Emax Hawk 5 - bnf

REVIEWS

Recognised by many as one of the best BNF drones of 2018, the Hawk 5 really is a great quad. I'm going to take a tear down into some of the pros (of which there are many) and the cons of this quad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Form Factor:

 

Take one look and there is no doubt that this is a racing quad; it has skinny arms, a compact body and a bottom-mounted battery. This is fantastic if you want to use it for racing, but can introduce some problems for freestyle. 

 

Let's start with the pros first: the fact that this is a racing fram means that it is super light compared to a freestyle quad (a dry weight of 270 grams according to Emax's website at https://emaxmodel.com/hawk5.html). This means that the quad has a decently high thrust-to-weight ratio. This thing rips. The arms are pretty thick at 4.5mm, and this means they are strong enough to take a beating (trust me, I'm speaking from experience).

 

On the negative side, however, the fact that this is a racing fram does come with some downsides. The top-plate isn't large enough to have both a top-mounted battery and an action camera, so whilst this is still serviceable as a freestyle quad, that's not its primary focus. The compact chassis/pod means that some of the electronics aren't quite as accessible as I'd like (more on that when it comes to the electronics). 

 

The wheelbase is 210mm and it take 5" props, as is standard with most BNF and PNP racing quads.

 

 

Hardware:

 

The hardware in this quad is where things eally start to get interesting.

 

The powertrain in this quad is the Emax Bullet 4-in-1 BLHeli_S ESC, with Emax LS2206 2300KV motors. Obviously, these aren't going to outperform T-Motor 2207s, but these specs are very respectable, especially for a quad this light. The ESCs are able to supply enough current to the motors for awesome ripping, and after a session you can definitely feel the motors are warm. I moved away from the supplied Avan 5043 props to Dalprop T5045Cs, and this thing absolutely has enough power for a fun day out. I can get through a 1300mAh 4S LiPo in about 4 minutes or below if I'm really pushing it, but I'm a freestyle pilot predominantly so you may get different results in racing. 

 

As you may have noticed, I'm using 4S packs with this quad. If you have a stash of 6S packs and no 4S, then you might want to think twice about this quad unless you're willing to invest some money in 4S packs.

 

The camera used in this build in the Hawk is the Foxeer Arrow Micro V2, which isn't great by modern standards but is absolutely usable and, to be honest, actually looks pretty good in the air. It's a 600TVL camera, which may or may not be what you personally like. Here is a capture from my DVR so you can see what my goggles recorded from the camera. As always, it looks better in the goggles than it does on DVR:

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

The brains of this quad lie in the Magnum F4 flight stack. This stack has an F4 flight controller, a BLHeli_S 4-in-1 ESC board, a switchable 25-200mW 48 channel VTX and a FrSKY XM+ receiver.

 

The flight controller performs very well, just like you'd expect from a good quality F4 FC, and it runs Betaflight so there are no issues there in terms of compatibility. There is a buzzer preinstalled on the flight controller for low-battery and lost-quad alarms, and any other alarms you'd like to program in.

 

The ESC board is capable of delivering 30A to each of the motors, but it is on BLHeli_S, so to get features like bi-directional DShot or RPM filtering, you'll need to install 3rd party (two popular options at the time of writing are JESC and JazzMaverick). They perfom well enough on BLHeli_S, though, so you only need to install this software if  you feel the quad isn't flying well enough.

 

The video transmitter also performs well, and I can fly behind large trees in my regular flying field without excessive breakup on 25mW (using a Lumenier AXII RHCP antenna). Make sure you know the laws regarding transmitter output in your country before you power up this VTX. The connector for the antenna is a U.FL connector, which is known to be very fragile. A linear whip antenna comes preinstalled, and there is also an included U.FL to SMA pigtail to use with one of the two included Emax Pagodas. Make sure that the E.FL connector doesn't disconnect after a crash, and that you don't damage it during maintenance.

 

The XM+ is a very popular receiver and is pretty reliable - I've never lost signal with it. The one installed on the BNF Hawk 5 has FCC/International firmware, so you'll need to flash it if you want to have EU-LBT firmware. Flashing the receiver is pretty easy - I soldered up some DuPont connectors and plugged them in to the Smart Port on my Taranis. One feature that the XM+ lacks, however. is full telemetry (although you can set up RSSI).

 

The F4 stack isn't the most modern, and whilst there are still new quads coming out with F4 flight controllers installed (such as the new Hawk Pro and Hawk Sport), there are newer quads with F7 flight controllers that will likely be supported for longer.

 

The stack is built very tightly, so it can be a little difficult to maintain. I was shipped a model with a faulty VTX, and it was actually easier for me to get a new stack that to disassemble the existing one and separately replace the VTX.

 

Over all, the hardware is very good, and even though the Hawk is a 2018 model, many of its specifications are comparable to newer quads.

 

Software/non-hardware features:

 

As mentioned previously, the flight controller runs Betaflight, which means that if you already fly a Betaflight quad, you should feel right at home.

 

The ESCs aren't the most modern, but features can be added by installing 3rd-party firmware.

 

There's not too much to say here, just that the software and firmware are fairly standard and shouldn't give you too much hassle.

 

One quirk I have noticed, however, is that wenever I plug in a battery, the quad keeps giving me a low-battery alarm until I rip for about 10 seconds. I then have to land and power-cycle the quad to get it to properly recognise the cell count and stop beeping at me. This was the case on both the faulty and properly-working stacks that I tried.

 
Other notes:

 

As of 2019, Emax released the Hawk Pro and Hawk Sport, which have the Emax Eco 2207 motors, but the VTX is only 37 channel. These quads are similar in price to the Hawk 5, so you might want to consider these as alternatives.

 

You'll also notice an action camera holder in the photo - this does not come as stock, and is one that I designed and 3D printed myself.

 

As well as the quad itself, in the box you get:

1 spare arm

2 SMA Pagoda Antennae (RHCP)

Spare screws and cable ties

Foxeer OSD controller board

2 sets of Avan Flow 5043 props

 

Conclusion:

 

Over all, this is a great quad. It isn't the most recent, but as Drone Camps RC proved on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a6BtloXJ5ok), the Hawk can reach over 100MPH in its stock configuration! I'd definitely recommend this as an option, however there are newer quads with higher specifications for around the same price.

 

 

 

Date written: 17th February 2020

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