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Old Jul 23, 2014, 10:27 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,295 Posts
Mini-Review
The WLToys V931 (AS350 scale heli) review

Note: I will update this thread with flight videos and pictures as soon as possible.

The WLToys V931
(Airbus Helicopters AS350) review


Introduction
Hey everyone,
The Eurocopter AS350 “Squirrel” is a light utility helicopter that has been the backbone of many military, government and civilian fleets. Known for its versatile configuration options and great high-altitude performance, there are very few comparable helicopters on the market that is as capable as the AS350.

In this review, we will be looking at a much smaller version of the AS350- the WLToys V931; this great looking scale helicopter represents WLToys’ first step into the world of scale, hobby grade helis.

Before we begin, special thanks go to Tmart for providing the review sample; their constant support of my unbiased reviews is much appreciated as always.

From the box

A big box was sitting on my table when I arrived at work today, it was a cardboard outer-box with a blow-molded protective casing within; everything was well packed and protected, no components were damaged in any way when they arrived.
Officially, the package comes with the following:
1 x Wltoys V931 RC Helicopter
1 x 2.4GHz 6 channel transmitter
1 x Balance Charger
2 x 500 mAh Batteries
1 x USB Cable
3 x Main Blades
1 x Gear
1 x Philips Screwdriver
1 x Tail Blades
1 x Allen key
1 x User Manual
All in all, no problems there, the V931 is very well equipped from the box. Good job WLToys.


Design
The V931 was made with an emphasis on the scale canopy. I think that whoever was in charge of making the canopy and the paint scheme did a great job; I was very surprised to find that WLToys didn’t put their usual cheesy wording on the body but instead kept it very much to scale. Slide the nose of the aircraft forward and the battery/electronics bay is revealed; the battery slides into the battery bay quite easily and both the esc and receiver are easily accessible.
Behind and to the starboard (left) side of the electronics bay sits the brushless 06 outrunner motor, which provides ample power to the main rotors.
The tail motor is connected to the receiver via enamel wires (which are taped to the side of the fuselage so that they do not interfere with the drive system).

Included are two 3.7V 500mAh lipo batteries that provide ample power to the drive system of the V931.

A three-bladed head is perhaps the V931's biggest difference to previous WLToys products- it is very well designed and works great.



The transmitter
Although I have not had any luck binding my V931 transmitter to my Power star aircraft from previous reviews, I was told that this is the same unit that comes with the V977, so we’ll take their word for it.

Externally, the transmitter does look to be the same unit, so if you would like to find out more, please refer to the following links: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2122574

Flight characteristics

Since I am not a 3D pilot by any means, and since the V931 is designed to be a scale flyer, I will focus this part of the review on the scale flight characteristics of the aircraft.

There are 2 rates (low and high) and 2 gyro settings (accelerometer on/off, labeled as 3D/6G) that the user could choose from. The flight characteristics of the V931 will differ depending on which combinations of these 2 settings are chosen. Since this aircraft uses a collective-pitch setup, there is also an idle-up mode for those of you who fly 3D.

I would recommend those of you who are new to 6 channel helis (or to this aircraft) to try out the flight characteristics in accelerometer mode first; low rates is perfectly adequate for scale flights. I feel that the V931 drifts around a bit more than the V977 airframe it’s based on though, so it requires slightly more from the pilot than the V977 does; the V931 also flies a bit nose-heavy, requiring some trimming.

The rudder requires refined and small movements in order to fly in a scale-like manner; the tail holds great even with aggressive changes in pitch.

High rates under accelerometer mode is mostly for sport flyers, the V931 can cover quite a bit of distance in a very short time under high rates, but since the aircraft still has the accelerometers enabled, stability is not a problem.

With the accelerometers off, the V931 is a different animal; that said, it is still very controllable, pirouettes are flat and stable and the overall flight characteristics are good; the 3 axis mode requires very refined inputs however, so I would recommend that you start with low rates.

In wind, the 3 bladed head (and the heavy fuselage) means that the V931 responds a bit slower to changes in rotor speeds when compared to 2 bladed helis like the V977; therefore, in accelerometer mode, the V931’s altitude fluctuates noticeably more than what I’ve come to expect with other 2 bladed CPs. I would recommend that the accelerometers should be turned off outdoors if there is a significant amount of wind- the more aggressive pitch curve would allow the aircraft to maintain altitude a lot better than what was pre-programmed for the 6 axis mode.

Potential problems:
As much as I love the V931, I must say that there are a few problems that I think WLToys needs to address:

Vibration issues: I’ve yet to crash the V931 (only had one very minor blade scrape on the sofa), yet the aircraft has developed quite a bit of vibration. Prior to one of my recent flights, the vibration prior to takeoff was so bad that it caused the V931 to tip over uncontrollably. I’m guessing that the metal main shaft might be the cause of these vibrations, but I’ll have to take the heli apart to confirm.

Flight time/ Battery performance: I’ve been getting around 4:50-5:10 of flight time with the V931 (scale, non-aggressive flights), the batteries, ESC and motor become especially hot to the touch after flights… I think it’s mostly to do with the scale canopy not allowing the heat to dissipate, but regardless of the cause, I think I will start reducing the flight time to prolong the battery life (otherwise I don’t see the batteries lasting very long at all).

