Hisky HMX280 vs Bolt 180.
Plastic vs Carbon Fibre
Who will last the test of time?
Maybe this photo will speak for itself
There comes a time when you have been flying Quadcopters for awhile and you get the urge to feel more power, more agility and more fun.
The question is, where do you go next?
The most logical place is to a brushless quadcopter. A brushless motor offers significantly more power than a brushed motor. Once you have made up your mind that you want to experience what true power is, you then need to decide what model to buy.
A lot of new flyer’s will be reluctant to outlay too much money for a high end quadcopter. Most are hundreds of dollars and can skyrocket even further as you add parts.
So far, to feed your habit, your average outlay has usually averaged $30 per quadcopter or so.
Hence the middle ground. The toy-brushless-quadcopter or hybrid.
This could be a possibility. They are much less expensive and some are almost as fast as the high dollar ones.
These quadcopters will share similar characteristics with what you are familiar with, like the same plastic molded body, the nice LED’s and they will often sport a catchy name, like assassin, stinger, flash, lightning, aton... you get the gist.
The obvious differences come in the forms of brushless motors, esc's, flight controller and receiver. Although it would be naïve to think that this type of quadcopter will solve all your problems in terms of reliability and quality.
Smaller toy grade quadcopters are known to break and join the graveyard box of broken spares. Unfortunately, so do bigger brushless/toy quadcopters. Repairing this type of quadcopter can prove costly and complicated.
Lets look at the negatives of owning a toy brushless quadcopter as, unfortunately, they seem to outnumber the positives.
Having numerous smaller toy quadcopters you will no doubt break many props and might be unlucky enough to break a frame. As they say you’re not flying hard enough unless you crash.
Being made of similar plastics (but thicker), these frames are subject to breaking. Some of these hybrid quadcopters have impressive top speeds and crashing at this speed can prove disastrous.
A brushless quadcopter needs a speed controller for each motor. Approach with care, as some speed controllers are integrated with the flight controller. Lose one; you end up replacing them all.
Oh, and fail they will, by crashes, time or system glitches.
Every manufacturer wants to maximize their profit; of course there is nothing wrong with this, they are out to make money, such as us the consumer wants a bargain. Unfortunately they do cut corners to keep the costs down. Some of these quads are heavy and are lacking in motor size or insufficient ESC.
You will only know this when you decide to emulate your favorite youtube pilot and test tri-props, only to see the magic smoke or fire which is never good on a plastic frame.
These quadcopters will often only fit proprietary parts. These custom parts often come with a high price tag, that’s IF it's available at all. Remember that someday the model will be discontinued.
It’s easy to get drawn into hype of a brushless toy quadcopter with the promises of high speed and ability to race in events. Races do have strict criteria not to mention, if FPV is what you’re after, check your countries legalities. You may find that you are limited to 25mw transmission.
Just remember how you craved more power and took the jump to this Hybrid quadcopter. As one day this quadcopter will seem sluggish and the irresistible urge to upgrade will hit your bank balance yet again. With this quadcopter upgrading items such as flight controllers, motors and ESC’s may prove impossible.
Saying all the above, it is a big jump from owning a small toy quadcopter and a decision that will hopefully bring you many hours of fun. How to best spend your money is only a decision you can make. It’s best to take your time and explore all the avenues.
If you are serious about the hobby and wanting a quadcopter that can be upgraded and with your increasing skills, this class of quadcopter is not for you.
After all, how many pro pilots fly these types multirotors?
Stuart RC is one of Forward Flights earliest supporters, a great pilot, YouTuber and now our first guest star blogger! A HUGE thanks to Stuart for many things, this post being only a small contribution that he has made to Forward Flight over the last year. He's outspoken, funny and most importantly, knowledgeable about this subject, more than anyone I know.