TEST: Eachine E013 “Small Pepper”

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INTRODUCTION

After the Eachine E010S, the Eachine E013 represents another 65mm TinyWhoop clone. The E013 still integrates a non-open flight controller with 6-axis stabilized flight mode only but the FPV AIO camera is upgraded for a 1000TVL CMOS model. Two E013 options are proposed one with a 3″ FPV VR006 mask and one without . The massive argument for the E013 is main probably its price: about 66 USD for FPV quad, the radio and the FPV mask. This E013 clearly targets beginners who want to be introduced into FPV with a small indoors machine. Let’s have a look to this tiny whoop competitor.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x Eachine E013
+ 1 x 200mAh 1S LiPo with JST ZH 1.5mm connector
+ 1 x Transmitter (using 3xAAA batteries not included)
+ 1 x USB charging cable
+ 4 x Spare props (2 CW, 2 CCW)
+ 1 x Screwdriver
+ 1 x VR006 3″ FPV mask
+ 1 x Headstrap
+ 1 x 5.8G linear antenna
+ 1 x Sticker
+ 1 x Instruction manual (English)

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OVERVIEW

The advertized caracterics indicate that we have 6mmx15mm brushed motors installed but no information about their corresponding RPM.

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Of course, we still have a duct prop system in theory boosting the powerlift but also impacting negatively the maximum foward/backward velocity. It’s not a big deal since the E013 target pricize indoors FPV flight in very tiny spaces.

-FRONT VIEW
The E013 now offers a full canopy covering & protecting the AIO FPV camera. The linear 5.8G antenna is installed vertically, a good point to optimize the FPV range.

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The M7 lens is well protected from any type of crash.

-SIDE VIEW
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No miracle, no sign of microUSB port for a potential firmware uprade. The system is a closed one with a proprietary FC. So no (easy) way to change PID settings for example.

-REAR VIEW
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-UPPER VIEW
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on the left of the antenna, a unique button to control the 40CH 5.8G VTX.

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-BOTTOM VIEW
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With the battery inserted via the JST-ZH connector

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Just a small blue light indicates the power status.

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In practice, the battery blocks a bit the LiPo insertion.

“2310” MOSFET are installed on the bottom side of the main PCB

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-WEIGHT
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25g in total, so with a 200mAh LiPo is one of the lightest machine in the market.

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Motors

Standard 0615 motors…. and no information about their RPM…. In practice, they are a bit disapointing…. The machine requires tp push the throttle at least about 70% to gain altitude…. Clearly some stronger/faster motors are required for a future upgrade.

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LiPo

A 200mAh 1S LiPo with 35C as discharge rate. It’s a good discharge rate, strong enough to handle both motors and the AIO camera even for low voltage conditions.

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JST -ZH with a pitch of 1.5mm

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Camera module

The E013 integrates now a 1000TVL CMOS camera, but no information about the light sensitivity and the general SNR, two others important parameters to check. The lens is in M7 format with 120degrees of Field Of View.

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The lens is almost aligned horizontally with any specific uptilt angle.

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In practice, the camera offers vivid colors and the light sensitivity is really acceptable. A good camera

Here is a raw video sample (turn off sound)

FPV mask

The full bundle comes with the Eachine VR006, a 3″ FPV mask. Despite being based on small builtin LCD screen, the monitor is able to display 500×300 resolutions. So not enough for natice PAL (720×576@25fps) or NTSC (720×480@30fps) résolutions.

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A 3.5mm jack connector is installed on top for AVin sources.

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In fact, the mask is not exactly the same as for the VR006. Here we have only one antenna connector while the VR006 got two. A plastic pad covers the room for the second RP-SMA connector. It’s not a big deal because even for the VR006, we don’t have a true diversity system. The VR006 has one unique receiver but with two antenna’inputs. The two signals are merged into the RC chip. I don’t have information how the merging is done, but the operation must be done super carefully, especially the phase difference between both signals must be coorectly estimated. If not the merged signal can be even weaker/destroyed than one signal individually.

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The right button is the on/off button if you press on it more than 5S. Is shortly press, it runs the scanning procedure. Yoy may need to run the scan severail time to pick up correctly the right Vfreq. If not, your FPV range can be drastically reduced or you receive a corrupted signal, in black and white for example.

