Heli Pad Review Series: SYMA X1 Quadcopter
Thank you for visiting this discussion thread for SYMA X1 Quadcopter. You input and feedback are welcome. Please keep the conversation friendly. I highly recommend reading post #1 and #3 before asking a question, because you may find that your question has already been addressed.
Post #1 (this post) is my general review for the Syma X1.
Post #2 is a list of replacement parts and optional accessories.
Post #3 is a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
Post #4 is reserved to future use such as Mods, and Trouble Shooting.
SYMA X1 Quadcopter Review
I have recently purchased a SYMA X1 Quadcopter from a US seller, under $40. It came in a retail box, well packed for shipping, and it arrived in pristine condition. In many aspects, it is similar to the WL-V949 Quad in size and in features.
The package contains:
1) The Syma X1
2) Stock Transmitter (Tx)
3) One 1S 3.7v 350mAh Lipo Battery with a rigid JST connector
4) One USB charging cable with LED light
5) One set of replacement rotors (Qty 4)
6) One instruction manual (PDF)
It is available in 3 styles. The first is a spacecraft, which I got. The second is a UFO flying saucer. The third one is a bumble bee. Unlike the V949, it does not have under cartridge LED lights. The front rotors and motor mounts are white. The rear ones are black. Visibility is quite well, considering it has no external LEDs.
The Tx is fairly basic, somewhat toyish feel. It does not have a charging cable, and you cannot charge a battery with the Tx. And it does not have backlit LCD. For those reasons, the Tx requires only 4 AA batteries, not 6. In addition to the control sticks are the expected 4 trim buttons for each of the channel. There are two additional buttons of the top shoulder, one on each side. The LEFT shoulder button controls the D/R. It defaults to Low setting when the Tx is turned on. The LEFT shoulder button toggles it between Low and High. The RIGHT shoulder button is for flips. For some reasons, SYMA invented this word called, "Eversion". I have no idea where it came from, but it means flip. The basic operation is the same as in the later V949. You hold down the flip button and use the right cyclic stick to initiate the flip in that direction. If you repeated click on the flip button, it will do multiple flips.
One notable feature that is worth mentioning is that the Tx is switchable between Mode 2 and Mode 4. However, the manual describes them as Mode 1 and 2, respectively, which drove me crazy at first. But once I did the mapping, I could understand what the manual was trying to describe. I'm a Mode 2 flyer. But I know that there are certain people, especially those coming from a 3ch group, and some 4ch coaxial, and are more familiar with Mode 4 flying. This is very helpful to them.
WARNING: DO NOT USE THE STOCK USB CHARGING CABLE TO CHARGE ANY UNPROTECTED LIPO BATTERIES
I have confirmed that the USB cable indeed does not have the smart to know when to stop. The stock battery must have some small Over-Charge Protection (OCP) circuit hidden under the cap. When used with an unprotected cell, the USB will continue to charge the battery until it blows. My own experiment indicated that it continued to charge an unprotected cell passed 4.2v. I aborted the experiment at 4.3v - just didn't believe that I have to go any further.
The battery is a smaller capacity 350mAh Lipo. Instead of a flexible battery cable with JST at the end, the JST is molded as part of the cap. So, the whole thing is rigid. It makes battery installation somewhat easy and can be a single handed operation. The battery weight is 10.7g. It came partially charged at 3.95v (a bit high for storage). Flight time with the stock battery is over 8 minutes, more than adequate. If you like to fly the X1 with alternate batteries, just about any 1S cell in the 350-600 mAh range will fit, as long as it has a JST. I tried it with a Hyperion 550mAh, and Nano Tech 600mAh. The flight time on the Nano Tech 600mAh is just 11 minutes. In other words, by almost doubling the battery, the flight time increases by less than 50%. This is typical of what I see from going with larger capacity batteries - it doesn't pay. Most of the capacity is wasted in carrying the heavier battery. Personally, I'd rather go the opposite direction with smaller capacity batteries, but more of them.
The motor mounts resemble the ones from mQx more than the V949. The X1 motors are smaller compared to the V949. It uses a 7mm motor. The 9-t pinion is made of plastic/nylon type material. The main gear is also smaller than the V949. The arms are exactly the same. In fact, the X1 and V949 share the exact footprint.
Weight comparison: The X1 is 57.65g w/o and battery and the stock battery is 10.73g. With batteries, the X1 is 15% lighter than the V949. That's quite a bit lighter.
