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Old Oct 20, 2010, 11:43 PM
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Joined Oct 2010
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What to do with an S031 - Upgrades?

Hey folks! I'm new to the forum, so I will start with a little story :-)

Once upon a time there was a husband and wife walking through the mall. In this mall there was a gentleman playing with a small remote control helicopter. The husband went to see the price of these magical little flying creatures, and was surprised to find that they were "only" $79.

After talking to the salesman, and getting the wife's input, we were informed that the S031 helicopter model would be the best option if we wanted gyro, and the ability to fly outdoors.

The price was "only" $159 and we walked away with the great "steal of a price" of $150.

The following morning the husband went outside to the 5 acre back yard to test out the new flying creature. There was a light breeze that carried the creature straight into the balcony, hit the balcony, then crashed to the ground cracking the windshield.

"Oh well, lets try again." So on the 2nd try, the helicopter flew itself all the way across the 5 acres, over the driveway and into the neighbors property where it crashed into the fence.

The next idea was to try flying in the large empty basement. It went much better this time, but the battery died and the creature came crashing down.

"Seriously? It's only been in the air for 4 or 5 minutes!" exclaimed the husband.

After recharging for 3 hours, it was time to try in the living room with the high ceilings. The creature was launched into the air, flew straight up, over the railing and landed on the indoor balcony overlooking the living room. Hooray! Success! Then trying to re-launch the creature again to get it back downstairs, there was a loud noise.

Apparently the creature scooted backwards while attempting to launch, and broke the "B" blade on the edge of the door trim.

The value of our little S031 creature went from $150 to $0 in less than 12 hours.

So that is our story.

Now, my wife and I have been looking online only to see that these S031 planes are made by Syma, not Cobra Toys, and are averaging about $50, not $150! So we feel pretty suckered by the little helicopter kiosk in the mall, but they do not accept returns and suggested that the short battery life is a warranty issue/defect.

Seeing as the instruction manual states 5-6 minutes, I'm guessing it's not a defect.

My plan is to replace the broken blade, and see if I can figure out a way to achieve the following things:

1. Stop the S031 from scooting backwards on take-off. I want it to go straight up!

2. Increase battery life - does anyone have any suggestions for battery packs that will last a good 15 minutes or more? I don't even care if the battery pack needs to be strapped to the bottom of the dang thing, but 5 minutes is ridiculous!

3. Speed up the charging - 3 hours of charging to get 5 minutes of use? Seriously, that's insane!

4. Is there anything I can do (upgraded tail motor??) that'll make this thing flyable outside?

I've seen videos on YouTube of RC helicopters that look similar to the S031 (I think made by E-Sky?) that seem to fly outside just fine. Surely there must be something I can do?

Thanks for humoring me - looking forward to hearing what I can do with this thing before it gets tossed in the trash. My wife thinks I'm silly for putting even more money into it, but if I can make it work properly then it's not a bad little gizmo to play with :-)
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 12:28 AM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
9,373 Posts
No, 15 minutes on ANY model helicopter regardless of fuel/power is an unattainable objective. 5-8 minutes is the center of the bellcurve. In fact, if you consistently get 5 minutes out of 031, you're doing better than many.

Yes, mall-kiosk sellers are notorious hosebags.

Scooting backwards is a balance issue. The battery may not be installed in its intended position.

3chs are only flyable under 1mph draft, since they can only go 1.5mph tops in dead calm. Note that the tailmotor works by tilting the craft forward, while the stability mechanism fights tilting. So it will briefly surge forward but quickly settle into 1.5mph. You'll see this mechanical interaction when you release the forward command and it will momentarily back up.

I'm sorry the kiosk hosed you out of $150, which would have bought a Blade MSR, which still has some limitations but nowhere near as much as 031. That's what kiosks do, fascinate uninformed passersby who have no idea what these things are actually worth. Now you know.

But your fascination is healthy. Look how many of us have it!
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 12:33 AM
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Joined Oct 2010
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Thanks for the info.

Is there any possibility of upgrading the motors to get any additional performance?

I've seen YouTube videos of a guy running the EK1-0180 Esky batteries in his S031 - he gets 3x 5 minute flights out of it without the motors getting too hot. Would this be advisable?

I'm trying to find out what the difference is between 3/4/6ch helicopters - not having much luck. What IS the difference?
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 09:18 AM
I'm FAMOUS
Joined Mar 2010
5,108 Posts
ARGH. S031 claims another victim.

The motors will burn out, even if they don't heat.

You actually got BETTER performance out of the thing than the average customer: these are notorious for not having much lift when fresh from the box.
I was very surprised you didn't have the top blade holder/flybar mount shatter...

Garbage. Throw the whole thing away now. I am a GOOD mech, and WASTED several weeks' time attempting to make something flyable out of the parts from TWO S031's.
It cannot be done, even with access to all replacement parts.
(One was a freebie from a seller, I bought the other.)
I video'd the destruction by fire of mine...really, this is the best fun they provided.
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Old Oct 21, 2010, 01:41 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
United States, TX, Fort Worth
Joined Jan 2009
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M'sieur L'Bouchet is pretty cynical about the bigger Symas, and not wholly without cause. They look remarkably well engineered, but there are some lurking shortcomings, like the hub and powerplant. The hub can be reinforced. The powerplant problem hasn't been clearly defined.

Sure, if the Esky battery works for that guy, try it.

