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Old May 30, 2012, 06:28 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
Mini-Review
Benma Helios 100 Review

Here's my review guys, enjoy!
***Videos will be added eventually :P***

The Benma Helios 100 Review



Introduction

A few months ago I was approached by Benma and they asked me to give a few opinions and join the development of a brand new 4 channel helicopter. Their aim was quite high...they wanted to make the cheapest yet best performing 4 channel (flybarred) FP helicopter. Impossible? That's what I thought too...

Benma's prototype seemed to confirm my fears... the gyro, the motor and the flight performance in general weren't up to par with the V911... I was quite disappointed. Many of you have seen this thread by then and some have even pre-ordered the aircraft... yet since this first batch of aircraft did not perform as expected, Benma recalled them. (It actually was sent to vendors like Banggood already) and re-designed the software and a few hardware components too.

Fast forward to a few days ago. My friend Aaron from BG told me with great excitement that he got the production version of the Helios and that it was much better. I was skeptical... but he's quite passionate about R/C as well so I knew he wouldn't tell me something's good unless it really was.

Today, a package arrived for me at the leasing office while I was at work... It was the Helios 100... I can't tell you how excited I was to see the complete version of this thing as I spent a lot of time relaying our ideas on the forum to Benma.... the name and the little sun on the tail were my personal touches too...it's amazing to see something that you did influence a possible global product.




Specifications:
Size:24x5x14cm
Flight time: around 8 minutes
Charging time: around 30 minutes
Range: around 60 meters
TX modes: Mode 2 and Mode 4


From the box

Box contents:
1x Helios 100 helicopter, assembled
1x 2.4GHz 4 channel transmitter
2x 3.7V 180mah lipo battery
1x 3.7V lipo charger
1x Phillips screwdriver (just what I need!)
1x English manual
1x Spare rear rotor
1 set of spare blades
1 set of spare linkages


You need:
6 AA batteries for the transmitter





The transmitter

Some of you (including me) dread the thought of yet another toy grade radio...so the lack of 9X compatibility is a deal breaker for many..but I found that the transmitter for the Helios is much better than most other toy grade units. I like the looks of it, the build quality is very impressive, I like the fact that the transmitter is made of this rubberized material that is very nice to hold...the transmitter itself is quite ergonomic and I really like to hold it actually... even though I am the owner of comically large hands!

On the back of the transmitter, there is a USB port where you can plug in the charger (or any other USB product, I'm guessing!) to charge your batteries. On the front, there are 2 buttons on top...one is the mode 2 to mode 4 conversion button (don't hit this in flight!) and the other is a dual rates button... I don't like the fact that they aren't labeled...but they function quite well.
The LCD screen shows a whole host of information: the TX battery voltage (both in bars and in volts!), trim, stick positions, dual rate position (as CH1 and CH2) and even a bind indicator that will show bars if you've correctly gone through the bind process.


Before we move on, I want to point out a special feature of this heli: 1 second (supposedly) binding! There is no lag, no beeps and basically no waiting. Just plug in the battery and cycle the throttle stick. Don't know if it's one second but it sure binds faster than anything else I own, toy or professional.



Flight performance

Ok, I know this is the part that's most important to the readers. After the lightning fast binding process, I eased up the throttle and observed it's stability... was quite impressive really! (Most of the indoor flight pictures you see were done with TX in one hand and camera in the other!) It would hover with practically no stick input. Think V911 but somewhat more stable.

The tail hold was dead on. No sense of drift throughout the whole battery pack and it has quite a bit of authority as well. Yawing to the left is done as easily as yawing to the right, no effort at all. Pyro rates are very adequate.
Under low rates, the self-stabilizing tendencies were quite obvious... but it will go where you point it as long as you maintain the stick position. Under high rates the Helios is very lively, FFF is fast indeed and with my tiny apartment, I find myself running out of room very quickly since this thing is so fast.

I went to the lobby of my building to try out some more aggressive maneuvers and I couldn't get the flybar to strike the canopy. Very impressed. Oh, and I crashed a few times in this process...no damage done at all.
As of right now I have yet to try the Helios outdoors..but Aaron tells me that it has more than enough power and authority to do so. I'll update the review when I do try it out.



