The Hobbico Dromida Ominus!
High end performance at an affordable price
By Scott R. Dedic, with Connor Dedic, videographer
Weight: 120 grams
Range: 100 meteres unobstructed view
Required to Fly: Android or Apple Smartphone
- WiFi enabled First Person View (FPV) Camefa
- Micro Memory Card and Card Reader
- Smartphone Holder with Sun Shade
- 2.4GHz Radio System
- Rechargeable 1S LiPo Battery & USB Charger
- Extra Blade Set
- 4 AA Batteries
· Cool, aggressive styling available in different colors
· Excellent pricing for an all-inclusive FPV quad
· Replacement parts are plentiful and very inexpensive
· Resilient and durable
· Configurable transmitter for different flying styles and abilities
· Battery charge time is long
What are the considerations when making a good first time purchase of a multirotor? Is it price? Styling? How about durability? Repair parts? Functionality? And where does ease of use fit in? I suspect that the answer is a combination of each of these factors with one or two, for example price and ease of use, being at the top of the buyers mind. The Dromida Ominus FPV RTF quadcopter from Hobbico is an all-inclusive package that hits each one of these factors squarely and should be included for consideration in any purchase decision of a mini-sized quadcopter.
The Dromida Ominus platform
The instruction manual that comes with the RTF package is several pages long and covers everything from the initial unboxing, getting your new Ominus set up and how to use the transmitter controls to start flying. There’s a small section on basic repairs and parts replacement as well as a nice exploded view of the Ominus showing all parts and their parts numbers.
The Ominus is a mini-sized 4-rotor platform with a highly stylized frame and canopy. The board mounted electronics are located in the center of the main frame and are well protected by the canopy. The frame is a single injection molded part built from high impact plastic. The frame and arms are flexible and can be twisted and bent thus making them resilient to many hard impacts. On the bottom of each of the motor arms is an LED for visibility and there’s another red LED at the back of the Ominus to tell the pilot the status of the quad. The e-board is isolated from vibration with small o-rings fitting over the LED bulbs at each corner. The Ominus is available in several color schemes including yellow, red, green and blue and there are colored translucent plastic pieces fitting over the LEDs on the front arms to match the color scheme. The Dromida Ominus multirotor system is available through Hobbico/Tower Hobbies in two versions:
Dromida Ominus FPV UAV Quadcotper Drone RTF (reviewed), $149.97
Dromida Ominus SLT (Secufe Link Technology) Systems sans FPV, $79.88
Each of the four drive motors are well protected in the motor arms which also perform as the landing feet for the Ominus. Each motor shaft carries a metal pinion gear which then drives a larger plastic gear. This plastic drive gear sits between two bearings allowing for smooth movement of the gear. There’s a main gear shaft running through the middle that connects with each of the props and is secured with a set screw.
Our Ominus came Ready-To-Fly from the factory with a linked 2.4GHz transmitter which is designated as the Q200. The unit looks similar to most computer controlled transmitter units, only smaller. It lacks the familiar digital view screen and a timer but neither of those are necessary for flying the Ominus. If that’s something you’re looking for the Ominus and Q200 operate on the SLT protocol (Secure Link Transmitter) and can probably be linked to a larger and more featured Tactic brand transmitter. I haven’t tried this but in theory it should work.
The stick gimbals on the Q200 operate smoothly and there are four Trim buttons next to the gimbals to fine tune the quad. To aid in setup and tuning the Q200 has several audible beeps that help the pilot determine where the Trims are set and which Flight Mode and Dual Rate setting is being used. The transmitter has a couple of buttons on the back of the unit in the upper corners which remotely activate the camera for still photos and video. The buttons are well placed and easily activated during flight. On the top left side of the transmitter is a nifty button that activates the “Flip” function allowing the pilot to quickly conduct a 360 degree flip depending on which way the Aileron/Elevator stick is moved. On the top right of the transmitter is a button which allows the pilot to toggle between the two different Flight Modes: Normal and Expert. Using the Flight Mode button in combination with being able to select High and Low Dual Rates on this transmitter allows for four different levels of flight. For example, selecting Normal Flight Mode with Low Dual Rates would be a good setting for a beginning pilot whereas an expert pilot might select Expert flight Mode with High Dual Rates.
The Dromida Ominus is advertised as being “nearly impossible to break”. Crash and replacement parts are readily available at any local hobby shop (LHS) carrying the Ominus and they are very low priced. For example, a replacement frame is about $3.00, replacement blades (4) are about $4.50 and a gear set is priced about $2.70. I spoke with my LHS owner and he stated that he’s sold many of the Ominus quads but hasn’t sold any replacement parts due to the durability of the unit. So while replacement parts are readily available and very well priced, the quad is very resilient and can stand up to a lot of abuse.
