Congratulations on your Purchase!
We would like to start by congratulating you on your Vortex 150 purchase, and thank you for your support. This blog entry is created to help customers get up to speed with the latest changes, developments (and erratas) related to the 150.
First Things First – Blade Version Default Tune
This one is a bit embarrassing… we shipped one of the top racers (Chad Nowak, FGA) to China to personally test and tune the first 150 off of the production line. Chad tuned the quad, and his tune is stored in the pro-tunes memory of the quad. It is, however (the embarrassing part) not the default tune when the quad is first run through the wizard.
So.. even if no other changes are made, please load Chad’s pro-tune (labelled FGA), it will be a lot more ‘locked in’ than the default.
TNR Wand Compatibility
Another embarrassing one, after we shipped the first 150s it came to light that some of the first batch of TNR Wands (those marked ‘v1.0‘ on the lower label) do not work well with the Vortex 150.
This is related to the complexities of talking to a NFC tag sandwiched between a plate of conductive carbon and a printed circuit board designed to carry high currents.
As always, we stand behind our products, and our service centers are ready to modify these early wands to increase range fairly dramatically, not only for the compatibility with the 150, but for any Tramp TNR Tag which is located close to carbon frames.
If you would like your wand modified, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and your closest service center will get back to you.
(Note that in the unlikely event that you have access to surface-mount rework equipment, or know someone locally who does, they can also supply you with the document explaining the modification.. basically just 4 SMT capacitors)
Firmware Upgrade Highly Recommended
As usual, in the time that it takes for our production line to build the first batch of quads, our firmware development team has been beavering away and has the first firmware update finished.
This update includes the OSD firmware, and a minor tweak to BetaFlight (to increase DSMX Tx control reliability).
v220.127.116.11 / BF v3.0.2 Change List
- When the quad is powered up in pitstick mode, LED will flash white each time the reminder tone sounds. During this time, the power/channel/band may be sent from the Spektrum R/C Tx menu.
- PitStick mode corrected for the more obscure stick modes (modes 1, 3, 4), always using the stick which does not contain the throttle.
- Flight mode is shown always in the start menu, and in the after-flight summary (Acro/Level/etc. )
- Air-mode enabled only when in Acro mode to make it easier for beginners.
- Default pro-tune fixed, and Chad Nowak’s beginner tune added
- Current sensor calibration tweaked for more accurate battery life information based on final production quad.
- Camera settings OSD warning adds instructions for how sticks operate the camera’s OSD.
Firmware Upgrade Procedure
Upgrading the firmware on the Vortex 150 Mini is fairly simple, and relies upon the ‘Vortex Configurator‘, a chrome app which is compatible with OSX and Windows PCs.
This may be downloaded here.
- To prepare the quad for update, PLEASE REMOVE ALL PROPS!. This avoids any nasty surprises in the unlikely case that the upgrade procedure fails.
- Download the firmware package from here.
- Connect the 150 Mini to the PC/Mac using a micro-USB cable (ensuring that it is a ‘full’ cable and not just a power-only cable shipped with some devices)
- Start the Vortex Configurator and click on the Flash Firmware button.
- Select the OSD firmware file that was downloaded above, and wait for the progress bar to complete.
- Close the Vortex Configurator, and re-open before flashing the Flight Controller code.
- Repeat the process using the betaflight hex file (note that betaflight may indeed flashed using the Vortex Configurator, and does not need the BetaFlight Configurator).
Notes on Battery and Prop selection
For pilots entering the 150 scene from the more common 250-sized quads, there are a few points to watch out for:
- The 1300mAh 4s packs that 250 quads typically use are far too heavy for the 150, and will almost definitely result in damage upon the first serious crash.
- The Blut-nose 3″ props that are suitable for 2204 motors will almost definitely result in damage to the 150 Mini’s ESCs, please avoid using them, and instead use the recommended (might lighter) 3x3x3 props.
For batteries, 500mAh 4s is the smallest pack that may be comfortably used. The development team routinely flies with 850mAh 4s HV packs (Turnigy Bolt 850), and these will give a bit more flight time for the racetrack. Anything bigger than this is not recommended.
For suitable props, RaceKraft 3x3x3s are durable, and ideal for the Vortex 150, as are the supplied HQ 3x3x3 PC props.
4-blade variants have successfully been used, and give a little more power to carve around a track.