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Jul 17, 2017, 11:49 PM
siriusflier's Avatar

Cheerson CX-23 Brushless 5.8G FPV With 1080P Camera OSD GPS RC Quadcopter RTF

This quadcopter was sent to me courtesy of Banggood. It was ordered on July 3, 2017 but was not in stock at that time. It shipped using DHL on July 10, 2017 and it arrived on July 17, 2017 with only minor dings in the box. The cardboard of the outer box is about double thickness of ordinary carboard so is very sturdy. There several smaller boxes inside the main box that contain all the different components. It was shipped by DHL expedited shipping service, 7 days from shipped to arrival, very good transit time. It is well packaged and the box measures 253 x 253 x 130 millimeters. Pictures:
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Here is a video from Banggood with a demo flight:
Cheerson CX23 Mini FPV Drone Extensive Review English (20 min 42 sec)

First Impression and Description
This quad is 200mm size and seems nicely built, but it is a little different than most quads. The rear arms are higher than the front arms and the motors are mounted in the rear with the shafts pointed down. Still, the props end up on the same plane. This version is RTF and includes a 5.8Ghz 1080p FPV camera and VTX. There is also a 4.3 inch monitor that can be mounted on the transmitter. An 8Gb SD memory card is included. The on screen dispaly(OSD) on the transmitter provides a lot of information that will be discussed in the transmitter section. The body/frame is all plasticand has a solid feel to it. It is all black with two silver stripes on the top of the front arms and red stripes on top of the back arms. The motors are gold topped brushless D1306 3300KV. It has black props and landing gear. The props are 4045s or 102mm, not 120mm as stated in Banggood's description. The props shafts on the motors take 5mm prop nuts that are cw and ccw. There are no prop guards included. The landing gear are rigid, about 37mm tall, and can easily be snapped into place and removed. Landing gear might be the first thing to break in a hard landing or moderate crash, but they do not seem likely to come loose easily. The props are not labelled M2 or M4 as it says in the manual, nor A and B. There are directional arrows painted onto each of the motor arms. There is a card slot behind the camera for the included 8gb SD memory card. Props come installed, only the landing gear has to be added. The battery is proprietary, encased in a plastic shell, and snaps snuggly into the battery bay. Battery is rated as 2S, 1200mah, and 20C.The manual is written in easily understood English, one of the more well written manuals I have seen. There are 2 spare props, a USB card reader, a small screwdriver, a 2 ended wrench, and a screwdriver handle with 2 double ended switchable blades. There is a charge cradle for the battery with a connected wall wort, and two USB charge cords for the transmitter and monitor.
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Banggood's Description:

Brand Name: Cheerson
Item NO.: CX-23
Color: Black
Blades diameter: 120mm
Quadcopter battery: 7.4V 1200mAh
Quadcopter battery charging time: about 150mins
Flying time: about 14mins
Transmitter working frequency: 2400-2483GHZ
Transmitter battery: 5V 2000mAh
Transmitter charging time: about 150mins
Transmitter using time: about 80mins
Transmitter charging current & voltage: 1A 5V+
Camara: 2 mega pixel
Picture resolution: 1920*1080
Picture format: JPG
Video resolution: 1280*720
Video format: avi
FPV monitor: 5.8G 4.3inch monitor
Motor type: 1306 KV3300 brushless motor
RC distance: about 500m
FPV distance: about 500m
Flying height: about 100m
Largest ascending speed: 5m/s
Largest descending speed: 5m/s
Largest flying speed: 10m/s
Product size: 245*245*90 mm
Product weight: 230g

It has OSD function that the transmitter can show the height, number of satellite, flying direction, speeds and battery level etc. of the drone at the same time.
It has low-voltage warning and low-voltage auto landing function which improves the safety problem.
7.4V 1200mAh battery with inserting structure that the flying time is longer and the installation of battery is fast.
It can do one touch return and out-of-control return which prevents disappearing.
Camera is together with video transmitter and it is convenient to control it .
It can do around flying that you can control it to fly around with a certain radius .
Brushless Motor strong power to the quadcopter.

It has the functions of forward/backward, left rotation, right rotation, turn left/right, one touch take-off, one touch landing, height hold and point hold, auto return etc.

