Blade 130X Friend or Foe…

my130X

I believe that this  is currently the smallest heli that you can buy with the  flight characteristics of a larger more stable heli. For me this makes it the perfect back yard heli.  Perfect in that it is small enough not to worry the neighbors or damage my home and large enough to be visible and capable of 3D right out out of the box. ( for the first few flights anyway… )

The 130X is very clearly aimed at a specific price tag and corners were cut to make the  kit fit that price point. Horizon Hobby isn’t stupid. They know they just need to hook you in the first few flights to keep you coming back for more.  Depending on your patience there may be enough heli here for you to spend the time and extra money to get the heli flying right in a little more durable fashion.

Is it as crash worthy as an mCPX ? No.  There are a lot more parts to break and gears to strip so it will cost more to repair. This is especially true of the plastic stock parts. However if you are prudent with your throttle hold, the 130X can survive some crashes reasonably well after a few weaker components are upgraded.  Typically the tail boom slides out in a crash and needs to be repositioned.

If you visit the 130X forums it is obvious that there are some quality control issues.  In fact I would seriously suggest that you visit the 130X forums and look at their sticky links at the top the cover what you should do to get your 130X flying properly.  A lot of complaints center around the tail and how much slop there is as well as how quickly a number of parts wear out. Many other complaints center around poor assembly.  You should expect to tear this heli down and rebuild it before you fly it.

Visibility: The stock blades are hard to see, so the first thing I did was purchase the bright yellow main and tail blades. They are much easier to see. ( Recommended, but not necessary )  The white landing gear helps as well.

There are some QA issues with the plastic A gear. Out of the box many of them will actually touch the circuit board and require sanding. However this part tends to get striped so replace it early with the metal A gear and then don’t worry about it.

The Tail

It doesn’t matter whether you get a Rakon or Micro Heli steel or titanium pitch slider, single to dual bearings, the stock pitch slider has a LOT of play in it that gets worse very quickly after a little flying.  You will want this upgrade to improve your tail performance so it doesn’t wag and even so it will just work reliably. The plastic C and D gears can wear out quickly. Most people put a dab of CA on the end of the TT and the C gear to hold the TT in place so it doesn’t slide out in flight.

The Gear Mesh

I’ve been told that this is the holy grail of getting this heli to fly well. Some people have needed to put slots in the motor mount to adjust the pinion to main gear mesh. Some people have needed spacers to adjust the A gear to B gear mesh.

Batteries

If you happen to have a bunch of 2S batteries hanging around the battery connector that comes with this heli just won’t cut it. I soldered a female JST connector to the battery wires. This way I can use the 2S batteries that I already have and that I can charge very quickly 4 at a time on my large battery charger.  I ordered a pair of female JST connectors from HH with my 130X order. They were $2.99.

What you will need

I  would plan on budgeting about $400 for this heli to get it right and have a few spare parts. If you can get over the fact that this heli requires tweaking out of the box and a few upgrades to make it perform better and more crash worthy it is a good little beater.

2S batteries: ( required )

  • I use 6x  65C 325mah Thunder Power batteries. I can charge them 4 at a time with my charger in a very short period of time.  $16.99 each. ( This is the same price that HH charges for their 300mah 35C battery) These are weighted very well for the 130X and are supposed to be good for 500-600 cycles and can be charged at up to 12C or 3.9A each.
  • However if you want cheaper batteries,  Sky is selling some for $2 each as I post this.

Maintenance Items:

  • The Rear Tail Gears  will wear out and your tail control will suffer. The kit comes  with a spare set.  One person told me goes through a set about every 20 flights. He is doing piro flips and pushing it hard, but be forewarned these are a normal wear item.  $3.99 for 2 sets or about 10 cents a flight if you fly hard.

Metal Bevel Gear: (highly recommended)  $14.99   BLH3735

Tail sliders: ( highly recommended )

More Visible blades: ( recommended )

There are many other upgrades available. Some are purely for aesthetics and will just make your heli heavier. Depending on how you fly some upgrades may reduce your typical crash costs, but that will vary.  Some people have had their tail servos wear out quickly and have installed DS35 tail servos instead. I had a cyclic servo die after about 120 flights.

I’ve also added a motor heat sink as my motor appears to run hot. Some people say that is an issue and other say it isn’t.

Crash Parts

The cost of the crash parts seems a bit excessive. For many much larger helis you can get 2 feathering shafts for the price of one for this little heli. However unlike most larger helis an inverted crash typically will not damage the blades or the feathering shaft.  So if you  do the math it is still more cost effective to crash the 130X over a more reliable larger heli.

Parts to stock up on:  C/D gears, main grips, tail grips, feathering shaft, Boom, TT’s, bearings, tail fin.

Occassional parts:  Servos, landing gear, canopy, head, tail spindle

Is this heli right for you?

If you are learning collective pitch and orientation nose in, and inverted hovering, an mCPX is a much better choice. It will crash a lot better and requires a LOT less maintenance.

If you are  a more advanced flier and want something small  to tool around with but more acrobatically capable than the mCPX, and you don’t mind tinkering around with it and upgrading it VERY soon after flying it, the 130X might be a good fit.

This has been a love/hate heli for me.   At the moment I have mine running smoothly and I flew 12 packs through it the other day working on inverted flight. I crashed hard a couple times and lightly a couple more. I broke one $2.99 tail fin for all of that crashing and had to reposition the tail after the two rougher crashes.

So for me it is a good tool to learn with after I figure something out on the simulator, but before I fly one of my larger helis.

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