review

Potensic T18 Brushed Quadcopter GPS FPV 1080p Drone

Friday, June 07, 2019

Flying a drone for the first time is a very exciting experience! And, what better way to start out learning to fly a drone than with a toy grade drone like the Potensic T18 GPS FPV 1080p drone.
Unlike many toy grade drones, which can be a bit gimmicky, the Potensic T18 drone comes with features found in hobby grade drones that allow you to experience what it is like flying a professional drone without splashing out hundreds of pounds.
The Potensic T18 drone can go as high as 120 meters and will hover automatically so you can use it for high altitude aerial photography including shooting weddings, family parties or simply flying it over your local park.
The Potensic T18 drone isn't too big nor too small for a brushed quadcopter. It measures 28cm long, 25cm wide, and 12cm high and weighs 185 grams.
When buying a drone, it's worth keeping in mind brushed motors versus brushless motors which last longer than brushed motors and are more efficient at converting rotational force. Brushed motors tend to get worn out more easily so if drone longevity is important you should go for a brushless remote control drone like the D60 Drone.
For a quadcopter, the Potensic T18 drone is built pretty well. You get four motors controlled by individual electronic speed controllers (ESC) so you can control the speed and direction of the motors, making them go fast, slow or rotate forward and backwards.
Just like most toy grade drones, the Potensic T18 drone has a plastic body frame which houses amongst other things a power distribution board (PDB), a receiver (RX) with antenna, a lithium polymer battery and a flight controller (FC). The FC board is the brain of the drone containing multiple sensors including axis gyro sensors which stabilize the flight of the drone.
The Potensic T18 drone also has an air pressure/barometer sensor built-in which allows the T18 drone to automatically maintain its altitude without any throttle input from you. For a beginner drone, the altitude hold feature is heaven-sent for gaining confidence and experience learning to fly a drone.
In some drones altitude hold can be turned off manually but not on the Potensic T18 drone. Because the T18 doesn't have a button that allows you to turn off altitude mode, flying in windy conditions is a no no. This is particularly true in strong winds which causes the drone’s barometer sensor to malfunction making the drone think is flying at higher or lower altitude than it really is.
Once the barometer sensor starts to go haywire, it can cause the automatic landing feature to become unresponsive. In the worst case scenario, you won't even be able to bring down the drone which is a scary feeling losing control of a drone.
The four brushed motors in the Potensic T18 drone are mounted on four arms that house the wiring from the power distribution board which sends power to all motors via the electronic speed controllers.
Another nifty feature you get with the Potensic T18 quadcopter drone is a VTX video transmitter with an antenna and a 120-degree FPV 1080p camera set on a 75-degree adjustable pivot joint so you can angle the camera for the perfect shot.
The T18 drone FPV camera sends video feed wirelessly in high definition 1080p resolution at 25 frames-per-second in 120-degree field of view which is wide angle.
micro sd card slot
The video feed can be picked up by a pair of FPV goggles wireless headset or a smartphone via the companion app called Potensic-G which is available on Google Play Store and the App Store.
The Potensic-G mobile application is not required in order to operate the drone but it's needed if you want to to view the livestream from the camera which also integrates a micro SD card slot to store the footage for later viewing. The largest micro SD card size you can use is 32GB.

