TEST: JYU HORNET 2 (Aerial 4K edition)

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INTRODUCTION

The JYU Hornet S was a brushless quadcopter with the possibility to transform the machine into a simple flyer or into a FPV machine or even into a video plateform thanks to some clipsable modules. Unfortunatly, the Hornet S didn’t fill all the promises, i.e. the FPV module offered a poor range, the gimbal-camera system a poor flight time performance. Here is the JYU Hornet 2, the new upgraded version keeps the same spirit with clipsable modules and probably can be seen as the fixed Hornet S. Associated with the Hornet 2, four versions are proposed : a basic model to be used as a simple brushless flyer, a FPV version including also a 1080p camera (without EIS), a 3-axis gimbal coupled with a basic 4K camera, and the pro version including a 3-axis gimbal and 4K@30fps camera.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x JYU Hornet 2
+ 1 x Transmitter (with a buitin 2200mAh LiPo)
+ 1 x Charger
+ 1 X 4S LiPo 3600mAh with propriatery connector
+ 1 x 3-axis gimbal with 4K non-pro camera
+ 2 X Landing gear
+ 4 x Spare props (2 CW, 2 CCW)
+ 4 x Prop guard
+ 4 x Long translucid cups
+ 1 x Screwdriver

No instruction manual. You must download it at http://en.jyu.com/support/download/

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A small bag with all the screws to attach landing skid and prop guards

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OVERVIEW

The Hornet 2 is still a 280mm brushless machine and is still 100% plastic based. The general design is also similar with the original Hornet S. The plastic looks a high quality one. For this new “major” revision, they promised to reinforce internally by some orthogonal tubes the general durability of this 100% plastic based canopy…. In the first hand, espcially when the battery is installed, the machine seems heavy…. and it’s hard to believe that this machine will resist to major crash. In comparaison with the Xiaomi Mi 4K, the hornet 2 looks much more compact. A good point….. Unfortunatly no possibility to fold at least the landing gear so the transportation won’t be so easy.

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and compared with the Walkera Vitus 320

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-FRONT VIEW
The design is cool for sure and the integration of the gimbal-camera module well done. Anyway, the landing skid looks fragile… and won’t accept a hard landing without damage. What’s a pity also, there is way to fold the system for an easy transportation.

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When you remove the gimbal-camera module, you can access to the module bay where just above the battery connector, a small microUSB where to connect the machine to the “Hornet 2” PC software.

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-SIDE VIEW
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On each side of the camera-gimbal module, you can find two press button to release the module. Just shift it forward to completly release it.

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To install it, pre-insert it then push it rear… You shoud hear the clip system when it’s done.

-REAR VIEW

The Gimbal-camera system integrates a 2.4G WiFi module with a diversity system. In order to maximize the FPV range, it’s good to have one vertically and the second one horizontally.

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The battery bay

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-UPPER VIEW
We can guess one of the two plastic pads used to extract the battery. The second one is on the bottom side. We need to press on them then pull out the battery. In practice, it’s really hard to extract the battery. Probably after multiple extractions, it will be a bit more easier but actually each time I had to force a lot.

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-BOTTOM VIEW
The gimbal system don’t offer a classic dampening system with four dampening balls. Here we have a central circular dampening rubber element jailing the gimbal. It’s original and allow a more compact integration. We will see if it’s also efficient for the video stabilization.

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A plastic cover hides/protects the module bay

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The ground clearance is about 94mm large enough to welcome the 3-axis gimbal camera combo

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We still have the same light system as for the Hornet S controlable via the light button and left dial of the remote control. Three modes are proposed. Only with the first, the intensity can be controlled with the left dial. The second offers a circular larson effect.

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-WEIGHT

413g standalone without props, battery and prop guard !!!! it’s already super heavy 🙁

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774g with the battery

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822g with the landing skid added :(. How to imagine this machine, especially in sport mode can resist to a major crash. The kinetic energy is 1/2mv² …. so quadratic with the velocity…… It clearly impossible for a full plastic structure to resist to anything if the hornet 2 crashes at 100km/h and more. IMHO it can survive up to 20km/h maximum…. and on a soft surface.

