The AE65 is the Aniversary Edtion of the US65. Aniversary in this context means anniversary of Eachine as a company, not the copter itself. So: Happy 7th birthday to you, Eachine.
According to the product description the AE65 is limited to 500 pieces, but you can basically get everything as a spare part and build it from scratch, once the “limited edition” is sold out.
The whoop weighs in at around 21.5g without a battery, which is actually not too bad at all.
Thanks to banggood who were kind enough to send me this model for the purpose of review.
- Batteries & Charger
- Motors & Props
- Frame & Canopy
The board comes flashed with Betaflight 3.5.7 I really do not understand why they would not go with a current version.
Another thing that is annoying me with the default settings is, that the displayed voltage is not correct. Instead of showing 4.35V when attaching a fully charged 1S, HV battery, the OSD shows 4.2V. The battery alarm is set to go off at 2.9V, resulting in 3.5V resting voltage. Not a great setting if you care about your batteries and want to use them for a bit.
The ESC’s were flashed with BLHELI_M, 96kHz version 16.7 out of the box, which is pretty cool in my opinion. But since they opted to go with Betaflight 3.5.7 they missed out on a big feature: RPM filters.
I honestly could not be bothered to improve the settings on 3.5.7 and instead flashed Betaflight 4.2.3 since I wanted to be up to date and use RPM filters anyway.
The flight controller is a CrazybeeX v1.0 board. A 5A, all in one flight-controller. And this one really has everything on board: flight-controller, ESC’s, SPI receiver and even a video transmitter.
You can get the the flight-controller with on board FrSky or FlySky SPI receiver. Alternatively you can get it with an external R-XSR or Crossfire receiver. I got mine with the integrated D8 FrSky receiver.
The video transmitter - although being on board - is internally connected via UART 2 and you can adjust it via IRC SmartAudio. The output power is 25mW and can not be increased - which for me, being from the EU, is not really a big deal, but is definitely something you might want to consider.
The quality of the video signal is OK. In my opinion all my whoops with dedicated video transmitter have a better signal quality. Interestingly I do not have the flickering that I had on the UZ85, maybe since this one is only powered by a 1S battery.
Batteries & Charger
The set comes with four batteries and a battery charger which can charge six batteries at the same time, irrespective of their charging state. You also get a 12V, 3A power supply (although I think they are only available with the US plug, at least that’s what I got, being from the EU).
The batteries are Eachine branded 1S, 250mAh HV batteries that come with an ET2.0 connector. The ET2.0 connector is said to be compatible to the GNB27 connector.
I do not know how they compare to the original GNB27 connector, but I am probably going to mod it them to a solid pin PH2.0 connector, since this is the plug that I basically use on all my 1S whoops.
I really do not like the ET2.0 connector at all. None of the four batteries that I got fit fully into the plug. They also do not fully fit into the charging ports and they are super hard to get apart once plugged in. This got a bit better after some usage though.
The internal resistance is at about 120mΩ on average (180mΩ was the highest reading on one of the four batteries) - which is actually pretty high and explains why the batteries get so hot. In comparison: my 1S 300mAh GNB batteries have an internal resistance of 90mΩ.
Another thing that I do not like about the included batteries is, that they are very lose in the battery tray. I ended up wrapping them in electrical tape to prevent them from simply sliding out during flight. Actually this is less an issue with the batteries and more an issue with the frame, since 1S, 300mAh GNB batteries have exactly the same “problem”.
Flight time with the default settings, out of the box is around 2:00 to 2:30 and the pack comes down super hot. This is with the battery being charged to HV and a resting voltage of 3.7V. After upgrading to Betaflight 4.2.3 and enabeling RPM filters I get a flight time of a bit over three minutes, resting voltage again being 3.7V.
The charger can charge up to six batteries at once. Each channel has a PH2.0 and an ET2.0 plug. Further, each port can be adjusted between 4.2V and 4.35V. Current can be set either to 0.25A or 0.5A per channel.
The case is very flimsy and does not induce confidence, still the charger basically does, what it is supposed to do.
The charger can be powered via included 12V power supply or via a 3S battery with XT60 connector. There is also a USB A port, in case you want to charge your phone form the charger, which I think is a nice touch.
