tinyFISH FC – How to build your own! [revision 0.2]

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By | January 10, 2017

UPDATE: please refer to the latest revision v0.2b!

In this post I am going to share all the parts you need to build your own super lightweight tinyFISH flight controller with an integrated, FrSky compatible rx. All the following information applies to the current version 0.2 of tinyFISH (tagged as revision 0.2).

Changes compared to the previous revision 0.1:

  • receiver bind pads changed to a bind button
  • better routing for the current shunt
  • fixed led resistor values

Circuit board

The PCB was designed to accommodate all the features I wanted in the smallest form factor possible. The outer dimensions are 20x20mm with a hole-to-hole distance of 16mm (M2). When manufactured in 0.8mm FR4 the completely assembled board weights silly 1.7 grams. This was only possibly by using small components, manual placement, and several tries on routing. The final resul, tightly packed with 0402 sized components, require some good experience with soldering SMD components.


I updated the BOM a bit, you can now find a table with part references and ordering numbers for farnell and mouser on this google doc sheet. Please make sure to use high-Q high frequency parts for the hf section around the CC2510 chip as noted in the list. I ordered the majority of the parts from Farnell but you can probably get most of the parts at any electronic component vendor. Make sure to buy the MPU6000 from a reputable seller, I got some bad quality (fake?) chips from aliexpress…

Design files

The design files are released under the CERN open hardware license v1.2. Before using the design files for commercial projects please make sure that you read and understand this license! You can use the files for your projects, just make sure to give proper credit (by e.g. linking to the tinyFISH FC page). Additionally release all modifications you do and all work you derivate from this under the same license.

You can find the design in the kicad file format on my github repository. You will need a recent version from kicad. I compiled my own binaries from kicad commit efdfaeb.

If you want to skip the hassle of rendering the gerber board files on your own you can simply skip this step and checkout and order the part from OSHPark.com using this Link (rev 0.2). They offer a really great quality for a ridiculous low price (it is 3$ for three copies!). Make sure to order the 0.8mm and 2 Oz copper version in order to save some weight.

Placement & Connections

You can use the following diagrams for the component placement. See my github repository for the full resolution files in SVG format.

In addition to the part placement, those diagrams do also show you how to connect the various signals to this fc. The pads labeled CC_* are the ISP connection for the CC2510 and are used to flash the initial CC2510 bootloader.

Do it!

Now it is time to build your own! This page has all the information you need to build your own tinyFISH flight controller. Sure, this required very fine pitch soldering, but if you have some experience with SMD soldering give it a try! If this sounds to complicated to you, do not worry, I am quite sure someone will pick this design up and sell it sooner or later.

If you have built any my stuff I would be happy to see and hear how it turned out for you — send me an email!

36 thoughts on “tinyFISH FC – How to build your own! [revision 0.2]

    1. fishpepper Post author

      I do not have a facebook account… How should I hack all this stuff when I waste my time on facebook? *g*

  1. Sam

    I have ordered the boards, and the parts, now just got to wait!
    If I am correct, the licence says I could sell a product that uses your boards as long as I credit you and provide a link to your github repo?

    1. fishpepper Post author

      Right. You have to give proper credit (i.e. link to fishpepper.de) and in addition you will have to publish all derivates you build upon this design under the same license.

  2. Luca Scheuer

    So I’m looking at your tinyfish FC because I want to design my own! I’ve been looking at the datasheet for the cc2510 and I see that the layout you use is very similar to their example. The only difference is the power decoupling circuit you used. How did you decide the design for that part?

    1. fishpepper Post author

      The design is based on the datasheet, the application note and the schematic of an evaluation module. Search for swrr035 on the ti website. There is a pdf schematic in that zip file.

  3. Ray

    Curses, just when I thought I had my quad building addiction under control! I’m wondering what takes longer, the micro soldering or sourcing the parts. The hunts begins 🙂

  4. CesiumSalami

    Sorry to ask another basic question, but I’m so confused on the SI2302CDS mosfet …

    Both BOM for .1 and .2 list SI2302DS just above the 8MHz resonator.
    But they both also list a 1k resistor in what seems like the same spot?

    The main build photo: https://fishpepper.de/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/tinyfish_fc_proto2.jpg
    Has nothing there (no mosfet. no resistor)

    The builds from your soldering party: also *appear* to have nothing there
    The first community build seems to have a 1k resistor in place but no mosfet (although it’s hard to see).

