Today I am going to review the JXD (Jin Xing Da) 509G Pioneer UFO Quad-Copter Drone.
Buy Now: $89.99 from Amazon
Buy Now: $79.99 from BangGood
Buy Now: $74.36 from GearBest
|Manufacture’s Product Page
Flight Style: Precision
Size: 31.6×31.6×21.0 cm / 12.4″x12.4″x4.1″
Weight: 147g / 0.32lbs
FAA Registration Required: No
Range: 150m / 492 feet
Flight Time: 5 to 7 minutes
Battery: 1 Cell 3.7V 600mAh 30C
Camera: 2.0MP / 720P HD
Out of my current fleet, this drone by far is my favorite drone for beginner’s who want to take a stab at precision flying and aerial photography. Not to mention, it just looks cool. Even though the design is a copy of the Yuneec Typhoon 4K, all the way down to the camera pod. We’ll just call it the Typhoon’s little brother. So if you are thinking of getting a Typhoon down the line, but have never flown a drone before, this is a good place to start.
|Yuneec Typhoon 4K
||Manufacture’s Product Page
Flight Style: Precision
Size: 56.5×56.5×10.6 cm / 22.2×22.2×8.3 inches
Weight: 1700g / 3.74lbs
FAA Registration Required: Yes
Flight Time: 25 minutes
Buy Now: $799.00 from Amazon
Buy Now: $776.99 from BangGood
The main selling points of the 509G are its altitude hold feature, and FPV using a 5.8GHz 2.0MP Camera with the LCD Receiver included.
If you are even slightly interested in learning precision flying and aerial photography, and want to test the waters before buying a DJI Phantom, or one of the other big boys, then this is the drone for you.
However, if you are looking for something to do freestyle flight or intermediate FPV, this really isn’t the best choice. More on that later.
This little guy is RTF (Ready to Fly) right out of the box. About the only thing I couldn’t figure out was how to attach the prop guards the right way. I could put them on, but they would not “snap” into place. They pretty much popped right off if you looked at them the wrong way. I will update this post if I ever get this figured out.
So on to the first big feature: “Altitude Hold”. This is by far one of the best features introduced to the budget drone market. The drone has a barometer that can measure the air pressure, and maintain the drones altitude by keeping it at that pressure. With several hours of flight time, I can say this feature is not perfect, but again, at under $100, it is really good. Basically, the throttle/collective is spring loaded to stay centered out on the transmitter. If you press up, it will gain altitude. Let go and the throttle stick will center out, and the drone will stay at that altitude. Press down, and the drone will descend.
With lots of testing, the max rate of ascent seems to be almost double the max rate of descent, which is pretty slow. Thus not making this drone a good player for acrobatics, as you are pretty much stuck on a 2D playing field, with the Z axis being too slow to consider.
Now, as cool as I think this bad boy is, there are a few downsides/cons I have to mention.
First off, I was most disappointed with the FPV option included with this drone. As the FPV functionality while there, is really lacking. I will go over three separate areas of review, Video Recording, FPV Feld of View, and Receiver/LCD Display Life.
The “Video Recording” has one (two, which GearBest.com resolved) downfall/s.
First, video recording seems to be set at a maximum of 3 minutes, before it stops to close out the AVI file. Not really the end of the world, given the short flight time with the stock battery. But definitely disappointing when you think you captured some awesome video, only to get home and find it was never recorded. I learned this the hard way. But once you understand this, it is easy to work around.
Second, the one I originally got corrupted/miss-recorded AVI files about 10% to 40% of the time. Though I contacted GearBest.com to get this resolved. It turned out being a bad camera, and GearBest.com helped me get a replacement which fixed this issue.
Next is the FPV View with the stock lens.
First, the stock lens has an approximately 50° FOV (field of view), which is too narrow for any decent FPV flight. You need to fly very slow in order to avoid crashing into objects just outside the FOV.
To get my entire garage door which is 280cm(110″) wide into view, I needed to stand 300cm(118″) back.
Using an online calculator, I was able to approximate the 50° FOV.
Edge a = Half the width of the Garage Door
Edge b = Distance between Camera and Garage Door
Angel A = 25
Multiply this by 2 to get the 50° FOV.
Credit to Cleave Books at http://www.cleavebooks.co.uk/scol/calrtri.htm
Second, you can not adjust the camera’s angle any higher then about -10°. This further compacts the original FOV limitation, making most of the video a really good view of the ground below instead of the view in front. You need to fly very slow to avoid additional pitch. Looking through the holes in the camera case, it does look like an 808D #16 lens will fit. In fact it does, see my full mod here: JXD 509G/510G Camera Mod/Upgrade with 808 Lens
Another downside was flying at night. It is almost impossible in cities and suburbs. The LEDs are covered by a opaque grey cover, significantly dimming their brightness. Though it may be better in the countryside where there is less light pollution, and you don’t want to attract any unwanted attention. Though the camera and FPV don’t really function at night anyway. So not really designed for that in the first place.
Finally, during one of my test flights, the drone lost signal, the motors stopped, and the drone dropped straight down. The landing gear shattered on impact. It was about 50 feet away, and about 10 feet / 3 meters up. The skids appear to be very flexible, but just like Laffy Taffy, give it a quick hard snap, and it will shatter. I was able to order replacement skids from GearBest.com for cheap. When comparing the fingerprints from the injection mold tooling, the replacements appear to come from the exact same tool, so we know that GearBest.com is getting original parts factory direct.
Please Note: The replacement skids do not come with the foam feet/pads or mounting screws. So save the broken parts to transfer the foam and screws to the new skids.
Very Easy to Fly
Stock Battery has Short Life (easy fix, order upgrade)
Brittle Landing Gear (be careful, don’t fly over hard surfaces)
Dim LEDs (avoid night flight in bright areas like cities)
Prop Guards Not Secure (anyone know how to properly mount them?)
FPV Camera: Bad Angle and Poor Field of View. See Mod/Fix Here: JXD 509G/510G Camera Mod/Upgrade with 808 Lens
So to conclude, even though the drone does have more cons than pros, the value of the pros are pretty good given it’s low price. Plus, I am working on some fixes for the cons. Mods to come soon.
Questions? Comments? Let me know what you think.