REVIEW: Lisam RC Keel-270
After several delays, my new quadcopter arrived from Banggood.com! The Lisam Keel-270 is a neat looking, sci-fi themed drone that comes either as a kit or a fully-assembled FPV platform that includes the frame, motors, ESCs, a mini-cc3d, 600mw video transmitter with sound and 800TVL camera, plus a few props – all for $170! Add a battery and receiver and you’re ready to go! Well, almost.
The frame looks great out of the box. Hard to tell in photos, but the black plastic cover has a metallic sheen to it that really sells the sci-fi vibe. I opted for some 6045 blunt nose DAL props vs. the stock props and they look slick on this frame. The included FPV antenna is your standard rubber duck, so I replaced it as well with a cloverleaf.
There is a thumbscrew on the rear that when removed allows the top portion to be lifted up like a hatch. This is so that you can secure your battery safe inside the frame. The Keel-270 supports both 3S and 4S liPos. You could easily fit a 1500mah 4S lipo, or even a 2200mah 3S believe it or not – but that may be a bit heavy. I have some Multistar 1400mah 4S LiPos on the way. Why wouldn’t I order LiPos with the quad? Well, I did… I ordered four 1500mah 4S LiPos from banggood and they made it all the way to the US before customs shipped them back to China… fun. Thank goodness Banggood shipped them separately!
Under the plastic cover, I was happy to find more carbon and a solid frame. If you’re not into the plastic hood you could easily remove it and relocate some of the components and still have a great looking quad. That strange looking hole in the front above the FPV camera is for a Mobius action camera. It’s a good idea to protect the camera, and it works decently in practice. Just slide the Mobius in place and a spacer in the rear stops the camera from sliding into the frame entirely. The plastic cover holds the camera in place via tension, though it also has a tendency to press the buttons. A good head-on collision will probably send the camera flying out the front though, so there’s that.
I say the hole is for a Mobius, and I mean exactly that. Anything bigger won’t fit. That nice new RunCam2 I bought? Sorry buddy, not in this frame. The 808 #16 would fit, but them I’m sacrificing quality. Looks like I’ll be ordering a Mobius, or fitting the BitEye Camera/DVR and filling the hole with LEDs or googly eyes. Maybe go crazy and make a little slimy set of teeth that shoot out ala Alien? That’d be sweet. Anyway…
The FPV camera is affixed to the frame with four zip-ties, which is pretty standard. There’s no direct way to adjust camera tilt, and the angle leaves a lot to be desired if you’re looking for speed. If you move the camera wires from behind the spacer that lies just above the camera you can clip the top two zip ties and add a few nylon nuts between the frame and the camera then zip tie it back up to add tilt. I was able to use two nuts for a little bit of tilt without trimming the plastic hood, but anymore than that and you’ll need to trim it. Luckily the hood is thin so it shouldn’t be much of an issue if you’re careful. Use a rotary tool with a sanding but and go slow, or use a hot knife.
The video transmitter is 40 channel (Raceband!) and 600mw, which I’m told is too powerful for racing in a group but good for all-around FPV. There is an on-board microphone so you can transmit the screaming on your motors to your display and a button to change the channel. The channel display is via LEDs right below the antenna connector, and when I powered it all on it was already on Fatshark channel 1. I like using extensions on my antennas so that if I crash it doesn’t rip the connector off the PCB, but that won’t work here without modifying the frame a bit, or at the very least the plastic hood.
Note the very top section doesn’t have anything mounted. The connection between the VTX and camera is a standard male/female servo so they could be disconnected easily and a MinimOSD placed inline and mounted on the top, under the plastic cover.
The main body of the frame is a sandwich that holds the flight controller and BEC, and the very bottom plate is a simple power distribution board (PDB). Removing the top plate get you access to all of the “guts” – and you’ll need to remove the top plate to configure the Flight Controller and add your receiver. I’ve heard reports of the screws getting stuck/stripped, so be careful and take your time.
In the center is the Mini CC3d. The one I received was running the last version of OpenPilot, which is discontinued. You can easily update to LibrePilot or even Cleanflight if you wish. I had hoped the quad would come tuned, but one test hover proved otherwise. For the price, I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. This isn’t a problem for experienced pilots, but if you’re a noob this will be a let down. Behind the FC is a small BEC for 5v power, the ESCs are soldered from dedicated pads, and there’s a small trace at the front for passing the flight battery voltage to the video equipment. The included ESCs are 4S ready, but are limited to 12A. That may or may not be sufficient, but I like to err on the side of caution so I’ll be swapping them with 20A ESCs.
There are two issues I see with this frame, and they both deal with the PDB. It’s basic, sure, and that’s fine for a budget quad but there’s a good chance it’s going to break in the first hard crash. The thicker arms are held in place with a few spacers and the upper carbon plate and lower PDB. In a hard crash the carbon may hold up but I’m not sure the PDB will. I’m curious if ordering a second spare frame and sandwiching the arms between the PDB and a second carbon plate would help. If any pros out there have a better idea, let me know!
The other issue is the XT60 connector. It’s a nice snug fit for the battery, and a clean way to do without pigtails, but then you flip the quad over and realize the battery terminals are fully exposed on the bottom. Some wet grass, or wet hands, and this could be a problem pretty quick. A little bit of liquid electrical tape, and maybe a small piece of foam glued into place could easily fix this issue.
Issues aside, this is a decent frame if you have a Mobius (and ONLY if you have a Mobius, or something else to stick in that gaping hole in the front). It’s not going to be your race winner, and it’s not going to be your basher, but it looks pretty sweet and it’s cheap. Save yourself $50 and get the kit instead of the ARF, you are probably going to replace the ESCs anyway. The motors are decent, as is the FPV gear, so all-in-all it’s not a bad deal!
Check back in a week or so when the weather improves for an update and (hopefully) flight vid of this kit with the new ESC’s, OSD, Naze32, and 4S POWAHHHH!