Package included:
1 x Cheerson CX-23 quadcopter with camera
1 x Transmitter
1 x FPV Screen
1 x 8G SD card
1 x 7.4V 1200mAh LiPo Battery
2 x Spare Blade
2 x Landing Skid
1 x Screwdriver
1 x Charger
1 x USB cable
1 x Propeller fixing mount
1 x Manual

Dimensions and Weights
Motor to Motor(MTM) Diagonally----200mm.....................................MTM Side to Side-----144mm
MTM Front to Back-----138mm............................................. ..................Height/ground clearance-----37mm
Transmitter measures-----156 x 146 x 46 mm .................................Transmitter Sticks-----90mm CTC x 19mm tall
Props measure-----102mm/4 inches....................................... ..................Motors--D1306 3300KV
Quadcopter body weight-----147.8 grams............................................. All up weight-----229.7 grams
Landing gear-----6.4 grams............................................. ....................Battery-----75.6 grams
Range of quad/fpv-----500 meters?

The transmitter is black and has two antennas on the top. It has a rubberized coating that feels good to the touch. The LCD display is near the top and the on/off button is directly underneath centered between the sticks. The mode button lights up green when it is turned on. Both sticks are spring loaded and centered. 5 buttons underneath the sticks are from left to right - One touch landing, Mode button, One touch return home, Photo/video, One touch takeoff/OSD information. There are two self centering dials on the shoulders but the manual says those are disabled. Sticks are a little short and are glued in place so would not be easy to replace. The manual has instructions for calibrating the quad and for compass calibration using the transmitter. Even though the transmitter is closer to toy grade than hobby grade, it still has a good feel to it and works well. The sticks seem fairly precise in control of the quad. The transmitter is smaller than the tx for the Cheerson CX-20 and about the same size as the transmitter for the Aosenma CG035, both GPS quads.

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The transmitter display shows voltage of the quad and transmitter, signal strength, Mode A, B, or C , the number of satellites connected to the GPS, speed in meters per second, distance in meters, Ascending/descending speed, and height in meters. It also can be switched to display Pitch, Roll, Yaw, Flight time, Lattitude, and Longitude.
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If you push the OSD button twice, the display will change to show ___ and also display what frequency the 5.8ghz tx on the quad is operating on. You have to hold down the return home button while turning on the tx, then turn on the quad, wait for binding to finish, then the 5.8ghz frequency will be changed.
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The display is not back lit, and the print is not very large, especially the second and third screen displays. But outdoors in cloudy conditions I was able to make out the displayed values if I held the transmitter in the right position. And I did it without my reading glasses.
And there is even a vibration alarm inside the transmitter, to signal when the battery voltage drops too low. The vibrator also triggers when you turn on the transmitter.
This transmitter has so many features and so much OSD, it seems complicated and I will probably need some time to get used to it. But I do not have any quads that display so much information or telemetry. I think I am going to like the altitude, speed, and distance displays, though I wish they could be switched to show feet or yards.

First Flights
Before the first flight the quad and the transmitter have to be put through a binding procedure to connect the TX and RX. Hold the Home button down while turning on the transmitter, then turn on the quad. It paired easily on the first try. he manual also says to do a compass calibration, and suggests to do it for every flight. I tried several times to do a compass calibration, but though I could get the transmitter to display rotate horizontally, it would not go past that point no matter how many times I rotated it. Later, when I flew it the first time, there was no display of direction, so I either have a faulty compass or it is not connected properly. It did calibrate the accelerometers easily and correctly.
Update 7/19/2017
First of all, there is no OSD for direction, though at first I thought there was.
After taking the quad apart and checking the compass and it's connections, I took it outside and waited for there to be over 9 satellites on GPS before I tried calibrating the compass. It worked! Then I went inside where I had tried to calibrate it before and it would not work even though I had at least 7 satellites. That was on top of my glass topped oven. Took it outside and tried to calibrate the compass on top of my level metal table, plenty of satellites connected. It would not go past 'rotate horizontally', didn't work. Moved to the top of a wooden table, it worked fine. So I think you should not try to do a calibration on top of a metal surface or with too much metal too close to the quad. Makes sense, it is a magnetic compass.
My guess is that my compass was working the whole time. And I would also guess that doing a compass calibration before each flight may not be needed, since I didn't calibrate it before the first two flights and it flew fine.

Before the first flight I was checking to make sure all of the screws were tight, and found one loose screw in the back right motor. The thread in the motor appears to be stripped but there are 4 motor screws so 3 should hold it. All other screws and prop nuts were tightened securely.
Hopefully it will be less windy tomorrow and I can do better flight tests.