Post flight

I'm very surprised as to how well the Helios performs. Very seldom do I have so little in terms of bad things to say about a certain product. Of course, I've only owned this thing for a few hours though, so if I do find other weaknesses down the line I'll update this review. All in all, it has achieved and gone way beyond my expectations. Anyways, thanks for reading and I hope you've enjoyed this review. For questions/comments, please feel free to discuss it in this thread or PM me.
-James


Pros and Cons:
Pros:
+ Great flight performance/stability
+ Great transmitter design and performance
+ Build quality
+ Price/Value
Cons:
- Turnigy 9X incompatibility
- Non standard battery plug
- Charger only charges one battery at a time


Extra pictures:






Currently only Banggood carries this heli I think , but as time goes by I think you'll see this in most online hobby shops that carry similar products.
Banggood's Helios 100 link
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Last edited by jameschen072; Aug 17, 2012 at 08:40 AM.
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:33 AM
The flightless bird
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2,290 Posts
Reserved for review
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:47 AM
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cgpirre's Avatar
Belgium
Joined Dec 2011
624 Posts
Really a shame that it isn't compatible with the v911 TX.
Do you happen to know wether parts are compatible? Motors, blades, linkages...
I still might get it if the price is about the same as v911
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:48 AM
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United Kingdom, England, Redcar
Joined Jan 2006
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Excellent James thank you.

If i may,

Paddles are an excellent idea even better if the flybar is able to fit on the v911 , you will get a few more sales.
Batteries with plugs are excellent.
The transmitter looks a little funky , what are those silver columns of buttons for ? it they dont serve a purpose then theyre not needed.
Allowing it ti bind with the already existing V911 tx would have been a good selling point.


The interesting part will be the price , it looks very similar to the V911 and the V911 parts are so cheap with regard to the flightboard that contains the servos that it will be interesting to see if the price increases too much.
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Old May 30, 2012, 06:59 AM
MassiveOverkill's Avatar
United States, FL, Melbourne
Joined Feb 2011
5,109 Posts
I see longer stalks on the TX. I think it should be called the Massive Overkill in honor of the paddles Actually I think they should send me a sample for the idea....................well it was worth a shot.
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Old May 30, 2012, 07:01 AM
I love MOD! & WALKERA & V911!
KKDDMM's Avatar
China, Guangdong, Shenzhen
Joined Jan 2012
336 Posts
I want to try it!!!
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Old May 30, 2012, 07:07 AM
The flightless bird
jameschen072's Avatar
Joined Aug 2004
2,290 Posts
@cgpirre: I have no idea at all..I'm waiting for the prototype to arrive but that is still more than a week away..Mr. Chan (the boss of Benma) said that the price would be a little more than the V911 because of the added costs of the servos...but they will be fair and the price difference won't be too significant.

@scousethief, thanks for the comments, I'll pass them onto Benma models... as I don't work for the company (They only consult me because I'm a friend of the boss of the company), I have little say in what happens haha.. so I don't know if these things will be implemented. I don't think the silver thingys have any purpose... and I did talk in depth to their boss about the 9x binding issue..apparently he doesn't want to clone their protocol because every company is supposed to have their own...he wanted this to be something truly original and so I really didn't know what to say after that :P...I heard there may be a version that uses the V911 RX so that might work with the V911 tx.. but you'd lose the plugs and independent servos and so-forth... we'll have to see what really makes its way to production eventually...

@massiveoverkill: Well the owner of WLToys and the owner of Benma are very good friends so it's quite possible that he saw the pics I sent of your mods too..haha..I don't know about the sample but I'll ask :P
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Old May 30, 2012, 07:35 AM
I need a bigger shed..
sammyc's Avatar
Australia, TAS, Launceston
Joined Nov 2011
1,498 Posts
Looks very nice, but the lack of tx compatabilty is a deal breaker for me
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Old May 30, 2012, 08:03 AM
MassiveOverkill's Avatar
United States, FL, Melbourne
Joined Feb 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jameschen072 View Post
@cgpirre: I have no idea at all..I'm waiting for the prototype to arrive but that is still more than a week away..Mr. Chan (the boss of Benma) said that the price would be a little more than the V911 because of the added costs of the servos...but they will be fair and the price difference won't be too significant.

