Friday, August 14, 2015

Really pointless review of "Syma X5C-1 X5SC 5.8G FPV 720P Camera with Monitor Real Time Transmission"

Ok, so one fine day, I was chatting to a colleague about how affordable it is to buy a toy quad nowadays, and pointed him at the Syma X5C-1 on banggood. Whilst I was browsing the selection of quadcopter options and parts, this set jumped out at me. For about USD50, you get a FPV camera and a receiver. After reading some comments about the lcd being able to receive signals from other brands of transmitters, I impulse bought it.
I must say I am still slightly irked at this impulse buy because I can't actually use it! The fpv vapor - which I was hoping to test fpv with - does not run on the same frequency bands, and I don't have any aircraft that will carry the fpv camera. (The FPV Vapor has been put up for sale btw.)

In any case, I was very surprised by what you get in the package; the lcd receiver, the fpv camera/tx, combined charger, as well as a bang containing parts to attach the lcd panel to your Syma transmitter. Note: If you buy this, open the paper box *carefully*. Mine had a whole bunch of tiny screws for the transmitter attachment fall out, as the plastic bag containing them was mysteriously ripped apart.

There are no operating instructions included. The box itself is also not very helpful; the best it could do was tell me which bands it supported - I have no idea which channel is assigned to which dip switch! Thankfully, so long as the dip switches match between the transmitter and receiver, it works.

The lcd receiver appears to work on the 5.8Mhz Band with 8 channels. It seems like the more expensive models online have 32 channels. The included antenna appears to be a patch antenna.

The fpv camera comes in a single unit with its transmitter. What appears to be nice is that the transmitted signal also included an onscreen display of the tx battery lifespan. More on that later. There is a slot to insert a micro sd card, and another slot for charging. A cable snakes its way out of the tx, which I assume is for connecting to the quadcopter to engage/disengage the camera in-flight.
Now, previously I'd read a horror story of an Hubsan X4 battery charger overcharging the lipos and blowing up. The charger included looks exactly the same as my X4's charger, so, first thing I did was to take apart the whole thing and observe the battery voltage with my multimeter.

It seems like the battery in the receiver cuts off at around 4.22 volts (a red led goes off the receiver's pcb), and the fpv camera's battery at 3.9 volts. This sounds good. Tad worried about the 4.22 volts, but you know, I'm using a cheapo multimeter. It's possible it's just not that accurate. One other thing to note, the charger is a USB charger, and has a LED that lights up *after* the charge is complete. Quite disturbing until I figured that out (I was like... why did the led go off when I put the charge plug in?! Is it a short circuit?! Thankfully not, as my multimeter indicated).

The charging appears fine and dandy, but the on screen display tells another story - the rx, even though fully charged only shows 2 out of the 3 bars of charge onscreen. Tricky. The tx display shows 1 of 3 bars.... so maybe something's off with the charge since it stopped at 3.9 volts.

As to why I'm saying this review is pointless.... is because I've never tested it out in the field and have no idea what the range is like. Could be a hundred meters, maybe a few klicks (supremely unlikely) or maybe the signal dies whenever I start singing. Who knows.

Overall, the kit seems to work well. Viewing angle is quite washed out at oblique angles - but can you really complain about that for the price?! And the refresh rate seems really good even in low light, and it's super light as well. This is a good first step to getting a toe wet with fpv.

I'm looking into getting a flying wing to host the camera, and hopefully one day soon I'll report back on my first fpv flight!

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