Today we present a complete build and configuration guide for a full acro Tiny Whoop build using the Beebrain flight controller. This build focuses on high performance flight via an FrSky or Spektrum transmitter. The Beebrain flight controller gives you native support for these protocols and full configuration via Betaflight.

Beebrain Acro Tiny Whoop Build Guide

Build Notes

Before we begin, I'd like to point out a few things about the build. This build is designed to be a fun project that ends with a high performance whoop.

  • We've gone with the Eachine frame and propellers as they are readily available and inexpensive. The frame is also stronger than the Blade Inductrix frame.
  • We will be showing a full setup guide using an FrSky Taranis X9D. There is also a Spektrum compatible version of the Beebrain available. We will include instructions for both setups, but only show detailed instructions for FrSky.
  • This build does require you to solder two small leads to the flight controller. If you've never soldered before, this is actually a great project to start on. The soldering is super minimal and very easy to learn and accomplish. If you don't know how to solder, check out our guide which demonstrates these and more soldering skills: Essential Soldering Skill Guide for Building Quadcopters
  • Note that currently all Tiny Whoop motors are the CL-0615 model from the same Chinese manufacturer Chaoli Motor Co, LTD. There might be special versions or special naming conventions from retailer to retailer, but from our experience the most important thing to consider is the rotation speed or kV. We recommend anywhere from 15,000 kV on up to 19,000 kV. If you're a newer less aggressive pilot, start in the lower kV range. If you're an experienced, aggressive pilot go for higher kV. There are many retailers and distributors for these motors.

Parts List:

The parts list we've gathered is a quality and easy to find set of parts. This guide will give you a great starting point if you want to tweak or change any part of your build. Controller Craft may earn a commission for order placed through these links. This helps support the effort that goes into making these guides and these are products we've used and like.

Aircraft

Total Aircraft Cost: ~$113

Batteries & Accessories

  • 200 to 220mAh 1S LiPo Batteries
    • Tattu makes great batteries and they offer a 5 pack for $19.99 - Buy on Amazon

If you don't have a battery charger, you'll need:

  • Parallel Charging Board
    • A small board allowing you to charge up to 6 batteries at a time. Totally essential with flight times at ~2-3 minutes per battery. $7.98 - Buy on Amazon
  • LiPo Battery Charger
    • This SkyRC iMAX B6 is a great charger that works for the Tiny Whoop as well as full sized racing batteries up to 6s. $42.99 - Buy on Amazon

Tools You'll Need

  • Scissors or Clippers
  • Small Phillips Head Screwdriver
  • Soldering Iron + Solder

The Build

Prepare the Frame

The Eachine E010 frame is nearly identical to the Inductrix frame, with a couple minor differences. The back screw on the mounting pattern doesn't fit the standard square pattern. The battery compartment also doesn't natively hold the long, skinny 1s LiPo batteries we will be using. The E010 frame just needs a couple small mods to adjust for this:

Eachine E010 Frame Bottom

  • We need to clip the front bar on the battery holder. This lets us slide in the foam battery adapter in order to hold the batteries we will be using.
  • We also need to clip the back mounting point and bar from the battery holder. This removes the back mounting point which doesn't fit our flight controller. It also allows us to and mount the Beebrain with access to the USB port from the bottom. We will only use the remaining 3 mounting points.

Frame Modded

Now the foam battery holder fits.

Battery Holder Installed

Install the Motors

Since the Beebrain runs Betaflight, we are going to install the motors just as we would on any other racing quad. This is actually backwards from the original Inductrix motor configuration. For Chaoli CL-0615 motors, the Black/White wires rotate counter clockwise and Red/Blue wires rotate clockwise. Install the motors so that as you look down at the top frame from the top, the motor direction is as follows. This is the standard motor direction configuration for Cleanflight/Betaflight:

Motor Spin Direction Chart

Run the motor wires through the mounting holes to the center of the frame. Push the motors straight into the mounts until they stop near the bottom. Be sure to push against the bottom of the motor mount. You can break the frame if you're pushing against the prop guards or supports. Then run the connectors up through the 4 openings on either side of the battery compartment.

 

Motor Install Top

Motor Install Bottom

Last, grab the Beebrain flight controller make sure to match the front of the board with the front of the frame. On the bottom of the Beebrain, there is an arrow pointing forward. The front of the frame has the mounting point, the back will not have a mounting point as we cut it in the previous step. Once the FC is aligned, plug the motors into the matching connector.

Beebrain Motor Connection

Mount the Flight Controller

The Beebrain comes with 4 rubber grommets and 4 mounting screws. Grab 3 of each. Push the rubber stoppers onto the front, left, and right mounting points. Then grab a 3D printed camera / VTX mount and place it on top. Carefully screw these 3 points into the frame.

Beebrain Grommet Install

Mounted Flight Controller

As you're mounting the flight controller, be sure the battery pigtail comes out the bottom. At this point tuck the motor wires into the tabs below each fan duct. Tuck the excess motor wire in a stack on either side of the battery compartment. Now you can see why we chopped the back support as we have direct access to the USB port on the board from below.

Motor Wires Tucked Away

Prepare the Camera / VTX

The FXT FX798 and FX797 seriese cameras come in a case that we need to remove. The camera mount will only fit the camera once the case is removed. There are two tabs on either side of the case. Pull those tabs out.

Pull FXT Camera Case Off

Keep the lens cap on while you push down on those tabs on a flat surface. The case should pop and loosen.

Push Tabs to Pop Off

Take the lens cap off and pull the case off the front of the camera.

Removed Case and Trimmed Wires

Now place the camera in the mount and measure the wire length to meet the top of the battery lead terminals where we will solder them. Cut the wires so they can easily reach the terminals without too much excess slack.

