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Race Day Quads RDQ 182 – Review

Ever wondered what would happened if you got a 180 sized 4mm carbon plate which felt harder than diamond, drilled some screw holes, shoved some 5″ props on it then to top it all off gave it a life time warranty. Well wonder no more! We present to you the RDQ 182!

Big Thank You to Tyler at Race Day Quads for sending us a Frame to review!

First Impressions

DSC_1019When we received the RDQ 182 from Race Day Quads, the first thing which struck us was the simplicity of the design. There is a 4mm slab of carbon, a thin top plate with some screw holes, 4 isolator nuts and finally 5mm and 35 mm standoffs.

Next was the apparent strength of the frame. When all screwed together the thing feels like it could take the weight of a freight train. We understand now why RDQ are offing a life time warranty. Nothing we could throw at it broke this frame.

Design

Like many racing frames the RDQ 182 is built around a central pod. This pod is what allows the RDQ to be so small. There is enough room in there for a 35mm FC…that is it. Everything else has to be tightly fitted around the FC and camera, but more on that later.  The strong metal stand offs mean that it can take hard hits and there are a couple of mm clearance between the prop blade and the stand off, giving some room for zipties and wiring.

One thing we have to mention is the fact that the metal standoffs that protect the central electronics are also connected to the PDB/FC. In the case of a very hard hit (perhaps into a racing gate at fully speed), the metal standoffs could bend and crush the receiver/cam, or  create a short on the PDB/FC. Whereas on the SCX-200, the metal standoffs are a little distance from the central stack, this means when they bend in a hard collision, they do not crush the delicate electronics.This is of course an problem unavoidable in this style of racing frame, indeed the shrike suffers just as much from this issue. It is simply a compromise you take for the smaller size and lighter weight.

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As is to be expected on a racing frame, all the carbon cuts are clean and nicely sanded. The bezier curves of the design give it points in the strength department. This kind of curved X design means that the stress of a crash is spread through the rest of the frame, limiting cracks and breakages. There are also many in the mini quad community who point to the specific flight characteristics of a true X as being superior to the H quad. Though in our opinion for acro purposes this is more of an FPV warp quad, it’s here, there and everywhere!!!!

The minimalist Design serves the RDQ well, not only making it strong but also remarkably light. The total frame wight is 76g, making it lighter than many of its competitors such as the SCX 200. This kind of weight saving is perfect of racing as it limits the inertia around the corner, meaning you can got faster on than your competitors.

Perhaps our only major issue with the RDQ is the VTX placement. Though there is a mounting hole for an aerial, RDQ suggest that you mount the VTX on the bottom of an arm then run an SMA extender. Not only does this seem a little slap-dash, it also increases weight as well as adding another loose wire to too get munched by the props. Personally I prefer to have my VTXs to be mounted in the build so did so vertically, but we suggest you run 40mm standoffs if you want to do that.

Build

This is where the RDQ starts to trip up. Now how ever you look at it a Race Frame will always be hard to build. What is tough for designers and manufacturers is treading the fine line between weight and practicality.

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The RDQ is a hard build no matter how you look at it. It is tight and fiddley and requires the up most care and experience. We would say this is as tough as the atom build, and harder than the SCX-200. As RDQ suggest definitely de-pin your FC and direct solder, not only does it make the build stronger it gives you far more space to play with in the tight central pod. It is worth noting we also had to drill out the top SMA hole with a 6.5mm drill bit to get the SMA through.

A couple of recommendations for when building:

  • Direct solder to the FC and RX (NO PINS)
  • If possible run a PDB-FC like the DTFc
  • If you want to run a vertical VTX probably best to run 40mm Standoffs.
  • Check the clearance of the FPV camera as it is very tight.

Make sure you also check the build notes at Race Day Quads – they are extremely helpful

Our build:

  • DYS Race Edition 2008 2550kv
  • DYS XS30 BLHeli-S ESCs
  • DTFc – (highly recommended)
  • Dal V2 5040 Tri-blades
  • Foxeer Arrow HS1190 (quick build note change to the other case)

All in All our  AUW (excluding battery) came in at 329g which is 5g heavier than our SCX-200 (most likely due to differences in electronics, as stated earlier this frame is lighter than the SCX-200).

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Disclaimer: for review purposes we did not direct solder our FC as a result the hight of the RDQ is 20mm higher than it should be. Please take this into account, thank you.

Flying

In short this thing flies like a dream, especially when the PIDs have been tuned nicely (RDQ offer a good starting point here). The light weight nature of the frame gives it the manoeuvrability of a 150 micro yet it has the power of a full on racing frame. The result: well you need to keep your wits about you. Like the many other racing frames the centralised mass really makes a difference in hard manoeuvres, and we felt that it meant we could let the D gains be slightly lower without getting any bounce back.

This quad is not only perfect for high speed facing but also FPV acro. The warp quad flying characteristics give it a great and stable yaw and you can really have some fun. Another thing to consider is because of the light weight nature of the frame, you can extend your average flight time by 30-1 if flying acro simply because you motors are hovering at a lower RPM.

Conclusions

When considering this frame it has many pros: The frame is stronger than garnet, has amazing flying characterises and it weighs almost nothing. It is priced highly competitively at $50 which undercuts many of the key competitors such as the SCX and the Shrike. However, no matter how you look at it, this is a tough build. It has to be done perfectly or else you simply cannot fit everything in. You have to ask is it worth sacrificing simple Building aids and space in the pursuit a lighter frame? For example, the SCX has a very easy, novel and well thought out VTX mounting system which nicely complements the build. The RDQ on the other hand has to have the VTX strapped onto the arm, almost as an after thought. Maybe in the V2 it will be nice to see a couple of little mounts, screw holes etc. They only add a couple of grams and yet they can make all the difference.

Flying: 9/10

Build 5/10

Price 10/10

Overall 8/10

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