Blade mCP X BL

Blade mCP X BL Breakdown

Blade mCP X BL Review
Blade mCP X BL Basic Tips
Blade mCP X BL Zero Pitch
Blade mCP X BL Gain Setup with the DX8
Blade mCP X BL Hybrid
Blade mCPX BL 2.3 gram Servo Install
Blade mCP X BL Micro Deans Swap
Blade mCP X BL Crash Kit
Blade mCP X BL/Blade 130X Parallel Charging Board (Ep Buddy)
Air Time RC Products Landing Gear
Blade mCP X BL Microheli Advanced X Frame
Blade mCP X BL Lynx Parts (Swashplate, DFC Head, and Canopy)

Blade mCP X BL ReviewBlade mCP X BL

I decided to get the Blade mCP X BL mostly out of curiosity.  I am a huge fan of the mCP X and had so much fun modifying them to be brushless, so when Horizon Hobby decided to produce one I just have to check it out.  Since this heli is brand new and I have only had it a few days, this page will get updated as I spend more time with it.

I do not expect many issues with it.  Out of the box it really does look and feel like the previous mCP X as far as configuration.  However, this heli is somewhat bigger.  Despite its size, I was surprised, because there are quite a few parts that are interchangeable between the Blade mCP X BL and previous mCP X.  Here is a list of those parts.

Blade mCP X Compatible Parts:

Blade 130X Compatible Parts:

This list is compiled from what I have available for testing and comparison.  I am sure the other aftermarket mCP X swashplates will work, I just do not have them to test.

(Update 09 Feb 2013) After getting intimate with this bird in flight.  I am in love all over again.  I am glad I got this heli.  It has potential as a teacher.  I still love my mCP X, but this heli is different.  I see it more as a mini 130X in the air.  People have said that this is not a hover bird.  I beg to differ.  I started it up with the stock tail blade for the first battery.  There was a lot of tail wag.  Changed the stock tail blade out with the KBDD blade and tail wag gone.  My gyro on the DX8, I have not enabled yet.  I tried the Planco prop too for fun.  I lost it before I could get the heli in the air with it.  I can tell you this.  You will have to turn your tail motor plug around to try it.  There is only one way the prop will rotate on this heli and it is not the mCP X way (shiny side out).  I need to balance another one and see what it does.

I had vibes still and grinding on start up.  The vibes did not happen until the end of the battery cycle.  I  have the Microheli Auto-Rotation shaft and gear installed.  I want to see if that fixes it, but I feel it is just the way the motor works.  I am also going to fire up the gyro menu in my DX8 next. Recap, the KBDD rail rotor is a must for at least the new folks.  This maybe an advanced bird, but she is definitely a learning tool.

(Update 11 Feb 2013) The grinding should be normal with a regular main shaft and gear.  It went away with the Microheli Auto-Rotation Hub Set.

(Update 12 Feb 2013) Last night I was troubleshooting a tail issue and was going to change out the magnet wire while I had the tail off.  I noticed during startup how the tail boom would sway back and forth.  I was going to also make the tail boom solid to illiminate the sway, when I realized that for some reason the tail boom carbon rod diameter is only 2.5 mm.  I have no idea why Horizon Hobby decided to go with 2.5 mm when it should be 3 mm.  The only way that makes sense is to save on weight.  I do not have any 2.5 mm and that is fine.  I want 3 mm anyway, so I broke the heli down to parade rest last night.  I am in work creating a hybrid so that I can use a 3mm solid tail boom.  What I am doing maybe a bit extreme just for a tail boom, but I happen to be someone that knows what I want.  I am currently waiting on parts to finish it up.  Pictures and a walkthrough will be posted by the weekend.

(Update 14 Feb 2013) V3 landing gear for the Blade mCP X BL is now available at Air Time RC Products.

Blade mCP X BL and Blade mCP X Size Comparison

Here they are side by side.  The mCP X is brushless with an extended tail boom (140 mm).
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Blade mCP X BL Basic Tips

There were a few issues out of the box.

1.  The swashplate was not level.
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2.  Zero pitch was off.
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3.  The main blades were not balanced.
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4.  The main shaft was warped.  I did not include a picture because it could barely be seen in a photo.  To verify I had to take off the collar and roll it on a flat surface.  I suggest changing it to a solid main shaft anyway.  The hollow stock shaft will not last long on this brushless bird.  They can be made or bought here and many other places of course.
5.  The head and swashplate had slop.  I tightened mine up by replacing the stock o-rings with silicone o-rings from www.oringsandmore.com.