@scousethief, thanks for the comments, I'll pass them onto Benma models... as I don't work for the company (They only consult me because I'm a friend of the boss of the company), I have little say in what happens haha.. so I don't know if these things will be implemented. I don't think the silver thingys have any purpose... and I did talk in depth to their boss about the 9x binding issue..apparently he doesn't want to clone their protocol because every company is supposed to have their own...he wanted this to be something truly original and so I really didn't know what to say after that :P...I heard there may be a version that uses the V911 RX so that might work with the V911 tx.. but you'd lose the plugs and independent servos and so-forth... we'll have to see what really makes its way to production eventually...

@massiveoverkill: Well the owner of WLToys and the owner of Benma are very good friends so it's quite possible that he saw the pics I sent of your mods too..haha..I don't know about the sample but I'll ask :P
Thanks for trying. Heck, I'd even be happy with a bunch of the new flybars to retrofit to my BNF spares and compare to my prototype.
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Old May 30, 2012, 08:24 AM
Registered User
United Kingdom, England, Redcar
Joined Jan 2006
3,268 Posts
Thats what i will be doing i think once spares become available , hopefully they will be a direct drop in, if theyre not it shouldnt take much to mud to get them to work as it looks like the majority of plastic parts are either identical or very similar , i may grab a battery tray just to be able to fit the bigger batteries , the leads i have on the way from China already.

Thanks James
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Old May 30, 2012, 08:27 AM
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Tucson, Az
Joined Feb 2007
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Paddels look like T-Rex 100X. Should be a big plus. The deal with V911 is hard to beat. I like the 9958 but TX is far from my liking. I likie this new bird.
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Old May 30, 2012, 08:34 AM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
FyreSG's Avatar
United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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Wireless protocol

Does this mean that existing V911 owners should get the variant fitted with V911 RX? Yes, there would not be "the plugs" and "the independent servos", but I don't think the omission would affect the flying experience. In this sense, I'll get the V911 compatible variant!

There was a point on the protocol being copyrighted / patented by someone else. I don't think it matters because WLtoys is using the same protocol for their own line of helicopters -- WLtoys V911 and WLtoys Helios 100. Unless... V911 and Helios 100 belong to different companies?

And even so, as long as both companies approve of the use of the protocol, no legal entity is going to complain. Furthermore, they are very good friends. I know the boss has made up his mind so there's nothing much we can do, but I just hope they can understand the benefits of "unification" (统一). It benefits everyone.
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Old May 30, 2012, 08:35 AM
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Spain
Joined Jan 2010
457 Posts
Really cool but...Flybared?...as far as I know is probably cheaper FBL adding simple mems gyro...so nice to c but at this stage hoping they were going more into msrx way than old msr one...just a though
Saludos and lot thanks JamesChen for all the latest news about such cool cheapo toys,
Jose
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Old May 30, 2012, 08:38 AM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
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United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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Paddle Flybars

Possible to use paddle flybar on our existing V911?

Is the paddle flybar flexible like the current one, susceptible to striking the canopy during sudden direction changes?

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Old May 30, 2012, 08:46 AM
KDS450QS(ZYX4),V977,CX-20
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United States, CA, Monterey
Joined Apr 2012
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Matt black looks really cool but not practical for flying under poor lighting conditions. I fly my black/orange V911 at night at a basketball court lit with spotlights, but I have a hard time figuring out the orientation of my helicopter. After changing to white main and tail rotors, I can fly it better at night. Hopefully they come in lighter colours as well.

The skids look big and sturdy. This should be the answer to the fragile skids on V911 but at the cost of additional weight. Weight is a concern because not only do the skids look heavy, the battery looks heavy as well. Is the main shaft made of metal like the one on V911? The battery position seems to be adjustable, making center of gravity fine tuning easy.
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