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Review: Eachine/JJRC H8 3D Inverted Flight RTf Quadcopter

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Review: Eachine/JJRC H8 3D Inverted Flight RTf Quadcopter

Old 09-28-2015, 10:28 AM
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SoloProFan
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Default Review: Eachine/JJRC H8 3D Inverted Flight RTf Quadcopter

Introduction:

The first H8 Mini has quickly established itself as a cheap but very capable small RTF quadcopter. Not perfect, but good fun. So will this 3D (inverted flight) version be just as nice?


For easy navigation, here's a list of contents:

- 1) Specs and First Impression
- 2) Flying Performance
- 3) Preliminary Verdict
- 4) Suggestions for improvements
- 5) Modifications
- 6) Battery Options
- 7) Updates

Hope you enjoy checking out this review, and find it helpful. Suggestions, hints, tips, questions, all welcome!


1) Specs and First Impression:



Available here: http://www.banggood.com/Eachine-H8-3...-p-990494.html

Apart from this color scheme, it is also available with blue print and black props, the version I received. I found pictures of a third version, with black props, and a reddish colored frame, not sure if this is a prototype, or whether actually available. See the pictures attached to this posting for other color versions. The BG website only offers choice between the green and the blue version.

Here are the specs as listed on the Banggood website, which are (mostly) correct:

Description:
Brand: Eachine
Item name: Eachine H8 3D Mini RC Quadcopter
Frequency: 2.4G
Gyro: 6 axis
Product battery: 3.7V 220mAh 15C(Included)
Remote battery: 3 x AAA dry battery(Not included)
Charging time: 45mins
Flying time: 6-8mins
R/C distance: about 30m
Flying distance: about 30m
Color: Green,Blue,Orange

Features:

Inverted Flight, Rolling 180 ,3D Flip
With Headless Mode,no need to adjust the position of aircraft before flying .
One key to return function makes it easily to find the way home.
4 Channel which can do ascend, descend, forward, backward, left sideward fly, right sideward fly and rolling 360
It has 6-axis gyro which can have more stable flying and be easy to control
It can realize 3D tumbling in four directions with 4 LED lights.
Lightweight airframe with nice durability
Battery protection

Package Included:

1 x H8 3D Mini RC Quadcopter
1 x 3.7V 220MAH battery
1 x Transmitter
1 x USB cable
2 x Replacement Props (A & B)
4 x Soft Foam Landing Cushions
1 x Manual


The H8 3D comes in a neat box, with the transmitter and quad held in place by clear vacuum-formed plastic. The battery was inserted in the quad, and already charged, instead of on storage voltage. Apart from the quad and transmitter, you get a manual, a USB charger, four foam pads to mount under the engine pods, and unlike the H8 Mini, four spare props instead of two.

Stock battery is a 1S 220 mAh, and weighs approx 5.96 grams. The replacement battery, that Banggood offers, is rated 260 mAh, and weighs about 7.60 grams, and is much longer. The battery holder is quite spacy, the stock battery even comes with a patch of self-adhesive foam applied to one side, to help it stay snug in the holder. The replacement battery, though quite a bit longer, is no thicker than stock, and slides out easily. This is probably done to help it fit in the H8 Mini, so if you use it only in the H8 3D, it needs some foam, or other extra layer, to make it stay in place during flight.

As hinted at earlier, most of the info listed on the BG website is correct, except the transmitter doesn't use three AAA batteries, but two AA batteries instead. For those that have the JJRC H20 hexacopter, it will appear very familiar, in fact, it's just the same TX. You can fly the H8 3D with the H20 transmitter, and vice versa. Also, as we've come to expect, the flight time is somewhat exagerated.

Btw, even though this quad is still called a H8 but with 3D suffix, it is a bit bigger than the H8 Mini. Motors are 7 mm diameter instead of 6 mm, and are further apart. The prop guards are also much more beefy. You can see this clearly in this picture with both H8 versions side to side:



Weight of the H8 3D without battery is 20.70 grams. The H8 Mini weighs a little under 20 grams, with battery. The props are 50 mm diameter, instead of the 45 mm of the H8 Mini, and different shape too, more tuned to giving sufficient lift when flying inverted.

