HGLRC Rekon 3 – how to fly an 18650 battery
Now these 18650 lithium ion cells, they come in a range of flavors and sizes and all sorts of things, but these are the most common ones and they’ve really changed the face of the world recently because they store so much energy in such a small space. At such a small volume and we’re starting to use these for models now i have a four cell pack that i made for myself, but on my five inch, quad i’m getting 21 minutes of flight time out of a quad that normally gets five or six minutes With a 1500 milliampere hour, lithium polymer battery fantastic, i could turn my my freestyle quad into a long range cruiser just by changing the battery type so yeah. These batteries are pretty cool, pretty cool but i’m. Not reviewing batteries today, no i’m, not because i’m going to well. I suppose i am in a way i mean imagine this. Imagine if you could take one of these batteries and make it fly and not an airplane, but just put some motors on it and a flight controller make it fly, wouldn’t that be so damn cool. Well, guess what someone’s done it look at this? This is the hlgrc reckon 3 or recon 3 or whatever. You want to call it and it’s, based on the work done by a guy called dave c on his youtube channel and i’ll put a link to that in the description of this video. Basically, what it is is a flying 18650 cell, you whack your 18650 cell in there bingo it becomes a quadcopter and they call it a long range quadcopter but i’m.
Not so sure. I think long range is just a trendy word to use when you’re trying to flog a new bit of kit um, but there you go. It is a flying 18650 cell and to prove that point i’m going to get my scales out. The scales that do not show the blood we’re going to look at just how much of this is actually battery. So let’s turn on the scales that don’t show the blood let’s have a look at the quad itself. It weighs in at a grand total of 66 grams, with a crossfire receiver in there already or 67, just put on some weight: hey it’s winter down. Here everyone puts on weight during the winter. There is 67 grams and let’s compare that to the weight of the battery. Now the battery itself is 40 or 46 grams, 45 grams, so it’s it’s, almost as heavy as the battery it carries, and if we put them both together, we get all that flying weight of 11314 grams it’s, pretty light. Now, of course, that’s a that’s, a sony cell it’s, the ct vtc4, because i couldn’t get any vtc sixes, which is what they recommend for this. But i do have the lg. What are they the hg2 which i’ve been using on all my other quads um? What does it weigh with one of those yeah the same, so these cells weigh the same so we’ve got basically a quadcopter that is mainly all flying battery now in here, there’s some really cool, groovy stuff let’s get rid of the blood.
Some cool groovy stuff we’ve got four motors um. These are, if i look at the size of them, what does it say on them? It says they are hang on. I should hold them up. Twelve 02.5, 12 over 2.5, so that’s what they are very small motors. Obviously, because this is a very small, very lightweight – quite a tiny little propellers looks tiny little propellers um. It has a cadx cam in the front. Ah, the camera’s, okay it’s, not that flashy i’m. Actually, thinking of replacing it with a run cam to get a comparison, get a difference because i’m reviewing this as a product. Now you can go to the hglrc website and buy this now. Should you buy this now well, you’ll, be able to make your mind up when you’ve watched the rest of the video, but i think this is rather than being a finished product. This is actually a starting point, because i don’t think dave c has completely finished the development of this particular device. This particular craft, i think, there’s, a lot more work could be done on it now. I’Ve, looked at a couple of reviews already, i didn’t want to be first out of the box because i lost my flight footage. You have to do it again, but never mind um, and i see that andy rc. Well. He broke his and he’s he’s. Not that impressed with it, i don’t think in many ways um because it’s really it it flies, but it’s, not a freestyle, quad and it’s, not a long range quad, because you’re only running 350 milliwatts maximum of rf on there and it hasn’t got a circular polarized Antenna we’ll talk about that later, so andy wasn’t as impressed, i think, as as he could be painless 360.
