1SQ V-Cam Quadcopter from Heli-Max
September 16, 2013
Product: The Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam Quadcopter adds several new features to the previous 1SQ release. The added 3-axis accelerometer enhances the TAGS-FX 3-axis gyro for even greater stability. It now has a built-in camera for shooting aerial video or photos, and an LED on each motor pod for improved orientation and flying in the dark. It still comes in two versions: RTF and Tx-R. An added Auto-Flip feature allows beginners to flip the 1SQ V-Cam like a pro.
The Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam Quadcopter comes ready to fly.
This aerial photograph was taken by the Heli-Max 1SQ V-Cam Quadcopter.
The quadcopter measures just 5.7” by 5.62”, and the frame is made of sturdy lightweight plastic. The palm-sized quad feels very light when picked up, weighing just 1.2 ounces without the battery.
On the transmitter-ready version, a seven-channel transmitter is required for flipping and taking videos and photos. A six-channel transmitter is also available with the flip and video features only.
The transmitter-ready version, used for this review, comes with everything you need to fly except for the SLT-compatible 6-7 channel transmitter. You can use a Tactic TTX650 2.4-GHz, six-channel transmitter to directly link with the 1SQ quadcopter. Alternatively, you can use the AnyLink SLT 2.4-GHz Radio Adapter (No. TACJ2000) on most other brand transmitters to make them SLT-compatible.
The 1SQ V-Cam package includes a 250-mAh LiPo battery, USB charger, 2GB micro SD card, USB micro card reader, four extra props, a screwdriver and a 20-page manual.
Performance: Although no assembly is required, I had to link my transmitter-ready version to the receiver using my AnyLink SLT 2.4-GHz Radio Adapter and JR x9503 nine-channel transmitter. The 1SQ V-Cam and AnyLink manuals are well-written, so after switching to the alternate channel mapping and programming my Flip, Video and Photo channels, I was ready to fly.
Before testing out the camera, I wanted to see how well the TAGS-FX Sensor Fusion system worked indoors. On power-up, the 1SQ calibrates itself after sitting on a flat surface for a few seconds. Once airborne, the system uses a 3-axis gyro and a 3-axis accelerometer to keep the copter level and centered. It needed only a few trim clicks to keep it hovering in place.
The previous release of the 1SQ Quadcopter proved its ability to handle both intricate maneuvers and stable precision flying, so my focus this time was on the new V-Cam features, Auto-Flip function and motor-pod LEDs.
The LEDs are quite bright, so they can be seen in most any light both indoors and out. The white front LEDs and red back LEDs help maintain orientation in the air, and their intensity changes with throttle level. The tiny 1SQ frame gets small quickly as it travels away from you, so the LEDs help to maintain the travel direction.
Indoor flying was easy, as the 1SQ is both stabile and maneuverable. When flying outdoors, however, you really need calm conditions. The V-Cam works best in bright light. The tiny built-in camera can take 1280x720 MPEG video at 30 fps in an AVI format (similar to a standard cellphone camera) and 1280x720 JPG still photos at 96 dpi. The supplied 2-GB micro SD card allows for a good amount of video storage and hundreds of photos.
As with any video, the faster you move, the blurrier the video gets. When you slow the flight speed, you can get some nice video clips. The still photos seem to work well at almost any speed, and you can easily discard the ones that are not focused.
The V-Cam feature does affect flight times: I measured four minutes with the V-Cam on and six minutes with it off. An onboard LED flashes when the camera is recording or a photo is being taken.
Marketing: Heli-Max makes quad flying simple by providing everything you need in one box. Although the box itself is eye-catching, the product inside requires no assembly and is ready to fly in the time it takes to charge the battery. The Tx-R version does require some manual reading to set up, so the RTF version may be best suited for beginners.
The 1SQ V-Cam flight time is rather low compared to the slow 30 to 60 minutes required on a USB charger, so customers will want to plan ahead and have several spare batteries (No. HMXP1009) charged up before flying.
I found the 1SQ quadcopter to be very durable; it took several hard hits without issue. The new V-Cam, Auto-Flip and motor-pod LED features significantly add to the fun of this product.
Some key spares to keep on hand would be the battery (No. HMXP1009) mentioned above and perhaps some battery chargers (No. HMXP2023), so multiple batteries can be charged together.
Product: 1SQ V-Cam Quadcopter
Stock number: HMXE0837 (Tx-R)
Availability: Hobbico/Tower Hobbies
• No assembly required
• Excellent durability and stability
• Easy to fly