VTX Wire Length

Tin the ends of these leads and solder them to the ground / vin pads on the top of the Beebrain.

Soldered VTX Wires

Last, secure the camera using a standard rubber band. There are two pegs on either side of the frame that you can use. I like to use a long enough band that it wraps all the way around the frame. This keeps the motor wires tucked away and adds some more support for the battery. Also take this time to carefully push the propellers onto the motor pegs. Be sure to push firmly straight down.

Camera Install from Top

Final Battery Mounted

That wraps the build portion of the Beebrain Acro Tiny Whoop. Now on to the configuration of Betaflight and your radio transmitter.

Setup and Configuration

We will be walking through a full setup and configuration which should give you a general direction to head. If you get lost or have specific questions we don't cover here, refer to the BeeBrain manual which can be found here via Dropbox.

Upgrading the Firmware

Before we get started with the configuration, I like to upgrade the flight controller to the latest firmware. Start by connecting the Beebrain to your computer via USB and firing up Betaflight. Make sure you've downloaded, installed, and done a test connection to the FC before flashing. If this is your first time in the configurator, full instructions can be found on the Betaflight Wiki.

Once you're able to connect to your flight controller, plug it in via USB and click the Firmware Flasher tab.

Flashing Beebrain Firmware Online

Choose the BEEBRAIN target and then select the latest firmware version. Click Load Firmware [Online] to download the latest file. Once that downloads, click the Flash Firmware button and wait until the board finishes flashing.

Flash Firmware Go

Binding Your Transmitter

Now that the Beebrain is up-to-date with the latest version, it's time to connect and configure your transmitter. We've made a video of the configuration on a Taranis. Because there are so many little steps, we've created a video which covers the basic setup and the flight timer configuration.

FrSky Taranis Binding Instructions:

  1. Power on the Taranis
  2. Create a new model for your build
  3. Go to the edit menu for the selected model.
  4. Select the mode (D8) and the number of channels you want to use.
  5. Set your Taranis into bind mode.
  6. Hold down the Bind Button on the BeeBrain while powering up the BeeBrain via USB or Battery (keep them ~3 ft apart while binding).
  7. Power cycle the Taranis. You will see a solid red LED when the board has been successfully bound.

DSMX (Spektrum) Binding Instructions:

  1. Power on the BeeBrain via USB or 1 cell Lipo battery.
  2. The LED’s will flash steadily first, then will start to flash rapidly.
  3. Power on the DSMX controller while holding down the bind button on the transmitter.
  4. You will see a solid red LED when the board has been successfully bound.

FrSky Bonus - Setting a Flight Timer

For this build I use a flight timer on the Taranis to keep track of my battery usage. These steps show you how to set a timer that runs while your throttle is above zero. We also will set alarms that warn you as you reach the time limit.

Flying a battery for 2:30 leaves me with roughly 3.75v per cell. Finding the right flight time for the battery usage you want is a process. By starting with the timer a bit low, flying a battery, and measuring the remaining voltage, you can find a flight time that works for your setup within a few batteries.

  1. Power on the Taranis.
  2. Enter the Model Setup Page.
  3. Scroll down to Timer 1 (Tmr1) and change the value to THs.
  4. Go to the Logical Switches Page.
  5. Set two switches when A=X for Tmr1. Set one to 2:15 and one to 2:30 (or the values you'd like to start at).
  6. Go to the Special Functions Page.
  7. Set two functions, one when Logical Switch 1 (L1) is triggered and one for L2. Set these to play the value of Tmr1 (or whatever sound you would like).
  8. Go to the Telemetry Page.
  9. Set Screen 1 to Nums and select Tmr1 in the top left.
  10. You can now return to the telemetry screen and test the timer + alerts by lifting the throttle above zero.

Betaflight Configuration

The last step we need to do before our maiden flight is configuring the Beebrain via Betaflight. For those of you who've built an FPV racing quad before, these steps will be very familiar. Start by plugging in the Tiny Whoop and connecting to Betaflight. In the main configuration tab, adjust the following.

Starting in the Configuration tab, change the ESC/Motor protocol to Brushed. Enable Motor PWM Speed Separated from PID Speed. Set the PWM frequency at 4000. Ensure the rest of the settings look correct and the minimum throttle is set at 1030.

Configuration Tab Part 1

Continue scrolling down and set the Receiver Mode to PPM RX input. Turn off VBat.

Configuration Tab Part 2

In system configuration set the Gyro Update frequency and PID loop frequency to 1KHz. Turn off the Barometer and Magnetometer.

Configuration Tab Part 3

Lastly enable airmode.

Configuration Tab Part 4

Continuing on to the PID Tuning tab, set the PID's and Rates to the Beebrain suggested defaults:

Recommended PIDs

In the Receiver tab, ensure the Channel map is set to TAER1234. At this point you can power on the Taranis and ensure the configuration is correct. As you move the inputs, you should see the values change. Be sure to confirm you set a switch to AUX 1 as we will use it as an arm switch.

Receiver Tab

Last, in the Modes tab set ARM to the switch you set to AUX 1.

Modes Tab

Charge up some batteries and enjoy the maiden flight! Leave any questions or comments below.

Last updated on June 2, 2017



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4 Responses to “Build Guide: Beebrain Acro Tiny Whoop”

  1. Hey thanks for this tutorial. I seem to have a different betaflight than you as mine does not have the brushed motor setting for esc and the PID tab looks different. Will my tiny whoop operate normally in PWM mode? Thanks again!

  2. Awesome write up!

    What flight times are you getting with the tattus(and which motors?). Also what do you hover at?

    Cheers!

    • Thanks!

      I've got my timer set to 2:30 using the lower end motors and roughly 2:00 using the insane's. Hovering around mid throttle but there is some battery sag near the end and it gets a bit higher.

      Hope that helps.

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