Blade 450 X

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Blade 450X.jpg

The Blade 450 X is a 450-sized flybarless collective pitch helicopter, designed for advanced pilots, released in March 2012. It comes only in a BNF trim, which includes a 2200mAh 3S 11.1v 30C LiPo battery, and an E-flite 1.8A 3S DC charger.

The 450 X comes completely assembled, although it is recommended to level the swash, check for screw tightness and go through the setup procedure outlined in the manual to ensure proper setup and calibration, as a very few units have been received with incorrect setups or un-balanced blades. The 450 X is powered by the Spektrum AR7200BX which uses BeastX FBL technology.

The 450 X is powered by an E-flite 440H 4200Kv electric motor, which also powers the belt-driven tail. It is significantly more powerful than the Blade 450 3D, both due to its larger motor (the 450 3D uses an E-flite 420H) and the simpler head (no flybar), which gives it a lot of power relative to other stock helicopters.

The provided battery uses an EC3 main plug and a JST-XH balance plug.

Performance

The Blade 450 X is a powerful helicopter for a factory-spec machine. It has enough power to execute any 3D maneuvers without struggling. This also gives it the ability to power out of blown maneuvers given enough altitude for the pilot to make corrections.

Aftermarket parts

Blade manufactures a range of aluminum hop-up replacement parts. Some of these parts are more useful than others. Thalios on HeliFreak has provided an overview of tail and head upgrades for the Blade 450 3D, but as most of these parts are the same in the 450 X (excepting the main blades and the head assembly) that information can be applied to the 450 X.

Main Blades

  • EXI-CF 335 (CF 3D Pro) blades are a cheaper option as compared to stock, normally available through chinese sellers, Hobbypartz and eBay. While not specifically balanced for FBL applications, they provide almost identical performance and lift as compared to the stock blades, at around a third the price.
  • Align 325D 3G blades are a common, lower-priced option; though as they are 10mm shorter than the stock 335mm blades, they provide significantly less lift, but are available on-shelf in most hobby shops.

Tail Blades

KBDD produce a range of colored blades, though their durability has been called into question; a few cases have been reported where the plastic bolt hole deformed and stretched badly, causing a significant in-flight vibration, in many cases nearly throwing the blade.

Motors

The Scorpion 2221-8 and 2221-6 are currently the most popular upgrade option, being a drop-in replacement. These motors will run on the stock ESC, but an upgrade is highly recommended to prevent the possibility of brown or blackouts due to the stock ESC only being rated for 35A (50A peak including BEC function), where the -8 draws 45A peak, and the -6 can draw 52A peak. Note that the Next-D Rave -6 is simply a rebranded 2221-6, and appears to be in all other ways identical.

Servos

Currently, the MKS DS95 and DS95i (tail) servos are considered to be one of the best price-ratio upgrades for the stock servos. Spektrum H3000 are another common upgrade, but are known to have a slower response than the MKS units, through testing.

TT Tail Conversion

None at this time.

Stretch Conversion

None at this time.

Known issues

Motor Bearings

The motor bearings on the E-flite 440H on the Blade 450 X have been known to fail prematurely, which can result in motor failure and a crash in flight. (Known preventative fix, disassemble the motor and dab loctite on the inside of the main bearing to 'lock' it to the output shaft, then reassemble. Wait 24 hours for a full cure before flying.)

Tail Shake

Tail shake can develop over time, running at the stock gyro gain. There are a variety of potential causes, and just as many fixes:

  • Ensure tail pushrod guides are aligned/straight. These can easily slip out of 'true', do not hold well, and are the most common cause of shake. Easiest fix is to dab each with CA so they will not shift out of alignment. Another fix is to wrap a strip of electrical tape around the tailboom to provide a better grip, but this is difficult due to the tight fitment.
  • Check tail belt tightness. Due to the design of the 450 X, this has a very forgiving range where it can be run quite loose without slipping, but has been known to happen in rare cases.
  • Lower gyro gain in your TX. (Some have reported improvement with *raised* gain as well) Non-optimal as this can lead to a 'drifty' tail.
  • Reduce vibrations. Ensure that your main blades are CoG-matched and balanced, feathering shaft is not bent, main shaft is not bent, main/tail gears are spinning true, and you have done the motor loctite fix noted above (to prevent motor slop from translating into rotor head wobble).
  • Ensure that your tailshaft and hub are not bent.
  • Remount the BeastX unit. Remove the foam pad and use 1-2 layers of 3M tape instead. 3M 4010 or 3M 4011 are the most popular options currently.
  • Replace tail servo with an upgraded unit. This is a last-ditch effort; a DS95i is a popular option, and also allows the stock ESC to be switched into 6V mode (the stock DS76T tail servo is only rated for 5V maximum, while the stock DS76 cyclics are rated for up to 6V) with the switch hidden at one end.

Intermittent Servos

Some have reported that their cyclic or tail servos have started going intermittent over time, some causing crashes. Most who have disassembled the affected servo show poor soldering on the internal wires which has cracked or even come loose completely due to an initial poor/cold joint and/or vibration stress. This appears to be limited to specific batch runs. Removing the RoHS solder and replacing it with lead/tin solder and a proper solid solder joint has fixed this in all cases where it was an issue, but this is not recommended as a pro-active step.

Specifications

Main Rotor Diameter 721 mm (28.4 in)
Main Blade Length 335 mm (13.2 in)
Length 655 mm (25.8 in)
Height 224 mm (8.8 in)
Tail Rotor Diameter 155 mm (6.1 in)
Tail Blade Length 59 mm (2.3 in)
Weight 717 g (25.3 oz)
Motor E-flite 440H 4200Kv brushless outrunner
Battery 2200mAh 3S 11.1V 30C LiPo (EFLB22003S30) (104x34x24 mm, 173 g)
Charger E-flite 3S 11.1v 1.8A LiPo balancing charger (11.5-15V input, minimum 3A)

Errata

Those two washers

After disassembly/reassembly, some are left with either one or two small (~7mm diameter) paper-thin washers, which do not appear in the exploded part-out view in the manual. These are the mainshaft shims, which normally sit between the upper bearing and the cast lip on the mainshaft (when installed), to eliminate slop. These are also not included with new 450 X mainshafts (whereas they are with 450 3D mainshafts), instead being included in the bearing kit. Please note that some only come with a single shim, and adding a second can cause binding and burn-out or damage. How many to use is entirely dependent on mainshaft tolerances.

ESC 5v/6v Switch

At one end of the stock 35A ESC, hidden just inside the shrinkwrap covering is a small switch to select 5v or 6v BEC operation. The stock tail servo is rated to a maximum of 5v, but if an in-line step-down is added or the tail servo is replaced with one which can support 6v operation, this switch can be flipped and results in notably faster cyclic response from the stock DS76 cyclic servos.

External links