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Dec 13, 2018, 08:32 PM
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My experience with an Align Trex 150X

I absolutely love my Trex 150X for flying around my front yard, practicing maneuvers. I've been putting 6-7 packs through the 150X every morning for nearly a year, now, and I love it! Perfect size for my front yard, and super quiet too! All I really hear is the blades ripping through the air. There's a lot of negativity about this heli, so I thought I'd post about my positive experience with my 150X and a few tips that may be helpful.

Although I have a few bigger helicopters, I like to use micro helicopters to migrate new skills from my simulator to the real world. Like many pilots, I have a mental barrier to trying something completely new with a larger, more expensive helicopter. And then there's the intimidation factor--it's enough to just freeze my hands! My solution to this gestalt was to buy a Blade Nano CPS and then convince myself that it's disposable and thus crash-able.

I made a lot of progress flipping and flying inverted with the Nano CPS, but I became increasingly frustrated with the behavior of the brushed motors, the twitches, and the tail blow-outs. I have arrived at a skill level where more crashes are caused by the helicopter's anemic power and tail authority than my dumb thumbs. So I pulled the trigger on the Trex 150X.

The 150X's performance is so much better than the Nano CPS, and also my Blade mCPS, particularly in the tail area. Continual tail blow-outs had been just killing my Blade helis! The 150X, on the other hand, has enough power and maneuverability to help me get out of bad situations. I cannot believe some of the crap I've gotten away with, and not once has the 150X's tail blown out on me!

My 150X has been through quite a few very traumatizing crashes, due mostly to dumb thumbs, lol. Even after being launched, full bore, into the ground inverted (because I momentarily forgot that 'up' is actually 'down' when inverted) the 150X was still usable! In fact, even though it clearly had a bent main shaft and a bent feathering shaft, I could still do flips and hover inverted with the 150X. And, none of the canopy posts have broken off the frame! I remain impressed with the 150X.

Admittedly, after having flown the Nano CPS for so long, I found that the power output of the 150X is so good that I was a bit intimidated and I struggled to try new maneuvers. I love the size and crash-ability of my 150X, but it's always sort of scared me with the recommended settings. It's just so fast! Or, maybe I'm getting old, but either way ... I eventually decided to tame down the performance, and then accept that I can gradually grow with the helicopter. Although there are watered-down modes available, I prefer to fly in Expert mode. I need the 150X to be agile and responsive, but not with breakneck head speeds. With the collective pitch reduced from 80% to 65% and the Stunt1 curve put to 65,62,60,62,65, my 150X has become a smooth and consistent practice heli. It still has enough punch-out to get me out of trouble when I make a mistake, and the tail is still rock solid.

A spin-off benefit to the lower head speed is that the 150X is even more crash resistant than before. Just the other morning, I botched an inverted hover, got a case of dumb-thumbs, and almost hit myself. Instinctively, I ducked and the 150X plowed fully-inverted into my concrete driveway! The impact was so loud I thought I would have to rebuild most of the helicopter. Only damage, though, was a need to reset the elevator servo saver. Even the feathering shaft and main gear were unharmed. So, the 150X continues to be pretty darned crash resistant!

I cannot recommend servo savers enough! Without servo savers, you will definitely strip some servo gears. Of the three servos, the elevator servo seems to be the most vulnerable. Sure, it's not that difficult to replace stripped gears, even these super small gears are manageable. Given the amount of crashing I've been doing, though, I'd be replacing servo gears almost weekly! With the servo savers, I just unscrew the servo arm, return the servo arm to its mid-throw position when the throttle stick is at 50%, and then put the screw back on. I don't tighten the screw--I back the screw out about 1/2 turn to allow the servo arm to jump on the servo shaft during the next crash. This has proven much easier than tearing into the servo gears!