The Dromida FPV camera
Besides delivering 1280 x 720 high definition color photos and video, the Dromida camera is also capable of being used for First Person View (FPV). The camera plugs into the e-board which transmits FPV video to the pilots Android or Apple device. There is some latency, or lag, between the video the pilots is seeing and the pilots controls due to the WiFi versus 2.4GHz signals and this does take some getting used to.
The camera is affixed to the bottom of the battery tray with thick double-sided foam tape which helps to reduce the “jellyroll effect” in the videos caused by vibration. The combination of the battery and the camera required the Ominus FPV designers to make the landing feet longer than on the standard Ominus and there’s plenty of clearance available without making the quad look funny. A nice feature of the camera is that the lens can be tilted up or down manually to provide the optimum shooting angle for the pilot.
To utilize the FPV functionality it’s necessary to get the app “FPVCAM” at either Google Play (for Android devices) or the AppStore (for Apple devices) and install it onto the desired device. Once it is installed the app is fairly intuitive to move around. FPVCAM allows remote viewing of whatever is in front of the Ominus and control of the cameras functions. As noted earlier there is some time lag between what is on the view screen and the Ominus so the pilot should be careful when performing fast, large flights while relying solely on the view screen instead of watching the quad. The WiFi has a range of about 100 meters which is entirely appropriate considering the smaller size of this quad.
Flying the Dromida Ominus
The first item of business to take care of after opening the product box is to connect the 3.7V 700MAh lithium polymer flight battery to the USB adaptor and plug it to a computer or USB hub for charging. The status light on the USB adaptor glows a steady red while charging and then starts blinking one the battery is at full charge. It takes a long time to charge this small battery via the USB charger so I’d recommend that a couple of extra batteries be purchased when buying the Ominus. Besides, once you start flying you are going to want to continue so having a couple extra charged batteries prolongs the fun factor of this quad.
Next up is to insert the four AA batteries included with the Ominus into the transmitter. The Dromida Ominus FPV RTF package comes pre-programmed to a Normal Flight Mode with Low Dual Rates. Once your flight battery is charged insert it into the battery frame on the underside of the quad and then turn on the transmitter, Next, connect the battery lead to the power lead to initialize the Ominus. After a few seconds the transmitter and quad will start linking and the red status light on the back of the Ominus will flash rapidly. When this LED goes to a steady red the Ominus is ready for flight.
The transmitter sticks are set to Mode 2 configuration meaning that Throttle and Yaw are controlled with the left stick and Aileron and Pitch by the right stick. Advancing the left stick will cause the motors to spin and at about mid-stick the Ominus will get light on its landing feet and start to rise. The Throttle response is very linear so as its advanced towards the top the little quad will gain altitude as the motors spin faster. There are no surprises here and in the Normal Mode with Low Dual Rates the Ominus is easy to control and will help build confidence. If you haven’t flown before starting off in a controlled environment like a small gym will certainly help. Flying outside at a park is good also as long as there is no wind.
In no time at all I started playing with the different Mode and Rate settings to find the response level I liked. The Ominus can be flown outside in light winds and it really won’t get away from you quickly because it’s a little larger than the nano- or micro-sized quads. It has ample power to negotiate wind gusts but remember that the Ominus doesn’t have GPS so if it gets blown around it won’t hold its position.
I had a lot of fun flying the Ominus in the front and backyards during daytime and I was excited about trying it at night. When it gets dark outside the LEDs on the Ominus are bright and easily seen, even from a distance. Its distinctive shape and lighting give this little quad an ominous perspective at night. (You know I had to slip that little pun in at least once in this article!)
Hobbico has hit a home run with the Dromida Ominus FPV RTF package. The Ominus is priced very competitively, is easy to fly, is durable and reliable and has many features that give it a lot of bang for the buck. If you’re looking for a first time quad or a go-to everyday fun flying multirotor the Dromida Ominus is certainly at the very top of the list.
One last thing: Hobbico really equates the Ominus with having fun and they’ve put up a nice little video called “The Race is On”. Check it Out CLICK HERE!
Hobbico, distributed exclusively by Great Planes Model Distributors, www.hobbico.com, (800) 682-8948
Dromida Ominus FPV Manual, http://manuals.hobbico.com/did/dide02-manual.pdf