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E-flite Blade mCX S300 RTF & BNF Ultra-Micro RC Helicopter Review

This new co-axial Blade Ultra-Micro helicopter has the scale appearance of a Schweizer 300C with the excellent performance of the original mCX Ultra-Micro Helicopter. Reviewer Michael Heer found that to be a win-win combination!

Splash

Introduction


Rotorspan:7.5 inches
Gross Weight:1 oz.
Length:6 in
Height:4.7"
Transmitter:MLP4DSM 2.4GHz DSM2
On-Board Electronics:5-in-1 unit
Battery:1-cell 3.7V Lipoly 110mAh
Motor:2 micro coreless
Charger:Battery powered 1S 3.7V Lipo charger
Manufacturer:E-flite
Available From:Horizon Hobby
Price:$139.99 RTF
Price:$109.99 BNF

The original E-flite mCX Ultra-Micro Helicopter was, and is, an extremely popular RC helicopter because it flies so very well and has true four channel control. The new mCX S300 helicopter incorporates the same excellent on-board electronics for quality flight control and encloses it in a scale 300C Schweizer body. I will tell you right up front: "Mikey Likes it!"

Kit Contents

RTF Version Kit Contains:

  • RTF Blade mCX S300
  • Fully assembled and RTF mCX S300 ultra-micro helicopter
  • 2.4GHz DSM2 4-channel MLP4DSM transmitter
  • 4 AA Alkaline batteries for the transmitter
  • 1-cell 3.7V Lipo 110mAh battery
  • DC Lipo 1-cell battery charger
  • 4 AA Alkaline batteries to power the charger
  • Two pairs of spare white rotor blades with decals
  • Instruction Manual
  • Small screwdriver and spare canopy securing rings
  • Supplied box is excellent for transporting and storing everything.

BNF Version Kit Contains:

  • BNF Blade mCX S300
  • Fully assembled and RTF mCX S300 ultra-micro helicopter
  • 1-cell 3.7V Lipo 110mAh battery
  • DC Lipo 1-cell battery charger
  • 4 AA Alkaline batteries to power the charger
  • Instruction Manual
  • Small screwdriver and spare canopy securing rings
  • Supplied box is excellent for transporting and storing everything.

Items I supplied for RTF Version:

  • Nothing!

Items I supplied for the BNF Version:

  • Spektrum DX7 a DSM2 transmitter

On-Board Electronic 5-in-1 Unit

This unit remains the heart of the Blade mCX series of helicopters. The 5-in-1 unit includes the receiver, servos, mixer, ESCs and gyro. When the supplied Lipoly battery is connected to the unit, the gyro initializes and the ESCs arm. For the gyro to work properly it is important that the helicopter be on a flat, level surface as the initialization process takes place, so get it on a flat surface as soon as you can when you connect the battery to let the gyro set up properly.)

Assembly

Assembly involves installing the AA batteries into the charger, charging the Li-Po battery for the helicopter and binding the helicopter to a DSM2 transmitter in the BNF version. On the RTF version you need to also remove the battery cover from the back of the transmitter and install the 4 supplied AA batteries into the transmitter. Charging time on a depleted battery is a maximum of 30 minutes. My first charge took only five minutes but later charges took 15-20 minutes in most cases.

Binding

The RTF version arrived already bound to the supplied transmitter and test flown. Binding was not necessary. However, should binding ever be necessary in the future, the directions for how to bind the transmitter to the cMX S300 can be found in the instruction manual and the back of the transmitter.

The Binding Process RTF Version:

  • 1) Plug a charged Lipoly battery into the Blade mCX, and wait five seconds.
  • 2) Turn on the transmitter while pushing down on the left stick on the transmitter.
  • 3) Hold the stick down for a second or two, and release.
  • 4) The flashing LED on the helicopter go solid to show it is bound to the transmitter.

The Binding Process BNF Version:

  • 1) Plug a charged Lipoly battery into the Blade mCX, and wait five seconds.
  • 2) Follow the instructions per the DSM2 transmitter selected.
  • 3) I used my Spektrum DX7. I pushed in the binding button on the back as I turned on the transmitter and let go of the binding button.
  • 4) Binding process was completed in under 10 seconds.

