TEST: MJX Bugs 3, the perfect first brushless entry model ?

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INTRODUCTION

After the Bayang X16, probably the first simple brushless 350mm machine without tons of flight assistances, targetting intermediate beginner pilots, here is the MJX Bugs 3. With this machine, no GPS, barometer, etc too… just a basic brushless large model ideal to learn how to handle the power of a brushless machine, to shoot basic videos thanks to its gopro camera mount. Versus the Bayang X16, the MJX Bugs 3 introduces two safety features: i) a low voltage alarm and ii) a low RSSI alarm (when the machine is close to be out of control range). Both alarms are transmitted by telemetry ant let the transmitter ring.

BOX CONTENT

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+ 1 x MJX Bugs 3 (with a 2S 1800mAh 2S LiPo with XT30 connector)
+ 1 x Transmitter (using 4xAA batteries not included)
+ 1 x USB charging cable
+ 4 x Spare props (2 CW, 2 CCW)
+ 4 x Prop guards
+ 1 x GoPro camera mount
+ 1 x Screwdriver
+ 1 x Set of stickers
+ 1 x Instruction manual (English)

OVERVIEW

The MJX Bugs 3 is slightly smaller than a Syma X8, Banyang X16, to be more precise it’s a 310mm machine. Smaller and lighter. The Bugs 3 is fully plastic based, but a good quality and flexible one. Except the landing gear, the MJX bugs should handle moderate crashes pretty well.

-FRONT VIEW
If you don’t plan to use a GoPro action cam, no obligation to install the four landing legs, i.e. the motors pods playing the role of landing gear

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A super strong white LED is located front, ideal to keep your orientation even in the presence of strong day lights

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-SIDE VIEW

No USB or dedicaced port to connect the Bugs to any potential ground station software…. The message is clear: take it and have fun, no need to speed billions of hours to tune all settings.

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-REAR VIEW

Jaled into the tail, the battery connector… here a XT30 connector an uncommon choice for a 2S battery but in another hand, the XT30 can accept much more current Flux.

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-UPPER VIEW

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-BOTTOM VIEW

You can find the clips system to attach the GoPro mount. I noticed, it’s pretty hard to release the mount. You need to really press down the plastic tab without breaking it.

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A ground clearance of 80mm when the landing gear is installed

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Super strong lights are also located benlow. Strong white for front arms and blue for rear, turned on only when the machine is bound.

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-WEIGHT

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445g standalone

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Close to 540g with a gopro attached.

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Motors

1806 motors announced to be 1800kV
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with 5mm of shaft section

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A non-classic prop size with these 7.4″ autoseltighting model… moostly similar to the Hubsan H501’s ones. Maybe we can regret the uni-color choice for front and rear….

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Good news, you can also fit the Hubsan H501S 7.3″ model

LiPo

A 1800mah 2S LiPo with 25C of discharge rate is provided, itself installed into a plastic housing. Small originality, the battery connector is a XT30, the little brother of the XT60. Be aware, my LiPo came full charged… not a good option for transportation and storage.

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If the XT30 is not yet a popular connector, you can buy a XT60 male to XT30 female adaptor. You will be able to use your favorite 2S LiPo…

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Camera craddle

No problem to fit an original GoPro cam. Most of clones will fit also. For my Firefly 6S, I need to use an extra band of foam to fill the remaining free gap.

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Disassembling

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A large 2.4G RF shielded module, probably a A7105 chip able to handle 2-way protocols.

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Interesting, the MCU is the HL054, a clone of of the mini54zan ARM core. Eventually, bradwii could be installed if a SWD port is available

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A free FPV port (3 position 1.25mm mini-JST connector) is available where the central pin is the ground, the left is +3.3V and the right +5V. Ideal to plug any of your favorite VTX/AIO solutions.

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Independant ESC, but not informations about their max amperage supported…

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but good news, they can handle 3S LiPo !!!!!! giving even more power to the Bugs 3 🙂

Transmitter

The chassis is classic without LCD display. Just a large green central light when the radio is turned on. Four shoulder button.

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The more on the left select one of the two speed modes. The red left one if briefly pressed arm the machine. Long press on it to disarm. The top right button performs 360 flips, a small originality considered it’s a brushless model. The last button is not active for the basic edition. It’s triggering video or photos for the associated model.

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Inside, probably a A7105 RFchip, the same chip used for example for the FlySky AFHDS-2A and the hubsan protocols. Unfortunatly, the Bugs 3 don’t bind any of these protocols.

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I will try to capture SPI data for a futur DeviationTX hacking done by gurus.

