Well, mostly since quite a few people seem to be interested in these things. So I decided to write a quick review, since I got mine today and took it out for a spin (actually a few spins... spare batteries are nice).
As far as I can tell, it's a clone of the Zoom/Zap/Shogun 400. I haven't looked all too close, so I cannot say which parts are interchangeable, if any.
The specs of this bird are:
Length: 750mm (29.5")
Width: 320mm (12.5")
Main Rotor Diameter: 630mm (24.8")
Tail Rotor Diameter: 145mm (5.7")
Flying Weight: around 555g (19.5oz)
Comes with Gyro, all-in-one board, servos, TX and a 10.8v/650mAh NiMH battery and charger, plus 25-page manual
Price is usually around $200 +S&H, I've seen it much cheaper than that though.
Mine had extra blades (tail and main), a 1800mAh LiPo plus cheap charger and training gear. Also, it came with a 400 motor whereas Walkeras page claims it comes with a 380 motor.
There also is a brushless version of this helicopter. The only difference is that it comes with a separate ESC and a brushless motor. What I do NOT know is if the wiring is any different in that case.
First thing I noticed when I opened the box: The canopy is still as crappy as all other micros I've ever seen. Seams are pretty obvious, decals applied sloppy.
Next: a look into the manual. It has the usual bad grammar/spelling that comes with many cheap foreign products. It's not as bad as some, but still somewhat annoying. The manual explains a lot, just not the things that a beginner would need to know. Controls are not explained in any detail, almost no explanation of proper setup. A few useful hints thats all. A useful explanation on how to take the main shaft out, and the tail assembly. Parts list at the end of the manual.
On to the helicopter: It may be ready to fly for some, but it was not for me. The paddles were totally out of alignment. Good thing I have a pitch gauge. The manual mentions that the kit comes with one, but I haven't seen it anywhere. Putting the battery in place isn't described anywhere at all, some headscratching might be common here. I also had to tighten the tail rotor blades, and tie the antenna closer to the main frame (else the canopy would not fit properly).
First impression here: Solid, I'd even say sturdy construction, but I doubt a beginner could get this bird up in the air without help. The tail rotor is shaft-driven, with plastic gears all around. We'll see how that holds up. Main rotor has a freewheel assembly so it _should_ be possible to auto. I'm not yet there, so no comment on that. Landing gear seems to be a tad too far forward - center of gravity is barely ahead of the rear landing gear end. That's adjustable though.
I won't comment on the kiddie skids since that doesn't come standard.
First takeoff - no problems. Tracked the blades (which is actually described in the manual) Pulled it up out of ground effect and noticed that the tail was slightly wobbling. Adjusting the gyro fixed that. I was very impressed by the gyros ability to hold the tail steady, since that Walkera Gyro is not a HH gyro. Hovered it a bit, and the stock battery... erm... piece of crap. And I mean it.
The NiMH battery is PATHETIC and only gave me maybe 5 minutes flying time - I put in a 1800mAh LiPo and got about 20 minutes flying time out of it.
Talking of batteries... you have to take the canopy off to charge the battery and plug it in. The manual hints in a forgotten paragraph that Walkera at one point or another actually wanted to put in an on/off switch and a charging lead. They really should have done that. I'll solder one for my bird anyway.
Okay, next round of flying, with gyro adjusted. Took off, and decided to hit what Walkera pompously calls "the 3D switch". GOODNESS GRACIOUS! Enging revs up, and cyclic control really is ONLY cyclic control. In "normal" mode, cyclic also controls the engine speed. But in 3D, the controls were nice and crisp, _almost_ like the big glow bird my (former) neighbor lets me fly every now and then (thanks Mike!). All in all, very stable in my opinion. It feels like it may have enough power for basic 3D, but it'll be a few weeks before I can say anything there.
Before you go buy it, let me sum up my biggest negatives and positives:
- Manual is lacking if you're a newbie
- Not necessarily set up properly out of the box
- Stock NiMH battery is practically useless
- I'm somewhat wary of the plastic gears at the tail shaft. Time will tell, but they seem a little flimsy to me
- Got to take canopy off for charging, and it bugs the hell out of me that I have to plug/unplug the battery to turn the bird on and off, especially since the gyro needs a few seconds without moving to set itself.
- (added 04/20/05) Plastic tail gears strip easily.
