Of all the great model aviation breakthroughs of the 2010s, one which may be among the most fondly remembered is the advent of the “Tiny Whoop” quadcopter.
Starting as little more than modified RTF nano quads with a 5.8GHz video camera on top (two more 2010s innovations), Tiny Whoops have quickly evolved into sophisticated FPV racing machines.
One such example is the new LT105 105mm quadcopter from GearBest.com. Available as an affordably priced receiver-ready package, the LT105 boasts a carbon fiber frame, two flight batteries and a brushed flight controller based on the SP Racing F3 Evo.
GearBest made this a complete package for review purposes with RC-007 5.8GHz FPV goggles and a FrSky Taranis X9D radio!
The model is available for US$65.12 and is available here. The Taranis radio is available for $232.32 here, the FrSky XSR receiver for $30.31 here and the RC-007 goggles for $73.10 here. All are available with free shipping to the US.
Time to get to whoopin’.
Contents and Setup
The LT105 comes nearly complete with the following:
Fully assembled model
Illustrated instruction manual
Two 600mAh 3.7V lithium polymer batteries
Rubber O-ring for securing the battery
Carbon fiber propeller removal tool
The following are required to get flying:
SBUS or Spektrum satellite capable radio system, minimum five channels
8GHz FPV goggles
Computer and mini USB cable
Cleanflight programming software (available free online)
Basic hand tools and electronic soldering equipment
Suitable battery charger
The LT105 arrived in a nearly pocket-sized box; it needed little more than the installation of the receiver, final setup on Cleanflight and the radio, installation of the props and the flight battery.
Here are the goodies packed within that box. I only received one set of propellers in red; the LT105 is supposed to come with black and red props and a spare set.
The description on GearBest’s ordering page says that the model is fully Spektrum capable and I have two such radios. What the ordering page and instruction sheet fail to mention is the need for a satellite receiver and so neither worked with the SP Racing flight controller and a standard micro receiver. I have a Futaba radio as well, but it doesn’t have SBUS capability.
I’d hoped that GearBest might have an SBUS radio available to make this system work – and they did. Adam Chiu, my contact at GearBest, forwarded a fantastic new FrSky Taranis X9D sixteen-channel radio with a full-sized X8R ACCST receiver along with a FrSky XSR ACCST receiver perfect for small multirotors such as the LT105! I expect to be using this radio on a lot of future reviews.
The open source programming of the Taranis makes it quite flexible for any need one might have and a clear, concise manual helped make basic setup simple. I’ve read how fans compare the Taranis “Open TX” system to the Linux programming language; not quite as user friendly as other systems, but incredibly powerful.
Using either SBUS or Spektrum satellite requires the user to solder a compatible plug to the proper holes in the FC and the FrSky micro receiver had the proper plug supplied with it. It’s also necessary to swap the throttle and aileron assignments since the X9D defaults to throttle on channel one and ailerons on channel three.
With the help of a lot of online videos dedicated to the SP Racing controller, it didn’t take long for me to get the radio to communicate with it. Problem: Plugging in the flight battery caused the motors to spin up uncontrollably with or without the receiver connected!
Thinking I had a bad FC, I emailed my Adam who was kind enough to expedite a second board. Once it was installed and wired up, the same problem arose.
At least this gave me an opportunity to better photograph the board and its mounting:
The receiver is a perfect fit:
Again, nothing in the instructions referring to anything other than basic channel assignments, so it was off once more to the internet.
What the instructions failed to mention was the necessary adjustment of the minimum and maximum throttle settings and the motor’s “PWM” rate. Research plus some help from a user on another site solved the issue and I’ll share it here with Adam’s blessing.
With the board connected to Cleanflight, it’s a simple matter of entering the CLS mode to directly access the programming. These are the settings which I entered one at a time in the window near the bottom of the page (bold font mine):
set min_throttle = 1150
set max_throttle = 1850
set motor_pwm_rate = 400
I held my breath as I connected the flight battery and…success! Now everything was working properly and the LT105 was ready to fly.
The RC-007 goggles arrived before the replacement FC. Once I’d transplanted the new FC, I verified that the camera was working with the aid of another FPV monitor since I hadn’t yet photographed the goggles.
Initial test flights took place in my living room and I was very pleasantly surprised. The PID settings as shipped are excellent and should one wish for more rapid control response, it’s as easy as tweaking the PID settings via Cleanflight.
