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Cheerson CX-20 FPV Kit Review and HOWTO

Recently I ordered for my Cheerson CX-20 drone an FPV kit from Bangood for 157 USD:

Cheerson-CX-20-FPV-kit-SKU251782_2

Cheerson CX-20 RC Quadcopter Spare Parts 5.8G FPV Image Transmission Device Set

For a video, scroll to the end.

The monitor (model Sky-702) alone is worth 140 USD and it has the (removable – in case you don’t wanna use them) parts to protect it from the light (you know, when you are on the field to avoid the sunlight in the screen).

The kit provides also the necessary part to mount the monitor to the transmitter. Included is also a clover antenna (worth 20 USD) and some cables for it. See some close up photos of the transmitter and the cables for it.

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Clover-Antenna_2151exp

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On a first look the cable seems to be a micro USB but it’s not (I tried to plug it in my phone without success)

Cheerson-CX-20-FPV-kit-flat-cable-IMG_2155exp

I tried to plug the cable in my GoPro 4 HDMI plug, but the cable is too big.

The manuals provided with the kit are kinda useless. They just show some details about the channels, but no information to understand the wiring or some other more important technical details. Also the support from Banggood is quite useless. I wrote in the forum asking for info and no useful information was provided, besides telling me to e-mail the customer support and ask for the manual. So I did and I’m still waiting for it. As the documentation and manuals are useless, I’m updating this article when I’m doing progress… see updates.

The transmitter looks like the SKY 8200, so when I’ll ask for help in the forums I’ll point to it. For more close-up pictures and technical details about the SKY 8200, check:

HOW TO

The following is my try and guess testing (and so far it didn’t work). TO BE UPDATED. HELP needed.

The main challenge for me was to make this work with my GoPro 4 Silver edition. The kit doesn’t come with the cables for the GoPro 4 and also the customer support on Banggood had no idea on which cables to recommend. This is really bad from banggood and even from Cheerson. I have no idea if connecting the transmitter to my drone like I did is correct or not.

I bought a USB cable for GoPro 3 for 3 USD and I tried to connect it like this (see following picture)

Cheerson-CX-20-FPV-kit-test-IMG_2156exp

The 2 G+5V (S1 and S2, bottom left) are used already by my gimbal (I didn’t put it to simplify the picture). The clover antenna needs 12V so you must get the power from the drone, from one of the G+12V on the right.

I had to go to a local hobby shop with the GoPro cable I bought on banggood and with the cables provided by the kit and ask to combine them together. The result can be seen in this video. It works!

Update February 2016: if you don’t have a local hobby store in your nearby have a look at this FPV 5.8GHz 200mW Mini AV Transmitter For Gopro Hero3 for 28 USD (it includes both transmitter and cable). I’ve read it works also for the GoPro 4. You may need to cut the red cable. See “Questions & comments” in the page for more details.

Things to know if you plan to buy a Cheerson CX-20

This is a shopping list if you are interested to buy an affordable (best price/features) Cheerson CX-20 drone and related accessories for more fun.

This was my 1st choice when I decided to buy a drone (from a beginners perspective) back in March 2015. Then I “modded” it to get the feeling on how it is to cultivate this hobby and of course to capture better footage (the gimbal was the first priority, as the videos taken with the standard gimbal were trembling a bit). I crashed it several times, not only in the first days but also months later and you know what? It still flies well! It’s really a good machine to start a drone adventure and little crashes don’t ruin it too much. Just the shell.

For more options check also this post: Cheap drones under 300 USD to attach your GoPro

Cheerson_CX-20_Mt_Pelerin_Lac_Leman

Note: I own a Cheerson CX-20 and bought everything from bangood. Banggood is an excellent online shop. Free shipping for most of the items (for big items like the drone you may pay a little fee, but all accessories are sent for free) and they arrive in Switzerland in around 2-3 weeks, exceptionally in 4 weeks.

I recently did a compilation of my adventures and stupid, funny things done with my 1st drone in summer and autumn 2015. I can tell you one thing: you wanna do your experiments with a cheap drone. Besides some bad crashes that ruined the body and the legs of the Cheerson CX-20 (which can be replaced) I’m quite happy that it is still in good conditions.

Mandatory things to buy

Note: prices checked and updated on 2016-12-28.

Recommended to buy

1 or 2 extra batteries are recommended. A 2800 mAh (already included in the RTF package) battery has an autonomy of around 15 minutes. I have a 2200 mAh battery with a broken cell and it can fly for around 8 minutes + 2 minutes “beeping” reserve.

