X-Uav One EPO Black Deluxe PNP: Review
A while ago I did a review for the pre-production version of the X-UAV One MFM. It was the first ever version which wasn’t released to the public. It had some flaws to be addressed, in my point of view. I have shared all my thoughts with X-UAV guys. They were listening to me at that moment. After some time they released the second version which addressed few issues but it also didn't got too much attention, despite of few innovative things the plane was carrying; new MFM foam it was made of (which by the way I really liked) and new way of installing motor/propeller. That seems to be due to the high cost of the plane which is induced by the high costs of production and foam itself.
After a while it seems that the decision of X-UAV was to give birth to a little brother, or maybe sister , that will be more affordable for us - hobbyists. So X-UAV One EPO was born.[/INDENT]
The major difference between two, as you might already suspect, is the material they are made of. The second one being made of EPO foam which costs less as raw material, but also it is possible to injection mold it, while the MFM have to be CNC machined.
I was given the chance to review the EPO version too, for which I want to say Thank You toBanggood.com.
Want to mention that most of my review will be based on what have X-UAV improved in the last version, compared to pre-production one. Still I'll try to be fair while comparing them, as X-UAV might consider them different planes.
The boring part is over; let's start talking about interesting and important parts.
The plane was send to me from Banggood.com store. The tracking # showed it was sent from China, but imagine my surprise when I saw the first checkpoint the tracking was Moscow. It seems that it was sent from Russian warehouse.
The transit time was somehow acceptable for me since I am used to receive parcels from China in about one month and for this it took a little bit less, however when I saw the box for the first time at the post office (yes I had to pick it up myself from the Customs office, because they wanted to know what's inside) I thought this box is already traveling more than one year. The box was crumpled so much that I did start to worry if I will be able to do this review.
I may expect that they didn't spent a fortune to ship this out, because it was a review item, but packaging of the plane was under my expectations, unfortunately. It was packed in original box, and covered with 2 layers of thin and soft packing foam and some packing tape.
Hopefully, after unboxing I saw that the parts were not damaged except some very big dents on the upper surface of both halves of the wing, in almost symmetrical place.
By the way, the parts you'll find in the box for a PNP version are:
After inspecting all the parts carefully and deciding what I have to do next, I started to assembly the plane.
Last edited by schumixmd; Sep 28, 2015 at 12:17 PM.
In the PNP version the hard work is done for you so that you can be in the air very fast, of course, only if everything is done properly or you don't find something you don't like.
The easiest part is to complete the wings with horns and push-rods, but before installing the horns one has to pay attention to the ailerons and ruddevators. On one of them the foam hinge was broken, so now is the time to install a real hinge or reinforce with tape if needed.
Otherwise, the horns and pushrods doesn't take too much of your time. They're heavy duty or at least much stronger than I would use on a scratch built plane of the same size. For me this is definitely a Like.
Installing the V-tail is about aligning and tightening two bolts, but the nuts are a little bit hard to keep them with pliers in place. Anyway, we're big guys building planes, so challenges like this for us are usual things
I would recommend letting the installation of the v-tail as absolute last step, so that they don’t tangle you while you’re working on other things.
The motor is driven by Hobbywing 40A ESC which seems to be a good choice. Using components of reputable manufacturers just adds more value to the plane, but the T-Deans connector was another bad surprise for me, since nowadays it is very hard to find batteries with pre-installed T-Deans connectors.
Well, I am not afraid of soldering let's close the eyes this time and go to the next step.
Finally the ESC has been installed in its place. As a recommendation, don’t fix the ESC yet, if you’re not going to extend the leads, otherwise you’ll have hard time to connect the AP's current sensors to the ESC, fi you'll use one. Otherwise, if no AP will be installed - the ESC leads have to be extended.
The X-UAV 35-36 motor is paired with a X-UAV 12x6" propeller on a state of the art boom-prop mechanism, about which I had an entire follow up video. Unfortunately visually, there are no improvements in the mechanism itself. The gears still weren't lubricated and no grease was provided. The nice part is that the motor was shifted under the boom so it lowers a little bit the CG. Another difference is that the motor wires are routed through the boom inside the fuselage. Don't know how practical it is if one wants to change the motor.
