Old 02-17-2013, 03:11 AM
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 16
Default WLtoys V959 Quadcopter with on-board Video

For examination - WLtoys V959 from Banggood.com

Wow that box had one heck of a trip to Oz , if only it could speak ! I'm glad to say all the contents got here safe and sound . For review I have the WLtoys V959 quadcopter with onboard video camera , product page . When offered the opportunity to review the V959 by Banggood.com I simply could not say no , especially as the V959 has onboard video , and I love helicopters as well as photography , so combining the two just makes the V959 twice as much fun for me . Just a quick note on the video , its QuickTime Movie format @ 640x480 ( 15fps and 6041kbps ) . I get almost right on the money six and a half minutes flight time with the camera active ( taking video ) and file size is right around 959meg or just under one Gig in size . I got a Micro SD card ( 2Gig ) and card reader ( micro SD ) that looks a little like a USB drive . The 2Gig micro SD card is plenty large enough to record a flight , and I have as yet not tried other larger micro SD cards .

Here is a nice view of the camera

Rear view - That's where the micro SD card goes

The camera can move up and down ( lens ) , manually.

The motor wires come awfully close to the blade hubs .

A look at the guts

On the left is the old V911 Tx and the V959 Tx is on the right . ( A lot more buttons )

V959 Tx still has the cover for the old charging port that was on the V911 Tx( not functioning )

6 x AA batteries required for the Tx

Here is what the buttons do , pre set rates , as well as turning on and of the running lights . Or taking a stills image ( photo )

Top button on left side Turns on and off the video recording , and the right button ( some how ) allows the V959 to do a flip ( haven't tried it )


I think ( printing on battery is ? ) the battery is rated 500mAh , when I got it , I cycled the battery and the most I saw was 452mAh doing a discharge to 3v . Charging the battery I see anywhere from 390mAh to 420mAh going in . I'm not sure what the C rating is , but the throttle is a little ( turbo lag comes to mind ) slow to respond , and this has seen me bounce quite a bit ( bounce of the ground ) . When the temperature is around the 20deg C the battery does not get overly warm , but once you get to a 30Deg C ambient ( Today ) , the battery does get a little on the hot side ( heat is bad ) so you may wish to or not , extend the life of the battery by not flying when its really warm ( ambient temperatures can make a difference ) .


The transmitter looks very similar to the older V911 Tx , with some obvious upgrades . The buttons are there to make it easy to do stuff , like chose how much control you want over the V959 , I personally found the default ( always starts at 40% ) setting to be not enough , not even indoors . Either 60% or 80% indoors seems to be about right with this sample , and 80% to 100% outside ( for the more experienced 120% would be sweet ) .

You also get to turn on and off the running lights VIA the Tx , as well video or take stills on the fly . Now I haven't attempted it yet , but apparently the top right button is for doing flips , you chose 100% and then something else ( I will have to read the instructions more carefully ) and then when you hit the button the V959 supposedly does a flip ( or roll ) , but as I said , I haven't attempted any such thing as yet .

V959 quadcopter:

Along the lines of the V911 the V959 is very light weight, and due to such is able to absorb a lot of punishment that most budding pilots are going to dish out . I dare say the V959 will most likely survive longer in open areas with a nice grass field ( soft ground ) . Now its very important to power up the V959 and lay it down flat before the lights go out or the gyro will initialize off canter so to speak , and the V959 will want to wander ( varying from how far you were from being perfectly level ).

The set up of the V959 is rather good , and the plastic body shell looks to protect the electronics quite well ( I've flipped it onto its back so many times ) . My only concern is the exposed wires at the motor ends ( pictured above ) as they may be some what vulnerable to damage ( something to bear in mind ) .


Video format is QuickTime Movie @ 640x480 ( 15fps - 6041kbps ) , with the camera running I get almost exactly six and a half minutes of flight , and the resulting file size is about 959meg , or just under one Gig . I was supplied with a 2Gig micro SD card , which is ample to record a single flight . I have not as yet tried larger capacity SD cards ( micro ) , but plan to do so shortly , I have one Class 10 card ( faster recording ) and hopefully it might see even better video quality ( I hope ) .

To activate the video recording , you just press once the left top button and that's it . If you press it again it will stop recording video . To take a picture or still image , press the right side bottom button once , last time I tried it I got 3 images ( sort of like a 3 round burst ) . The quality of the still is ? , interesting but some one might be happy with it ( being a amateur photographer ) . On the other hand the video quality is acceptable , I posted a sample on YouTube :

Please forgive the poor video presentation , I'm a video Noob , and I'm still learning the ins and outs of video editing . Also excuse the poor flying or tentative flying as this was the first outdoor flight , and just when the battery was depleted the big winds started up ( been a windy year so far ) . I had to wait till another day for my second outdoor flight : ( once again a early 8am flight to try and beat the wind ) . Now the camera does have audio , but I have avoided it as its recording 4 motors and the result is rather nasty .