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The camera module standalone is 216g!!!

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so with the props installed the final weight is 1073g !!!!!

Motors and props

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22’s motors…

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5mm for the shaft diameter so it will be super easy to find compatible props.

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7.3″ props, exactly the same dimension as for the Hubsan 501’s ones

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LiPo

For the Hornet 2, the battery is upgraded for a 4S model, a 3600mAH to be more precise. It should boost and improve general flight time

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The L40 model

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A proprietary connector. At least, no problem to insert the charger plug. First of all, there is an arrow painted on top of the charger connector and second point, it’s not possible to plug the charger connector inverted.

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If you short press on the main button, the level of remaining is displayed via 4 green lights. When 4 lights are here, it means 100%; 3 means 75%, 2 means 50%, 1 means 25% and below.

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No information if it’s a smart battery for example with an auto-storage mode.

With the charger it’s possible to recharge both the LiPo and the builtin LiPo of the transmitter via the USB port.

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It takes 1h to recharge the battery. N

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Camera module

Probably the most upgraded part for the Hornet 2. The new module is highly profiled and very beautifully design. We can find this central dampening system very well integrated. The two antennas can be bent individually.

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For the basic “Aerial 4K” (non-pro) the FOV is about 112 degrees while fo the pro is 100 degrees. For the non-pro we have a SONY IMX 179 sensor and a IMX117 for the pro version. Unfortunatly these sensor chips are “old” now… 3 years old… and it will unfortunatly impact a lot the general quality of the video recordings.

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A 16Gb scandisk microSD card is included in the button. There is also a microUSB port probably to update a gimbal firware and to connect to a specifc software. Unfortunatly, no specific software is available…. especially to calibrate the gimbal. It’s really an important missing.

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Associated with the two aerial options, we can now connect the two modules to a smartphone/tablet via a 2.4G WiFi link. The Application can be downloaded for both android and iOS as “JYU”

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First annoying thing, officially in the instruction, the default WiFi password is written to be 12345678 and I tried many many time without success.

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In practice, for my module, the password was JIANGYU2016 (thanks to samste !!!!). Now the question I have,… I am not completly sure that I received the final non-pro 4K module…. but according the specications, I should have it.

After connexion you will retrieve the live FPV video feedback… and unfortunatly the resolution is rather poor, in VGA maximum 🙁 Far from 720p preview generally we can have with Xiaomi Mi, DJI, walkera products

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One good thing, we have in picture in picture a small preview of the local map. Just press on it to switch to the map mode. A feature we can find for DJI or Hubsan Appz for example. It’s working well.

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On the top right of the appz in camera mode, we can find the setting button. 5 panels are available

The first one for the general flight settings

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The second for the radio command settings (mode selection and calibration)

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The third for the battery cells monitoring

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The fourth for the camera setting

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Here only the video and photo resolution can be set. No other camera settings like exposure, shutter, color balancing… and why not the datarate quality….

Finally the fifth is some general settings

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where the level and compass calibration can be done. Here no possibility to calibrate the gimbal for example 🙁 ….

What I really like, from the menu in the first page is the possibility to replay the automatic logs stored into the microSD card.

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You can visualize all flight events even the sticks commands applied

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Ok now the moment of truth …. and let’s check the performances of this non-pro 4K module

Here is a raw sample in 4K@25fps

Results are not fantastic… first in term of gimbal stabilization, some microvibrations can be seen … and for some moment some “waves” appears. Awfull :(. For this second problem, I guess it’s more linked with the CMOS sensor, know to be more sensitive to jello…. We will see later than the props are mainly guilty and as soonas better are installed most microvibrations can be removed. Clearly the non-pro version in 4K don’t offer amazing results. Maybe the the 2.7K resolution @30fps should be prefered….