UNBOXING, ANALYSIS AND DEMO FLIGHT

Whaoooh this machine flies beautifully !!!!!! Both two speed modes are very well tuned. The yaw rate is just perfect …. From beginner rate, the Bugs 3 already offers great speed despite being only in 2S. Even with the extra 100g with the camera attached, the 6-axis stabilization works like a charm… In this situation, the power lift is limited of course but as soon as you remove the camera rig …. what’ a super fast machine !!!! I like it, very siient by the way. You can perform 360 flips while moving :)… First regret, the camera mount unfortunatly don’t avoid jello in video at high speed… but in hovering conditions, videos are pretty stable. Another negative point is concerning the flight duration with the camera installed … Only 5min 🙁 … it’s not enough. Luckely, you can install a 3S battery to boost performances. Without camera, in minimum configuration, flight time reach 8-9min. We could dream to have a secret acro mode ….. but it’s just a dream. As soon as you reach the voltage alarm, all the bottom light are blinking as usual but now your transmitter will beep 🙂 Ideal situation when you are far… Concerning the radio transmission, as for most A7105 radio protocol based, you can expect a good 300m even reach 500m (by optimizing a little better the position of the 2.4G antenna of the quadcopter).

Here is small demo of the MJX Bugs 3 in 3S configuration in extreme Wind conditions

I used a XT60male to XT30 adopter to plug a 3S 2200mAH LiPO. Despite the strong Wind gusts, the machine manage to fly beautifully… with a lot of punch …. Impressive

CONCLUSIONS

A very nice surprize I have to admit and for the proposed price, I hightly recommmend this MJX Bugs3 (versus the Bayang X16 for example). It’s not a first quadcopter machine, but for intermediate pilots who want to feel more power. I like the great control range, the buitin alarms, the flight caracteristics, the good payload able to carry without problem a small FPV rig …. and it’s even cheaper than the X16… What else ?

PROS

+ Great intermediate beginner machine, ideal firt brushless machine
+ Powerful and fast despite being only 2S
+ Well tuned rates
+ 360 flip button
+ Good control range
+ Good general quality build
+ Easy electronic maintenance
+ Strong lights
+ Telemetry feedback alarms (low voltage & RSSI)
+ 3S compatible
+ Potentially bradwiizable (HL054 ARM core, A7105 RFchip)
+ Cheap RTF brushless machine
+ Far superior to the Bayang X16

CONS

– 5min of flight time when carrying a GoPro
– Camera mount introducing jello
– Unusual XT30 connector
– No acro flight mode
– Battery transported full charged

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 110USD at http://www.banggood.com/MJX-Bugs-3-Brushless-Independent-ESC-3D-Roll-for-Gopro-3-Gopro-4-RC-Quadcopter-RTF-p-1096795.html

50 Comments

  • grabejud says:

    i wonder what would be the flight times with 3s battery?

    • SeByDocKy says:

      Depend wich model… but I am planning to test asap…. I am waiting the XT60 male to XT30 female adaptor 🙂

  • danzur says:

    Is it any configuration needed on the quad to use 3s batteries?

    • SeByDocKy says:

      There is no way to ajust settings with the MJX Bugs 3 …. in 3S, PIDs are not perfectly adapted and wobbles are strong 🙁 …. No real possibility to avoid that except maube to change the props to some smaller ones ….

  • Ffd says:

    Nice review !
    How about I change the xt30 to xt60 ,so I can use all my xt60 battery on it?
    Is that any effect on the drone or battery?

    • SeByDocKy says:

      Yes it will work….. but you take a small and light XT60male to XT30 female adaopter … and you will be able to enjoy both XT30 & XT60 batteries.

  • Andrea says:

    Without camera and foot landing, with 3S battery and 6045 propellers it is more responsive and sporty the Mjx Bugs 3 or jjrc x1/ Xk x251? Thank you

  • Andrea says:

    So in 3s mode this drone is faster and responsive Jjrc x1 xk and x251?
    thank you

  • Harry willcocks says:

    Hi, you mention that the spare fpv port will be useful for AIO fpv camera’s would the eachine tx02 be able to work from this?

    • SeByDocKy says:

      Yes the TX02 will work since on this camera port, you can find a +3.3V and a +5V. You will need to adapt the current TX02 connector or to install between a 3pins 1.25mm microJST female to a 2pins 1.25mm female.

      • harry willcocks says:

        okay thanks, so do you mean to have a 3 pin connector but only connect the 5v and the ground pin and leave the other pin empty. and could you show me where to get these please. i’m new to fpv setup so sorry if i am asking for alot

        thanks.

      • Bryan Rains says:

        The 3.3V pin will drop to ground for a few milliseconds when you press the unused camera button on the transmitter. I am experimenting using this functionality with an old WL Toys V666 5.8 GHz transmitter. I have successfully been able to trigger the video record feature, but it isn’t a perfect solution yet, sometimes it will just record for a few seconds then stop. I will need a better way to see exactly what the 3.3V does when operated with the button.

  • Evgeny says:

    Hi!
    I have bought this dron. I do a mistake, then the dron is powerd on ( props was working) i have turned off the transmmiter. And now I a have a problem to bind transmitter to dron.
    I turn on the transmitter (as describe at the user’s manual) then I turn on the dron, the front light and rear light is on. Colud you help me?

  • Pracha says:

    I can replace battery 7.4v 2700mah of Hubsan H501s for this Bugs 3 drone?