With the BNF version you must supply your own DSM2 transmitter to use with the helicopter. I used my Spektrum DX7 to bind with the mCX S300. Other transmitters that would work are listed below. They picture the transmitters that will work with the BNF version on the back of the box. I have posted a picture of that part of the box below the list of transmitters.

Transmitters that work with the Bind-N-Fly:

  • E-flite CX2 RTF transmitter
  • E-flite Blade mCX RTF transmitter
  • E-flite Blade CX3 RTF transmitter
  • JR 12X 2.4GHz
  • JR X9303 2.4GHz
  • Spektrum DX7
  • Spektrum DX7SE
  • Spektrum DX6i
  • Spektrum DX5e
  • Parkzone Vapor RTF transmitter
  • CP Pro 2 transmitter (HP6DSM)

Downloads

Completion

There was really nothing to do with the RTF version but install the batteries and charge the Lipoly battery cell. With the BNF version I only had to bind my transmitter to the mCX and install a charged battery, and I was ready to fly.

The White Rotor Blades

The S300 comes with both pairs of coaxial blades in black plastic attached to the copter. However, they also include two pairs of white rotor blades and decals for those blades. I switched the lower black blades for the pair of lower white blades and added some of the decals to the white rotors as seen below. In dark lighting conditions it at times can look like it only has the one main pair of rotor blades. Even when the upper blades can be clearly seen, my eyes are drawn to the lower blades and the splash of color supplied by the decals on those blades. The effect can best be seen in the picture below to the right from the Horizon Picture Gallery. The other three pictures below show how the white rotors are much more visible then the black rotors even in normal light.

How Scale Is It?

Here is a picture of the Schweizer 300C from the factory website and a picture of the mCX S300. You can decide for yourself. I find it nicely stand off scale, myself.

Flying

Transmiter Controls

Dual Rate

Dual Rate allows the pilot to command more or less movement with the same amount of stick motion, depending on being in higher or lower rate. The transmitter that comes with the RTF version has dual rate available. When first turned on it is automatically in High Rate which is shown by the red LED on the transmitter being lit solidly. High Rate is preferred by most experienced pilots as it gives the quickest control for the handling of the helicopter. To get to Low Rates simply turn on the transmitter, and push the right control stick down into the transmitter. The red LED will begin to flash to show the transmitter is in Low Rate. Low rate is the recommended set up for beginner pilots who often tend to over control and overreact when first learning to fly. Low Rates helps smooth out these radical actions while the beginner learns that less movement is often the best way to control the helicopter. All functions switch rate together. They are all in either high or low rate. This is true for rudder (left stick side to side), right stick in all directions, and even the throttle curve on the left stick is altered.

Downloads

Trim Buttons

In the picture below, I am pointing to the trim tab buttons. They are used to correct for drift if necessary. Drift is when the helicopter is moving in a given direction without pilot input. I only needed a little adjustment on the right of the two buttons I am pointing to as initially my copter drifted in a left turn. By using the right trim button I stopped the drift. Adjustment was also available for side drift or front and back but I didn't need to adjust either of those controls on the right stick. Properly trimmed and confirmed by short hops, landing and applying trim as needed, my mCX S300 was ready to fly.

Basics

E-flite recommends that for the first flight the pilot should have a space free of obstructions that is 10 x 10 with an 8 foot ceiling. I agree with this recommendation as lack of space often causes panic. With the S300 10 x 10 is sufficient flying space. If a mistake happens and the helicopter is about to hit a wall or other object the best course of action is to often turn off the helicopter throttle. It will do little or no damage to objects it hits if the blades aren't turning and is unlikely to get broken if the blades aren't turning when it hits something. I tell my students that if they hit something or think they are about to hit something to pull the left stick down! Kill the throttle! Thinking about that before they start lets them do it quickly if the need arrives... well, most of them.