On the other hand, he seemed to really really like it. He really enjoyed it and i’m somewhere in the middle. Now i think it’s got great potential. I’Ve probably put um three batteries through it now and i’m, not getting the flight times that andy and painless are getting. But then again i don’t have the that these was it the ct6 or whatever they are batteries. I only have the fours, the vtc4 and the lg hg2, so they’re, probably not quite as good as the sony packs but i’m getting 11 to 12 minutes, which is okay. But this is a starting point, as i say, because there are still some things that could be greatly improved on this craft. In my humble opinion, a few things i’ve noticed it doesn’t have a beeper doesn’t, have a beeper. Why it’s so small and easy to lose that you’d be silly not to have a beeper on this thing? If you fly this over long grass and it crashes or lands any distance away from you, you will never find it. It disappears into the grass. The least you need is the beeper three or four grams, maybe two grams for a beeper, surely that’s an essential, not not a luxury, not an option, but an essential thing for something. This small that you’re supposedly going to be flying a little way away from yourself. That would be quite handy um. There was something else i made a note: i’ve forgotten it i’ll bring it up later in the video don’t worry about it, and so i think it, the biggest problem i’ve encountered with this thing is that it does brown out.
I mean these cells have fantastic capacity, three thousand milliampere hours in that cell three thousand milliampere hours, but unfortunately, a great deal of that capacity is at very, very low voltages compared to lipos. Now your average lipo. By the time it gets to 3.3 volts it’s flat there’s, virtually nothing left in it when these are at 3.3. Volts i’ve still got a lot more to give. So with that, maybe a 3 000 milliamp battery it’s only going to be about 2 000. If you have to start landing because because if you are flying this around the video transmitter may stop working, it has happened to me on every one of my my last flights on a battery when it gets down to about just under three volts. Then you have to be very judicious with use of the throttle and even a slight bump in the throttle can cause the video to brown out. I don’t have a camera, i think it’s the camera, because there still seems to be a carrier, but no uh vid. No video on top of the carrier and and when that happens well, you’re, blind and because it’s so small, even if it’s just a couple hundred meters away, you won’t see it so you’ve just got to basically cut it and let it fall to the ground in Andy’S case that resulted in these cup of one of these carbon fiber arms breaking because they’re very, very light, so yeah there’s a bit of work to be done now, notice that dave c used a little boost voltage converter in his one.
I didn’t see any sign of that in this one. This seems to be running solely on the battery voltage, so they’re not boosting up the battery voltage to higher levels to reduce the risk of brown out on the video gear, which i think is a mistake. Now. Those little up boost converters are very noisy. You got to put filtering in as well and it all adds to weight. So you know the these things become bricks. One gram at a time so you’ve got to decide somewhere what you’re going to include and what you’re not going to include – and i guess hdlrc have made the decision that we’ll fly to three volts and then you know land and that’s. One way to look at it, but i have to say that again, if you’ve got to land at three volts, it again reduces the long range ability. I would not want to be flying this any distance away. If i knew that it was going to brown out and i’d have to fall out of the sky at any moment, because you would just will not find it, you will not find it if it’s that far away, unfortunately that’s just the way things go now, as I mentioned it does have a linearly polarized antenna. It’S got a sleeve dipole here at the back, and that causes me problems here at the airfield because there’s a lot of reflective surfaces. I have the hangers, so i get a lot of multipathing and, of course, learningly polarized antennas do do not work well in a multi pathing environment, so it doesn’t give me a very good video signal.
Another thing i notice is as you’re getting down on battery voltage. The video gets noisier and noisier and noisier because the there is less headroom for the regulators to take out the noise. So you get more noise coming through on the video signal. You get lines on your picture, you’ll see in the flight, video it’s really kind of it distracts from the whole um. What you’re trying to achieve, which is a lovely long, distance scenic cruising flight, but for what it is, it is really cool. It is a flying. 18650 and it’s proof of concept it’s proved proves you can fly an 18650 battery and and it can be done, but the question you’ve got to ask is: is that a good idea? Why would you do that? Because compared to this, i’ve got things like the tiny hawk freestyle 2, which is 85 grams. I think with battery and it is much more fun i can do flips and rolls and freestyle it and fling it around and sure i only get maybe four or five minutes out of a battery, but those four or five minutes are unbridled joy, absolute fun. I can’t freestyle this to any degree because it just doesn’t have the power. If you punch on this well, you don’t really notice it and if you punch when your battery’s down to around three volts the lights go out, so they did say to change the startup torque of the motorcycle.