  • Onederman says:

    Is it possible to install ESCs from a different quadcopter i.e. Bayangtoys X16? I assume it would be possible since the Bugs 3 accepts 3S but how would the X16 ESCs respond to a smaller motor and propeller combo.

    • SeByDocKy says:

      Possible yes …. but you will need to calbrate them … and are you strong they fit Inside the MJX canopy ?

  • Don says:

    Bonjour SeByDocKy…

    A friend of mine teased me with these photos of what he called “The New Bugs 3 a.k.a. MJX Bugs 2”

    If it’s real, it would feature GPS enabled flying to engage position hold and better range than the already impressive Bugs 3…

    My question: what do you think? I have tried googling, searching, sleuthing, even going to the MJX official website and found nothing… just nothing on this…

    I’ve posted on the Bugs 3 thread on RCGroups.com to ask, they’are just as surprised as I was… One of them, vashon, found a sale link of the MJX Bugs 2 on alibaba.com, but at the moment only available for wholesale purchase only (minimum 30 units, no price yet)

    Again, nothing anywhere whatsoever on this…

    Do you think this is for real or was my friend just goofing around by photoshopping a Bugs 3 sales poster?

    If this is real, and it’s at least marginally as good as the “ad” says it is, then I’ll buy three…!!! 🙂

    I really love the current Bugs 3, and a real official upgrade of it is worth the effort…

    Here’s the link to the “ad”
    http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/923/N0n9jY.jpg
    http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/1024x768q90/924/ka3Tcv.jpg

    What do think?

  • Geo says:

    Hi,

    Can I use a flysky fs i6 with bugs 3?
    Thanks for the review

  • Krissfr says:

    Hi,

    do you have any more information about the MCU ? the full reference name or the factory name ? i didn’t find any information about this HL054 with google 🙁

    On the picture we can see RST, DAT and CLK test point, is there TX and RX test point too ?

    thanks

    • SeByDocKy says:

      No information sorry 🙁 🙁 RST, DAT and CLK are more a SPI of SWD port…. than a UART

  • Elbarcolutra says:

    The charger that came with my bugs 3 is defective. I’m having trouble finding a replacement, (they are backordered a month). What is the name of the battery connector end? What battery charger will work?

  • Krotow says:

    Seems a very good quad for learning with 2S battery and using with action cam. And with legs removed, 3S battery and 6″ 3+ blade props it became a great casual freestyle racer 🙂 FPV is a DIY option but seems quite easy doable. Pity that stock flight controller doesn’t have Acro mode. I’m starting to think about Acro mod with 20×20 flight controller + FrSky receiver + BetaFlight. And maybe a better ESC’s (20A?) for using with 3S + Acro. All other parts are already here.

  • k44 says:

    Hi, can You tell me, wich camera will be fit into this free FPV port? I mean without any modification:)

    • SeByDocKy says:

      Without modification ??? a simple camera or a FPV camera ?

      • k44 says:

        Great, thanks…
        Sorry, I’m new to this.
        Maybe some specific model of FPV AIO camera?

        • SeByDocKy says:

          I don’t know any plug and play model….. but it’s super simple to build a dedicaced cable for connexion. Take a AIO FPV camera where you can flip the video in order to be installed up sidedown

  • Nafiul Islam says:

    What made you prefer the Bugs 3 over the X16? Im planing on buying one of them very soon and the price difference is only 10USD. I’m planning on using it for some arial photography.

    • SeByDocKy says:

      The bugs 3 is more stable, reliable with some telemetry information. The Banyang X16 quaality control is super poor but the machine if works correctly is more powerfull and can carry more weight (gimbal+ action cam)

  • fabien says:

    Hi
    Somebody has a link for buying a XT60 male to XT30 female adaptor ?
    thanks
    Fabien

  • Stu says:

    Which protocol does the Bugs use please? I purchased mine along with a Multi-Protocol module for the Turnigy 9XR Pro.

  • Pip22 says:

    i bought a bugs 3 unit. I crashed it about 2 to 3 feet in height. And now one of the motors (front right) wont start. What should I do?

    • SeByDocKy says:

      I guess you will have to disassemble it to check if the associated ESC is not burnt ….. I don’t think it’s a motor problem

  • Johann says:

    Great writeup on the bugs, this is the best review on the internet, you seem to know your stuff and I give mad respect.

    I have a couple of questions
    The fpv port can out out 5v right? Cud the runcam split be powered from the mjx bugs 3 port? The runcam split needs 5v and a working current of 650 mah. Can u see it being used to power it(runcam split)

    Lastly, lets say if I used a 3s battery does it change the voltagesd on the port on the bugs? Or is it the same regardless of battereies?

    Thanks in advanced, recently had a flyaway, my fault, so looking to get one and hoping the runcam split can be used in the bugs 3 🙂

    • SeByDocKy says:

      1) Well I didn’t test myself, but yes I think the camera port can power your runcam device 650ma … should be ok IMHO
      2) In 3S, the voltage regulator continues to deliver +5V. No change…

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