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Old 09-13-2016, 06:12 PM   #1
kross1
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Central NY, USA
Default Review: REDCON Phoenix 210 from GearBest.com

Hi! I am new to HeliFreak, but have been quite active in FPV for about 5-6 years, R/C for 30+ years. I'm a long-time member of FPVLab.com and RCGroups.com, but just joined up here.

I wanted to post a review I wrote for my first "real quad", as a starting point. I qualify as a "newbie" compared to most of you, so be gentle with me... Thanks!

-kross1

And WHY are my images SOOO LARGE.... sorry if it looks bad. Trying to figure this out.






When I obtained the REDCON Phoenix 210 quad (5.8GHz FPV 976 x 582 Camera Quadcopter ARF Version) for review from GearBest I was expecting a challenge as I am not an experienced quad pilot, but I have been wanting one for a while.
Image from GearBest.com



I have been flying R/C for ~30 years, and First Person Video (FPV) for about 6 years, but almost all with planes. I have a few small (toy) quads, but nothing with a user-programmable flight controller and brushless motors. Therefore, this review is from the point-of-view of a “newbie”, which actually may be beneficial to others “noobs”.

Quad-experts, excuse my inexperience, and please post your suggestions.

All of the specifications are online, so rather than list them here where they could become outdated, check the listing at GearBest.

The quad comes “almost-ready-to-fly” with a FPV camera (PAL) and 200 mW video transmitter (just add your own R/C radio and battery). The quad is nicely pre-built, however comes with absolutely no instructions of any kind. If you do not know what you are doing, you will need to seek help, or like me know how to find the information online.

ANYWAYS: Not that much of a challenge I am pleased to say. YouTube member "Fyre SG" posted a video review on GearBests' site, I found it very useful and worth pointing out.


This video raised questions regarding receiver installation, the use of “OpenPilot GCS”, motor layout and possibly needing to reverse motor leads on the motors or ESC’s, as well as swapping the connections on the CC3D flight controller. While I knew I could figure all of these things out I was hoping it would be reasonably easy, as I hoped to have a successful “newbie” story to tell.

The quad:



REDCON did a nice job in laying out the components and wiring, it is a very clean design. The main 3-mm. carbon fiber frame is very strong. The middle portion of the frame (colored portion) is 3D-printed, and is more delicate. This 3D-printed portion is not structural, and the frame would actually be fine without it as long as you preserved the frame spacers. As my picture shows, I accidentally broke a section out of the 3D-printed middle portion when the quad slipped off my truck bed. The 2-mm. carbon fiber upper deck has room (~94mm x 35mm) for the battery, which can be held down with Velcro or a battery strap. There is a lot of room on top of the FPV camera mount as well for other gear.



Some early reviewers found their cameras installed upside down, mine however was fine. The camera has an excellent picture; however, the camera goes dark when facing the sun. I noted a color shift/blocky pixels when the flight battery was drained, use this as your last-warning sign to land IMMEDIATELY. The camera is mounted on a fixed angle, and has been acceptable for most any speed of forward flight in my testing.



The CC3D flight controller can support R/C receiver connectivity via PWM, PPM or SBUS. The controller in installed offset by 90 degrees to the right, which is handled in the configuration of the flight controller. The system does not include a GPS, On-Screen Display (OSD) or barometer (pressure sensor, used for altitude-hold), but they can be added if desired.



The power distribution board in the rear of the frame has pads available for 12 and 5 volts. An XT60 connector is built in for battery connection.

There are multi-color LED’s and a buzzer on the back of the frame, which are attached to the 3D-printed middle portion. I have yet to configure the LED’s/buzzer, but plan to.

The motors are brushless, with the electronic speed controls built into the bottoms of the plastic landing pads/foot. While this is a bit unusual, it makes for a nice/clean installation. The plastic pad/feet however are delicate, and after a few rough landings the bottom plate can break free as shown below. To resolve this I removed the 2 long bolts that held the plastic cap on, as well as the 2 nuts and broken bits of plastic, and simply used thin strips of orange ductape to attach the cap. I also taped the other 3 for added strength. On RCGroups.com members have reported the motor mount bolts vibrating loose over time could result in a short circuit if the bolt were to hit the ESC, so it is worth the time to check their tightness.




I temporarily installed a FrSky Taranis X8R receiver I had available on top of the FPV camera mount. I plan to replace this with the FrSky XSR, which should fit within the Phoenix’s limited internal space.

The front left and back right motors spin clockwise, the other 2 counterclockwise. The motors have prop-adapters bolted on which needed to be swapped (front to back) to ensure they tighten due to the direction of motor rotation. The prop-adapter bolts were a bit loose, make sure you check them.



The video transmitter is the Eachine 5823, 200 mW, 32-channel. Remove the video transmitter from the chassis, and use a sharp knife to carefully cut the heatshrink plastic off by the DIP switches, enabling you to set the band and frequency of the transmitter. Note that the transmitter is 32-band, and does not support the newer RaceBand. The transmitter uses RP-SMA connections, vs. SMA like FatShark uses, so be careful if you order different antennas.



I quickly learned that “OpenPilot GCS” is no longer available, and stumbled upon LibrePilot which has worked great for me on the REDCON Phoenix 210. There are other options such CleanFlight as well. Between the programs, there may be differences in motor-ordering or rotation direction, which lead to the changes in motor/ESC wires and swapping connections on the CC3D flight controller in the referenced video. LibrePilot did not have these problems; I have not tried the other programs so I cannot be more accurate about them.

Flight:
Like the other quads I have flown you can’t be too shy on launch, you need to give enough throttle to get the quad up off the ground promptly. Experience has taught me to test a new system over soft grass, versus concrete or gravel.

In basic flight mode (vs. “acrobatic”) I flew the first 2 batteries line-of-site and quickly realized how smooth and stable the quad is while slowly hovering around the yard. The 3rd and 4th batteries were then FPV flights, again slowly hovering around the yard dodging bushes and trees and my cat.

The real fun came in the next day when I went to the school and started fast forward FPV flight (again, basic flight mode, not “acrobatic”). My skills developed flying R/C planes applied, and I had no issues with takeoff, full-throttle forward flight, or landing. The quad quickly hits a few hundred feet of altitude when punched out aggressively. I loved slaloming and sliding around corners, covering a soccer and football field quite quickly.



8 more flights since then have gotten me much better at dodging trees and power poles, I am having a lot of fun with this quad. I have had a few hard crashes, with no damage of concern.

I’m sure my setup of the CC3D in LibrePilot will need work before I get into acrobatic flying, I have not yet tried flips or rolls, just the basics.

As I mentioned I am a “newbie” to quads versus an experienced pilot, which enables me to give a unique perspective on this model. Please post your own experiences here, questions, or suggestions for me. I’ll be posting updates as I progress, they may have value for other “newbies”.

Last edited by Mercuriell; 09-15-2016 at 01:09 PM.. Reason: Fixed Up image size and YT links
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Old 09-15-2016, 09:16 PM   #2
kross1
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Join Date: Sep 2016
Location: Central NY, USA
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And it works great with the FrSky XSR receiver, received/installed it today. This tiny PPM bare-board (heat shrunk) receiver fits inside the chassis; no more big/clunky X8R on top of the camera.

Sweet.
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Old 09-23-2016, 03:03 PM   #3
yoshi71
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Bright leds, does it have night vision camera? What do you need for flying after buying it? Anyway great quad
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