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WIth a 3″ LCD screen the immersion feeling is clearly less impressive versus any 5″, 7″ model. More since the screen is in 4:3 format, the FOV seems even more limited. Here is an internal view

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In another hand, the rendition is really good for a 3″ model…. The main problem is the short distance betwwen the Fresnel lens and the top facial sponge…. just a couple of cm…. It means, you will need a perfect view (> 10/10) to enjoy the FPV signal perfectly. If you don’t have such (I would say for most of us, it will be blurry. The opening is also narrow…. so almost impossible to wear corrective glasses with the VR006. A lot of YouTube VR006 mods are already published to fix/improve to focusing.

Disassembling

A proprieatry FC….. where we have a large 2-in-1 module including the main ARM core and 2.4G receiver chip The other chip is the accelero/gyro chip. The 2.4G antenna is installed horizontally … a pretty bad orientation to maximize the control range.

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With the antenna mod

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Transmitter

A compact radio with metal stick extender (one of missing in my parcel 🙁 ). Two shoulder buttons…. the left to select one of the three speed modes while the top right engages a 360 flips

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In practice, the rates are fast…. especially for the yaw command. IMHO, the yaw rate is too fast to fly super precisely in super tiny spaces. A headless mode is here via the top left main panel button.

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It’s possible to calibrate the gyros by pushing both sticks in lower-right position.

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Unfortunatly also for the transmitter, there is a no-name 2-in-1 chip as MCU + RF chip. It will be almost impossible to capture SPI data for a potential protocol hacking. More the E013 don’t bind any existing other radios AFAIK 🙁 🙁 …… so no possibility to fly this machine with a better radio at least in a close future.

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UNBOXING, ANALYSIS AND DEMO FLIGHT

First remark, it’s not possible to guess the current selected Vfreq/Vband by transparency through the canopy. You will need to detach the top canopy element to see them well during the VTX Vfreq/Vband definition. To definitively bind the machine, you need to push up and down the throttle stick until yoy hear a beep. The machine take off from 50-55%…. so clearly motors are very standard without high RPM value. No specific boost can’t be obtained from them … By consequence, the machine has a poor ascent rate….. and be aware to recover some altitudes…. there will be some inertia in the throttle command. Anyway, the E013 is super stable and hover amazingly well…. Despite the fast yaw rate, it’s possible to obtain relatively precise controls for tiny spaces flight slaloms …. The quality of the FPV signal is very nice…. but the range not the best among the 25mW AIO VTX I was able to test. Don’t worry, it’s largely enough to cross several walls of an house…. As you can see on the video, I was able to fly around the garden while being Inside. Some statics appears after crossing 3 walls…. but all indoors FPV signal was really good. A good point. With the ultra simple antenna mod I performed, the control range was hugely boosted…. not problem to fly above 30-40m…. It’s enough for most indoors FPV applications. So the receiver antenna mod is the minimum mod highly recommended. In term of durability, I crashed it many time without any problem. The flight time for the charges of the battery is about 3min30. then after few cycles will increase to 4min-4min30. If you want longer flight time, a 250mAh battery model can boost flight duration up to 5min without problem. If at beginning, we could regret the absence of any acro flight mode, since the motors are just standard, they wouldn’t be really compatible with acro style figures…. so no real regret to have here.

CONCLUSIONS

A very pleasant tinywhoop clone with better FPV camera than their former Eachine E010C. A serious candidate for being the first compact indoors FPV trainer for beginners… Winter is coming so….. At least standalone, the E013 is recommanded over the E010C. Now if you are not interested by the FPV mask option, is the E013 better than the E010S ? IMHO no …. due to the presence of weaker motors and a non-open FC. For the FPV mask bundle, the total price is very interesting for a complete bundle but…. I would advise only if you have a perfect view. If not, to mod the VR006 to obtain a better focusing can be a bit difficult. My last little concern is about the introduction one more time of a new radio protocol. Here bye bye the Banyang comptability as for the E010C…. so no DeviationTX support.

PROS

+ Good indoors FPV trainer
+ Cheap & complete FPV bundle
+ Good AIO FOV camera
+ Good 3″ builtin LCD scren for the FPV mask
+ ~4min of flight time
+ Look

CONS

– Lack a bit of powerlift
– Only 6-axis stabilized flight mode
– FPV mask will be out of focus for most of users
– YaP (Yet another Protocol)

This quadcopter have been courtesy provided by Banggood in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thank them for this attitude.
You can find it actually for 66USD at https://www.banggood.com/Eachine-E013-Micro-FPV-Racing-Quadcopter-With-5_8G-1000TVL-40CH-Camera-VR006-VR-006-3-Inch-Goggles-p-1182628.html

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