|May 03, 2013, 01:00 PM|
HiSKY FBL80 CP Flybarless Helicopter with X-6S Transmitter (RTF)
After flying a great deal of airtime with my WLtoys V922 I wanted a lighter, flybarless CP helicopter that may allow me to pull off basic 3D moves easier, as well as be more resistant to damage during 3D practices. Several Chinese reviews suggest that HiSKY FBL80 is a nimble heli, great for executing 3D moves. There's even a Chinese video of it flipping continuously (uploaded to YouTube). I was compelled to think the FBL80 as a suitable platform to master 3D flight.
Aaron from Banggood.com has (again) kindly sent me a HiSKY FBL80 with X-6S Transmitter (RTF) for a review. I was honored and thrilled to be able to fly the heli and write this review.
I hope this review can provide on the following information:
1. FBL80 Flight Characteristics
2. Comparison with the V922 / FBL100
3. Usability of the X-6S transmitter (for HT8-specific details, you may like to check out the fine review by E2)
A review wouldn't be complete without beginning with the packaging.
I was pleased to find a layer of foam wrap protecting the package. The size of the box hints how much smaller the FBL80 is going to be. Its length is barely the height of the transmitter.
To my surprise, the package came with spare neon green main rotor blades and tail blades. These brightly-colored blades should allow me to see it clearer at night.
Time to take out the baby bird. I knew the FBL80 is small, but only realized how small it is when it stands beside the rest.
Just how small is the FBL80?
Here are some photos to give you a sense of how tiny this helicopter is. From the left: V922, FBL80, V911, L6030.
The FBL80 is shortest and lowest of all my micro helicopters.
I’m pretty amazed that the tiny main rotor blades could lift the heli off the ground.
As the heli is so small, I had to take photos of it with the BIGGER heli.
It can comfortably rest on the 325mm rotor blade of my 450-sized helicopter.
In fact, both the V922 and FBL80 could piggy back on my 450.
After the photoshoot with the rest of the gang, it's time to keep them and explore the new FBL80 in detail!
Up Close with the FBL80
I'm not used to seeing components this small on a helicopter. Let’s start with the receiver board. Like V922, the FBL80 board is mounted vertically.
Somehow, the FBL80 reminds me of a coffin. But check out the two screws that hold the board to the frame. They are right at the top! Can you imagine the amount of stress the board takes when the heli crashes nose-first? I wouldn’t be surprised if the top portion of the board breaks off upon impact.
The servos look almost like those for the V922 until you realize the board holding the linear servos are much wider. It is impossible to share servos between the two birds.
I did not extract the main motor and tail motor to examine in detail, but they do appear to be the same as those for V911. I believe the main motor and tail motor for V911 could be used as replacements for FBL80. However, the pinion for the main motor is different. As I am worried that I could not get the pinion off the existing motor, so I would order the original main motor (instead of the cheaper V911 main motor) as spares.
The tail blades is the same size as that of the V922 but the tail motor is smaller than the 7mm tail motor found on the V922.
At the time of writing, there are not other spares or upgrade components for this tiny helicopter. Looking the same parts for V922 vs those for FBL100, HiSKY parts are clearly more expensive. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for WLtoys to come up with their rendition of FBL80, just like what they did to the FBL100. In the meantime, I have to buy the pricey HiSKY parts.
The battery is ridiculously small! It is unimaginable that it has sufficient power to drive the motors for flips and rolls. I kept my circuits to 4 minutes and at the end of each session, the bird still feels energetic. I’m pretty sure I won’t be finding higher capacity “upgrade” batteries as they are likely going to make the feather-weight heli too heavy for nimble flights.
Like the V922, the swashplate came perfectly level. However, at 50% pitch, the blades were not at 0 degrees. As the blades were slightly positive at 50% pitch, I shortened the 3 linkage rods by one round. While that didn't give it 0 degrees, shortening by one more round would make give it negative pitch, so I left it having slightly positive pitch. I attempted to fix it electronically, by setting subtrim of -25 to the pitch channel. On the bench heli, the heli behaved fine - 0 degrees at 50% pitch; cyclic and collective responded correctly to the transmitter sticks. However, when spooled up, the swashplate tilted left and the blades smashed into ground. I removed the subtrim and the heli is back to normal (and with slightly positive pitch at 50%). Take note!
