somewhat bug-like; however, this became one of my favorite features of the whole quadcopter. The tough plastic shell keeps all of the internal components safe from impact. Aside from a couple of air holes and the preinstalled capacitor, the entire stack of electronics is covered and should be safe.

If you need to make a repair to the stack or want to swap out a component, Emax has made it easy to do. By simply removing two screws in the bottom of the frame, you’ll be able to lift the canopy at the hinge by the camera.




The BabyHawk R’s canopy can simply be lifted to reveal its internal components for easy repair.


As mentioned earlier, the BabyHawk comes with two sets of Emax’s new Avan Micro 2-inch propellers. I was anxious to give them a try, but I ran into some problems.
First, when installing these propellers, it is imperative that you do not overtighten the propeller screws. The minimal amount of material on the propeller hub became distressed at the smallest amount of torque. I, unfortunately, ruined a set of my propellers by doing so.

Lessons were learned, but that wasn’t my only problem with the new Avan propellers. With the second set installed, I attempted to take off and was met with three of the four propellers shattering at the hub. For those who are keeping track, that would be two sets of propellers and zero maiden flights. After some internet sleuthing, I can only surmise that this was either a bad batch of propellers or user error. I’m willing to accept that it could be the latter. Thankfully, I had a spare set of DAL Props (dalprops.com) Q2035C Cyclone propellers handy, and I was able to finally get my maiden flight in.

The BabyHawk was quick—and I mean really quick. Stick commands felt responsive, although a little on the loose side. I’m guessing that the stock tuning and change in the propeller was the culprit, but it was still enjoyable to fly.

I ran a 550 mAh 3S LiPo battery, which resulted in plenty of power and punch and resembled what I get from my 5-inch setups on 4S battery packs. It was a thrilling flight, but it was a bit shorter than I had hoped.

My flights averaged approximately 2 minutes. That was with landing when my battery voltage was held at a steady 10 volts, which is lower than I’d prefer. I just found that I was having far too much fun flying this little thing to bring it in any sooner!




The included capacitor helps keep electrical noise from ruining your flight characteristics.


The plastic canopy held up quite well to a few rough landings throughout the session, leaving no scratches or cracks. I found that the provided battery strap would occasionally become loose during flight, allowing the battery to shift. It never failed completely, but it’s something to watch for. I’ll be replacing it with something sturdier for future flights.

In my opinion, the whole point of flying a micro quadcopter is so that you can fly in smaller spaces. My backyard, for example, became an impromptu racecourse with the BabyHawk R, where I wouldn’t have even tried to maneuver my larger quads. Don’t be fooled though—this micro setup is still capable of some serious speed. It required intense throttle management to stay in the confines of my track.

All in all, I really enjoyed the BabyHawk R. I acknowledge that it might have some quirks, but you can’t beat what you get for the price. At $149.99 for the BNF version, you’re getting far more than you could build for that amount, and it is quite reliable once you’re in the air.

I wouldn’t recommend it to a beginner who is looking to get into flying brushless quads. I still believe a larger quadcopter with more weight is the way to go in that situation.

For intermediate pilots who want something small and fun to fly in their backyard or at a small flying field, the BabyHawk R is a great choice.

-Matt Ruddick
mattr@modelaircraft.org






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