Diff among 3/4/6ch is ......... how many channels they have. Sorry, that's smartarse. 3chs are THR/RUD/ELE (tailmotor). 4chs are THR/RUD/ELE/AIL, the latter two changing pitch cyclically through servos and swashplate. 6chs are THR/RUD/ELE/AIL/PIT, where the pitch is both cyclically and collectively variable.

Because of differences in mechanical control implementation, 4ch has more motion authority than 3ch, and 6ch most of all.
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 03:28 PM
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Old Oct 22, 2010, 04:55 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
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.....
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 04:26 AM
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I have 2 Syma S031 Helicopter's
one is a S031G not to shure what the diff is
(seems to have a more powerfull back motor)

Ive had no problems with them and enjoy flying them
they last aprox 8mins flying and take about 60mins to charge

I dont have any problem with the motors getting hot there is alot of air blowing down into them and they are Open sided motors

you do need to fly them on a calm day or in a large shed.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 02:03 PM
Fly Runaway Fans
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The G is gyro.
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 02:52 PM
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You just wrote the only positive review for this model.

How many flights do you have on them?

Pending a really positive answer, where were they purchased and when?
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Old Oct 28, 2010, 05:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbilab View Post
The G is gyro.
It already has a gyro... so doeas that mean the the G is for Second Revision...?
A contact at Hobby-Estore told me, 2 or 3 month ago, that Syma was working on the S032G S031G, which was the updated version...
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Old Oct 29, 2010, 05:53 AM
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My S031's both had gyro, but no g in the nomenclature.

Seriously- I will buy another one if there start being reports of decent power/lifespan.
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Old Oct 31, 2010, 10:52 AM
RC Otaku
Kawasaki, Japan
Joined Oct 2010
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New S031's have LiFePo4 batteries, not Lipo. Just received two from RC-Fever, both have the same strange (to me) characteristics. It looks just like a 3S lipo, but charges to 10.8v (with included charger, auto-cutoff), then settles down to 10.0v after a while. No balance charge plug, just single plus-minus discharge plug. I was confused until I found the Turnigy 4500mAh 3S2P 30C LiFePo4 Pack (a flat-pack LiFePo4) on HobbyKing.

Strangely, box still states 800mah 9.6v Nimh, manual says 3 hours to full charge, but spare parts lists Li-poly battery. Charger states 11.1v 900mA and has red light when charging and green when ready (like Walkera 1S charger). The new LiFePo4 battery weighs 80 grams for an exact all up weight of 440g for the S031 heli (heavy!!). Stamp on battery says "9.6v 800mAh, 803652Fe, 100729" on one side and "Fe123" on other. Motors have big holes in the top for cooling (Did old ones? Only pics I could find to see motors were on Xheli, and they didn't.)

Haven't flown yet, waiting for calm winds, apartment too small for indoors. Will report back after first flights.
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Old Oct 31, 2010, 12:33 PM
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My continued lousy view of this model...

No need for a dupli-post (I should talk...).

This model has claimed more free time than Hugh Hefner's publications,
with considerably less satisfying results.


If yours breaks, please be honest, and tell us about it. I found the head assembly to be VERY fragile, and even devised a fix for them,


to allow the SECOND flight to take place, on both of mine. There was no crash, contact with a light curtain snapped a flybar right off of one, and a tip-over takeoff got the other. Notice the thinned flybar in my pic- this "give" makes all the difference.

Yes, the S031 is a PORKY toy, no two ways about it. Nix the absolutely un-necessary outer sideplates, this helps, along with lighter alum tubing for the skids.


But this quickly underlines: this product improves when a considerable percentage of it isn't there anymore.

If I were to receive an S031 as a gift, right now- I'd profusely thank the giver, and return a gift on the spot:
"Take the un-opened box back to the Mall guy, get your money back. Give me one-third of it, that's what you have effectively done at this point anyway."

I'll take the <$50 and hand it to Wifey, with the instruction to fight any thing I do or say for a week. Because that's what I'd been effectively given.

If I could order an S031, knowing it was the same oversized PoohCopter* I got, I'd have one shipped pronto to my lazy brother-in-law today.


The motors I had were nearly identical to the ones in S006G- dead in hurry.
Giant S031 Photo Gallery.
*With "h": bad. Without "h": great.
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Last edited by killbucket; Oct 31, 2010 at 12:57 PM.
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Old Oct 31, 2010, 03:43 PM
RC Otaku
Kawasaki, Japan
Joined Oct 2010
32 Posts
Killbucket, I read through all (I think) your posts on this S031 and still decided to get a couple. If your motors died using 3S lipos (11.1v), then I'm not surprised, too much voltage. That's probably why the new model has LiFePo4 with the lower voltage, 9.9v, to closer match the 8 cell 9.6v Nimh battery. I hope the new holes in the top of the motors will also improve cooling to improve life. I plan to do the Killbucket S031 Crash Course Diet Plan on one of them, which will hopefully lighten it up enough to use a high discharge (25C-30C) 2S lipo. Lipos I will try include Rhino 2S 1050 30C at 66g or Turnigy Nano-Tech 2S 1300 25C at 77g.

Please be patient as I must wait for a weekend day with calm winds.

BTW, these were for my girlfriend who decided she had to have an outdoor heli when I started flying my Walkera UFLYS outdoors. Until then she was satisfied with the 4 S107s we have. Indoors, I fly a Walkera Lama2 and Nine Eagles coaxials, both highly recommended 4 channel helis, Nine Eagles to start (more durable) then Walkera (smoother, longer flights).
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