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Old Aug 08, 2015, 07:10 PM
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New Product
JJRC H20, A Micro(called Nano) Hexacopter

JJRC H20 Micro Hexacopter 2.4G 4CH 6Axis Headless Mode RTF


I have never had much interest in hexacopters but when Banggood asked if I would like to review the JJRC H20, of course I said yes. Part of the reason I was not interested in hexes can be attributed to two statements: Keep it simple stupid, KISS. And the more moving parts anything has, the more the chances are that some part will fail. Especially with these small brushed motors, they seem to fail quickly sometimes even if not abused in crashes. So two extra motors, two extra arms, and two extra props just did not really appeal to me.
But hexacopter are beginning to become more popular and more plentiful. There are the MJX X900 and the Revell Nano Hexagon XS, and JJRC has released an H18 that is even smaller than the H20.
This copter is described in the ads as a nano, but in my opinion, it fits more into the micro size.

I recieved this JJRC H20 hexacopter From Banggood on August 7, 2015. The quad came in a nice little box wrapped with a layer of foam enclosed in a gray plastic envelope. The box had a slight dent in it from handling, but the contents were intact with no damage. There are a few threads about other micro and nano hexacopters, the closest comparison being the MJX X900, but nano sized hexacopters have not been on the market for long. Here is my review of the JJRC H20. The name sounds like it should be a water copter.
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Rant


Just a little rant here: The quad showed as shipped from Banggood on July 26, no update on tracking until it showed up in San Francisco ISC on August 2nd, 7 days. I have no problem with that. Left San Francisco on August 2nd, then it got to Dallas on August 6th, Fort Worth on August 7th, then left Dallas on August 7th at 2:34 am to travel the last 160 miles to my house. 7 days to go from China to the US, then 6 days to travel accross the US to final destination. And this is one of the better deliveries of the USPS that I have experienced in the last 9 months. I have had a paycheck take 11 days to make it 11 miles to my address from where it was mailed. What is wrong with the USPS?

My Description


This hexacopter looks something like an H frame with two arms/motors sticking out from the middle of the sides. The lights are two blue on the front of the body, and two red on the back. The lights are easy to see from any angle and make it much more visible in low light. The body is is very thin except for the battery tray, has removable prop protectors and is held together by 8 screws. The body, props, and prop protectors seem to be made from a flexible and durable plastic. The motors are 0612s or 6mm x 12mm. It does not have an on/off switch, and is turned on by plugging in the removable battery. The battery is rated at 150mah 20C, has a micro 1.25mm JST connector, and is exhangeable. The polarity of the battery connectors is reversed from most of my quads, like the battery of the UDI U939. But I changed the polarity of the U939 so I could use my other batteries. Eight screws have to be removed from the bottom to take apart the H20.

The hexacopter weighs 16.0 grams without battery, compared to the Eachine/JJRC H8 mini weight of 14.5 grams without battery. The H8 is the closest in size that I have. The diagonal motor to motor measurement is 65.0 mm, compared to H8 mtm of 77.0 mm. The battery came storage charged at 3.83 volts. The stock charger is a USB cord and charged it from lvc to full charge in 45 minutes. The battery has a 20C-rating printed on it. The props are about 30 mm long. The manual is not translated very well to English and is a little hard to understand. It also has a Chinese language manual printed next to the English version.
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Banggood's description:


Here is Banggood's description of the hexacopter:
Description:
Item name: JJRC H20 Mini Hexacopter
Frequency: 2.4G
Gyro: 6 axis
Product battery: 3.7V 150MAH(Included)
Remote battery: 3 x AAA dry battery(Not included)
Charging time: 45mins
Flying time: 5-7mins
R/C distance: about 30m
Flying distance: about 30m
Color: red or golden

Features:
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 Includes:
1 x JJRC H20 Mini Hexacopter
1 x 3.7V 150MAH battery
1 x Transmitter
1 x USB cable
1 x Screwdriver
6 x Propeller
1 x Manual

Note: The hexacopter comes in red or gold body color with four black props and two white props at the front on each. Banggood only offers this quad in mode 2(left hand throttle). It also comes with 3 each clockwise and counterclockwise spare propellers.

