- Jan 29, 2012
Well something new for you guys today. After seeing a few of Thing's multirotor threads and getting an offer to review any item from Tinydeal.com, I decided to have a shot at testing a Syma X5C-1.
Material: Plastic + Alloy
Control Type: Radio Control
Function: Up/Down, Turning Left/Right, Forward/Backward ,Side Flying
Control Range: 100m
Flying Time: 6-9min
Charging Time: 100min
Battery: 3.7V 500mAh Li-Po
Transmitter Battery: 4 x AA(not included)
Camera: 2 million pixels
Suitable Age: 14+
Suitable Situation: Outdoor
Gross Weight: 762g/ 26.88 oz
Color: White as shown in the picture
Size: 415 x 305 x 90 mm / 16.34 x 12.01 x 3.54 inch
I have to admit at this point I had only ever flown a couple of small helis and had very little experience with multirotors. I discussed this with Leo from TinyDeal and he managed to persuade his manager to send out an example for review. Please note that even though it is listed as an X5C, the model I was sent (and the model linked above in the title) are both X5C-1s, this means the newer upgraded model.
The shipping took just over a week, which is exceptionally good. The package was actually shipped from the Netherlands and so it looks like they may drop ship from there to Europe.
The box was not particularly well wrapped, or otherwise protected, so I was happy to see that it had arrived in one piece.
Inside there is the quad-copter ready to fly with the blades and battery installed. You'll need 4 x AA batteries for the controller though and these are not included. If you are a beginner like me, it is highly recommended to attach the four prop guards before attempting to fly!
Under the transmitter there are; the screws for the prop-guards, a screwdriver, the charging cable (std USB charger) and a small micro-SD card reader. It was also a pleasant surprise to find a 4 GB card preinstalled in the camera.
There are also four replacement blades included, but these are taped to the back of the white plastic container, so please check and remove these before disposing of the packaging.
The batteries were around 3.6-3.7 V which is perfect for storage, but it did mean they had to be charged before use. Typically the recharging time is around 90 mins.
The battery is inserted beneath the camera door on the underside of the quadcopter and as you can see in the pic below the power socket slots in to the small jack in the front. (Please note Banggood battery installed in pic, but more on that later.) The black slot on the back of the camera is where the Micro-SD card plugs in and the black button, the main on/off switch.
When the quadcopter is switched on, all four lights blink and this means it is awaiting a pairing signal from the transmitter. To pair, place it on a level surface and switch on the transmitter. There will be an audible beep and you then need to push the throttle vertically to the max and then bring it back down to zero at the start position. The lights on the device will stop flashing and remain constantly illuminated.
In this picture you can see gearing for the props - The motors are not brushless.
Once the copter is airborne you may observe some drift and this can be easily corrected on the controller. To adjust for left, or right, horizontal drift, toggle the Aileron correction slider (silver button below right hand stick) in the opposite direction to the drift. The same goes for forward and backward drift. Here you need to move the Elevator slider and this is the vertical silver button to the left of the right hand stick. The left hand stick on the transmitter is both the throttle (up and down movement) and rotation in the horizontal plane. The silver slider button below left hand stick is the rudder trim and this fine tunes the rotation. There is no correction for the throttle. The vertical slider on the right of the first stick controls the camera; push up to take a picture and pull down to make a movie. One thing to note here, if taking a movie, you must switch off the camera ie pull the lever down again before switching off the copter, or the movie will not be saved properly.
The Syma XC5-1 has a button for aerial flips although I admit I have not tried this yet. Ill need to be in a large open space before I try this...
