JJRC H8C (In-Depth Review)

The JJRC H8C (also known as the DFD F183) has become one of JJRC’s most popular mini quadcopters since it was released at the end of last year. This is a beginner quadcopter that was specifically designed to compete with the highly popular Syma X5C which has been around for some time.

At first glance, you’ll notice that the 6-axis H8C has a more exciting exterior design. This is especially true with the black version which has fluorescent green and silver livery that gives it a more racy look compared to the white Syma X5C which is beginning to look a bit dated. The H8C also has LED strips on all four corners of its main body, similar to the X5C.

If you’re already familiar with flying the X5C, you’ll notice that the H8C has a lot more power in its motors which makes it more responsive and accurate to fly. This is mainly due to more powerful motors in the H8C which run at 7.4V compared to the 3.2V ones in the X5C and other similar models. Although they provide more thrust and reserve power, these powerful motors do have their drawbacks which I will explain later.

Specifications

  • Size: 240mm (diagonal)
  • Body size: 200 x 200 x 50mm (without propellers)
  • Weight: About 144g (with battery and camera/without prop guards)
  • Color: White, Black
  • Control distance: About 80m
  • Charging time: About 90mins
  • Flight time: 6 to 8mins
  • Battery: 7.4V 500mAh
  • Battery Dimension: 46*11*45mm
  • Battery weight: 23.3g

The H8C costs approximately $68 and is shipped with propeller guards, card reader, a spare set of propellers and a 2MP 720P HD camera that comes with a 2GB micro SD card. The transmitter is the same type that comes with many other JJRC mini quadcopters such as the F180.

h8c2

One nice feature that the H8C has that is missing from smaller quadcopters is a power switch. In smaller models such as the F180, turning on the quad means connecting the battery plug. On the H8C, there is no need for connecting and disconnecting batteries thanks to the power switch.

switch

With a diagonal motor size of 240mm, the H8C can be flown both indoors and outdoors. Although it’s not impossible to fly indoors, its size can be a bit of a problem especially if you live in a small apartment. When flown outdoors, the H8C can hold steady in winds of up to 5km/h. In winds of at least 10km/h or faster, it starts to struggle unless you fly it at 100% gyro sensitivity which I do not recommend since this can wear down your motors fast.

The H8C has some cool LED lights. The body has a strong resemblance to the Cheerson CX-20.

The H8C has some cool LED lights. The body has a strong resemblance to the Cheerson CX-20.

Transmitter

The H8C comes with a 2.4GHz 4-channel transmitter that has a mini LCD screen for displaying information such as throttle position, flight modes, battery power, radio reception and throttle trim. Binding the transmitter to the H8C is as simple as powering the quad up, turning on the transmitter and then moving the left throttle stick up and down. Before turning on the transmitter, the H8C’s LED lights will start blinking initially, indicating that it is ready to bind. Once binding is done, the LEDs will stop blinking.

A button on the upper left of the transmitter lets you toggle between 4 difficulty modes – 25%, 50%, 75% and 100%. At 25%, the H8C flies conservatively and is easier to control — a setting that’s ideal for beginners. At 100% it becomes more responsive and flies more aggressively.

The button on the upper right is the dedicated “stunt” button. Press this button when the H8C is flying and the transmitter will start beeping indicating the H8C is ready to perform a flip. To perform a flip, move the right stick in any direction while you hear the beeping and the H8C will flip in the direction you choose. For example, if you move your right stick up, the H8C will perform a forward flip and vice versa.

The control pad on the lower right is the aileron/elevator (right stick) trim while the lower left control pad is the throttle/rudder (left stick) trim. The lower left control pad can also be used to control the camera. Press down on the control pad to turn video recording on or off. To take photos, press the up button.

Camera

The H8C comes with a 2MP HD 720P camera that can record both video and stills on the included 2GB micro SD card. The camera is capable of supporting up to 4GB cards and is touted by JJRC as having better image quality than the X5C’s camera. I haven’t done any real comparisons between the image quality of these two cameras, but I seriously doubt anyone who owns a sub $100 mini quadcopter has any intention of doing serious aerial photography with it.

The H8C comes with a 720P HD camera that is capable of taking 2MP stills.

The H8C comes with a 720P HD camera that is capable of taking 2MP stills.

Premature Motor Failure

On paper, the H8C looks like it trumps the X5C in almost every key detail including flight time, weight and motor power and not to forget, a better-looking body. But in their haste to create a X5C killer, JJRC had forgotten to beef up on the H8C’s motors to handle the more powerful 7.4V battery which provides twice as much current as the X5C’s 3.2V battery.

Although the H8C’s motors are listed as slightly bigger at 0820 compared to the X5C’s 0720-sized motors, they are still not big enough to handle the extra current. Just months after it started shipping, a significant number of H8C owners started reporting premature motor failure with some experiencing their first motor failure as early as their third flight. Many more have experienced the same problem in less than 12 flights. The problem is so bad that a thread specially dedicated to the H8C’s motor failure problem has been created at the RCGroup forum for owners to share their experiences.

