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Old Dec 27, 2004, 08:10 AM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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Hirobo XRB R/C really good for beginners?

Hello everyone,

I put this question in the mico heli board, but it was suggested that I post here as well.....

A few years ago, I bought an entire Piccolo outfit for around $500. I had nothing but problems, mosty due to the fact I didn't know what I was doing. I didn't get much help from the one club member that flew choppers, and had a few minor mishaps with it. Before destroying it completely, I sold it for $450 and considered it a $50 lesson learned.

....the itch for an indoor micro helicopter has never been scratch-able, unfortunately!

I came across the Hirobo XRB R/C a few days ago in a magazine. Did some research for it on the 'Net and decided that I must have one! Now I know nothing is fool-proof, but I guess my question is this: With many years of R/C plane experience, can I hope to be successful with this helicopter? I'm not being unrealistic and expecting to be a pro immediately, but I have little help available to me from my club.... one chopper pilot is an older gentleman and isn't around much anymore, and the other guy lives 3 hours away. So in other words, I'll be on my own with this. I realize that the technology for R/C micro helicopters is much different than it was 3-4 years ago, so I'm hoping things will be a little simpler this time around.

I'm not interested in fast, fancy, or aerobatics.... I just want something small to putt-putt around the house with. I'm looking for opinions as I don't want to throw away $350 if I can help it.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 09:21 AM
RJB
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Joined Oct 2003
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The XRB is one of the best ways to get into micro helis. Other than charging the battery and adding batteries to the transmitter, it's turn-key. It's very stable and as your skills improve, you can increase the control response for increased control. The XRB is not an aerobatic heli by any means, but it's great for learning how to hover in all attitudes and slow forward flight. The manual is full of very helpful tuning advise and of course there's the plentiful help here on the zone!
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Helena, MT
Joined Feb 2003
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Beginners,

Go for it! I have zero stick time and with a Housefly I can hover tail-in, sort of nose-in, and fly FF patterns around the garage in only about 4 days of practice (maybe an hour a day). These are tough birds too.

Although I have not flown both, by most accounts the Hirobo is even better than the Housefly. It's foam blades (coning), higher main mast (pendulum), and better electronics (smoother responses) make for an even more stable bird than the Housefly of which I am a testament to the suitability for beginners. So if you want the better quality and don't mind spending about $120 bucks (189 versus 309 shipped) more for it then get the Hirobo. I am cheap and bought the Housefly and don't regret it a bit so that might be another option. I would not vouch for any other clone although the Hobby Source X-Effect available for 159 and it is reportedly the same exact bird as the Housefly so that might be yet another option.

This general design seems to be the perfect beginner's platform. Hirobo seems to have executed it with the most quality. I'd be afraid of anything that was more hands-off because it might not teach you enough
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 09:53 AM
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UK, Bedworth
Joined Apr 2004
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Like you I had lots of fixed wing experience before trying helis. I started with a conventional micro and had nothing but trouble.
Then I bought an XRb and learnt to fly it on my own in my living room. Its a great model for the beginner really stable and predictable. The model is well designed and of high quality which is more than I can say for some of the "why pay more " clones.

Since then I have gained confidence and now after 8 hours stick time I can fly from room to room and take it for a walk round the garden in calm weather.

The XRB is a great way to learn to fly a heli, you do need to unlearn some fixed wing habits though. When things start to go wrong dont just chop the throttle, they glide like a gold plated house brick . The best palce to learn is a large indoor space like a gym or church hall. Not only do you have more room but the rotor wash can dissipate which makes the model more stable.

In short the XRB is an ideal model to leearn on.

regards

Terry
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 10:29 AM
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Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
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No, it's not one of the best. It IS the best indoor heli, period! Go get it, man. And it's cheap, compared to a $500 Piccolo!
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 11:02 AM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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That's what I was afraid of hearing... makes me want to order one right now! I think I remember that it comes with extra blades, but I noticed that ehobbies.com has the extras in now. Wouldn't hurt to order some more as I'm sure I'll need them. Is there a better/cheaper place to get that from or is ehobbies.com the only way to go?

My other concern is the LiPo battery pack. I have said over and over (in the words of Derrick) that I choose not to fund LiPo research and I'll wait until the technology is better before I buy them. I know that thousands of people use LiPo's every day without incident, but it's the people that are careless that put the scare into me. For example, we've got one guy around here (which will remain nameless) that has switched to nothing but LiPos. He carries them all in a box but we've witnesses him carelessly tossing them into said box with other LiPos in there. When something was said to him, he took the attitude of "don't tell me how to handle my LiPos." I'll be sure not to park near him at the next fly-in, trust me.

Anyway, I digress. I've read that it's a slow wall-charger for this battery. Does it have any safety features? Do I have to watch over it while it is charging? Do I need to set up a "charging area" in case of a fire?
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 11:39 AM
Chopper-1
Brookfield, Connecticut, United States
Joined Aug 2004
725 Posts
I have been using lipo's for about 4 months now and find it just as easy to charge as any other battery. The charger that you get with the XRB is easy to use. It is always a good idea not to charge lipo's when you can't be around to watch them. Everyone puts a big scare in the lipo battery thing. I'm sure some do have problems but it seems rare for anyone to have a fire.