Here is a snapshot of the 4K recording… we can see a huge fisheye distortion at border :(…

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Some 1080p@60fps results

If most of the waves effect are gone, with the original props, vibrations are still here… clearly far away in term of results than a Xiaomi Mi 4K for example. @1080p…. the compression factor is also huge…. you can clearly see pixelization’s bands in homogeneous areas… and a lot of compression artefacts to render small details (trees & branch)… More far/background details are blurred ….. Results are definitively disapointing.

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Transmitter

The general shape of the transmitter remains the same as for the first Hornet S.. The advertized control range for the FCC version is about 1000m (800m for the CE version). No switches but two shoulder dials and four buttons on the main front plus two rear small button rear. The front side got also a central 3-positions switche to select the flight modes.

Be aware, two radios can be found. The RA13 for the basic and FPV version and the RD13 for the gimbal camera versions. The RA13 includes an Analog 13 Channels 5.8G VRX while the RD13 a specilized 2.4G WiFi receiver as well as a builtin GPS module.

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The central vertical switch select the flight mode. The middle position is the default one with both GPS & altituld hold stabilzation. The upper position represents the “Manual” mode. Via the PC software or the Appz, the manual mode can be without any flight assistance (full velocity can be achieved) and with just the altitude hold assistance (default selection). When the central switch is in the lower position, we have the “Feature flight mode” where either Headless/ Waypoints (mission planning) or the wrist module (default) can be selected.

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The left dial control the light intensity only for the first light mode. What’s a pity for example through the appz it’s not possible to assign (yet) the role of the left dial. For example to control the tilt angle of the gimbal for example.

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The right dial controls the pitch angle of the camera

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3 small lights are here. The left one when is green means the quadcopter and the radio is bound. If not (stay solid red), you can run the binding procedure as follow. Press and hold the RTH and auto-landing buttons while turnin the transmitter then within the first five second turn on the quadcopter. The right one indicates the level of battery, i.e. green when full charged and turn to red when charge is under 25%. There is also a central light linked with the buitin GPS. Actually this GPS (probably used for follow-me and Orbit mode) is not yet active. These two advanced features are actually only reserved if you own the wrist module but we can hope that a future appz/firmware update will also include them for the non-wrist module owners.

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Smartphones up to 6″ inch can be installed

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I regret that the neckstrap hook is too short to be compatible with DJI/Xiaomi Mi tablet holder.

PC software

A new update of the Hornet software is also proposed. If you own the aerial version, the PC software is almost useless except to flash new firmwares. Very important, to install and to run the appz, you must have the administrator rights. Right click on the exe files and “run as administrator”. There are two way to use the software: 1) to change a setting and 2) to upgrade fimrwares (FC, receiver, remote and wrist module)

1) RUN THE SOFTWARE TO CHANGE A FLIGHT CONTROLLER SETTINGS You must: Turn on the quadcopter first wait the second treeble beep then only connect the USB cable to your PC. The corresponding COM port should be available.

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2) RUN THE SOFTWARE TO FLASH A NEW FC/RECEIVER FIRMWARES You must: Plug the USB cable first then turn on the quadcopter and wait the purple lights flash fast then run the software as administrator.

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3) RUN THE SOFTWARE TO FLASH A NEW TRANSMITTER FIRMWARE You must: Plug the USB cable first between the radio (microUSB port) and your PC, turn on the radio then run the software as administrator.

UNBOXING, ANALYSIS AND DEMO FLIGHT

First test with all default settings. Of course a solid compass calibration was done: press the compass button on the appz or push the left stick in lower left and right stick in upper left positions. Turn twice first clockwise horizontally the machine (untill lights flash green) then noze up turn clockwise the machine twice too (the lights should stay solid green). Reboot the machine after the calibration. It’s advertized to do the compass calivration without the gimbal module install in order to not decalibrate the gimbal itself. I notice my gimbal is not perfectly leveled in the yaw direction, slight pointing to the right direction 🙁 … and unfortunatly no software/procedure available to fix this problem 🙁 🙁 …

I really like the interface… simple, we can find everything immediatly and basic flight informations can be found easily. Maybe the real number of satellite received should be also printed. It’s not very clear how many satellites you need to receive in order to take off in “Normal” mode. First take off after arming the button… You definitively need to push the throttle above 70-80% to take off. It’s true at least for the take-off part. When in the air, the machine still perfectly in the air keeping its altitude with low altitude variations. The GPS & barometer stablization work very well. A good point.

