The Hive 16 is a 16x16 quadcopter stack designed for micro quads with up to 2s support and brushless motors. It comes with all needed electronics to build a quadcopter including a Betaflight F4 flight controller with BF OSD, 12a BLHeliS 4in1 ESC, 25-200mw VTX with smart audio, and Frsky or Spectrum diversity receivers. All you need, other than this stack, is a frame, camera, and motors/props to build a micro-sized FPV quadcopter.
When NewbeeDrone gave me this stack to test, along with a Limitless frame, Hypetrain motors, and a BeeEye FPV camera, I was taken by surprise as I didn't even know this new product was being developed. I've never been a huge fan of micro-size quadcopters as I have never known a reason to own one, having many 5 and 6 inch quads already. After building and flying this quadcopter, however, I can now see a real purpose in FPV for this sized high-performance machine, which I'll discuss later.
This is an entire quadcopter (minus canopy, props, and hardware)
I started by partially assembling the frame:
It takes only 4 screws to hold the entire frame together. I put the screws through the bottom plate,df the right side arms, and through the top plate. Then repeat for the left arms. (the arms come as 2 in 1 and go left and right)
Next, I added the stack. The stack comes preassembled and has vibration dampeners on the bottom. I screwed the stack in and held the dampeners with needle nose pliers to make sure they didn't twist until a good amount of torque was applied. (The FC mount screws also hold the arms in place, so make sure they are tight enough that the arms don't move at all)
Then I inserted shrink tubing, twisted the motor wires and installed the motors using 2 M2 screws.
Soldering the wires is the only slightly difficult part of the entire build. The way I did it is running 2 of the 3 wires around the standoff, from the front or back of the frame, and held in place with alligator forceps. I then cut all wires to length and stripped. Normally I would pre-tin the wires before soldering, but I found that unnecessary in this instance. I added flux to both the ESC solder pads and the wires, held each wire into the ESC pad slot, and soldered together. (The flux helps to flow the solder into the wires and ESC pads)
Now repeat 3 more times and solder the battery lead. I kept the battery lead long because its easier to shorten than lengthen.
Remove the top PCB to access the FC/RX and add the RX antennas. How you feed them is up to you. I ran them down the arms in the back and added zip ties to the arms, pointing in toward the power lead and used heat shrink to secure them to the zip ties. (picture shows them on the opposite side of the arm from what I ended up with.
With the top PCB removed (VTX) I added the video antenna and plugged in the BeeEye cam to the connector. (There are solder pads on the opposite side of the cam connector to use a different FPV cam depending on your build)
I then installed the VTX back onto the stack. When used, the Limitless frame canopy does not require fastening nuts to be installed on the top PCB. It just squeezes onto the standoffs and secures nicely in place.
The build was very easy. The setup will be easy once settings are fine-tuned. I found that having a tiny, fully capable, FPV quadcopter allows me to fly in places too sketchy for a 5 inch or bigger while maintaining all the fun of its larger brothers. It is a killer setup and such a breeze to build. Once I finish tuning the FC for this frame and getting the Betaflight settings dialed in, I will add another blog explaining how it should be set up. Stay tuned...