Victory230 FPV Mini-quad Setup and Review
Victory230 FPV Mini-quad Setup and Review

This is a setup guide and review of the Rctimer Victor230 FPV mini-quad.

Overview

If you're thinking about getting a Vortex Pro 250, think again. The Victory230 will out-fly and out-perform the Vortex any day of the week. Though it's prop-span is 20mm smaller, the Victory230 has bigger motors, ESCs that handle more current, an open source flight control board and OSD that can be easily upgraded. Plus, it's almost half the cost. This is amazing.

The Victory230 includes everything you need except the transmitter and receiver, battery and charger. You'll also want some good goggles if you're just getting started.

This basic setup is great for a beginner:

FlySky FS-i6 with iA6B Receiver, $53
Eachine VR D2 Video Goggles, $89
3s 11.1V 1800mAh 45C LiPo Battery with an XT-60 Plug, $15
Eachine WT50 6A 50W AC/DC Balance Charger Discharger For LiPo/NiCd/PB Battery, $34

I picked this setup because these are the most feature-rich and cost effective components you can use to get into FPV flying! The FS-i6 radio with iA6B receiver is the best value radio that supports PPM. The Eachine VR D2 Pro are a great value at less than $100. The 1800mah battery will work well in any 150-350mm size quadcopter and the 45c rating means it can deliver 81 Amps, which should be more than enough for your mini-quadcopter. Finally, the Eachine WT50 charger includes a built in AC-DC converter, so you won't need an external power supply, like you would with most chargers.

Total Cost: ~$180

Now, let's look at the Victory230.

That's one fine lookin' box.

Unboxing

Oooh, fancy case! I'm sooo excited!

Look at all those extra parts!

I didn't even need to solder anything and it looks awesome!

Weight

It's 383 grams with the antenna.

Antenna and Parts

The antenna, by the way, is a right hand, circular polarized, skew-planer wheel. That means it has 4 lobes. A cloverleaf antenna has 3 lobes. As long as your receiving antenna is right hand circular polarized, this will work.

Wow, no messin' around. It comes with replacement plastic parts to rebuild the entire thing once over, even an extra camera mount, screws and side plates. You also get a RSSI cable, sticky-backed velcro for your battery and an extra set of props.

While you're ordering, it's pry smart to pick up some extra prop nuts (it only comes with 4) and props. Also, after disassembling my Victory230, it seems like the other likely parts to break or be lost in a hard crash are the bolts holding on the arms. From my measurements they're M2x22mm.

Props

The props by the way, are 5045's (thats 5x4.5) and they have the same shape and sheen as the DAL bullnose V2 props. The orange one is a DAL v2 and the red one is an Rctimer's BeeRotor 5x4.5 Bullnose.

With 5" props, my XiaoMi Yi doesn't fit.

4" props allow the GoPro-size XiaoMi Yi to fit fine.

If you mount the battery on the underside (just move the velcro), this beast will even fit 6" props!

Grab a couple different size props when you're ordering and try 'em out! Here are the links to props that fit:

Motors

It comes in two versions. The difference is the motors -- either FR2205/2300kv or FR2306/2300kv motors.

The 2306 motors are a little bigger, so at the same KV, they should be a little more powerful.

Basically, the only thing you need is a radio (buy a Taranis if you need a good one), receiver and a battery. More on batteries in a minute.

I was going to use this FrSky DJT module in my FlySky 9x and a DIY FrSKY RX, but they won't bind without updating the RX firmware. If you want to go this route, checkout my guide here.

If you're looking for the best possible setup, just get a Taranis Transmitter and an X4R receiver or a naked X4R. This setup is the mini-quad racing standard as it's super reliable, responsive and easy to use.

If you have a HAM license, in the US, you can run a 433mhz radio control link. You'll see me mount an OpenLRS 433mhz RX below. This will give a little more range than the X4R, but I'm using this mostly because it's what I have on hand.

(dis)assembly

Let's take it apart and see what's inside. If you need to rebuild yours, this might be helpful.

Take off the props! I used an 8mm socket wrench.

Remove the four screws on the top of the plastic side panels and the two screws on the aluminum standoffs in the front.

Unscrew the nut securing the gold SMA connector in the back, and remove the washer.

While I was at it, I measured the thickness of carbon fibre, it's a bit over 1mm. Rctimer could have cut this at 1mm or under, but they refuse to settle for anything less than excellent!

