I’Ve had time to get some good flights in and form my opinions. So we’ll look at some of those test flights and talk about the results at the end of this video you should have an idea of whether express lrs is something you want to pursue or not. If you missed the first, two videos in this series go check out the express lrs playlist on my channel to learn more about what this technology is and what it’s like to install it and set it up so let’s get into it. We’Ll start with what my test setup was. I installed happy model pprx receivers on two drones. The first was a glang 85 millimeter cinewoop, but i ended up doing most of my testing with an emax tiny, hawk, 2 freestyle. I found the installation process to be fairly easy for both drones. The hardest part was identifying which pins to use on the flight controller and soldering wires to those pins. The second drone was especially easy to get going because i already had installed all the correct firmware on my radio and transmitter module, so that’s encouraging for adding express lrs to the whole fleet. I was surprised by the installation and setup i didn’t think it would be. Quite as easy as it was, and i thought it was going to be a struggle, but the online instructions were easy to follow and everything pretty much worked as expected. Although i didn’t end up needing help with my install, i did jump into the express lrs discord to ask a few questions about the tech and the community.
There was really friendly and helpful that’s a huge advantage and is a great safety net. If you decide to do this yourself, so after getting everything installed and configured, i took the drones on a bunch of test flights to put express lrs through its paces i’m, going to show you some of those flights. But first i want to make sure i set your expectations correctly. The flights i did were not really intended to push things to the absolute limit. I know some people are interested in express lrs for extreme range and if that’s you go search that on youtube. After you watch this video because there are plenty of people out there doing that, my goal was to test it in the types of environments i normally fly in and see how express lrs works for that use case, so you’ll be seeing fairly normal flights in this Video, if there is a particular test case that you’re interested in and i don’t cover it here – leave a comment below and if it’s something i’m able to test i’ll be happy to give it a try and report those results back to you in a future video. I also want to quickly explain some of the numbers you’ll see on screen during these flights, so you can judge the results for yourself. There are three numbers here that give us measurements of the control signal. The first is standard, rssi and really it’s best to ignore this number.
I included it because we’re all used to it, but it’s, not a great measure of signal performance, for example what’s, the minimum rssi number before you get a failsafe there, isn’t really a single answer to that question, which makes this a poor measure of signal strength. The second number is rssi, measured in decibels and it’s a more accurate indication of the signal strength. This is a negative number and the minimum value is actually based on what settings you’ve selected on the radio in the express lrs lua script. If you go into that script, you’ll see what the minimum rssi dbm value is for those current settings. If this measurement reaches that minimum, the signal is too weak to be received by the drone and we would experience a fail safe. This is also a good time to mention that i did all of my tests at 100 milliwatts and a 250 hertz packet rate. So what you’re seeing here is my minimum rssi dbm with these settings? The third number is the link, quality and it’s a measure of how much information sent by the transmitter is being received by the receiver. This value will be displayed in different ways, depending on your version of betaflight. On this drone, a value of 700 indicates a perfect link quality with all packets, making it to the drone. A value of 600 would indicate complete packet loss with no packets making it to the drone. So really, you want to focus on those bottom, two numbers as the rssi dbm gets closer to the minimum value and as the link quality drops towards 600, the chances of a failsafe increase if either number hits its minimum a fail.
Safe is guaranteed all right with all that out of the way, it’s time to look at some flights. When i first test something new, i like to do it in an open space to prove out the technology at a basic level. So i started with an open field to get a baseline of the performance, this isn’t a difficult test by any means, but it’s a good first step. One interesting thing to point out in this flight is that the metal shed you see me pass by is where the original fr sky spi receiver on this drone would have started. Giving me critical, rssi warnings. As you can see, i was able to easily reach the end of this field with no issues at all. This was a maximum distance of about 350 meters and a successful first flight. For my next test, i moved to a different area of this park and introduced some obstacles by flying at a low altitude through trees. I was curious to see if this would have any effect on the signal strength, but i didn’t encounter any issues. I only reached a maximum distance of about 215 meters in this test, but i was happy to see the rssi and link quality both remained high throughout the entire test. I never had concerns that. I was about to lose signal Music. So all this went pretty well and eventually i decided to try something a bit more challenging. One of my regular flying spots is an elementary school and i decided to try to fly all the way around the school building.
