|Nov 28, 2013, 07:32 PM|
The Vitality FT009 review ***Updated: Video!***
The Fei-Lun/Vitality FT009 review
In early 2003, my neighbor (who saw my early R/C attempts at flight) invited me to go R/C sailing with him; this led to me to learn a lot from him with regards to the construction, rigging and sailing of these graceful, magnificent watercraft. I’ve always missed the boating experience, perhaps it’s because I grew up in Auckland or maybe it’s because of those beautiful hand-crafted sailboats my neighbor made; either way it has always been in the back of my mind although I eventually developed planes, helicopters and quads as my passion.
Fast forward to 2012, I had the opportunity to see the final prototype of the Fei-Lun FT007; The performance, reliability and affordability sparked this old passion of mine. I knew that the FT007 was going to become a hot seller, indeed; a lot of you who got the FT007 (and rebrands) are now fans and love it as much as I do.
Building upon the success of the FT007, Fei-Lun recently announced the FT009; a larger, more powerful, water-cooled improvement upon the FT007.
In this review I would like to explore the various aspects of this boat to see if it really does live up to our expectations and whether or not she should be a part of your fleet.
Before we begin, I would like to thank T-Mart for providing the review sample and their willingness to stand behind a fair and unbiased review.
From the dock
The FT-009 comes well-packed in a Styrofoam box. She’s even got her own plastic stand, unfortunately it was missing one of the three parts so I won’t be able to use it (it’s most likely sitting somewhere in the Tmart warehouse )
The box that the FT009 comes in- Styrofoam inserts have been placed to provide maximum protection for the boat
In the box you’ll find the following
1x FT-009 boat (assembled, thankfully)
1x 2.4GHz 2 channel proportional radio
1x 7.4V 1500 mAh Lipo battery
1x Spare propeller
1x Lipo charger
1x Display stand
1x Nose bumper (which mine didn't come with for some reason)
1x Instruction manual
The stated range is around 100-150 meters (or around 330-490 feet)
Charge time takes around 4 hours with the stock charger (but the standard balancing plugs, it should allow you to use more professional chargers)
Finally, run-time is expected to be 5-6 minutes.
Construction and design
The FT009, like its predecessor, is made of ABS plastic. This plastic has proven to be quite tough in my experience; it doesn’t become brittle even in the freezing lakes around Beijing in the winter.
When I picked the boat up, my first impression was that WOW THIS THING IS REALLY HEAVY!
The boat hull is quite similar to that of the FT007
Let’s take a look at what's inside the FT009:
The ESC/Receiver is located in a sealed box in the bow of the boat;
The motor is a water-cooled 540 class brushed motor; it is located behind the electronics bay for better weight distribution. The coupling between the motor and the drive shaft is the same as the FT007 unit but the air-cooling fan has been removed.
Water-cooling system: the water inlet is located next to the drive shaft just slightly forward of the propellers. Tubing brings the water around the motor and exits from the bottom of the hull.
Behind the motor sits the battery bay; located above the drive shaft, it is unlikely that the battery would come in contact with any water that may get into the hull.
Finally, the servo is a standard 3 wired servo. The servo linkage exits the hull through a rubber seal and connects to the large rudder.
An interesting design feature of the FT009 is the double canopy. A plastic cover with an o-ring seal is locked into place with four tabs and provides a watertight seal. A decorative canopy fits above this cover and is locked aft of the canopy.
An additional feature of the FT009 that I appreciate is the hole located at the stern of the boat; from which water could be emptied without opening the boat canopy.
A self righting feature is built into the boat; if the boat becomes inverted, give full reverse then full forward throttle and the boat will right itself.
From the bridge
Included is a very basic two channel 2.4GHz transmitter (the same unit as found on the FT007); it features trims on both the throttle and the steering channels but provides no other functions (not that you really need them for this product anyways). I would say that the plastic is somewhat nice though the finish is quite unrefined. The transmitter feels quite nice to hold in my big hands, and it’s not unreasonably heavy even with the 6 “AA” batteries it requires.