Another area of consideration is satellite receivers. I'm a Spektrum guy, and I've been happily using a DX9 transmitter with all my helicopters for some time, now. I have been using a decased Spektrum SPM9645 satellite receiver in my 150X, and it works perfectly. Unfortunately, though, the SPM9645 satellite receiver has been discontinued in favor of a new satellite receiver, SPM9745, which appears to be incompatible with the 150X. Until either the 150X firmware or the SPM9745 is updated, an alternative satellite receiver, such as a Lemon RX, will be necessary for use with Spektrum transmitters.

Unlike most micro-helicopters, the 150X does not include a power cable that plugs onto a battery. Instead, the 150X has a socket that receives a connector on the battery. This battery socket system surely keeps the wiring clean and simple, but ensuring that the battery is inserted correctly can be a challenge. A lot of solutions to this issue have been discussed online. One approach is to make a larger opening on the bottom of the canopy and then use a finger to hold the socket steady while connecting the battery. Another approach is to solder on a battery plug that plugs onto the battery similarly to other helicopters. I insert a wood dowel through a small opening in the canopy to support the socket while plugging in the battery. Not a big deal for me at all, but it is a thing.

As with all my helicopters, I created a packaged kit for the 150X. I typically like to fly 6 packs during a flying session, and never less than three packs if I'm crunched for time. So I made sure to include 6 extra Align 300mAh 30C packs when I purchased my Trex 150X. A Parallel Charge Cable for Trex 150 offered by Buddy RC makes charging all six battery packs quick and easy! As with all my helis, I chose a plastic case by PFC Stock Cases to house my 150X, the six battery packs, and the charging cable all in a simple kit. Eventually, I settled on a PFC 135-100-044-5SF Plastic Carrying Case to hold all of my 150X gear and even some extra parts that I might need when I'm on the road. Now that all my 150X gear is stored in one convenient package, I can charge all my battery packs, grab my DX9 and the 150X in its case, and then begin flying in about 30 minutes!

For a long time, I had been wrenching on helis more than flying. Although I learned a lot about building and fixing helicopters, I think my flying progress suffered. Solid performers like this Trex 150X, as well as tons of sim time, have enabled me to focus more on flying and only wrenching when I actually break something. The durability of the 150X has further reduced instances when wrenching on helis is needed. I remember spending the better part of a weekend fixing my Blade 180CFX after a seemingly innocuous crash; but with the 150X, I have found that most repairs can be performed in under an hour. The performance and reliability of helis like the Trex 150X have enabled me to reduce my helicopters, parts and tools down to the essentials. I have found there is peace in simplicity.
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Dec 26, 2018, 12:21 PM
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Navigator2011, I fully agree with you. The 150X is a perfect trainer to move new maneuvers from the simulator to the real world. It releases a lot of stress facilitating concentration. Once you are able to do a maneuver safely with the 150X then you can be confident to do it with bigger helies as they are actually easier to fly. This method reduces risks, releases from stress, reduce the time and money invested in repairs and makes the overall experience more enjoyable and rewarding.

In my case, I have two twins 150X with 12 batteries that are charged in parallel. I can fly for 1 hour without stopping. I like alternating the helies so that motors can rest a bit between flights. If one heli has an "unexpected" landing and gets damaged, I can still fly with the other.

I found that having two helies is useful for troubleshooting and diagnosis.
Last edited by Ben_m; Dec 26, 2018 at 12:31 PM.
Dec 26, 2018, 07:59 PM
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I've had thoughts about getting another 150X, but I haven't done that yet. I don't really like having to maintain multiple helicopters.
Apr 25, 2019, 06:27 PM
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I just got my 150X and am impressed. It is very stable, smooth, and predictable, close to 180 CFX. Size is only a little bigger than Nano S2.

BTW, I love your write-ups and details about the cases. Do you have one case for each Heli? Don't you find it annoying to carry many cases with you?
Apr 25, 2019, 06:34 PM
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Thanks! Yes, I have a case for each heli, well except the Nano S2 and the CPS. Cases are nice since they protect the helis so well. But, in general, multiple cases are a pain. Lately, I have been using heli bags that hold what I need and I can just sling over my shoulder. Super convenient for riding a bicycle to the local park or field.

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