Tech Stuff & Reviews

Review: Full Speed Leader 120 Mini FPV Racer

Mike vom Mars Blog fpv racer fpv racing full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt leader 120 leader 120 mods leader120 led strip mini fpv racer qx 95 racerstar runcam micro swift vtx03
 
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Full Speed Leader 120 Mods


Index:
Page 1: Review
Page 2: Modding
Page 3: Betaflight
Page 4: Lipo Comparison
Page 5: Videos

Leader 120 & Accessories:
Leader 120 Mini FPV Racer
VTX03 25 / 50 / 200mW Mini VTX
Runcam Micro Swift 2
Mini LED Strip
FrSky XM+ SBUS Receiver 16 Channel
Kingkong 2840 2.8X4 3-Blade Propeller
Gemfan 3025 2-Blade Propeller

Adding an XM+ Receiver, Runcam Micro Swift and VTX03

Attaching an alternative cam, a stronger video transmitter and also an LED strip is quite simple. All soldering points are easily accessible after unscrewing the two side parts. The board (a “Mini Omnibus F3”) has a very clear design:

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

Therefore, the wiring of an VTX03, a Runcam Micro an a LED Strip looks as follows:

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

➡️  Tip for a better video image:

If you look closely on the picture above, you will notice that the GND pin of the cam is not only connected to the GND pin of the video transmitter, but also additionally to the OSD GND on the flight controller. So the cam is “double grounded” with both, the VTX and the OSD. Why is that? If the cam is connected to the VTX GND only, stripes, noise or ghosting effects may be visible in the video image. Therefore it is always recommended to “double ground” the cam with the VTX GND and the OSD GND. A nice little trick, which is unfortunately quite unknown, so many pilots fly with a lousy video image, blaming the video transmitter or unnecessarily solder bulky low ESR caps on their quad.

To mount a receiver, camera and video transmitter on such a small racer, it is helpful to be an experienced Tetris player. But don’t worry – there is enough space available, you just need to know where to place everything. Since pictures say more than words, a look at the following photo should point you into the right direction:

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

Runcam Micro Swift
To hold the Runcam Micro Swift, there is a simple yet ingenious trick: simply unscrew one of the side plates and place the Runcam between both side plates. Tighten the side plate again, finished! The Runcam Micro clamps tightly and securely between the two side plates then (see photo). It doesn’t even have to be screwed on and you can also adjust the angle to suit your needs by loosening one of the side parts, tilting the camera to your desired angle and tightening the side plate again.

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

VTX
The VTX03 video transmitter is placed on top of the Flight Controller (see photo) – so that the antenna looks to the right (as seen from flight direction). This way, you can always access the channel switch of the video transmitter. Simply attach the video transmitter to the flight controller with a blob of hot glue. Attention: There are some quite fragile moduls soldered at the back of the VTX03 which could break off if you want to remove the transmitter again. Therefore, place the VTX03 within some transparent heat shrink tubing before gluing!

If the video transmitter is sitting on the FC, the antenna is simply folded back. In order to make it point up, glue a cable tie onto the video transmitter (therefore it is good that we have wrapped the VTX with a shrink tube), bend the antenna of the video transmitter upwards and insert the cable tie into the antenna so that it always points upwards.

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

Picture: The video transmitter, packed in a transparent shrink tube, sits on the flight controller. The buzzer is affixed to the VTX (also sitting within the shrink tube). The antenna of the VTX03 is pointing outwards (through the side part of the frame) and is held up with a cable tie piece.

Buzzer
The Leader’s buzzer fits perfectly on the video transmitter and is glued with a blob of hot glue or an adhesive pad. Please do this BEFORE you insert the video transmitter into a shrink tube. The beeper sits on the video transmitter (also underneath the transparent shrink tube) then. To still hear it beeping, cut a small hole into the shrink tubing, exactly where the hole of the beeper is:

Receiver
The receiver, if it is the size of a FrSky XM+, can be packed between the Runcam and the flight controller. Fix it there with a blob of hot glue. There is also an ingenious trick for the two antennas of the receiver: just wind a cable tie around each side of the leader. They should look up. The antennas can then be attached to these (e. g. with adhesive tape).

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

Instead of using cable ties, you can also use a 3d printable antenna mount available for download at Thingiverse.

