My Blade mCP X Mods

She ain't pretty, but she flies great

I’m a noob when it comes to RC helicopters. I got a Syma S107 for about $30 a year or two ago and it is incredibly stable while being ridiculously bulletproof. I can fly it into walls, and I’ve never replaced a part. If it’s laying on its side on the floor, I can often get it to right itself by just gunning the throttle. (Do I recommend it? No. Do I do it? Sometimes.) A wire fatigued off the board once but that was the only thing I’ve had to fix. It’s a hell of a bargain and it’s treated me great, but being so stable and easy to fly, it has some inherent performance limitations. So I decided to step up a few levels.

I heard about the Blade mCP X helicopter, the first “real” helicopter of its size that came stock with 3-axis attitude-holding stabilization electronics. It weighs maybe double what my S107 does but its performance is amazing. It can do inverted flight, flips, all sorts of crazy stuff. That is, when supplied with an appropriately-skilled pilot, which I certainly am not. But I can fly it in my backyard in 30 mph winds, and this little beast can take it — pretty impressive for something that weighs the same as a good quality 9V battery. Being such a noob, I crash constantly, but I can usually patch things up without needing to buy replacement parts. Here is the list of mods I’ve performed on my helo so far, mostly out of necessity:

  • Grommet mod – tightens up the swash, reduces vibration (not my idea). Works great
  • Tail boom from mCP X2 – comes with a more aggressive tail rotor which helps with yaw authority
  • Created a simple tool to speed up resetting the main gear after crashes – just remove the battery and push this drilled-out rod over the gear hub to click it back in place, no need to remove the canopy or landing gear. I keep it zip-tied to my transmitter since I crash a lot :)
  • Lengthened tail boom – added perhaps 1/2″, seems to help with yaw authority
  • Added magnetic breakaway tail boom mount – after a crash the tail boom pops off instead of breaking, can be reset by simply moving it back in place and letting the magnets lock it down. Works very well, but be careful because if you have too much slack then with the right kind of crash the tail motor wires can get wrapped around the head. I’m sure I’ll keep experimenting with this one
  • Masking tape holding my canopy together? Classy
  • Hot glue holding my landing gear together? Not perfect by any means, but it keeps me flying until I buy a spare

Aluminum piece presses into the helo frame like a stock tail boom, but has an embedded magnet. Tail boom is hot-glued to a piece of bamboo skewer that fits into the channel, and has a magnet glued to it using CA and baking soda. Rubberbands or o-rings might be better

 

5 Responses to “My Blade mCP X Mods”

  1. davesharp says:

    Another mod I forgot to mention: I removed the detents from my transmitter. This makes it much easier to hold altitude carefully in tight spaces. I may make another mod, adding additional drag to the throttle control. I was out flying in the wind today (30-40 MPH, holy crap, it was an adventure) and I found that I often accidentally nudged the throttle up or down while changing the yaw. Maybe a little drag would help, without the drawbacks of detents.

    I think maybe the breakaway tailboom needs a short tether. That way it can’t get wrapped around the head on a bad crash with the head RPMs high.

  2. Mike Hogan says:

    Ahh, she looks like a steak-house, but handles like a bistro:

    http://www.antoniogenna.net/simpson/futurama/sfondi/1024x768Zapp.jpg

  3. Mike Hogan says:

    Hey, the mention of CA and baking soda sent me googling — never knew that trick before now. Thanks!

  4. davesharp says:

    One great thing about the baking soda trick is that it acts as an instant kicker too. Which is convenient because my spray bottle of kicker seems to have evaporated. Lots of guys just use a small spray bottle of water mixed with CA for their own non-chemical-funkiness kicker. In this case I just got tired of waiting for the CA to dry and decided to cover it in baking soda so I could go fly. Makes a decent fillet.

  5. jasunto says:

    Nice. I have a graveyard of tail rotors and when im bored i bring them back to life. I break that tail pretty much every flight and it will be something so gentle that does it. Going to look into the aluminum ones. Scotch tape is my best friend.

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