|Jul 31, 2014, 10:06 AM|
WLtoys V333, a V262 with headless function (under construction)
In summer 2013, WLtoys announced their V262, a cheap AR-drone 2 clone equiped of brushed motors instead of brushless ones. The V262 is entering in the 350mm quadcopter size and thanks to its canopy, the V262 is occupying a large 55cm square. The succes of the V262 is huge for at least three reasons:
i) The price, close to 3 times cheaper than the Parrot model.
ii) The payload capacity especially foamless (~ 80-100g) and its great flight stability (thanks to the 6-axis stabilization).
iii) The release of the mobius camera (40g), transforming the V262 into the first HD platform costing less than 150 USD.
Following this wave, many other AR-drones clones have been introduced into the market, for example the syma X6, JXD 391, UDI U829, UFO X30, Xinxun X33, etc.. but maybe because the V262 was the first introduced and also due to the WLtoys reputation, the V262 was a great success (and still is).
In June 2014, WLtoys announced the V333, the successor of the V262. The V333 is in practice an upgraded version of the V262. All the V262 parts are identical except the presence of a new Flight Controler board including the "Headless" mode. The headless function have been introduced to keep a global referential base for the pilot whatever the quadcopter orientation. In other words, pilot don't have anymore to inverse controls when for example, the quadcopter is flying toward his direction. The left control stay the left control, the right the right, etc.., independely of the orientation of the quadcopter. This feature is particulary adapted for beginners and/or pilot who want to carry a camera for filming. This function is using a magnetometer taking its reference when the quadcopter is powered on.
+ 1 x WLtoys V333 (with a 46.1g 850mAh 2S LiPo using a JST connector (no rated))
+ 1 x Controler (using 6xAA batteries not included)
+ 1 x Charger (using the balancer plug)
+ 4 x Spare props (2 Clock Wiser, 2 Counter Clock Wise)
+ 1 x Instruction manual (english/chinese)
The size of this V333 is 55cmx55cm square with a small ground clearance of 2.2cm, so it's exactly the same size than the V262.
Extending the ground clearance to 3 or 4 cmm would have been a benefit in order to protect the mobius camera from the ground when attached beneath.
The weight of the V333 without the LiPo is 214g and 260g with the 2S Lipo rated 850mAh.
The canopy standalone is scaling 70g and finally the foamless V333 weights 143g without Lipo and 189 with.
Carbon arms are still 5mm large so very robust.
Motor pods are also identical as well as the motor houser.
Unfortunatly as for the V262, two oil bushing rings are installed instead of real ballbearings to jailed the shaft part
I strongly advice to replace them as soon as possible with real ball-bearings (3mmx6mmx2mm). Fortunately, you can install some WLtoys V959, there have the exact dimensions. You will need 8 in total (2 per arms).
The shaft itself with nylon gear
When you are receiving your V333, please check wires under these motor houser. Sometimes, wires can be directly in contact with motor and can potentially melt, so this is an important point to check.
For a better airflow, it's even better to cut the top "hat" part of the motor houser (see my V262 on the right part of the photo). Motors are also identical to the V262 model.
As for each AR-drone clones using brushed motors, with such quadcopter size, the weakest point are the motors. A lot of complains have been recorded concerning the poor durability of motors. The lifespan of these N50 motors are considerably reduced if you:
- Carry an heavy payload (gopro camera) with the foam
- Flying at full throttle out of the box
- Don't let the motor cool between each flight (at least 10mm)
- Don't regularty clean motors (with airflow or spray cleaner)
In order to increase a lot the durability of your motors, it's preferable to perform at least a "dry breakein" procedure followed by a cleaning stage. The idea is to run at low throttle (10% in the 40%mode) the quadcopter during all the battery life. This process can take more than 20 mm until LVC is reached. In this case, the quadcopter lights will fast blanking. After this process, clean your motors with a dedicaced spray for example.
For the first flight, stay in beginner mode and make the quadcopter just hovering. Don't apply full throttle. Clean again the motors ... With such indications, a lot of users reached 40-50 flights without burning any motor.
This is not a specific problem of the V333, but all brushed quadcopters of this size are suffering of the same problem. Personaly, my 262 recorded more than 50 flights is still working well even if overtime motors start to loose power.
When you order the V333, it's strongly advice to order simultaneously a set of 4 motors as spare. You can take V262 motors, there are complete (with top electronic PCB) and cheaper.
The main novelty for the V333 can be found in the FC board via the presence of the L883 chip on the upper side of the PCB. This chip is a magnetometer.
When you will power on the V333, this chip will store the absolute front direction (versus the magnetic north), so it's very important to be stand up just behind the quadcopter at start up, the front side of the quadcopter in the forward direction.
For the rest of the FC, we will find again the Invensense 6050c as Gyro+Accelerometer chips, the Mini54zan as MCU and the BK2423 (nRF24L01 compatible) as RF chip.
The PCB have several connectors to welcome some additional module such as a camera, rocket luncher, bubble spayer, etc...
The protocol is unchanged so called "V2x2" but in fact designed by the LG (Lan Guang) compagny.
You have an LVC alarm, when LiPo voltage is below 7.4V by forcing the LEDs flashing fast
The Gyrscope calibration procedure remains unchanged: Turn into the 80% or 100% mode and push both stick in lower-left direction until LEDs are flashing fast then relax sticks.
The transmitter chassis is the same since the V911 helicopter but now it it welcome a large LCD display.
You can 2 shoulder buttons and 6 pannel buttons.
6AA batteries to power it (not included but Ni-Mh batteries are working).
Notice, that this antenna have a specific line inpendance adaptor to optmize the radio channel connexion.
Remember the first version if the V212 with the Drop-out effect. Here, no problem at all, the radio connexion is solid. With some basic mods, you can extend the control range, 150-200m can be reached.
The left shoulder button is turnin on/off the additional module (camera, rocket luncher etc...). The right is activating flipping and a fast beep sequence is emmitted until you indicate the direction to flip.
The 3 left pannel buttons allow to choose speed mode between 40%, 60% and 80%. The top right pannel button is activating the 100% sport mode. The middle right pannel button is dedicaced to turn on/off the LED lights. Finally, the last right pannel button is activating the headless mode. You have to press more than 1s to activate it. Press it again to disable it.
When the headmode is on, the transmitter is emmitting a slow beep sequence.... I found this point really stressing....
After the recommanded breaking procedure, you can enjoy the more the V333 in outdoors conditions. After arming motors, you can feel immediatly the payload capacity of the V333.
The quadcopter is hovering easely from thottle fixed to 40-45%. Increasing a bit throttle and the lift capacity is increasing a lot.
Probably due to some acoustic resonator properties of the canopy, the V333 is very noisy....
Thanks to the huge cercling foam, the V333 is almost undestructable, very resistant to any type of crashes. In another hand, in windy days, this canopy is slowing down the quadcopter.
The V333 is very stable due to its large size and the 6-axis stabilization . With the 850mAh Lipo, the flying duraction is approximatively 6mm before reaching LVC. Carrying a Mobius HD camera (40g) is absolutly not a problem for the V333 but will reduce the flying duration of 1mm.
Foamless, the V333 becomes much faster and agile. Payload capacity increases to 100g... In the case the V333 can be also transform into a nice FPV plateform.
The radio connexion is very solid, 100m whitout any problems. Of course you can mod your transmitter to extend this range and/or use for example a modded Devo controller including the nRF24L01+PA+LNA chip
I was able to install some 1200mAh LiPo extending flying time up to 12mm foamless.
The novelty of the V333 is the Headless function. So when you turn on the quadcopter, the reference orientation is set according the direction pointed by the front part of the V333. Each time you will turn on the Headless,
the reference will be this initial direction, so I strongly advice to start your V333 front of you, the front part in the forward direction. When activated, the headless function is working perfectly
When carrying a camera this mode can very usefull to help to keep focus on a specific object/person.
The V333 represents a small evolution of the great V262 introducing the headless function. THis one helps a lot beginner and/or any pilot using the V333 as HD camera plateform.
The V333 is very powerfull, have a good payload capacity and the radio link is very solid. Thanks to bodyguard, the V333 is ultra robust. Unfortunatly, the two main drawbacks of the V262 are still present:
- Oil bearings instead of ball bearing and
- N50 motors who require a lot of attention to extend their life.
If you take care of your N50 motors, the V333 is a really good choice for beginners. They will enjoy first HD video and for me the V333 is perfect transition quad before real brushless but expensive quadcopter.
If you already own a V262, you don't need to buy the V333, just the FC board if you are interested by the headless function
If you have a tiny quadcopter model, I believe the V333 is the best brushed 350 size quadcopter.
If you are already a good pilot, the real question is: Do I buy a V333 or a RC EOX (~130 USD) a cheap small brushless quadcopter.
Here my answer will be in two points
a) If you want to carry only a mobius camera and have a low budget for maintenant, the V333 is a nice option
b) If you want to practive sportive pilotage of FPV, the EOX is preferable even if jello effect are harder to remove from it.
UNBOXING AND QUICK TESING
+ Very stable (6-axis stabilization) and wind resistant foamless
+ Robust to crash with the foam
+ 100g of payload foamless
+ Headless mode efficient
+ Good yaw rate in 100% mode
+ Good range control (TX with foiled antenna )
+ DeviationTX compatible (V2x2 protocol)
- Bushing/oil rings
- Brushed N50 motors requiering vigilance/maintenance/spare
This quadcopter have been courtesy provided by Tmart in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thanks them for this attitude.
You can find it actually for 92 USD at
Compatible ballbearing 3mmx6mmx2mm
|Aug 01, 2014, 02:51 PM|
Joined May 2012
You refer to a magnetometer supporting the headless function. Are you sure about that? I was thinking that the headless reference was merely inertial, and I see that reinforced by the presence of gradual yaw drift in the heading reference.
Now I don't really know what a magnetometer is, but it sounds like some sort of magnetic compass. Did you find such a device? You mentioned a chip being a magnetometer. Can you explain it's internal functioning?
|Aug 01, 2014, 03:02 PM|
|Aug 01, 2014, 09:54 PM|
Joined Jul 2014
I hope it lasts longer
Thanks for the GREAT review. Just Great! Wonderful Pictures.
Are these motors the same as the V262?
I really want the V262 and V333 to have longer life. When I take a New one out of the box, it flies Great. Looks Great, I love the way it looks in the sky for 100 US bucks or so.
As a Mall retailer, word is getting out. Burned out motors.
I can't take them back and can't replace motors for free for a "possibly" defective product. Guys I sold to at the field want replacements and answers. I can't show my face at the flying club.
Can we as a Community find a brushless motor and ESC to upgrade these models.
Ready to just quit selling V262.
Solutions ? Community?
|Aug 02, 2014, 01:45 AM|
Hi unfortunatly, we can't just install "brushless" motors instead of these N50 brushed ones. One need tri-phased courant while the second continuous courant.
So as I wrote in my review, when you have 350mm size brushed setup, motors seems to be always the weakest point whatever the brand you are buying. So I strongly advice to buy 2 in advance for less than 10$.
So upgrade to a brushless model is a nice idea but AFAIK the cheapest model is 130 USD (EOX) and what about I read about it, it's now great quad (after several month of debugging) but for example arms seems to be fragile. What I mean here, of you are beginner, with a brushless setup, any crash will cost in average 20 USD... while for the V333 at 99% it will be a motor (5 USD).
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