From the Potensic-G app, you can also adjust settings and set automatic flight and descend, as well as draw a flight path and access flight records to check speed, etc.
You cannot fully control the drone with the phone though. The app has an easy to navigate user interface. As far as connection, the T18 drone does not need to be connected to a WiFi network to fly and record. The T18 drone does connect though to your phone via WiFi connection instead of bluetooth so the wireless connection is stronger and more stable.
The Potensic T18 quadcopter drone can be controlled via your smartphone and with the included remote control which houses a transmitter (TX) that transmits the inputs you make from the controller (i.e. moving the joysticks up and down) to the brain of the drone (the Flight Controller) which then relays that information to the motors via the Electronic Speed Controllers.
The Potensic T18 remote controller has two joysticks so it looks like a gaming controller. If you want the Potensic T18 to go forward you simply push the right joystick (directional joystick) forward and signal is transmitted to the drone's back motors to spin faster.
the smartphone holder is adjustable between 4.7 inches wide and 5.5 inches
As the back motors spin faster, it causes the front of the drone to tilt or lean moving forward. The T18 can travel at a maximum speed of 15 mph and speed can be adjusted from low, medium and high via the remote controller.
The Potensic T18 remote controller is responsive with immediate feedback and has a nice user interface layout with led indicators for different functions and clearly labeled buttons.
The led indicators on the remote are a nice touch but the lights can't be seen in daylight, only in dimmed light which is okay if you plan to also fly the drone at sunset.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) require propellers to fly and the Potensic T18 drone is no different. Being a quadcopter, you get four propeller blades specifically designed and attached to each arm of the drone via a screw. The drone propeller configuration is clockwise (front right motor/bottom left motor) and anti-clockwise (front-left motor/bottom-right motor) to prevent the drone spinning around in circles.
The flight performance of the Potensic T18 drone is pretty good for a toy grade GPS drone. In fact, you get most features you find in professional hobby grade drones including GPS positioning and GLONASS positioning which makes flying the T18 drone more precise and easier to make the drone hover stable.
still shot from T80 camera
With a GPS drone like the Potensic T18 quadcopter, you can also do cool things like having the drone follow you as you move around or have the drone fly to a specific spot.
still shot from T80 camera
The GPS feature is really useful and also very important in a drone especially in windy conditions where the drone can drift out of transmission/receiving reach, causing you to lose it.
Because the Potensic T18 drone has GPS built-in, you won't lose it if transmission is lost between the remote controller and the drone but if GPS connection is lost that is a different matter. Once a drone loses GPS signal the drone will land immediately which is how many people lose their drones; hence why you never want to fly the drone out of your line of sight. When you lose transmission signal or the battery runs low, the T18 drone automatically returns to you which is neat.
Headless mode is another feature that makes flying a drone even simpler. With headless mode, no matter which way the drone is facing you can can move it forward and backward, left and right. Without headless mode, the drone is not as easy to maneuver because if you want to move forward or backward the drone has to be orientated correctly so if you want to move forward the front of the drone has to be facing forward.

The average flight time is 10 minutes which is the average drone flight time for a beginner drone. More expensive drones can last up to 40 minutes in mid-air and fly longer, higher and further distances (up to 4 miles).
Hobby grade drones can fly as high as 1,500 feet, which is the "cap" for all drones even though many drones are capable of going as high as 12,000 feet. Depending on where you live, there is a "legal flight height cap" which in Europe is 500 feet, while in the United States is 400 feet.
The Potensic T18 drone maximum flight distance is 50 meters, while the flight altitude and return altitude is 120 meters. By default, the Potensic T18 drone flight parameters are set to beginner mode which caps the flight distance, flight altitude and return altitude to approximately 30 meters.
Recharging the Potensic T18 3.7V 1000mAh Lipo battery can take up to 60 minutes, depending on whether you use a 5V/1A charger or 5V/2A wall charger.
Whatever you do, you don't want to use a charger with voltage higher than 5V or risk burning the battery. Luckily, additional spare Potensic T18 batteries are available to buy.
The Potensic T18 drone does not come with a carry case for transportation but you get replacement parts, including spare blades, cogwheels and a screw driver.
guards, landing feet and charging cable
Another thing to keep in mind is whether you have to register the drone in the country you intend to fly the drone. For example, if you live in the United States you have to register your drone with the FAA.
In the UK and the EU, you don't have to currently register a drone but the UK government is said to be changing that very soon so it's worth staying up to date with the UK Civil Aviation Authority and the European Union Safety Aviation Authority. The Potensic T18 drone weighs 185 grams so it's well under the 250 gram weight limit. A drone weighing more than 250 has to be registered with the FAA in the United States.

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