First maiden flight was indoor. It got into a hand-free hover in seconds. The gyro was solid. The motors sounded quieter than the V949's. Both the L/H rates were suitable for indoor flights. It was super stable and very easy to control. I took it outdoor later at night (with buddy Daryoon) where I could find a grass field to do some flips. As it was previously indoor, it felt very stable and very easy to control. When pushed, it was somewhat docile. But it flew and flipped just fine. No wobble of death, and the gyro did not lose control after a bunch of moves.
As an experiment, we bound it to a V949 Tx, and it controls it just fine. At 20% and 40%, the X1 hardly moved. At 60%, it felt like Low on the X1. At 100%, it felt like Hi on the X1. No accidental flips. The same flip button on the V949 Tx worked as expected on the X1. Then, we bound it to the Turnigy 9x. Woo-Hoo! It felt like a completely different Quad. It was very aggressive! It banked turn beautifully! It felt like it was flying at 125% or 150% of what it was doing before! I love the way it handled. Give it full stick and this thing tilts so much that it wants to go vertical!
Moral of that story: The X1 is actually very capable. But the stock Tx dumb it down. Make no mistake, it is very stable, controllable, and fun to fly. But pair it with a real radio and it makes all the difference in the world! The Hyperion gave it more punch, too.
We also tested for a fail-safe. We had the X1 in the hand, full throttle. Then we cut the radio power. The X1 stopped flying immediately - much faster than the other models. So, this one is not going to fly away from you!
I don't know why, but I did have good range on the first night. But in subsequent outdoor flying, I found that stock radio has relatively short range. It's good for 30 meters or 100 feet. Beyond that, you could experience signal drops. It has to be the radio though, because the X1 flies as far as the eyes could see with a V949 or Turnigy 9x radio.
An important aspect of this hobby is the ability to source replacement parts to maintain the aircraft. Fortunately, parts are readily available for this model for very reasonable prices. Please check the next post for more details.
Overall first impression was Very Good. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in getting a Quad, especially if this is a first Quad. For the money and availability, this is a real fine product, and a great alternative to the V949.
Another fairly objective and informative video:
Last edited by Heli Pad; Dec 12, 2013 at 03:55 AM.
Syma X1 Spare Parts List
Spare parts for Syma X1 are available from a handful of sources. These includes SymaToyStore, RC-Fever, Feala, Banggood, ThinkRC, SymaHelicopter, RCHelicopter7, Toys-Model, and RCHelicopterbox. Prices and Shipping Cost varies. I do not work for any of these companies. For your convenience, you could click on the links or pictures below to order from one of the low price leaders.
X1-01: Spaceship Canopy
X1-02: Bumble Bee Canopy
X1-03: UFO Canopy
X1-04-05: Rotors (Specify the direction of rotation)
X1-06: Main Frame
X1-07: Battery Cage
X1-08: Motor Mount
X1-09(Blk): Gear Housing Black (Rear)
X1-09(Wht): Gear Housing White (Front)
X1-10: Carbon Fiber Arm
X1-11: Main Gear
X1-12: Function Control Board
X1-13: 350mAh Li-Po Battery 3.7v
X1-14-15: Spare Motors (Specify the wire colors for spin direction)
Apparently, the new motors are now shipped with pinions on them.
X1-16: Rotor to Shaft Connector
X1-17: 2.4GHz Transmitter
X1-18: USB Charging Cable
I believe that these optional parts would work well with the SYMA X1. Some, I have not tried them myself.
LED Light Bars (with plugs)
LED Light Bars (without plugs)
LED light Kit includes 2 Red, 2 Cascading. US Seller.
Individual LED lights
LED Light Rings.
Large, 145mm (See Richos' post)
5X Tigers 600mAh 15C Lipo (No OCP, must use optional charger)
Optional AC Wall Charger* for 1S Lipo with JST plug
* Has basic OCP, will work with Lipos that has no OCP, such as Tigers and Nano Tech. Also available from US Warehouse.
IMAX B6 Balance Charger
AC100-240v 60W DC15v 4A Power Supply (US Warehouse)
80W 6A Battery Balance Charger with built-in AC PSU
80W B6AC Balance Charger
JST Parallel Charging Cable
If the above is out of stock (which happens a lot), you can check this alternate source. It's a bit more expensive, but they have everything!
Turnigy Nano Tech 600mAh 1S 3.7v Lipo (International Warehouse)
Turnigy Nano Tech 600mAh 1S 3.7v Lipo (USA Warehouse)
Turnigy Nano-Tech 300mAh 1S 45C High Discharge Lipo (mCPx plug), NOT JST!
Check US Warehouse.
Turnigy Nano-Tech 300mAh 1S 45C High Discharge Lipo (Solo Pro 100), NOT JST! And they have reversed polarities to the other LOSI applications. Do be careful and check the polarities first!
Check US Warehouse.