The throttle does not have much of any feedback at all, I prefer a little tension in the springs; as to the steering the spring tension is just right for my likings.
On the water
With batteries charged (and yes unfortunately it does take a good four hours to charge this Lithium Ion battery), off I went to the local pond. Binding required a few tries but after the boat is bound to the transmitter, the radio signal is as solid as ever and I could run her as far as I could see without losing control. Off the bat the FT009 is blazingly fast compared to its little sister! There's a really tall rooster tail (which I know you'll appreciate Romeo); I’m surprised that it could manage such speeds being that she’s quite hefty when compared to similar-sized competitors; she gets on plane very quickly and effortlessly.
I do prefer the way the FT009 rides through the water than the comparatively sized WL911 (which porpoises through the water); not to mention that the FT009 feels a lot more powerful.
The improvements on the water-tight seals really make a spectacular difference as very little water (note: almost none) manages to get into the hull after a full-battery worth of high-speed runs.
As for the water-cooling system, well that works very nicely too; the motor had a very slight warmth to it but I would have comfortably ran another battery pack if it weren't for the non-standard battery lead.
For those of you worried about the self-righting system, it works as advertised. I went to test out the boat with our chief test pilot here at HiSKY and we were throwing it into the water in every-which way possible. The FT009 is inherently very stable (VERY low CG) and it almost always self-rights without any input from the user.
Overall, the FT009 builds on the success of its predecessor. She is powerful, affordable and most importantly, reliable. A lot of the problems seen with the FT007 (like the amount of water it likes to ingest) are practically solved with the FT009; this makes me a happy camper.
I do have a few problems with this boat that I would like to point out though, namely the throttle springs (which are barely there), the choice of plugs with the battery (non-standard, I’ll switch mine to Deans plugs) and the lack of run-time.
“Is it the right boat for me?” I think this boat should satisfy those who are just starting out with R/C boats; even those with some experience would enjoy it in my opinion. I’m very happy with her despite the little flaws (remember that there’s never a perfect product) and I think that you get a lot for the price you pay.
Guys, I hope you’ve enjoyed my review (and me blabbing on and on) of the FT009. If you have any questions or suggestions, please comment below or send me a PM.
Special thanks goes to Tmart again for the sample and their support of my (always) unbiased reviews.
You can pick the boat up here for the price of 64.89
Here's a video of the FT009 in action, enjoy!
Pros and Cons
+ Great value for money
+ Powerful drive-train
+ Water-cooling system
+ Waterproofing performance improved
+ Self-righting feature
- Transmitter throttle spring provides very faint feedback
- Binding could be a little problematic sometimes
- Non-standard battery plug
*I brought the HiSKY test pilot with me to the pond... and in true pilot fashion, he wanted to make the boat fly!! (I swear these are not photoshopped)
tic-tocs with a boat!
I've always wanted to see a flying boat!
|Nov 28, 2013, 07:37 PM|
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|Nov 29, 2013, 08:16 AM|
Nice review James
Will order one tmart got them in stock ?
EDIT : They keep the same security system ... I will by-pass it asap
|Nov 29, 2013, 09:22 AM|
Joined Oct 2013
|Nov 29, 2013, 09:28 AM|
I used a motherboard jumper then I hot glued all the package
|Nov 30, 2013, 12:17 AM|
Ok...I was going to stick to flying things. But, I got an inexpensive little RC car...yeah, just one little guy. Why am I trying to build a navy now? This looks very cool, and I cannot wait to see some video. It sounds like it would be a relatively good place to start in RC watercraft.
|Nov 30, 2013, 02:56 AM|
@Seb: hey ol' pal, I'm still waiting for you to decide on when to come to Asia, we'll go boating as well!
@HeliStorm, here it is!!
Will hopefully upload a HD version soon, but uploading this 480p one took me all day with my slowww VPN
|Nov 30, 2013, 03:32 AM|
Very nice video James .
James, my trip to HK would be probably in first semester 2014. Now moving next saturday to Tahoe Lake haha
|Nov 30, 2013, 08:50 AM|
Joined Oct 2013
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