Review – Eachine Racer 250
Today, I give my “initial review” of the Eachine Racer 250, I put quotes because I have owned three of these now so I have quite a bit of experience with them.
I also go over some of the weak points of the Racer 250 as well as some new pilot tips to help those who have this as their started quad.
I couldn’t recommend purchasing a Eachine Racer 250 just because there are better things out there, even for beginners. But if you are interested in what they sell for or need replacement parts they can be found at Eachine Racer 250.
A good set of heatsinks for VTXs can be found here.
A ok prop/motor thrust chart is available here, reference the EMAX MT2204.
Eachine Review 250 – Initial Review
After having owned three of these, doing an “initial review” seems impossible at this point. So today I will be highlighting some of the pros and cons about this quadcopter. As well as reminiscing about my feelings from when I first looked at it and flown it. Then finally giving some tips for beginner pilots that end up with a Eachine Racer 250 as their first acro/fpv quadcopter.
I have owned three of these at this point. My first one I purchased at auction, received it in working condition, then ended up selling it because I had more money in it than I was willing at the time to crash into a tree somewhere. After selling it I regretted it and wished I still had a quad to learn fpv flight with, so I ended up with a second, although the Power Distribution Board (PDB) in this one was broken in a crash. After repair I was up and flying and determined to learn more about fpv flight in general.
The third unit I bought new specifically for this review, since my second one was heavily modded at this point. However, there was a long time between receiving this and finally attempting my review. Because the PDB in the one I received had a incorrect capacitor soldered to it, and burnt out the 5v Battery Elimination Circuit (BEC), as well as a replacement BEC I attempted to repair it with. So I had to wait for a replacement regulator to come in from Banggood before doing this review.
When I first opened the box to the Racer 250, I remember looking at it with pure awe. The only frame of reference I had was the cheap toy quads, and hell, it even had “racer” in the name, so I knew that it meant business.
I remember picking it up and marveling at how heavy it was, at how much momentum it would carry as it flew, and knowing already how much I would have to correct for that momentum as I turned a corner or pulled from a dive. Now I realize that weight like that is not a good thing, but again, I didn’t have a very good frame of reference. So I was equally surprised to find that it had no type of prop guard on it.
The basic construction of the Racer 250 is a bottom plate made from a layered circuit board, with plastic arms holding the ESC’s and motors, and a carbon fiber top plate, with an additional carbon fiber camera mount attached to it by vibration dampening balls. The front faceplate is metal, (Aluminum) holds the two front LED’s and protects the fpv camera. A led bar is soldered to the back of the PDB and all the electronic components are in between the top and bottom plates. All the components are mounted to the bottom PDB except for the VTX mounted on the underside of the carbon fiber top plate. Weight without the battery is 397 grams.
- The Power Distribution Board has the XT60 plug soldered directly to/through the board, houses an built in 5v BEC and spans the entire bottom of the quad, making it a structural component.
- There are multiple custom flight controllers produced for this quadcopter. Earlier models had a choice of either a Naze 32 or CC3D FC, and later a clone SP Racing F3 was added to the lineup.
- Included ESCs are generic 12A ESCs flashed with Simonk firmware, capable of being flashed with BLHeli firmware, but not BLHeli_S or damped light capable. Default communication protocol is PWM.
- Motors are generic EMAX clones, sized and rated as 2204 2300KV motors, with at least 2 different varients.
- If the package includes a receiver it comes with a Flysky – FS-iA6, it is an AFHDS receiver but is only capable of PWM.
- The fpv camera is very generic, can be either an 800 or 1000TVL on a ¼ CMOS sensor. Less than 90° angle lens but the exact is unknown or may vary. It is a custom part for this quadcopter.
- The VTX is a 5.8Ghz 32Ch 600Mw transmitter with a built in OSD. Custom as well for this quadcopter. It needs direct LiPo voltage supplied for power so it can accurately display the voltage on the OSD.
- Two front white LEDS, and a multi colored back LED bar.
The weakpoints of this quadcopter are actually a good place to start. Keeping these in mind as you fly will help you take care of your quadcopter and give you a better experience over.
- ESCs – 12A ESCs are not enough for this heavy quadcopter in extreme flight. For a beginner they may be fine, but as your skill progresses and your flying becomes more aggressive they will become more and more of an issue. Better ESCs need to be early in your upgrade path.
- ESC Mounts – The way the ESCs are mounted in the arms tends to allow the wires to them to vibrate and break very often. I cannot name how many times this quad has been unable to fly due to broken ESC wires, get these properly/securely remounted before they become a problem.
- Bottom Plate/PDB – Not as strong and heavier than a carbon fiber plate would be. It is easy to damage in a crash and be unable to fly. Having a spare on hand isn’t a bad idea.
- Plastic Arms – Not as strong and heavier than carbon fiber arms would be. You will need spares, and I recommend actually putting landing pads on the PDB near where the arms mount so that if you do crash straight down, instead of landing on the landing points of the arms and breaking them, the landing pads absorb some of the force as well as redirect it close to the arm mounts.
- Receiver and ESC communication protocols – Both are using PWM by default and have a high amount of latency. Fixing this will make your quadcopter much more responsive.
