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Revised instructions - UPDATED
on November 16, 2013
***** UPDATED Jan. 11, 2014 **********
I had a couple of people tell me that they could not get their copter transmitters to connect. After playing with the sequence a bit, we found that on some copters (not all... go figure) the TX should be turned on and initialized BEFORE the copter gets to the gyro initialization process - which makes it even more important to be ready to set it on a level surface before plugging the battery in. Anyway, this sequence change seems to address the problem some of the copters were having. The instructions have been updated to reflect this change.
Now back to your regularly scheduled review...
I've been in R/C for 30+ years, and was very involved in R/C helis. This was my first quadcopter, and have enjoyed it very much. The hardest thing about this copter is getting it out of the box. Lots of cheap fun, and definitely a gateway drug to the hobby-grade multi-rotor platforms. But as many have commented, the instructions are horrible. So, I wrote this revised instruction manual when I gave these as Christmas presents.
Revised Instructions for QuadCopter -
The original instructions are written in horrible Chinglish, but you're welcome to read them if you want. Plus, they have pictures.
As a note - the instruction refer to the default transmitter control mode as "Mode 1", where the left stick controls the throttle&rudder, and the right stick controls the forward&aft, aileron left&right. In the real R/C world, this is called "Mode 2", (and most of us in thew US fly in this mode), so the folks writing the original instructions got it backwards. In any event, don't worry about it. It initializes in true Mode 2 so you don't need to change it... unless you're used to true Mode 1 - then you're on your own to try and use the original instructions to figure out how to switch it.
1. You'll need to charge the little silver rectangle LiPoly battery using the USB charger that's in the package with the replacement props. It'll take about an hour (or less). You can plug it in to any USB port or USB phone charger. I charge it while placing it on a plate since I don't always trust these Chinese charger/battery combinations to not catch fire, but I'm paranoid.
2. Install (4) AA batteries (not supplied) in the transmitter (TX).
Once the LiPo battery is charged, and the TX has batteries, you're ready to go.
1. There is no off-on switch on the copter. When you plug the battery in, the quadcopter is "on". Plugging it in snaps it into the red connector and two plastic latches that hold the battery in. These latches are semi-annoying and really over-kill, but they will keep the battery from flying out if you do a series of fast pirouetting spins. I'll leave it to you whether you want to snip the barbs off or not. You may want to wait to do so until you've flown it a bit.
Before you plug the battery in, you need to be ready to set it down on a flat surface quickly, because you'll need to sync the controller before it goes into the gyro initialization sequence. It's handy to have a table nearby to set it down, sync the TX, allow the gyros to initialize, and once you have a solid red LED on the copter (and solid blue on the TX), move it to its take-off and landing zone.(LZ) So, ready, set, here we go...
1. Plug the battery in to the belly of the quadcopter. The red LED on the copter starts flashing about twice a second. Set it down on a flat surface.
2. Turn on the TX. It beeps and the blue LED flashes rapidly. Move the throttle (left stick) all the way down, then all the way up (TX will beep), and then all the way down again. Now the blue LED will go solid "on", and red copter LED will turn off momentarily, and then start flashing much faster (it's initializing the gyros).
3. Once the fast flashing stops, the red LED on the copter will go to a solid "on". Now place it in the flat LZ area. BE CAREFUL NOT TO MOVE THE THROTTLE (LEFT) STICK WHILE YOU'RE MOVING IT TO THE LZ OR ELSE IT WILL COME TO LIFE ON YOU!
It's now ready to fly.
Flying the quadcopter:
A couple of things to know: The left stick is throttle (up and down), and rudder, or rotate left or right. The right stick is forward and backward, or tilt left and right. The white propellers are the front of the copter - you'll be able to see them as they spin - and the black props are the rear. They will mostly disappear visually as they spin.
You have to "fly the tail" on this because it will keep pointing in the same direction no matter which direction it is moving. It has no real rudder to keep it pointing forward as you fly it forward, which is a little strange if you're used to flying planes or helicopters (without heading-hold).
1. The TX has a silver button on the upper left corner (and another button on the upper right corner... but don't touch that button! ...for now). This left-side button switches the TX from low sensitivity to high sensitivity. The LCD screen on the TX shows this with an "L" or an "H". The TX always starts in low mode, but I find it's not responsive enough for my liking, so I press the button and switch to high ("H") mode. You might start in "L" just to get a feel first.
2. Make sure you have a fairly large area to start with, preferably inside so the wind doesn't throw you off. An empty garage is a good place to learn how this flies.
3. Lift the copter up off of the LZ by raising the left stick. It will probably start to drift left or right, or tilt or turn. Set it back down by lowering the left stick and then use the trim tabs around the two sticks to correct the drift. Toggle the trim tab levers in the opposite direction of the drift you are trying to correct. Do this a few "beeps" at a time. Repeat the lift-watch-set down-trim process until it's fairly stable. Then you're ready to fly it around.
4. First step - Learn to hover it in one spot.
5. Second step - start moving backwards and forwards, left and right, and rotate left and right (with the left stick) also.
6. As you get more comfortable, you can begin flying it around. It will handle calm outside conditions, so outdoor flight is possible. Try flying easy figure-8 patterns.
7. The props are fairly resilient, but if you're about to hit something, chop the throttle and let it fall. It will do less damage that way and will probably survive the drop unscathed.
Acrobatic 360 flip:
Yes - It will do this with a touch of a button (remember that upper right button on the TX?) by holding down the button on the top right corner of the TX and moving the right stick left (or right, depending on which way you want it to flip - it will flip forward and backwards, too!). Make sure you are at least 4 feet above the ground when you do this, and keep in mind that it will continue to try and flip as long as you hold the stick to the right or left. It happens pretty fast, so be prepared to be startled.
That's it! Have fun!