You know the bl heli setting to reduce the rate at which the motors spill up and therefore reduce the drain on the battery that makes it even harder to fly when you’ve got so little power and reserve anyway, so there’s a big trades off big trade offs. There i think you really have to decide what you want to do, but this is perfect if you wanted to build one of the dave c flying 18650 quads. This gives you everything, almost everything you need to get started so it’s a starting point, and from here you can do your own work on this. What i’m going to do on this one is i’m going to change the camera, because i don’t much like the cadx one i’m going to put in a boost converter, to try and give me more reliable and cleaner video feed, which will be interesting and then i’ve Got a few other ideas, i’m going to try out a few other bits and pieces which change the tune a little bit so i’m going to try and turn this into what i think it could be rather than what it is at the moment. Dave’S done! A wonderful job bringing it up to this point, but it’s certainly not finished in terms of development, there’s, so much more. We could do to this. I also want to put a circularly polarized antenna on here so that i can fly in highly multi pathing environments, because, if you’re going to use it for exploring that’s where you’re going to fly it – and i am going to put a beeper on it – absolutely no Doubt about that it does need a beeper.
So here you go that’s the bench. Look at this thing: um it is so cute it’s, so cuddly you know there’s not much not to like about it. So yeah let’s go out and fly it i’ll give you some flight footage, it’s a murky horrible gray day, probably raining at the moment. I’Ll do my best we’re not going to get a 15 minute flight, which is the claim flight, because these batteries don’t seem to deliver that. But you will see some of the elements that i’ve noticed before in flights and i’ll narrate you through that flight. I might fast forward through some bits, because you don’t want to sit here for 11 minutes watching me tool around at very low speeds and there’s a lot of wind today too, so it’s going to be a bit of a challenge for this thing anyway. Here we go, let’s go let’s cut to the flight footage. Now the battery voltage 4.08 volts. Now this is a fully charged batteries, but lipo lithium ion soon, as you put them on they drop and once we take off here, see it’s dropped right down to 3.8 volts straight on the get go that’s, because lithium ions have a higher internal resistance and the Unlike lipos, which will hang around above 4 volts for quite a while lithium ions don’t do that they drop straight down. Of course, the they’ll sit around the 3.7 to 3.2 volt range for quite a long time as you’ll see during this flight.
Now, as you can see, the weather’s bad it’s, very, very windy, heading out and you’ll see, there is already some some sort of horizontal banding, some horizontal sort of changes in intensity of the signal that is basically noise. Noise from the motors and the esc’s getting into the video feed you get that now, the the larger flickering that’s, multipathing or just small signal dropouts. There was driver training at the airfield today, so i thought yeah we’ll go and have a look. We’Ll go and have a look, so this is about 400 meters, away from where i’m standing and that’s perfectly good video reception, no problems at all. I went a bit further down. In fact, i have in the past flown right down here – probably seven. Eight hundred meters and the the video holds up just fine and i’m, not really being too careful about where i point my uh helical antenna, so this is probably running as much on the omni as the helical at the moment. So yeah, the video transmitter is great. It’S got plenty of power, but as you’ll see when we go back that multi pathing thing that’s a bit of an issue, so here we are probably out now over 500 meters, maybe 600 meters, from where i’m standing with my sky zone falls. On top of my head – and i think i turn around eventually – because there’s really not a lot to see out here – notice the voltage down to three point: what is it 3.
5 now, so the voltage is dropping and notice. Also i’m using 4142 throttle that’s about what you fly at it. It does that more throttle doesn’t really do much on this quad, because the battery voltage is so low, so low, and here we go. We come back notice, it’s much faster, coming back that’s because of that wind and you’ll see later just how strong the wind is. It was really quite a strong one, probably about 15k, and so you end up with a bit of wind behind it. It gets a bit of speed up now notice if we go through here. The signal is going to break up quite a bit because of the multipathing from these hangers that are on your right there, that metal objects act like reflectors the signal bounces off them, bounces back, see there’s a bit of multipathing, but more there and we’ll have a Look over here, it probably just depends the slower. You fly the more you notice, the multipathing, because it takes longer to move in and out of the the troughs and and peaks of the signal that multipathing produces, but i mean the camera’s okay, you see, it’s got good, dynamic range and so forth, but unfortunately i Have to operate with the rapid mix turned off on my sk. There we go there’s, a good of multi boating. The rapid mix is turned off on my sky zone, so it’s not as good as it should be and again we’ll move along here.
