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Product Reviews

Rise Vusion House Racer

Looking for an indoor drone, check out the House Racer

August 22, 2017

  • Quick and agile
  • Tough as nails (well, almost)
  • Lengthy flight times
Rise, a hobby drone company owned by Hobbico, has come on strong during the last year, introducing a number of racing drones. Its latest offering is the Vusion House Racer. The House Racer is small, although not tiny, and should only be flown indoors — thus the name. I received the FPV-R package, which includes the quad, four spare props, a single 3.7V 650mAh 1S LiPo battery, USB charger, wall guards, and an instruction manual. The RTF package includes all that, plus a 2.4GHz controller, FPV headset with monitor and antenna, USB charge cable for the monitor, and a screwdriver.

If you don’t own a compatible Secure Link Technology (SLT) transmitter, like a Tactic TTX650, and FPV goggles, I’d recommend going with the RTF version. You get everything you need to fly FPV at an affordable price. Buying all that gear separately starts to add up.
Bill Zuback
Before you fly

If you’re new to flying very little quads, you may not know that a small quad means a small battery, and a smaller battery means a shorter flight time. And that flight time is reduced further when you add a camera and fly fast and furiously — so, buy extra batteries. I have three of the Rise 650mAh LiPos (Product No. LXGLXN, $8.99). Each battery takes about 90 minutes to charge using the supplied USB charger. Better to get all the charging out of the way early and then fly.

Don’t worry about connecting the battery incorrectly to the charger; the plug will only fit in one way. Also, the connectors slip together well, so you don’t have to tug too hard to get them apart. I’ve had that problem with other USB chargers, and have had to really work not to strip the battery connector. Not so with this drone.

If you’re unsure of your piloting skills or don’t want to risk marring the walls — I get it, I like nice things, too — the House Racer does come with wall guards. Simply press them into place over the motor nacelles. (If you don’t see the guards in the box, don’t worry. You’ll find them tucked away under the plastic insert.)

If, like me, you’re using an SLT controller, you’ll have to link your transmitter to the House Racer. Before you do, make sure your servo settings and channel assignments are correct. Use the handy guide included in the quad’s user manual to help with these adjustments.

If you already have goggles, like I do, check to see what frequencies the drone will accept, tune the goggles there, and then…
Bill Zuback
System specs
Vusion House Racer
  • Available: Rise
  • Diagonal: 4.7 inches (120mm)
  • Weight (with battery): 2.4 ounces
  • Camera: 600TVL with 100-degree FOV; 25mW 5.8GHz video transmitter with 40 channels and five bands
  • Fight time: 6 to 10 minutes
  • Price: FPV-R package $79.99, FPV RTF package $170.99
Into the (indoor) blue

Often, designs for this size of hobby quad make concessions when it comes to power and weight. In this case, the House Racer gets the balance right. The airframe is made of tough plastic that can take some abuse. The motors and battery are large enough to deal with a little more weight. The House Racer provides more than enough acceleration and top-end for zooming around the close confines of a house or apartment. In fact, it’s got way more zip than you’d ever be able to really use.

The House Racer offers three flight modes: attitude (self-leveling and mild roll and tilt rates), rattitude (self-leveling with more aggressive rates and controls with more sensitivity), and rate (no hand-holding at all — no limit on tilt and roll and no self-leveling).

If this is the first time you’ve flown FPV, you should have no trouble putting on the goggles and buzzing around. You’ll get the hang of it pretty quick. Once you’re comfortable, go ahead and hit Mode 2 (rattitude) for more exciting flying.

Mode 3 (rate) isn’t meant for beginners. I have to stress this, because everyone wants to try flips and rolls, but if you’re not ready for them, performing tricks is a good way to break your quad. Or in this case, break something valuable in your house. If you haven’t flown rate before, don’t try to learn the ropes while wearing FPV goggles. Learn to hover and move around flying within line-of-sight. Then try doing rolls and flips. And find a place to do it that is clear of obstacles like pets and roommates — they won’t appreciate any collisions.

The House Racer does have an auto-flip feature, which is easy to activate with the RTF controller — just press a button and move the stick in the direction you want the flip or roll. With an SLT controller, you need to assign a switch for the flip feature. So if you get bored running laps or practicing manual rolls, you can use the automated feature to impress your friends.
Final thoughts

I’ll admit that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with drones of this size and weight. I think they’re tons of fun, and I don’t need to head outside to get my flying fix. On the other hand, if you’re going to fly with any speed, you need a fairly big, open area, because you’re going to crash (unless you’re Poe Dameron). If you have beanbags for furniture and industrial lamps for lighting, then maybe you can take the risk. If not, find a better flying space.

For me, the ideal venue for the House Racer is a fairly obstacle-free family room or a school gymnasium — somewhere with space to open up the throttle and just blast. If you need obstacles, Rise produces a series of FPV race gates. Pick those up, and you’ll have plenty to practice with.

Still, it’s cool to fly over couches and under tables, zoom down hallways and up the stairs while wearing goggles. And you can use the same gate system to set up a course in your house. Just don’t go all out, or you may be facing angry roommates, family, or landlords.

Note: A version of this review appeared in the May/June 2017 issue of Drone360 magazine.
Featured image: Bill Zuback