Blue Ray 450PE Electric RC 3D Helicopter with 2.4GHz Radio System Review

The Exceed RC 2.4GHz Blue Ray 450SE (Special Edition) RTF is a fully loaded version 2.4GHz 3D RC helicopter, 100% built, Ready-to-Fly! Light and fast." That's their claim: In this review Mike Heer and friends put it to the test!

Splash

Introduction


Length:660mm
Height:230mm
Weight:730-760g
Rotor Diameter:700mm
Tail:Belt driven tail one way bearing
Transmitter:Exceed RC 6CH 2.4GHz
Receiver:Exceed 6Ch 2.4GHz receiver
Battery:Fusion Power Lipo 11.1V 1800 mAh 15C
Motor:Alpha 400 Brushless 3500Kv
ESC:30A Volcano Brushless ESC
Manufacturer:Exceed RC
Available From:Nitroplanes
Price:$249.95

The Blue Ray 450PE sold by Nitroplanes comes with a 2.4 GHz radio six channel with the receiver already installed and connected. They claim the helicopter is 100% built and ready to fly. I can confirm that the helicopter was 100% built but we will explore further exactly how ready it was to fly and how ready to fly 3D when it came out of the box.

Kit Contents

The Blue Ray 450 came in a generic 6 channel helicopter packing box. The pilot manual and decals were not just for the Blue Ray 450 but were also generic.

Included items:

  • Fully assembled Blue Ray Helicopter w/receiver
  • Exceed 2.4GHz 6CH transmitter
  • Fusion Power 11.1V 1800mAh battery
  • Main blade holder
  • Velcro like material
  • Ast tie downs
  • CD
  • Instructional manual

Parts I supplied:

  • Lipoly charger, Bantam 8 used

Promoted Features:

  • All hardware is high A grade
  • High quality imported German bearings
  • High rigidity/strong tail boom
  • Professional quality head lock gyro
  • Longer battery plate for better C/G
  • Ball and Hillertwo systems mixing control
  • Adjustable fly bar weighting
  • New high strength ball inks and stainless steel linkage balls

Assembly

The Blue Ray 450PE Electric RC 3D Helicopter came completely assembled and ready to fly as advertised. No assembly was necessary other than charging and installing the included battery.

I took the BlueRay the Las Vegas Fun Fly. There I met Randy Weber who was working in the pit area next to us. He had his own helicopter, and I asked him if he would be interested in checking out the Blue Ray for me to confirm my own ground inspection results, and he was very helpful. He did a complete preflight check of the controls and found everything to be centered properly and working as it should. The range of pitch for the blades was 16 degrees positive pitch, a high amount by design; the Blue Ray is a full 3D helicopter. Randy confirmed that the helicopter was set up properly and that the controls on the transmitter were also centered correctly.

The pre-assembled BlueRay 450PE passed two full inspections as being properly assembled as delivered.

The 6-Channel 2.4GHz Radio

The included radio is a six channel 2.4GHz radio. It worked fine, and as will be seen below in the video, is fully capable of controlling the Blue Ray helicopter. My testing showed that the servos were working in the proper direction, and that all the controls with the exception of the tail rotor were properly centered. The tail rotor had a full range of movement in one direction and was slightly less than full range in the other direction. I adjusted it so that it worked smoothly. That was the only adjustment that I made before the first flights.

I was somewhat surprised by the simplicity of the 6 channel radio. The supplied Exceed transmitter covers all of the necessary controls, and the sticks have working trim tabs. The range of movement appears sufficient for 3D flight. It is not a computerized radio system, and fits the price of this system. The transmitter doesn’t have servo reversing, but none is needed to properly operate the Blue Ray. This same transmitter is used with a number of their helicopters. The radio is certainly capable of allowing an experienced helicopter pilot to do 3D flying with the BlueRay.

That said, at my level of experience, I was hoping to trim down the controls to make it a less responsive helicopter and better matched to my flying skills, but that is not possible with this radio. For the 3D pilot, this radio system supplies the full range of movement for the controls to really move the helicopter.

Completion

Aside from the one adjustment discussed above, all I really had to do to get the BlueRay 450PE ready for flight was to top off the battery charge. The battery came with a Dean style connector, and using my Bantam 8 charger, the battery was quickly ready to go. The battery came nicely packaged in its own small box with foam to secure it in place. It was easily the best transportation/shipping arrangement I have ever seen for a Lithium battery. While I would always recommend that a helicopter be thoroughly checked out by the pilot before every flying session, I found mine really did arrive ready to fly with just the one minor adjustment.

Flying

First Flight Sessions

Back home on a fairly calm day I placed the helicopter on a concrete pad and powered up the helicopter. I checked out the radio controls and performed a range check. I got the helicopter light on its skids and tried to get the tail nice and stable with the copter facing away from me. I got the helicopter up and held it in a steady hover. The gyro seemed to working OK initially as was the matching speed of the tail rotor and main rotor. I was able to hold a nice hover for over a minute with only the expected small but ongoing corrections needed.