    I know the .2 version seems to have expanded these pads perhaps to make the 1k resistor easier to solder?

    Any chance you could add some clarity on these parts / placement?


    1. fishpepper Post author

      You are right, both parts are at the same spot. This mosfet is for a buzzer output that probably no one building micro quads will ever need. It was added at the very end and there was no spot to place the pulldown resistor. This is why it is placed across the mosfet pins. If you do not use a buzzer you can skip the FET and the resistor 😉

  5. Marc Mead

    Hi, just getting the parts together to build the board and like others I’m struggling with the crystal. Looking at the specs this one from farnell 2506952 seems o.k., just like confirmation before I order it. Thankyou

  6. Peter Ellis

    This is awesome! I’ve been looking for a nice winter project. I saw someone said they have extra boards from OSHpark they’re willing to sell… anyone else have surplus components they’d be willing to not gouge me on?

  7. Peter Newman

    Thanks again for this great project Simon but the crystal in no longer available on Aliexpress and even the link that Ben Goddard posted above 12 days ago is also not available any more. Do you or anyone else have any idea where I can source this part please

        1. fishpepper Post author

          They look good! Aliexpress takes 3-6 weeks to Germany…

        2. Peter Newman

          Thanks a lot Ben Goddard but I am in Australia 🙂 I have some coming from an Aliexpress vendor and I would share the link but they are not planning on restocking as far as I can tell. Also in addition to Simon’s Google Doc for the parts, I also have a saved parts list with links on Element14 is anyone is interested It is here https://www.dropbox.com/s/zc4ik9i990jblol/Parts%20list%20with%20links%20to%20Element14%20fortinyFISH%20Flight%20controller.pdf?dl=0 and good luck to anyone building this FC and I hope that you share your experiences here.

  8. Firebug24k

    I ended up with a bunch of extra V1 boards that I got from OSHPark, if anyone wants a couple I can mail them for dollar or two post.

  9. Ben Goddard

    Sorry to ask so many questions, but on the flash memory: M25P16-VMP6G
    Do you happen to know if there are any active replacements for this? The farnell part is unavailable (no longer manufactured) and there’s nothing at mouser (if i’m not mistaken)

    I can find stuff on AliExpress and Taobao – just hoping there’s something a bit faster, but mostly, more reliable. Checked Digikey as well.

    1. fishpepper Post author

      Make sure it is the same package. You can also use M25P32 (4 MByte) or M25P64 (8 MByte). You can also skip this part, then you will have no blackbox. The flash is automatically detected and disabled if not found 😉

  10. Luca

    Hi I’m trying to open up your schematic in kicad and it’s requesting a custom library. Do you know what components are missing?


    1. fishpepper Post author

      Did you init the git submodule? Try

      git submodule init
      git submodule update

  11. Nikita

    Excellent and gorgeous little FC.
    As I understand it’s only micro brushless controller?
    Without the support of brushed engines?
    Can I receive telemetry voltage telemetry Taranis?
    Battery voltage?

    1. fishpepper Post author

      There will be a very tiny brushed addon pcb soon. I just did not have time to write about it.
      There is full telemetry support. The FC has sensors for voltage and current.

  12. Ben

    Such a fun project to follow! Do you think I should worry too much if I already ordered the 0.1 boards?
    Shall I order the 0.2 boards (haven’t even received the .1’s yet)? or just go for it, you think?

    1. fishpepper Post author

      revision 0.1 is fine. The main advantage is the binding button. On revision 0.1 you have to shorten the pads by hand. The new resistor values just make the leds more equal in brightness 😉

      1. Ben Goddard

        Excellent! Thank you very much for the speedy reply.
        I’ll try not to ask endless questions – the parts list you put together is amazing (makes things so much easier). It does highlight one area that’s a little tricky: the crystal ….

        The minimum order quantity is 3,000. I looked around for alternatives meeting your specs but couldn’t really find too much. The option below doesn’t have the same frequency stability – but is it a suitable alternative? Happen to know of any options out there that hit the mark but allow smaller min order quantities?

        ( http://www.mouser.com/ProductDetail/IQD-Frequency-Products/LFXTAL071260Cutt/?qs=nFovR%252b4R4UMoasiWDOu83w%3d%3d )

        Thanks again!

        1. fishpepper Post author

          Search for 8Y2607005 on aliexpress, there is one seller that sells 20 for ~$7
          The cc2510 datasheet requires<40ppm for the crystal


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