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XHeli.com Walkera HM CB180D Helicopter Review

The Walkera CB180D is a prime example of a fixed pitch single-rotor helicopter with great performance, sleek looks, and stability that rivals some coaxial platforms

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Introduction



Retail Price:$123.95
Main Rotor Diameter:17.3"
Weight:288 grams (Battery Included)
Length:18.1"
Servos:2x Walkera Micro WK-7.6-6
Transmitter:4 Channel WK-2402 2.4g
Receiver:RX2423 2.4g RX/ESC/Gyro combo unit
Battery:2S 7.4v 1000mAh Lipo
Motors:Brushed 370SH Main, Brushed Tail w/ Heatsink
ESC:Integrated
Manufacturer:Walkera
Available From:XHeli.com

With the coaxial revolution officially in full swing, the number of budding heli pilots has grown increasingly. As new pilots sharpen their skills with the tailless tandem-rotor, the desire to upgrade to a single rotor heli becomes a necessity; the first logical step would be the fixed pitch helicopter. The fixed pitch offers advantages over the coaxial heli such as increased speed and agility, while maintaining the level of stability found in coaxials. The Walkera CB180D is a prime example of a fixed pitch single-rotor helicopter with great performance, sleek looks, and stability that rivals some coaxial platforms. And if price is any concern, the CB180D can be had for around $125; that's less than many similarly-sized helicopters of the dual and single rotor variety.

We flew the Walkera CB180D both indoors and outside, and put my flying skills to the test navigating it through an obstacle course of playground equipment. So far, the CB180D has proven to be a great little platform in terms of value and performance. Let's take a closer look and see why.

Kit Contents

As with most miniature ready-to-fly aircraft, the CB180D's box doubles as a carrying case, and you're made aware of this feature by a single plastic strap on top of the box. As I eagerly (but carefully) cut through the circular pieces of tape that factory-sealed the box, I revealed the inner plastic cradle that holds the heli and radio safely for transportation. This is nothing more than two pieces of flexible plastic, molded to fit the helicopter and transmitter, that sandwich together and fit inside the box.

The kit comes with: a 2.4GHz four channel transmitter, 1000mAh 7.4v lipo pack, lipo balancing charger with a wall power adapter, instruction manual, and an extra set of main blades.

The CB180D is a sleek looking little bird. Its plastic cowl has clean lines and a multicolored black, white, and red design. The frame is black plastic while the landing skids and tail boom are polished metal, and the tail fins are noticeably carbon fiber. A nice addition the CB180D is the red and natural anodized aluminum rotor head assembly.

Overall I was impressed with the fit and finish of this Walkera heli. Nowhere did I find any factory defects or missing parts, and a double check of all fasteners showed they had been assembled tightly. The main blades, however, did require some attention; they were out of balance and caused a noticeable vibration that completely vanished once the blades were properly balanced. I will cover balancing in the assembly section of this review.

In the world of small-scale helicopters, direct-driven tail rotors are arguably the most popular configuration, with the tail motor positioned on the end of the boom and attached straight to the rotor. The CB180D uses a slightly less conventional shaft-driven assembly; the tail motor is positioned at the front of the boom and transfers power to the tail rotor via a shaft and beveled gears. Some will argue that this design leads to a lack of tail authority and an overall reduction in performance as some energy is lost through the spinning shaft and gears, but I'm very happy with the Walkera's performance with this setup.

What's this? Brushed motors?! While the urge to upgrade anything that seems substandard is imbedded deep in our subconscious, the truth is that we really just enjoy spending money. So don't go pricing brushless equivalents just yet; the CB180D flies very well with silver-cans. Flight times are well within what I would expect from any brushless bird and with plenty of power on-tap to boot. Brushed motors do generate some heat though, and these little guys are no exception; they’re quite warm at the end of a long flight. The heat sink on the tail motor does help to cool it off some.

The CB180D uses micro servos labeled as WK-7.6-6, the same servos used in the Esky Lama coaxial helicopters. As far as performance goes, I have no complaints. They work as expected and have survived a few crashes with the rotor speed up. The servos are held in place by a plastic plate that bolts to the frame.