7/18/2017, managed a second flight with winds less than 5mph. Everything except the compass seemed to work fine. The quad is very stable, held position well, has decent pitch, roll, and yaw, and I noticed no problems at all with this flight. I took several photos and one video using the supplied 8gb SD card, see post #2. Pushed return to land button once and the quad landed, but probably 20 feet away from where it took off. Flew it out to where the distance meter said it was 100 meters, near a landmark that I estimate to be over 400 feet away, not sure about accuracies of measurements. Accidentally started the circle function, but did not let it continue, it did start though. The low battery voltage warning started at about 14.5 minutes and I landed quickly, the quad battery meter on the transmitter read about 7.3 volts, but I took it in the house still turned on, meter read 7.1 volts when I turned it off. At rest, the battery voltage read 3.55 volts per cell with my voltmeter, so the tx voltmeter seems fairly accurate.
I know when I started flying after only waiting a couple of minutes, the satellite count was 9, but then I did not check it again until I had the quad in the house after flying. It showed 12 satellites inside the house.
Third flight
Because it was windy I did a short flight in the windbreak to see how the quad flew after calibrating the compass. I could not tell the difference in altitude mode or in GPS mode from before when I had not been able to calibrate. It flew fine and held position well.

The range of both the quad and the FPV is advertized as 500 meters and there is a warning beeper that goes off when the quad to transmitter signal starts getting weak. Best range I got was 425 meters with good FPV picture all the way.
I realized I had not actually done any range tests and took it out for one this evening after sundown. Little scary with it getting dark and not being able to see the quad after it got 100 meters away, but the camera did surprisingly well in the very low light conditions.
I flew it out to 300 meters and about 20 meter altitude and never lost RX orFPV signal, just a little static on the monitor. Then up to 120 meters with it about 20 to 30 meters away, I did start losing FPV signal at about 75 meters up, but I could raise/tilt the monitors FPV antenna and regain the signal. More info in this post:

Another range test this morning. Flew out to 425 meters(1394 feet) at about 20 meters altitude. At that point the quad took off from its due south direction and started going north east out over a thick ground cover of crops. Scared me a little. Don't know if the signal got weak and it was trying to return home or if the wind caught it, but I never lost FPV signal and was able to redirect it to bring it home. Flew it back out to 350 meters with no problems. But I think that is the end of my range tests, good enough range for me.

Battery and Charger
The battery is proprietary and snaps into place on the bottom of the quad. There is a button on the bottom of the battery that serves a dual purpose, a quick push of that button shows how charged the battery is, from 1 LED(low) to 4 LEDs(full charge). Hold the button down to connect power to the quad. Battery voltage is also displayed on the transmitter. To charge the battery, first push the power button to turn on the battery, insert the battery into the charger, then plug in the charger, the wall wort LED will turn red to indicate charging. The LED on the wall adapter will turn green to indicate charge is complete and the battery will have all 4 LEDs lit. According to the instruction manual, that LED turns green to charge and red when finished, so the first flight the battery was not fully charged.
I found that the probes on my voltmeter can measure the cell voltage, but the battery has to be turned on to do it. The first charge measured 8.32 volts, or 4.16 volts per cell-note-I did not let the battery fully charge because of misinformation in the manual.
After the first flight and with the quad landing itself due to low battery, the battery measured 3.53 volts per cell. It took one hour and 45 minutes to recharge the battery and the resting voltage was 4.22 volts per cell.
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Camera Quad?
The quad comes with a 1080P camera, VTX, and a monitor. It is designed for FPV and claims a range of 500 meters for FPV transmission. Camera and FPV equipment will be discussed more in post #2.

Quad comparison
This quad is smaller than a CG035 which is a 250mm size quad, and smaller than the CX-20 or the Eachine E350 Pioneer, all of which have GPS. Pictures:
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The LEDs seem to help for binding and calibration, but do not aid in orientation in sunlight and would not help much at night because they are only in the back part of the body.

The Cheerson CX-23 looks good and seems put together well. It flys only in 6-axis stabilization mode and has GPS. It should make a good camera and FPV quad, but may be a bit advanced for a beginner with no quad experience at all. The brushless motors make it seem fairly powerful. LEDs are not good for low light flying and will not help in daylight. The manual is written better than most, but does have a few mistakes in it. It will probably be a good introductory brushless FPV quad for intermediate quad pilots, and seems to have a good GPS system. It has a lot of OSD data that is GPS enabled. The camera, VTX, and monitor all work well. It takes decent photos and videos. I would rate this quad at about an 9 out of 10 on my rating scale, where 1 is bad, and 10 is excellent.

Nicely built/good looking design.
Strong brushless motors, good power.
Seemingly strong frame
Very stable.
Good On Screen Display(OSD)
Smooth, quiet brushless motors.
Good low voltage warning.
On/Off switch.
Decent flight time.
Small size will make it easy to carry.
Decent instruction manual.
Good info on monitor OSD.
Monitor OSD shows 360 degree heading.

