pepperFIISH — 36g copter and 288g thrust (8:1), anyone?

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By | March 11, 2017

Busy times… The pepperF1SH for the world tour is more or less ready, I am just waiting for the batteries to arrive. Openground gets a new low level driver library, which by the way seems to reduce the flash usage to one half of the old one… Ah and by the way I started to work on a 1-2S version of my tinyPEPPER ESC for my pepperF1SH copter ;D So there will soon be a:


The first tinyPEPPER2 prototypes are soldered and beside some minor fixable layout issues seem to work just fine. I did some first tests with the ladybird 56mm props: On 1S I get 26g of thrust at 1.5A (a bit better than the previous design which got 23.6g at 1.6A). And now hold on tight, at 2S (8.4V) I get ridiculous 72g of thrust at whopping 3.9A for the 56mm propellers… Keep in mind those are early numbers, I did only short test runs so far. The ESC will be the same size as before (16x16mm hole spacing, 20x20mm total) and probably weight 0.4g more than my 1S tinyPEPPER version.

If all works out as expected I might end up with a 36g copter (AUW, of course with 2S batteries and cam/vtx) with a total thrust of 288g. Or, in other words a theoretical thrust to weight ratio of 8:1 (!) Sounds ridiculous but good 😀

At least that is what I thought and wrote into the draft version of this post before I did the maiden … Well… Let’s say I doubt I can fly this indoor… This is really insane. It looks like half throttle, which pepperF1SH was hovering at, equals the max thrust of the 1S version… Hmm I think I have overdone it this time. But hey, summer is coming, this might be perfect for outdoor racing. Is it allowed to compete with a 36g copter on a 250g class race??

Now to something different: My experience with the first tinyPEPPER design is that there are not many people that can solder those tiny surface mounted parts. So this time I might take a different route. I have some manufacturers interested in this ESC design so I might end up selling it to one of them. I am still undecided to whom I am going to sell this design or if I will go this route at all as I really really like opensource and open hardware. On the other hand, when mass manufactured this ESC will probably cost not much more than what you end up with when you get the parts alone in single quantities — let alone your labor costs. Hard to decide…


14 thoughts on “pepperFIISH — 36g copter and 288g thrust (8:1), anyone?

  1. Harm Jan

    Hi, I am trying to get my build done.. but via the BLHELI suite, only 3 ESC’s show up.. Any ideas on that?

    1. fishpepper Post author

      Could be a bad solder joint on the esc cabling. Or one ESC is broken? You could try to solder only one ESC cable at a time to see which one does not work. Maybe something is not soldered properly on that one. Sometimes a visual inspection of the pcb is enough to spot a weak solder joint.

  2. John Crombe

    I really, really want to do a couple of the 2S versions. Having the spare power to add things like a bigger antenna or larger battery and still have a great thrust to weight ratio would be really nice. I’m ready to build a couple right now. What do you recommend for a 2S ESC if yours isn’t available?

    Also, you said, “And now hold on tight, at 2S (8.4V) I get ridiculous 72g of thrust” Did you mean 7.4v?

    Thanks for all you do!

  3. Luca Scheuer

    Just saw that it could end up being closed source! I agree completely with the dual licenses or keeping it open, just because your designs are helping me learn a lot about schematic design for quadcopters!

  4. CesiumSalami

    Awesome! can’t wait. I have enough parts to build like 3 fishpepper esc/fc but I just can’t find the time to put to them together…. looking forward to future developments! Excellent work.

  5. Kevin Austin

    I am in the process of building some of these, I haven’t build an FC before, but I have a pretty nice setup at a maker space that I am a member of.

    I got the blanks from OshPark and now…ordering components!
    Great write up!

  6. Shane Volpe

    I completely understand! I certainly would not have time to do it either. You have done such an amazing job and making it an open project, I think, has been a great thing for the community, I would just hate to see that part of it go away!

    Great job no matter what you decide.

  7. Marek Grapiniak

    Is there a third possibikity to go with? I was thinking selling the design and at the same time keeping it opensource somehow so SMD fans could make it on their own?

  8. Hamza M.

    If you sell the design to someone would it mean that you cannot keep it open source ? I suppose it would.
    Thanks for everything you’ve done and i’ll be happy with whatever decision you take. Maybe you can still send the things needed privately to people who have the resources to build their own.

    1. fishpepper Post author

      We will see how this turns out. Dual licensing might be a way to do it, not sure if anyone is interested in that. We will see.

  9. 24367dfa

    Damn, this project evolves fast. I’m still waiting for the parts for the 1s version and don’t even have a good plan for building fc and esc yet 🙂

  10. Jayson Wallis

    Great job. Your dedication to the project is outstanding. I am still waiting for my boards and parts to arrive for my PepperF1sh build and already I want to build a PepperF11sh 😀 I for one enjoy the challenge of building and would like the chance to build the V2 but I’m just one person. As you say, building SMD projects isn’t for everyone and selling the design may get it out to many more people at a cheap price. No matter what your decision, Your work is appreciated here. I will continue to follow your projects with interest and excitement at what will come next.

  11. Shane Volpe

    My vote would be to keep it open and not sell it to a MFR. There are enough comercial solutions out there, I think what makes your project so great is it is open! In fact the entire reason I like this project is it is all open and I get to build it myself learning along the way.

    Did you ever consider a solution like PCBway ( They will do assembly and if the volume is 100 or more the price for assembly is only a couple bucks per board. You could do something where you batch it. After you have 100 orders (requests) you send out for an order.

    1. fishpepper Post author

      I thought about those assembly houses. But I do not have the (time) capacities to manage and organize the shipping, returns, customer support etc. Keep in mind that this is just my hobby project 😉


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