Brushless drive, 1080p videos and FPV: The equipment of current mini-drones sounds interesting. TechStage tested the Mobula6 HD FPV and explained why the mini speedster is so much fun.
The tiny drone Happymodel Mobula6 HD belongs to the latest generation of an entire drone class: The Tiny Whoops. This includes, for example, the already tested US65 from Eachine (test report). Unlike first generation mini drones, such as the Inductrix FPV (test report), the stronger and wear-free brushless motor is used here. In addition to the Mobula6 HD that we tested, numerous almost identical models are now available.
The only palm-sized multicopters have the same components as the classic FPV drones, but are somewhat slower. This type of copter differs from the popular photo and video threats (test winner) by dispensing with unnecessary convenience functions such as GPS, gimbal or automatic flight maneuvers. These racers pursue only one task: fast, precise flying. In addition to the copter, this also requires remote control and ideally video glasses with an integrated receiver module. We have put together an overview of the necessary equipment in the purchase advice FPV-Racer.
Scope of delivery and necessary accessories
Our test model, the Happymodel Mobula6 HD, is delivered in a set with four batteries, a USB charger, a set of replacement propellers and a screwdriver. A tool for changing the propeller and some spare screws are also included. A small control unit is included for settings on the camera; however, this is not necessary since the settings can also be made differently. However, a few things are still missing to be able to fly off.
In addition to a USB power supply for the charger, video glasses, a computer for configuration and a micro SD for recording videos are required. The hand transmitter required for operation can have the Frsky, Flysky or DSM protocol, depending on the copter variant selected. Alternatively, you can order the Mobula6 HD without an integrated receiver and install it yourself. Since we use a handheld transmitter with a multi-protocol module, we can control all three variants. Our test device is equipped with a Flysky module, for example the “Spark” Turnigy Evolution or those with multiprotocol, such as the Jumper T16.
When flying, the pilot sees the route from the drone’s point of view thanks to the front-mounted camera (First-Person View, FPV). The camera and video transmitter provide an almost instantaneous live image. The Mobula6 HD also includes a DVR that records the flights in 1080p.
In order to receive the video signal, the pilot needs FPV glasses or a monitor with an integrated 5.8 GHz receiver. These are not included with the copter. Cheap entry-level models cost around 70 to 90 euros. Professional goggles like the Skyzone Sky03 or the Fatshark models are a quality class higher. They cost considerably more, but offer better reception and are significantly more compact when compared directly.
The quality of the live image is sufficient for flying – but not more. However, this is the case with all analog FPV drones. Last but not least, the quality is not particularly good due to interference in the video transmission and is therefore suitable for control but not for recording. With the 25 mW permitted in Germany, the range of the image transmission is limited to a few hundred meters in the open field, but that is more than enough for the mini-racer. The range is even smaller indoors, but still sufficient.
Switching the video channel and tape is done conveniently via the on-screen display of the copter. Alternatively, changing channels works with the Betaflight configuration software. Although the camera angle on the Mobula6 HD is adjustable, the possible variations are limited to a few degrees.
The really fantastic thing about the Mobula6 HD is the integrated DVR. This records the flight videos in Full HD resolution without any interference. Despite the lack of image stabilization and mini image sensor, the pictures are surprisingly good. In addition to the very fast white balance, the dynamic range and color fidelity of the videos are also impressive. An action cam that is often used with large FPV racers is therefore not necessary; apart from the fact that the tiny multicopter could not carry them.
A big plus point of the copter is its flight control. Instead of a proprietary in-house development, the manufacturer relies on a 4-in-1 F4 flight controller with an integrated video transmitter, motor controllers and DVR. This works with the open source software Betaflight. The previous model F3 is used, for example, in the FPV racer Torrent 110 (test report) or the US65.
Before the first flight, the transmitter (remote control) and receiver (in the copter) must be connected. You don’t need a lot of experience in modeling, but you should read in before you start to find your way around. The is a very good point of contact with lots of information for beginners and experienced pilots Philipp Seidel’s blog. The Mobula6 HD is already preconfigured, if you want, you can adjust the settings according to your own ideas. There is more information in the Wiki from Betaflight.
During the flight, battery voltage and reception strength are sent to the remote control via telemetry. If the voltage falls below the set warning threshold, the transmitter beeps and reminds the pilot of the landing. This would be extremely important, especially for multi-cell lipo batteries, to protect them from damage caused by deep discharge. In the case of the Mobula6 HD with its single-cell batteries, this is not so important, since these have integrated hardware protection. The warning function in the event of poor reception, on the other hand, is also very useful for the mini copter.
During the flight, the pilot also receives all important data on his video glasses. The user decides which information appears on the OSD (on-screen display) via the configuration in Betaflight.
Overall, the Mobula6 HD requires more preparation than a simple multicopter, such as the Inductrix FPV or the Eachine 013 (test report). For this, the user gets a real FPV racer in mini format and not just a toy. The control is not only crisp and direct, but also much more reliable. In contrast to toy FPV models with WLAN image transmission, the live image is delay-free here.
