Top critical review
Please read - a fine product, but the charger and batteries might be shoddy
March 18, 2016
(Amazon - please note that I received this as a gift from my wife and therefore I am not recorded as a verified purchaser; I am submitting this review under my Amazon account)
Let me begin with this: I build and fly R/C airplanes and fly R/C helicopters, and have been doing so for over 20 years. I am quite familiar with nicad and lipo battery chemistries and the unique requirements each battery type has regarding how they are charged, stored, and how they are used.
This is my second HS170, the first one quit working and Amazon exchanged it for another - that new one being the reason for my review.
Please note that while I am about to raise an issue, and potentially very dangerous issue, I would be remiss if I failed to mention that in both instances the copter performed flawlessly. It is a real pleasure to fly. (If it were not for the issue regarding the battery, detailed below this paragraph, I would have given it 5 stars). Minor things to note would be 1) winds do disturb this little guy, but it is that - little and light weight - so not a real surprise. 2) the stabilization system on the HS170 needs a little work. Nothing terrible, it just is not perfectly stable in windless conditions. Perhaps the gyros or the algorithms used are to blame, but you have to keep in mind that the HS170 is very inexpensive and what do we really expect for such a low cost? One could argue that the commoditization of gyros and brushless motors would lead an intuitive economist to expect prices to drop to the levels of this toy, but that same person could argue that with the commoditization and the increasing demand for these products, that performance would be employed as a differentiation strategy...but I digress. Two minor issues with a fun toy.
Now the problem that concerns me greatly.
Yesterday while charging my battery using the included charger, the charger melted down and the battery pack began to fill with gas. I was watching over the pack and had turned away to grab a coffee. After preping the coffee I retired and found the charger melting! Let me stop and reiterate a tried and true safety practice with LIPO batteries:
Never charge any lipo battery without watching it during the entire charging process!
I unplugged it, took the assembly outside and placed it in a fireproof section of concrete and let it all cool down. The battery didn't erupt into flames as LIPO batteries are known to do when things go wrong.
I'm including a picture of the (melted) charger.
I'm not sure where to go with this experience for my own benefit (attempt to return it to Amazon, hope that the manufacturer takes note, etc).
But I feel it is my responsibility to notify you, the readers of this product review, of this issue - and hope that you pay attention while charging, lest you discover a small incredibly brilliant fireball alight where you tiny LIPO battery once sat.