LED Strip
An LED strip (e. g. the one from the Eachine XQ95, which is cheaply available at Banggood) is also quickly installed: the corresponding three soldering points are conveniently located on the back of the board. Just solder on the LED strip and fix it to the frame using some hot glue:

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

Hint: Use a 5V BEC

full speed leader 120 kingkong 90gt runcam micro swift vtx03 leader120 leader 120 mods modding modded mini fpv racer micro fpv fpv racing 2s 3s 4s led strip leds beeper buzzer betaflight pids pid mike vom mars blog

 

Some LED strips consume a relatively large amount of power. Therefore, the flight controller board can reach its limits – especially if it is operated with a 3S Lipo. If the 5V converter on the board cannot supply enough voltage for all connected components (camera, video transmitter, LED strip, receiver), it can happen that the quad flips to the side at full throttle and falls happily out of the sky (“roll of death”).

Therefore LED strips should always be operated with a 5V BEC (e.g. this one or this one).

The “In” pins of the BEC are simply soldered directly to the lipo contacts. The “Out” pins of the BEC then provide 5V and can be loaded with up to 2 or 3 amps, which is sufficient for LEDs and relieves the FC board a lot. Just solder the GND and 5V cable of the LED Strip to the “Out” pins of the BEC. The signal cable of the strip remains connected to the Leader’s board. If one only flies with 2S, this is not absolutely necessary, but as already mentioned, the FC Board is relieved and this practice therefore is basically advisable for every Mini Quad.

Next page: Betaflight settings

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Editor rating: 4.7 / 5




Recent Comments

  1. Hey – great review and write-up. Great for noobs like me! I am struggling to find the Nano-tech 2S 850mAh batteries that weigh 49g though… the ones on the Hobbyking site are listed as 95g. Did they used to make a lower C rated version that was lighter?

  2. Paul, see here: http://bit.ly/2sR2epi – 95g is the brutto weight. Netto weight is 49g (just the lipo with the cable), it's written in the description below there.

  3. Doh! I was ordering the battery list by weight:)

    Thanks, I'll get a few of those ordered

  4. Will these settings work for a Frsky R-XSR receiver? I can't seem to get my TAranis talking to my receiver.

    Thanks

  5. I am using FrSky XM+ with all my micro quads since it is tiny and has full range, plus RSSI. That's all you need while flying with goggles. So I don't know about R-XSR, I'm sorry. There could be several issues: make sure you activated the correct UART in Betaflight and plugged the receiver to the correct pins on the FC. Protocol in Betaflight should be set to SBUS, too. That's the main things to do.

  6. Thanks for that excellent Review!

    Are the props suggestion for 2S -3Blade 2840 and for 3S 3025? …besides the originals draw to much amps and seem not available.
    Are there further alternatives?

  7. I am using the original props (with 2S and 3S) and they do very well so far. Motors don't get hot (not even warm) with them. However, some Leader owners complain about blackouts or reboots that may happen if the FC board cannot provide enough power for the VTX, RX, LED etc. This seems to be the case if a 200mW VTX is used (which draws more power than the FC's cheap 5V converter can handle). If this is the case, I'd just install a little 5V BEC (Matek, f.e.) that is directly plugged to the battery and powers the VTX, RX and LED. That should provide more stable 5V than the built in converter of the FC board.

  8. Looking to buy the Flightcontroller that came with the leader 120
    fired mind but everything is ok so need the FC .Anyone know were I can get and what is the Flightcontroller I need to purchase
    Thanks a lot
    Love this write up

  9. Generally you should be able to use any F3 / F4 board that fits the frame's screw holes (20x20mm mounting hole distance), so you could chose one that fits your taste. Or even upgrade to a F4.

    This one looks very similar though: http://bit.ly/2GlyLdF

    Or drop an email to Full Speed and ask them about spare parts.

  10. Thanks for the reply
    I am new at this, the one thing I am confuse with is how to power the FC how do you know were 12v is
    Thanks

  11. @David – I am not sure what you mean with 12V, so here's a general guide:

    Most FC's have a VBAT pin. The VBAT pin is used to power the FC directly from the battery (2S-3S for example, depending on the FC's specs). To power a FC, just connect it's VBAT and VBAT GND directly to the battery contacts -or- to the VBAT / VBAT GND pins of the PCB board.

    Some FC's cannot handle full VBAT power. They are powered by 5V only. Then you have to use a power board that provides a 5V output for the FC. The Leader FC (and many other F3 FC's) should be able to handle full VBAT, however. "VBAT" always means full battery power as it comes from the Lipo.