The LT105 is, in a word, awesome. Even without the camera, this little quad with its excellent FC and lightweight carbon fiber construction makes for a seriously fun flyer. I hadn’t yet programmed the “ANGLE” mode for self-leveling, but even without the feature, the LT105 had a wonderfully stable feel. A quick bit of work on Cleanflight connected the angle to the arm mode on “AUX 1” per a video and at some point, I may assign it to a separate switch. With the self-leveling now active, the LT105 was an even more fun indoor flyer. With just a bit of pitch trim, the little quad hovered virtually hands off.
Outdoors, the LT105 was even more fun. Even with only a 3.7V battery “under the hood,” it’s a remarkably fast machine. The gyros worked to perfection during my usual battery of tests to see whether the gyros could be “confused.” In this case, not at all. If anything, the LT105 acted like a much larger machine instead of a micro.
After a few tests, I wanted to protect the receiver aerials from damage. With the help of two small tie wraps and a bit of shrink wrap tubing, the aerials now stand erect and protected against breakage of the center lead.
Here are some before and after pictures:
Another easy mod was that of some hook-and-loop fastener to secure the battery, backed by a hair styling poly band instead of the supplied orthodontic rubber band or O-ring. I bought a card of 100 large bands at Walgreens under their Studio 35 Beauty label. Should I lose or break one, a replacement is close at hand.
All that was left for me to do was to charge up a flight battery, the battery for the goggles and give the FPV a whirl.
RC-007 FPV Goggles
The goggles come as a complete package:
Fully assembled goggles with automatic 40-channel scanning capability
8GHz receiver antenna with standard SMA connector
Eachine 1650mAh 7.4V smart lithium ion battery
Standard USB cable for charging the battery
Illustrated instruction manual and frequency chart
GearBest took no chances shipping these goggles; they came in a wrapped heavy duty carboard shipping box! The display box I found inside is somewhat understated and it gives no indication of the manufacturer. It does have a very funny-looking mascot in the form of a frowning emoji wearing FPV goggles. Perhaps Eachine is the manufacturer based on the battery, but there’s no way to be certain.
The manual is incredibly sparse, showing only the key functions, the battery location on the rear of the head strap, the frequency chart, safety warnings and specifications.
To its credit, the RC-007 is totally menu driven and easy to use. The menu is available in multiple languages and mine defaulted to Italian. The transmission from the camera was almost on frequency; it was visible, but clearly off tune. It only took a moment for me to change the menu to English and to automatically scan for the correct frequency. Since both the goggles and the camera have selectable frequencies, it’s a simple matter to choose one when multiple aircraft are in the air such as during a race.
Picture quality is quite good, although it’s far from high definition. Rather, it appears to be an analog NTSC picture.
There’s plenty of room for eyeglasses inside the hood, but unless one is quite nearsighted, there’s no need. I’m the opposite after cataract surgery a few years ago, and I didn’t need reading glasses.
The biggest problem a new FPV pilot will face is that of a lack of depth perception and no lateral view. It’s a 2D image fixed straight ahead. After some practice at a large grassy field, I was really getting the hang of it! I had some limited experience with FPV thanks to another quad of mine, so I had a good idea of how to begin.
Signal strength seems to be average at best; there were several dropouts, but never was there a total loss of signal. The internet is chock full of ways to boost the incoming signal with everything from antennas to Wi-Fi amplifiers. If I experiment with a suggested method, I’ll report back here.
The LT105 quad paired with the RC-007 goggles make for a rugged, fun way for FPV users of all skill levels to enjoy this great innovation. Parts are plentiful and repairs are relatively simple. Should one already have goggles, the camera will likely work just fine with them. Add to those the powerful programming options of the FrSky Taranis X9D and this combination deserves nothing less than two thumbs way, way up.
A huge debt of thanks is due to Adam Chiu at GearBest for offering this wonderful little quad for review, not to mention the quickly shipped replacement FC and that wonderful Taranis radio.
Thanks for visiting RC Universe.com and enjoy the fun of FPV with your own LT105!
Pluses and Minuses
High quality components
Excellent flight characteristics
FC is easily programmed via popular and free software
Excellent availability of parts and upgrades
Both the quad and goggles are affordably priced
Goggles are easy to use and adjust
A fun and affordable way to take the plunge into true FPV
Omissions in the documentation in regards to proper setup of the FC
Virtually no documentation for the goggles
Some signal glitches with the stock receiver antenna