  • Rubber Orings (#002-70D) <— For the swashplate and blade grips.
  • Rubber Orings (#001-70D) <— Can be used to absorb vibration going to the 3 in 1 board.  One o-ring behind the 3 in 1 attach screw washer and one on the screw behind the 3 in 1 board.

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6.  Add a little hot glue or shoe goo to the rotor head in order to retain links.  They love to fly off during a crash and they are extremely hard to find.
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7.  There is a FET on the back of the 3 in 1 that gets super hot.  It gets hot very fast, so make sure your antenna and battery wires are not touching it before powering up the first time.
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8.  Place hot glue to reinforce the antenna’s position and to make it more difficult to get ripped out during a crash.
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9.  Not a big deal, but one of my tools were bent.  This would have sucked if I did not own a hex tip.
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Blade mCP X BL Swashplate and Zero Pitch

I am not going to write another walk through on this.  It is the same as the Nano CP X or mCP X.  They both have very detailed tutorials on how to properly level and zero your heli out.  Below is what it looks like when it is good.  Notice the Zero Pitch marks on the head which is very convenient.
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Zero Pitch Marks
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Blade mCP X BL Gain Setup with the DX8

There are questions about this and a subject that I found confusing at first when setting up my Align Trex 250 DFC, so I decided to add the setup process using my DX8 for all of the folks that are confused.  I still need to play with the settings and will provide input on that later, but this will get you started for now.

In the Function List menu and scroll down to Gyro.
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When you click on Gyro you will see the word, “Inhibit” which means that currently that channel (Gear Channel by default) is disabled.
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Scroll and highlight Inhibit and click it.
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When you click Inhibit you will now be able to scroll left or right and change the options.  These options refer to the switches on your radio and will assign gain control to the switch that you choose here.  Just highlight Gyro for now and click it.
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Next you will see the gyro gain menu below.  Under Rate you see POS 0, POS 1, and POS 2.  Those are your switch positions on the radio.  You can set a different gain value for each position (0, 1, or 2) on the switch that you are using.  This will help you dial in your gain.  For example I start with gain on the Gyro switch.  I will set three different settings to apply to each flight mode from Normal to both stunt modes.  Once I find the gain settings that I like I will change the Sw:  Gyro to Sw: Flight Mode which adds the gain settings to your Flight Mode switch.  That way the gain automatically changes with the flight mode that you are using instead of you having to flip a different gain switch during flight.  Ch:  Gear means that you are using the radio’s Gear channel for the Gyro.  Leave that as is.

In order to adjust the gain settings just highlight the 0.0%.  Scroll right to decrease gain and left to increase gain.  You will see – beside the number to indicate decreased (0% <—> -100%) gain and a + to indicate increased (0% <—> +100%) gain.  Leave 0.0% to keep the stock gain settings.  For more info go here on Heli Freak.
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You will need to re-bind your radio to your helicopter after enabling the Gyro.

(Update 17 Feb 2013) I have been playing with the gain settings and pretty convinced at this point that they do absolutely nothing.  I ended up with mild tail wag again with the stock rotor.  I tried adjusting the settings in Normal and Idle Up Mode and was not able to see a difference from no gain up to +35 which is very excessive.  Today I reinstalled the KBDD tail rotor which got rid of the tail wag.  This time I used a dab of Elmer’s glue to secure it better and that worked for 6 batteries.

(Update 5 Mar 2013)  I flew 12 packs on Saturday using the KBDD tail rotor and my Gyro is INH.  No tail wag at all.

For anyone interested here are my DX8 settings for you to try.  I am not a 3D flyer yet, but these settings will get you in the air and started:

D/R Expo

D/R = 100 all the way across
Expo = 5 all the way across

 

Throttle Curve

N = 0%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%
1 & 2 = 100% flat curve

Pitch Curve

0%, 25%, 50%, 75%, 100% all the way across

Gyro

INH

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Blade mCP X BL Hybrid

The other day I was troubleshooting a tail issue that I was having and during the process I was going to go ahead and swap out the wiring to the tail motor and add a solid tail boom, since this bird does seem to crash very hard.  I had also noticed during spool up that the tail boom would sway side to side quite a bit.  As I took the heli apart, I soon realized that the tail boom is actually 2.5 mm in diameter instead of 3 mm.  Now if I am going to put a 3 mm boom on my mCP X to add strength for a HP03T tail motor, why would I not want a 3 mm boom on this heli?  Besides, who in the hell makes 2.5 mm tail booms in the first place!?  I am just saying.  Anyway, needing to install a 3 mm boom the stock frame is now out of the picture.  This means that I may as well try a few other mods while I am at it, hence my mCP X/mCP X BL Hybrid that I am about to show you.

