XK A1200 1080p RTF FPV Plane - full review / owners' thread (w/ autopilot) - RC Groups
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Jun 17, 2016, 10:39 AM
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XK A1200 1080p RTF FPV Plane - full review / owners' thread (w/ autopilot)


Hi guys, here is my review of the new XK A1200 RTF plane sold at Banggood.

Additionally you can find all of the information, and a parts' list for future mods, in my blog at ArxangelRC.blogspot.com

**End of post 2 has links to the updates

Let me tell you something... the XK A1200 is the first TRULY Ready-to-Fly plane that I have ever received! Most people in the hobby would need no more than 2-3 mins from opening the box to having the plane assembled and ready to fly! Charging the battery is the only thing that might take a bit more time! The design and fit of the parts is spectacular, the lack of apparent defects and factory faults that need to be fixed is also non-existent! All electronics, servos, push rods, clevises, etc., come pre-installed (FOR REAL), and the clever tail and wing assembly system saves you from having to plug connectors and find place for hanging wires... it just fits and works GOOD! The stabilization system also came nicely calibrated and I did not have to do anything but assemble this little beauty and go flying!

XK A1200 FPV RTF EPO Plane - unboxing at the field & quickest assembly EVER! (8 min 2 sec)


XK A1200 FPV Plane - finally testing the FPV system (5 min 58 sec)



SPECIFICATIONS

Wing span: 1200mm
Length: 890mm
Wing area: to be determined...
Flying weight: 500g according manufacturer (453g in reality, without the FPV system)
CG: 55-65mm from LE
Video/radio range: N/A


ARRIVAL STATE

There is not much to write here. Packaging was adequate, there was no damage to the box or to any of the plane's parts. Its box is actually quite convenient for carrying the plane in it, and has a little room for a few additional items.


WHAT I LIKE

OK... so the bulk of what I write will be in this section... and for a good reason!

There is A LOT that I like about this plane, and at the top of the list is how the plane comes together like a breeze thanks to the smartly designed connector holders which are installed in all pieces and align perfectly when you assemble the plane! The lack of dangling connectors, wires, etc., certainly is refreshing and definitely speeds up the assembly process.





I actually find it quite stunning just how well the connectors align and fit together without having to adjust and mod anything! Even on the Hubsan H301S I had to do a little repair to be able to assemble it!





Wings connect the same way... brilliant... simply brilliant! I would like to congratulate the person who though this up and made it a reality for us!



Another thing that really made me smile was the fact that all push rods were pre-installed with the clevises setup properly, and also the servos were trimmed and adjusted in the factory, so when I powered the plane everything was aligned perfectly and it was ready to go immediately! A further bonus is that the plane is painted and decals installed also in the factory, saving me that tedious task!









Next on my list is the wheel and the tail skid plate, both of which do a great job of saving the plane's bottom when landing on rough surfaces! I have to tell you... these things are not absolutely necessary to be on a plane... but here they are designed and executed well so they are as light as possible and do not affect the aerodynamics of the plane. Not to mention that it would take me a lot of time and effort to do this mod if it weren't there!





Another interesting feature is the slick fuselage design that certainly makes it quite aerodynamic and improves flight efficiency! It is tall and narrow and actually look s pretty good! The plane is quite light and compact for its wingspan to be honest.





And the last of the really surprising GOOD stuff was the prop adaptor on this plane. By all accounts it would appear the adaptor is part of the motor bell and not a collet type, which is definitely a FIRST that I've seen on any plane coming out of China! This also means that prop and motor balance issues will be easier to deal with... and may not even be present! Collet type adaptors always vibrate and are a pain to balance properly!



And speaking of the motor, if you look from the top you will notice that the motor has a slight angle. If you look from the front it would be angled to the left. Do not be alarmed, this is normal and should be like that, I like it that the angle is the correct one for the tractor prop the plane comes with.



The canopy is next on my good list. It fits perfectly and closes up the fuselage real nice. Magnets are well glued in and the plastic bits as well.



Next up is the radio! Even though it is included in the RTF package, the radio was actually heaps and bounds above what I had expected it would be! It features a back-lit LCD screen, 3 switches, a button, has the capability to switch between MODE 1 and MODE 2, and uses the S-FHSS protocol, which means that either you can bind the plane to an existing Futaba radio that some of you may own, or you can bind the radio to compatible receivers and use it with other models as well! This is different from the Hubsan radios, which only work with some of their models... but here you are free to do whatever you want with it, and you can surely use it beyond the scope of this model!

The radio has a nice feel to it, despite it looking a bit cheap! It is actually programmable and you can adjust things like D/R, EXPO, Mixes, throttle curves, etc. Funny enough, out of all these switches the only one who actually does something on the model is the one right next to the red button.



The navigation button is quite easy to use and quite accurate when you select stuff in the menu.



Under these rubber covers is where the stick screws are located. Adjusting these will change the radio from MODE 2 to MODE 1, and vice versa. This is a very good extra to have on a radio, because the alternative method involves opening the radio case... and that is always a tedious task!