- (added 04/23/05) I'm not sure if its the cable, my comp or the TX, but the TX does not seem to work with TruFlight (the sim that often comes with Walkera helis)
- Fairly solid construction for such a cheap bird (well, maybe except the canopy)
- Comes with everything needed to fly (ok, except a decent battery), even with tools to maintain the heli
- Good flying characteristics for such a small bird
- (added 04/23/05) Most parts seem compatible with Zoom/Zap/Shogun, thus easy availability of spare parts
- (added 05/02/05) Flies very well in wind, at least up to about 15mph
Now, personally: I am happy with it.
[...irrelevant ramble deleted...] It has its disadvantages, and due to its lousy manual I would not recommend it for a total newbie without someone to check it over before first flight.
(added 04/23/05) TIPS, TRICKS & DOCUMENTATION
The following information was gathered by me in various forums and sometimes discovered on my own:
Default DIP switch settings:
Switch - Default - Name (from TX)
1 - Off - Elev
2 - Off - Aile
3 - Off - Thro
4 - On - Rudd
5 - On - Heli/Acro
6 - Off - Tail C
7 - Off - CCPM/Norm
8 - On - Unlock/Lock
9 - On - Pit
10 - Off - Gear
Default channel usage on RX:
Channel - Function
1 - Yaw (left/right servo)
2 - Pitch? (not sure)
3 - (unused)
4 - Tail servo (via Gyro)
5 - (unused)
6 - Collective? (not sure)
The main motor is plugged into a separate lead from the
Make sure the trim on the throttle/collective stick is all the way down before you fire up the heli (mentioned in the manual, but easy to overlook).
Set trims to center for the first flight.
Make sure the switch on the top right is set to N (normal) before turning the heli on.
The PZT and PLT knobs are by default turned off. They are used to adjust the collective on the heli. To unlock them, flip switch 8 on the back of the TX to "unlock" (i.e. OFF). BEWARE! As soon as you do that, factory settings are lost!
I haven't experimented much with them so no details on that yet. Flipping switch 8 does lock YOUR settings in. One major warning: You should never flip DIP switches while the TX is on. Always turn it off before making changes.
Top right switch called "Flight Mode" works like this: In normal mode the left stick (presuming mode 2) mixes throttle and collective. In mode "1" it spools up the motor to full speed and the left stick only seems to control collective. I could be wrong there though.
The top left switch labeled "Gear" does nothing on the #35, but it does seem to be wired and functional. No idea which channel on the RX would use it.
Before EVERY flight, check ALL screws and tighten any lose screws. From my experience, Walkera does seem to overtighten the screws though.
Blades... I guess everyone here knows how tight they need to be. Anyway. Main blades should be tight enough that just barely don't slip when you hold the heli sideways. Tail blades just about the same. If the blades are too tight the heli will wobble. If they are too lose... no idea. Also make sure the blades are balanced and track properly.
Gyro: It has two adjustable settings: Sensitivity and Gain. If your tail is oscillating left/right, the gain is too high. If the servo is jittering badly, the sensitivity is too high. You can adjust both with a small screwdriver. Turn the heli off before adjusting.
Starting up the heli: The problem there is that the gyro is a little touchy. After the regular pre-flight check the way I did it before I added an on/off switch is to turn the TX on, make sure throttle is all zero (including the trim), Flight Mode switch is set to N. Then I set the heli on a flat surface (table), get the main blades approximately perpendicular to the flybar, and plug the battery in while making sure the heli sits perfectly still on the table.
The gyro LED will give you a good idea if the gyro got set up right. If it is red or blinking the gyro has not been set right - start over by unplugging the battery.
Test the pitch/yaw/roll function with your TX.
I'd suggest to make a small modification to the heli, it'll make your life easier: Install an on/off switch between battery and RX.
Also... go ahead and read up on general setup: how to track, balance and pitch blades properly for example.
Regarding blade pitch in particular: As long as you fly in "N" (Normal) mode, tail authority depends a lot on the basic pitch of your heli. Since motor speed is coupled with blade pitch in this mode, if your pitch is too high while the motor RPM is too low to give the tail rotor enough speed to counteract torque. In this case, the heli will spin opposite to the blade direction (i.e. rotor clockwise = heli spins counterclockwise).
If you have big troubles with wobbling, check blade balance. You can chicken out here: buy pre-balanced blades.
Always... ALWAYS check all (!) screws before you take off for a nice flight. Or use loctite if you want.
If (when?) you crash, check flybar (the bar which connects the two paddles) and feathering shaft (connects the two main blades - you'll have to take the blades and grips off to get to it) along with the main shaft. If either is bent: replace it. The easy way to check is to take them out and roll them on a glass (or otherwise very flat) surface.
If anyone has any comments, please let me know so I can add it!
Credit: http://www.runryder.com/helicopter/t173213p1/ (jknoell)
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