iFlight Protek 25 Review by an Expert (With Pictures)

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The iFlight Protek25 drone is a first-person view (FPV) cinewhoop that’s well-built and fairly succesful for its measurement. Even when carrying a full-fat GoPro digicam, it is vitally clean to fly. Nevertheless, its beginning weight lets it down on security factors. 

iFlight Protek25 carrying a GoPro Hero 9 digicam

I’ve been utilizing the Protek25 for a number of months now in quite a lot of environments with only a few points.

What is that this drone designed for?

Cinewhoop drones are getting used extra regularly in mainstream media to seize distinctive footage, from home excursions to flying via vehicles.

The Protek25 is an FPV cinewhoop drone manufactured by established FPV drone producer iFlight. Their Nazgul 5-inch drone has been a well-liked off-the-shelf possibility for FPV drone pilots.

Like different FPV drones, the Protek25 has a digicam and video transmitter for sending a low latency video sign to a pair of video goggles worn by the operator.  The drone has propeller guards, which assist to make the drone safer for flying round individuals and indoors.

The Protek25 has 2.5-inch diameter propellers. The Protek design additionally is available in two bigger fashions, the Protek35 and the Protek60.

The bottom worth of the iFlight Protek25 is $221 for the analog video model with out a management hyperlink receiver. The analog model arrange with a TBS crossfire management hyperlink (a well-liked management hyperlink amongst FPV pilots) retails for $249. 

With the present worth of {hardware} for FPV drones, this worth is fairly cheap, particularly contemplating the construct high quality of this drone. It additionally comes with adhesive foam padding for the outside of the body and a few spare propellers and battery straps in case of a crash.

The underside of the drone reveals iFlight’s emblem and homes a USB port for the flight controller.

Specs and choices

The Protek25 that I’ve for this evaluation comes with analog video transmission and ELRS 2.4GHz management hyperlink. The Protek25 comes with 2.5-inch (65mm), 3-blade bull-nose propellers. This propeller configuration is frequent throughout many different cinewhoops of this measurement.

The Protek25 can be accessible in different FPV video transmission choices, together with the DJI FPV V2 video system, and the value is scaled accordingly.

The drone isn’t designed in a conventional sq. “X” configuration, with the motors equally spaced aside, however reasonably the motor spacing is squashed within the pitch axis, with the entrance two motors and the again two motors having minimal separation.  This does have an effect on the stability of the drone on pitch when carrying heavier cameras towards the entrance of the drone. 

iFlight features a GoPro-style mount for securing a digicam over the entrance finish of the drone. There are additionally mounting holes additional again on the highest plate that may very well be used for a bigger mounting plate to assist shift the load of a heavier HD digicam extra in direction of the middle of the body.     

iFlight has give you a singular design for the propeller guards on this drone, shifting away from the everyday rounded duct-style design of different cinewhoop drones.

I feel the Protek25’s square-edge aesthetic seems nice, nevertheless it does make becoming the froth padding difficult, particularly within the center recesses of the skeletal body. That being stated, the plastic propeller guard body construction has a considerably delicate contact to it anyway, though I wouldn’t wish to stumble upon any paintwork with out the padding.

And not using a battery or HD digicam, the analog model of the Protek25 is available in at 184g.

The Protek25 with out a battery weighs in at 184g. That is now on the heavy finish of the spectrum for cinewhoops of this measurement.

Nevertheless, being barely heavier does present a little bit of help with throttle administration, because the drone doesn’t have a tendency to reply as rapidly to adjustments in throttle enter as a lot as a lighter drone of this measurement would. This will make holding a gradual altitude a bit simpler when flying in guide or acro flight modes.

The analog video transmitter on this drone has an excellent vary of energy choices and is mixed with a high-quality 5.8GHz antenna that’s mounted off the again of the drone for optimum efficiency.  

The antenna mount can be designed to permit the antenna to fold neatly flat for when it’s essential pop the drone in a bag, serving to to stop injury to the antenna.  The Protek additionally has a few rear-facing LEDs to assist with orientation and visibility to your spotter or for when it’s essential fly line of sight.    

The analog FPV digicam is a nano FPV digicam with a good picture for analog video. It’s nonetheless solely an analog feed, however it’s clear sufficient and has sufficient dynamic vary that can assist you see in most environments.

The digicam has small mounting pads to assist safe it within the body, nevertheless these are formed to suit this explicit digicam, and it will have been good if iFlight had made the mounting pads extra generic to suit different FPV cameras.  

The flight controller within the Protek is an F411 flight controller. While it’s a good price range flight controller, the F411 chip has restricted efficiency and might solely help a few serial gadgets. That being stated, it has sufficient efficiency and have help for a cinewhoop.

The motors on this drone are iFlight’s Xing (learn “Zing”) 1404 5500KV motors. What do these numbers imply? Properly, they outline the diameter and the peak of the stator of the motor.