Distance measured over the diagonal between 2 opposing motors is about 94 mm, against 75 mm for the Mini. When measuring over the diagonal between the outsides of two opposing prop guards, these are 157 mm apart on the H8 3D, and about 131 mm on the H8 Mini. So the H8 3D will have a bigger "presence" in the air.



2) Flying Performance:


Binding is like on the H20, power on quad, power on TX, TX starts to beep, and then you move throttle to max and back. Before we get to regular side up flying, let's first focus on what makes this quad not just another RTF quadcopter, it's inverted flight capability. When you press the flip button on this one, instead of a 360 degree flip ("eversion" as most of the manufacturers of these RTF quads call it) it will flip only 180 degrees. You don't have to worry about directions being reversed, or like on a CP helicopter, having to apply negative pitch by moving the throttle stick to below neutral. With the 180 degree flip, the board just automatically reverses controls, so you can just fly like it was right side up. So using it to practice orientation for learning to fly CP heli, it won't teach you much.

When inverted, you can hear the motors have to work a little harder, it's a little more quiet when in normal mode. And just in case you want to do regular 360 degrees flips, you just press down on the right stick, to switch between modes. 360 degrees flips are smooth and tight enough. One thing, if you are flying inverted, and the quad hits LVC, you can't flip it right side up again. Now the prop guards do extend above the top of the props, but on a more rough landing, these can still scrape the ground a little. So best to avoid flying inverted near the end of the flight, and land immediately when you see the LVC led flashing.

Now for regular flying. This quad has three rates, the lowest one is much more beginner friendly then the low rate on the H8 Mini. Yaw and banking angles are well in balance. This also applies to the medium rate, with yaw being quite a bit slower than the low rate on the H8 Mini. Highest rate gives very steep banking angles, and the yaw rate gets a boost too, and become about as fast as the low rate on the H8 Mini.

I flew mostly in medium rates, because it is already about as fast as the H8 Mini in low rates, but with yaw that is very well in balance with the speed and banking angle. It feels really smooth with good power. In the highest rate you have to keep an eye on altitude, as it can pitch so far forward that it will not keep altitude in FFF. In medium rates, you can fly as far on full speed as you like, except for...

... range. This seems like a common thing for recently produced quads. A regular H8 Mini purchased a few weeks ago, lost contact at 30 metres range max. This H8 3D can not even get that far, between 20 and 25 metres it starts to behave erratically, holding the last stick input, resulting in two fly-away moments, one time the quad ending up in some *****ly bush, and the other time making a full speed belly crash-landing on the parking lot, coming to a halt against the front tyre of my car... Running forward barely prevented a 3rd incident a little later.

Another drawback, is that this quad seems to be only available in black, and in my case, with four black props too. Even at the limited range I was getting, this could mean losing orientation. I hope that soon a white version, or at least white props will become available, so these can be given some bright color with a Sharpie.

Sorry, no good timed flights yet, as the range problems cause at least one fly-away every flight. That needs to be fixed first before I can do some more serious flying. I could time a living room hover, but that doesn't really represent a regular flight.

One trick that this quad is very good at, is making a 360 degree flip when moving forward. Now you may know the BayangToys X9 can do a backward flip when moving at medium speed forward, resulting in somewhat of a looping. Well the H8 3D can also do a sideways flip, while stil keeping forward momentum, so it basically does a fast roll then. It can do this either way, and requires no cutting motor power, or other tricks. Just get the quad moving forward, center the right stick, press roll button and give roll input, and after the roll is completed, resume forward elevator. A H8 Mini would hit the brakes when trying this.

Btw, in the air it doesn't mind whether flying upside down, or right side up, but it can't initialize when powered on, and then put down upside down. It needs to be on it's "feet" during initializing and binding, after that it doesn't matter.



3) Preliminary Verdict:


Apart from the inverted flight option (which is, if you look at it, more a bit of a gimmick, as it can't be used as a true 3D inverted trainer, because all controls are automatically reversed to make it fly just like it was right side up) this quad has more to offer. Rates have been well tuned, especially in medium rate it's agile but still smooth. In high rates it's a handfull, especially since keeping orientation on a fast moving all black quad is almost impossible. Just having two white props, or even better, having a vibrant color like fluor orange, would have made a big difference. But then again, with a range as poor as it has in stock form, it barely matters, because you will have it fly away as soon as you start flying faster, and further away. In stock form, very promising due to the way the rates are programmed, but severely limited due to the short range.