The Walkera RX-2423 is a combo receiver, gyro and dual motor ESC and is more aptly referred to as a 4-in-1 unit. It features four channels and operates on 2.4GHz. Elevator and aileron servo inputs are clearly marked, along with the main and tail motors. The unit has two sensitivity pots which were not adjusted during the review as I saw no need to change the stock flying configuration. The yellow casing is flexible plastic and offers slight protection from shock and the elements. Still, the open ends make dirt and water contamination possible, so avoid flying in wet conditions that could cause electrical malfunctions.

Like the name implies, the main rotors of a fixed pitch helicopter are fixed and unable to change their angle of attack, unlike a collective pitch helicopter. Ideally, a collective pitch heli will maintain a somewhat constant rotor speed and vary the angle (pitch) of the blades to generate lift. The fixed pitch relies on head speed, or the RPMs in which the blades are spinning, to generate lift. Spin the rotor faster, and the helicopter ascends. Reduce rotor speed, and the heli descends. The fixed-pitch rotor head on the CB180D is all metal, with the exception of the flybar seesaw and swashplate linkages.

Look familiar? Anyone who's owned a newer Heli-Max will recognize this transmitter. The WK-2402 is a 4-channel 2.4GHz unit with a few standard features and an LCD display screen. This is a basic transmitter that offers servo reversing and the option to change the throttle from the left to the right if you're so inclined. The stick tension on my transmitter was very light, so I removed the back plate and tightened the adjustment spring. Detailed instructions on adjusting the stick tension are included.

Assembly

The CB180D ships to your door fully assembled. However, just because it doesn’t require any building doesn’t mean it should be flown out of the box. Resist the urge to scramble it into flight, and do a preliminary check of the aircraft. Put a Philips head screwdriver to every screw and make sure it won’t back out easily. Make sure the blades are secured in the blade grips, but not too tight or you’ll get some vibrations. Check the rotor head assembly; with the heli and radio powered on, the swashplate should be level with the throttle lowered and control sticks centered. Check that the pinion gear meshes well with the main gear by lightly pushing the main gear back and forth; you should feel a very small amount of play.

Balancing Your Blades
Blade balancing isn’t mentioned in the manual but is an important step to insure your heli flies its best. The blades that came on the CB180D were very close to balanced, however, the spare blades were so far out of balance that the helicopter shook badly in flight. You can balance small diameter blades quickly, in the same manner as an airplane propeller, by bolting the blades together and opening them up so they are parallel and in flight configuration. Then hold the ends of the bolt and watch for the heavy blade to fall. Add tape to the lighter blade at the tip and test until they balance.

Walkera has included a two and three cell lipo charger/balancer with the CB180D. The GA005 balancing charger is designed for lipo batteries only and charges at 0.80A. Two and three cell balance plugs on the front of the GA005 serve as charge and balance inputs. The unit is powered by a 15v switching mode wall adaptor. A full charge takes around an hour to complete, which is confirmed when the blinking red led goes out.

Flying

Basics

Flying the fixed pitch CB180D is very similar to a coaxial heli. But don't assume it will hover itself like a twin rotor; its small size coupled with a spinning tail make for a more hands-on flying experience. As with almost any heli, minute corrections are required to hold altitude, pitch, and direction, and after a few battery packs worth of flying, even the new pilot will discover the CB180D is very manageable. On a charged battery, you can get upwards of 8 minutes of flying before you have to increase the throttle more and more just to keep it in the air. When it gets to the point where you have to really open the throttle just to hover, go ahead and land. You are on the verge of having the lipo cutoff kick-in, and she will fall like a brick.

The CB180D is nimble enough to satisfy most pilots, but due to short control throws, struggles in even a slight breeze. I had trouble maintaining forward flight into an estimated 3 to 5 mph wind. The CB180D is best suited for indoor and calm-day flying only. The only real electronics problem I experienced was the radio range. Despite having a 2.4GHz system, range was an estimated 20 yards before it lost signal. I have read in the RCGroups.com forums that others have experienced a lack of range as well. Despite this lack of range, the CB180D is a blast to fly, and if the wind is calm, the CB180D can make some pretty quick passes in forward flight.