In video 3 ( 3rd Flight ) I have included some of the onboard audio , now you will have to excuse me for replacing most of it with High Brow Elevator music , but that's the only royalty free audio I could find in my 5 minutes of searching .



The default 40% control setting ( when you turn on the Tx ) is not really good enough ( not enough control input ) , 60% for indoors is much better as is 80% better again . 100% works well outside , but I would have liked to have seen 120% for the more experienced pilots ( no not me ) . Now due to the light weight of the V959 it really gets pushed around by a breeze , you can see the V959 shudder when a breeze hits it , even a light one . And if there is a reasonable wind about it can be very challenging to keep in the air , or from being blown away for that matter . One of my pet hates is up and down drafts , and the V959 is affected by them , I had the V959 suddenly shoot up a good 20 feet or more as I was decreasing power , and I was almost at 0 throttle before it began to come down again . And once it begins to come down , you really need to come on the power earlier than you think , I'm used to 450 class helicopters and they have power to spare . If you hit the throttle on a 450 , man that bird is gone , instantly . Not so with the V959 , it really needs forward thinking on the throttle as it takes time for things to happen , you need to be a good 1 to 2 seconds in front of what's going on with the V959 , you cant react , you need to predict , and that will take some time ..

I was able to get in my 4th outdoor flight today , but its breezy , and it was challenging . A school hall , or some sort of indoor venue would be simply fantastic for the V959 , as you could factor out the wind ( for us Quad Noobs ). This would allow one to concentrate on throttle control and flight prediction . Now don't get me wrong , the V959 is just great , and in fact possibly a lot better than a lot of fixed pitch micro helicopters , but its no wind buster ( unless you carry a lot of speed ), and just like the FP micro heli's , some time its better to play inside . The downside is the V959 begs space so you can hot dog . Experienced pilots will be able to fly in the wind better as they can keep momentum going , and momentum will help stability in flight .

The V959 will fly through a decent breeze , but try hovering . I was trying to hover and @ 100% ( control ) had about 50% forward stick to maintain the hover in a light wind , which is by far better than say a V911 which in the same light wind would be hovering backwards ( flying backwards ) . Now pushing the stick forward 50% means the quad will tilt forward , and once it does that it will dip and shoot of forwards and towards the ground , so you pull back on the elevator and it skims along and begins to gain altitude , it will climb to a hover and then the wind will push it back to where you started , and then you need to push the elevator forward and it all begins again . Seriously , I haven't had this much fun in a long time ! ( wind like this would push my V911 into the neighbors yard and there was nothing I could do about it ) .

Last Word:

When you have to pack up your FP micro to go inside , the V959 can keep going . The more experienced quadcopter pilots will get more from this quad when conditions get to the point Noobs pack up. Also if your considering helicopters as a hobby , the V959 is probably a better choice than a FP micro heli . It offers more control ratio's ( 40-60-80-100% ) , better stability , and can tolerate more weather. Its just as crash resistant as the FP micro , costs about he same money ( a little more as it has more options - like a camera ) , and offers just about the same flight experience ( learning curve ) . I've never flown a quad before now , and it is easier to fly than a FP micro , is more rewarding ( crash less ) , and inside is far more precise . You can actually pic a spot , fly over to it , hover above it and land on it with very little trouble . Now this does not mean you cant get into strife , because once it starts moving , it can bump and crash just as easily as a FP micro helicopter , in fact sometimes it actually seems easier as the V959 is capable of far more speed .


Throttle Lag - just because you hit the throttle don't mean something is going to happen straight away ( think Turbo Lag )
Descending Hover - The V959 tends to rock from side to side when you throttle down in hover ( altitude ) you can see this in video 3


Wow so many things , Inbuilt Camera , Flies better than a FP micro heli , Crash survivability , Control rates , running lights that can be turned off , Price ( $69 at time of review ), Indoor or outdoor capability , auto shut down ( motors ) to prevent damage when bumping into things , probably a faster learning curve ( learning to fly ) , just a Ton of fun ! When was the last time you flew , and walked away with a silly grin ? rather than something to repair .


I would like to thank Banggood.com for sending me the V959 for reviewing , this quadcopter has put a smile on this old dial . Not only do you get to fly but the onboard video allows you to share your exploits . In fact I also got to learn a lot along the way ( Sony Vega - Hmm how much $$ ) . The WLtoys V959 is a great quadcopter , can I say a real great toy that has given me some serious fun the last couple of days . And even with the all the bumps remains in mint condition ( have I put 10 to 12 batteries through it or more ? ) , well , I've failed to break it . In fact I just went over it carefully , and not even a scuff on the rotor blades ( propellers ) .

If you looking to get into the hobby , then the quadcopter could be for you .

Thank you Dimas , the most fun I have had in a long time ..
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