When set to 4.35V, my charger will only charge to 4.31V and I do not really see any way to calibrate it. At least the charger is not over charging the batteries.
The charger also has a small display (three, 7 segment displays) which cycles through all the ports and shows input and output voltages accordingly.
Each port has an LED which is blinking while no battery is connected or charging is finished an is steadily on while the attached battery is being charged.
I am sure there are plenty of other batteries that will fit the tray - it is big enough…
The cam is a Caddx Ant Lite, having an image ration of 16:9. I personally do not have a problem with that, but I know that this will be a hard pass for a lot of people that just prefer a 4:3 aspect ratio that is not squished or cut off in their goggles.
Same as with the cam that I got with the URUAV UZ85, I have black corners on the bottom. As mentioned in my other review, there are people having black corners on top, or none at all. In my experience it is just luck of the draw - as with all Caddx products.
One cool thing for a cam of this size is, that you get a joystick to adjust the camera’s settings to your liking. Would have been great if Image ratio would have been a setting in there too…
Motors & Props
The motors are NX0802, 22000KV motors and are basically a newer version of the SE0802 motors, at least from what I understand. They are shaped very much like the iFlight Xing 0802 motors. For indoors I usually prefer 19000KV motors.
The motors are rather notchy, I’d say they feel really similar to the SE0802 motors.
Frame & Canopy
As mentioned before, the battery compartment on the frame is way too big - even if you use 1S, 300mAh batteries, the batteries will simply slide out or at least move around during flight. Further, the whoop stands on the battery tray instead of the motor mounts - this is a pet peeve of mine, I just cannot stand that on 1S whoops, where this is easily preventable.
A big plus is definitely the durability of the frame. After dozens of crashes, absolutely no issues here.
The canopy is the same that also comes with the UZ85. In contrast to the UZ85 I do not have issues with the camera popping in after a crash, I guess the lower weight of the 65mm whoop helps quite a lot here.
The camera angle is slightly adjustable although I wish it would be possible to decrease the angle a bit more, especially for indoor flying. But you can easily remove some of the part that is preventing the camera from tilting less.
The AE65 comes with a small screw driver, a spare set of props a prop tool and the joystick for adjusting the camera. It also comes with a a charger, power supply and batteries, which I have mentioned before in more detail.
All of this comes in a really nice carrying case - which in my opinion is really the highlight of the whole deal.
I actually really like the performance. The flight time is really great, as mentioned before I get around 3:00 minutes indoors with the included 250mAh batteries.
The default tune was OK, I only gave it a couple of packs though, since I wanted to upgrade to a newer Betaflight version.
In case you are interested in my 4.2.3 settings, you can download the dump here. Keep in mind, that my dump uses RPM filters and expects you to have BLHELI_M or JESC flashed, but BLHELI_M is flashed by default, so you should be good to go.
I cut off a bit of the top of the canopy to get a slightly lower cam tilt, which helps quite a lot with flying in my flat.
Flying Acro is also possible, and with RPM filters I have almost no yaw washout and prop wash.
In case you want to get the spare parts to build from scratch here they are:
- Frame: US/DE65 Pro (not available in transparent yet)
- Motors: NX0802, 22000KV - not available yet, use SE0802, 22000KV instead
- Props: Gemfan 1219-3
- Flight-controller: CrazybeeX v1.0
- Cam: Caddx Ant Lite
- Batteries: Eachine 1S, 250mAh ET2.0
- Battery charger (not available with ET2.0 connector yet)
- Power supply 12V, 3A with barrel plug
As you might have guessed from my review I am a bit hesitant to recommend the AE65 kit at all. In my opinion you are better off buying the parts and building your own or getting the iFlight Alpha A65 instead.
There are a couple of parts including the case that I really like, and I am not sure if spending 99$ is worth it. On the other hand if you are keen on the charger, the batteries and the power supply, it might still be a good deal just for the parts. You could swap the frame later on, once the stock one breaks.
Build your own!
The motors and flight-controller are decent components in my opinion. Just get a BetaFPV Meteor 65 frame, the Ant Lite with 4:3 aspect ratio and the canopy. For almost the same price you then have a pretty solid whoop that has none of the criticized short-comings.
Chris is a Vienna based software developer. In his spare time he enjoys reviewing tech gear, ripping quads of all sizes and making stuff.
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