All black, not good for orientation.
Proprietary battery.
Display is not backlit and a little hard to read.
Problem with compass.
Rather short transmitter sticks.

Thanks to Banggood for providing this quad for review.
You can find it here for $229.99 USD including shipping:
Last edited by siriusflier; Aug 19, 2017 at 12:20 PM. Reason: Added info on compass calibration, 7/21, added to Pros
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Jul 17, 2017, 11:50 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
Camera, fpv, and monitor

I got in a flight 7/18/2017 in light winds and checked out the camera, FPV, and monitor.
I had some breakup on the FPV monitor out at about 400 feet and at about 30 feet high, but did not completely lose signal. Did not try to go farther than that, was only my second flight and I don't think the compass is working.
Photos are just ok, thy are JPG files at 1920 x 1080 pixels. These sample photos are completely unedited.
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Here is a photo of the monitor that was taken after the flight inside the house. You can see displayed that there were 12 satellites and the quad battery voltage was 7.1 volts. Displayed on the monitor clockwise from top left are: Number of satellites,VTX signal strength, VTX frequency, degrees from due north, Mode-GPS, Throttle percentage position, TX/RX Signal strength, Vertical velocity, SD card, altitude, Distance from home, Quad battery voltage, Flight time, Horizontal velocity, roll, and pitch?.
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This is a short video at 1280 x 720 pixels and 30fps using the supplied 8gb SD card. Seems to be some dropped frames in a few places. A better memory card, like a Class 10 might do a better job. The quad doesn't seem that loud when flying it.
Banggood Cheerson CX-23 (1 min 27 sec)

I took the monitor apart to see what type of antenna and battery were inside. Antenna looks decent, almost a cloverleaf. No battery size apparent but appears to have a micro JST plug on it.
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Last edited by siriusflier; Jul 21, 2017 at 07:17 PM. Reason: correction monitor display information
Jul 17, 2017, 11:51 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
Modifications and teardown
Fairly windy today, so not good for flying, decided to take the quad apart.
Have to take off the props, that is 4 prop nuts. Then 4 screws taken out of rear motors and the two cover plates taken off, 4 motor screws under cover plate can be left in place as the top body shell is what comes off. Turn it over to the bottom, 1 screw at front of body, and 1 longer screw at the rear of the body. Then remove 3 screws from bottom of each front arm, and 2 screws from each rear arm. All screws are the same except the 1 longer at the back. 16 total screws to remove, not bad. The body snaps together and is a little difficult to get apart. The top shell will lift off, but the GPS is mounted on that shell and is plugged in.
There is shielding tape covering the GPS and foam over that shielding. You can see a little of the silver shielding in this picture:
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A picture of the cover removed from back motors and two screws that can be left in place:
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A picture of the flight control board:
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A picture of the front arm, esc, and the magnetic compass up in the nose of the quad:
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The magnetic compass in the nose:
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The 5.8ghz antenna mounted in the tail of the body:
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The motor prop shafts with flat sides near the bottom. The props do not go down that far:
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I found a 1200mah battery that is a tight fit and I made an adapter so I can use batteries with red JST connectors on them. I thought of adding a JST plug wired directly to the power pads on the fcb when I had it apart, but I didn't do it this time.
I also moved the 5.8 ghz antenna so that it will hang down below the battery for less possibility of obstruction of signal:
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Last edited by siriusflier; Jul 20, 2017 at 12:19 AM.
Jul 18, 2017, 04:33 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
I managed a second flight this afternoon and tested the photography, video, and FPV. Info on the flight in first post, camera, monitor, and FPV info in second post.

Flight was over 14 minutes and had up to 12 satellites.
Quad and GPS worked fine, no problems.
Jul 18, 2017, 11:27 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
In spite of the fact that the compass on mine does not seem to be working, this quad seems to have performed flawlessly, though I have only managed 2 flights. I probably would have rated it higher if the compass worked, I am fairly impressed with this little thing, the amount of information provided in the OSD is almost overwhelming, but most of it can be useful. I have three other GPS quads, and this one outdoes all of them except in one respect. It may be too small for a gimbal and action camera. But it would make an excellent choice for a first GPS quad.
Jul 19, 2017, 01:30 AM
Fan of just about anything RC
SoloProFan's Avatar
Nice review, SF. Is the manual correct in that it picks a random FPV frequency each time you bind it with the radio? If so, that would be so awkward, even a simple push button to browse through all frequencies would have been more convenient.
Jul 19, 2017, 08:41 AM
siriusflier's Avatar
I know it changes the FPV frequency every time you go through the bind procedure, not sure if it is random or if it goes in order. But you are right, it is not a very useful way to change frequencies.
Jul 19, 2017, 07:24 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
I added info about the magnetic compass to post number 1. Summary - don't try to calibrate magnetic compass on a metal surface.

