“Long Range” 3 Inch Quad Build Thoughts

I’ve decided to start a new build for a “long” range 3″ quad. And, when I say “long” range, I really mean longer than my FrSky R-XSR receiver can take me. The other part of this build for me is to add in an HD camera, like the Caddx Turtle or the Runcam Split Mini.

Frame

I went back and forth on what frame to pick for my new build. I had some requirements that I wanted to meet:

  • 3″ props
  • ability to mount a dual 20×20 stack
  • motor mounts that support 12mmx12mm, or more specifically room for 140x motors.
  • Replaceable arms
  • no propellers in HD footage. Meaning, I don’t want to be able to see the propellers in my HD recordings
  • Light weight (weight 38 grams, but without any hardware)
  • Affordable

AirBlade Intrepid V2

My first one that I almost purchased was the Intrepid V2 from Airblade UAV. This frame hit pretty much all of the points above, except for:

  • Light weight
  • Affordable

The only one that it did not check off is the weight and it is a little bit more money than my other option. Still not too badly priced at $39.99, plus shipping, for the Pro version. The Pro version is the only 3″ version which supports the larger motors.

iFlight iH3

My second option was the  iFlight iH3.

This one checked off all the boxes, expect it does not have replaceable arms. The iFlight IH3, with all the hardware, weighs 39 grams. Meaning, it is a lot lighter than the Intrepid V2.

Some other cool features of the iFlight IH3 is that the FC can be mounted upside down, on the top plate. This places the FC smack in the middle of the quad. It also supports dual camera setup, but I will be going with just 1. It does not support GoPro, but again, I am ok with that as well with the installation of a Turtle or Split Mini.

I did have some concerns with the frame, however. iFlight is not considered as a good of a brand as AirBlade is. How is the construction quality going to be? Will it hold up to crashes? What if I break an arm? I’ll have to buy a whole new frame.

Ultimately, I decided to pick the iFlight IH3. I was able to pick it up from Amazon.com, with free Prime shipping, for $27.99. Not sure how long the sale will last, normally it is $29.99. On top of that, for the price, you also get the TPU antenna mount, which for the Intrepid was another $9.99 add on.

Let’s hope that I don’t regret my decision. I think I’ll be just fine and, I figured, if the arms do break I can just buy a whole second frame for $28-30 and still be about the same price as I would spend on the Intrepid. Don’t take me wrong, I think the Intrepid is a cool looking frame and from an awesome company. So, if you are considering it, I don’t think you’ll regret it one bit.

As soon as I receive the frame, I’ll be doing a full review of it and give you my “before build” thoughts.

What else to go with?

I’m still up in the air on what to build this quad up with. Below are some of my thoughts, please feel free to comment on your thoughts on anything I should pick.

R9M Lite and R9 MM

I have already purchased an R9M Lite transmitter module, along with the R9 MM receiver, so that part is covered. You can currently pick up the bundle pack, from Aloft Hobbies, here. Grab one before they are gone. At $30.00, plus shipping, it is an amazing bargain. This will give me 900Mhz for the controls and should allow for great range.

Caddx Turtle or Runcam Split Mini 2

I’m still up the air on the camera. The options are either the Caddx Turtle or the Runcam Split Mini 2. Based on other reviews, I am leaning towards the Caddx.

Motors

I think for the motors I will pick up a set of the Hypetrain Brat 1407 motors. The reason I have not committed yet is that I saw that Emax has a new set of 1408 motors coming out. They are supposed to be 3600kv motors, so they’ll work with 4S perfectly, and are a great size to be able to carry a larger battery for longer flight times. I’m going to give these motors another week or so to come out, before making my decision.  Both of these motors support T-style props, saving weight over the normal bolt type motors.

Flight Controller and ESCs

This is where things get really fuzzy for me. I just have no idea what I want to do for the FC stack. Been thinking of either the HGLRC F420, but it does not have BLHeli_32. Been also looking at the Omnibus/Ori32 combo, but it’s a fairly large board and I’m worried it won’t fit in nicely. If you have any ideas on which FC/ESC combo to use, let me know.

vTX

For the vTX, I want something that can at least support 500mW. So, I’m hopping between the AKK FX3 Ultimate VTX, the TBS Unify Pro, or the RDQ Mach 2. The AKK may just win the battle, since it’s able to be mounted onto 20x20mm stack.

Final Thoughts

Obiviously, I still have a lot of decisions to make, in order to build this longer range quad. I’ll start with getting the frame, in a day or, so that I can get my hands on it physically and then start thinking of the rest of the pieces. Looking forward to taking you guys on my ride to build this new 3″ long range quad. Thanks for reading!