New Pilots

Lifting off the skids and into a hover is easy and predictable; after spooling up, slowly advance the throttle and the CB180D will begin getting light on the skids. At this point it's best to advance the throttle further and get it into a hover. Letting it dance around on the landing gear runs the risk of having the skids catch on something and tipping over. Once in the air, you'll get a feel for how it reacts to very slight control inputs. One of the most common mistakes that new helicopter pilots make is to over control the model on the first flight. Take it easy and practice hovering and slow forward flight. If you get in a situation where a blade impact is imminent, chop the throttle all the way down to lessen the risk of damage to the gears and rotor components. Best case scenario: You replace the main rotor blades. I also want to note that I've crashed the CB180D multiple times and had some blade strikes without any damage occurring at all.

Experienced Pilots

Anyone with prior helicopter experience will enjoy the CB180D's small size and "fly anywhere" attitude. One of my favorite things to do with a fixed pitch heli to practice precision hovering. A playground is the best place to test your skills by landing in difficult places, or flying through the playground equipment... just make sure no children are playing if you accept the playground challenge.

Is This For a Beginner?

This is a tricky question. Stepping into any single-rotor platform as a first heli can be a risk, but its less of a risk than going full collective. Although the fixed pitch CB180D is stable as helicopters go, it's still a helicopter, and inherently unstable. Does that make sense? If you've had some simulator time and feel confident, I'd say go for it. If you've mastered the coaxial, then definitely. If you've never flown anything that takes off and lands vertically, you might consider a coaxial as your first heli.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

The Walkera CB180D is an entry level fixed-pitch helicopter with good performance, durability, and looks. New pilots graduating from coaxials will find the CB180D an ideal next step towards learning to control single-rotor helis due to its stability, while more experienced pilots will enjoy the CB180D's fly-anywhere style. Both groups will appreciate a price tag under $130.

Pluses:

  • Entry level price makes the CB180D a good choice for a first single-rotor helicopter.
  • Good run times with the included 7.4v 2s 1000mAh lipo pack.
  • Durability: After multiple crashes, the only causality was a pair of main blades.

Minuses:

  • Transmitter range is relatively short at an estimated 60 feet.

Credits

A big thanks goes out to my wife Jess for her video and photography. Thanks to XHeli.com for supplying the Walkera CB180D for review.

Last edited by Angela H; Jul 07, 2010 at 11:33 AM..

Discussion

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Old Jul 08, 2010, 08:34 AM
Cranky old fart
Balr14's Avatar
Germantown, WI.
Joined Oct 2007
20,740 Posts
This heli has already been replaced by the CB180Z. It has too many issues. The motors wear out easily and the shaft drive tail draws too much power and breaks very easily. The location of the tail drive motor causes too much heat and friction. There is an aftermarket upgrade to replace the tail drive with an HBCP V3 direct drive tail motor, that most have used. The CB180Z uses a brushless main motor with a variable-pitch, shaft drive tail rotor, (no tail motor) to address these problems. It also has the new 3 axis gyro, which serves no particular purpose, on this heli.

The heli lacks much movement authority. But, I think you have already touched on that. The CB180Z does not correct this, it's inherent to the 45º offset head design.

But, it's an excellently put together review.
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Old Jul 08, 2010, 05:28 PM
Registered User
United Kingdom, England, Milton Keynes
Joined May 2007
595 Posts
It's hard to review a any Walkera heli and put it up in time as Walkera likes to "update" their products very often. By the time you finish the review, most likely, it's already being replaced by a newer model.