I learned on the second flight it was very important to have the helicopter on a level surface when powering it up. The E-Sky 70-04 Gyro included with the Blue Ray has a red light that turns blue when it is oriented. Moving the helicopter during this time can prevent the gyro from orienting properly and can adversely effect the handling. Make sure to watch for the light color change on the gyro before moving the helicopter. I discovered this the hard way - I didn't watch for the light, and I suspect that I moved it while it was still orienting. This came to me as I was fighting the tail rotor for control during the second flight. The Nitroplanes Website has a link to setup videos for the Genesis, the Legend and the Blue Ray which I found to be mildly helpful as a reminder course, and I recommend them for a viewing. It was after the second flight that I viewed the setup videos, and the mention of the gyro setup made me realize that that might have been my problem on the previous flight.

I was very conscious of the tail movement and response during the third flight. While I was concentrating very hard on that, a sneeze (actually two sneezes) sneaked up on me. As I sneezed I bumped up the throttle, and the Blue Ray responded beautifully, shooting straight up. When I opened my eyes after the second sneeze, I spotted the Blue Ray higher than the nearby tall pine trees, and I scared myself. I lowered the throttle and brought her down slowly, landing on the large paved pad.

I had a nice calm day with only high overcast so I was ready to do a little circling flight after a further short hovering practice flight. All went fine with a minute of hover and with small movements, she proved to fly forward, backward and to either side very nicely. I made a small circle of my concrete pad and slowly built up my confidence in the Blue Ray 450 PE’s handling. I found that if I moved the controls too much the helicopter moved much more quickly then I was used to, but small movements were OK. I started to notice that my tail was requiring counter or reverse action after I did a maneuver and a little more attention to the holding than I expected, indicating that there might be an intermittent problem with my gyro.

I bench tested the gyro and everything seemed to be working properly. I took the Blue Ray with me to the AMA Expo in Ontario, CA and asked my good friend Fred Bronk to check out the helicopter and especially the tail servo movement. He found that the tail rotor was no longer centered, and he corrected that the easy way by loosening the tail rotor servo mount on the tail boom and slightly adjusting the position of the servo so that the tail rotor was centered in neutral. I checked out the gyro by moving the tail boom from side to side, and the gyro responded by moving the servo in the correct directions. It was time for a flight.

Aerobatic and Special Flight Performance

Fred and I asked Manny Campos from Sure Flight in San Diego if he would be interested in doing a 3D test flight at the Expo and he agreed to fly the Blue Ray and did a quick check out of the helicopter before flying it.

Downloads

Manny said that everything other then the tail rotor movement seemed to be very firm, and he liked the feel and the power. It flipped fine and flew well upside down and seemed to be in good trim. His only complaint was that he was having to fight the tail directional control. Movements required counter movements to correct them and bring the tail back to neutral. He said it was simply something that needed adjustment, most likely the gyro. Aside from the tail adjustment issue, he liked the Blue Ray and how it felt. He proved that it could do 3D maneuvers right out of the box as advertised. It had power, speed and great range of movement.

Basic Flying Back Home

I adjusted the gain and worked on the gyro at home. It appeared to be properly adjusting the tail servo so I arranged a meeting with my friend Jeff Hunter to shoot some video of it at one of our club's fields. This time after powering up, there was no signal going through the gyro to the servo. From an intermittent problem it had become a complete problem. I was ready to give up on the gyro and call and ask for a replacement but Jeff wanted a chance to take it apart and check it out.

The next day Jeff said he had worked on the gyro and had it repaired and working properly. We got together and it was indeed working as it should in static testing. Everything remained set up as received except for the gyro and a slight adjustment to the location of the tail servo as mentioned above. In test flights the gyro proved to work as it was suppose to and now did a good job of locking onto the heading.

Downloads

Photo Gallery

Is This For a Beginner?

No! This helicopter is set up for intermediate to expert pilots who want to fly 3D helicopters. It is very responsive for those 3D maneuvers, and the transmitter is capable of allowing the pilot to perform advanced maneuvers. The throws can't really be decreased to truly make the helicopter a beginners copter. Jeff and I were able to fly it in a controlled fashion at low throttle settings an intermediate helicopter pilot would use. Thus an intermediate helicopter pilot could fly the helicopter in a very controlled fashion and build his skills up to full 3D with the copter.