The hangers are directly across from us, so there will be more multipathing um that noise that you see there. I noticed some of the other reviewers didn’t seem to have that noise on theirs. It may be a factor of the batteries i’m using, as i said, the lg batteries are a slightly higher internal resistance, not quite as good as the the sanyo ones. So, who knows, and now basically i just flew up and down flew around just – did a bit of tried to use up some batteries. What are we up to now? Um we’ve got on timer 3 minutes 38, so we’ve been flying probably for a couple of minutes, and one thing i noticed is there’s no current shunt or no current sensor on the all in one board. It uses this use all in one there’s, no current sensor on that which is a bit of a shame, because it would be nice to have some kind of indicator of how many milliamps you’ve used, although to be fair. If you’re only able to take this down to three volts or so you’re not going to get the full capacity of the battery anyway, so maybe it’s not really worth having who knows, but the obviously the rssi works pretty well. This is we’re running crossfire at the moment. Those are pretty low numbers actually for crossfire, but hey hope it it’s, probably because it has a horizontally oriented antenna on the quad to get across fire antenna on there.
You’Ve got to relay them horizontal, which gives you cross polarization losses if you’ve got your transmitter antenna vertical there’s lots of different things, but again we’re, seeing a bit of multi pathing as we move along there. But overall, you know fly around here. What happened now? Three over three minutes: if we take the minute on the ground out of the equation and um yeah, i think i’ll fast forward here, because you’re just going to get bored with me talking and trying to pad things out for the full length of the flight. Let’S do some fast forward: Music Applause, Music, Music Applause, Music, Music, so Music. So there we go. You’Ll have noticed in that little segment how the windsock was at quite an angle. It was a lot of wind and now we’re down to 3.15 we’re at 3.2, volts and we’ve been flying for almost nine minutes. We started at 30, second mark so that’s, not a bad flight time, not a bad flight time at all. So, as i say, i get about 11 12 minutes out of these batteries, which is yeah i’m kind of happy with that and it’s in the even in these strong winds with turbulence behind the hangers here, it’s it’s easy to fly, it’s very stable the tune on This is is not too bad. Andy rc said he wasn’t too pleased with the tune, but i haven’t found it too bad at all, so that was a flight that was a flight with the rec on three from hgl rc, okay, so there we go.
That was a reasonable flight. It was very windy, as you can see, and still we had battery left after over eight minutes of flight time. So yeah, as i say for me about 11 minutes, seems to be about right with one of these hg2 cells from lg, and i remember what i was going to say before i use the skyzone 04xs. My daily drive the best goggles. I have fantastic oled analog. Goggles used my homemade helical, so i get a long way i’ve actually flown this thing. What would it be? Probably close enough to a thousand meters in a straight line? Um and perfect video i’ve got the video transmitter running at 350 milliwatts. You can, of course, step it through from 25 to up to 350, depending on how much power you need, i would recommend don’t run any more power than you have to, because it’s all sucking valuable energy out of this tiny battery. So the less draw the longer you last and it’s, quite a good video transmitter. That puts out a really good signal, but you notice the multipathing. That was quite obvious and you can use circularly polarized antennas like these. With a linearly polarized transmitter antenna, it will lose, you’ll lose three decibels or so it’s. Nothing to worry about you, don’t get any of the benefits of cross polarization or the circular polarized antennas. If you’re, using a linear on the transmitter, though so i’d like to see that change to a circular polarizer use, one of these little i’ve got some somewhere and i’ve lost them all i’d lose everything in this place.