I just charge the XRB battery on my kitchen table. It doesn't get hot at all. The charger does have some safety feature to keep the battery from over charging. It is automatic. All lipo's need to charge slow to keep them from getting hot when charging. My other batteries get charged in the basement in spot where they can't start a fire. The key to charging lipo's other than those for the XRB is to get a good charger like a Triton with a thermo probe to shut down the charger if the battery gets hot.

Bret
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 11:57 AM
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I'd say Hirobo did their homework before turning hundreds of units loose to the public, before they knew they had a very safe charging system. It's the charger that the clones have sent with them that worries me. The charger I got when I got my Dragonfly5 was nothing more than a wall transformer and the instructions were to "charge for an hour then use if charge did'nt last long then charge longer next charge" Now thats scary,being a career Firefighter I worry about this fact that alot of innocent people stand to loose whole houses and possibly lives due to this negligence in the Chinese clone companies. And what would happen if somebody who did buy one of these units and burnt their house down due to inferior products involving such potentially dangerous techniques. I can tell you one thing the Chinese company is not going to reimburse you or your insurance company any money. Sorry to carry on so but I get kinda worked up when I think about this sort of thing happening.

Anyway buy the Hirobo XRB SR you won't be disappointed. Oh yeah ,and you need one of my battery extension too lol
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 12:10 PM
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United States, CA, Grass Valley
Joined Oct 2003
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Hi Mike,
I did the same thing as LTChip- Bought a Dragonfly clone as it was cheaper- BAD idea !!(My Opinion only). I got an XRB and could not be happier-QUALITY !!! You get what you pay for! The best beginners' heli- My two Hummingbirds and one Piccolo attest to that !!!-I have lotsa of wreckage parts from all three of them- now,after really learning the basics of flying from the XRB, I'm ready to tackle the OTHERS !!(again!!)
Larry G.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 12:21 PM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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That's what I was thinking was that LiPos are safe when handled properly. It's guys like the one I was describing (a scary sight was watching him toss - literally - LiPo packs into a box filled with them. That's a Lithium fire waiting to happen) that gives them a bad name.

So I see that ehobbies.com has them, plus spare rotor blades, in stock. Are they the place to get it from or do you recommend someplace else?
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 01:17 PM
Chopper-1
Brookfield, Connecticut, United States
Joined Aug 2004
725 Posts
You can get a XRB SR at heliproz.com for around $310 with free shipping. I have had good luck with them.

Bret
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Last edited by bret4; Dec 27, 2004 at 06:59 PM.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 06:45 PM
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Helena, MT
Joined Feb 2003
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The Dragonfly copy and the Housefly seem to be of a different quality level. Although this is anectdotal because I don't have the Dragonfly version - it seems there are more posts of problems here with those and few good experiences whereas the Megatech has a good amount of postive posted about their's and I am pretty happy with mine in particular. I agree though - YMMV with any Chinese made clone.

The Megatech is in-between the cheapest clones and the SR in price and so it might follow that it is mid-way in quality too.
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 07:20 PM
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Northern California
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike_Then
That's what I was thinking was that LiPos are safe when handled properly. It's guys like the one I was describing (a scary sight was watching him toss - literally - LiPo packs into a box filled with them. That's a Lithium fire waiting to happen) that gives them a bad name.
Mike, don't worry about the Lipos.
I have been using lithium batteries for several years in RC. Started with the Qualcomm cellphone batteries everyone was hacking. Don't forget there is maybe 200 million cellphones with lithium batteries in them all over the world. These things are not dangerous at all. The old style lithium-ion batteries (like the Qualcomms) had hard shells and could vent hot gas or flame if shorted out or horribly overcharged. As an experiment, I took an old Qualcomm pack, wrapped it in newspaper and shorted it out. It did get VERY hot, split open, oozed goo, but didn't even catch the newpaper on fire. Sure, anything can happen, but the risk is not very high. The newer lipos all have flexible foil like shells, so if something shorts out they just puff up rather than building pressure.

The XRB also uses a charger that measures the voltage of EACH cell to avoid overcharging issues. That is something hardly any of us due that use lipos with other chargers. So long as you don't make a habit of charging you lipo on a pile of oily rags, unattended, you should be fine

Now, go buy the XRB!!!!!! I have flown a few different helis and nothing compares to the ease and stability of the XRB. Read the instructions and tune everything right away and you will be smiling ear to ear for days!

Happy hovering!
Rick
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 09:32 PM
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The supplied charger also detect for faults in the batt b4 and during charging. The LED will flash if somethings amiss and will not allow charging. Don't know what the perimeters are for this errors, but my guess is voltage, current irregularities and unusual heat.

It's been months that I've been flying this thing and I'm still splitting my face!
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Old Dec 27, 2004, 10:22 PM
I hate waiting for parts
Mike_Then's Avatar
United States, NC, Garner
Joined Apr 2001
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fogflyer
Now, go buy the XRB!!!!!! I have flown a few different helis and nothing compares to the ease and stability of the XRB. Read the instructions and tune everything right away and you will be smiling ear to ear for days!
Well, hearing you guys talk about the LiPo makes me feel a little better. I'll be sure not to leave it unattended and it's good that Hirobo is taking an active stance to make sure it stays safe.

You said to tune everything.... so it's not really "take it out of the box and fly"? If I'm a helicopter n00b can I tune this thing OK without fears of destroying it?
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