The motors on the H8C are its weakest link.

The motors on the H8C are its weakest link.

However, all’s not lost with the H8C. It is still possible to own and fly one without wearing off the motors prematurely. It is also important to note that most cases of premature motor failure are the result of aggressive flying which generate a lot of heat in the motors, hence one way to prevent the motors from over-heating is to simply fly the H8C at no more than 50% gyro sensitivity.

Owners have also resorted to replacing the stock bushing rings that hold the propeller shafts in place with ball bearings to reduce heat generated when the shafts are spinning. The bearings used are the ones that are specifically used by the WL Toys Skylark V636. Some owners have even applied lubricant on the propeller shafts and gearing to further reduce heat and friction.

Conclusion

Like any other beginner quadcopter that costs less than $200, the JJRC H8C isn’t perfect and you shouldn’t expect it to perform or last as long as a quadcopter that costs over $800. As you have already realized by now, premature motor failure is the H8C’s Achilles Heel. When purchasing cheap quadcopters that lack any real R&D, issues such as this can be a problem. It’s very obvious that JJRC did not perform any long term tests with the H8C prior to releasing it.

To stave off premature motor failure, you need to fly the H8C at 25% or 50% gyro sensitivity to rein in all that extra current. Flying the H8C at maximum power while doing flips in windy outdoor conditions might be fun but you’ll probably see your first motor failure within about a dozen flights. Fortunately, H8C motors come at an affordable price of $4 each and can be ordered at Banggood at this link.

The H8C is also available in white.

The H8C is also available in white.

Unlike some mini quadcopters that cost over $60, the H8C does not come with ball bearings for its propeller shafts. Instead, it comes with cheap metal bushings that tend to produce a lot of heat due to friction. The power connector can also be an issue due to its rarity which makes it incompatible with other spare batteries that you might have lying around.

Other than these issues, the H8C is actually quite a solid mini quadcopter for beginners. If you wish to purchase one, it is advisable to buy some spare motors and a set of ball bearings to reduce heat generated by the propeller shafts.



JJRC H8C

JJRC H8C
6.8

Affordability

7/10

Reliability

5/10

Features and performance

8/10

Flight time

7/10

Build quality

8/10

Pros

  • Powerful motors
  • Nice body design
  • Very stable and easy to fly
  • Power switch

Cons

  • Premature motor failure is a common problem
  • Metal bushings for propeller shaft instead of ball bearings

Adrin Sham

Adrin Sham is a designer and photographer turned drone enthusiast. Since buying a drone for aerial photography some years ago, he has since developed a passion for UAVs and all things related.

You may also like...

22 Responses

  1. Roberto says:

    Hi. I bought one of these to a gift for my brother in law and i wanted to test it before give him but I think that there are something bad with this one. When the motors and the propellers turns on? When i turn on the power switch in the quadcopter? I would appreciate your advice.

  2. admin says:

    Hi Roberto,

    Turn on the quadcopter first, then turn on your transmitter (the remote control). Then move the left stick up and down fully to bind the transmitter with the quad.

  3. Gregg Eshelman says:

    A grocery store near me has these for just under $50. I’ve been reading a lot about how crappy the motors are, especially if ever used on higher than the 25% setting.

    I’ve also searched for motor upgrades but not found much so far, aside from some that say they might work. Everything about this quad looks good, except the motors that are so poor the manufacturer should be ashamed they made them.

  4. A very well-written review!

    It’s ashame that the JJRC H8C feeds up to 8.4 volts to its 8 mm coreless motors.

    Geared coreless motors can last for many hours when powered by a 1-cell lipo.

    I’m glad you pointed this out.

  5. Rick Anstine says:

    I have the H8D but spent time researching before I picked my first quadcopter. The availability of cheap parts due to the H8C was a big plus. The top shell comes in Red, Orange, Green, Black & White. The bottom in Black & White. When searching for small DC brushed motors in this class there are only 2 to pick from. The 8.5mm round & the ones with flattened sides. Both are rated at 6 volts max & were designed in pre Li-Po days for Ni-Cads. The 8.5 x 20mm motors in the H8C & D have microscopic reed brushes which are split in half leaving two hairs running on a pentagon shaped commutator at up to 28,000 rpm. What really kills them is any power at all when they are locked rotor. Those 2 hair sitting on one of the points of a pentagon last milliseconds.
    If you want to save the motors you have to be at 0 throttle the moment you crash. And in general can’t give any throttle unless you are sure all props are 100% free to spin. The prop guards help a little with ground but not with bushes & trees.
    The H8D transmitters have a big DOA faulty chip problem. Mine was DOA with starting in mode 2 then short when video button pressed.
    https://youtu.be/KkvVcmvrYeE
    Got a $45 refund from seller which was enough to get another transmitter & parts to make a second H8D in Orange & White minus the receiver. I ordered a V666N receiver for it. I find that 55% pitch is the max for sustainable altitude at full throttle with ball bearings doused with Liquid Wrench dry lube, camera & no guards.