Once having performed the range mod however, it's an awesome flyer, with good power, smooth and quite fast on medium rates, and challenging, close to crazy, on highest rates. The only thing holding it back then is the black color of quad, and in case of the blue version that I have, black props as well, making it hard to see where it's heading at a distance. If you get the green one, it's possible to color the rear props black with a Sharpie, or get a blue and a green one, and swap 2 green props to the front of the blue one, and install the 2 black props coming from the blue one, on the rear of the green H8 3D. Works like a treat, and keeping track of orientation, even when using the extended range after the antenna mod, is much better.

With all these limitations removed, it's very enjoyable in most conditions, including a decent breeze. It can build up speed much like the JJ1000 and Juncheng 3015-2, and turns are much less wide than the "1000" and pretty close to the tight hairpins that the 3015-2 can pull off. Turns are smooth, and remind me of the Bayang Toys X7. The H8 3D doesn't get to weave up and down when cruising against the breeze, like the JJ1000 is somewhat prone too, it leans more towards the Juncheng as for mostly keeping a steady altitude. It doesn't have the same raw power as the 3015-2, but that might also because the props on the H8 3D are supposed to also give enough lift when flying inverted. The Juncheng props are tuned to "right side up" flying. As for range, it is not as far as the JJ1000, but certainly beats the 3015-2 on that aspect, so on a lot of things it's the best of both worlds, a pretty fast quad, that can handle a breeze, smooth yet agile, and also turns tight enough to feel fully in control. And with good range to take advantage of these flying capabilities, at least after doing the antenna mod.

The stock battery has a little trouble keeping up with the current draw of the motors, especially when starting to do some fast flying. At the end of doing high speed passes and more of that, it's always quite warm. The Eachine 260 mAh battery, as well as the Nanotech 260 and Tmart 300, ge just barely warm. The light 220 mAh stock battery might have an advantage when showing of the 3D moves indoor, when no fast forward flight is involved, but it doesn't have much punch to maintain altitude when flying forward at full speed.

It also loses points for using "yet another protocol variation" instead of being compatible with the Bayang protocol, which is so convenient with the H8 Mini. The stock transmitter isn't as cramped as the one of the H8 Mini, but the BayangToys "X-series" transmitter just feels better, and has proven to be very reliable and having good range.


Pro's

- Good yaw/pitch balance, especially in medium, it's smooth and quite zippy
- Plenty of room for bigger batteries
- Comes with four spare props (as should be the bare minimum, improvement over H8 Mini, that comes with just 2)
- Can fly inverted
- Able to perform sideways flips while moving forward, looking like a real (barrel) roll
- Good flight time, 5+ mins on stock battery, 6+ mins on upgrade 260 mAh battery
- Handles a breeze very well


Cons

- Poor range (before antenna mod)
- Black frame and four black props ( on blue version) make it almost impossible to determine heading on little distance
- Leds are poorly visible, easy to miss LVC
- Frame halves don't fit very seamlessly together
- Stock battery has loose fit, and is a little stressed powering this quad


4) Suggestions for improvements:


Hoping that manufacturers, or at least the sellers of this quad, are reading here too, here are some things that could have made this quad closer to being perfect:
- Improve range to at least 50 metres
- White props on the front, to help with orientation
- White body, for even better visibility, also helps to see leds better
- Use H8 Mini/Bayangtoys X9 protocol
- Add a true inverted flight training mode as extra setting, where the controls don't get automatically reversed
- Add extra screws to join frame halves, like has been done on the H8 Mini recently
Did I already mention it should come in white?


5) Modifications:


As we can't always afford to wait if. and when the above suggestions will result in changes to this promising quad, some things can be fixed with some modifications. Hoping to achieve better range, it was time to do the well known "antenna mod", so I opened up the quad:




As you can see, the antenna is almost flat against the board. Also you can see the extra transistors, needed because the motors need to be able to reverse direction on this quad.
I drilled a hole in the top cover, and put the antenna straight up, (pictures to follow) then inserted each of the 8 screws that hold the upper and lower shell together, and it was ready for a test flight.