This build includes:

Blade mCP X Microheli X Frame (MH-MCPX005X) $49.99
Blade mCP X Microheli Delrin Auto-Rotation Hub Set (MH-MCPX067) $39.99
Blade mCP X Microheli Swashplate (MH-MCPX012X) $26.99
Blade 130X Lynx Ultra Dampners (LX0319) $6.25
Blade mCP X  Rakon 3 mm Tail Boom Mount (mCP X625-S) $7.49
Xtreme Pre-Painted Canopy (Type C) $9.28
Astroid Designs Blade mCP X, 8 mm Inline BL Delrin Tail Motor Mount for 3 mm Booms $9.50
Astroid Designs Blade mCP X, Long Carbon Fin for Delrin Mounts $7.99
Astroid Designs Blade mCP X, Delrin Anti-Rotation Bracket for Microheli Frames (Stock Length) $5.00
Astroid Designs Blade mCP X, Rakon/Microheli Carbon Tail Boom Mount Adapters $5.50

I caught a sale on Microheli frames during the holidays and got one as a back up.  It seems that frame was sitting in my parts bin waiting for this heli, so it is a brand new frame.  The frame was actually very easy to add.  All you need to do is pull of the motor mount plate.  Be careful and take your time with the first step.  You need to elongate and widen the holes for the motor mount screws this is referred to as “slotting.”  I used a dremel tool to do mine, but you can also use a hand file.  Just shave a little carbon away then check the fit.  This plates are not known for their strength, so you will want to keep as much material as possible,  So do not cut too much away.
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Once you get the motor mount screws to allow a proper mesh, take off your main gear and ensure that you loctite the motor screws.  One thing that I noticed with this setup is that adjusting the mesh on the fly is going to be a pain, because my aft screw is obstructed by the main gear.  Triple check your mesh before loctiting.
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I have never had much luck with Microheli’s tail boom setup with this frame (it works for some, but not for me).  That being said I decided to go ahead and do what works for me.  Here I have added the carbon tail boom mount adapters from Astroid Designs and the Rakon 3 mm tail boom mount to the frame.
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Next I took a spare Blade mCP X Microheli swashplate and removed the small inner balls, then add the larger size to it.  They are the same link balls from servo arm attach points.  I tried o-rings on them after swapping them out but they rub so you will only need 2 o-rings on the swashplate after the mod.
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This is the stock tail boom, just get some carbon 3mm rod and cut your own to about 13.5 cm.  You can use hollow 3 mm tubing if you like.  I use the hollow on my mCP X, but decided to go with solid on this heli and route the tail motor wiring on the outside of the boom, because I can here it thump when it crashes 50 ft from me.  Better to be safe than sorry.  NOTE:  When you re-solder the wiring to the tail motor plugs notice the green paint on each plug.  That means that they have to match the green on both connectors.  In other words the wires need to be parallel when you are done.  If you solder them wrong the tail motor will spin the wrong way.  If that happens just unplug on end, twist the other direction, then plug it back in.  The tail should spin Counter Clockwise when you are complete.
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Gear meshing with the mCP X Microheli Auto-Rotation Hub.  Notice the obstructed aft screw.  I can still get to it, but have to have the screwdriver at an angle.
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Microheli swashplate with the Delrin Anti-Rotation bracket from Astroid Designs.
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There are o-rings on the inner swashplate balls in the pictures.  You will need to remove them, I did not realize they were rubbing until the bench test.
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More Pictures
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The 8 mm Inline tail motor mount from Astroid Designs is top notch and a must have for this build.  The motor fits very snuggly and does not require glue.  I attempted to drill the hole out on the stock mount but that turned out a tad too loose.  It is still usable if I glue it, but I will not do that unless it is a last resort.
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The Lynx 130X Ultra Dampners provide a very good fit for the blade grips.  I highly recommend them.
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Final o-ring placement.

(Update 21 Feb 2013) The stock orings create a tight fit on the inner swashplate balls and aft AR guide ball.  They actually work very well.
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Upon completion I only had enough time to fly two batteries for its maiden.  The tail no longer sways on spool up.  There are no vibes.  I had to use the frame landing gear screws for the stock landing gear.  They do not stay in and fall out as soon as you take off.  The KBDD tail rotor just is not working out for me.  I tried 2 different rotors and went back to the stock rotor in the end.  With the stock rotor there is now no tail wag at all with tail gain INH, during forward flight and hovering.  I will open her up more Sunday and will offer more feedback on tail wag.  I used wire wrap to wire the tail motor and there is no decrease in power.  Additionally there is no longer any grinding on start up either.