Transmitter


It has a transmitter that is most similar in size to that of the Bayang toys X9 tx, larger than the H8, but it has sticks that are 54.0 mm center to center compared to the H8 measurement of 47.5 mm, and 73.0 mm for the X9 tx. So of the transmitters in this size range that I have, it has better feel than the H8 tx, but not quite as good as the X9 tx. I did not fly it with the thumbpads that it comes with on the transmitter. Like almost all of the transmitters I recieve with thumbpads on them, I replaced the thumbpads with sticks while waiting for the battery to charge the first time. On this one, I used 25mm nylon standoffs. The thumbpads easily twist off.
Two shoulder buttons: the left one cycles between the three speed modes. All the three rates are increased in expert mode. The third one has the crazy "yaw rate"mode. The right should button activates automatic flips as soon after you indicate with the right stick the direction where to flip. I have not tried headless or one key return to home mode yet.
I also have not tried binding it to any of my other transmitters at the time of this posting.
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The batteries for the transmitter are not included. It takes 2 AA batteries. The range of the RX/TX was over 150 feet the first time I tested it, very good for a micro quad, much farther than I could see orientation of the quad except for seeing the movement direction. The transmitter does not retain the trim settings when turned off.

First Flights


It's flight is very stable, only needed one or two clicks of trim to get a fairly good hover. The yaw rate is fairly slow on low rates, and insanely fast on high rates. In high rate, you can do a funnel that almost rotates on the axis of the inside motor. It has a yaw rate that may be as fast or faster than the yaw rate of the H8. It seems to have plenty of power and is a very fast micro quad when flying in high rate. I flew it inside today, and observed that it had the low voltage warning of lights flashing. When stopped flying after about 5 minutes, the battery at rest was discharged to about 3.6 volts and took about 180mahs to recharge on my computerized charger. The lights did not help me with orientation during daylight, but they should be good for night flying. The front of the quad lights up blue, with two red lights in the back.

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I am not really interested in automatic flips, but I did try them out inside. The quad does a very respectable flip and restabilizes quickly, losing about a foot in altitude in medium and high rate. I have not tried flying it in headless mode yet.

I had winds of 10mph+ today, but I flew outdoors for a little while to check it's wind ability and the range. I flew in in medium rate an it was able to make headway against the wind. I think the profile is small enough and the power good enough that it would handle a moderate amount of wind without too much trouble. It also does very well in indoor flying because of the fast yaw rate and prop guards.
Another thing I tried because I had read that it continues flying for 4 seconds after losing transmitter connection is turning off the transmitter. It did continue to fly in the last input direction for about 4 seconds before dropping. So if you get out of range, it might easily continue for another 25 to 50 feet before stopping.
I couldn't try my normal range test because of the wind, but I was able to fly directly into the wind in medium rate a distance of at least 150 feet before I landed. Problem was I landed in tan colored dirt, out in the open, but the gold color was very hard to see in that dirt.

Conclusions


This is a micro hexacopter just slightly too large to be considered a nano. It has three rates, which I would consider to be slow, medium, and fast. It seems to have good power and a strong battery. This could be a good hexacopter for beginners because it has a decent transmitter and a good selection of rates, from slow to fast. I have only had this quad for 1 day, but first impressions are that this is the most stable out of the box of any that I have While the lights did not help during daylight, they were very good for orientation during low light flying. I have several batteries this size, but all of them have micro JST 1.25mm connectors with opposite polarity on them, so one of my first mods will be to reverse the polarity, like I did on the U939. Banggood is currenty selling this quad for $18.99 shipped. It's one of the best I have tried straight out of the box.

Pros:
Good price.
Battery plugs in, can easily be changed out for back to back flights.
Very fast yaw rate in high rate.
Strong motors and battery.
Very stable hover with little trim needed.
Good lights for night flying.
Larger and better transmitter than most nanoquads.
Three rates, slow, medium, and fast.
Headless mode that can be turned on and off.
Slim profile body made of durable, flexible plastic.
Decent stock battery.
Good transmitter to reciever range.
Decent removable prop guards.
Lights.
Good flight time.

Cons:
Lights hard to see in daylight.
Battery connectors are micro jst, they can be difficult to plug and unplug because of the small size.
Transmitter comes with thumbpads.

This micro hexacopter was sent to me for review by Banggood. You can find it here: http://www.banggood.com/JJRC-H20-Min...-p-986430.html
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Old Aug 08, 2015, 07:11 PM
siriusflier is offline
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B]
Modifications:
[/B]

Battery:

The battery has reversed polarity compared to other quads in this size.
It does have the same polarity as the UDI U839/939, those batteries can be found here: http://www.tmart.com/UDI-U839-RC-Qua...y_p259203.html , and here: http://www.aliexpress.com/item/New-a...343953961.html . Banggood has a spare battery for the H20 coming soon here: http://www.banggood.com/JJRC-H20-RC-...-p-990497.html . The battery at Aliexpress looks like a Fullymax battery and I have had very good luck with those batteries. Always double check the polarity of your batteries before using them.
The dimensions of the battery that came with my H20 are 25.5mm long, 17.0mm wide, and 8.0mm thick. It weighs 5.2 grams.

Because of the placement of the plug on the fcb, there is not any extra room for a longer battery without modification.
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As I did with my U939, I reversed the polarity on both the board and the battery so that all of my batteries are the same. But if you do this, you will not be able to use the stock charge cable anymore. It will also make the clearance for the plug a little less. To reverse the plug on the board, just pry up the plastic carefully to remove it, turn it around, and press it back on. To reverse the polarity of the battery, use a small pointed tool like a penknife to pry up the tab over the wire terminal, then pull the wire out. Do it for the other wire also, being very careful not to touch the two terminals together. Then you have to push the tabs back down, and reinsert the terminals into the plug in the opposite slots. Check to make sure the wires are secure. Again, double check the polarities.
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Propguards and Antenna Mod:


The propguards are fitted to the end of the motor mount and secured with the screw at the end of the mount. You can remove one screw at a time, seperate the two halves of the arm, and remove one propguard at a time. I took out all 8 screws because I also wanted to put the antenna through the canopy. There are three screws holding the fcb in place that have to be removed to get to the antenna. All 8 body screws and the 3 fcb screws appear to be the same size. I just lifted up the fcb enough to take a small awl and punch a hole in the right place, then used a tweezers to route the antenna through the hole.
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While I had the body apart, I noticed that the body was solid in the front where the blue leds are, so I cut a couple of notches so the lights could shine through better. It helped the lighting, but then I thought of scraping the black paint off where the lights shine through, and that helped even more. and I added two pictures to show improved lighting.
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I planned to re-install the 6 screws on the outside of the motors, but without the propguards in place, there is a gap where the screw goes. Without a washer or spacer, this gap will cause the inner arm to be gapped also if you tighten the screw too much. So I just used some small loom bands to secure the end of the arms, and left the screws out.
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Before I started the disassembly, I noted the way the props were mounted. With the hexacopter facing away from you, the left front prop is clockwise, right front is counterclockwise, right middle is cw, right back is ccw, left back is cw, and left middle is ccw. The leading edge of the prop is the higher edge of the prop. Weight without propguards or battery was 15.3 grams, 0.7 grams less than original 16.0 grams.
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Old Aug 08, 2015, 11:20 PM
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Two questions if I may? How well does the headless mode work? I'm guessing flying without it at that highest yaw rate and small transmitter would be a little difficult. And have you tried SeByDocKy's quick mods with the antenna on the quad and transmitter and tested the range?
The gold version looks great, waiting for mine still to play with.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 08:42 AM
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I haven't tried headless mode yet, I will sometime today and report back here. I also have not done the antenna mod yet, but I will.
I did range test it a couple of more times this morning and still got about 150 feet easily. and I was flying into the wind fairly slowly, so if it kept flying for an extra 4 seconds, the range was easily over 100 feet.
One thing that is better than the H8 is the recovery after a tight funnel in the highest rate. The H8 will veer off in a random direction when you stop doing the funnel, the H20 will go back to stable hover immediately.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 12:03 PM
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I added modifications to the second post.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 12:47 PM
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Using that knife to remove the metal parts of the connector from the plug does look like a short circuit waiting to happen. Might be better to use a non conductive tool to remove the metal parts from the plug.

As for the prop guards, I know it's a desctructive mod, but if cut off, you would keep a "spacer" between the frame halves at the extremeties of the motor "nacelles" and can just leave the screw in.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 12:57 PM
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You are right about the knife blade being a possible short circuit, and I think of that every time I do it, but at the angle the tip of the blade has to go in to raise the tab, the possibility is very limited. And I have done it numerous times that way.

I actually have some small rubber washers/o-rings that I could have used as spacers in place of the propguards, but the loom bands also serve the purpose of reducing vibration.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 09:26 PM
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I added a couple of pictures in the modification post showing how the mod I did to the front lights works.
I also was looking at alternate props and I had some 3 bladed props I got from Banggood that were the right size, so I tried them. They worked fairly well and i would have continued to use them, but one of them was loose and kept coming off so I put the stock props back on.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 09:35 PM
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Range tests

Since I had done the antenna mod, I did some more range tests this evening after the sun went down. I tried it several times and the tests ranged from 210 feet to almost 300 feet. Surprisingly, the longest range was when I was flying against the wind. I only got about 150 feet before the antenna mod. Even 200 feet is farther than I can comfortably determine orientation, so this hexacopter has plenty of range IMHO, especially after poking the antenna up through the canopy. And the insulation on the antenna acts as a fiber optic light conducter, putting a point of light at the end of the antenna.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 09:45 PM
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Headless mode and return to home

I tested the headless mode both indoors and out. It works, but seemed a bit wonky to me, didn't seem to work that well. My only experience with it is on the Eachine H8, and it did not seem to me that it worked as well as the H8. But to me, it is just a novelty like auto flips, and while they might be fun and interesting to demostrate to unitiated, I don't really have a lot of use for them. I also tried the rth inside, and it just caused the quad to veer off in a strange direction. Maybe I wasn't doing it right, but my battery ran down before I could try it outside. Just another gimmick to me that I don't care about much. But I may try them again and report here for those who are interested.
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 09:50 PM
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Transmitter protocol tests

I also tried binding the quad with almost all the transmitters I have and none would work. I tried the H8, H7, U939, Syma X12, V686, V272, Walkera Devo, U807, Bayang X9, T9X, YD 717, and the RClogger Xtreme transmitters, none would work. Just realized I didn't try the CX-10 transmitter, but I doubt it will work either. YAP
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 10:52 PM
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Thanks for all the info on the mods, batteries, range tests and pictures. Really looking forward to getting my grubby hands on mine. Great to have all this info even before I do!
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Old Aug 09, 2015, 11:24 PM
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I went out and tested headless mode again and even managed to try return to home a few times. Headless works but still remains a novelty to me. Return to home also works, but is not all that accurate. It flies back towards you until it hits something.
I still think it is a very good hexacopter well worth the cost. I guess the worst things I have noticed are that the middle yaw rate is too slow, and the extra motors hurt the flight time. It still flys for about 5 minutes, but the H8 will fly for about 6 minutes with the same battery.
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Old Aug 10, 2015, 11:51 AM
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Headless

One thing I forgot to mention about headless mode is that at night, the blinking of the lights while in headless mode makes it hard to keep track of the quad. It seemed like there were extended periods of time that the lights were completely off, so if you were moving, it could travel a way before the lights would blink again.
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Old Aug 10, 2015, 05:36 PM
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Thanks for your tutorial on the polarity swap.

I don't know why, but I assumed that reversing the connector would require desoldering it from the board and rotating it, but this is much easier.

I have this hex coming from BG (also dealing with the BG/USPS woes), and I have been debating what to do about the battery situation (reversed polarity and a plug none of my other birds use).

I'm either going to order extra batteries when they become available and do what you have done to swap the polarities (which will have the added benefit of letting me charge them at 1C with my hitec x4 micro).

or

If I get impatient waiting for replacement batteries, I might just go ahead and try to replace the plug with a micro losi female pigtail, so I could use my existing cg023 batteries, but your method is definitely less invasive.

Did you happen to look at the other side of the board? If so, do you think there would be sufficient solder pad to attach wires with the pins removed?
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