  6. Peter Hudson says:

    Hello, My wife purchased me a JJRC 2.4GHZ with a 5.8 GHZ camera. Transmitter has an lcd controls screen and I attach the LCD video screen. It has a return button in case of that scenario we dread. This is not my first however it is the best so far. I was up about 50′ in height and I lost sight of it. I panicked and hit the return. Needless to say it disappeared. I was recording at the time but it doesn’t do any good since the card is attached to the machine. How can I find this lost quad. It seems like it binds to the transmitter but the video screen continuously says no signal. I’m hoping when it gets dark I’ll see the lights. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thank you

    • Adrin Sham says:

      Sorry to hear that, Peter. This is the sort of nightmare any drone owner dreads. I can’t think of any technical solution to tracking down your missing JJRC. Assuming that the battery is still attached, it could continue to broadcast video over WiFi for about 10 minutes before the battery dies out. If you can’t trace it within that timeframe using your transmitter screen, then you probably won’t be able to at all.

      One method that many people use is to just distribute posters around the area where you lost your drone. Hopefully someone would return it if they found it.

      If you’re flying outdoors next time, it is a good idea to write your name and contact details on a sticker and paste it on your drone.

  7. Jim says:

    Hey I just got my h8c but the throttle doesn’t stay on.. can fly. See my video https://youtu.be/dJZF94yxnFM
    Does anyone know what’s the problem?
    Greetings Jim

    • Adrin Sham says:

      It’s hard to tell if the problem is in your transmitter or the drone itself just looking at the video. Do you have any other JJRC drones at home? One solution would be to test the same transmitter on another JJRC drone (preferably the same model) to see if it is the TX that is causing the problem. Did you purchase this online? If you have a local RC shop that can help you test your drone with a different Tx, that would be great.

      • Jim says:

        I dont have more drones. This is my first one. An rc shop is far away from my home. And yes I purchased online.

        • Adrin Sham says:

          Then I guess the only solution is to contact the seller and show them the video. You should have some form of buyer protection such as PayPal Buyer Protection when you purchased it. It looks like there is a signal drop on your Tx…. or maybe the problem is in the drone itself. It’s hard to determine the cause of the problem without any extra Tx or drone to test it out.

          By the way, are the batteries in your Tx brand new? Maybe you can try swap the batteries with a fresh new set and see if it solves the problem.

          • Jim says:

            Thx BTW for the quick replys.
            Battery’s are new. And tryed again new ones. Voltage is 8.9v and keeps when the motors spins even when it goes out. I have contacted the buyer and he said the same.. but he’s a bit slow whit replying. Buyers protection I know. I just tryed some things again.. I think but not sure the transmitter is not good.. when keep playing with the throttle stick up and al the way down it keeps connected.. just 1 time at like 30% throttle the motors keep spinning and all the leds are on. then when I just move the throttle stick again the motors falls out en leds are blinking again till the throttle stick is at 0%again.

          • Adrin Sham says:

            It seems like the Tx is the problem. But you can never be 100% sure until you’ve tested a new Tx with your drone. Maybe you can ask the seller to ship a new Tx to you.

  8. Nick says:

    How do you retrieve photos/videos from the quadcopter. Do you take the chip and plug it into a computer? Please advise

  9. ronan says:

    hi there. I’m having trouble trying to rotate the drone while in mid flight so I can record a full 360 d , but all I can do is aim straight with the camera and fly up then back down to turn it again to record another view. hope you understand this and hope you can tell me the controls to do this please? Thank you

    • Adrin Sham says:

      It looks like the yaw control on your transmitter isn’t working. I assume you’re using Mode 2, which means the yaw control is the left (throttle) stick. Moving the left stick right and left should rotate the drone. Have you experienced this problem since you first got the drone?

  10. Stecky says:

    Hi, my problem is “how to return back to the normal control mode” of the radio.
    Just for try I set it in beginners mode but don’t feel good.
    Actually tried something like battery out, switch on whit keys keep pushed but radio control still in beginners mode.
    Any help?

    • Adrin Sham says:

      Hi, what do you mean by “beginner mode”. Do you mean the flight speed of the H8C? You can toggle between flight speeds by pressing the upper left button.

  11. Mary says:

    Regarding the difficulty mode, when I press that button once I get one beep. When I press it again I get two beeps. When I press it again I get three beeps. When pressed a 4th time, I’m back to one beep. So it would seem there are three difficulty modes instead of four? the thing is, this is my first drone and I’m an old person. I can’t tell any difference in how fast the blades are turning between those three modes. I’ve had this thing six months and have yet to fly it. I’m so paranoid. How can I make sure that I am at the lowest mode or 25%?

    • Adrin Sham says:

      Mary, I’ve sold off my H8C a long time ago but I believe three beeps means High speed mode and one beep means Low. High speed mode means you’re using maximum power for the propulsion.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Show Buttons
Hide Buttons

StayUpdated

Join our newsletter and get the latest updates from us for free!

Awesome!

 

Y

You have subscribed to The Drone Files newsletter.