(Update 15 Feb 2013) Discovered last night that the Xtreme Pre-Painted Canopy (Type C) fits.  Not a lot of people liked the decals for this canopy, but I love the color and really wanted to make it work on my mCP X.  I just used other decals and think that it looks good and glad that I could incorporate the canopy on the mCP X BL, since the stock canopy for me has been a weak point.  I hope this makes someone else happy other than me.  Now this really does look like a hybrid.  In the first picture you can see how I drilled 2 extra holes in the canopy to move it forward a little.  That is all that is needed.  This canopy wraps around the heli, so fit and set it where you want it.  Shine a light inside the canopy and you will be able to see where the canopy posts are.  Just mark each side with a Sharpy, then drill your holes.
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(Update 5 MAR 2013) When I changed from stock skids to AirTime Skids I moved back to the stock position on this canopy.  I also made an extended forward canopy mount cut to approximately 43 mm in length which works really well.

 

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Blade mCPX BL 2.3 gram Servo Install (Update 5 Mar 2013)

A few months ago I installed the Spektrum 2.3 gram servos on one of my brushless mCP X’s and love how they feel.  Additionally that are absolutely quiet compared to the stock servos that chatter constantly once they are initiated.  I have had sets for my other mCP X’s waiting for me to stop being lazy and install them, so I decided to take one of those sets to see how the mCP X BL works with them.  I have to say they are very impressive on this bird.

 

Skektrum 2.3 Gram Linear Ultra Micro Servos (SPMSA2030L)
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As you may have read already.  These servos are not plug and play.  On the back of the servo at the top there is a chip that is labeled R3.  That chip needs to be removed completely.  You can unsolder it of course if you are brave.  The rest of the chips are pretty close.  I never take the chance and just use a Xacto knife to gently and slowly cut it off.
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Once that is done all that is left is to shorten the wires.  If you feel like pulling the glue off the terminal you can unsolder, trim, and then resolder.  I just clip off the connector with enough wire to work with.  Clip the rest of the wire off as it sets next to the stock servo.  That will get you the length that you need.  When I first did this mod a few months ago I was afraid that the solder joints would not hold, but they have held very well on my beater mCP X.  I have not had to reflow the solder or anything, so this does work if you want to go that route.
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Now all you have to do is throw on your new 2.3 gram servos and get to flying.
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These servos are awesome.  The heli is very responsive and even quicker with these bad boys.  I only did some hovering so far, but I am psyched to get this heli to the park and fire her up.  I only have one note at this point for the future.  The mechanics suck on these servos and will not withstand a crash.  In fact I fried my back servo mechanics during the maiden flight.  The wind bounced my heli off the grass, then that god awful screeching was so apparent.  If and when that happens to you just replace the mechanics with the mechanics from the stock servo and you will be good to go.  On the six sets that I have installed I have only lost the mechanics on the back servos for some reason.  I guess that is just a bad spot during a crash.

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Blade mCP X BL Micro Deans Swap

WARNING:  This modification will void the warranty on your 3 in 1 board.

While doing maintenance on my Blade mCP X BL I got really annoyed disconnecting the battery and almost pulled the wires off the board.  That has been an issue actually, but a few times I came really close to actually pulling them off, so I decided to take the time and swap out the connectors for micro deans connectors.  Here is the walk through for those that have never done it.

First you want to remove the outside heat shrink.  This is a tip showing how I push my tweezers inside it to protect the wires while I am cutting the heat shrink.  It is easier to do this by removing the 3 in 1 board from the heli although I left mine installed for this demonstration.
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This shows the internal heat shrink that you will have to remove as well.
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Desolder the existing connector.
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Clamp the new connector in order to keep it from moving around and tin it with a little solder as shown.
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Do not forget the add heat shrink to the wires before proceeding.  I hate it when I forget.
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There is some planning to do before moving to the next step.  On the micro deans connector you have one pin that connects to the batteries and charger.  In my example I am connecting the black wire to the side with the pin.  This means on all of the batteries that the red wire will connect to the pin side.  The batteries have to be opposite.  That also means that if you make a lead for your charger that all of the black wires go on the pin side to match your heli.  Once the planning is complete start soldering.  Here you see me attaching the black wire first.
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Attach the red wire next.
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Push the heat shrink down and apply heat.
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I added an outer layer of heat shrink for added protection and to prevent added pressure on the wire’s solder joints.
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Now on to the batteries.
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First I am going to show you how not to do it.  Sure, you can go ahead and cut both wires and have at it, but your battery does have a charge.  Therefore if you touch the red and black wires together anytime during the process it will shock you.  If you hold them together long enough your battery can explode and cause a fire, so do not do it as shown in the following picture.  Do each wire one at a time.
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The rest of this tutorial is the way that it should be done.  I am going to attach the micro deans to the red and black wires, leaving the stock connector connected to the white wire so that I can still balance charge.
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Strip the black wire and secure both the wire and micro deans connector for tinning with solder.
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Solder the black wire to the deans connector opposite of the pin side.
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Cut the red wire from the connector, strip it, and tin it.
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Solder the red wire to the pin side of the deans connector.
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Push up the heat shrink and apply heat.
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Apply an outer layer of heat shrink for added protection just like the heli.
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Now once all of the batteries are micro deans care needs to be taken during transport, etc.  If the pin on one battery touches another again shock or exploding battery is inevitable.  Here I am showing my solutions.  Clip some heat shrink, slide it over the pin, and then apply heat.  Pinch it with your finger when it is hot to make it more snug on the pin.  Now you have a nifty micro deans plug cover that won’t come off unless you pull it off.
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All Done!!!
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Updated Battery Info

