TEST: Eachine EX1

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INTRODUCTION

The Eachine EX1 is a new compact brushless video plateform including a basic 1080P camera broadcasting a FPV signal with 5.8G WIFi link without any Electronic Stabilization (EIS). This EX1 is also branded by JJRC as the JJPro X3 HAX. The EX1 can be seen as a new competitor of the Hubsan H501A and the MJX BUG 2W. Dislike the H501A, here no advanced flight modes but basic GPS assistance and altitulde hold. Via the 5.8G link, a 300m video link is promised. Let’s have a look to this new RTF machine.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x Eachine EX1
+ 1 x 2S 2000mAh LiPo (with proprietary connexion)
+ 1 x 1080P/5.8G WIFi camera FPV module
+ 1 x Transmitter (using 4xAA batteries not included)
+ 2 x Spare props (1 CW, 1 CCW)
+ 1 x Wrench prop installer
+ 1 x Screwdriver
+ 1 x USB to microUSB cable
+ 1 x Smartphone holder
+ 1 x Instruction manual (English)

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OVERVIEW

The EX1 machine is a little bit smaller than Hubsan H501A, i.e. 255mm versus 310mm. The body is highly profiled built into a very good plastic. As the H501A and the B2W, a 1080P/WiFi camera system is added this time not inside the main body but as an external independant module.

-FRONT VIEW

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When the camera module is installed, the lens orientation is fixed with a negative angle about -10 degrees targetting the ground. No possibility to set this angle. Like the two other machines, motor’s pods are transparent with blue lights on front and green ones on rear.

-SIDE VIEW

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No visible port ….

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-REAR VIEW

With the battery clipsed.

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-UPPER VIEW

One unique button. A short press to turn on the EX1… Press and hold the button more than 3s to turn off.

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-BOTTOM VIEW

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-WEIGHT
With everything installed, the machine reaches close 367g….

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Motors

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The machine welcomes independant ESC jailed just below motors inside the motor pod.

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220uF capacitor are installed on each ESC. It will help to clean the video signal as much as possible.

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1806 brushless motors are installed, the same type as for the H501A and the B2W.

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5mm shaft section. No problem to plug up to 6″ props and even the 6.3″ hubsan’s model.

LiPo

A 2S proprietary 2000mAh LiPo without any indication of the current level of the charge.

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If the battery can easily inserted, you really need to press strongly the plastic tab to release it from the EX1.

A small microUSB port is here to recharge the battery.

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When plugged into a +5V USB port, a small blue light stays solid when charging

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The light turns off as soon as the charging is over

Camera module

The 1080P camera is an external module super easy to clip/to remove. It offers a diversity system tuned on the 5.8G band.

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A wide angle is installed offering 120 degrees approximatively of Fielf Of View. Notice, the lens is not perfectly installed inside the casing and can move a bit… increasing microvibrations in recordings.

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You need to insert a microSD card class 10 minimum. It’s not possible to access to the card without removing the camera module. Maybe a good point in case of crash.. little risk to loose the memory card in this case.

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When the camera is not recording, after being activated at least one by pressing on the camera button, the module shows a red slow flashing light. When it’s recording, the red light blinks faster.

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To open the camera module, you need to remove two tiny screws latteraly with a thin screwdriver

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We have a M7 lens thread

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The top blue WiFI PCB welcome two 5.8G antennas

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while the backside is the DVR module.

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A class 10 minimum is required

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1080p files are recorded with a huge compression factor and a low datarate … pixelization artefact will be huge

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Here is raw video sample…..

The general quality is really poor and not acceptable for a 1080p module….

Another huge negative port, at least for a lot of Android users. The WiFi channels used to broadcast the video signal is the 149 and the 153

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Unfortunatly these channels are available only for the US & China

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It means by consequence most europeans android users, especially with last devices, the WiFi module won’t be visible ….. and no possibility to change these channels on the camera module itself. In this case, you can
– Reinstall a fresh Android OS and select English(US) as location. Be sure to remove your SIM card if it’s a phone…. Complete the installation before to reinsert the SIM.
– Try this modification with ADB: https://forum.xda-developers.com/pixel/themes/mod-wifi-country-code-fix-root-required-t3558044

There is a webinterface @192.168.1.10 where you can only update potentially a new camera firmware.

Disassembling

It’s super easy to open the EX1. You will have to disconnect two cables linked with the GPS module to release the top canopy part.

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As you can see, the GPS module is shielded with a two layers copper material but the protection don’t feel completly the back cover…. Maybe a fix is to add more EMI paper there.

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On the main flight controller everything is connected via dedicaced plugs. The baromter is well protected with piece of foam. Generally everything look clean.

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In the bottom position, two free UARTs are available…. maybe there is a small hope than a firmware can be updated that way….