A very nice review BTW.
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Old Jul 08, 2010, 10:32 PM
Build & Fly like 2days ur last
USA, IL, Wheeling
Joined Jun 2006
315 Posts
thank you for the pic but the NO IDLING sign. gave my wife and i a great laugh. but i think you were safe seeing that you were hovering. but still great pic and nice looking heli. i just hit the market for a mini heli and well this does look good. going on the wish list. thanks for the review.

crazy
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 05:30 AM
Recovering nitro addict
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Everett,Washington
Joined May 2005
831 Posts
I noticed your main blades have two different screws holding the blades on, was this for fine balancing? the button head being slightly heavier? Jeff
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 06:27 AM
RCGroups FPV channel Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, North Royalton
Joined Jul 2009
4,636 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by papa38 View Post
I noticed your main blades have two different screws holding the blades on, was this for fine balancing? the button head being slightly heavier? Jeff
Good eye Jeff!
It came that way from the factory. At first I was thinking: "what the heck?!" But I realized it made zero difference in flying or anything for that matter. So I just left it as-is.


Crazy: Despite reports of burned out motors, mine has been trucking along nicely, and I fly it almost every afternoon around my courtyard. Ive put strain on the motors hauling up a GoPro Hero camera and the motors are doing fine. Now, if a motor ceased to function on me, believe me, I would say something. But honestly it's doing fine, no complaints at all mechanically. Also, the fact that Ive crashed it many times and only trashed a pair of main blades says something about its durability. For the price I would recommend it, or the newer brushless version because...well...its brushless!
Matt
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 08:38 AM
Registered User
Joined Apr 2010
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LOL nice review but talk about being late to the party...
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 09:26 AM
RCGroups FPV channel Editor
Matt Gunn's Avatar
United States, OH, North Royalton
Joined Jul 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technica View Post
LOL nice review but talk about being late to the party...
Technica,
As reviewers, we're given the opportunity to report on new cutting-edge products, as well as "seasoned" items that have been around a while. This is done for various reasons and is either decided by the contributing manufacturer/retailer, the reviewer, or a combination of both parties.
As long as the item is still available and being enjoyed by hobbiests, I would say it's review-worthy, regardless of the newer model currently available.
Thanks for your comment,
Matt
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Last edited by Matt Gunn; Jul 09, 2010 at 09:39 AM.
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 01:31 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
9,365 Posts
Great writing and layout, Matt.

Without looking, I suspect the -Z does not meet the same priceline as the -D.

Balr, isn't the inboard tailmotor/shaft/bevel the same arrangement as on Quark? Looks so, from photos.
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 03:56 PM
Cranky old fart
Balr14's Avatar
Germantown, WI.
Joined Oct 2007
20,740 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by arbilab View Post
Great writing and layout, Matt.

Without looking, I suspect the -Z does not meet the same priceline as the -D.

Balr, isn't the inboard tailmotor/shaft/bevel the same arrangement as on Quark? Looks so, from photos.
Yep, that's what they copied. Unfortunately, the devil is in the details and that's where Walkera usually fails. Not to mention, but even Hirobo is abandoning that design as being too problematic.
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 04:44 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
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The notion of an adequately-sized tailmotor inboard where its bulk can stay within CG, is very attractive. But ever since my Erector Set days I've been skeptical of bevel gears. They work fine in car differentials, but those are helical AND submerged in goo.
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 10:22 PM
Cranky old fart
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Germantown, WI.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbilab View Post
The notion of an adequately-sized tailmotor inboard where its bulk can stay within CG, is very attractive. But ever since my Erector Set days I've been skeptical of bevel gears. They work fine in car differentials, but those are helical AND submerged in goo.
Exactly. Hirobo made it work by using a very good quality coreless motor, foam rotor blades that don't weigh anything and a drum and pinion gearset that has very little friction. These are details Walkera missed.
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Old Jul 09, 2010, 10:53 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
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Oh, drum and pinion. Beveled ain't the same thing. D&P has a little sliding friction. Bevel has large radial and axial loads. The gears are constantly trying to escape each other. Maybe if they were made of Delrin, but I bet they weren't. It's expensive.
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Old Jul 10, 2010, 10:18 AM
Registered User
Gibbsboro, NJ
Joined Feb 2004
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My congratulations to your wife Jess for her excellent video. It is nice to see a review video by someone who knows how to use a camera!
TeeVee
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Old Jul 12, 2010, 10:03 AM
DFC~ We Do Flyin' Right
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USA, GA, Atlanta
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Matt,
Another great review and as always, excellent pictures to match! I enjoyed watching you fly this one, that all metal head is beautiful
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