Despite the small size of this ultra-micro helicopter, it is a full four function helicopter. In the US control system: (Mode II) the left stick controls the throttle with the bottom position being off and the top position being full throttle. Horizontal movement of the left stick causes the helicopter to turn in place to the left or the right. These turns can be done slowly or as fast or faster then a figure skater doing a spin in place. The right stick controls forward and reverse direction as well as side to side motion. Moving the right stick at an angle lets you go in any of the compass directions you desire. Controlling the left horizontal stick at the same time you have the helicopter facing to, from or aside the direction it is traveling.

The instruction manual does an excellent job of explaining the operation of the helicopter and the transmitter. One of the features on the RTF transmitter is dual rate for the controls. The helicopter can be set to either high or low rates. At high rates the helicopter is more responsive to direction input on the transmitter, and at low rates itís less responsive. These rates are for the elevator, rudder and aileron controls, everything except throttle. They are all on the same setting with the standard transmitter. When the transmitter is first turned on it is on high rates. The red LED is solidly lit to show this. Use the right stick, and push down on it (In towards the insides of the transmitter), and the red LED flashes to show it is now set on low rates. Low rates are recommended for the first flights, especially for the first time or less experienced helicopter pilot. New pilots tend to over steer and overcorrect by moving the sticks all the way to one side. In low rates, the response to a full side move will only be as if it was moved half way in high rates.

The Blade cMX S300 is controlled by real radio waves and not infrared waves. It is not adversely affected by sunlight. There is no need to point the transmitter at the helicopter for it to receive the signal. It is still line of sight, so to control the helicopter you still need to see it. Walls and other objects can sometimes block the radio signal.

The Blade mCX S300 has coaxial counter rotating blades. This design allows for very stable control as the torque of one pair of blades is equaled and canceled by the torque of the other pair of rotating blades. They don't require a tail bade for control or to offset torque. They control direction by the tilting of a blade and the change in speed of the blades to change direction.

If you are new to helicopters view the video below to get a better understanding of how to control the helicopter as well as coordinating your actions with those you want of the helicopter.

Downloads

Taking Off and Landing

Taking off was easy with a smooth steady increase of the left stick which increases the throttle response of the helicopter. Lift off occurred, and the helicopter started to climb. I like to get at least a foot off of the ground and out of any ground effect, and then reduce the throttle slightly to go from climb to hover. The cMX S300 can be flown hands off in hover with ease for several seconds at a time but pilot input is generally necessary to keep complete control of the helicopter. Precision landing was simply a matter of getting the helicopter into a hover over where I wanted to land and slowly reducing throttle. Takeoffs and landings are quickly mastered with this copter from the hover. With experience, I was soon making landings from forward, reverse and side movements as well. I just added a little counter direction for a flair to stop the directional movement as I set the copter down on the desired landing spot.

As with the original mCX, the S300 gives some warning signs that the power level is getting low. As the battery got weak I had to use more left stick or adjust the trim button slightly to hold a heading. I also would have to add more throttle to hold a hover. These are normal warning signs with other helicopters as well, and it pays to notice them and land.

Aerobatics/Special Flight Performance

Except in the calmest of conditions this helicopter cannot be flown outside. It is susceptible to being blown about by a breeze or even a room fan. As sold, mine traveled a little faster backwards than forward. I enjoy being able to fly it in fairly tight spaces. My tricks are going under tables, through the sofa coffee table valley and flying over ceiling fans that are turned off. For me, the great control of this helicopter is what is so special. I don't really try and do any real "aerobatics" but I do perform skidding takeoffs and flair landings at times.

Is This For a Beginner?

Yes! Like the original mCX, the new mCX S300 is a great helicopter for a beginner. At one ounce it can withstand most crashes and falls provided the throttle is turned off so it doesn't thrash about. A beginner can learn how the controls for the helicopter work, and with this helicopter it will be possible to become very skilled in control. Advanced RC helicopter pilots can enjoy this helicopter as well. I continually make new challenges for myself as I fly around our house and my office with this helicopter.