It may not look as sleek as with the antenna tucked away "under the hood", but boy, it's worth the effort! Range has more than doubled on mine now, and is at least as good as on a good H8 Mini, so around 50 metres, maybe even more. Now at last the good forward speed can be put to good use.


6) Battery Options:


As mentioned earlier, the battery holder is pretty large. Here's a few pictures with the upgrade 260 mAh battery installed:



Still free space on the sides of the battery, and even top and bottom, as the fit is quite loose, and needs some foam or other material to make the battery fit really snug. Even a 350 mAh Hubsan X4 battery (those cheap ones with blue shrink wrap) can fit, although these may be too heavy. I do intend to try a 300 mAh 25C/30C T-mart battery, as that fits well, but is about 1 g heavier than the 260 mAh upgrade battery.


7) Updates:



Update 30 august 2015:

Range mod is working a treat. Range is on par with a good H8 Mini, flown with the BayangToys X9 controller, so 50 metres, and likely beyond. Now it can put the good speed to good use, and fly wider ovals. On medium rates it's smooth and pretty fast, on high rates it's on the boundary between challenging, and crazy. The yaw is kinda twitchy on the highest rate, though not as insane as on the H8 Mini on highest rate. But without the option to use a more convenient transmitter, like the BayangToys X9 TX is used for the H8 Mini, it's easy to overdo it on turns, and doing an unintended "handbrake turn" instead of a smooth curve. Luckily the medium rate already offers a nicely flying experience, and there is a good chance it will be "deviated" in the future, offering more fine-tuning options for the controls.

Now that flights don't get interrupted by having a fly-away a few times each battery, I could do some timing. The stock battery gives a little over 5 minutes before LVC flash. The upgrade 260 mAh battery adds about a minute, raising the flight duration to over 6 minutes. I didn't do any inverted flight, just zipping around, and a few 360 degree flips every now and then. When doing a lot of inverted flying, the times will probably be lower, as the motors will not be running in their preferred direction of rotation, and the props seem to be shaped to provide better efficiency in normal flight.


Update 5 september 2015:

Second H8 3D is on it's way here, made sure to get the green one this time, so I can put on different colored props front and rear. After the antenna mod, that is about my only gripe with this quad, the all black color and props making it easy to lose orientation when flying a little further away.

Also found a couple of 300 mAh batteries that fit snug, and are around 8.2 grams, so only 0.6 grams heavier than the 260 mAh upgrade battery, instead of the 1 g I thought at first. Assuming the slight amount of added weight will not make the quad lose it's climbing power and overload the motors, this battery should make it possible to fly for over 7 minutes, as the average "fuel consumption" of this quad is around 40 mAh drained used for each minute of flight.


Update 17 september 2015:

Tried the Hobby King Nanotech 260 mAh battery. It is a little thin, so you need to add something to it, like a piece of self adhesive foam, to make a snug fit.

The quad flies well with it, and keeps good power until LVC flash. At that point there is still enough power for a controlled landing. Flight time was aroind 6 1/2 minutes and the battery was about 30 degrees centigrae after the flight.


Update 20 september 2015:

Yesterday I got a second H8 3D, ordered after I liked the first one so much. This time a green one, to have different colored props. As was already confirmed, all of these come with limited range, and with a nice flying quad like this, and being used to my H8 3D with antenna mod, I forgot how short this range was, and had a near fly away on the second flight. And when the wind caught it, a full fly away, including having to rescue a green and black colored quad from tall grass...

So time to do the antenna mod, and while at it, swap out some props with the blue one, to mark front and rear. So it now looks like how it should have come from the box, with good range, and a clearly marked front:





Also, I need to add to the "verdict part" that the frame halves don't line up very well. This is also on my blue one, and luckily it doesn't cause motor vibrations, but it does look a bit sloppy:



The props are on very tight, btw. I even had to cut away the slight edge around one prop, to be able to get something between it and the motor housing, and wiggle it off. I do wonder if this edge serves a purpose, or is just to make the motor housing look more smooth. There is a chance of the base of the props rubbing against the inside of the small edge, there is very little clearance:





(To be continued)

Last edited by SoloProFan; 09-28-2015 at 10:31 AM.

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