TEST: SPCMaker SPC-K1, the first <100mm FPV racer with a builtin Runcam Split Mini 2

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INTRODUCTION

The SPCMaker SPC-K1 represents a novel step forward in the compact FPV brushless world due to for the first time the integration of the new Runcam Split Mini 2 module. Thanks to it, you can broadcast the video signal for FPV application and simultaneously with very low latency record the native video source up to 1080p@60fps. More the SPC-K1 is a 95mm machine, so ultra compact and even 1,5 years it was pretty hard to imagine than such machine could emerge soon. The SPC-K1 integrates also a F4 based FC, strong 20A BLHeli_S/Dshot600 4-in-1 ESC coupled with 1105/6000Kv motors in order to be 4S compatible. For the 5.8G, a dedicaced board broadcasting the signal over 40CH with 25mW or 100mW of power transmission. The machine structure is mainly 3K carbon based.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x SPCMaker SPC-K1
+ 4 x props (2 CW, 2 CCW)
+ 4 x Prop guards
+ 1 x 10 M2 hexscrews
+ 1 x Battery strap
+ 2 x set of stickers

Notice the absolute absence of an instruction manual ….. not really professional for an end-users machine. Important remark, the provided hexscrews are for the guardless configuration. You will need to provide your own M2 hexscrews if you want to fly with propguards. No spare props or battery provided….

OVERVIEW

The machine is compact, holding perfectly in the hand’s palm. A 95mm machine. It’s impressive to have a 95mm 1080p@60 flying machine.

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On this photo, you can notice immediatly the really thin shape of the upper plate….. you can understand easily that most part of the electronic layers are directly exposed to latteral crashes….

The lower main structure including arms is 2.5mm thick….. In term of durability it’s not really a weak element but I would prefer more a 3mm solution. The arms would have been more solide … and it will reduce also vibrations….

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The upper layer is even thiner…. 1.5mm and linked with the bottom via classic aluminium standoff.s IMHO in case of massive frontal crashes, the standoff will break or be bent.

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To conclude about the frame, it’s far to be the most solid solution I saw. I guess the save maximum of weight….

-FRONT VIEW
The Emax 2″ props (Emax Avan Blur) represents the maximum size you can install. At least, good news, no prop occlusion will be noticed in the video.

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-SIDE VIEW
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From the left side we can see easily the two top layers wich are respectively the VTX board (upper) and the flight controller board linked togather via a small 6p connector. The third bord (from top) is the main Runcam split mini 2 where you can guess two small black micro switches. They are really tiny…. and you can even by accident touch the ESC’s pads while pressing them. More they can break relatively easily….The front button trigs the video recording. Notice, the autorecording option is turned on by default. At least don’t forget at the end of your flight to stop the current recording.

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Unfortunatly, the RunCam split Mini 2 UART port and not connected to one of the two free available on the FC. It means you can’t use the radio to trigger recording or to change a builtin camera option…. Only 2 wires are required for these connexions…. What’s a pity than it’s not done from factory.

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From the right side, we can see the unique button of the VTX. What’s a pity this board don’t support Smart Audio or IRC Tramp protocols …

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You can also guess the microSD slot. You will need to raise the metal tab to insert/eject the microSD card. Prefer a good class10 freshly formated in FAT32.

-REAR VIEW
If there are no LED lights…. at least and it’s the more important for me, there is a buzzer….. Not ultra loud but ok for a radius of 20m.

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-UPPER VIEW
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The 5.8G linear antenna is pretty close of the two 2.4G antennas of the FrSky receiver. Maybe to limit harmonics degradation, the two FrSky antennas should be installed more on the front part.

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-BOTTOM VIEW
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-WEIGHT
86g standalone

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and less than 150g with a 500mAh 4S LiPo !!!! Expect about 125g with a 3S/300-350mAh.

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Motors

Some SPCMaker 1105/6000Kv motors. Not too fast for being 4S compatible. It’s an excellent point. Now with such motors…. the quality of ball-bearings is a real important question….. in order to reduce vibration/increase longevity.

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Notice that motors are installed on black softmount TPU based. IMHO it’s not the best material to absorbe the more vibrations….

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Camera module and VTX

For the Runcam split mini 2, the camera module looks the same with two different FOV. A 130 degrees for the FPV section and 165 degrees for the HD recordings.

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The maximum uptilt angle you can set is about +35 degrees. In this position, the lens is not at 100% protected from a frontral crash.

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The Runcam split mini 2 comes with the Firmware V2.1 pre-installed. For future upgrade, you will need to copy the firmware bin file
in the root folder of your microSD card … then power on the machine. The procedure should takes a couple of minutes

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The Vfreq, Vband and outpower selection procedure is different from classic way. Basically you have two light leds to control the current Vfreq and Vband selected with binary coding. When you press 3s, both lights will turn off then you will have the red light flashing fast. Then by short pressing you will cycle between the eight Vfreq inside the current band. If you long press one more time than 3s, you will enter into the Vband submenu . If pressed 3s one more time then in the outpower menu

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Disassembling

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On the bottom side of the FC, two free UART ports are available. Ideal for example for the Runcam split mini 2 connexion and a SmartAudio compatible VTX…

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UNBOXING, ANALYSIS, CONFIGURATION AND DEMO FLIGHTS

The machine comes with an old betaflight version, the v3.2.4 (original dump zip file below). With this version, no support of smartaudio and runcam protocols. So if one day, you want to install the two wires linking the FC to the RCSM2, you will also need to upgrade Betaflight. I directly installed the version 3.5.2 and copied the PIDS settings found in the V3.2.54

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In the first video, in the last part flight section, you can notice huge amount of jello at least in 4S configuration… I tried other type of props…. no more better success. It’s annoying because the SPC-K1 flies beautifully and is ultrapowerfull. A lot of fun to fly this machine in acro. You can also notice that edges are blurred with the splut mini 2 combo…. At least the sound is well recorded dislike the first edition.