The two grommets on the canopy are like the V922 that fall off easily. I fixed that with a dab of CA. Unlike the V922, the FBL80 landing skids are rigid and sturdy. It’s strange that such a light bird needs such a heavy duty landing skids. Also unlike the V922, the body frame is much more rigid and does not flex easily. One cool difference between the two is the FBL80 main rotor spins freely (thanks to the one-way bearing?) while that of the V922 “clicks”.
The X-6S is nice to hold but the buttons click like a cheap toy. The beeps are loud and annoying.
It has many useful switches and I especially like the ability to toggle between Normal, Idle-1 and Idle-2 modes; and low rate or high rate.
As the manuals did not state the recommended settings for FBL80, you may refer to my settings below:
Channel Reverse +----+------------+ |REV | 4 | +-----------------+ |NOR | 1 2 3 5 6| +-----------------+ D/R +----+--+---+ |AILE|50|100| |ELEV|50|100| |RUDD|90|100| +----+--+---+ Servo Endpoints / Travel = 100 Swash Mix +--------+ |AILE| 50| |PITH|-60| |ELEV| 60| +--------+ +-----------+------------+ |Thro Curves|Pitch Curves| +------------------------+ | N| I1| I2| N | I1| I2| +------------------------+ | 0|100|100| 30 | 0| 0| | 40| 90|100| 40 | 25| 25| | 60| 85|100| 50 | 50| 50| | 80| 90|100| 75 | 75| 75| |100|100|100|100 |100|100| +---+---+---+----+---+---+
At a pitch mix of 60%, full collective produces a great amount of pitch.
But this is necessary - it wouldn’t hover at 60% to 70% throttle stick at a lower pitch mix.
The LCD transmitter is highly recommended, especially for beginners, who can reduce the rates to so the heli is not so sensitive to inputs. It is a fantastic upgrade from the stock V922 transmitter because it allows beginners to fine tune their heli without being confused by the complex setup required by a pro-grade transmitter, e.g. 9X with ER9X firmware.
After the FBL80 lifts off the ground, minimal corrections are required to keep it in a stable hover. It is more stable that the V922. Throttle response is excellent likely attributed by its light weight as well as a more aggressive throttle/pitch curve. It certainly is easier to learn tail-in hover with this guy.
Flying circuits with FBL80 is easy. Being smaller and lighter means less inertia and easier to steer away from objects or the ground. As compared to V922, it allows the pilot to react later and stand a higher chance of averting the crash. Be sure to use a low rate and/or a low cyclic swash mix when flying it the first time. It can get really fast, in a short time, the same way it can stop or change direction in a short time. The small bird may fly so far that you can’t tell its heading. When that happens, trust me, (crash) land it or it may go so far that you can’t find it.
While the tail holds well, it wags sometimes. There is no way to fix the wag as the tail gyro gain is not configurable. At high headspeed, the wag is more pronounced. Pitch pumps will cause tail blow outs, but properly done flips will not.
Let’s get onto the fun part - this heli, I feel, is designed for 3D action. It’s extremely agile, highly responsive, and very powerful, during flips and rolls. At the end of each flip (upright to inverted, or vice versa), the FBL80 stabilizes very quickly. It makes flipping so much easier to accomplish, that I feel it’s a form cheating. I was able to flip and roll at a much lower altitude than the V922 because... I could. I’m very surprised to be able to pull off tight axial flips and rolls, especially when I’m bad at flips and rolls. When I got carried away, I did consecutive flips that were made up of bad collective and cyclic management, the heli struggled and the tail blew out a little. But the heli remained in the air. If it had been my V922, it would be on the grass with its swashplate separated.
It is a bad idea to mow the lawn with the FBL80. The small motor and rotor blades do not cut grass well. Don’t ask me how I found out.
