Team BlackSheep Oblivion (english)
This article was written by my guest author Artur Banach. Thanks a lot for this article!
Let’s take a look at recently released mini quad from TBS – Oblivion. As black as the Black Sheep can be, this compact 5” machine is said to be made for the beginners, racers or……long range enthusiasts.
Hopefully I will find out in this article : )
This review is kindly hosted by Philipp Seidel on his blog.
Where to buy
TBS Store (Hongkong)
- PNP 299.95 €
- Bundle with TBS Tango, Case and Charger 599.95 €
- replacement parts
- 3% discount with code „phil“
What’s in the box
PNP version of Oblivion comes in a small all-black box. There is an interesting quote printed on the side wall: „Faster, faster, until the thrill of speed overcomes the fear of death”. I guess that relates a lot to FPV racing.
In the box:
- Standard pod with 4 screws
- HD camera pod
- Foam camera wedges for GoPro Session and GoPro 3-6
- Long HD camera velcro strap
- „Dog’s Rocket” 5.8Ghz video antenna
- Lipo protector with strap
- Two sets of HQ 5×4.5×3 props (in black)
- Prop tool with motor holder
- FPV camera „Expert” attachment
- Wires for connecting radio receiver
- Motor lock nuts
Box content has everything needed to get Oblivion in the air apart from Radio Receiver which requires soldering/assembly work.
- Motor: Cobra 2205 2400kv (custom made for TBS)
- ESC: TBS 25A Powercube BLHeli_S (no Dshot) 3-6S
- Flight Controller: TBS Colibri F3 flashed with Betaflight 3.3
- Video Transmitter: FPVision (Unify 25-800mw)
- FPV Camera: TBS 650TVL
- Motor to motor distance is 190mm exactly
- Weight incl. Crossfire Nano RX is around 390g
- Weight incl. Crossfire Nano RX + GoPro Session is around 480g
No carbon fibre?
Oblivion looks like a smaller brother of TBS G2 Concept frame. Biggest difference is the frame material because it is moulded plastic instead of carbon fibre commonly used in the racing mini quads.
Change of the material is pretty drastic but according to TBS replacing frame is more cost effective because it’s cheaper than carbon fibre.
Frame has very thin arms but there are reinforcement bars between motors and two extra at the front.
It feels very solid, although shows some flex when squeezed or pushed with extreme force. I would say it does feel on pair with most carbon fibre frames when it comes to stiffness.
At close look
TBS Powercube stack is the central point of Oblivion. It is a TBS unique design were each level of the stack is connected to the next one by brass bolts and without external wires apart from the ones coming from motors to ESCs.
Stack includes VTX, ESCs and FC and saves tons of space.
FPV camera sits the front of the PowerCube stack on it’s own attachment at fixed angle. There are two possible camera angles: beginner and expert. Change of the angle can be done by simply replacing the attachment screwed to the back of the camera. Oblivion comes with beginner out of the box.
At the rear side of Oblivion we’ve got SMA antenna connector and XT-60 AWG-14 pigtail. Motors are connected to ESCs via bullet connectors. They are almost completely protected by the moulded frame. There is a small plastic tool priced for removing the props. It snaps into the corner round the motor and prevents the bell from spinning while unscrewing the propnut.
At the bottom of the frame we will find small foam pad for battery protection and motor screws.
There are two pods to choose from depending if we want to mount HD camera or not. HD Camera pod has a velcro strap attachments on both sides plus flat top with the T shape pin holding camera foam wedge in place. Camera strap is the best quality velcro strap I have seen so far.
My first attempt to install the pod failed because motor wires were sticking out on the rear side of power cube. I had to fold in and push the wires down to make room for the pod. It is a very very tight fit.
Lipo battery sits on the battery protector. It is a thick plastic with pieces of foam
Preparation for the first flight
My plan was to test Oblivion in different flying scenarios including mig/long range as well as racing and general freestyle. I have started with installation of Crossfire Nano receiver as well as TBS GPS.
Plan was to use TBS Triumph antenna instead of the supplied one to get good video signal when flying for more than a kilometre.
Crossfire Nano receiver doesn’t come with JST sockets and I had to solder wires directly to it instead. Four wires (5V, GND, TX, RX) were connected to UART1 on Colibri (front left port).
To get Crossfire link info in FPVision OSD as well as GPS I used the BST splitter. It is a Y type of connector where BST port from Crossfire Nano and GPS connects to the same BST port on FPVision.