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The 2.4G receiver is installed front. We have a XN297L and one unique antenna.

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It’s the first time I see a 2-way radio protocol based on the XN297L RFchip. In practice, there is a little chance that this protocol can be emulated via a nRF24L01+ for DeviationTX/OpenTX. To offer around 300m and more of control range, the datarate is probably 250kbit/s.

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Transmitter

The transmitter chassis is small, compact and light with good gimbals. One small LCD display is here to show all informations. In the field, you need a super good vision to real all values. More, with strong direct daylights, it’s almost impossible to read telemetry informations. You will need 4xAA batteries to feed the radio. Ni-Mh accu are working with.

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On the top right, one unique switch to select Altitude hold, GPS hold and RTH respectively.

The role of each button are explained as follow. What a pity, no basic logos printed directly on the transmitter. To engage the compass calibration procedure, you need to push the left stick in the lower-left position and the right stick in the top-right. The front lights will flash. Turn counter-clockwise relatively fast the machine installed horizontally then when you have solid green lights rear, noze up, turn one more CCW until blue front lights are here.

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The transmitter displays the quadcopter level of battery on the top left. Velocity, altitude and distance from the take-off location are printed.

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If you plan to use a tablet, it’s also possible to install DJI phantom tablet holder

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UNBOXING, ANALYSIS AND DEMO FLIGHT

After spending a couple of days to find how to have a compatible Android device, I was able to test the EX1. Of course, the machine was perfectly calibrated directly in the field and with sunny and windfree conditions. First things, when you connect the machine, if you don’t arm the machine within the first 1-2 minutes… it’s no more possible to arm… You will need to reboot all the system. By default, in altitude hold the machine take softly…. but I was not able to have a working auto-take off/auto landing functions… The altitude hold is correct with relatively small z-variations. The machine is silent too… I could expect a more noisy machine with the relatively small props installed. The problem comes immediatly after you turn into the GPS mode from altitude hold… It’s not working !!!!!! the machine continues to drift as in altitude hold… You need to land and to re-take off to have a working GPS mode !!!! Weird…. More, for RTH it’s the same story, as soon as you engage the RTH, you can’t release it ….. so you have to be sure there will be a small deviation from the take off location….. and when the machine has landed… one more time you have to turn off everything to re-arm !!!!!

In altitde hold, the machine flies relatively well is pretty fast…. In GPS mode, despite receiving more than 13 satellites in average, you can feel the machine not super stable… even showing some Toilet Bowling Effects (TBE)…. 🙁 You can recalibrate the compass one more time…. weird mouvements are still here. Maybe the GPS module need to be more shielded… On your FPV display, you can feel a lot vibrations/jellos…. the camera sensor need to be more secured and probably the machine need better balanced props. It’s really disapointing…. In term of control range, I was able to go over 300m … with both the video & controls. As soon as you are loosing the transmission link, a RTH is engaged and the machine climbs at 30m!!!! even if you were < 30m... Flight times are about 12min in average..... At last, I regret the absence of any advanced flight modes..... no follow-me, no orbit, no path planning... we can also regret than the important kinetic informations are not also displayed in the App as well.

CONCLUSIONS

The conclusion will be easy to do…. I do not really advise this machine especially versus the Hubsan H501A & the Bug B2W… The EX1 is inferiour to every sector: unstable machine in GPS mode, poor camera performances, a lot of jello, no advanced flight modes…. and incompatible with most european android devices….. Be sure than in 2018 will emerge similar machines but this time with EIS in the menu.

PROS

+ Brushless quadcopter
+ Basic 1080p camera
+ GPS assistance
+ Telemetry informations sent on the radio
+ Good quality build
+ 300-350m of control/video range

CONS

– 5.8G Wifi link not compatible with most and recent european android devices
– GPS stabilization not accurate (Toilet Bowling Effect)
– Flight mode selection buggy (requires to reboot the machine)
– Need to reboot the machine after a RTH
– Poor camera performances: 20fps only, poor light sensitivity, color not accurate
– A lot of Jello in the video
– No flight informations displayed in the Appz, only via the transmitter
– Flipped video by default
– One unique 3-way switch to select all flight modes
– Small transmitter LCD screen, almost invisible in daylight conditions
– Auto take-off/landing buttons not working efficiently
– RTH can’t be stopped mid-flight
– No EIS
– No advanced flight modes (Orbit mode, path planning, follow-me)

This quadcopter have been courtesy provided by Banggood in order to make a fair and not biased review. I would like to thank them for this attitude.
You can find it actually for 160USD at https://www.banggood.com/Eachine-EX1-Brushless-Double-GPS-WIFI-FPV-With-1080P-HD-Camera-RC-Drone-Quadcopter-RTF-p-1234745.html

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