Conclusion

Intermittent problems like the one I experienced with the gyro are unusual and are the hardest to find and correct. I doubt very much I would see the problem again if I tested dozens of Blue Ray helicopters. Once corrected the gyro worked fine. Gyro aside, the helicopter was very well set-up and ready to fly right out of the box; although I did adjust the tail servo that might have been related to the gyro . The Blue Ray is a great deal for the intermediate or more advanced helicopter pilot. It was nicely assembled with the screws tight and all but the tail rotor servo perfectly and properly centered. It is quite a bargain given the quality of the components and metal parts. Two expert pilots and I flew it, and except for the intermittently balky gyro, we liked the helicopter; its speed, responsiveness and power. The included 2.4GHz radio worked well throughout the review. Manny showed it could do 3D, and Jeff and I found it could do routine flight very well at partial throttle. The Blue Ray has left me with a very favorable impression, and it gets my recommendation for those pilots ready for her.

Pluses:

  • Came well built with all but one part properly centered and ready to fly as discussed above
  • Lots of metal "upgraded" parts included for the price
  • Flew as promised right out of the box
  • The simple 2.4 GHz radio was designed to fit the needs of this helicopter and it did.

Minuses:

  • Gyro needed some professional repair to work and hold direction as needed, but then worked very well.

My thanks to Randy Weber, Fred Bronk, Manny Campos and Jeff Hunter for their important contributions to this review.

Last edited by Angela H; Apr 01, 2009 at 05:37 PM..
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Apr 08, 2009, 01:55 PM
Team Wack-a-Mole
Melnic's Avatar
Michael,
Nice review and lots of work put into it. Good thoughts to get experts to check it out.

Couple things:
The price you list on the review looks like it is for the SE version and not the PE. That is unless you got it on some SUPER sale I didn't see. Should be $319 (when they are in stock)
Pitch range you mentioned was "The range of pitch for the blades was 16 degrees positive pitch, a high amount by design". +8 to -8 might be what you meant? Mine was +9/-9. But definitly not 0 to +16 which is WAY more postitive pitch than the motor can handle.
This Tx DOES have some adjustment capability to it. You should have received a USB cable with it and a CD that will allow you to install the PC program that will allow you to tweek it. Anyone using this PC should see my video tutorial first before using it so that you don't accidently erase your configuration:
http://www.mycoolheli.com/t6config.html
You'll be able to turn down your swash AFR (CG1 and 2) and make it less sensitive.
You mention that someone repaired the gyro? What did they find w/ the gyro?

Also, did anyone tune the gyro gain using the variable knob as described in my link? It looked like you had tail wag in the first video and maybe Manny had turned it down? If not, that can explain the fighting someone may have had to do w/ the tail. Unlike other computer radios where you set the gyro gain via a setup screen, this one is w/ a knob that you can easily move by accident and needs to be marked where you like it so you can move it back if needed.

I agree it's a good helicopter. I still have one of mine totally stock w/ Zero upgrades. Flies nice and smooth and can still do aerobatics.

On your photos, you mention a connector on the back for a trainer chord. A trainer chord is typically refered to as a buddy box chord but this cable is for using the PC setup program. It can however interface using that cable to FMS so maybe trainer chord is still valid.

The charger plug should not be used for charging up rechargable batteries unless what you plug in is DESIGNED for charging 8 cells of NiMh batteries. If you just plug in a 12V power supply, you could damage any rechargable batteries you install as that plug goes STRAIGHT to the battery terminals.
Apr 08, 2009, 02:33 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Thread OP
Dear Melnic:
You are correct it was 16 degreees of movement from -8 to +8. There was no cable with mine and no software.
The gain was adjustable and I would adjust it and that would seem to correct the problem for awhile. It was not accidentally bumped by me.
Nice helicopter once the gyro actually locked in. Thanks for your comments. Mike
Apr 08, 2009, 05:45 PM
Nothin says hate like a .308
proraptor's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Heer
Dear Melnic:
You are correct it was 16 degreees of movement from -8 to +8. There was no cable with mine and no software.
The gain was adjustable and I would adjust it and that would seem to correct the problem for awhile. It was not accidentally bumped by me.
Nice helicopter once the gyro actually locked in. Thanks for your comments. Mike
You might want to call the place you got the heli from because the remote is supposed to come with a cable and software so you can program it
Apr 08, 2009, 06:22 PM
Registered User
mhills51's Avatar
Yes the plug on the back isn't for a trainer it is for programming. I thought it would do both, but I couldn't get it to work as a trainer.
Apr 09, 2009, 08:42 PM
Registered User
s65jet's Avatar
What exactly was the problem with the gyro, how did you find the probem, and what did you do to fix it? Seems this is an important part of the review process.

Otherwise, great review. I would like to see more 3d flying with it, or at least in idle up.
Apr 10, 2009, 10:28 AM
Team Wack-a-Mole
Melnic's Avatar
Backwards flight with a Blueray 450 PE RTF 100% stock (2 min 29 sec)

Blueray 450 RTF test flight (7 min 3 sec)

Blueray 450 Video EXI MA 450 (3 min 53 sec)


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