JJRC H31 cheap quadcopter with headless mode and RTH
Waterproof quadcopter means that the aircraft can be immersed underwater. Usually, waterproof drones are extremely expensive because they have different design and require special components. JJRC Toys claims that their $33 H31 quad can be submerged in water and still be able to fly. Honestly, I doubt this thing and I want to test myself this JJRC H31 quadcopter.
JJRC Toys became over the last two years a well known manufacturer. They released during this period about 15 – 20 models among which I reviewed 5 models here on FirstQuadcopter.com. Overall I’m pleased with the JJRC products, they have a very good price/feature ratio. This H31 is the first waterproof model of JJRC manufacturer, at least this is how they advertise it.
The promo video of the JJRC H31 shows how the pilot lands few times on the surface of a lake and after during flips the quadcopter splashes water in every direction. I’m curious what happens if this process is repeated two times few weeks in a row. Anyway, be aware that the salt water is more harmful to electronics than freshwater.
That crazy guy from the JJRC H31 test video even cuts out pieces from the propellers and that thing is still able to fly, so it looks that we are dealing with a very rugged quad.
JJRC H31 features and specs
- Waterproof airframe (at least that’s what they promote);
- Headless flight mode;
- One key return to home (RTH);
- Multiple flight speed rates (50, 75 and 100%);
- 360 degree flips;
- About 8-10 minutes of flight time;
- Up to 80 meters control range in open field.
JJRC H31 quadcopter in depth review
Firstly, I have to thank Alice from GeekBuying who offered me this drone in order to write a honest review. In the past I had few other review collaborations with this web-shop but after my contact lefts GB, they stopped communication with me till now.
The package arrived quickly and smoothly at my door thanks to the “SF Express” shipping company (DHL should learn from them…).
JJRC H31 quadcopter review – First impressions
Being curious about this quad, I immediately opened the package. Besides the drone and its remote controller I found in the box the following:
- Bonus sunglass;
- 3.7V 400mAh Battery;
- USB charging adapter;
- 1 set of spare propellers;
- Landing gears (2 pieces);
- 1 set of propeller guards;
- H31 user manual (English and Chinese).
Yes, I didn’t mistyped that the manufacturer included in the box a nice sunglasses. This will make the flight more comfortable for the pilot in strong daylight.
Although the H31 is RTF (Ready to Fly) quadcopter, prior to your first flight you need to attach the landing gears and mount the propeller protectors. In case of this JJRC quad, the prop guards also serve to protect the main gears from unwanted dusts.
As first impression I was pleasantly surprised by both design and build quality of this quad. In my opinion, this JJRC quad has currently one of the better price/value ratio on the market (I’m referring here to the market segment with price under $50). Hopefully, the manufacturer will strengthen the popularity of this model by providing spare parts.
Being extremely cheap it comes without a camera, but at least it has a camera mount and connector so you can upgrade it if you choose to use it for pictures and videos. There are several compatible cameras from 0.3 MP up to 5 MP ones.
If you get confused by the information regarding the battery which are found on the seller’s website (in one place there is specified a 400 mAh and in another place a 1100 mAh one), I can confirm that the flight battery is a 400 mAh one. The battery is removable so you can always have a couple of charged ones for more fun time.
Besides the red frontal LED, under each arm there is an additional LED light which will help you in orientation, especially during night flights. Red ones in the front and green ones in the rear.
Dealing with a waterproof quadcopter I would have expected to find some rubber seals. Instead of them I found few holes that allow the water to flow out. Frankly, I didn’t find any sign of a special design that protects the electronic parts and motors from water.
JJRC H31 review – Transmitter
Although the remote controller has a nice design, the control range seems to be rather short. The seller advertises this model with about 70-80 meters flight range. I’m curious if it can be extended by adding a true 2.4G Wi-Fi antenna. With this kind of range hack I managed to obtain with another quad about 25% increase.
The 3D flip mode can be activated through the left shoulder button.
Through the right shoulder button it can be switched between “50%” , “75%” and “100%” speed rates. The speed rate setting is confirmed with 1,2 or 3 beeps.
The left trim switch (under the throttle stick) allows to enable the headless mode (left push) and also to activate the return to home function (right push).
In case that the quad starts to fly abnormally, I recommend first to try to re-calibrate the gyro by pushing both sticks to the lowest right position.
JJRC H31 review – Test flight
To ensure that everything is OK with the drone, I tested it firstly indoor. It was very stable and easy to hover. The size of the H31 quadcopter makes it perfectly for both indoor and outdoor flights.
Outdoor the drone behaves also very well. I pushed once the RTH switch, but proved to not be a good idea, the aircraft landed 8 meters far from me in a tree 🙂
With fully charged battery, the quad offered about 7 minutes of fun till LVC started to warning me that it is time to land and recharge.
In order to prevent flyaways, the motors of the JJRC H31 are stopped in about 2-3 seconds in case you fly out of the control range.
Next weekend I’m planning to fill with water my son’s old pool in order to test the waterproofness of this quad.
JJRC H31 review – Verdict
The definition of waterproof drone is probably a little exaggerated but certainly this cheap thing still flies after a quick shower 🙂
If you are asking me whether I recommend this JJRC H31 as first quadcopter for beginners I will definitely say YES! It is extremely affordable, very durable and easy to control.
Regarding its price you can find it on GeekBuying website including free shipping and with bonus sunglasses for $29.99. Although you can opt between white and green colors, I recomand the white version because it makes the aircraft more visible when you land in high grass.