The battery bay takes 6x AA batteries. I guess using rechargeable would be the better choice.



The back-lit screen is actually quite nice and not that difficult to navigate the simple menu! What is important is that all of the critical programmables are there should you need them!



Included with the plane is a spare prop... which is big since most manufacturers do not include that, despite the fact that these things costs practically nothing compared to the cost of the model! Included is also a hex wrench and a screw driver, as well as the tail assembly bolts. Not sure what the hex wrench is for, since the bolts are Phillips head type, but its nice to get something extra just for the sake of it.



The supplied 2S 2000mAh battery and the battery charger ensure that you can get flying even if you are totally new to this hobby and don't own a single piece of hobby gear otherwise.





And last there is a colour User Manual. Although its in "chinglish" you can get the jest of it and be able to setup the plane and ready it for flight!






WHAT I DON'T LIKE

As usual... there are things that belong in this section for this plane too. I guess China is still a way away from churning out the perfect plane... but I can see it getting closer every day!

Lets start with the propeller. I will not dwell on the decision to use a 3-blade propeller, but what was interesting about it was that it is slotted on the inside of its mounting hole, much like the early DJI propellers were, which would make replacing it quite difficult unless XK release spare propellers for this model! I guess this explains why there is a spare propeller in the box, and I guess pusher planes do not break propellers often, but it happens and this could cause a great deal of stress to somebody trying to find a prop that fits on this motor and prop adaptor. Short of replacing the motor, or stocking up on replacement props, there is not much more one can do to ensure the plane will stay flight worthy.



The second issue that I have is with the placement of the radio receiver antenna inside the fuselage! I really would like to know of the thought process that occurred when that decision was made, and rather than congratulate I would like to slap the guy who thought the receiver antenna would be just fine literally in between the ESC-motor wires!

I know this stabilization system does not have GPS and a compass, and hence you don't have to be all that careful to move all interference sources away from it, but since you have the receiver board directly soldered to it... that changes things... A LOT!

Not that this is not easy to fix by just relocating the ESC and possibly turning that antenna down through the fuselage to the outside of the plane... but the mere fact that this exited the factory like this and somebody approved it is what makes me a little angry!

Granted, I did not have any signal problems during the maiden, but that was a line-of-sight flight and I did not stray too far. Had the plane been equipped with an FPV system I would have gone far, and since this model does not have GPS and no RTH function... loosing the radio signal would have been an issue!



My final concern is with the stabilization system! Don't get me wrong... it works, and it works great to keep the plane level, and you don't even have to tune it. My concern is with the fact that there is no manual mode, i.e. the stabilization system was working all the time. I know for some of you this might seem like a good thing and would wonder why I don't like this... but take my word for it - I've flown A LOT, and crashed a lot... and learned a lot! In the even of a stall the stabilization system would rarely be able to take the plane out of the death spiral, rather it will only worsen the situation! In this case switching to manual mode makes all the difference between saving and crashing the plane! Of course it will also depend on the skill of the pilot to deal with such a situation, but in any case it is always better to have that option and not need it, than need it, and not have it!

And the last thing, which is not a big deal but still could be bothersome, is the radio battery bay! The way it is designed you can ONLY use AA size dry cells, which means that you will have to replace them constantly, or take them out for a slow recharge constantly! Modifying this radio to fit a LiPo battery would be a major pain!




THE VERDICT

So, this plane definitely much more good going for it than bad! The ESC is generally easy to relocate, and the receiver antenna can be turned up side down and into the foam on the bottom of the fuselage. This will more it further away from the interference the ESC is causing and will improve the reception from the radio on the ground, which will definitely help improve the radio range on this model.

Apart from that little mod that needs to be done, the plane is totally flyable as it is from the factory, especially if you are totally new to this and not looking to venture far, but rather want to learn at a close range! The stabilization system works perfectly and doesn't even need tuning and the two flight modes are sufficient to suit most people out there! The low rates mode is very beginner friendly and would provide a very relaxed FPV flight (if such a system is present), and the high rates mode will be to the liking of more experienced pilots looking for a bit more aggressive flying, and would be something for the beginners to move to once they fell comfortable flying in the low rates mode.

The plane is light, easy to carry and assemble at the field or at a remote location. Assembly should probably take no more than 1-2 mins once you know how it works, and I have to say that I was quite surprised at how this model flew and behaved in the air, and especially its resistance to stalling when I tried to make it stall intentionally! All of the work has been done for us at the factory and in light of this the price is also quite reasonable.

Overall a VERY good product, very well suited for beginners, very quick and easy to assemble and disassemble at the field, and possibly a very convenient and quick to deploy FPV platform once the gear is installed on it. This is a perfect entry to mid-level FPV platform.

Continues in next post...
Last edited by Arxangel; Mar 14, 2017 at 04:59 PM.
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Jun 17, 2016, 10:39 AM
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...continued from previous post

THE BUILD, AND MODIFICATIONS


Literally, as you will see in the videos below, this was THE QUICKEST plane build I've ever done!!
So, starting with the tail, the horizontal stabiliser should be the first to mounted on. Place it carefully making sure servo connectors align and press it on, holding it with one arm while you tighten the first bolt. You should use the shorter of the two provided, and make sure you don't over-tighten it.