WL Toys V949 Radio. Compatible with X1, better range.
WL Toys V959 Tx. More direct access buttons.
Double Horse 9117 Programmable radio.
Turnigy 9x Radio with Module, Mode 2 (Ready to bind with X1)
Flysky TH-9XB. Same as Turnigy 9x. But the antenna is removable with the plug-in module, makes it easy to swap modules. This is currently the best radio I recommend for the Syma X1, and many other RC model. If you're interested in ordering this, and perhaps get a better price, PM me with your Email address.
Hakko Adjustable Heat Soldering Station with Precision Tips (110v US plug)
Also available in: AU Plug 230v
Last edited by Heli Pad; Apr 25, 2014 at 01:27 PM.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is the Binding procedure?
A: To bind the Tx to the Rx, you first install the Lipo into the Quad. Set it right side up on a level surface. A faint red LED light under the canopy will start to flash rapidly. During this time, you should turn the Tx ON. Give it a few more seconds, and the red LED will glow solid. The binding process is complete. You only need to bind the Tx to the Rx once. For subsequent flights, turn the Tx ON first and return the throttle to zero. This is always a good habit for RC toys. Then you install the Lipo into the Quad. The LED would flash rapidly (searching), then it will go solid (ready). If you forgot to return throttle to zero, there is a safety. The X1 would not spin up until you first return throttle to zero. (See below if you're looking for T9x Binding procedure).
That last point about "return to zero" throttle safety feature, turned out to be a problem for the following member:
There is a misalignment between the control stick and the Tx casing. The case of the Tx became an obstruction for the throttle stick to return to zero. As you could see in the video that the user posted. The X1 has the appearance of being bound to the Tx, but there was no motor functions, because the safety was still on. The throttle was not zero as you could see that there was a bar (or two) of throttle in the Tx display. The issue was solved after the user opened the case and cut a small notch in the case to allow the left stick to go all the way down.
Q: How to switch the Tx between Mode "1" and "2"?
A: The manual talks about switching the Tx between Mode 1 and Mode 2. In reality, it is talking about switching between Mode 2 and Mode 4 flying modes, respectively. To switch mode, you need to first turn the Tx off. By "A" button, the manual means the trim button for the aileron, directly below the right stick. While the Tx is off, push this trim button to the right. While holding the trim button to the right, turn on the Tx. This will cause it to toggle to the other mode. Repeat the same procedure to change back.
Q: Can the Syma X1 use other Lipo batteries?
A: Yes, it can use any 1S 3.7v Lipo with a standard JST connector. The stock battery has a capacity of 350mAh. Capacities of 300 - 600 mAh are recommended. Please note that the stock battery has a built-in OverCharge Protection (OCP) circuit. The supplied USB charging cable depends on the presence of this OCP; otherwise, it would not know when to stop charging. When you buy/use non-stock batteries, there is a good likelihood that they do not have built-in OCP. Therefore, it is your responsibilities to use the proper chargers on these non-stock batteries. Do not use the stock USB cable on non-stock batteries! For suggestions on batteries and charges, see post #2.
Q: What other Remote Controllers would work with the Syma X1?
A: The Syma X1 uses the Flysky protocol. A number of radios are compatible with it. For instance, the WL V929/V949 quad Tx is compatible. I believe the Tx from V939 and V911 would control the X1. The Turnigy 9x programmable radio with the Flysky module works. The DH9116 Tx would likely work.
Q: Does the Syma X1 have to be in the High rate to flip?
A: No, the Syma X1 will flip in both the High and Low rates.
Q: Are the rotors interchangeable with the V949?
A: No, they are not. Although they have the same size and shape in general, the holes that connect to the shaft are different in size and shape. As a result the popular GWS props that people put on the V949 are not a drop-in replacement for the Syma X1.
Q: Are there instructions on how to disassemble the X1? I need to replace a part.
A: Memeber Craigiri gave a good description on how to disassemble the X1, please read his post here.
Also check Oz's post here.
Q: How to get stable hover? My X1 veers off to the Left (or another direction) at lift off.
A: For any Quad with 3-axis gyro, start up initialization is paramount. If it is not initialized right, it will not fly right. Therefore, the best way to initialize the gyro is to first find a level surface. Connect the battery to the X1, and promptly (with in the next few seconds), turn it right side up, place it on the level surface, and do not touch it until it is done initializing. At the end of the initialization, the LED on the PCB board will grow solid. Sometimes it is difficult to see the LED with the canopy on. If that is the case, just give it 15 seconds to be sure.
Q: After proper initialization, my X1 still veers, what's next?
A: If it has been properly initialized, but the X1 still veers, there are two different scenarios. In the first scenario, if it is just crawling slowly away, you could use the trim buttons on your Tx and try to compensate. In the second scenario, if it still veers beyond any trim adjustment, the motors/rotors are unbalanced. The X1 will tip in the direction of the weakest arm. If it tips left/front, that's where you need to check. First, check and see if the rotor looks bent. If so, try replacing that rotor with a provided spare and see if the problem goes away. If it is not the rotor, it could be a the rotor. If that rotor is spinning slow than the rest, even for a little bit and not detectible by sight. Check and see if that motor tends to run hotter than the others. Check for damaged/frayed motor wire, especially if the X1 used to hover well, but doesn't after a crash. Check also if there is any debris the hinders the movement of the shaft/rotor.
Q: One or more rotors do not spin up at the same time with the others, what's wrong?
A: Usually, that doesn't mean anything is wrong, especially when you only give it a tiny amount of throttle, and the X1 has not begun to lift off. When in doubt, re-check the rotors by giving them enough power to lift off. If it hovers, it's fine. Or, you could try holding the X1 in your hand by grabbing it from the bottle and stay away from any spinning rotors. Give it some throttle, at the same time, twist, turn, or roll the X1 in your hand. The gyro should compensate to fight that movement. You'll see then that all the rotors are turning. Otherwise, we have a serious issue.
Q: What is the Binding procedure for optional Turnigy 9x radio?
A: Binding Instructions:
After a successful bind, I recommend the following for future operations:
Q: At the end of binding with the X1, do I need to ARM the Tx before flying?
A: Well, it was brought to my attention that since the initial release of the X1, there has been an updated release that causes this behavior to change. So, depending whether you have the older stock or the newer stock, the answer is different. Every X1 has a built-in safety feature that prevents the motors from engaging if the throttle is not Zero at the time the Tx is powered on. If the throttle is not Zero at the time the Tx is powered on, you must return throttle to zero before the motors would spin up. "Arming the Tx" is an extension of that safety feature. It is a procedure that requires the pilot to consciously, push throttle from 0% to 100% and then bring it back from 100% to 0%. The Tx will also beep at these extremes to confirm that the Tx has been armed. Performing such a sweep would "arm" the Tx for flight. If you have Version 6 of the FC, you would most likely have this requirement. Otherwise, you probably do not have it. It is very helpful for each pilot to understand if his or her X1 requires arming or not, because if you tried to arm one that doesn't require arming, you will probably find yours flying way at full speed. Conversely, if you don't arm one that needs to be arm, the Quad probably won't fly.
Last edited by Heli Pad; Jul 20, 2014 at 02:40 AM.
Mods and Trouble Shooting
1. LED Mod
2. RAM Quad Lites (Thanks, Ryan)
3. Another LED Mod (Thanks, Ssayer) See video:
4. GWS 5443 Props (Thanks, Woodsturning) See video:
1. One or more props slow down or stop intermittently. See post by RonRC.
Last edited by Heli Pad; Dec 13, 2013 at 11:31 AM.
HeliPad, I ordered an X1 board and some motors, just recieved them last week. Plan on building a quad with them. Meanwhile, I put the board on a V929 and am using a T9x tx. It binds and I can fly it with the 9x, but elevator and aileron are switched-elevator is left and right on right stick, and aileron is forward and backward on right stick. I thought I could rotate the board to fix that, but it went crazy and just flipped over when I tried it.
Have you tried binding your x1 to a 9x?
I know the basics, but I'm not very good with programming my 9x. I have copied my files from someone else. But if necessary, I could dig deeper. If you have a 9x model for your V929, they should be the same for the X1. I was able to bind my V949 Tx to the X1. And you know that the V949 Tx cannot be programmed.
Last edited by Heli Pad; Dec 29, 2012 at 03:14 PM.
I guess I'm confused on the whole battery connector thing. Walkera connectors are JST connectors? Polarity is same with both quads? If batteries are same I might pick one up just to mod.
It's amazing. A year ago I bet the cheapest quad with tx was ten times what the X1 is now. I wonder if Syma has had trouble moving them.
Yes, the X1 uses standard JST connector, same polarity. I flew it with my Hyperion 550mAh, which I also use for my V949 and my 120SR.
The JST receptor is held in place by the frame, rather than a free moving wire. But if you don't like the arrangement, you could easily snip it off the frame, and you would have you free moving cable.
BTW, if you haven't noticed, my review is under construction and is constantly being updated. I have just added pictures of the battery connector. You might want to go back and re-read post #1 from time to time.
Very nice review Heli Pad. Thanks.
Heli Pad shared the result of binding the X1 to a T9x radio. Worth a reread.
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