I added information on teardown and modifications. But my damned internet service is making it almost impossible to download the pictures, so I will have to try adding the pictures later.
Jul 19, 2017, 09:02 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
Still windy, but I took it out and did a timed test to see how long GPS satellite connection took. I turn on the quad and pair it with the transmitter on a level metal table under a metal car port, then I took the quad out and set it on a plastic landing pad in the open. Started the timer as soon as I turned on the quad and set it down. In less than 2 minutes I had a lock on 12 satellites.
Jul 19, 2017, 09:58 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
Went out and flew and tested a little in 5 to 10 mph winds.
GPS held very well. I took it straight up over 200 feet and it pretty much held position despite change in altitude. Descent seemed fairly slow from that height.
I flew forward and backward as fast as it would go in GPS mode and only got to about 9 meters per second according to the OSD. That is about 20mph, not really fast. Will have to try in altitude hold mode and see if it is faster. I flew it out about 130 meters with the FPV monitor on, and there was a little breakup in the signal, but it was not bad. Then I brought it back to about 50 feet away and lowered it to about 3 feet, and also had some breakup in the FPV signal when I turned it in certain directions. So there is probably some signal blocking going on in certain orientations.
Jul 20, 2017, 07:59 AM
Registered User
Pixelpeter's Avatar
Guess that monitor has a build-in antenna? You'll probably get (much?) better range with a decent (diversity) 5.8gHz monitor with a good antenna.
Jul 20, 2017, 08:21 AM
siriusflier's Avatar
Yes, the monitor antenna is built in. It does work fairly well though. I used my VR D2 goggles just to test the reception indoors and it looks like it displayed almost all of the OSD information, only I noticed it did not show the VTX frequency like the stock monitor does.
Jul 20, 2017, 03:49 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
After another look, the frequency that the monitor displays is the VTX frequency. You can find the moniyot frequency on the second screen of the transmitter display.

Pictures of the insides of the monitor and the monitor's antenna in post #2.

Went out and timed a flight with my other 1200mah battery and the plug adapter. The quad flew fine with that battery - it weighs almost 10 grams less including the plug adapter and the elastic band I put on to secure the battery. Timed the flight at 12 minutes, but that is just flight time and doesn't include about 5 minutes 12 feet up in a tree due to an unplanned landing. I was flying it with just altitude hold on and was watching the speed on the transmitter, didn't see how close it was to the tree until it was too late. No damage, not even from pushing it out of the tree with my quad retrieval pole. Speed was up to 12 meters/second, about 25 mph, 5 mph faster than in GPS.
I also tried the circle function. seems it had some problem maintaining altitude when facing into the wind while circling, the wind may have been up to 10mph at times. Manual says you need a large area to start circle mode, and that is right. Wouldn't be surprised if it started at about a 250 foot diameter. I trimmed the diameter down as much as I could and noted a couple of ground objects at the outside of the circle, measured about 90 foot diameter later. You can also slow the circling down to very slow, but I didn't test that much because battery was getting low by then. LVC warning started just as the battery dropped below 7.2 volts according to the OSD. It still flew for over a minute after LVC. Altitude hold allowed a little loss of height when flying directly into the wind.
Everything still seems to be working well so far, still getting used to the OSD both on the tx and the monitor.
Last edited by siriusflier; Jul 21, 2017 at 01:19 AM.
Jul 21, 2017, 07:27 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
It took most of a battery, but I figured out what all the different values displayed on the monitor mean or represent. I was going to download a picture with labels all around, but I can't get my damn internet to download anything.

There is a photo of the monitor in post #2 with all the different info on the scree. You can see displayed that there were 12 satellites and the quad battery voltage was 7.1 volts. Displayed on the monitor clockwise from top left are: Number of satellites,VTX signal strength, VTX frequency, degrees from due north, Mode-GPS, Throttle percentage position, TX/RX Signal strength, Vertical velocity, SD card, altitude, Distance from home, Quad battery voltage, Flight time, Horizontal velocity, roll, and pitch.

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Last edited by siriusflier; Jul 24, 2017 at 02:20 PM.
Jul 21, 2017, 11:30 PM
siriusflier's Avatar
This quad is small and all black so orientation gets difficult as you get farther away. FPV monitor helps though in more ways than one. You can see where it's headed if you have the monitor on. And the compass display shows it's heading in 360 degrees starting with 0/360 as due north. And if you lose the display, you still have return to land.

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