Friday, December 11, 2015

Eachine Racer 250 - How Does Openpilot Compare to APM/Pixhawk

I saw a good deal on for a small ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) Quad called the Eachine Racer 250 and went ahead and purchased it.  It is a 250 sized unit with the FPV built in, includes a battery, and charger, and cost around $125.  I added a spare Orange DSMX receiver and a Spectrum DX4e transmitter and was up and running!  It sends video to my 5.8 GHz integrated receiver-monitor and works like a charm.  Build quality is good for the price, packaging was good, and it is designed well.  As usual, there are NO INSTRUCTIONS from the Chinese manufacturer in the box and you have to hunt around on the web to find out how to set it up.  I found a few good Youtube videos and they guided me through setup without a problem.

The only thing that was challenging was my lack of knowledge of the flight controller, the CC3D, an open source flight controller that is somewhat different from the APM or Pixhawk.  I again queried the web and found the ground controller for Openpilot, which supports CC3D hardware.  I downloaded the software, installed it, connected USB to the quad, and followed the instructions in the video.

The quad flew, but was very sensitive to control inputs, too much for my flying skill.  I again went to the web, found some tutorials, and tried to fix the settings.  The tutorials were out of date so I went to the wiki, which seems to be permanently down.  I then posted a question on and got some information.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a schism in the Openpilot community and it has split into three factions: Taulabs, Librepilot, and Openpilot.  While Openpilot works, it does not seem to have as much support as it used to.  The other 2 options seem to be works in progress.  APM and Pixhawk/PX4 are definitely better options if you have a choice.

But I did figure out how to desensitize the quad using the current Openpilot and it flew well in a couple of outdoor test flights.  Stay tuned for more info.


  1. The Eachine brand bought me first with their H8 Mini model, but when they presented the 250 racer, they showed that they really mean business ;) This is a pure-blooded racer and it is unbelievable how fast it can go and how durable it is, plus how great it handles. For much more information on this model, I suggest checking out a review I found on the web. You can check it out here: