It’s been a heck of a long time since I was a contributor to RC Universe. Let’s just say that I was sidetracked for about ten years doing official product reviews for another site.
During that time, I cultivated a great many wonderful relationships with some of the top players in the hobby industry along with other wonderful relationships with online mail order houses. Such a relationship is with GearBest.com. Although I no longer contribute in an official capacity on that other site, GearBest and others were still quite interested in sending me products for reviews on that site’s blog pages.
I went them one better and told them I’d be reviewing here at RC Universe from now on.
After this lengthy absence, it’s my pleasure to return to RC Universe with a fun, affordable “toy” quadcopter, the Daming Conqueror DM009. The DM009 is typical of most small quads with features proven to be popular with new, young users, including a camera and automatic flip function. It’s also easy to fly, perhaps more so than most because of its built-in altitude hold feature. That makes the using the DM009 as a novice’s photography platform with its 1080p camera and its 8GB micro SD card simple since it will hold its altitude rather nicely in calm outdoor conditions. A six-axis gyro also aids in stability. Add a 7.4V lithium polymer battery for lots of power and sport flying becomes a remarkably fun experience.
Let’s get a closer look at what GearBest offers in this nice little package, available for US$56.94 with free shipping to the US here.
Size (L x W x H): 12.4 x 12.4 x 3.94″ (31.50 x 31.50 x 10.00 cm)
Radio: 2.4GHz four-channel Mode 2 with LCD display, digital trim tabs and one-touch photo and flip buttons
Weight: 4.76 oz (0.135 kg)
Battery: 600mAh 7.4V 2S lithium polymer with Team Losi style JST connector
Claimed Flying Time: 10-13 minutes
Camera: 5MP CCD color digital with 4GB micro SD card and USB reader
Operator Skill Level/Age: Beginner; 14+
Available From: GearBest.com
The DM009 comes complete and ready to fly with the following:
- Assembled model with camera
- Four-channel 2.4GHz transmitter with digital trims, camera control, flip control/one key return, three flight modes, headless mode, stick mode selector and LCD screen
- 600mAh 7.4V 2S lithium polymer battery with micro Losi style connector
- Propeller guards
- Spare propellers
- Phillips screwdriver
- 8GB micro SD card and reader
- 110 – 240VAC 50/60Hz battery charger with 220V prongs
- Illustrated instruction booklet
Needed to get flying:
- Four AA-cell alkaline batteries for the transmitter
- 220V travel adapter plug for use in areas with 110V power
The DM009 arrived well boxed with two other quads for review. My initial impression was very favorable; the model’s display box is satin black with glossy images of the model both front and rear. Some spelling errors are present on the box, which seems to be the norm from small Chinese manufacturers. QR codes on the end flaps allow the download of Wi-Fi camera and flight controls to a smartphone or tablet, depending on the version of the model. Unfortunately, I’d discovered that my example has no Wi-Fi, but it does have an 8GB micro SD card to go with its 1080p video/still camera. The manual lists the Wi-Fi camera and phone mount as sold separately, so someone wishing to experiment with rudimentary FPV should bear that in mind. There are some parts available, but the upgraded camera isn’t listed.
If the box had its share of poorly translated English, the manual was a mother lode. For example, the headless mode instructions are totally incomprehensible and I won’t belabor the point by reprinting them here. It might be a nice feature on a larger, more sophisticated machine, but it’s gimmicky on a small model like the DM009. Should one wish to experiment, it’s activated with a press of the right control stick.
Buyers in North America or anyplace with 120V power would do well to acquire a 220V to 120V adapter from a travel adapter kit; I have a couple of bulk units which were purchased at a local luggage store. This isn’t the first time I’ve encountered such a charger. A new pilot who doesn’t own another suitable charger is going to be disappointed if he or she doesn’t have an adapter on hand. I’ll skip ahead and mention that the wall charger takes a horrifically long time to bring the 600mAh battery up to a full charge; after ninety minutes, it was only about half charged. I have a computerized charger which I will be using from this point forward. The battery itself is a standard looking 2S unit with a Losi/JST type mini spade connector…but there’s no balancing tap. I haven’t seen a lithium polymer battery with multiple cells and without a tap since the dawn of lithium polymer technology in radio control.
Since the DM009 has an external power switch, connecting the battery and setting down the model on a level surface makes powering up and establishing a stable gyro link is a snap. Arming the model is somewhat more involved, requiring that the control sticks both be moved inward and then outward to bind the system and then moving both sticks downward to arm it. If all those moves are successful, the DM009 starts its motors in idle.
Blue LEDs on the front radials with red at the rear coupled with flashing red and blue LEDs on the tail make the black and white DM009 look like a sort of futuristic police patrol vehicle. I was reminded of the flying “police cars” in the sci-fi movie, The Fifth Element. As with many quads with an altitude hold feature, throttle is at center stick. Unfortunately, the barometric altitude hold can’t be overridden and throttle response is incredibly sensitive. It’s more on-off switch than linear throttle in either direction of travel. Once airborne, the DM009 does a good job of holding itself steady, an excellent feature for budding aerial photographers. Unlike a more advanced model with GPS stabilization, the DM009 will drift somewhat which requires pilot input to counteract.
Pitch, bank and yaw are somewhat sensitive as well, but not as much so as the throttle. Low, medium and high control rates are available with a press of the transmitter button on the upper left corner. While the low rate is excellent for indoor flying, the high rate is almost too sensitive with almost no control linearity. I discovered that the medium rate in calm outdoor conditions makes for an exceptionally nimble and surprisingly fun to fly little machine. The 2S battery is a big help in that regard; most models in this size and price range have single-cell power “under the hood.”
Landing presents an entirely different challenge.
Since the throttle is so sensitive in both directions and because the DM009 lacks an automatic landing feature, it’s very difficult to make a smooth landing. It does, in fact, bounce somewhat because of the lack of control and the springy landing skids. I generally, don’t use prop guards supplied with models of this type, but in this case, they don’t affect the flight characteristics and do a good job of protecting the props from the almost inevitable tip-over.
Here’s where the DM009 shines. Video and photos written to the supplied 8GB micro SD card are clear and crisp, though not nearly as crisp as I would expect from a camera touting 1080p capability. I’ve seen 720p with more clarity, but there’s nothing to complain about here given the affordable price.
The solidly mounted camera worried me; I was certain the images would be blurred by vibration. I was almost amazed that it was not the case. An almost nonconsequential bit of vibration was apparent in the video as the model yawed during test flights, but it was otherwise darn near perfect. The mounting tabs appear to be like those found on other models and there also appears to be a second receptacle for a three-lead camera. There isn’t anything in the instructions regarding the receptacle, so one is left wondering.
For all of $56.94 with free shipping from GearBest, the lucky owner will find his or herself with a fun and good flying entry level quad. I was worried about parts availability since none were listed with the DM009, but GearBest lists some identical replacement parts for the original DM007. Some, but not all. Except for the battery and motors, no electronics are listed. Those parts which are listed are the ones most likely to fail, wear out or be damaged, so that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They’re also incredibly affordable, so one would be well advised to pick up a spare or two for nonstop fun.
I’m giving the Daming Conqueror DM009 quadcopter from GearBest a solid two thumbs up.
My sincerest thanks go to Adam Chiu and the folks at GearBest for making this model available for review on behalf of our readers here at RC Universe. Thanks for visiting!
Pluses and Minuses
- Affordably priced
- Fast and nimble
- The two-cell battery adds a lot of punch in a model this size
- Affordably priced spare parts, such as they are
- Stable, barometrically controlled altitude hold means smooth video
- Excellent video and photo quality with plenty of capacity on the micro SD card
- Excellent lighting for night flights