The WLtoys Q-282 sells for less than 70 bucks and it’s designed for first-time FPV pilots.
Other than the 6 AA batteries for the transmitter, the package comes with everything you need to get into the air. WLtoys is one of my new favorite companies in the R/C community. They have released some amazing helicopters and quad rotors over the last few years, including the V931 CP heli and the V686 FPV quad rotor. When I first heard about the Q-282 FPV hexacopter I was looking forward to testing it. Unfortunately, I wasn’t as impressed with it as I had hoped to be.
The most unique feature about this aircraft is that it is the world’s smallest FPV hexacopter. Usually, hexacopters are good, stable camera platforms, so it’s no surprise that WLtoys decided to make a small FPV version.
The onboard camera records 1280 x 720 HD video to the included micro SD card. The video quality is pretty good, with no rolling shutter effect, but it is a little shaky from time to time. The video stream that is transmitted to the included FPV monitor is not HD; it’s just a standard definition video stream, nothing special.
My biggest issue – and disappointment – with this hexacopter is its range. It is advertised as having a 60 to 80 meter range, so I was expecting to get some good high altitude video from at least two stories up. However, I could barely get the aircraft over the tops of the trees. As soon as I did get it over the tree tops, the signal would drop and the aircraft would fall down.
|Battery type, Input voltage||LiPo 1S 500 mAh, 3.7 V|
|Camera||1280 x 720 – 29 fps – .avi format|
|Motors||6 brushed WLtoys motors|
|Length and width||17.3 cm|
|Still camera||2 mega pixel|
|Video recorded to||Micro SD onboard aircraft|
|Video transmitted to||Included FPV monitor on TX|
|Charge time||45 minutes|
|Flight time||6 to 8 minutes|
|FPV monitor battery||3.7 volt Lipo rechargeable|
Quality of build
This aircraft has a very specific look, one that you’ll either love or hate. WLtoys seems to love it because they made a smaller version without the FPV camera that looks exactly the same, only smaller and without landing gear. It’s one of those aircraft with glowing LED eyes on the front and long organic rotor arms on the back. It has a very robotic life-form appearance and looks sort of like something from a cartoon. It comes in a bright white and dark black version.
Almost everything on the aircraft is made from plastic. The canopy is a two-part plastic shell and the rotors are made from a surprisingly durable plastic. Everything fits together nice and tight and the plastic can absorb impacts and bend a little without breaking. The battery compartment is a little tight, making it slightly difficult to slide the battery in and out on occasion.
Altogether it’s a surprisingly durable aircraft, able to withstand crashes on the street or falls from high up without breaking anything. Considering the way the signal would drop out when it was more than 60 or 70 feet away, this durability really helps.
Assembly and tuning
Everything is nicely packed in a reusable box with a handle on top for carrying it around. The aircraft comes completely assembled and ready to fly, but you do need to attach the FPV monitor to the transmitter. It comes with two pieces of plastic that fit around the antenna and screw on to the FPV monitor to hold it in place. The screws are hand screws so you don’t need any tools to put it together or take it apart. All you need to do is install 6 AA batteries in the transmitter, connect the FPV monitor to the transmitter, screw the antenna on to the monitor, slide the micro SD card into the aircraft, and you’re ready to fly. You only need to provide the AA batteries for the transmitter. The manual is a little brief but it contains enough information to get you flying.
There was nothing wrong with the way this aircraft flew, I just wasn’t as impressed as I thought I would be. I was expecting a rock steady camera platform, but that wasn’t quite what I got.
The first thing to consider is orientation; you need to be able to tell which direction your aircraft is facing at all times. With a quad rotor it’s easy to define the front and back of the aircraft, but with a hexacopter it’s more difficult. It’s easier for your brain to determine which way a flying square is facing as opposed to a flying circle.
This fact, coupled with the aircraft’s small size, makes it more difficult to tell exactly which way the aircraft is facing. The extra rotors don’t really add any extra stability; in fact they seem to make it a little more wobbly and less stable. All that being said, it wasn’t a bad aircraft to fly around the house. In fact, it’s great for flying around the house or in the backyard.
No tuning out of the box is required, as it’s ready to fly as soon as everything is charged. Speaking of charging, the included FPV video monitor also has its own built-in rechargeable battery.
Indoors the aircraft is pretty good, as it’s not very loud and you can see what the camera is filming in real time. Outdoors the aircraft can handle wind and is a good backyard flyer, but it just doesn’t get the best range.
There are four flight speeds – 40, 60, 80, and 100 percent – and it also has a one-button return mode and a standard headless mode. The headless mode and one-button return mode work if you calibrate the gyro and if the aircraft is facing the right direction when you enter the modes.
Considering the price point and all the features, I would say that this aircraft is designed for beginners who are just entering the hobby. It’s not really designed for the cinematographer on a budget because of the altitude limitations and the overall stability of the aircraft. You can use it to fly over your house and take a look at the roof, but you can’t go much further than that.
The aircraft does have a preprogrammed one-button flip that is actually really nice for its size. It does the entire flip in less than a foot of space, and it does it pretty consistently.
Ground station and Controller
The provided 2.4 GHz transmitter has everything nicely laid out for you, and a handy LCD display tells you what flight mode you are in and how much thrust you are giving the aircraft. There is no flight telemetry like voltage or flight time, so you just have to keep an eye on the aircraft and wait for the aircraft lights to start blinking to let you know the battery is running low.
The 720P video looked good and the camera itself is nicely designed to handle different lighting conditions. When I flew it in bright sunlight it was able to handle the lighting changes smoothly when I spun around, and there was no ratcheting in the contrast or quality.
When I transferred the files to my computer with the included USB drive I had no trouble viewing them or editing them.
There’s no gimbal and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of digital stabilization of the video, but considering how small the aircraft is it’s no surprise.
Altogether I found everything to be very easy to use and pretty self-explanatory. I had no trouble with the FPV system and the transmitter is nicely laid out. The aircraft battery is a little tight when you slide it in and out, but it is a standard battery and connector so you will have no trouble finding extra batteries or charges. The rotors are also pretty standard and you get six extras, so replacement parts shouldn’t be an issue.