The Tiny Whoop is a micro FPV quadcopter that combines a camera + video transmitter and a Blade Inductrix. This little quad fits in the palm of your hand and is a ton of fun to fly, especially indoors. Everyone from kids to professional FPV pilots are crazy about this super compact little quad. In this article we take an in depth look at how the Whoop came to be, how the market has grown around it, and how to get flying.
In early 2016, Jesse Perkins, a member of Team Big Whoop saw the potential in the Inductrix. By mounting a micro camera + video transmitter on the quad, Jesse created an FPV machine that fit in the palm of your hand. The protected propellers are forgiving of small bumps, much needed for flying indoors. The extra weight of the camera was supported by faster brushed motors and more powerful batteries. The insanely fun combination became known as the Tiny Whoop.
Since the introduction of the first Tiny Whoop, the entire FPV industry has fallen in love. These compact little quads can be flown almost anywhere, and there are plenty of videos to prove it. The protected propellers remove most of the risk of crashing - really only flipping the quad on its top will stop the madness. Turning your house into a racetrack and giving the internet the grand tour turns out to be spectacular fun.
See some of the earliest shenanigans in the first video Jesse released on his YouTube channel:
Note: video from these small FPV cameras are recorded using DVR capabilities on the goggles or video receiver.
Since the explosion of the Whoop in mid-2016, there has been tons of activity around micro FPV. The original build is still viable, but new breeds are being born all the time. Depending on how 'purist' you are, you can find many spin offs from the same design concepts. There are frames that support all types of hardware, bigger motors or even larger props.
You could say that any micro drone with brushed motors and protected prop guards falls into this category. Basically the Whoop launched micro FPV quadcopters into the mainstream. So much support has been pouring out from the community that even Multi GP has adopted a Tiny Whoop FPV racing class.
The original Inductrix frame is easily recognizable by the translucent white plastic design. The frame features four ducted fans and mounts for 6x15mm motors. In the center of the frame are 4 screw points for mounting the flight controller. Under the flight controller is the battery compartment.
This frame has some weak points and is often reinforced using glue or even a carbon fiber support. It has become tough to find these frames for purchase for your own build. Likely because Blade has limited the supply to market because they'd rather sell their ready-to-fly or bind-and-fly models. This hasn't been a problem thanks to the introduction of the E010.
As common in the drone industry - low priced Chinese made options hit the market as something gains popularity. The success of the Inductrix and ultimately the Tiny Whoop prompted the creation of the Eachine E010. This Inductrix-like micro quad is a $15 ready to fly (line-of-sight) kit. The similarities are many - and most importantly for our needs, the frame is nearly identical to the Inductrix's in many ways:
The biggest differences lie in the battery bay which does not support the longer, skinnier batteries commonly used on Tiny Whoops. This is solved with a fairly easy modification to the battery holder and a foam insert. If you're going to build your own, this is most likely the frame to start with as it can be found for less than $5.
For the hardcore hobbyist there are tons of cool options out there when it comes to custom frames. On the 3D printed side, you can find many frame designs available. You can find a bunch by searching Thingverse for 'tiny whoop': http://www.thingiverse.com/search?q=tiny+whoop
Notable is Rakonheli who creates custom kits, parts, and upgrades for a bunch of popular quadcopters, including the Inductrix / E010. They've crafted a line of totally custom frames. These frames are much more expensive than the original plastic models. They feature an inner carbon structure and shrouds made of either aluminum or delrin. Depending on the material, they handle crashes differently. The aluminum frames dent and bend rather than snap like plastic. The delrin are designed to be stronger and withhold crashes better.
The stock Inductrix motors don't cut it with the added weight of the camera and VTX. Micro Motor Warehouse was one of the earliest importers of the CL-0615 14,000Kv motors - the original upgrade that brought the needed power in the 6 x 15 mm motor size.
The Tiny Whoop motor industry has been dominated by Chinese motor manufacturer Chaoli. Their CL-0615 model is the go-to choice. A variety of speeds are available from 14,000 kV on up to 19,000 kV and even unique colors. Higher revolution speed (Kv) motors are essential when you really what to do some serious acro flying or racing. These motors are brushed, unlike the brushless motors found on larger FPV quadcopters. That means two things:
The original propellers are a 31mm in diameter with a 0.8mm shaft. The Inductrix and Eachine E010 propellers are almost identical 4 blade designs. Either option will work for your build, again the Eachine versions are going to be easier to find.
Rakonheli has also released some really interesting 31mm tri-blade propellers for the Whoop. There is also a trend of chopping two of the original 4 blades to create bi-props. These props tend to only work well on super high Kv motors.
The biggest gripe with the stock flight controller on the Inductrix are the limitations around radio transmitter compatibility. The stock FC is only compatible with Spektrum DSM radios. It also does not have features found on larger mini quads like tuning and advanced configuration. Again, the market has answered with several awesome custom solutions.
Flight controllers like the BeeBrain and the Acrowhoop have brought technology found on full sized racing flight controllers down to the smaller form factor. These FC's also have native transmitter support for popular models like FrSky Taranis. They can be configured via popular GUI's like Cleanflight / Betaflight. Basically all the features you're used to on an FPV miniquad are now available on a Whoop.
For more information, see our article highlighting the most recommended Tiny Whoop flight controllers.
This little piece of hardware is the special sauce that transforms the copter from a line-of-sight drone, to a first person machine. FPV camera technology was minified and combined to create the micro camera + video transmitters seen mounted on whoops. These combined units record and transmit video on the 5.8GHz frequency. Most commonly they use a low 25mW power output. This allows for a low battery consumption and plenty of range.