I used 10cm BST wire for GPS and made 3-wire custom BST wire by soldering GND, SDA, SCL pads on Crossfire Nano. There is a small cutout in the pod to put the BST wire through.
Before putting heatshrink on Crossfire Nano and BST splitter I have tested the connection. Thin foam pad was placed on the top of Colibri FC to separate it from the Crossfire and Splitter.
Crossfire RX antenna was installed on the underside of the rear frame arms. This method was suggested by Trappy himself.
I have decided to use double sided tape and put GPS module at the front of the frame. Module is slightly visible in the FPV cam but not in the GoPro footage.
Last step was to make sure the pod could fit easily on the four dedicated mounting holes with Receiver and GPS attached.
I have attached the battery and had to do the FPVision RC calibration using the radio sticks. During that process RC inputs are calibrated and switches can be assigned without even going into the Betaflight configurator.
Oblivion comes with Betaflight 3.3 pre-installed and setup specifically for this quad. For instance, CRSF was already selected on the UART1 in Ports and PIDs were adjusted to match Oblivion characteristics.
Mid range / cruising testing
I have performed series of flights over the long sandy dunes and the beach (North East Scotland). Fantastic place to fly. I used 1300mah, 1500mah and 2200mah 4S lipos. I managed to getaround 4 minutes flight time on 1300mah, 6 minutes on 1500mah and 9minutes on 2200mah with a cruise at around 50-60km/h.
I am not sure why but „Flew like a girl” line in summary screen was always stuck at YES despite flying various style, doing flips and rolls and flying fast. Is that a bug? I don’t know, I hope it is, because I don’t want to be accused of flying like a girl 🙂
On stock PIDs Oblivion performed pretty good although rates required adjusting to my liking.
With added GPS and factory calibrated current sensor I had plenty of trust in gear when sending the quad around 1.1km. There was no issues with either radio or video link.
Here is a clip from the mid range cruise:
I flew Oblivion on the simple racing course with few gates and split-s turns etc. Lowered the rates to about 400 degrees on pitch and roll and made few laps. I was surprised how how snappy the flying actually was. Special made Cobra 2205 2400kv is not the most powerful motor out there but performed really nice. Acceleration was good but top end was missing a little bit.
During flying I have crashed numerous of flags but no visible damage was done to the frame or motors.
I can certainly say that this quad is well suited for racing.
Here is a clip from the racing with Oblivion:
Oblivion PNP is a complete quad without radio receiver but how about upgrading it?
It is possible to upgrade the motors. 22XX motors will fit no problem but 23XX for instance are too big and cant be installed without removing a bit of a plastic from the frame around the motor itself. Other issue is the 12x14mm motor holes pattern. I tried to fit 3 different motor brands into the motor slot and each time the wires coming out of the motor were not aligned with the Oblivion.
FC / ESC
Oblivion pod is very very tight, so only 4in1 ESC with small footprint can fit in there.
The Good and The Bad
Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of TBS Oblivion.
- It’s a complete package, configured and tuned out of the box, no tinkering and building required (apart from fitting radio receiver)
- Reasonable price of the package and replacement parts (frame, pods etc.)
- Great build quality and attention to details (as you would expect from premium TBS product)
- Comes with very good quality lipo and camera straps (best I have seen)
- TBS Powercube with very good OSD included
- Custom made Cobra motors are very efficient for cruising and enough for racing
- Very versatile quad: can be used for most flying scenarios: racing, freestyle, endurance, long range
- Motors might not be enough for demanding FPV racers
- F3 flight controller and non-dshot ESC (bad for those who want the latest gear)
- Oblivion is rather heavy
- Motor wires coming out of the power cube are way too long and they cause issue when attaching the pod
- No additional holes for mounting different motor options
- The only way to access USB port is to unscrew and remove the pod. Small cut out big enough to fit micro USB plug would be a nice to have feature
- Camera velcro strap attachments are very weak. I managed to break one when I was strapping the GoPro on before my flight. Those elements should be more „beefy”
- Props and top of the motor shafts are visible in the GoPro Superview footage
- FPV Camera lens is sticking out of the canopy. Use of smaller micro camera would make it more secure it make more space inside the canopy
Oblivion is a little bit unusual quad by the looks of it, thanks to the plastic moulded frame. It offers whole spectrum of potential use which is in my opinion it’s strongest advantage.
It performed well in the mid range cruise as well as when flying with gates and flags.
There are aspects where Oblivion could have been better but, the overall package it is a very interesting option for those who want to „buy and fly” type of machine.