I recently bought a Blade 350QX2 quadcopter and can’t stop telling everyone about it. It’s a lot of fun for 10-20 minutes out of a day to just go outside and zip around in a field or around the house. Since it comes with a WiFi-enabled 720p camera, I’ve captured some pretty beautiful scenery. With the winter we’ve had here in New Jersey I’ve made several snowy flight videos.
I’ve learned a lot since getting it 3 weeks ago, some good, some bad and I thought I would outline it here.
1. The plastic propellers that come with the quadcopter are cheap and a potential liability if you are not careful with them. They are so brittle and any minor accident causes them to snap or break. After a few hours of flight, because they are so weak, you can see tons of stress marks and sometimes cracking at the base. Replacing these with carbon-fiber blades and aluminum caps for durability is a must have even if they will draw higher amperage on the motors. I use the Xtreme Carbon Fiber 2-blade propellers + Small Parts CNC aluminum caps. Oh, and if you install any custom props, your warranty is void.
2. The propellers aren’t just interchangeable on any motor you want. I installed new propellers and put them on backwards and the whole quadcopter flipped itself upside down – it was essentially pushing back instead of pushing up. Really funny but no damage because I had a blanket underneath it before trying. The key here is to pay attention to the direction of the arrows on the body, and match it up to the direction you see printed on the propellers. Another good way of checking this is to simply compare the propeller you’re replacing – does it “match”? I would have saved myself a lot of time. Quadcopter noob moment.
3. Loctite plastic ePoxy is amazing. During a flight my brother accidentally crashed it testing out agility mode and the body got cracked. ePoxy is awesome for plastic; with some help from Dad, the body was acceptably repaired in about a day. It smells horrible but the repair it creates feels even stronger than it was before. With anything RC, ePoxy is your best friend.
4. Be careful with the connectors for the battery. This is not something I thought too hard about, but I learned that the 350QX series uses EC3 connectors. The problem with these is that it’s possible if you’re not paying attention for them to touch and get a reverse polarity situation. Make this mistake and you’re out $199 for a new motherboard on the quadcopter – it’ll go right up in smoke! Boom, you’re done, end of story. It is possible to replace the connectors so this wouldn’t be a risk, but for now I am just going to remember “red to red, black to black.”
5. If you have to update the firmware on this quad from 2.0 to 3.0, the directions are horrible. I spent an hour trying to find the correct instructions but they are actually on some blogspot post here. You’ll also need a special cable called the spektrum transfer cable to interface with the computer.
Since I had to buy a new body after my second crash, it’s now sporting the QX3 body frame. I may upgrade the GPS inside because the new body has a hole to insert an antenna mast; but I can’t help but feel it’s just something else to break. I’ve had too many flip overs; and the antenna would have definitely been a goner by now. That’s about all; I’ll probably do another blog post provided I don’t lose this thing or crash it to oblivion in the next month or so.