My goal was to test express lrs in a more urban environment with hard surfaces and buildings, and this school also has a strong wi fi network in the middle of the neighborhood, so there’s quite a bit of interference in this area. I should also point out that this type of flying is something you should be careful with i’m very familiar with this area, and i scouted it beforehand to make sure there was no one around during the flight just make good decisions. If you try, this yourself, you’ll see that as i get around behind the building, the link quality starts to drop. Rssi was never too low, but the link quality was getting uncomfortably close to the minimum. You can also see that my video signal gets pretty bad in one spot there, but i was able to fly through it and complete that flight successfully. I was really impressed with this result. The maximum distance between me and the drone during that flight was only around 200 meters, but 120 meters of that was a solid building. I don’t think i would have been able to do this with an spi receiver and it might have been iffy even with a larger receiver like an xm plus. This test was also with the express lrs transmitter set to 100 milliwatts, so there’s plenty of room to increase the transmit power from here. So now that you’ve seen flights in a few different environments, i’m going to play one more flight video.
While i talk about my overall conclusions from these tests, Music, i think what’s been most remarkable. To me about express lrs, is how unremarkable it is to use. I went into this project expecting to have some frustration in configuring. It and possibly some reliability or performance issues in flight, but none of those fears came to pass during my tests. It just works and stays out of the way, and what i appreciate most about it is that i feel like i can just forget about rssi and trust that express lrs will take me as far as i want to go, or at least as far as my Video will go now. These fights may or may not be impressive to you. You might think that your existing fr sky or similar receivers can give you the same range in these conditions, and you might be right. But what i wanted to show you in this testing is that express lrs is more than capable of meeting the challenges imposed by normal micro drone flights, and i think, that’s clear here. It certainly performs far beyond the onboard spi receivers included in many micros and keep in mind that all of my testing was, with the small ceramic antenna receivers that don’t stick out at all from the carbon fiber frame of the drones. If you need more range, you always have the option of using the other express lrs receiver, which does have an external antenna Music.
All in all, i felt like express lrs exceeded my expectations and after doing these tests, i’m planning to install it on the rest of my own drones. I think this is leading us toward a bright future for the control link in fpv we’re already starting to see all in one boards with express lrs included, and i don’t think we’re gon na have to wait long before we can buy binded flight drones with express Lrs as an option from there, the only thing we really need is a transmitter or a multi module to include it by default, to make things even easier to set up. I also think we’ll see other manufacturers start to take notice of this and include express lrs in their own products. Happy models been leading the way on this so far, but it’s seeming good enough that everyone else is going to have to get on board. I know some of you guys may not be big on happy model. I’Ve personally been pretty pleased with the quality of their stuff, but regardless we’re going to see other manufacturers pick it up too. I don’t think fr sky or crossfire are going away anytime soon, but i do think they have some strong competition now. So if i had to give you advice on how to take this information and what to do with it, i’d say this first, if you’re not happy with your current control link, you should just pick up an express lrs receiver and transmitter module and use that it’s.
Pretty easy to set up and it works extremely well and if you’ve been looking at crossfire as an upgrade option, you really should give express lrs serious consideration. The receivers are smaller, it’s, much cheaper to get into and it’s seeming like it’s the direction things are moving in. On the other hand, if you’re perfectly happy with your current setup, you shouldn’t feel any immediate pressure to switch. We are still in the early days of express lrs and if you do end up waiting, you’re more likely to be able to get a transmitter with this built in or a bind and fly drone. That already has a receiver installed, regardless of where you’re at there’s a lot to look forward to here and i’m, really impressed with what i’ve seen. So those are my thoughts on express lrs. I hope you guys found this series helpful and interesting and if you do have any remaining questions about it or other tests you’d like to see, let me know – and i can always do a follow up video and if you do like this type of content, i’d Encourage you to subscribe to the channel because there will be more soon. I’Ve already got some future videos planned where i’m going to do this type of deep dive on some other new fpv tech, and i think it’ll be pretty fun and interesting to see.