After having flown the piss out of the Krieger for the last 4 months, I’m about ready to try out a new frame. I have been watching the market closely, disappointed by all the $120+ X-frames that seem to be the new fad, when the Bolt 210 came to my attention. It had all the checkboxes I was looking for:

  • Support for a standard PDB+FC stack (no proprietary required PDB like the Alien or Shrike)
  • Lighter than the Krieger
  • Tight-tolerance X-arm design
  • CHEAP
  • Known designer & made with high quality materials

I also used this frame as an opportunity to try out the new BeeRotor F3 FC+OSD board. I had previously owned an OZE32 FC+OSD and loved it, and the BeeRotor board looked to be an improvement on all fronts.

Components

Frame: BoltRC Bolt 210 Race
Motors: RCX v2 2633kV
ESCs: FVT Littlebee 20A
Flight Controller: BeeRotor F3
PDB: BeeRotor PDB
Video TX: Hawkeye 200mW Raceband w/ DSun voltage regulator
Camera: HS1177 w/ top connector
RC RX: LemonRX Satellite

Build

01-pdbhookup

ESCs and motors attached, bolted to the frame, and soldered to the PDB.

I started the build just like any other – soldered the motor leads to the Littlebees, laid down the PDB on the frame, and soldered the ESCs to it. If you are interested in more details on this process, check out my Krieger build log for some more detailed photos and instructions. Nothing different was done here. The Bolt has a unibody bottom plate, which means if you ever break an arm, you’ll need to replace all four others. To date, I still have yet to break a 4mm arm on any of my quads, so I am not really worried.

02-pdb-to-pwr

Battery leads on the BeeRotor PDB require a little thought.

Of all the frustrating things I’ve broken on my miniquads, tearing the pads off of my PDBs have got to be near the top. I’m not taking any such risks with this miniquad. I routed my battery leads backwards and secured them to the frame for support so that if/when the battery comes flying off in a crash, it doesn’t tear the PDB pads and connectors with it (…and start a fire when they short together in the process).

The Bolt 210 doesn’t really have any solid plan for laying out the battery leads. The build instructions indicate that the leads should just come out of the side of the frame like pictured.

03-cam-clearance

Be careful when cutting your front ESC power leads.

One snag I ran into in the build process was I did not realize that the power leads from the front ESCs need to be long enough to wrap around the flight camera mounting plates. Make sure you lay the plates up before you solder the wires to your PDB. Also, add some heat shrink for protection from rubbing against the carbon fiber. I used electrical tape here because the wires were already soldered on.

04-rftower-side

VTX & RC RX mounting on the RF plate.

05-rftower-front

RF plate showing the voltage regulator side.

Next, I put together what I call the “RF plate”. This contains the video transmitter, the voltage regulator that feeds it and the RC RX, all taped and zip-tied to a small carbon fiber plate that seats into slots in the lower frame. The top plate on the Bolt has a pre-drilled hole to feed an SMA connector through so I went with the Hawkeye VTX, which has an adjustable connector, for this miniquad. The pigtail has the absolute perfect length to wrap around the RF plate once before seating in the SMA hole, pictured later.

This plate has three connections: a power input going to the DSun regulator straight from one of the ESC pads on the PDB, the LemonRC satellite RX input which hooks directly into the BeeRotor flight controller, and the video transmitter input, which hooks into a harness I made that feeds power directly to the flight camera from the VTX but feeds video through the onboard OSD on the BeeRotor FC. These connections, hooked up, are pictured here:

07-all-electronics

This is ALL of the wiring on the Bolt.

Although this looks somewhat messy, it cleans up extremely well. I really like the way the BeeRotor is laid out. Everything has a connector and can easily be removed for individual maintenance. There is the absolute minimum of required wiring and everything is small, light and short. The FC mates to a provided connector on the PDB which feeds 5V regulated voltage, a current measurement source, and VBat. Awesome.

11-rf-tower-top-installed

Look how well it cleans up.

As you can see, once you flip the flight controller over on top of the PDB and insert the plates where they belong, it goes from monstrosity to beauty. I opted to just use servo connectors for the ESCs for now but will likely hard solder the ESCs to the FC in the near future for additional weight savings.

More photos of the electronics layout:

08-fcinstalled

RF plate with RC RX still in it’s case – notice how it hangs over the edges of the frame a bit.

09-rftower-installed

I had to remove the case from the RC RX for prop clearance. It actually looks better like this anyways.

10-rf-from-front

View from the front.

Make no mistake – this miniquad has a tight layout. After assembling everything, I realized that the props were actually contacting the antenna leads coming out of the side of the LemonRX satellite receiver – which is by no means a “big” receiver. This quad is as small as it could possibly be to fit the 5″ props. The solution to this problem was simple – remove the RX case. Luckily LemonRX satellites have nice little antennas connected via micro-uFL connectors, so they were easily moved into a vertical orientation and all was well.

xx-finished-side

Assembled!

After sticking the plate on, adding some antennas and props and zip ties, I was left to marvel at the finished product.

xx-finished-front

Just needs the orange DAL 5040 tris

I have to say, this is probably the best looking quad I have ever laid my eyes on. Not at all because of my building skills or anything – I just adore the design.

So, did I accomplish my goal – did I create a sexier Krieger that also weighs less? Let’s find out –

21-krieger-weight 20-bolt-weight

Success! Admittedly – The krieger has about 10grams of dirt and grass on it, as well as some LEDs. Still, ~40g is nothing to joke about.

Look for my review of the frame in a month or two after I’ve had a chance to fly it a bit. Cheers!

References:

BeeRotor F3 set-up guide: Link – Nathan Vertile’s Blog
Bolt 180 build video: Link – Youtube (spdfx)
RCGroups Thread: Link

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