A couple of weeks ago, I got wind of a new all in one flight controller catering to us brushless whoop and toothpick fanatics but not just a new flight-controller - a new company: NamelessRC or NLRC for short.
They reached out to me and asked me if I would be interested to take a closer look at their product - sure, I always like to check out new gear. So they sent me one of their NLRC AIO412 and one NLRC AIO412T flight-controllers. In this article I will show you what the differences are and maybe help you to decide which one is the right one for you. The T in AIO412T supposedly stands for “Toothpick”.
I briefly spoke to Bob Roogi (KababFPV) who heavily consulted on this all in one flight-controller (especially the T model) - he basically did the layout of this FC. So just based on that, I would assume it to be a pretty solid product - but honestly, like with a lot of things in this hobby - only time will tell.
Bob also mentioned that NamelessRC unfortunately did not follow all of his recommendations and suggestions - he for example wanted the pads to be a little more spaced out and the pads for the capacitor to be the same size as the pads for the battery connector.
Let’s first have a look at what the two flight-controller versions have in common:
- Both are all in one flight-controllers in the whoop form factor (26.5 x 26.5mm mounting pattern)
- You can get both in a version with and without the motor headers populated - this is great for people who want to save weight, they will no longer have to tediously de-solder those sockets
- They both support 2-4S HV batteries
- Both come with a current sensor
- The ESC’s are rated for a continuous current draw of 12A and a peak current of 15A - pretty impressive!
- 2.5A BEC - I think this is the most powerful BEC I have seen on one of those AIO boards yet - should be plenty to power all your peripherals, without risking to fry the BEC
- Clean work - the flight-controllers seem to be very cleanly manufactured: no blobs of flux, the solder joints look very clean and the components are all very well aligned
- Both have pads to connect a buzzer
- Maybe not something that you have to mention at this day and age anymore, but they both come with an integrated OSD
- XT30 plug pre-soldered (although I think, that they were only pre soldered with the review units to make sure that the reviewers don’t get one that is DOA). Since those boards cater to rather higher S builds, they decided to populate the power connection with an XT30 connector
- Both boards come with mounting grommets and screws. Further you will also receive the motor connector sockets, in case you went with the un-populated version and changed your mind
- You can use a wide array of receivers with both boards. Both boards come with an inverted pad for SBUS
- Two UARTS are broken out, one of which is used for your receiver, the other one can be used for example for Smart Audio
- An LED pad is also available on both boards
- Both versions came flashed with a recent version of Betaflight (4.0.4)
What sets them apart?
The NLRC AIO412T generally has bigger pads which makes it so much easier to solder your wires. It comes with two options of soldering the motor wires, you can either use the through hole pads with the sockets for the motor plugs, or simply wire your motors to the extended motor pads. The T board is also slightly larger: 33 x 33mm instead of the 29 x 29mm of the NLRC AIO412.
The AIO412T comes with a capacitor and has dedicated pads for the cap to be soldered to.
The solder pads are populated on both sides of the board, so no matter in which direction you decide to mount your board in, you will always have easy access to the solder pads.
The USB port is mounted sideways on the NLRC AIO412T, this allows you to keep your stack a bit lower and might be especially interesting for people who want to use their boards on tooth pick styled frames and still be able to easily access the USB port without having to take the copter apart.
The AIO412T is half gram heavier (4.7g without the cable) than the AIO412 (4.2g) - that’s the price you have to pay to be able to more easily solder to your flight controller, also you actually pay a little more for the AIO412T. The NLRC AIO412 is available for about 37$ from banggood and the T version is available for 45$.
Who is it for
In my opinion the AIO412T is currently the best choice if you are going for a toothpick styled build. Also if you are planning on a light weight 3” build the AIO412T might be a good choice for you the 12A ESC’s should provide plenty of power.
If you are going for a ducted, brushless whoop, I think the AIO412 with the USB port on the bottom will be a better fit. Most currently available whoop frames allow the USB port on the bottom to be easily accessed anyways.
You might also want to consider the NLRC AIO412 flight-controller if you are fed up with the reliability of the Crazybee boards and simply want a drop in replacement.
Be aware that this flight-controller will only work on 2S setups and up.
Up till now, I only had praise for those boards, but there is always something that can be improved on:
- No integrated RX: I know, this will be controversial and people will disagree with me, but I would really love to see a version with integrated receiver. Especially for whoops where you are not planning on going long range, this would be a great option - it would save you a couple of grams overall.
- Conformal coating: OK, now this is really nit-picking but I would appreciate if they would conformal coat the PCB - just to give you the extra level of protection against moisture.
What I really would like to see in future iterations of this flight controller is a flash for Blackbox logging, does not have to be a big one, 8MB are plenty. And off course BLHELI_32 ESC’s - it would be awesome to have RPM filtering on our small quadcopters - I have RPM filtering enabled on one of my 5” builds and I now want it on all of my builds - it’s really awesome.
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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