The nuts on the arms take the smallest socket wrench I have, 4mm. They're tiny, so don't lose 'em when you take 'em out!

I was afraid the whole thing was going to fall apart, so I loosened each nut evenly and pulled them out all at the same time. This was unnecessary, as it stayed together quite well, even with the bolts out.

The XT-60 doesn't fit through the top plate, with the rubber gasket on. Just slide the gasket off to get the XT-60 through the hole.

Inside

Here's whats inside:

The flight controller has all the same components as a BeerotorF3, it's just been reformatted to fit inside of the Victory230's frame.

The pinout:

Note the S.BUS / PPM cable and RSSI cables are included. The Spektrum satellite port is a normal Spektrum plug, so if you're using a Spektrum radio setup, you can plug that in without doing any soldering.

Now let's explore under the flight controller.

The 32 channel video transmitter is on the right.

I see an MP1593DN, 28v 3A voltage regulator on the PDB. You could run this on 6s, assuming the ESCs can handle it.

Speaking of ESCs, I spent a while looking for them, when I finally realized, they're are in the arms!

How is that possible!? The inner diameter of the carbon arms is 10mm. Those are some skinny ESCs!

The trick to re-assembly is to get all your arms ready to go, with the plastic U connectors (4 per arm) attached, then flip the arms up, one at a time, and drop a screw or two into each, then work the bottom plate on.

Also, make sure you securely tighten the gold SMA plug on the back. It's bad news for your video transmitter if this plug comes un-screwed and your antenna doesn't make full contact with the connector. Use the same socket wrench as you used to remove your props, 8mm, to tighten.

Installation

There are a few things to do when you get your Victory230 in the mail.

Batteries

The first thing I did was try to figure out where to put the receiver. To figure out the best place for it, I fit all the other stuff that needs to go on the quad, starting with batteries.

1500mah is a good fit:

I plan to fly 2200mah, they barely fit:

I wonder how long it will fly with a 900mah?

HD Camera

Hum... I think I need a different kind of HD camera or some sort of stand-off setup.

Since my XiaoMi Yi doesn't fit upfront, at least with 5" props, that's where I'll put the receiver! With smaller props, my XiaoMi would fit up front, and I'd find a place for the RX in back.

Receiver

This OpenLRS RX is setup for PPM, so I'll use this plug.

I re-routed it up to the front. I can't say that I've had a vibration damped receiver before. I also re-routed the power connector out the side, so my 2200mah battery fits better on top.

If you have a smaller RX, it will probably fit right behind the camera.

Flashing BetaFlight

Plug it into a USB port on your computer. The micro usb port is on the back, along with 12 programmable LEDs.

You'll need the CP210x driver from the Silicon Labs website.

Mine had CleanFlight 1.11.0 on it, with what appear to be CleanFlight's default PIDs.

Let's upgrade to BetaFlight.

Like all F3 chips, make sure you set the manual baud rate to 256000. I also set Full chip erase when switching to BetaFlight.

Download the latest version of BetaFlight from the github.com release page https://github.com/borisbstyle/betaflight/releases/. You want the file: betaflight_SPRACINGF3.hex. If you're going to be using my config from here https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/8e5cac9dbec4d901ab8d, check the version at the top of the config file and make sure it matches the release version you download.

Click the Load local firmware button and pick the betaflight_SPRACINGF3.hex file.

Click Flash Firmware

If for some reason that doesn't work, flashing via bootloader mode is amazingly easy. Just unplug the Victory230 from the USB cable, hold the boot button down while you power it on by plugging the USB back in. Choose "no reboot" and hit flash.

Video Transmitter

The button on the back controls the video transmitter.

Long press to change bands. Short press to change channels within the band.

Here are the available channels:

The OSD won't worked when plugged into USB, so unplug the USB before testing the camera.

Protip, look in the side to see what channel you're on.

Looking from this side the LEDs order is:

8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 A B E F

Configuring BetaFlight

I'll walk you though the configuration for BetaFlight with the CleanFlight configurator.

These instructions apply to any CleanFlight compatible F3 flight controller, not just the Victory230.

We'll look at each screen we need to configure in the GUI and go over the settings.

Note that for every screen in the GUI, there are corresponding commands you can paste into the CLI tab (it's the bottom tab) and type save. I've posted my whole config here: https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/8e5cac9dbec4d901ab8d.

Calibration

Set the copter on something really flat and stable, preferably not the table you're working on, so it stays as still as possible, hit Calibrate Accelerometer

If you have plugged in a magnetometer, calibrate that as well.

