Blog Article Continuation(s) Review-WL Toys V959 Quadcopter with Camera

Discussion in 'Specific Models of Quadcopters and Drones' started by webman, Mar 19, 2013.

  1. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

  2. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Small hint about v959 as well as other similar quads
    The battery fits very tightly into the compartment - which could mean excess strain on the wires if you pull it out using them!
    Rub some soap or wax (small amount) on the outside of the battery. Also a small amount on the outside of the connector will help it go together and come apart easier. Other lubricants may do a similar job, but make sure it is a not a solvent-type lub!

    When removing the battery, press the rear of it forward with your thumb while gripping a solid part of the main frame. Then you should be able to get your fingers onto the plastic at the battery front and pull it out completely.
  3. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Weather cleared up and I was able to get some video which shows the basics of the flight and cam....
    Wind 2-4 MPH and quad flown relatively slow.....
  4. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Note - I had a bad crash with the v959 and noticed things about it's stability -

    "The v959 may have decent stabilization when operating normally, but it does not regain stabilization very well once it becomes slightly confused.
    That's my experience anyway. Mine hit the blacktop HARD after dropping out of the sky from about 50 feet up. I went into the Dive of Death when I was trying to bring it down from about 100 ft. up - I took too much off the throttle but then tried to apply a lot, but it would not and did not recover.

    Today, just for comparison, I took the Hubsan Quads X4 out in very windy weather, took it up to about 70 feet high, cut the throttle 90% of the way and let it drop before maxing the throttle at about 20 feet up. It recovered perfectly time and time again.

    It had me wanting a mini that does the same. They seem to go into a slanted dive at some point and will not recover."
  5. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    I replaced the broken boom and flew the v959 indoors just to test it. It seemed to not be hovering as well as before, so I looked closely and found that one of the propellers was bent slightly upward toward the ends. Malformed and unbalanced props are a MAJOR cause of instability and vibration. There is an article on our blog (and many elsewhere) on prop balancing:

    However, this prop was past that stage so I replaced it - and the quad is acting much better! I'm going to check all the props on my 959 for balance and straightness.

    See image below for the difference between a good prop (top - lays flat) and the bad one (bottom - sprung up in center when laid upside down).

    propgood.jpg propbad.jpg .
  6. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    This is about as high up as the v959 can fly with the stock TX - my guess is that I had it 120+ feet above me, but the transmitter was dropping out and then rebinding.

    As mentioned in the original article, this is a quad which you can experiment with, but you will never get any video out of it good enough to brag about unless everything is perfect (0 MPH wind, a perfect sunset, perfect pilot and perfect editing).
    Best not to try. It's fun for what it is, but it is what it is!
  7. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Good news! The v959 can easily bind with a stock Turnigy 9X transmitter (I tried it and it worked fine), so longer range should be easily attainable. The only problem is that only the stock transmitter can trigger the video cam function. There is a workaround for those who are a bit handy as below:

    Thanks to Imhart from Belfast, Ireland, we have this info about triggering the v959 camera function when you are using a different (than stock) transmitter.
    I need a way to trigger the camera record function (and optionally photo function).

    So I did some tinkering and I've managed to find out what the four pins on the V959 flight controller header do:

    red: +5v
    black: gnd
    yellow: +3.3v nominal, pull to ground for 250ms to start or stop video fuction
    white: +3.3v nominal, pull to ground for 250ms to take a still photograph

    My notes: Basically, you jump the middle two wires momentarily to start or stop the video recording. I tried it with a small screwdriver and it worked fine - now I am going to install a small switch or other jumper so I can use the video camera along with my (x transmitter (greater range!).

    The attached pic shows the video camera connector (4 pin) to the left - with the yellow and black wires being the two in the center.

  8. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    I know most of you (and maybe even me - later) will do a nicer looking job, but this is a micro momentary switch from Radio Shack - it works fine! Now if the wind dies down, I'll use my 9X to take the 959 up to unheard-of heights.

    I just cut the two center (black and yellow) wires and then twisted the ends of the broken 1/2's together and soldered them to the terminals. After I take some of the first vids, I will post them...and then modify this setup so the camera is easier to remove (as it stands, I have to cut the little zip tie).

    Pushing the switch turns the video one - pushing it again turns it off.
  9. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    In my continuing quest to destroy these things - so you don't have to - I took the v959 up as high as I could using the Turnigy 9X transmitter - my guess is that it hit over 200 feet high - at which point it becomes a tiny dot in the sky! I kept giving it throttle until it lost connection with the TX - and fell out of the sky. I lost sight of it, but found it after a few minutes!


