In December 2015, Extreme Fliers launched the ‘Micro Drone 3.0’ crowd-funder, just this past month they have updated the original design and we’ve managed to get our hands on one for review and we’re unofficially calling it ‘Micro Drone 3.1’!
Back in February, we gave the original Micro Drone 3.0 a thorough test and review, now watch our updated Micro Drone 3.1 review below for full details of the improvements that have been made:
Backers and regular customers have generally been impressed with Micro Drone 3.0 but it has suffered from a number of teething problems.
- Weak arms which break during a light crash.
- Snapped motor spindles.
- Burnt PCB/MOFETS.
- Bent/damaged battery pins.
But Extreme Fliers are demonstrating agile design by releasing an updated version of the original build which has a selecction of improvements which address the most common complaints.
It is unclear just how or if this new design will be offered to existing owners of the first generation design, but Extreme Fliers have hinted towards an ‘upgrade offer’ of some sort and have already published an ‘upgraded’ chassis on their shop site, priced at $55/£61.
The changes/improvements in detail are as follows:
- Modified the motor arms to 4mm to make the structure more robust, this is a trade off between having a lightweight frame using the 3mm arms (which are more susceptible to damage) but could carry more weight. So we will still have the 3mm arms as an option for those who prefer light and nimble
- Strengthened the battery, in particular the casing around the plug where the pins insert, this stops it from cracking in the event of a hard landing.
- Changed the motor arms/PCB socket to a 4 pin plug, this separates the LED from the motor for reliability, as some backers found the LED would sometimes die.
- Tighter motor holder that reduces the likelihood of the motor slipping down.
- Adjustments to the voltage regulator for better motor speed consistency when applying full speed (such as punching the throttle), it will now fly straight up in a vertical line and have less prop wash when descending.
- Modified the motor shaft to 1.2mm from 1mm which protects it from getting bent in the event of the Drone slamming into the ground (note the propeller hole is bigger for this motor, so backers need to check they are ordering the right one when getting spares).
- Stronger prop guards (slightly thicker build-up of material around the attaching parts), these are designed for practicing indoor flying only, take them off for outdoor flying otherwise it becomes susceptible to buffeting from the wind.
- New coating on the shell, more glossy than the first production run.
- New coating on the handset and new scratch resistant stickers gives a nicer finish.
- Overall much better quality control in the manufacturing process, we have developed new processes for assembly with new jigs for each step (such as a press for inserting the propeller onto the motor at a set pressure and inserts it vertically onto the motor), new automated tools and testing procedures such as propeller balancing that ensures there is consistency of quality in the finished Drones.
There is unfortunately no positive news concerning improvements to the fulfillment process itself, this will frustrate backers whom are still yet to receive anything at all. The mythical ‘gimbal perk’ is also yet to reveal itself and Extreme Fliers are being pushed to release a demonstration video to show that it actually even exists and functions.
There is however one benefit to being a late receiver of MD3, those backers will get the latest and improved version, therefore the delay actually becomes a bonus, but impatience is setting in for some backers.
Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel for the latest updates on Micro Drone 3.0 (3.1) as well as Part 2 of this review.
You can see our original review of Micro Drone 3.0 below (apologies for the poor audio quality):
Are you a Micro Drone backer? What do you think of the above improvements? Comment below and also join the DroningON Discussion Group.