If you want a bigger battery you’ll need to adjust the battery tray (DIY). See this video on Youtube to get an idea: CX20 Battery tray conversion for High Capacity battery. I did it but honestly I don’t think it’s worth it: extending the plastic to make the compartment higher for the battery to fit makes it harder to close the shell, and also it creates a lot of tension in the structure. Buy 2 more batteries instead, trust me.

Optional to buy

The 1st thing I bought with my drone is the imax recharger and I’m quite happy I did so. It is much faster then the original minimalistic charger included with the drone. It has also functions to discharge batteries, or putting them in storage mode. This can make batteries last longer.

  • Imax B6-AC battery recharger: 33 USD (this is a cloned version of the skyrc. It works perfectly for me. Buy the original if you want the best quality).
  • SKYRC iMAX B6AC V2 Professional: 56 USD (this is the original, better quality imax)
  • Lipo Bag: 6 USD (if a battery short circuits and starts to burn you may want it inside of a lipo bag and not on your floor, or in your bag… so for you safety you may want one of those).
  • Li-Po Battery Balance Charging Extension Wire Cable 20cm: 1 USD (take for 3S: this is useful if you wanna recharge your battery inside a lipo bag. The battery balance cable is too short, this extension makes it easier & safer).
  • A metallic box (like those you buy to put some money in it, or ammunition boxes) to store your batteries. Same: if the batteries explode you may want them in a metal box. A lipo bag helps a bit but is not 100% effective.
  • Propellers protectors: 11 USD (it’s not recommended to fly with these, but especially when you are a newbie, your first 10 flights are crucial. Trust me: I already had some experience with other smaller drones, but in my first 10 flights with this class (a bit heavier and quite sensitive controls) I had 4 crashes and broke 2 propellers. Buy and use these protectors for your first flights and you won’t regret it). If you break the protectors it’s not a tragedy, you can fix them with some super glue and they can protect your drone again.
  • DJI Phantom / Cheerson CX-20 backpack: 66 USD (this is a must for bikers or city pilots. I use a 35l Dakine backpack for my CX-20 but this is much better because it has several compartments to keep everything safe, plus it can be opened like a trolley)
  • 2 sets of CX-20/DJI Phantom propellers: 4 USD each

After some crashes

After some crashes I personally realized that the material of this drone is quite fragile… the body was the first to get smashed. I could duct tape it together but after every consecutive crash I had to do the duct tape job again and again… the legs got broken as well thus:

Accessories for cool videos

If you are into videography you may already have a GoPro. GoPro is like the iPhone of the drones. You pay much more for the brand, and have of course the best quality. But you may consider a cheaper action camera.

Action camera

If you have a GoPro and you are afraid to destroy/lose it you may buy a cheaper alternative for the drone, till you get more confident. But generally speaking, check in youtube comparison videos for those cameras and judge yourself. The quality is quite ok, you may even not need a gopro at all: one of those cams can be good enough for you.

Gimbal

If you buy a camera you may want to have it stabilized with a gimbal. I bought the Walkera G 2D and can recommend it. It’s almost plug and play: you attach a slider to the CX-20 bottom and you slide the gimbal in. There is a cheaper gimbal, for 50 USD, but you need to drill the drone and other modifications to make it work. Spend 20 bucks more and save time and hassle. Check this video on youtube to see how it’s easy (with some considerations about the length of the tripod) to mount the Walkera G-2D: Cheerson CX20 FPV Setup Part 1.

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FPV

The final pimp for my drone was the FPV kit.

Check my review and HOWTO about the Cheerson CX-20 FPV kit.

Minimal FPV Setup

UPDATE February 2016: if you don’t care about filming, so if you don’t need a gimbal and you don’t need a gopro or another action camera, but you want to have a minimal FPV setup, check this kit containing a lightweight camera, antennas and a monitor:

JJRC H16 YiZhan Tarantula X6 Camera With Monitor: 52 USD

With little effort you can adapt the YiZhan FPV kit for the Cheerson CX-20 (youtube video).

Cheerson CX-10 vs Skeye nano (rip-off) drone

Skeye Nano vs. Cheerson CX-10 vs. Cheerson CX-10A Headless vs. (other or no brand) Nano drone: Cheerson CX-10 wins! If you wanna buy a cheap Nano drone, Cheerson CX-10 the one to buy! You may think that the 10A is better but it’s not. It’s just marketing, the headless function is kinda useless. I own both, I can tell you. Check also the videos (a guy compared both of them and is telling the same: the CX-10A is slower).

Update July 2017: if you are interested in the model with the camera, check the Cheerson CX-10C, for only 24 USD (Skye Nano version: 99 USD if you like to pay more…)

Update December 2016: check also my newest mini drones comparison: Cheerson CX-10 vs Eachine H8 Mini.

