It wasn’t that long ago that we were looking at BetaFPV’s first ELRS module. Since then, both BetaFPV and ELRS have come quite a ways in performance and reliability. Today, we’re going to look at BetaFPV’s latest take on the same product, the 1W Micro TX Module.
Specs and in the Box
The upgraded module offers only a few differences in specs, but the improvements are pretty important. Perhaps even more important was done under the hood.
- 1W output power (up from 500mW)
- Integrated Backpack
- Improved cooling: fan and heatsink
These are in addition to the specs the system shares with the older 500mW module:
- Supports the full range of frequencies and packet rates of ELRS
- 5–12V input voltage
- 5–12V (2S) XT-30 external supplemental power connector
- USB-C data port
- Fits JR-style (full size) module bay
In the box is the module itself, a typical dipole antenna, a moxon antenna (sized for 2.4GHz), USB-A to USB-C cable, and a user manual. The 1W version is only available in the 2.4GHz version.
Unlike the original module, the 5-way control stick is now fully functional. You can adjust settings for packet rate, transmitter power, and telemetry ratio. You can also put the module in bind mode, or switch it into WiFi mode. There aren’t any LED options in the menu for the latest ELRS version. That certainly doesn’t bother me, as it’s rare that someone will even see it.
ELRS is a very well developed control link with impressive features, but for this article we’ll focus on the BetaFPV module.
Gone are the days when you need to worry about complicated update processes for your transmitter and receivers. Plugging the module in via USB, connecting to it as a hotspot over WiFi, or writing your local network’s configuration so it simply connects to you are only some of the ways you can access the module for an update or settings change.
The new Backpack functionality allows a communication link to be established with your VRx, taking a lot of hassle out of video management on both your quad and in the goggles. There’s a lot more to say about that, but we’re about to drop a full article on this feature alone.
The added features do come at a small cost; flashing the unit now needs to be enabled via jumpers on the back of the module, so you’ll have to take it out to set them. This is because the switch between flashing the control link system vs. the backpack is done at the hardware level.
For racing, I’ve been keeping my system at 100mW but a high packet rate for low latency. Except for when I had a broken receiver antenna, it’s performed flawlessly and easily outflies our video.
The only watch-out here has been that receivers fall back into WiFi mode after being powered up for a while with no link established. I’ve had to train myself to make sure I turn the radio on first, and that it’s ready to go—such as not displaying startup throttle or switch warnings. If the Rx goes into WiFi mode on the starting block, it’s annoying to hold everyone up to get it reset to normal mode and ready to fly.
Getting on board with ExpressLRS is not a decision I’ve regretted. The link quality and capability is still impressive, manufacturers continue to get behind it, and it’s no secret that we like open source. In addition, it’s enabled an even lower price point than we’re used to for radio links, with transmitters and receivers at half the price or less than competing systems.
BetaFPV’s 1W module is the natural extension of their 500mW product, and as far as we’re concerned it’s what the original should have been to begin with. Building on top of ELRS is now a more polished, accessible, easy to use product that gets the job done.