I have gone all in with the TBS Vendetta, I have put the ZMRs and the Shendrones Krieger away. I am now exclusively flying a pair of Vendettas that I have named McCoy and Hatfield.
The Vendetta is not perfect and it is not indestructible. It is a multirotor for experienced hobbyists and it is not for beginners. I would only recommend it to someone who has built more than 2 difference quads of their own and gone through the experience of tuning, flying, crashing, and breaking.
If you are a beginner I recommend you either buy an ImmersionRC Vortex 250 Pro or take the time to build one of your own from parts you ordered online. Look for locals that will take you under their wing and help you out, sometimes it only takes an experienced pilot seeing your plane fly in person for a minute to tell you exactly what you need to do to fix it.
You can learn more about the Team Black Sheep Vendetta on the TBS website and there are a lot of great instructional videos that various people have put together. I am not into making videos so I am going to offer my suggestions via this blog post.
I bought the Vendetta because I was no longer having fun building and maintaining quadcopters. I rebuilt my ZMRs 5 times and built a Shendrones Krieger that I was never able to get to fly right, don’t get me wrong, I think the Krieger is one of the best frames on the market and capable of being the most agile and fastest plane out there, I just don’t want to spend any more time rebuilding it or tweaking on it.
The Vendetta comes almost ready to fly, add a receiver, set it up via a couple of pushbuttons and you are ready to fly.
The 3 things you may want to change with the Vendetta as soon as you get are replacing the camera, securing the rear LED cover, and adding a 5V power connector.
I do not like the ZeroZero camera, I do not like the inability to change its settings without opening it up and clipping wires to it and I do not like the quality of the video it outputs. TBS has updated the camera and I have one of each, an updated one that came with a little orange sticker on it and one without, and I do not like either of them. So I have replaced the camera with a Runcam Swift.
This is my first time using the Swift, but I have used the RunCam Sky many times before, in fact I have 5 of them on various planes and still in the box. The Swift offers very similar performance to the Sky and to the HS1177/PZ402M. It is easy to change the settings and easy to install it in the Vendetta.
The Swift comes with many different methods for mounting it, for the Vendetta you can use the flat back plate and the brackets that are on the ZerZero. But first you should harden the Swift to protect it from crashes, I have been known to hit trees head-on at over 30 miles an hour with my quads so it is important for the FPV camera to be tough.
I use E6000 to and a bamboo skewer to glue down the capacitor and the sensor, doing a Google search can show you a lot of other people recommending this and there are other methods and other adhesives you might want to use.
I do not recommend gluing the circuit board to the housing, issues can arise where the circuit board ends up crooked in the housing, which would cause a fuzzy picture. But I do recommend adding a bit of foam tape to the back plate to hold the circuit board in place while making it easy to remove.
Once the Swift has been toughened and it is time to remove the ZeroZero from the Vendetta and remove the video cables from the 4-pin micro JST connector, I use an X-Acto knife to gently pry up the little piece of plastic holding the cable and then pull it out. A Google search will get you some good videos showing this in action. Then do the same with one of the cables that came with the swift so that you have an empty 3-pin connector.
WARNING: The pin-out for the Swift is different than the ZeroZero.
Now place the wires from the Vendetta into the 3-pin connector being sure to get it right. For the white cable I wrapped it in a bit of electrical tape to keep it from shorting out on something in the plane.
Next take the brackets off of the ZeroZero and put them on the Swift, it is an easy swap and easily fits. Make sure you have an antenna attached to the Vendetta before powering it on, ALWAYS ATTACH AN ANTENNA. In fact I keep an antenna attached at all times to my quads, I only take it off when I have to. Back in the day I burnt out 3 $75 video transmitters by not having an antenna attached.
This is the time to setup the camera, out of the box Wide Dynamic Range is not turned on and that is the most important change to make. I also lower the contrast and sharpness as I feel it make it easier to see small tree branches and other thin objects.
Now time to put the camera into the plane and get ready to fly.
In my opinion the LED cover is the only real design flaw with the Vendetta, it is a piece of plastic glued to the carbon fiber frame, the glue gives out with the smallest bump, even a soft landing can cause it to pop out. I replaced it a couple of times, I really like the looks of having that translucent cover over the LEDs. The LEDs and the circuit board they are on is fragile and needs protection.
The best solution I have found is to drill some holes in the cover and use small zip ties to hold it in place.
For the Drone Racing Club races I participate in I need a 5v female servo lead to connect a transponder.
The easiest place to get this from is the Servo output on top of the Cube, I was able to solder these wires without taking the Cube apart. Use a nice long cable lead and you can run the cable and connector to the front of the quad and hide it inside the frame behind the camera and front bumper when not in use. I choose to leave the signal cable unconnected for now.
I also think you could use this connector to power a RunCam HD 2 or other action camera, I haven’t tried that yet, but plan to soon.
WARNING: Do not do anything that makes the Cube taller, you will want that space between the top of the Cube and to top of the frame for when the screws holding the front arm sheer off and you need to push the tray up into the frame to get those screws out.
I really like the Vendetta and plan on it being my exclusive multirotor for a good long while. I like the way it flies and it is easy enough to repair.
Here is a video of me chasing some wings at the Pecan Patch.
Hey, Dave! Awesome write up and tips. I was wondering: are you using a DX6 transmitter with this quad, and if not, would a DX6 work with it out of the box? Thanks in advance!
Yes, I am using a DX6 with the Vendetta. It will not work “out of the box” as it does not come with a receiver, you will need to buy a receiver. I recommend the Spektrum Quad Race Receiver. Previously I used the Spektrum Satellite for all my quads, but the Race Receiver give the advantage of diversity and longer antennas.
I was also unhappy with the 700 TL Zero Zero camera that comes with the Vendetta. I swapped out the camera for a Foxeer but was again not thrilled. Next I tried to use the Run Cam Eagle 4:3 IR blocked but the Run Cam Eagle is NOT easy to install using the brackets that come with the the Vendetta to hold the zero zero camera. There is a protrusion on the sides of the Eagle that would make the plastic chassy bow out and then the inside chassy wont fit inside of the carbon fiber frame. Did you have to modify the Swift to make it fit? Are you still happy with the swift?
I did not have to modify the Swift at all and the brackets that came with the Vendetta fit it fine. Sorry it took me so long to reply. What solution have you chosen?
A year on and how is the Vendetta? I’m torn between the V2 and vortex Metall Danny edition.
Being in the UK parts is a big thing for me. Both don’t ha e wide spread parts available from one shop.