Update September 2015: now you can order the Cheerson CX-10C, which includes a 0.3 MP camera! I still think that the CX-10 is the best, but hei if you wanna take some low quality pictures just for fun, why not.

Cheerson CX-10, the original

The Cheerson CX-10 exists since a while. It can be bought for less than 20 USD from banggood.com and it’s available in different colors: orange, green, blue. Orange is my favorite.

Cheerson CX-10A headless

This is the new model and it’s headless, which means that you don’t have to position it in the flying direction before the take off. It orginally costes a few bucks more but now it’s being sold at the same price as the CX-10, probably because they realizes nobody wants it :). It’s available in different, fancy new colors (black, white, silver, gold with some tribal logo on it). Update after receiving and testing it: I never use the headless mode (you need to specifically activate it so if you are like me you won’t do it, you will probably just turn it on and fly it, so you would not “benefit” the headless mode). So if you wanna buy this one instead of the original CX-10, it’s probably because of the design/color (black is kinda cool). But for a better flying experience, buy the CX-10 which is a bit more reactive. I like both of them but the CX-10 is better in my opinion.

Notes about the Cheerson CX-10 and CX-10A quads

In the Cheerson CX-10/CX-10A package you get (besides quad, transmitter, charging USB cable) only 4 spare propellers. 2 turn clockwise, 2 counter clockwise. The CX-10 transmitter is compatible with the CX-10A and vice-versa. I have 2 different models but only use one transmitter, it works just fine. I can also fly one and a friend of mine flies the other one with the other transmitter. No problem, they don’t interfere if you were wondering.

Important, when you order your mini quad, you can choose which mode to control it. In USA (and EU): people in the RC community generally use Mode 2, left hand throttle. So if you wanna get familiar with the “standard”, buy the model with the mode 2 transmitter.

Buying suggestions

After playing for a while with my Cheerson CX-10 I think I can recommend to beginners to buy some spare parts, like these:

Especially when playing inside, collisions are almost inevitable. When the copter falls down violently, the propellers can be turned a bit (they can be fixed) but after several collisions they break. Buy the protection cover, you’ll never need to replace propellers anymore.

Cheerson CX-10C with camera

cheerson-cx-10c-camera-front

This is basically the same as the CX-10, but with a 0.3 MP camera. 0.3 Mega pixel is really low quality, don’t even bother buying this, you can take better selfies with your phone, really. But in case you wanna give it a try:

Skeye Nano, the same but twice price

If you are here because you saw the Skeye nano drone – “World’s Smallest Quadcopter” for a special price (limited offer) and you were wondering if it’s worth to buy: DON’T buy it. I sadly ordered one from the gizmag store and unluckily the order is non-refundable. See a screenshot of this “limited offer” taken from gizmag:

skeye-nano-gizmag

Check a video of the Skeye Nano. As you can see, it’s practically identical to the Cheerson CX-10.


The Skeye nano can be found on gizmag.com, stacksocial.com, androidauthority.com etc. (all webshops look the same) for a “limited offer” 41% discount (or something like that), so for 35 USD (update: last time I saw “sale ends in 4 days“, now -a week after- I see “sale ends in 6 days“, seems it’s just a marketing way to attract customers…). On trndlabs.com it can be found at the official price of 49 USD. For this price you can buy 3 Cheerson CX-10! Quite a rip-off!

Same technical specifications and same design. At the time of writing, it’s being sold at different shops (see above) but nobody wrote yet a comparison review between the two models. Quite funnily the special offer will be gone in a few days.

The order is non-refundable. I ordered one myself and I wrote this post to warn users not to make the same mistake as I was quite frustrated myself. I don’t usually write rants. This is just to open your eyes. If you wanna buy the skeye, feel free.

Personally, I bought also a Cheerson CX-10 at and a Cheerson CX-10A at banggood (see links above) so in the end I’ll have 3 models for an average of 25 USD.

A special thanks to Antony Alston, the author of the Cheerson CX-10 review on Best Quadcopters Reviews to enlighten me about this rip-off.

UPDATE 23-01-2015

Cheerson CX-10 form banggood UK: ordered on January, 13th. Received on January, 19th. The delivery to Switzerland took 5 working days!

Skeye Nano: ordered on January, 10th. Received on Januarty 22nd. The delivery to Switzerland took 9 working days.

Here a first person view video of me flying my Cheerson CX-10 (in my youtube channel you find more videos and tests):

Here a crash tests video with the protecting cover:

The Skeye Nano looks exactly the same, as stated before…