Next on is the vertical stabiliser. Make sure to align the front hole and the servo connector, then press down a little and you will feel a click. Then turn the fuselage over and insert the longer bolt into the hole just in front of the tail skid. Make sure you don't over-tighten this one as well.



Then come the wings. First you need to insert the wing joiner into its place. Make sure the square carbon rods sticking out of it are angle up when you insert it. It takes some effort to put in place, but at least you know it won't be going anywhere mid-flight!







Once the joiner is in you can insert the wings and press hard. You will hear and feel the click of the locking mechanism. The servo connectors align perfectly, to my surprise, and everything works well!



And just like that, before you know it the plane is assembled and ready for flight!



At the front of the plane there is an opening. This might be designed to serve as a cooling hole for the electronics in there, or it might be a mounting spot for the FPV camera from the FPV package that is designed for this plane. I guess I will know when I receive the FPV package.



So, wondering aside, the plane is now ready to receive the battery. The battery location is clearly visible inside the fuselage because there is velcro placed where the battery should go. There is some room to adjust the battery's position in order to achieve proper CG balance.





Also inside the fuselage is the stabilization system with the ESC right above it. All wires in there are connected and secured, so no additional work is needed. There is a connector on the stabilisation system, which is labelled for the video system... it would be interesting if its only for power or if it also offers some sort of an OSD overlay.



So... battery goes in the plane...



...6x AA batteries go into the radio...



... wing dihedral looks good, and will definitely aid with the stabilisation of the plane in flight. OK, its officially ready for flight!



So, finally, here come the videos. First one is assembly at the field with only a single screw driver at hand. The second one is the flight.
WARNING: this plane will not balance out of the box! You need to add more weight in the nose before flight. PLEASE verify the CG.

XK A1200 FPV RTF EPO Plane - unboxing at the field & quickest assembly EVER! (8 min 2 sec)


XK A1200 FPV RTF EPO Plane - maiden flight and review (6 min 19 sec)


As soon as I get the chance I will do an endurance test to see how long the battery will last, and when I receive the FPV package I will also review that and update the information so stay tuned!


UPDATES

UPDATE 1 - finally testing the FPV system

UPDATE 2 - its got an autopilot now!
Last edited by Arxangel; Mar 07, 2017 at 04:59 PM.
Jun 17, 2016, 04:26 PM
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Ok, just a little update.

I tested the flight endurance today, discharging the battery down to 3.5v per cell under load. It took 47 mins to discharge it to that level, and the charger put back 2040mAh, so I am quite happy with that performance. I wonder how that flight would go when the FPV system is isntalled... if the Vtx is really 600mW and the camera can record 1080p I can easily see the flight time dropping significantly!

As for this flight, I was stunned at how slow and how stable this plane can fly... this would make for a very interesting FPV platform... and in the not too distant future I might install a proper autopilot.
Jun 27, 2016, 01:20 PM
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Thanks for the review. I think i will buy standard version.
Jun 28, 2016, 02:17 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by baracuda50
Thanks for the review. I think i will buy standard version.
Cool, upgradeability is definitely good on this plane. I have not yet received the FPV package but I hope I will soon!
Jul 12, 2016, 09:31 AM
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Pixelpeter's Avatar
Will be interesting to see what the FPV set is like
Jul 13, 2016, 01:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpeter
Will be interesting to see what the FPV set is like
Well... I am still waiting for it!
Jul 13, 2016, 02:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arxangel
Well... I am still waiting for it!
It's sold as being a FPV plane (option to choose over at BG) but did they lose the FPV? Anybody seen pictures of the set?
Jul 14, 2016, 02:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpeter
It's sold as being a FPV plane (option to choose over at BG) but did they lose the FPV? Anybody seen pictures of the set?
Not me! BG claim to have received the FPV packages... but I have yet to see a photo... or receive mine!
Jul 14, 2016, 07:01 AM
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Just found this picture (below) overhere:

http://orlandoshop.info/xk-a1200-3d6...ne-glider-rtf/
Jul 14, 2016, 07:16 AM
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Another picture showing some more detail about the FPV set:
Jul 14, 2016, 07:28 AM
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That looks really awesome! If it doesn't arrive... I will have to print a few parts to make something like that for my own gear!
Aug 03, 2016, 05:34 AM
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Pixelpeter's Avatar
Have you received your FPV set yet? Or any news about it?
Aug 03, 2016, 07:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pixelpeter
Have you received your FPV set yet? Or any news about it?
Last I was notified, they were waiting for the factory to send them a separate set without a plane, so they can ship it to me... no info since... I am getting restless!
Aug 03, 2016, 09:52 AM
fly it high as possible
There are no GPS, no RTL, no Telemetry.
Why it 's named FPV?
It is just a regular toy and very expensive for nothing.


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