I gave the original mCX ultra-micro copter my highest recommendation for use by a beginner, and I continue that with this version. Itís easy to control and allows the beginner to grow in handling skill of copters generally while having fun.

Tips for the beginner

Start the flight with the helicopter facing away from you so that its right and your right, etc, are the same. I encourage my students to turn with the helicopter to keep the transmitter aligned with the helicopter as much as possible until they get their head into the copter.

Use the trim buttons or trim tabs to try and get the mCX S300 as steady as possible when starting a flying session. I want the helicopter to be stable with hands off as much as possible and not have to worry about holding constant correction with a stick while flying the helicopter. I have had no trouble trimming my mCX helicopters for a good basic hover!

If possible get an experienced pilot to check out your helicopter and assist you with your first flying session. The mCX S300 is very stable but it isn't perfect, and a little help can sometimes come in handy. If you don't have any help, make your adjustments small as you trim out the controls. Good luck, and have fun.

If you are a beginner and would like more information check out my section for: "Beginners Only" in my Blade CX3 review at: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1030899 .

Converting an Original mCX Ultra-Micro helicopter to an S300 Model

If you have an original mCX and would like to convert it to the S300 model it is easy to do. The S300 has the same electronics as the original model so the only changes you need to make are cosmetic. You will need your original mCX helicopter in good working order and you will need to purchase five separate part sets: S300 landing skid, S300 tail boom and angle adaptor, S300 tail boom accent set, S300 body/canopy set and S300 tail rotor and fin set. The landing skid is necessary to have the tail boom accent set attach properly. The optional white lower rotor parts, when bought separately, did not include the listed decals in the two packages that I saw. As with the S300 kits, using the white blades is optional, but very cool in a darkened room.

Flight Video/Photo Gallery

Downloads

Conclusion

E-flite found the way to make their great mCX ultra-micro helicopter even better. They kept the great control and performance and gave it a scale body, tail and landing skid as well as optional white rotor blades that further enhance the appearance. It has dual rate on the controls which is helpful for the beginner, and with its small size it easily flies well in a small space. It can be purchased as a RTF, a BNF or cosmetic parts to convert an original mCX to an mCX S300.

For the beginner pilot I recommend the RTF that comes with its own transmitter. For those that already have a Spektrum or JR equipped DSM2 transmitter you might prefer the BNF version as it saves a little money. However, it is very handy to have the transmitter in the box with the helicopter to just grab the box and have everything you need to go flying.

Pluses:

  • Flies right out of the box
  • Great looking helicopter
  • Very controllable full 4 channel helicopter
  • Hovers very well
  • Spare parts are available
  • 2.4GHz so a bunch can fly together without a conflict

Minuses:

  • The warranty does not cover crash damage, but so far no damage.

My thanks to Dick Andersen, Dave Harmon, Danny Thompson and Donna Kosich for their help in taking stills and video for this review, to E-flite for providing the kits for this review and Angela H. for editing it.

Last edited by Angela H; Jul 25, 2009 at 08:11 AM..

Discussion

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Old Jul 25, 2009, 10:28 AM
**I'm Battman**
RCBABBEL's Avatar
Twin Falls, Idaho
Joined Jan 2005
8,547 Posts
Always enjoy your reviews Michael.
Thanks.


If you want to see what S300 owners think of it, go here...
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1023762

Are ya'll excited for the release of the Blade mSR??
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1084136