Anyway I'll give it a try as is; afterwards I plan to try it again with Ian's boom-prop.
The static thrust that I feel on 3S is worrying me too much; therefore the prop will be update to 13x6.5" from the start.
My recommendation for everyone is to open the gearbox, and check for proper installation of the aluminum spur gear. In the one that I have received the spur gears didn’t touch on the full surface of the teeth. Considering the gears are from different material, one being plastic, it will etch quite fast., but this issue will cause the plastic gear to etch even faster.
I would also recommend lubricating the gears with grease in order to prevent etching of the plastic spur gear too fast. Silicon grease will be the best option, however almost every type of grease will work well. I have used lithium based ABRO LG-921.
As the boom-prop mechanism the gimbal was also improved only slightly, what of course I don't like. The quality of the plastic is the same, even it is strong it is not soft enough to bend and cracks easily. I've received mine with a lot of cracks already, which I can't identify if it was due to the bad handling while shipping or directly from the factory.
HD camera (Möbius sized) can't be fitted inside the ball. Even if one will manage to fit a Möbius sized camera in there, how would it be accessed?
Have to stress one more time that this is a tilt and roll gimbal, there is no pan axis, which makes it not very useful for piloting camera, while for tilt only something simpler and lighter could be invented.
One improvement was on the list of my requests - mounts for bigger servos. They have installed Emax ES08MA II, which are 12 grams, metal gear analogue servos. Their sizes are the same as HXT900 by the way. Why this is an improvement? Because in first version only 8 grams servos could fit, and they were not able to support the weight even of a metal cased PZ0420 camera.
The second improvement was implemented slightly different than I requested but it is acceptable and I will use it after the maiden; they made foam inserts that can be installed instead of gimbal in the nose.
Using the inserts instead of gimbal, the Mobius or GoPro sized camera can be installed in the nose easily. The downside is that now you will have again problems to mount you piloting camera.
The win-win solution from X-UAV point of view is Boscam HD19 camera. The size of that camera will permit to be installed in the gimbal, so you’ll have stabilized HD video, while you’ll not have problems installing another piloting camera. But as I stated – piloting thru a stabilized camera will be a little bit tricky. Then once again? You have no access in the gimbal, so every time disassembling it just to download the video would be a pain.
The fuselage itself has suffered some changes. Now the space inside looks more generous, however the reinforcing rib directly in the middle, gives trouble installing batteries. Installing big batteries sounds like mission impossible. I will get rid of the it after the maiden.
They have also made a deck, but hell yeah, you can only use it to route the cables from gimbal to the rear compartment, where you’re electronics are supposed to be installed, because you have no access to it with your fingers, only if you’re not dwarf .
Now, since they also changed the way how the wing is mounted to fuselage (they adopted the mounting way from Talon), the access to the compartments where electronics are supposed to be installed is done from above. However the space for electronics now became like a four members family is living in the bachelor's room.
MyFlyDream AP fits right like it was designed specially for this plane. Also you can judge the height of upper deck by OrangeRX I have laid there for reference.
The electronics compartment is covered with a transparent hatch and two screws. It is supposed that you’ll not need to open it very often.
The side windows now have latches instead of magnets, and they’re only 2 instead of 4. To be honest this is a better idea, because every time on a rough landing the windows were falling off, and I had to spend some time to search them in the meadow.
I step ahead here and will say that the locking mechanism, even is better than magnets, were unlocked after every landing due to the vibrations. So something to lock the locks should be invented here .
Wings, as I said earlier, are now attached to the fuselage in a different way. They’re not anymore a single piece, but two halves that are installed on carbon tubes. You don’t have to mess anymore with a bolt which had to be fitted thru carbon tail boom every time the wing was installed / uninstalled.
But still, to be honest, the fixing method used I don’t like at all. To fix the wings in place, two bolt needs to be tightened with a hex tool key which X-UAV is providing with the plane, but you may forget it home, and then you’re screwed up.
They’ll have to look at other manufacturers I think. The lateral forces on the wings are minimal, therefore fixing them with a rubber band like others do, would be much easier.
Also the left wing has a molding or assembling problem of the rear channel where carbon tube is inserted. That makes the wing not to join the fuselage in line. It is not enough that the plane suffer of torque roll disorder, this problem just adds more fun to the crippled plane .