The original models used standard 3 lobe omni antennas. These are inherently fragile and prone to damage in crashes. This prompted both protectors mounted to frames, and more durable dipole whip antennas. These camera / vtx's are mounted in shells, 3D printed camera mounts, or through other mounting methods like the mullet mod.
The original Inductrix shipped with a 150mAh 1s battery. This battery was fine for the stock motors, but the higher performance motors needed more power to improve flight times and performance. Many companies jumped to the rescue and now there are many options in the mid-200 mAh range that give better performance and more flight time.
There are a bunch of high volt and high capacity options showing up on the market. These batteries will give you even more flight time and punch, but if you're going to run these high powered batteries you'll also need to upgrade your battery leads.
The stock battery leads use micro-JST connectors, as do most batteries. The stock connector can be upgraded for better power and flight times with an upgraded pigtail. The new high volt, high capacity, and high discharge batteries are switching to a larger JST connector, also called the Powerwhoop connector. This removes the battery leads as a bottleneck and even further improves performance over the micro-JST connector.
The original Inductrix was designed as a line-of-sight (LOS) drone. This means it was meant to be flown by simply watching it as it flies. Adding the FPV camera unlocks a whole new level of possibilities. You get the same visuals as if you were sitting in the super-tiny drivers seat. This requires additional gear that LOS flying doesn't require.
In order to pick up the video signal that the micro FPV camera transmits, you will need goggles or a screen with a 5.8GHz video receiver. This extra cost should be considered for new flyers. The great thing is - just like radio transmitters - your video gear will work with any 5.8GHz video gear. That means you could buy goggles for your tiny whoop and later continue to use them on full sized racing drones!
Check out our buyers guide if you're in the market for video goggles. There are options for any budget. Prices for video goggles range from under $100 to $500+.
The original Inductrix comes in two flavors: Bind-and-fly (BNF) and Ready-to-fly (RTF). The difference between the two is simply that one includes a radio controller (transmitter) and the other binds (connects) to one you already own / buy separately.
The early days of the Tiny Whoop was restricted by the Inductrix flight controller. It natively binds only to Spektrum branded transmitters. This was inconvienent for the large number of pilots who were already using an FrSky transmitter like the Taranis X9D Plus. It meant that you'd need to buy a separate transmitter unit. Lots of people purchased the OrangeRX 24GHz Transmitter Module 1.2 (JR/Turnigy/Taranis compatible) in order to connect their transmitter to the stock Inductrix FC.
The high demand of FrSky pilots has pushed the parts manufacturers to create flight controllers with radio receivers that support more transmitter protocols. One of the most famous is the BeeBrain which comes in two versions - one for FrSky and one for Spektrum.
Our article on radio transmitters also includes our current top recommendations for radio transmitters for FPV.
Unlike building your first full sized racing quad, the barrier to entry for the Tiny Whoop is super low. If you're comfortable or even willing to learn to solder, building allows you to create the exact whoop you want. If you don't know how or don't want to learn to solder, then there are some great pre-built options out there.
Before we start, take inventory and answer to the following questions:
These recommendations don't require you to already own a transmitter or goggles/screen. You can buy one of these ready-to-fly kits and get started right away. Perfect for younger kids or people that don't want to mess with buying any extra gear.
This RTF quad is Blade's response to the Tiny Whoop craze. They've created a great little machine that encloses the camera in a protective shell on top of the frame that protects the antenna from damage. One of the biggest issues with the 3 lobe omni-antennas was the high profile led to many broken antennas. The Ready-to-fly kit includes a transmitter and a video screen which mounts to the top of the transmitter. This is a great option for beginners because it includes everything you need in a neatly presented package.
Link: Inductrix FPV Ready-to-Fly
These options might require you to buy some goggles and possibly a transmitter, but they don't require any soldering. If you've got a bit more cash to spend and think that you want to pursue drones and FPV flying then this is a great place to start.
You get the same protected micro drone as the Ready-to-fly kit without the screen and radio transmitter. Connect your Spektrum or Taranis with a transmitter adapter and your favorite video goggles or screen and you're ready to fly.
Link: Inductrix FPV Bind-and-Fly
For the experienced FPV pilots or those who can or aren't afraid of a little soldering these build lists will allow you to build the perfect Tiny Whoop. These options all require your own transmitter and video receiver. Get custom and build the Whoop you want.
This build gives you the classic Tiny Whoop performance by starting with the stock Inductrix kit. The improved motors and battery give you the performance you need to carry the extra weight of the camera and mount. Because this build uses the stock flight controller you only get native Spektrum binding. If you want to bind to another transmitter, you'll need a module like the Orange RX.
There are more and more flight controllers supporting the Inductrix and taking whooping to a whole new level. These FC's are bringing full sized FPV racing quadcopter features to the micro FPV world. This includes native support for multiple transmitters, Betaflight and Cleanflight configuration, and full acro mode support.
We've put together a build guide using the NewBeeDrone Beebrain. This article will set you off in the right direction into the insanely fun world of micro FPV. Please leave any comments or questions below.
The micro FPV revolution is upon us. The Tiny Whoop and the protected fan design have spawned many new projects. Slightly larger frames like the Whoopee allow for a more diverse range of flight controllers and more powerful motors. Companies like FuriousFPV have been creating micro flight controllers and are pushing for the brushless motor micro FPV revolution. The feature gap between micro and mini quads is slowly closing and we only know one thing for sure - its a ton of fun!
Last updated on February 2, 2017