Serial Ports

If you're using a serial receiver, like SBUS. Enable Serial RX on UART3 in the Ports tab.

You would enable GPS on UART2 as well, if you're using GPS.

General Settings & Features

Next, on the settings tab, I like to turn off Disarm motors regardless of throttle value in case there is a glitch in the radio link and the aux switch goes low. The downside is, you need to remember to throttle all the way down to kill your motors, even after the aux switch is off. This only matters if you're arming with a switch, as opposed to stick arming.

Scroll down and set your Receiver Mode, I'm using PPM. Turn on CURRENT_METER and set the scale to 380:

Scroll down some more and turn on LED_STRIP under Other Features

Hit Save and Reboot, then continue to the PID Tuning tab.

PID Controller

Switch PID Controller to LuxFloat and hit Save:

LuxFloat is the best :)

Receiver

Check the Receiver tab. You should make sure channels 1 through 3 say 1500 with your sticks centered. If they don't use the trim buttons on your transmitter to trim it out.

You should also check your endpoints, that is, the range of values the flight controller sees for each channel. Mine go from 1004 to 1994. You'll want to make sure these are reasonably close to 1000 and 2000. If they're not, adjust your transmitter.

If your receiver can inject RSSI on a PPM channel set that via the CLI. I'm using channel 9:

set rssi_channel = 9
save

Switches

Next, go to the modes tab. It will be empty. Set it up to look something like this:

Scroll down and set a switch for GTUNE and the OSD if you would like.

Your AUX x channels might not match mine, depending on your receiver, so be sure to check the Reciever tab if you need to figure out which switch got assigned which AUX port.

You shouldn't need your receiver for a while, so feel free to turn that off, if you still have it on.

Beeper

If you want to disable the beeper when you're working on your quad, paste this in the CLI tab:

set beeper_off_flags = 65535
save

Just remember to re-enable the beeper before flying, with:

set beeper_off_flags = 0
save

Calibrate ESCS

This will make sure all your ESCs start spinning the motors at the same speed, at the same time, which is very important during takeoff, landing, and fine maneuvers.

Make sure your props are off and grab a battery, don't plug it in yet though.

Make sure you have an antenna plugged into your video transmitter. Whenever you power on a radio transmitter or receiver, it must have an antenna attached or it could seriously damage the device. Also makes sure you are using the included SMA antenna (the antenna plug should have a pin coming out of the middle), not a RP-SMA. Using the wrong type of antenna is as bad as not plugging one in at all.

Flip the warning switch that says I understand... and slide the master slider up to max.

Plug in the battery.

You'll hear a series of ascending tones. Wait for those to stop and the monontous sounding tones to start (all the same pitch), then drag the master slider down to 0.

You'll hear a series of descending tones in a minute, then it will stop. Unplug the battery and you've got calibrated ESCs!

LED strip

On the LED Strip tab, scroll down and hit Wire Ordering Mode. Click the grid 12 times, in order, then hit Wire Ordering Mode again.

Then use the LED Function buttons to set the led indicators or colors. I went with red along the bottom, with throttle in the middle and Indicator e.g. turn sigals on the left and right.

We set these already, but these options are for the current and voltage sensor, so if you need to set them again after an upgrade, just paste this into the CLI:

Blackbox

Check the blackbox tab. This is where you'll go to download blackbox logs. If you have any data in use on the chip, you can go ahead and erase it now.

CLI

Finally, we get to the best part: CLI.

The CLI contains a superset of all the settings available in the configurator. All the settings can be set here by typing or pasting in the command. When you're done, make sure you type save and press enter. The board will reboot and you'll be good to go.

Checkout the full documentation here to figure out what a specific parameter does: https://github.com/cleanflight/cleanflight/blob/master/docs/Cli.md

I bet you were wondering why we flashed BetaFlight instead of CleanFlight? Aside from the awesome stuff like filters and task scheduler, we can enable 2khz mode (500ms looptime), with:

set gyro_lpf=OFF
save

After rebooting, go back to the CLI tab. You can see we're running a 500ms looptime. The status command will tell you system load and the tasks command will tell you what the flight controller is busy doing. No need to run save after these, as there is nothing to save.

You can grab my whole config here: https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/8e5cac9dbec4d901ab8d. Feel free to leave a comment with your settings or share a gist!

Failsafe

It's super important you understand how failsafe works so that your quad doesn't fly away from you, never to return. Or, if it's flying right at your face, you know how to turn it off before it slices you up!