Oh here we go. One of these. These would be ideal. Where are we if i can find it one of these little lollipop things here? That would be very little heavier than that, and it would be fantastic if they put a writing lead put that up there. I might do that it’s going to be one of the changes i’m going to make is put a circular polarized antenna on there for much better operation in front of reflective surfaces like the hangers here at the airfield as i’m saying i do use the skyzone goggles It’S, the the video camera and video transmitter, or one of the two is not compatible with rapid mix that’s the sky zone version of um rapid fire. So if i run it with rapid mix, it goes all dark and rolls and looks horrible, and i can’t fly the thing, so i have to use regular diversity that’s. Another reason why i’m going to be changing the camera in here to run cam because it had pretty good run or pretty good luck with run cam cameras and the the uh rapid mix on the sky zone so i’m going to change that to a run. Cam i’ve got a run cam nano which i will throw in there and we’ll see how that performs comparatively because the you’ll notice there are a lot of lines in the image besties the battery started getting down sort of it’s a lot of noise in that image.
I think having the rapid mix may reduce some of that may give me a better result on the goggles, which would be fantastic, so there you go. That is it. That is what i discovered playing with this little um flying 18650 cell, and i would say if you want to have a go at this because it’s something new it’s, something different it’s, something you know a bit of a challenge, then i think these are. I don’t know what they’re 100 and something dollars you have to decide for yourself, whether it’s good value for money, considering you’re getting everything you need to to start, you can take it out and fly it like it is. You saw. I flew that strong, strong winds. No worries it handles the wind like most quads really well, because the disc loading is reasonably high, and so it wasn’t affected very much by the wind for something that size is brilliant. You couldn’t have flown a a baby hook or something out there to get blown away so yeah it’s a good place to start hglrc are actually one of my favorite quad companies. I’Ve got this sector 132, which is one of my favorite little drones. I fly that an awful lot. It did need some tuning out of the box, but once i tuned it up, it is just a brilliant. I get eight minutes out of that. Damn thing: uh, with some 650 milliamp, four cell packs. I love the hglc stuff just to show you here we go here’s the box.
This is what it looks like there’s, a dinosaur. I have no idea why there’s a dinosaur but it’s holographic fantastic, look at the colors on that um yeah. So thank you. Hglrc for sending that they did send this full review. It is a pre release sample, so i i did mention to them. They put some stuff in there like the little card that tells you which way the props goes was wrong and i suggested it might be good idea to put a buzzer on here. So you can find the damn thing if you, if you lose it in the long grass and maybe even a little label on the box to say this is a choking hazard who knows because it’s so small but yeah it’s good. I will continue to fly this thing, but i won’t be flying it over hard surfaces at low batteries because, as you saw, ndrc has fell onto grass and broke these spindly little carbon arms. So just be careful where you fly it and once you get down to 3.2 volts or so treat it very, very gently on the throttle and stay away from hard surfaces and stay low, that’s what i’d say but it’s a starting point. Just if you want to see what i’m going to do with this and make sure you subscribe to this channel because i’m going to be using this as a basis for my own experimentation with these things but i’m also going to do a test, because i think That, if you stuck in a 1000 or a 1500 milliamp single cell lipo, not lithium, ion but lipo, this would fly much better.
It would fly heaps better. I mean it is a great thing to fly one of these cells, but i think a lithium polymer is much more sensible for 1s operation because, as i say when it’s flat well, it goes right down to 3.3 volts and then it’s flat. These. If you want to get the full power, you’ve got to get a 2.5 and the quad will have stopped flying long before you get there. So you’re going to get all the all the energy out of a lipo that you won’t, get out of a lithium ion and you’ll have a lower internal resistance, so you’ll be able to do some punchy stuff and you won’t get so much noise on the video I’M, going to throw in some lithium polymers on this, try it out with a single cell, lithium, polymer and just do the comparison, because i think it may be a much better craft with lithium polymer um don’t use lithium ions, just because they’re there you know, use The best tool for the job – and i think, in this case lithium polymer, may be the way to go let’s find out stay tuned subscribe thanks for watching thanks for my patreon supporters, you make it possible for me to make these videos and provide you with this Information that’s, it i’ll put a link to the hglrc website, it’s, not an affiliate link. I don’t make a bean if you buy this or if you don’t buy it.
I don’t care i’m only here to provide you with information not to shill for products, but there you go that is it the htlrc recon recon recon three thanks for watching bye.