If you’re in the northern hemisphere, odds are things are starting to get a little chilly when it comes to outdoor drone flights. And as winter takes over from fall, that’s only going to get worse. The solution: Fly a BETAFPV rig that can safely be flown indoors. Even better, learn FPV while you’re at it.
And best of all? With a special discount code we’re offering at the end of this story, you can score 20% off on many products!
Flying FPV is a blast. But, as many readers will attest, it can be challenging – and pricey – to get going. Yes, there are products like DJI’s FPV drone that can really ease the learning curve. But that drone is a significant investment, and not suitable (at all) for flying inside a house – unless you don’t mind breaking things. Shenzhen’s BETAFPV, known for its broad selection of micro drones, cine-whoops and even 360° drones, has a solution. It has a number of small products that can be safely flown inside the home and will get you up to speed in the world of FPV.
And hey – that sounds like a pretty good way to spend some time when the snow is howling outside. (And if you don’t have impending snow, consider yourself lucky!)
Cetus X FPV Kit
We’re going to look today at one of BETAFPV’s new all-in-one kits, the Cetus X.
The Cetus series was first launched in 2021, with the goal of providing new FPV pilots with a platform that could be flown both indoors and outdoors, and which offers the option of more stable flight modes to help a beginner learn the ropes.
As your skills progress, settings can be tweaked to allow for full acrobatic flight. But if you’re starting out, you’ll be grateful for features such as altitude hold (coming soon on the model with the Cetus Flight Controller) – which allows for a stable hover with hands off the sticks. This can *really* help a beginner get the hang of things, especially indoors where there’s not as much room for error.
A complete RTF system
For someone getting started in the FPV world, there’s a lot to be said for an affordable kit that includes everything you need to get started. And here, the Cetus X ticks a lot of boxes. The package includes:
- Cetus X microdrone
- The newer LiteRadio 3, which supports an external TX module
- VR03 goggles, which include a DVR recorder (MicroSD) to capture flights
- Four 1S 450mAh batteries (it runs two at once, equivalent to 2S)
- Battery charger, USB-C cable, extra props
- Compact carrying case
Here’s a look at what’s in the box – which is absolutely everything you need to get flying. (In this image, the straps for the goggles are not yet attached.)
We’ll get to more details about the various components in a moment. First, though, it’s worth noting that the BETAFPV Cetus X FPV kit has a very cool feature for those starting out.
And what’s that feature? The LiteRadio 3 (which has greater range than previous Cetus radios) can connect directly to your laptop and allow you to practice sim flights. I tried that out, downloading the recent LIFTOFF Micro Drones sim via Steam. Worked like a charm, and you can even select the Cetus Pro drone to fly:
The drone itself
The Cetus X has a pretty good list of features, including the ability (depending on the flight controller you select) to connect with Betaflight Configurator and tweak various performance parameters. Here’s the down-low drone specs, taken straight from BETAFPV:
- Wheelbase: 95mm
- Weight: 55g
- FC: F4 1S 12A FC
- Motors: 1103 11000KV Motor
- Props: Gemfan 2020 4-Blades Props
- Camera: C04 FPV Camera (Caddx Nano Ant Camera/Runcam Nano 4)
- Camera Adjustable Angle: 0°-40°
- Receiver Protocol: ELRS 2.4G (Betaflight)/Frsky D8 (Cetus)
- VTX: M04 25-400mW VTX
- Flight time: 5 mins
Notable in the above is the ability to adjust the camera angle depending on the type of flying you’re doing. And here the Cetus X has a somewhat interesting feature. Rather than tilting the camera within the canopy, the entire canopy tilts. Initial impressions are that this might be a more solid option offering greater protection for the camera itself. You can see what we’re talking about in the next photo: The canopy and camera are tilted down for more sedate, horizontal flight:
The Cetus X is fun to fly and pretty responsive right out of the box. The quasi-ducted design protects the propellors well, and the stacking of two 1S batteries obviously gives it a bit of extra oomph over smaller micro drones. The ability to purchase a Betaflight-compatible flight controller is a good one, allowing experienced pilots to dial it in to their preferences, while also offering newer pilots a chance to start learning about the powerful (and initially intimidating) tool. So the kit is a great place to start.
That being said, there are a couple of small caveats.
The goggles do the trick, absolutely. But if you wear glasses and have an average-size head, you’ll be challenged to get those glasses inside the goggles (at least I was, because I have kind of a large head). In fact, I was unable to use them – though they did lock onto the Cetus X with ease and produced a very clear image. But because I really do need my glasses, I had to dust off my old Quantum Cyclops and connect with the Cetus X in order to fly.
While flying using the Cyclops, I recorded on the VR03 goggles. The built-in DVR is a great feature, but don’t expect stellar captures. Here’s a screen grab from an indoor flight I took with a decent amount of light. Though the resolution isn’t anything to write home about, it does have a great wide-angle field-of-view and does the job.
Considering everything you’re getting in the BETAFPV Cetus X FPV kit, it’s not that much of a downside.
It’s all about perspective
Okay, so the DVR isn’t the hottest and if you wear glasses and have a larger head you might face some challenges with the goggles. That challenge can probably be overcome with some cheap, small-frame readers. And pilots who don’t require glasses won’t face an issue. The goggles also feature an articulating antenna, which is a step up from previous iterations and extends the range.
So what do you get for your $289.99? Well, with the above caveats in mind, you get a very good all-in-one, ready-to-fly FPV experience. You get the added bonus of being able to run the radio with multiple sim programs, and the option of exploiting (or learning about) all that Betaflight has to offer. It ships default with the Betaflight controller at the moment, with the Cetus FC (which allows for altitude hold) coming soon for an extra $20. The drone design also appears to be pretty rugged, which is particularly useful for those at the starting end of the learning curve. (I’ve crashed a couple of times with no issues.)
For a beginner, this is an excellent way to get going. And by the time you’re really proficient, it should be warm enough to take the Cetus X outdoors. I’ve flown the Cetus Pro ($229.99) and it’s also a great option.
You can find out more details about the Cetus X here. FYI, the Betaflight FC version is $289.99 US, and the forthcoming Cetus FC version is priced at $309.99.
Wait, there’s more! Exclusive DroneDJ discount…
With Black Friday finally here, BETAFPV is offering a site-wide sale on most products offering 15% off. There are a few exceptions (some products will have 10% off). But the big news is this: Due to a long relationship with BETAFPV, we are able to offer DroneDJ readers an extra special deal. If you use the code DRONEDJ22BF at checkout, many items will be available for 20% off!
Happy shopping; happy flying. And, if you are celebrating, happy Thanksgiving!