Like other FPV copters, the Mobula6 HD only has position detection. There are no other auxiliary functions such as altimeters, GPS or optical positioning systems. This means that the quadcopter only stabilizes its attitude. Specifically, this means that as soon as the drone gets a breeze, it begins to drift. In addition, you have to meter the power of the motors very precisely in order to maintain the height and to counteract them permanently. So if you expect a drone that is automatically stable in the air like a DJI Mavic, you will be disappointed. In the class of race drones, however, this is normal and deliberate behavior, after all, sooner or later you want to take racing courses and perform maneuvers such as loops or rolls.
The F4 flight controller is the quasi-standard for FPV copters. It enables stabilized, semi-stabilized and free flying. In stability mode, the Mobula6 HD automatically aligns itself as soon as it receives no commands from the transmitter. The maximum angle of inclination while flying – and thus the maximum speed – is limited in this mode.
The copter behaves similarly in semi-stabilized mode. With full tax fluctuations, however, he is now able to fly loops and rolls. In contrast to the weak models with brush motors, the more powerful brushless motors manage to intercept the quadcopter after such maneuvers.
In the non-stabilized mode, the pilot must always straighten his aircraft himself, which is not easy at the beginning. There are no restrictions in this mode. Experienced pilots use the so-called acro mode to achieve the highest possible agility. Then fascinating flight maneuvers at high speeds are possible. If you want to slowly approach this mode, we recommend practicing on a simulator such as Freerider or Velocidrone. More information in the drones guide: FPV simulators for boarding and training.
If you want to further deal with the intricacies of your copter, install the Betaflight Configurator. All settings for controls and flight behavior can be viewed and adjusted here. We use the standard settings in test mode and are surprisingly satisfied with it.
Flight behavior of the drone
Even with the preset settings, the Mobula6 HD reacts directly in a sporty way. If you want to exploit the full potential, you should increase the maximum rotation rate in the software and fly in manual mode. The so-called rotation rate determines how many degrees the copter rotates per second when the control stick is turned fully. While beginners reach their limits at 360 degrees per second, professionals fly at values four times higher.
Compared to the performance of brush motor drones, the Mobula6 HD has sufficient reserves to handle a somersault or reel. In order for this to work, you have to go full throttle after the maneuver. Tight curves and races through gates and between table legs are great fun with the mini-racer. The little speedster is ideally suited for flights in the front yard, apartment or in parking lots. However, the power costs electricity, so the flight time of the 250 mAh batteries is limited to about three to three and a half minutes when flying fast. If you use batteries with a higher capacity (500 mAh), you can get up to five minutes. Charging with the included charger takes around 25 to 35 minutes, depending on the power supply used. If that’s too long for you, alternatively use one Multiple charger.
The maximum range of the drone is a few hundred meters. In terms of software, there are no restrictions on height or range. In practice, the video image usually breaks off before the controller loses reception. If the radio signal breaks between the remote control and the receiver, the motors switch off and the mini drone falls to the ground. The Mobula6 HD usually survives crashes and crashes undamaged. With very hard impacts, however, the frame around the propellers can break. A drop of superglue is sufficient for a temporary repair.
Thanks to the low take-off weight of significantly less than 250 grams, no name badge is necessary for the operation. The Mobula6 HD, including the battery and memory card, weighs just 27 grams. For comparison: The smallest usable video drone, the DJI Mavic Mini (review), weighs 249 grams. Model flight insurance is still mandatory for legal use outdoors. More information about the drone regulation can be found here.
In terms of accessories and spare parts, there is an ample selection for the mini drone. All individual parts such as frames, chassis, motors, flight controllers or propellers are available. If you want, you can also use components from other manufacturers.
Frequent flyers should ideally get one right away Stack of additional batteries to buy. Since the battery has a standard connection with Jst-Ph-2 connector, numerous comparable batteries from third-party manufacturers are compatible. The original batteries and those of the US65 worked well and reliably in the test.
The price of the Mobula6 HD at the time of the research was around 160 euros. If you buy a bundle together with a simple handheld transmitter, you pay just under 200 euros. It seems very fair to us for the fun and the decent video quality.
Happymodel Mobula6 HD (BNF)
Happymodel Mobula6 HD (BNF)
Happymodel Mobula6 HD (BNF)
Happymodel Mobula6 HD (BNF)
Happymodel Mobula6 HD (RTF)
Good flight characteristics, sufficient power reserves, the use of open source software and standard components: this makes the Mobula6 HD a real FPV racer in mini format. Thanks to the manageable costs, the model is suitable for beginners as well as for experienced pilots who are looking for a small multicopter for inside or outside.
However, the copter cannot stand out from cheaper models such as the US65 from Eachine (test report). The main argument for the Mobula6 HD is clearly the addition HD. The ability to record high-resolution videos with good picture quality is simply great. No matter whether on flights alone or at races with friends: the video material simply looks great and enables new applications.
If the priority is first-class photo and video quality, the Mini-Copter is not the right product. If you are interested in real video drones with GPS support and stabilized camera, you should take a closer look at our test winners from the field of photo and video drones.