On this case, 14mm x 4mm. 5500KV defines the height RPM of the motors at 5500 multiplied by the enter voltage, which on this case is as much as 16.8V (4S battery).

This drone is designed to be powered by a 4S battery with a capability vary of 650mAh to 850mAh. Nevertheless, if carrying a lighter HD digicam on board, you possibly can fly with a 1000mAh battery.    

What’s it prefer to fly?

Out of the field, the Protek25 is fairly well-tuned and has inventory charges within the flight management firmware. I rapidly modified the charges to my most well-liked settings. 

Every pilot has their very own most well-liked charges and stick really feel, however as a place to begin with cinewhoops I’d begin with low charges of round 400 levels per second or much less at full stick deflection. For extra steerage on this, take a look at our cinewhoop article here.

With out the payload of an HD digicam and solely carrying a 650mAh 4S battery, the Protek25 is clean to fly, and the motors don’t get heat in flight. 

Nevertheless, as soon as a GoPro Hero 10 with battery is mounted, with a 650mAh battery, the drone doesn’t really feel fairly as locked in, and the motors do get fairly heat to the contact. This may be alleviated by tuning the PID controller features within the firmware on the pitch axis of the drone to account for the extra weight of the HD digicam on that axis.

I be aware the GoPro Hero 8 and 9 cameras could be powered reliably from a USB-C to LiPo adapter, saving round 30g in weight which does assist with flight efficiency when carrying a GoPro on this drone.

Construct high quality

Like many FPV drone {hardware} producers, iFlight has had some complaints about its electronics previously. Nevertheless, the electronics on my iFlight Protek25 have been very dependable. 

The solder joints are all strong and the motors are clean.  I don’t often like plug connectors on flight controllers as they are typically a bit weak and/or the pins don’t make good contact, however the ones on the Protek25 {hardware} have been superb.

That being stated, I did have a lack of radio hyperlink when flying within the rain as soon as after some rainwater was propelled into the plug for the radio receiver.  I’ve since put some tape contained in the body to cowl that plug, so I can fly within the rain with out that being a problem once more. 

This drone has additionally taken a fast dip right into a freshwater stream, and the entire electronics nonetheless work with out concern.

Though the propeller guards are plastic, I’ve not been in a position to injury them. That being stated, I haven’t been impacting it into something.

Usually electronics can begin to fail because of the high-frequency vibrations generated by the motors in flight. Nevertheless, the electronics are nonetheless working nicely and present no indicators of damage after a number of months of use.

The motor bearings are additionally nonetheless clean after publicity to mud, grit, and water with no upkeep.

Dangerous factors

The Protek25 is simply actually let down by its preliminary weight. It’s too heavy for this class of cinewhoop in 2022. That is now the bruiser of two.5-inch cinewhoop drones.

The F411 flight controller on board this drone can be a letdown as a result of some serial inputs aren’t appropriate with sure video transmitter management protocols, which may make wiring up new parts like radio receivers and sure video transmitters a problem.

The inventory propellers additionally make a horribly loud noise, which is to be anticipated for a cinewhoop. Nevertheless, the pitch at which it makes this noise makes it appear noticeably worse than different cinewhoops I’ve flown.

The froth padding that comes with the drone may be improved to both be in two elements per aspect or have stronger adhesive, as a result of after some time, it begins to peel away from the center recesses of the propeller guards on all sides.

Compared to different cinewhoop fashions accessible in 2022, just like the GEPRC Cinelog 25, Foxeer Foxwhoop, and even iFlight’s personal Protek25 pusher, the Protek25 commonplace mannequin is noticeably heavier.

These different cinewhoop fashions could be stored beneath 250g regulatory weight limits extra simply. Nevertheless, in sure instances, like flying outside in windy situations, the load of the Protek25 could be advantageous.

A few of these lighter cinewhoops may wrestle to hold a heavier HD digicam like a GoPro.

Modifications I’ve made

As I already talked about, the Protek25 comes with 3-blade bull-nose propellers, which I’ve swapped out for 6-blade propellers. While it appears to fly higher on 3-blade propellers, the 6-blade propellers assist enhance the sound of this drone.

The 6-blade propellers have extra of a “hand dryer” kind sound, versus the “dentist drill” sound of the inventory propellers.

Both approach, cinewhoops are loud generally, particularly after they’re on the heavier aspect and want extra throttle for them to hover.

Apart from that, I’ve tried to avoid wasting a little bit of weight with a number of the 3D-printed elements on this drone. Nevertheless, there are solely marginal features available right here.

In abstract, I’d advocate the iFlight Protek25. Though it’s heavy, it is vitally sturdy and has been reliable so far. I’ve chased vehicles with it, flown it over water and it hasn’t brought about me any issues.

Nevertheless, with sub-250g drones gaining popularity, I feel the iFlight Protek25 must go on a weight loss plan, and I wish to see iFlight give you a model two with comparable styling and fewer mass.

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