Wiring can be a pain. As race frames get smaller and smaller it gets harder and harder to fit it all in, not to mention trying to keep it all as light as possible. Sirin is attempting to fix that with the release of an all-in-one flight controller, OSD, video transmitter, and blackbox recorder based on Betaflight – the SirinFPV.
Based out of California, Sirin is a pair of FPV enthusiasts with impressive backgrounds. They have combined their passion to create a single unit that handles most of your FPV electronic needs. Paired with a solid 5V regulator and a 4-in-one ESC, you can make for some really tight builds with minimal wiring.
The SirinFPV sports an F3 processor, a gyro with an 8kHz refresh rate, three fully accessible serial ports that are fully independent from the USB port, and six motor outputs. Being an all-in-one you also get an integrated OSD, MicroSD blackbox recorder, and a switchable 25mW/200mW video transmitter. Sirin also claims all of the manufacturing of the boards is done in California and hand tested by Sirin’s US team using top quality components.
Running on the latest build of Betalight (starting with 3.0.0), every facet of the SirinFPV is configurable through the software. Many features such as VTX band, channel, and power are also configurable via the integrated OSD. You can also customize the OSD layout to your liking in the Betaflight configurator. Just about any of the data you’d want to see on your OSD is present, with more on the way, and can be moved around and even disabled if you’d like for a fully custom look. The blackbox recorder works as expected, and the MicroSD card is a nice addition to a flight controller if you want to capture a lot of data.
The integrated video transmitter works well, and being switchable means it is great for races. There is no antenna included so you’ll need to be prepared to direct solder and antenna or pigtail yourself. It isn’t difficult, but may be a little off-putting if you’ve never done it before. It was sure new to me, but I pulled it off!
Having almost everything integrated really does simplify wiring, but it is not without its faults. The SirinFPV requires a 5V regulator, but you can’t just use any old PDB with 5V build in. The specs state a 5V 1A regulator is required, but specifically call for a Pololou. Why? Because nothing else so far seems to work. Even some of the Maytek boards with 5V 3A regulators won’t hold up, causing OSD and/or video loss at high draw. That is unfortunate, but not the end of the world being that Pololou regulators are only a few bucks each.
Sirin released a very nice build video where they utilize a Pololou and a 4-in-one ESC for a tight build which you can view here. It is very handy, but obviously won’t apply to all builds. I went with a Lumineer PDB that had a spot for the Pololou and it ended up working out well.
You can power a 5V FPV camera from the board, as well as your receiver (whether using 5V or 3V via a solder bridge jumper)m, add a buzzer, and monitor battery voltage. What I did not see on the board or mentioned in the documentation is a way to monitor current draw. This is unfortunate as I can push telemetry through my FrSky receiver and even have the option on my OSD but no way to make much use of it. Monitoring voltage is helpful, but knowing how many mAh I have left is critical. Just like the F2-based boards of a few years ago, firmwares are pushing the F3 processors to their limits these days. I can’t help but feel like the SirinFPV wouldn’t have benefited from using an F4, but maybe that will come in a later version should this one be successful.
The motor outputs are arranged at the corners of the board, which is a nice touch. Actually all of the components seem to be just where they should be, which seems like a silly thing to mention but there are a lot of flight controllers out there with strange placement sometimes. The VTX and MicroSD port add some depth to the board, but since everything is integrated you can still fit this into a tighter spot than if everything was discrete.
I had originally planned to do a comparison between the SirinFPV and another AIO I reviewed recently, the BrainFPV, but I’m not entirely sure that’s fair. These are very different products at the end of the day running very different firmwares, but since they are similar enough in idea and price I thought it would be worth a shot.
|F3 Processor||F4 Processor|
|Betaflight||dRonin, early and limited Betaflight support|
|OSD (1 page + menu)||OSD (4 pages + menu) with 3D support (dRonin)|
|Blackbox (MicroSD)||Blackbox (128MBit)|
|6 PWM outputs||4 – 8 PWM outputs (dRonin) or 6 PWM outputs (Betaflight)|
|3 serial ports||4 serial ports (dRonin) or 3 serial ports (Betaflight)|
|No IR transponder||Integrated IR Transponder|
|Telemetry Supported||Telemetry Supported|
|Requires 5V 1A Pololou voltage regulator||Optional stackable PDB with integrated 5V and 12V regulators|
|$100 ($107 with Pololou)||$79 ($104 with optional PDB)|
Both the SirinFPV and the BrainFPV have their advantages and disadvantages. The SirinFPV lives up to its intentions by simplifying wiring, and makes up for its few shortcomings but using quality components and running proven firmware. On the other hand the BrainFPV also simplifies a lot of wiring and for the same prices you get a solid PDB with 5V and 12V, plus filtering, and integrated current monitoring. The dRonin software is not as popular and is fairly new as well, so community support isn’t as forthcoming. The SirinFPV can also sport a much shorter height requirement if wired to spec. Ultimately your choice comes down to your needs.
- Pretty much everything you need for FPV in one unit
- 6 motor outputs arranged on the board corners
- Runs Betaflight
- Switchable power 40ch. VTX
- Serial ports are independent of USB port
- Top-notch components
- Made in the U.S. of A!
- Greatly simplifies wiring
- Runs off of a single 5V 1A voltage regulator
- Great for tight builds
- No current monitoring
- If an integrated component goes bad you will probably need to replace entire board
- Soldering not for beginners
- Doesn’t work with popular Maytek PDBs rated for 5V 3A
- F3 processor?
The SirinFPV performs as well as any other F3 based flight controller, and simplifies your wiring significantly. There are some features missing that I hope will be added soon, and the fact that I can’t use an integrated PDB is an inconvenience but not a deal breaker. Its small footprint makes up for these shortcomings, as do its high quality components. If you need an integrated flight controller for a small build, the SirinFPV is a solid choice – but as technology presses forward and more all-in-one units get released Sirin is going to need to continue innovating if they want to stay ahead of the curve.
The SirinFPV website has a list of vendors where you can order one today!