And yeah, this is supposed to be PNP Black Deluxe Edition, so my wings should be painted or have some stickers with black <ONE> inscription. Am I blind? The wings look to be as white as the cumulus clouds. No stickers in the box were found too .
Since I've mentioned about Deluxe Edition the carbon tail really feels as 3K carbon. But not sure I would overpay for this feature. So if you're building on a tight budget go Sport Edition, you'll save few buck.
Last edited by schumixmd; Sep 27, 2015 at 01:13 PM.
Ok, as you might already noticed from the photos, I decided to have the plane fully equipped with AP and FPV system.
With the first version I had some unlucky moments, which gave me some sad, but in the same time valuable experience.
I I've installed a 200mw 5.8Ghz tx with SpiroNet antenna, instead of long range equipment for video.
For the HD video, I have used my already proven method - RuncamHD camera on the right wing.
If you'll ask - why on the right wing? The answer is quite simply - the first version suffered of too much torque roll. Mounting some weight on the right wing already diminishes the torque roll. In the same time, the wing works as a dampener for the camera.
I've set the AP with PIDs I remember from the previous plane. You may not trust me, it is your right , but I was too lazy to power on the old plane to copy the settings from it.
Well, after installing 2x 3s3000Mah batteries and some 110 grams of raw metal in the nose, to achieve proper CG, the plane was ready to its maiden with a Take off weight of 2075 grams.
The day I went for the maiden was not the calmly one, but no more delay since the rain season is already here.
Since I found so many flaws in the assembling process, I was not expecting I will have a successful maiden, therefore I did not prepare my self for a video review. Therefore I have for your attention only this video from the maiden. Sorry for the out of focus camera on the ground, it seems I need a new GoPro.
Last edited by schumixmd; Sep 28, 2015 at 01:57 PM.
After only three flights with a total of 40 minutes stick time on this version, my thoughts are still superficial, but this plane improved it's flying characteristics.
I can't understand what caused the plane to fly so different from the old version, but I was not expecting it flies so well.
Aside the torque roll effect, which I knew about and had compensated with the camera on the right wing and the trims half to the right in advance, the plane flew at half throttle, and was very responsive to the controls.
Launching the plane needs quite strong throw. Thanks to strong head wind, this time it was easier, but in no wind condition launching with this power setup would be quite difficult.
The gloves are good for working in the backyard only, unfortunately. They are slipping on the fuselage, which may lead to a disaster. Anyway, as you can see, no fingers have been cut in the video.
Talking about efficiency it is still premature. She was flying quite efficient I would say. At full throttle with 13x6.5'' @3S the maximum consumption was 17 Amps, but felt not too powerful. Was cruising half throttle with a consumption of 7-10 Amps.
Overall, even the design has some more flaws to be addressed, the plane is already usable, if one wants to have a nice looking plane in the hangar.
The gimbal in the nose, coupled with the state of the art gearbox mechanism gives personality to X-UAV One.
The biggest cons this plane has is: What's the real task for the ONE?
I will let this question up to you to decide. Maybe I am just missing something.
Last edited by schumixmd; Sep 29, 2015 at 01:08 PM.
Yesterday had a Demo flight for some authorities (due to secrecy I can't tell to whom).
I had to choose the plane for demonstrations between my very proven Skywalker Naja and the X-uav One EPO.
Since the One was ready to fly, I decided to give it a chance and in the same time to gather some outsider opinion about it.
Man, they were not interested in its flying characteristics as much as they were interested in Boom-prop mechanism. The fact that the propeller is on tail boom, was a real hit.
I was using the gimbal for manual tilt of the camera, which was also a very cool feature in a nice packed way.
The plane flew perfectly, and I was not disappointed in my choice. Not that I don't trust Naja, but that One had only 3 flights, and didn't got all the fine tunings yet, and it already was the star of the show.
I think with some modifications and refinements, this plane can be a hit. The boom prop still needs some work to smooth things out and improve implementation, but this frame itself is great. I fly it around 5 amp and can go for longer than I can stand in the air on 6500mah. Still get bad vibes in my flight video and can't really figure out a way to reduce them, aside from putting a mobius on the wing, which I don't like to do.
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