- Battery Placement – For the love of the hobby please don’t fly with your battery in the middle of the quad. In a crash it will knock the capacitors off of the PDB or go forward damaging the USB port on/and the flight controller.
New Pilot Tips
- Camera Mounting Plate – Put some small zip ties through the vibration dampening balls. Like, do it now, before doing anything else, and do all four. That platform will disappear if you don’t. Don’t tighten the zip ties all the way tight, leave them loose enough to let the vibrations still be dampened, but tight enough that they don’t fall out.
- Props – The stock props are fairly weak, and you will get more thrust out of a better prop. However, more thrust also means more load on the motor which means more load on the ESCs. So before putting the tri-blade bullnose props on here keep in mind that the 12A ESCs on this heavy quad are already the glaring weak point.
- Some people will tell you that, “Oh they are perfectly fine, I do it all the time.” And they may not be wrong. As I said earlier, the more aggressive you start to fly, to more of a problem this becomes.
- A good analogy for this is to think of your ESC as a paper clip, if you take a paperclip and unbend it straight, you can probably bend it back without issue. You might be able to do it again as well. But eventually the stress on the paperclip from doing something it was not designed to do will cause it to break. When you overload your ESCs, you might get away with it. You might keep getting away with it, but the more you do it the more you risk it failing.
- The proper way to decide what prop to use on a quad is to try to use a thrust chart. Thrust charts are these amazing creations by people who care about the hobby that line out how much thrust a prop will make on a specific motor, as well as how much power that motor is pulling to make said thrust. We know the motors on the Racer 250 are EMAX clones, so the thrust chart for those motors is the best thing we can use for reference. Here is a chart Fyathyrio created:
- Batteries and Stock Battery Charger – These things are not particularly good or even safe. Try to get a decent battery charger, and try to get some decent batteries too. And be sure to learn the safe handling practices for LiPo batteries.
Stock Settings & Tuning
When purchased with the Naze32 or CC3D the Racer 250 comes setup with the following flight modes:
- Weak Leveling – This is the default flight mode, when sticks are centered the craft will attempt to stay level, may be in movement depending on momentum or outside forces such as wind. Pitch and Roll will angel the craft accordingly, but in a direct proportion to input, and the craft will not angel more than the max input of pitch or roll. Meaning, the craft will not continue to tilt or roll into a flip, it will only go to a certain amount, and reset itself back to level when the stick is re-centered.
- Attitude – Like Weak Leveling, except for the outer ring of the pitch and roll inputs will cause the craft to flip or roll. Re centering the control should cause the craft to resume level flight, even if the input was let go while the craft was upside down.
- Rate – Otherwise known as Acro. The pitch and roll inputs will cause the craft to pitch and roll accordingly, but there is no leveling at all. Consider it a manual flight mode. If you pitch or roll your craft you must counter that movement in order to bring it back to level. If you flip or roll your craft upside down, you must continue to flip or roll it upright. There is no automatic correction, this is how professional pilots fly.
*Note The SP Racing F3 clone I received was incapable of flight out of the box. I do not know if it was just mine or if there was never a default working configuration for it.
The rates and PIDS (tuning) of the quadcopter was flyable out of the box, but not very good. The rates are too low to do rolls or flips without being very high in the air, and it is recommended to raise the rates before attempting a roll or flip.
How to tune your Racer 250 is beyond the scope of this article. Ali Green is a very good pilot who had offered some pre tuned files for the Racer 250, you can find those at https://uav-review.com/eachine-racer-250-downloads/
With everything I have written so far I’m sure it is easy to think I am only focusing on the bad, so I will take a moment to talk about that this quad has going for it.
Ready to fly – This is a ready to fly quad/package depending on how you buy it. You don’t have to assemble it or figure out everything there is to do with quadcopters before you start, this will get you into the air.
Standardized Components –Many of the components are off the shelf or capable of being replaced with components off the shelf. Which in a hobby that requires as much soldering as quadcopters, is a very good thing.
Price – For what you get, this does have a good price point to it, get it when it’s on sale, and I can almost recommend it.
Good Support – But right here I am not talking about Banggood… I am talking about the quadcopter community, there are many pilots who have owned one of these at some point. So, any problem you have you are probably not the first. If you can ask for help and be willing to take suggestions, you will have all the resources you ever need.
All of this being said, do I recommend buying a Racer 250, no I don’t. This model seems to be pretty early in Eachine’s development of racing quadcopters, and the design has a lot of flaws to show for it. Plastic arms, 12A ESCs, Bottom PDB plate, they all really affect the damage this thing is capable of sustaining. If you end up with one or get one on a good sale it’s not the end of the world, many pilots started with it. There are just better options on the market now. Even Eachine’s own offerings have improved with each new model, so I can at least give them credit for learning as they go.
If you are new or interested in fpv/acro flight. I would honestly start with a tiny whoop or inductix style quad. You will tear up a lot less equipment with a tiny quad and still learn how to fly. If you are looking for a full size quad, a Wizard 220 is a much better offering from Eachine, and not very far from the price as well, highly recommended over the Racer 250.