rc
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Old Jul 25, 2009, 11:09 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,368 Posts
Hi Joe:
I don't see how a helicopter pilot wouldn't be interested in the new mSR after watching the videos. The wait for it is only supposed to be one month. The controls for it on the transmitter are the same as the mCX S300 so beginners can get the eye hand coordination going with this one and get ready for the mSR. The same transmitter will work with both as well. But I do see some beginners with no experience, flying the mSR into walls (hopefully not people) at 25 mph. Mike
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 03:03 PM
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In the vicinity of the midwest.... home of large lots of land to fly in!!
Joined Mar 2008
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is there any performance difference from the original MCX?
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 03:59 PM
If it flies, I can crash it.
sleb's Avatar
Cleveland, Ohio, United States
Joined Nov 2003
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Iron,
There are many differences. The mSR is a fixed pich single blade not a co-ax. It is supposed to have all the benefits of a fixed pitch with the stability of a co-ax. It is built without mods to handle winds up to 5mph. It has much faster speed and is much more agile. I love my mCX 300s and I am definately going to get the mSR.
Steve
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 04:13 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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The performance of the original mCX and the mCX S300 reviewed in this review are the same. The appearance is different due to the different landing skids, tail and body. As for the upcoming mSR it is very different as mentioned in the post above. Mike H
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Old Jul 27, 2009, 05:06 PM
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In the vicinity of the midwest.... home of large lots of land to fly in!!
Joined Mar 2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleb
Iron,
There are many differences. The mSR is a fixed pich single blade not a co-ax. It is supposed to have all the benefits of a fixed pitch with the stability of a co-ax. It is built without mods to handle winds up to 5mph. It has much faster speed and is much more agile. I love my mCX 300s and I am definately going to get the mSR.
Steve

i was talking about the S300 but okay...... thanks.
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Old Aug 05, 2009, 09:27 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
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Using the white rotors and the red and blue decals on them really can help you tell witch S300 is yours when flying with several other people in the same air space.
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Old Aug 09, 2009, 02:55 PM
rwl
rwl
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MA,
Joined Jun 2009
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So it does not have a AC charger? You charge it with AA batteries? I don't like that.

Bob
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Old Aug 12, 2009, 10:05 PM
Dave Segal
Philadelphia PA USA
Joined Jun 2001
545 Posts
Scale Appearance

This model is actually quite close to the appearance of the original aircraft. The photo shown earlier is of a somewhat different version.
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Last edited by Dsegal; Aug 13, 2009 at 07:04 AM. Reason: adding photo
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 06:58 AM
Dave Segal
Philadelphia PA USA
Joined Jun 2001
545 Posts
> So it does not have a AC charger? You charge it with AA batteries? I don't like that. <

You can purchase a multiple pack charger and AC/DC power supply from Horizon Hobby instead.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 09:17 AM
rwl
rwl
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MA,
Joined Jun 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sleb
Iron,
There are many differences. The mSR is a fixed pich single blade not a co-ax. It is supposed to have all the benefits of a fixed pitch with the stability of a co-ax. It is built without mods to handle winds up to 5mph. It has much faster speed and is much more agile. I love my mCX 300s and I am definately going to get the mSR.
Steve
The MSR. It's not a real Fix pitch the fly bar is connected to the rotor so it will be more difficult then a coaxal but easer then a FP. I'm chomping at the bit for one.

Bob
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Last edited by rwl; Aug 13, 2009 at 11:02 AM.
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Old Aug 13, 2009, 11:15 PM
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livonia bob's Avatar
United States, MI, Livonia
Joined Apr 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rwl
The MSR. It's not a real Fix pitch the fly bar is connected to the rotor so it will be more difficult then a coaxal but easer then a FP. I'm chomping at the bit for one.

Bob
So on a real fixed pitch what does the flybar connect to?
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Old Aug 14, 2009, 09:36 AM
rwl
rwl
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Quote:
Originally Posted by livonia bob
So on a real fixed pitch what does the flybar connect to?
It's a Bell-Hiller rotor head design. You can Google it.


Blade mSRís design is a Bell-Hiller rotor head that provides the kind of speed and agility you would expect of a single-rotor heli but maintains a measure of positive stability similar to a co-axial heli.

Bob
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Old Aug 14, 2009, 09:56 AM
Cranky old fart
Balr14's Avatar
Germantown, WI.
Joined Oct 2007
21,338 Posts
Whether it's Bell or Bell/Hiller has no bearing on anything, it's still fixed pitch. The difference is Bell mixing attaches the swashplate to flybar to rotor. Bell/Hiller adds a link between swashplate and rotor to influence rotor movement. Bell/Hiller is quicker and more precise, all else being equal.
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