A few weeks ago I’ve already introduced this Runner 250 Advance on my website. Ever since it was announced it seemed like a very interesting model. Adding GPS system to a racing quadcopter was an interesting movement from Walkera, although some pilots considered this an unnecessary one.
The previous “Runner 250” model proved to be a very popular racer. In my opinion, Walkera, through the GPS upgrade, will strengthen their position in this market segment.
I’ve always considered that racing quadcopters are recommended only for advanced pilots. Without flight experience, newbies can quickly destroy their racer, which is not cheap at all.
After testing a lot of small multi-rotors last year and moving to a GPS model build especially for aerial filming, it is time now for my first racing quadcopter. It gave me some trouble trying to find the best model. Finally, I chose the Runner 250(R) as it is the only GPS assisted racing quadcopter.
- BNF package without the transmitter (in carton box);
- Basic package with 800TVL camera and Devo7 transmitter;
- Aerial package with HD camera and Devo7 transmitter;
- Full FPV package with 800TVL or HD camera and DevoF12E transmitter;
- Walkera Runner 250(C) Advance with CC3D flight controller;
- Runner 250 Advance deluxe pack with HD camera, DevoF12E remote controller, and FPV goggles.
All the above-mentioned packages can be purchased in two different variants depending on the FPV 5.8GHz TX module:
- TX5817 (CE) with 25mW power and around 150-meter range;
- TX5816 (FCC) with 200mW power and around 300-meter transmission range.
Runner 250 Advance review and test
I was very glad when Maggie from HobbyWOW offered me to test this racer, so I accepted it without any hesitation (she helped me to avoid spending more money on this hobby :).
They sent the Runner 250 Advance from their EU warehouse, this way I received it faster and there were no additional charges like VAT or customs fees.
Inside the backpack, everything was well secured as each part has its own place. Besides the carbon fiber airframe (with preinstalled FC, RX, ESC, OSD module, FPV TX, camera, and brushless motors) and the Devo 7 transmitter I found the following:
- 2s and 3s balance battery charger with 15v power adapter;
- 3s 11.1V 2200mAh 25C Li-Po battery;
- Anti-slipping band for the battery;
- A small bag with installation tools;
- 2 pieces of CW and 2 pieces of CCW 6″ propellers;
- micro USB data cable (for firmware upgrade);
- Training cable for Walkera WK-2801-Pro and Devention transmitters;
- Devention instruction manuals (on DVD);
- Runner 250 Advance user manual.
With only 2 Kg total weight (including the backpack), the Runner 250 Advance is really easy to carry with you everywhere. This is a huge advantage especially if the flight zone is km’s away from the place you parked your car and it’s making it much easier to organize some cool races near isolated forests.
On a first look, the Runner 250 Advance looks like a machine from the “Transformers” movie. Because of the radio antennas that look almost like two tentacles, it can be also confused with a bloody alien species :)
Runner 250 Advance review – Main parts
- Carbon fiber frame;
- White front LEDs;
- Red rear status LEDs;
- Direction LEDs;
- 15A brushless ESC (2-CW and 2-CCW);
- WK-WS-28-014 brushless motors;
- FCS-Runner 250(R) 8bit flight controller (MultiWii);
- Devo-RX710(R) Receiver;
- TX5816 or TX58417 5.8GHz real-time image transmitter;
- Runner 250 OSD (R) telemetry module
With the improved design of this “Advance” model, Walkera seems to have solved very well the problem of the destroyed front lights during crash lands of the previous model. I find it strange that during this “face-lifting” they didn’t solve the protection of the front camera too, especially because the replacement of this camera costs 6 times more than the replacement of a LED.
The GPS antenna comes in a small carton box and must be mounted and secured with 3 screws on the rear part of the quadcopter. The installation process is very simple and takes about 5 minutes, just take care of the right orientation of the GPS plug when you are inserting it in the flight controller.
On the top of the airframe, there is a camera mount with anti-vibration dumpers which allows installing small cameras like the RunCam HD. This is pretty cool if you want to capture your race.
The flight direction changes are signaled by some orange LED bars which are located on the side of each arm.
There are two status LEDs in the rear of the quadcopter which are not synchronized and show different things. The left one indicates the GPS status, for example 2 blinks means that were found 7 satellites and the quadcopter is ready for safe GPS assisted flight.
Runner 250 Advance review – Transmitter (Devo7)
My Runner 250(R) comes with the Devo 7, which is a nice entry-level transmitter from Walkera. It feels good in the hand but is heavier than I expected, especially after I loaded 8 pieces of AA Ni-Cd batteries. I found it more convenient to feed the transmitter with a single Li-Po battery and I already ordered an 11.1V 2200mAh 15C battery for this purpose.
Being a “universal” transmitter suitable for all kinds of aircraft, some settings have to be done before binding it with the quadcopter. In the Runner 250 Advance’s user manual there are exactly described all the configuration steps for the Devo 7, F7, and F12E transmitters.
Besides the usual control buttons and sticks, the Devo 7 transmitter have 5 switches and 1 rotary potentiometer:
- “Hold turn” not set with the Runner 250(R);
- “Gear” allows to stop/start recording with the HD camera;
- “Mix” allows to switch between “Manual”, “GPS” and “Return to home” modes;
- “FMOD/FMD” allows to switch between “Normal “, “Intermediate” and “Roll/Aerobatic” flight modes;
- “D/R” Ellev/Aile/Rudd;
- Aux2 can be used to control the angle of a gimbal.
Runner 250 Advance review – Flight capabilities
For a safe and successful maiden flight, it is very important to perform all the possible calibrations (compass, gyro, and accelerometer).
In Mode2, the motors can be unlocked and locked with the left control stick (Throttle/Rudder) by pushing it to down left respectively down right.
Unfortunately, I succeeded to test it only indoors and on short flights as it is very noisy because of the very powerful brushless motors. Moreover, I’m still searching for my son’s LEGO pieces that were spread all over my living room by the powerful wind that the 6″ propellers generated. I promise that as soon as the weather will allow me I’ll make some test flights in nature and post them here. I’m very curious and anxious to experience the speed this quadcopter can reach and check how it reacts to my control maneuvers. Meanwhile, I will try to upload the latest firmware (V1.2).
Runner 250 Advance review – Final worlds
One thing is certain, this upgraded Runner 250 looks awesome in daylight as well in dark. There are probably many other cheaper or even faster racing quadcopters on the market, but none offers so many features as this Walkera model.
This product was offered by HobbyWOW for an honest review, thanks again for their professional attitude. For those who are interested to buy it, during the upcoming Black Friday will be listed with an additional 8% discount.
Runner 250 Advance – Unboxing and quick test video
What I like
- Dedicated backpack for carrying and storing;
- Modular design;
- GPS return to home (not tested yet);
- 800 TVL or full HD first-person view camera;
- Different 5.8Ghz FPV TX according to the local RF regulations;
- Excellent control range (about 1 Km with DEVO7);
- Innovative direction lights;
- Onboard sound buzzer.
What I don’t like
- With a maximum 40 Km/h flight speed it is not the fastest racing quadcopter;
- The position of the battery must be adjusted according to the center weight of the aircraft;
- Many “Flip of the Death” reports in acrobatic mode;
- Probably will be more after some outdoor flights.
Images with the Runner 250 Advance racing quadcopter
I just found that the front camera’s protection was solved by Walkera with an upgraded front guard.