In early 2018, Runcam extended their Split camera lineup with the Split Mini, bringing HD capabilities to smaller quad. Back then, I was preparing a backpacking trip, and I really wanted to take a drone with me. Because space and weight has to be optimized for this kind of trip, a full size 5" quad was not an option. So I started looking how to combine this Spit mini camera with the 2.5" quad hype going on at this time.


The uncommon form factor of this camera was the main challenge. Although it was a 20×20mm mounting pattern, the camera electronics was composed of 2 board, larger than the usual 20×20 stack. Therefore, when released, there were no frame really adapted to mount this camera, so I started to drawn one, suited for minimalist travel: the BackPackerHD.

I first selected all the components to build the most compact 2.5″ frame around them:

  • HGLRC Zeus : only AIO board at this time
  • HGLRC 20×20 vtx
  • 1105 6000Kv motor with Gemfan 2530
  • GNB 3S 450mah LiPo
  • Runcam Split Mini
Others requirements where:
  • No props in HD footage
  • Top mounted battery for better CG
  • Very light

I went with a two low profile stack design, stretching the quad in the length rather than in the height. This allow to have a body long enough to get the props out of the camera field of view while lowering the CG of the quad.

To save weight, I used a side-plate based structure instead of a traditionnal top/bottom plate with standoff. The whole frame with hardware and 3mm main plate weight 23g.


Because it’s such a compact design, there is no much room to work on this frame. Some previous build experience is recommended. I’ve posted a full build log on Rotorbuilds for more details. The frame is also available for order on Armattan Production.

Dry weight is under 100g ! 140g with a 450mah 3s battery.

Test flight

Flight perfomance are good for it’s class, but still very different from a 5″ rig. Fun to fly around, but you have to get used to the throttle response before trying crazy freestyle tricks.

I was a bit disappointed by the Split HD footage. The frame/build also introduced a significant amount of jello. Well, for this price and weight, I guess it’s good enough.


Final thoughts

As my first frame design, this projects was very  instructive and a rewarding experience. There is definitely room for improvement, stay tuned for future update.

Eventually, I didn’t took my drone for my backpacking trip. Having a small drone is a good start to lighten your gear, but it’s not enough: controller, google, spare parts, charger… All this add-up quickly, and it was just too much space and weight for this kind of travel.

But I still carry my BackPackerHD anytime I can ^^


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