I had wondered why HiSKY had researched and engineered such a tiny CP helicopter, given that their FBL100 is a great success. After flying the FBL80 , I think I know the answer. By shrinking V922 a little it is able to use a lighter main motor, lighter battery, shorter rotor blades, as well as other lighter, smaller components. Yet, the “punch” of the heli is not compromised. In fact, I’d say they hit the sweet spot with the FBL80, which feels like it has a higher power-to-weight ratio than the FBL100 / V922. The stability and nimbleness of the FBL80 makes it a great beginner’s helicopter, and that includes 3D beginners as well!
The X6-S transmitter is a great companion to the FBL80. Being able to tweak the rates and curves help beginners tame the agile heli, and allow novices to fine tune the bird to their preferences. If not for the lack of expo, this transmitter would be perfect.
Video: (I couldn’t find a cameraman! Stay tuned!)
- FBL80 with X-6S aka “LCD Tx”: http://www.banggood.com/Wholesale-Hisky-FBL80-FBL-80-6CH-3D-RC-Remote-Control-Helicopter-p-61240.html
- E2’s review: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1857301
+ (FBL80) Powerful and stable, feels like it has a high power-to-weight ratio
+ (FBL80) Nimble, agile, easy to do basic 3D moves like flips
+ (FBL80) Relatively more durable, more resistant to damage
+ (X-6S) Programmable, e.g. dual rate, throttle & pitch curves, swash mix
+ (X-6S) Supports 6 models / memory profiles, e.g. FBL100 / V922, FBL80, FBL70, FBL90, ...
- (FBL80) Replacement parts could be cheaper
- (FBL80) Manual lacks detail (e.g. did not state pitch & throttle curves)
- (X-6S) Does not support expo function
|May 03, 2013, 01:03 PM|
My first video of FBL80!
|May 03, 2013, 01:48 PM|
Germany, HE, Darmstadt
Joined Jan 2013
nice read. as I already have stated in erdnuckel´s thread under http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...6&postcount=79, the tail wags as opposed to what you have read on chinese sites. you have also proofed that this birdie has tail wag, unfortuntaley! and yes the hisky TX is way better than the V922 stock one. The good thing is, you could also fly your V922 with the hisky TX, the only downside is you don´t have expo.
|May 03, 2013, 02:08 PM|
Thanks for the review.
When you get a chance, could you tell me how many teeth on the pinion. And possibly measure blade length, width and thickness? Weight would be great too if you can do that.
|May 03, 2013, 05:58 PM|
+1 I think it would be a great beginner's heli. LOL my first beginners heli was a walkera 4#3b lol yikes. After trying to fly it I almost give up on heli's. So after I calmed down I went and bought a mcx. And the heli bug got me. If a newby set the radio up right on this fbl80 he could skip the msr for sure and have a heli to grow and learn with. Even in normal mode with my radio setting it will loop and funnel( don't ask how I know this lol purely an accident and unintentinal) oh it will also try and land itself on a vertical wall when doing way to much correcting!
I'm still a newby and hav'nt flown the Ncpx but from videos of both the only advantage the Ncpx has is the lhs probably has the repair parts. But then again I looked at a Ncpx today and the fbl80 is a little bigger and alot sturdier.
|May 03, 2013, 08:25 PM|
oh hey also could you get a measurement on the diameter of the mainshaft?
I have to much time to think and engineer between batts
|May 03, 2013, 08:31 PM|
Thanks for the compliments! It was hard work staying up till 2am to get the review out. I couldn't write as detailed as what I had done for V922, due to family commitments. I'll try to get the measurements out soon.
|May 03, 2013, 09:32 PM|
Thanks for the great review!
In your review you said:
Someone (Daryoon?) let me know if I'm wrong about this.
|May 03, 2013, 10:46 PM|
|May 04, 2013, 06:58 AM|
Germany, HE, Darmstadt
Joined Jan 2013
|May 04, 2013, 07:35 AM|
Joined Jan 2010