The machine flies beautifully and default PID settings offers smooth flight caracteristics. The machine when assisted by GPS & barometer is not a super fast flyer. A maximum of 5m/s can be reached. Of course most of these settings can be change in PC software/Appz.
In term of radio control range, seems to be great. No dropout was abserved. The 2.4G FPV range will also depend of your smarphone/tablet WiFI sensivitity and beware than phone casing can block/decrease partially the RX sensitivity. I was able to fly the machine above 300m without problems My smartphone unfortunaly is not super WiFi sensitive. Much better results can be obtained and I am pretty sure than 500 and even more can be obtained. RTH works perfectly and offers a deviation limited to 1-2m maximum.. really acceptable. Flytime are about 13min before to reach 20% of remaining. so you can easily add two extra minutes… so close to 15-16min in practice so not so so far from the 18min advertized. How ever as you can especially for 4K recording, some jello and even waves can be seen in video recordings. Waves seems to be removed when the video resolution is turned into 1080p@60fps. General camera performances are relatively poor with a huge compression ratio. Small details are in general completly blurred/destroyed and you don’t have the feeling that it’s a clean 1080p recording.

I did some other tests with the Hubsan H501 props also some 7.3″ models and as you can see below results are billions time better.

Almost perfect stabilization….. more flight time are little bit extented as well…. so a win-win mod. Now the only limiting factor is the camera sensor. For the pro version we have a IMX 117 sensor. Here is a video taken by an action cam equiped with such sensor

Results are better more sharp… so defintively the pro-version is highly recommended with you are looking for the Hornet 2.

CONCLUSIONS

Strange/mixed feeling I have with this machine. The Hornet 2 for sure improves a lot of the Hornet S results/performances. More powerfull machine in 4S from now with extented flight time. The PC software offers also some new settings and the Appz for the camera versions is really nice. But generally, I don’t understand how a 820g+ (probably more around 850g with the 1080p/5.8G FPV module) can be seen/used as a FPV machine: after a first crash, the machine will be probably in small parts. More non acro specifc flight mode. You can’t disable builtin gyros….. so you will be always with a 6-axis stablization. The only interest IMHO is the camera versions. And the non-pro version unfortunatly offers poors camera results. Only the pro-version will reach acceptable results competitive for example to a Xiaomi Mi 4K. The machine is not light, not super transportable, flight time correct without being fantastic and more …. the pro version is close to the 600USD !!! (while you can find the Xiaomi Mi 4K around 400USD !!!). More (but it’s true for 99% of advanced drones), the Appz and the machine requires new feature update to unblock for example the follow-me and the orbit flight modes for the non-wrist module owners.

PROS

+ Precize GPS stablization
+ Improved flight time
+ Multimodule concept
+ More polished product
+ Good Appz
+ Good/acceptable stablization with Hubsan’s props.

CONS

– Poor general performances of the non-pro 4K camera
– Jello/vibration with original props
– Actually no follow-me/orbit without the wrist module (but should come with a appz/firmware update)
– General interest of the FPV module (for a 820g+ full plastic based machine)
– No camera settings available from the Appz
– No gimbal software available actually
– Wrong default WiFI password (at least for the non-pro version)
– Expensive versus competitors (Xiaomi Mi 4K for example)
– Thin and non-foldable landing skid
– Battery hard to extract

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 520USD at https://www.banggood.com/JYU-Hornet-2-Racing-5_8G-FPV-With-4K-HD-Camera-3-Axis-Gimbal-RC-Quadcopter-RTF-p-1149085.html

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