With this deans setup I was not able to properly balance charge with my chargers, so I decided to change them out with the three pin micro deans connectors.

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Blade mCP X BL Crash Kit

  1. Main Gear (BLH3506) $2.99
  2. Servo Push Rods (BLH3508) $5.99
  3. Landing Skid (BLH3905) $5.49
  4. Feathering Spindle (BLH3911) $12.99
  5. Canopy (BLH3909) $12.99
  6. Rotor Head Linkage Set (BLH3916) $4.99
  7. Hardware Set (BLH3917) $2.99

 

Blade mCP X BL/Blade 130X Parallel Charging Board (Ep Buddy)Blade mCP X BL/Blade 130X Parallel Charging Board (Ep Buddy)

The Micro ParaBoard PH3 for UMX and 130X ($13.95) turned out to be a solid investment on my part.  I originally bought this paraboard in order to parallel charge six of my Blade 130X batteries in series.  Eventually I converted my 130X batteries to micro deans connectors, put this board away, and forgot about it until I received Horizon Hobby’s latest creation, the Blade mCP X BL.  I remembered I had this and I was so pleased to realize that the stock batteries for the Blade mCP X BL work with this paraboard.

This paraboard does rock!  I have two different Hyperion battery chargers (1420i/ 0720i) and some of my other paraboards will work with one charger, but not both.  Usually my other paraboards will charge on both, but will not store charge on both for example.  This micro paraboard from Ep Buddy works with both chargers in all charging modes.  Not only that but it charges six batteries at one time fast, accurately, and safely.  Additonally this parpaboard is high quality and very well built.  I highly recommend this paraboard for anyone that is going to stick with Eflite stock or similar mCP X BL batteries.

Technical Notes From Ep Buddy:

  •  The circuit is protected with self-resettable fuses to prevent accident short of batteries in parallel charge.
  • Micro ParaBoard PH3 has 6 sets of 3 pin JST-PH connectors.  This type of connectors are used in batteries of E-Flite UMX series airplanes and Blade 130 X heli.
  • Up to six 2S batteries with three pin PH connectors can be safely charged in parallel.

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Blade mCP X BL Mircroheli Advanced X Frame

If you look at my hybrid build the regular mCP X frame worked well, but since they aren’t selling mCP X’s anymore I decided to keep that frame for my collection and try out the new mCPX BL Microheli Advanced X Frame.  Although this frame is a little bigger than the regular mCP X frame there really isn’t much difference.  This build was quick and easy with only one issue which I will explain below.

1.  The frame comes with carbon fiber canopy mounts and a bag of extra hardware.

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2.  Here is the regular mCP X frame (Top) next to the mCP X BL frame (Bottom) for size comparison.  As you can see the size difference is not that drastic at all and the design is definitely the same.

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3.  The only issue that I had with this frame during my build was the tail boom mount.  I was unable to insert my custom solid boom in the metal mount.  I tried expanding the mount a little with no results.  My tail boom just wouldn’t fit, so I kept the Rakon hybrid tail mount.  Shown in the picture is the carbon mount brackets from Astroid Designs with the 3 MM Rakon tail boom mount.

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4.  Here is a close up of the tail.  Also shown is the Delrin Anti-rotation Bracket for Microheli Frames for the mCP X by Astroid Designs.  The Microheli anti-rotations bracket would not work with the Lynx swashplate because it was too small for the swashplate pin.

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4.  Here is the complete build including Airtime Skids, the Lynx Swashplate, DFC head, and canopy.

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All of the Lynx DFC Heads are very sturdy and seem very stable.  My only concern is how long the plastic parts will last.  Only time will tell.

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