There are 2 failsafe stages now in CleanFlight/BetaFlight

Josh explains here:

And the full documentation is here: https://github.com/cleanflight/cleanflight/blob/master/docs/Failsafe.md

I like to setup my failsafe so that:

  • In stage 1, hold throttle position, to keep doing whatever was going on before the link was lost. This will make sure the quad doesn't fall out of the sky. The downside is that it could continue running at full throttle for a few milliseconds. I also turn down failsafe_delay from 1 second to 500ms. This is the amount of time the throttle will be held at its last position with rxfailsafe 3 h before stage two takes effect.

    • rxfail 3 h
    • set failsafe_delay = 5
  • In stage 2, throttle down. Stage 2 is when the quad goes into autolevel and descends. This value will make sure the quad falls fast. I'd rather come down quickly and crash instead of potentially running into someone or something with the motors throttled up.

    • set failsafe_throttle = 1000

Make sure you save after pasting these into the CLI, with the save command, then enter.

Once you've got in configured, benchtest the failsafe:

  • Remove the props

  • Turn on the quad and receiver like normal, arm and throttle up.

  • Turn off the receiver.

  • The quad's motors should spin for just over 100ms and then all turn off.

This way you know that if you loose signal, you won't lose your quad.

Tuning

Note that in my BetaFlight 2.3.5 config https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/8e5cac9dbec4d901ab8d for the Victory230, I have set the default PID values. You should tune these to your liking given your battery and prop choice.

Also, I have enabled Air Mode on a switch, which is outstanding. However, you must be aware of several things when using Air Mode. It's described on the BetaFlight wiki in detail, but here's the gist:

  • Arm with a switch (like in my config), arming via sticks is risky.

  • Set min_throttle as low as possible by finding the throttle value (in the motors tab) at which all 4 motors spin reliably without twitching, then add 10 to that number and set that as min_throttle

  • min_check determines your lowest possible throttle. Set it low, to 1020 or so (I've done this in my config). In Air Mode, min_check defines the minimum throttle sent to the motors. My Victory230 wouldn't come down with the default value of 1100, it was just hovering. Wow, that's a lot of power :)

The tuning procedure is described here: https://github.com/borisbstyle/betaflight/wiki/Frequently-Asked-Questions#how-should-i-tune-my-copter-

Go fly then come back and download the dataflash to your computer. It takes forever, be patient.

Once you've downloaded the blackbox logs, install the log viewer from the chrome web store to explore them: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/cleanflight-blackbox-expl/cahpidddaimdojnddnahjpnefajpheep

Then erase your flash so you're ready for the next tuning session.

Flashing ScarabOSD

Install your USB/UART adapter like this:

You'll then flash and configure it the same way as described in the the OZE32 ScarabOSD flashing guide. My configuration files are available below.

OSD Configuration

My Config.h is available here: https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/ac3a3c01f21089cf1bc2

  • to use, click Raw and then save as Config.h in the MW_OSD folder you extracted from the ScarabOSD release page.

My scarab-osd.osd is available here: https://gist.github.com/nathantsoi/1ba3c5cc4892022b04ab

  • to use, open the GUI, connect and click the little LOAD button on the left, under DISK. Then hit WRITE under OSD CONTROLS

If you don't get text overlay, try switching from NTSC to PAL. Don't worry, almost all monitors and goggles handle either PAL or NTSC. Unfortunately, my HMDVR crops PAL video.

If your display doesn't have all the fields, open the layout editor, update anything (or nothing) and hit WRITE

If you're fonts look all weird, under FONT TOOLS hit SELECT open the data folder and pick the font you want to use. I used default.mcm. Hit Open then hit Upload, still in the FONT TOOLS section.

ESC Configuration

The X-rotor 20A ESCs are pre-flashed with the BlHeli bootloader, so if you ever need to change any settings, you can use the CleanFlight passthrough programmer in BlHeli.

I didn't upgrade my ESCS, since they come with BlHeli 14.3, but checkout the BlHeli ESC Upgrading and Configuration guide for more details on updating your ESCs or changing settings.

Further Reading

Victory230 Manual: http://www.rctimer.com/download/BeeRotor230Manual.pdf

Post if you have any questions, comments or corrections. Thanks for reading and happy flying!

Hope this was helpful. If so, feel free to checkout my YouTube channel, get updates when a new article is posted by following on Feedly and read the the other guides at nathan.vertile.com/blog
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