Handling and performance
Well the only other quad-copter I could compare this to is the Hubsan X4 and I have to say there is a world of difference. The Husan sounds like an aggressive mosquito and, to be honest in comparison to the Syma, it flies like one! Dont get me wrong its a great little multirotor, but it simply doesnt have the flight stability of the Syma. With the Hubsan it was exceptionally nervous and very difficult to get to hover and remain in one spot. Constant corrections were needed even after calibrating on a flat level surface and dialing in the minor drift adjustments on the controller. The Syma on the other hand just hovered on the spot and responded instantly and very precisely to every command. With the Syma it was also possible to put down the transmitter and it would essentially stay where it was.
Here's a pic to show the actual size difference between the Syma and Hubsan.
The supplied battery gave a 7 min flight time, with the camera and guards mounted and the camera off. With the camera on, the run time is reduced to just under 5 mins. As I wanted a slightly longer flight time I decided to buy a few spare batteries and opted for some from Banggood, that had been recommended on some of the other quadcopter sites.
Syma X5-16 X5C H5C 1 To 5 3.7V 600MAH Upgrade Battery - US$18.00
A word of warning however, the supplied charger (from Banggood) dangerously overcharged all of the batteries to 4.46 V! It was actually still charging when I decided to check with a DMM. Had I not immediately disconnected them I may have had a few fireballs in the living room. I dont actually know at what voltage the charger cuts out, but Id hazard a guess at 5 V...:tsk:
Anyway I quickly discharged the batteries back down to 4.2 V and they seemed to work fine although they are all now a little puffed up... The main problem with these though is the capacity which may be partially related to the internal resistance (Ri) - the batteries are normally quite hot after each flight. I tested the supplied battery and the Ri was 64 mOhm, the bang good batteries tested around 110 mOhm. A high internal resistance will lead to a larger voltage drop under load, which in turn will trigger the battery protection cutout in the Syma earlier resulting in shorter flight times. Assuming the capacity of the supplied battery is correct (and neglecting the voltage drop) the current draw is very roughly calculated at 4.2 A. Anyway, these give a max of 5.5 mins under the same conditions as the supplied battery with no camera running, so they were either damaged through the over charge, or their capacity has been blatantly over rated. At 4.2 A the capacity is roughly 390 mAh.
Video and Image quality
Well this is the only real weak point, if you could call it that. The video resolution seems to vary between 1280 x 720 (1 MP) and 1920 x 1080 (2.1 MP) at 30 FPS and photos are 2560 × 1440 (3.7 MP), but in low light the image is very grainy. This is almost definitely due to a small sensor in the camera. So far I have only used the camera indoors with artificial lighting, but I will re-test at a later date outside as I am convinced its performance will drastically improve.
Here is a quick indoor video of the Syma in action. Unfortunately I havent been able to take the copter outdoors, because we have had nothing but rain and strong wind the last few weeks. As mentioned, I will however update the thread with proper outdoor flight and video once the conditions improve.
Well last but not least, I was curious to see whether the Syma could carry a small laser setup and so I attached a small 5 mW DPSS module and an AW IMR 16340 to the under carriage. If setup correctly, this could be used eg to target the onboard camera with an eye safe 1 -5 mW laser. The total weight was around 60 g and it had no trouble lifting off, even though the camera and prop guards were still installed. This means the Syma is capable of carrying a useful and very respectable payload.
Well this is an excellent starter model and I would highly recommend it due to it's incredible flight stability. The control unit is made of plastic and is very light, which gives it a cheapish feel, but the LED display on the unit is very useful to quickly check and make adjustments to the trim. The camera is a nice touch and at 2 MP very functional. I would however only really recommend using it under well lit conditions. All in all I was very impressed with Tinydeal. They were very professional, helpful and quick to respond. :gj:
Tinydeals is currently offering a discount on the Syma X5C-1 here:
SYMA X5C X5C-1 LCD RC Quadcopter 4CH 2.4GHz w 6-axis 2MP Camera TRC-301757 - TinyDeal
and in conjunction with the coupon code; 19offx5c you can get an additional 10 % off.
The Syma X5C-1 was provided by Tinydeal for the purposes of a review! Thanks for reading. :beer: