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Mar 01, 2014, 06:19 AM
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Mini-Review

WL Toys V272 Nano-Quad Mini-Review (First Reactions)




V272 graciously provided gratis for review by TMart.com. See it here:

http://tinyurl.com/ly5excn


After much anticipation, it arrived today while I was at work. I got home a few hours ago & opened the brown bubble mailer; inside was a plain white box containing handmade packing, one USB Charger cable, and one TX and quad as shown above. I expected this; it is a pre-release Demo Unit.

[EDIT]

NOTICE: My original review stated that unit came with 2nd battery; at time I first wrote this review, the "What's Included" indicated 2 batteries and spare set of props. That first round of Pre-Orders has shipped long ago; the MFR no longer offers this package to TMart, which means they can no longer offer it.

Current RTF package includes V272 Quad (with 1 battery included), USB Charger cable, TX, Manual and 1 spare set of 4 props.

Current BNF package includes V272 Quad (with 1 battery included) & USB Charger cable.

[/EDIT]




Family Portrait

Here you can see the V272 alongside its big brother, the V202. In back on the left, the V202 TX we're all familiar with; right, the new V272 TX with bigger LCD and direct-access buttons for the rate modes. LH shoulder button and lowest front RH button make "FUNCTION" symbol blink on LCD; so far I haven't figured out what exactly they do if anything. (On this quad) Directly above this is the button to toggle the VERY BRIGHT RED LEDS; apparently, you cannot turn the blue ones off.



Just how tiny IS it?

This quad is small enough to actually fit UNDER the V202; as you can see in this closeup with my Teeny Weeny Greenie, only the V202 battery wire gets in the way of it disappearing altogether.


First, I weighed up the individual bits of the quad, then put it on to charge. Quad has charger port built-in; I have to imagine this is purely a matter of manufacturing cost, as they do ship with a second battery. This indicates to me they intend this quad to have batteries swapped out like real hobby-grade aircraft, not like the built-in battery in a Syma S107G. I imagine that by eliminating this and the power switch, you might be able to shave a whole gram off that AUW. w00t?

While it charged, I took some preliminary measurements:

Motor Track shaft-to-shaft: 50mm Diagonal
Props : 4.4 x 30mm
Motors: 6mm x 12mm - CW and CCW Timing
Frame: 65mm Diagonal
Rotor Plane: 80mm Diagonal
AUW: 12.75 Grams
Scarab Canopy: 0.45 Gram
Battery: 1S 100mAH LiPo, 2.65 Grams - 15.7mm W x 19.7mm L by 7.1mm H
Prop: 0.10 Gram x 4
Frame Less Battery & Canopy: 9.65 Grams



Up Close & Personal



Stripping away the canopy, we can start to see the basic layout.



Battery plug is JST-SH 1.25 mm pitch like the E-Flite micro BNFs use; (same as the V202 motor plugs)

Canopy is much larger than actual battery, but a lot of space taken up by the battery connector; if one put on a short pigtail instead, could fit a much larger LiPo inside. Inside dimensions are 16.9mm W x 26mm L x 10mm H, tapering approx 1-2mm narrower on all dimensions towards the top. Canopy is very flexible, so some wiggle room in size.









This wiggle room is in fact a bit of a problem; I found the quad reacted quite a bit to the battery shifting inside the canopy. I found it necessary to add a tiny bit of small bubble wrap like this to keep the battery snug:














Nekkid Nano-Quad

A little wiping with alcohol revealed the core electronics; aside from a few discrete transistors for PWM motor and light switching, the chipset consists of:

Nuvoton MINI54ZAN 32-bit ARM Core 0 Processor 24MHZ Capable w/16MHZ Crystal; 4/8/16KB Flash & 2K SRAM:

Quite the capable little processor; I believe they've been working on some more sophisticated algorithms as this little beast is rock-solid in hover, although it does tend to bob quite a bit in any form of ground effect or even its own propwash from less than a meter or so. This leads us to our next puzzle piece:

Invensense MPU-6050 6-axis Gyro/Accelerometer:

Obviously they're not looking to reinvent the wheel here; they know this thing is rock solid and tough as nails. Now that the 9000 series is the hot ticket in higher-end stuff, the 6050 is dirt cheap. Perfect for a dirt-cheap tiny quad.

Beken BK2423 2.4GHZ RF Chip:

Yeah... I know. Nothing riveting to report here either; RF chips just aren't that exciting. Actually, that's a good thing; when we have excitement, it's usually in the form of implementation issues which cause random "Quad go Bye-Bye" events like its larger brother, the V202. We had a lot of gripes when WL Toys changed RF Protocols from FlySky to this family; but now that they've got the kinks worked out, this new protocol is proving to be a pretty good workhorse with a lot more available features (More buttons to push) than older gear could offer. I found no evidence of glitching; it stayed well under control indoors in the same room with my WiFi router and easily 40m across the street in the linked video. Viva la Evolucion!



Flight characteristics:

I've only been able to run a few packs through it indoors; flight times were right at 4 min. Charge time is approx 15-20 min. plugged into my old iPhone USB wall charger. Initial reactions:

They continue to use the "Throttle UP, Throttle DOWN" protocol to arm the quad; While none of my older quads do this, I've gotten used to it with my V202. When you first power up it blinks all lights quickly; when you arm, thay all turn on solid. If you neglect to arm within approx 15-20 seconds, it goes into "Thumb twiddling mode"; alternating red & blue.

LEDS will start blinking at LVC, but the included battery tanks SHARPLY when it dies so it's like the quad floats down by itself and hits LVC/starts blinking if you keep trying to lift off after. But at least you do have clear visual confirmation of LVC.

They kept the RH Shoulder push-button arm for flip mode, then auto-flip in whichever direction you push the Cyclic. The rest of the time Cyclic rates are linear 40-60-80-100 as with the V202.

Testing reveals battery reads 4.18 V at full charge; 2.87V right after LVC and 3.11V after 1 minute settling time. End voltage if you stop flying right at the point where loss of power is noticeable is right at 3.30V just after; after 1 min settling time 3.35V. the LiPo seems to have a VERY flat discharge curve, so likely pretty low internal resistance. I only have the single battery so expect some variation on these numbers; as well as size & weight due to manufacturing variations.

The quad has a nice arrangement of lights; VERY BRIGHT red LEDS in front of the rear motors on top, and right at the corner of the frame on the bottom. Front end is slightly different; it has moderately bright blue LEDs at the corner of the frame on the bottom, and two more inboard on top located so they look like glowing eyes in the canopy which is reminiscent of a Scarab Beetle. Actually, the whole quad is sortof reminiscent of a flying Scarab Beetle; lets hope it never goes bad like the ones from "The Mummy"... :-O

Throttle response is quick, explosive even; altitude management takes quite a bit of active twiddling. Once out of ground effect, (this is pretty much anytime within about a meter above any horizontal surface) it settles down somewhat and you can actually fly it. In the living room I found Cyclic to be nicely attenuated at 40% and a bit fast at 60%; however again they have chosen to alter Yaw rates along with Cyclic; it is STILL abysmal. The Rudder/Yaw rate in 40% rate is useless for attitude control; though if you can tack a camera on it I guess it would make for a nice slow pan. Perhaps they intend to release a model with a camera at some point.

Personally, I'd prefer Rudder/Yaw rates to be closer to 60% at minimum, and more like 80% when Cyclic is at 60%. I'd prefer it fixed at 80-100% to what they have now.

They've kept the RH Shoulder Flip Button; I haven't yet successfully flipped it indoors, but I'm sure with a little more stick time I will be doing flips under the table. I'll try and capture it on video.

I really can't emphasize enough just how the self-leveling on this thing is; even the little bit I've flown it I am impressed. Once a hover is achieved, it just sits there like those videos of the V202 when it flies right. I'll be tickled pink if the upcoming chassis rebuild yields similar behavior in my V202.

I've noticed an interesting phenomenon quite by accident; it shows just how aggressive the Attitude Hold Gyro is on this little beast:

V272 Attitude Hold Demo (0 min 20 sec)


And finally; here is my first Flight Video. It's not a lot, but at least enough to get an idea of how quick this little guy is and serve as adequate proof that you NEED to get spare props:

V272 First Flight Outdoors (0 min 0 sec)


It flies AMAZINGLY well in the wind; it fights the current well even at only 60% rates. The downside is it is working a lot harder; flight time to the point where it starts to lose power is right about 3 minutes (remember, this is as compared to actual LVC, so will be a bit shorter already) and the LiPo comes out fairly warm.

Motors are barely warm enough to tell though; they seem to keep pretty cool.


As others have noted, the price is scary cheap. With the pricing of parts (which thankfully, TMart appears to have stocked up well on in anticipation) I just can't see them selling the BNF for less than $16-20; otherwise they'll never sell any parts. Of course, once these get out there, I'm sure we'll see the inevitable price creep on parts.

I DEFINITELY recommend adding several extra batteries and packs of props while you still can; both for color-ID orientation and just because they're so easily lost. I've tried a little CA, but I'm afraid to use too much for fear of getting glue in the motor. The prop hub appears to be made to bottom out against the bushing for motor brush-end protection; no more Capri-Sun straw protectors.

I would try a couple packs of the more brightly colored props; these things ping off with little provocation. They are TINY when you're looking for them on the floor; and in black, they disappear on any surface that's not white.


Allright, I've been tinkering with this for the whole day. Family is here for my daughter's Birthday party tomorrow; I gotta go be sociable.


Thanks for hangin'; I AM OUTTA HERE!!!


mnem
They make 'em; somebody's gotta review 'em.


UPDATE: Technical Reference

The following is relevant Technical information as collected from the following thread; I've tried to keep important stuff easily available right here in the first post.


MOTORS:

Stock V272 0612 motors have a 0.80mm x 5mm long shaft; according to benedikt, they're in the 70,000 rpm (No Load) range. He is an active and knowledgeable importer of upgrade coreless motors for micro & Nan0-Quads; his website is here: http://micro-motor-warehouse.com/

Disassembly:

Be careful taking the old motor brackets apart; they're a bit tricky. The motor bracket is made of 2 interlocking pieces, which are then glued to keep them from vibrating loose.




Cut and pry here with a twisting action using an X-Acto knife to separate the top half from the bottom; you'll be able to see the parts moving independently of each other when they are free. Do NOT cut through to the metal motor housing; you will destroy the locking tab underneath which can be seen in the next photo. Once you do this side, you'll have to do the same thing on the opposite tab.



With both tabs cut free, you can now twist the bottom half as shown to release the locking tab from under the snap tab. Now you can press on the snap tab as shown...



... and the motor and bracket will come up through the PCB frame.

Now you can unsolder the motor wires. Be mindful of which color motor wires are at which location; also be mindful of whether they criss-cross or not.



On mine they criss-cross on the front motors, but do not on the back ones.

Props:

I've had issues with the stock V272 Props not gripping the shaft well and just pinging off with little provocation; jesolins has advised to apply a tiny bit of Carpenter's wood glue to the inside of the prop shaft hole with a needle, then assemble as usual and allow to dry overnight. Be sparing with the glue to prevent it getting into bearing surfaces.

Props for the Estes Proto X are part # 4615. Props for the Hubsan Q4 are part # H111-05

HobbyTown does not yet even list ANY spares for the Proto X, though it is in stock now.

Tower Hobbies shows availability for props as "Early March":

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXDVZF&P=ML

A-Main Hobbies shows them available March 5:

http://www.amain.com/product_info.ph...or-Blade-Set-4

[EDIT]

Updated Update:

This eBay UK listing shows Hubsan Q4 props in stock:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/251396570186

banggood shows them out of stock right now, but here's the link:

http://www.banggood.com/Hubsan-H111-...-p-916562.html

Okay... so I found a vendor on fleaBay (RPP Hobby) who had the Estes # 4615 Rotor blades in stock; they arrived today.

Excited to try flips after getting some stick time over the last couple days, I stuck one on in place of the hand-carved prop and... it fits! Not a real shocker there; the Proto X uses the same size 6mm X 12mm motors, so have a similar 0.8mm shaft.





However, the hubs on the Estes rotors are about 3mm shorter than the stock V272 ones; so if one slides them down all the way, they strike the canopy.





You can compensate for this by not pressing the rotor all the way down on the shaft to allow clearance; these rotors have a bit tighter grip on the shaft than the stock ones, so they should hold. However, this defeats the "motor saver hub" design built into these props; this means you'll either have to do away with the canopy and substitute a rubber band or you'll have to make 3mm "motor savers" from Capri Sun straws as discovered by Massive Overkill on his mighty micros.





Here you can see the difference in the hubs...





... but the pitch and profile of the blades is nearly identical to the stock V272 props. Based on this, I decided to try an experiment; I put just the one Estes prop on partway so it remained in the same plane as the stock ones. It flew EXACTLY the same as the stock props; aside from one click of starboard trim, I couldn't tell any difference. I flew a pack through it to get it trimmed out and tried some flips, then put all 4 Estes props on to see what it flew like.





As with the hand-carved prop, I did away with the canopy and replaced it with a rubber band; this was when my 4-year-old daughter decided to help me out by bringing some rubber band bracelets from mommy's dresser.





http://www.ebay.com/itm/like/201030775582?lpid=82

These things are all popular kids activities now; itty-bitty rubber bands woven together to make bracelets and all sorts of gewgaws. The rubber bands themselves are available all over; $4 and change will buy you a lifetime supply for this purpose.

What's important is that they are EXACTLY the right length to wrap as shown in the photo; horizontally down across the top of the battery, then up around the front, criss-cross over the battery and then loop down over the "tail" of the quad. Once you get the hang of it, it's easier than hooking the tabs in the canopy; you have to be very careful not to break them. And the best part? it weighs 0.07 grams, or about 1/7 as much as the Scarab canopy.

Here's some video; my first actual flips with the quad since I got it:


V272 With Estes Proto X Props (3 min 49 sec)



Sorry about the action being out-of-frame sometimes; I'm still learning to do the dork-hat-cam thing indoors.




Malleable Frame:

Okay... so while I was working on another project (a home-made prop for the V272) I noticed that my props were all out of whack. At first I thought "Well, I've wailed this thing against trees, ceilings, walls & furniture; it's gonna have a bent prop or two."

After spinning the props individually and validating that they are in fact all true, I noticed that the motors seemed crooked too. Looking closer, I was able to rule out the plastic motor holders; while they do wiggle a bit in the frame, and have since new, it soon became evident that the frame itself was BENT. It's really a lot worse than this photo makes clear; 3 of the 4 arms are actually 3-4mm out of alignment with the plane of the center of the frame.



Now, I've built a LOT of structures out of resin PCB; I've seen it warp under long-term load, but any sharp force like impacting a tree will usually either crack or break it if any effect is seen. After looking it over with magnifiers...



I satisfied myself that there no fractures or splintered spots.

Curious, I gave it a slight tweak; figuring to see how far it would flex. It BENT. If bent within a gentle radius, it appears to have malleability roughly similar to hardened aircraft aluminum machined to its dimensions. After a couple minutes of tweaking gently by eyeball, I was able to restore the frame to a pretty close semblance of original shape.



My concern here is twofold:

This design and material clearly aren't as brittle as most PCB I've worked with; this is probably why it bounces and doesn't break. This sounds to me like a good thing, until I consider the flip side of that coin: Fatigue.

If it bends instead of flexing, you can only straighten it out so many times before it breaks. I can't imagine this material remaining as malleable as aluminum for many stress cycles, so I guess I'm just wondering how long this integrated chassis can hold up under normal use, if I can twist it up like that after a few crashes and less than 10 flights.

My opinion is that this bears watching; it may become an issue which sets a finite lifespan to the V272 chassis.


[/Tech Update]
Last edited by mnemennth; Mar 31, 2014 at 09:11 AM.
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Mar 01, 2014, 06:35 AM
Registered User
Very nice review, thanks! Is it possible for you to measure the dimensions of the battery? I've already ordered a V272, and I would like to buy some more batteries that can fit inside the canopy.
Mar 01, 2014, 07:55 AM
KC
KC
Registered Loiterer.
KC's Avatar
I was wondering how you got your's so fast. Thanks for the review. Glad to hear about that a second battery will be included.

Any idea what the connector is on the battery? Is the same as the BNF 1s connectors?

KC
Mar 01, 2014, 08:03 AM
Registered User
SeByDocKy's Avatar
Good news .... BK2423, MPU6050 and mini54zan ... the classic chips of all V2x2 quad.
Mar 01, 2014, 08:07 AM
Registered User
Quote:
Originally Posted by KC
I was wondering how you got your's so fast. Thanks for the review. Glad to hear about that a second battery will be included.

Any idea what the connector is on the battery? Is the same as the BNF 1s connectors?

KC
He was sent an early production model as a review item.

This is the battery shown in the "People bought this + this + this" etc...

http://www.tmart.com/pgallery/Wltoys...y_p239697.html
Mar 01, 2014, 08:09 AM
Mr. Fisherman
Mr. Fisherman's Avatar
Looking forward to the video and to getting mine in my paws.
Mar 01, 2014, 08:20 AM
Registered User
SeByDocKy's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by EhnTeePee
He was sent an early production model as a review item.

This is the battery shown in the "People bought this + this + this" etc...

http://www.tmart.com/pgallery/Wltoys...y_p239697.html
smell like JST PH 1.25
Mar 01, 2014, 09:02 AM
Mr. Fisherman
Mr. Fisherman's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SeByDocKy
smell like JST PH 1.25
Looks like the one in my Proto X...
Mar 01, 2014, 09:12 AM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
Hi m,
Nice informative review. Thanks!
Do you see any evidence of the V2xx glitches when you hover? I wish that they would stop coding the abnormally slow yaw into the V2xx series. If the flips are programmed like the V2xx they should be decent, although still only button push auto-flips. The self-leveling sounds well-coded as it is in its V2xx cousins. It would likely do well in the upside down toss launch test too I agree with taking off the charge port to save weight. Do the LEDs blink for LVC at the 4 minutes of flight time you were getting? What were the lipo voltages after a full charge and after it hit LVC and rested for 1 minute? Except for the transceiver IC they copied the Hubsan Nano Q4/Estes Proto X components and the frame style too...The AUW is 1.2g heavier though. Certainly very well priced at $26. BNFs at $8?!...
Cheers,
Jim
Quadrocopter and Tricopter I nfo Mega Link Index
Mar 01, 2014, 10:17 AM
Registered User
Zaphod69's Avatar
Thanks for the review. Looking forward to getting mine even more now :-)
Mar 01, 2014, 10:31 AM
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MassiveOverkill's Avatar
Great review! Can you confirm the yaw rate is faster than the V202? Thanks.
Mar 01, 2014, 11:35 AM
KC
KC
Registered Loiterer.
KC's Avatar
Looks like Tmart is having a 1.5 day sale. It's listed for $26.99 now,

http://www.tmart.com/World-s-Smalles...F_p238995.html

I'll have to to see if they will refund the difference from my purchase price $29.99.

KC
Mar 01, 2014, 02:34 PM
AMA 1033652
mnemennth's Avatar
Thread OP
Okay... Q&A first, then on to taking pics.

Lots of questions on the battery, I'll hit that first:

Battery plug is JST-SH 1.25 mm pitch like the E-Flite micro BNFs use; (same as the V202 motor plugs) dimensions are 15.7 W x 19.7mm L by 7.1mm H

Canopy is much larger, but a lot of space taken up by the battery connector; if one put on a short pigtail instead, could fit a much larger LiPo in there.

Canopy inside dimensions are 16.9mm W x 26mm L x 10mm H, tapering approx 1-2mm narrower on all dimensions towards the top. Canopy is very flexible, so some wiggle room in size.

Jim -

No evidence of glitching, just the "expanded area of ground effect" bobbing effect that I already described. Sorry, the Yaw rate is abysmal as ever; as I suggested, I'd prefer it fixed at 80-100% to what they have now.

As you guessed; push-button arm for flip mode, then auto-flip in whichever direction you push the Cyclic. The rest of the time rates are linear 40-60-80-100 as with the V202. I'd love to try it side-by-side with my little Greenie V202; but I've toasted a PWM driver transistor due to a bad motor.

LEDS do start blinking at LVC, but the included battery seems pretty low IR; it tanks SHARPLY when it dies so it's like the quad floats down by itself and hits LVC/starts blinking if you keep trying to lift off after. But at least you do have clear visual confirmation of LVC.

Battery reads 4.18 V at full charge; 2.87V right after LVC and 3.11V after 1 minute settling time. I only have the single battery so expect some variation on these numbers; as well as size & weight due to manufacturing variations.

Yeah; the price is scary cheap. With the pricing of parts (which thankfully, TMart appears to have stocked up well on in anticipation) I just can't see them selling the BNF for less than $16-20; otherwise they'll never sell any parts. Of course, once these get out there, I'm sure we'll see the inevitable price creep on parts.

Massive -

Sorry; as Jim surmised, the Yaw rate is still atrocious. I'll try and do a comparison to the V202; but I'm afraid I'll have to hit your store for motors and PWM driver transistors if you've got 'em.

[EDIT] Looks like I already bought motors from you when I got my frame parts and extra props; if I can find my dead V929 board, may be able to rob some off of that and get it up quick. Oh, stop snickering, you dirty-minded git.
[/EDIT]

KC -

Ahhh, the price of living on the bleeding edge.

I would instead try and get them to add a couple packs of the more brightly colored props to your order gratis; these things ping off with little provocation. They are TINY when you're looking for them on the floor; and in black, they disappear on any surface that's not white.

I DEFINITELY recommend adding several extra packs of props while you still can; both for color-ID orientation and just because they're so easily lost. I've tried a little CA, but I'm afraid to use too much for fear of getting glue in the motor. The prop hub appears to be made to bottom out against the bushing for motor brush-end protection; no more Capri-Sun straw protectors.

Okay... now for some pics & adding this stuff to the actual Review.


Peace!


mnem
*Giggling as my kids do "The Wave" trying to reach the little screamer overhead*
Last edited by mnemennth; Mar 01, 2014 at 02:50 PM.
Mar 01, 2014, 02:53 PM
KC
KC
Registered Loiterer.
KC's Avatar
Thanks for all the details. Very informative.

Good news on the lipo plug, bad on the LVC voltage. The 2.87V is way too low. The lipo won't last long if it's flown to LVC all the time. Timing the flights may be the way to go.
Mar 01, 2014, 02:56 PM
Tri-Quad-Hexa-Octo-copters!!
m,
Thanks for the update. The 2.87v or 3.1v resting after LVC is not proper if they want the lipos to last. That is well below the recommended 3.7v LVC.
Cheers,
Jim
Quadrocopter and Tricopter Info Mega Link Index


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