Durability issues: A few have asked me if this was a big issue, I think it’s really hard to say… I’ve broken the canopy pin on the “forehead” of the canopy despite very careful handling, but haven’t damaged anything else just yet (thankfully). I think the higher RPMs definitely do not help in terms of durability, so fly the V931 carefully would be my best advice. Another thing is that under extreme maneuvers, I’ve had the prop strike the fuselage and the aircraft break apart (canopy and horizontal tail fins fell apart).



Conclusion
I think that the V931 is a great way to get into the world of scale helicopters; the great fuselage details, brushless power system and the stable flight characteristics makes it easy for pilots to carry out a rescue mission or do spot landings in their living room (this is something that I’ve always dreamt of doing); at this price point, I don’t think there’s any other scale-heli which looks and performs the way the V931 does.

The biggest gripe I have with the V931 is how hot the battery gets after a 4-5 minute flight; this means that the heli needs a lot of time to cool down and that the battery life will most likely be much shorter than comparably sized helicopters. I guess this is an issue that plagues all scale aircraft, but the amount of heat really causes a lot of concern for me.

If my sources are correct, then the V931 uses the same transmitter unit as the V977… I’ve had no luck binding my transmitter to my V977 but it might just be my unit… so if the protocol hasn’t changed, then there’s another plus for WLToys, let’s hope that they keep this protocol for their future helis as well.

 Guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this review; if you’ve any questions or suggestions, please feel free to comment below. This review was written on July 21st 2014 and is accurate per my findings.

Pros
+ Scale detail
+ Brushless power train
+ Same protocol as the V977 (to be confirmed)
+ Accelerometer flight mode makes the V931 very easy to fly


Cons
-Battery becomes extremely hot after flights
-Vibration issues
-Durability issues?


If you would like to pick up a V931, please visit this LINK. The V931 is now available for 129.99USD
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Last edited by jameschen072; Jul 24, 2014 at 08:57 PM.
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 10:27 PM
The flightless bird
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Reserved for videos
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Old Jul 23, 2014, 11:15 PM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
FyreSG's Avatar
United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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As always, an excellent review!

Wow, I love your photos! They are getting super professional now!

As for the vibrations, I wonder if it was caused by poor blade tracking? Perhaps 1 or 2 of the 3 blades are not tracking properly?

Good stuff! Let's have some outdoor shots!
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 02:41 AM
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Australia, SA, Adelaide
Joined Feb 2013
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Great review as always James!

Like FyreSG the photos are fantastic! New camera?

I'm keen to get a scale bird. This one should be a good starter for me but durability is the concern. Will wait for a bit and see what changes take place with more users flying it
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 03:25 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,295 Posts
Thanks guys, I'm still working on the outdoor pics and video... been too busy working on our new helis to go out and fly much..but it shall be done

@FyreSG, I think it's either the blade tracking or the main shaft... need to play with it a bit more in order to find out

@Zaphod69, nope, it was taken with my trusty Canon G15... could get less blur if the flash was working that day..but oh well, can't have it all right?
Durability could indeed be a problem, thankfully I haven't crashed mine yet..and I don't plan to find out by doing so :P
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 03:31 AM
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Great Job James ... Hope it's still using the KN protocol .... I guess yes
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 08:35 AM
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can it do 3d?
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 10:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chulian1819 View Post
can it do 3d?
According the Samilao video, yes it does
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 08:25 PM
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edited, wrong account
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Old Jul 24, 2014, 08:25 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
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Thanks Seb, I believe that it probably is... but since I can't bind my tx to my old power stars, I'll confirm it when people start getting it to work. I've found that with my aircraft, at certain angles my V931 would intermittently lose signal... don't know what that's all about...I'll keep flying and find out
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Old Jul 26, 2014, 12:43 AM
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Great review well done. Plus honest about issues with bird. Heli looks fine and bl motor makes it even better.
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Old Jul 27, 2014, 09:12 PM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dankar04 View Post
Great review well done. Plus honest about issues with bird. Heli looks fine and bl motor makes it even better.
Cheers man! The brushless main does a great job lifting the (comparatively) heavy fuselage.

one of the batteries is slightly puffed already and I think it's on its way out though, and I've barely 20 flights on it... hmm...
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Old Jul 29, 2014, 05:36 AM
What package dear?
Hellysmack's Avatar
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Joined Nov 2002
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Wonderful review!
Do you think the electrics are all the same as the v977, motor, ESC…?
Looks like batteries are not physically the same as what comes with the v977, I wonder if a higher C rate battery would help, Otherwise keeping flights to 2.5 to 3 minutes?
I have the V977 so could consider the BNF when it comes out.
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Old Jul 29, 2014, 09:55 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameschen072 View Post
Thanks Seb, I believe that it probably is... but since I can't bind my tx to my old power stars, I'll confirm it when people start getting it to work. I've found that with my aircraft, at certain angles my V931 would intermittently lose signal... don't know what that's all about...I'll keep flying and find out
Is the V913 antenna pointing vertically Inside the canopy ?
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Old Jul 29, 2014, 04:58 PM
I failed to crash a heli once!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameschen072 View Post
@Zaphod69, nope, it was taken with my trusty Canon G15... could get less blur if the flash was working that day..but oh well, can't have it all right?
I'm stil using the Canon G6 that I purchase back in 2007. Seriously need to upgrade this piece of equipment but I have to admit it takes awesome pictures for a 7.1mp camera. If you thought micro helicopters are expensive, try getting into DSLR cameras...

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