Quanum Neon 250 Frame Kit (In-Depth Review)
The Quanum Neon 250 is a new 250-size carbon fiber frame kit that was released just over two months ago and is one of the more good-looking Quanum products available today. Like the highly popular Quanum XJ470, the Neon 250 is one frame that will win awards when it comes to looks.
Quanum seems to have got the edge over everyone else when it comes to styling their frames. The Neon 250 not only looks good, it is also one of the few frames out there that come with integrated LED diffusers and lights — a feature which really sets it apart from other frame kits.
About a month after it started selling on Hobby King, the Neon 250 quickly sold out — a clear sign that Quanum has got things right with its new frame kit.
- Front and rear CNC LED diffusers for a NEON glow effect
- Carbon Plate construction with Low Profile Exoskeleton strength
- Protected motor arm design and battery compartment
- Wide range of motors and props up to 22 series and 6 inch props
- CNC hardware for weight savings
- Wheelbase: 250mm
- Weight: 155g
- Motors: 1806~2206 (12~19mm mounting)
- Props: 5~6 inch
- ESC: 10~20A
- FPV Cam: up to 31 x 13mm
- LED: Blue front, Red rear
- 4 x Motors 1806~2208
- 1 x Battery 800~1500mAh 2~4s
- 4 x Propellers up to 6 inch
- 4 x ESC’s 10~20A
- 1 x multi-rotor Flight controller
- 4ch radio (6ch recommended for FPV and FC use)
- FPV gear (optional)
What’s in the Box
The Neon 250 comes in a small “pizza” box. All carbon sheets and small bits are packed in plastic and you will need 1.5mm and 2mm hex keys (not provided) to assemble the kit. One thing that’s conspicuously missing when I unboxed my Neon 250 is a user manual.
This was clearly a blunder on HK’s side as such a complicated frame kit should be accompanied by at least a simple user manual. The first batch of Neon buyers had to rely on product photos that were available online as a guide to build their frames before a copy of the manual was uploaded some time later at the Hobby King website.
Design and Build Quality
The Neon’s main carbon sheets have a thickness of 1.5mm. They consist of upper and lower sheets that create a kind of low profile exoskeleton that protects and houses internal components and wiring.
At 1.5mm, the sheets are thinner than what you’d find on an average 250 racer. However, when fully assembled, the Neon does feel well-built and stiff. This stiffness does come at a penalty, though — the Neon is shipped with plenty of M2 and M3 hex screws, aluminum spacers and a number of smaller carbon sheets that are used to strengthen the upper part of the frame. In all, we are talking about a substantial number of small bits and pieces.
Despite this complicated set-up, I like how all the small parts on the Neon work together to provide the user with easy access to the interior. When you begin to build a quad based on the Neon 250 and tweak around with it, you will start to appreciate the complicated layout.
The upper sheets of the Neon allow compartmentalized access to major parts of the quadcopter. If you’re working mainly on the fuselage, just remove 8 screws that hold down the upper sheet of the fuselage to access its interior. Similarly, if you need to work on the wiring in the front right motor arm, you only need to remove the upper sheet for that particular arm, leaving the other sheets untouched.
When fully assembled, the carbon sheets provide very good protection for all your components and a neat-looking quadcopter exterior should you choose to place all your main components within the exoskeleton which has an interior that is about 11mm in height. The only thing that sticks out is the flight controller at the center of the frame and the various wires connected to it.
Even the motors are given adequate protection as they sit low inside the exoskeleton arms exposing just enough of the top parts to allow the propellers to spin freely. Protection doesn’t just end there — the battery is also given its very own bay at the bottom of the frame.
At the front of the frame, in between the two motor arms is a built-in FPV camera bay that can be used to mount cameras up to 30mm in size. The bay positions the camera slightly inwards, giving the front lens element some protection from direct hits during a crash.
The Neon stands on 4 aluminum spacers that look rather utilitarian. These spacers don’t really provide much shock absorption so if you’re landing on mostly hard surfaces such as concrete or tarmac, expect a few harsh landings from time to time.
Integrated LED lights
An important key feature of the Neon is its integrated front and rear LED lights which are parts that you don’t normally find in most DIY frame kits. Those who chose to build their own drones have often resorted to installing their own LED lights, creating a very DIY look for their drones. The Neon’s LED lights simply look neat and proper, giving you a good idea where the front is facing.
There is, however, one drawback with these LED lights. The front blue LED lights are placed a bit too far to the front of the camera. If you’re flying mostly in broad daylight, this is not an issue. However, in low light conditions or when flying at night, the blue glare from the LEDs can really overpower your view.
One way to overcome this problem is to cover the sides of the LED lights that are facing the camera with black tape to reduce the glare.
I guess Quanum assumes that FPV racing should only be done in broad daylight which is somewhat true. But then again, there are some pilots who just want to fly late in the evenings or at night.
Another thing that I need to highlight is the low and wide profile of the Neon’s fuselage and arms which clearly deviates from the conventional approach taken in the design of helicopter fuselages. Good multirotor body design entails having a tall and narrow fuselage and arms to allow as little resistance as possible to propeller thrust. The Neon’s design seems to throw this principle out the window.
Whether the Neon’s wide profile design affects its racing performance remains to be seen. However, for plain FPV flying, I believe the wide profile shouldn’t be a big issue.
Quanum has put a lot of effort in designing the Neon 250. You can tell from all the tiny details in the frame. From its integrated LED lights to the intricate exoskeleton that allows for compartmentalized access, the Neon 250 is a very well-rounded frame kit that looks both exciting and sophisticated.
It would be great if Quanum comes up with a new and improved version that has an integrated power distribution board and improved shock-absorbing landing legs besides solving some minor issues such as the blue glare from the front LEDs.
The Neon 250 is not the lightest frame kit out there but it is certainly not the flimsiest either. Instead, it is quite a fine balance between weight, form and function that should please any 250 racer or casual FPV flier.
This is a frame that I would recommend to anyone looking to build a 250-size quadcopter.
Quanum Neon 250
Styling and design9.2/10
- Integrated LED lights
- Reasonably stiff and well built
- Looks great
- Excellent protection for components
- FPV camera suffers from blue glare from front LEDs in low lighting conditions
- Landing legs need to be improved
- No integrated power distribution
- Motors cannot be angled forward