    Once the FC is powered, it reduces the full VBAT voltage to 5V (using an on-board module, called LDO) and sends the reduced 5V to all the 5V pins found on the FC board. All these 5V pins on the FC are called the "5V rail". These 5V pins on the FC can then be used to power the camera, VTX or an LED strip. You should keep the number of devices connected to the FC's 5V rail to a minimum, otherwise the FC might get too hot or won't be able to provide enough Ampere for all that devices.

    So if your camera or VTX can handle VBAT (full battery voltage), you should connect them to the battery directly to reduce the power load of the FC. Most cams (such as Runcam etc.) and VTX can handle full battery power nowadays.

  12. Hi, kannst du mir sagen wie das Update von Betaflight vonstatten geht? Muss man einen dieser USB Treiber installieren?

  13. @Martin: falls dein Kopter über USB nicht von Betaflight erkannt wird, gibt es zwei Tools, die dir den USB-Treiber installieren: das eine heisst "Zadig", das andere "ImpulseRC Driver Fixer" (Google-Suche). Damit sollte der USB Treiber dann installiert sein. Hier ein Video dazu: http://bit.ly/2EVifkl

    Das Update selbst geht dann über die Betaflight App. Diese App musst du im Chrome Browser installieren (Chrome starten, suche nach "Betaflight App" und diese installieren).

    Wie man dann in Betaflight updatet, zeigen viele Videos auf YouTube, z.B. hier: http://bit.ly/2nXrhFv

    Ist am Anfang recht viel zu lernen, ich weiss. Aber da muss man leider durch ?

  14. Hi Mike, danke für die schnelle Antwort! Der Driver Fixer hat mir weitergeholfen und BF auf den neuesten Stand gebracht!
    Lg

  15. Hi Mike. Toller Artikel, danke dafür. Leider bekomme ich die Kiste nicht mit meiner QX7 gebunden. Der FrSky Receiver XM+ mit EU/LBT Firmware sollte richtig verkabelt sein. Taranis steht auf D16 Modus. Wenn ich binde, leuchten die rote und grüne LED am Receiver. Nehme ich den Strom weg und wieder dran, leuchtet nur die rote und nicts tut sich :(
    Hast du ein paar Tips für mich?

  16. @Michael: bist du dir sicher, das die passende Firmware auf dem Empfänger installiert ist? Ich gehe immer so vor (allerdings mit der Devo 10, nicht der Taranis):

    1. Funke an
    2. Bind Button am Empfänger drücken, Akku anschliessen.
    3. Funke in den Bindemodus schalten
    4. Nach dem Binden Funke und Empfänger ausschalten
    5. Dann beide wieder einschalten, die sollten sich dann automatisch finden.

  17. Jo, ich tausche Punkt 2 und 3. Ansonsten mach ich das auch so. Hat auch bis jetzt immer geklappt. Nur bei meinem Leader nicht. Ich denke auch es ist ein Versions Problem. Ich muß mich mal in das Firmware flashen Thema einlesen.

  18. Kurze Rückmeldung nach dem flashen des XM+. Es lag tatsächlich an der falschen Firmware. Vielen Dank für deine Hilfe.

  19. Hallo Mike,

    Auf dem Wiring diagramm steht unten rechts 5v+, bei mir ist dort dort aber vbat angeschlossen. Ist das Diagramm falsch?

    Grüße Steffen

  20. Hi Mike,

    I bought the Leader 120 based on your review and I'm loving it. I'm using an FrSky R-XSR without any problems. However, I miss the FrSky telemetry and spoken battery alarm I have on my bigger quad. Do you know if the TX1 or TX2 pins on the FC can be used for Telemetry? I'd try it but I'm still quite new at this and have damaged enough electronics through ignorance to be worried about trying it without a good idea it might work.

    Thanks
    Peter

  21. @Peter: I don't use Taranis myself, so I can't help you with this. I am using the Devo10 and FrSky XM+ with all my micro quads. The XM+ receiver has RSSI, which can be displayed in the goggle's OSD, as well as the voltage and mah consumption, so (in my opinion) there is no need for Taranis telemetry anymore in the days of Betaflight OSD.

  22. Hello, friend! Is it possible to set up a beeper to search for a quadcopter? I tried to set up a betaflight nothing happens..((

  23. Why the Max Vel Deg/s of yaw is bigger, despite the rates of pitch, roll and yaw are equal?

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