    Attached Files:

  10. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Another little discovery about the v959 camera!
    When viewing the raw video files right from the camera, you will sometimes think it is spoiled - lots of strange repeating artifacts and failure to see the video you shot (freeze frame, etc.).

    In most cases, however, the video is there...if you try to upload a clip to youtube, it may very well come out fine!

    I think this is due to some problems with the 60 frames per second - the interlaced frames in-between may be corrupted. Converting it in youtube or in iMovie (mac) fixes it. The same may apply to other video editing programs...try your luck!
    Here are some clips from coastal RI. Sorry to say, this is about as good as you are going to get out of the a general sense. Fun, but still a toy!
  11. raymara

    raymara New Member

    Thanks for sharing guys. I just got my V959. The instruction booklet really sucks but I guess they trust anybody over 15 can figure it out. Eventually I did since i'm 62! I usually fly big fuel helis and airplanes but video seems interesting. I tried a few short takes while trying to figure out switches. What's the difference or correlation of the right bottom button on the front face and the one on the left top of the Tx? Also, is there any way to point the camera a little more towards the bottom? Doesn't look like it...

    Cheers and happy flying!
  12. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    The front of the camera does tilt to about 45 degrees down...swivel the lens. It locks into the down position, but you can keep it anywhere in between.

    The button on the bottom right takes a snapshot or two, while the top left turns on the video. I never use the snapshot since they are poor and a video frame grab would be as good.

    I actually broke a boom from that really high video and just replaced it last night. While I was working on it, I put a little layer of superglue on a soft boom (they seem to eventually twist easier). Oh, I had a big problem when I tried to pull the connector for that busted arm off the main board - the tiny socket came with it! Of course, I've abused this machine for a month or so, so I expect stuff like that to happen. I thought it was time to buy a new board, but instead soldered the motor wires to the tiny solder dots on the bottom of the board....where that socket had lifted from.

    x959 feels good as new now! Well, maybe like a cat, it has 9 lives. I think I am on number #8.

    Welcome and have fun with your 959.
  13. raymara

    raymara New Member

    Thanks, webman.
    I'll try some more and may post a vid here...I also noticed that when first starting up with a charged battery, one of the props do not start up or rev as much as the others...resulting in a ground crash upon take off. Eventually, after fiddling with the connections, it seemed to work OK and so it could be that or needs a warm up? Anyway, I guess can't expect too much for the price...
    Thanks again
  14. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member's possible for these things to have QC issues from day one AND, also very normal for all props not to start at the same time - but it should take off and hover relatively accurately. It should not crash upon take off.

    The most important thing is for it to be as level as possible after you plug in the battery - for about 12 seconds.

    If it constantly does what you say, something is wrong...probably with the crystal on the main board.
    I bought my 959 from MassiveRC - a dude in Florida who actually (due to these QC issues) tries every one before shipping.
  15. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Note - just to confirm about "dropping out" of v959 video, don't throw away your "bad" video files! Not only did I find that exporting them to youtube seems to fix them, but I went back on my computer (a mac, but it should not matter) and opened videos from a couple weeks ago - and now they work, even as raw files. I can't explain that one!

    Here are some coastal RI screenshots from the salvaged video.....
    Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 2.40.36 PM.png Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 2.37.35 PM.png Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 2.36.24 PM.png
  16. tyler

    tyler New Member

    good stuff. i have been looking at buying one of these for a while, i have some larger quads but would like a smaller one.
  17. webman

    webman Administrator Staff Member

    Wait a few weeks and they should have the new version of it in stock - the v222. It is more stable. The downside, though, is that it will not bind with 9x TX, so (until someone figures out how to hack it?) you can only use the stock TX. That's good for maybe 170-200 feet.
  18. RanTalbott

    RanTalbott New Member

    That might not be true: according to a thread on rcgroups:
    a 250mS pulse turns the camera off and on. So you might be able to trigger it by flicking one of the switches on the 9X.
    If not, but you can turn the lights off and on using a 9X switch, it'd be possible to adapt the kluge that lmhart did so the light switch could turn the camera on and off. I'm thinking it'd be no big deal to do that, because that camera probably sucks in low light, so you wouldn't be using both at once.

  19. Foghorn

    Foghorn New Member

    Has anyone gotten the V959 upgraded V222 model? Just ordered one and was curious as to opinions of it. This will be my first Quadcopter so I'm trying to absorb as much as possible before it arrives.
  20. RanTalbott

    RanTalbott New Member

    A little quick googling turned up thread on and
    Based on a cursory scan of those threads:
    1. WLToys has come up with a new, proprietary protocol for the V2xx series.
    2. It's been hacked, and code written to adapt a Devo transmitter.
    3. It may be too bleeding-edge for some folks.
    4. It might require gutting your WLToys transmitter to make a plug-in module for the Devo.


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