After some other investigation, I noticed I forgot to apply also the original filter settings.

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When fixed, results are better….. but I still have some remaining jellos ….. It’s really a frustrating situation because, you can feel you are close to a perfect situation if the filter and the softmount sections were a bit more efficient.

It’s also strange because another reviewer with the same machine and PID/filter settings got much better results than I have … Here is his results with a 3S LiPo

and mine with the same type of 300mAh 3S LiPo

I still have jello in 3S setup. Except another error of me, I don’t see any reason to not have such relatively good results. I will investigate more and probably later change softmount for this solution: https://www.banggood.com/8-PCS-EVA-Sponge-Vibaration-Isolation-Soft-Mount-for-1102-1106-Motor-for-RC-Multirotor-FPV-Racing-Drone-p-1138084.html

EDIT: With a bit of extra work, I have these results indoors for hovering conditions

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Seem most of jello are gone……… but need to be confirmed outdoors.

EDIT 11/02/2018: According to https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=40425517&postcount=71, the frame has been upgraded and now results are much better….

CONCLUSIONS

I got a mixed feeling with this machine. If you don’t bother to keep the last betaflight version, to not have the RSSI in your OSD layout, the control of split mini 2 via OSD, the SPC-K1 is great acro flyer especially in 4S configuration. You can obtain pretty good HD recordings if you are lucky or with a bit of jello like I have. Be aware, generally all the electronic elements are partially exposed to crash’s damages and the general frame solution is not the more durable you can find in the market. In another hand, if you think to find here everything well configured with smart audio, split mini 2 controls etc… it’s not the case at least out of the box. Some extra works are required…… and for me as a deluxe machine as the SPC-K1 can represent it’s not very acceptable.

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PROS

+ First 95mm with a builtin Runcan Split Mini 2
+ Good 1080p@60 videos
+ 86g machine !!!
+ Ultra powerfull in 4S (and already powerfull in 3S)
+ More than 5min of flight time with a 500mAh 4S LiPo
+ Fun acro machine
+ Record sound

CONS

– Presence of Jello in 3S & 4S configuration
– Electronic tower exposed to crash due to a shrinked upper carbon plate
– Fragile upper structure
– Come with an old Betaflight installed (3.2.4)
– FrSky receiver not flashed with the “RSSI” friendly firmware
– No instruction manual
– Absence of longer’s hexscrews for the propguard installation
– VTX not compatible with IRC Tramp/SmartAudio technologies
– Edges blurred (Runcam Split mini 2 known problem)
– No UART connexion between the Runcam split mini 2 and the flight controller

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 193USD at https://www.banggood.com/SPCMaker-SPC-K1-95mm-Omnibus-F4-20A-BL_S-FPV-Racing-Drone-PNP-BNF-w-RunCam-Split-Mini-2-Camera-p-1357411.html

9 Comments

  • Onclefly says:

    Je suis vraiment déçu par ce Spacemaker 95, le mien le premier et venu dans une belle housse et avec une batterie hélices et je sais plus quoi, celui-ci boite en carton et presque rien.
    En plus pas de smarth audio et le reste est pas mis au point plein de jello.
    Vraiment cher de plus donc a ne pas prendre.

  • Nikotttin says:

    Excellent review Seby! And tough one to review…
    Well done.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hi SeByDocKy,

    hope the video you linked to from Helicomicro is legit. The video from Heliomicro looks more sharp/clear/better colour than your demo. I have to wonder if this is really the K1 or are they tricking us ? Please compare your video footage to theirs. Let me know what you think.

  • Anonymous says:

    The Helicomicro video looks fake. I don’t think that is a run cam mini split 2. It’s probably a Go Pro 5. Please verify.

    • SeByDocKy says:

      Yes it’s a 100% verified video. I know personally the reviewer at helicomicro. So as I wrote, with the first batch of the K1, for some of them you can be almost in a Jellofree situation. With mine I was less lucky… but SPCmaker already did some modification in their frame and the camera holder to kill jello in the next batch. Now I don’t know which seller got the the new batch 🙁 …

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m glad you trust helicomicro. Forget the Jello, but the quality of camera in helicomicro looks so much better with clarity and color compared to your K1. I hope you can make a clear and clean video when you fix your k1.

        • SeByDocKy says:

          Take into consideration that I double encoded my video and each stage reduce the quality. Good news, SPCmaker will send me the new frame (or directly the new fixed K1). I will update the review with….

          • Anonymous says:

            I’m glad to hear your are getting the fixed K1. When you create the video, can you post a separate link to the video file (that has not been encoded) ? Anyways, why do you double encode ? The video looks good from Helicomicro, so please try to keep your video non-encoded. thank you.

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