Hot Rod your quadcopter – Transform your X5C or one of the many clones into a Hot Rod!!!
In a series of articles I will be taking a brand new Syma X5 clone from a beginner level flier, that anyone can fly, to a High Performance screamer that will still be very stable and inexpensive to modify.
First of all you must understand the term HOT ROD. Many people think it means throwing a big engine into a small car and going fast. That’s not the true meaning though. You can Hot Rod almost anything! To Hot Rod means “ To improve upon the original design for better performance “.
So you see that you can Hot Rod most anything. For example a computer, buy installing more memory, or a model “ T “ by taking off the hood and fenders. I will be modifying the Quad by adding more Power and taking away Weight and still keeping the original form and function. The idea here is to take something we like and turn it into something we love. You also have to consider what you are starting with. This is not a Corvette but more like a VW Bug. You can only go so far before you reach the design limits, your need for better performance or your budget. If your looking for the fire breathing racer or a GPS controlled Quad this is not the series for you. This is about modifying or building low cost quadcopters.
Syma X5C Hot Rod Mod
Much of what I will cover will be basic to some, and not much fun for them, but necessary for the novice. You do need some basic skills that you must learn and understand. Like myself, I had to learn to solder circuit boards, so I bought a $19.00 “ Learn To Solder “ kit. It came with everything you need to know about soldering and everything to do it. A skill I will now have for the rest of my life. Get an $8.00 Digital Volt/Ohm meter and learn how to take simple readings. A small tool box will be needed along with parts boxes and a space to keep your “ STUFF “. I got some great plastic boxes at Lowe’s that are perfect for keeping everything in. Your tool box should have a set of Mini-Philips and straight screw drivers, wire cutters, side cutters or dykes, a VOM, soldering iron, forceps, Exacto knife and needle nose pliers. You will also need supplies and parts. Get some shrink tubing, connectors of your choice, I use the JST Red 2 wire, spare motors, motor mounts with the gear, epoxy All of this is available from many sources. I will leave it to you to source your items. I will say that I get 4 motors for $6 to $8 for the set and motor mounts with the gear at $2 to $3 for a set of 4. I also use vendors where I pay a little more but get my item in 2 to 3 days. You will go through more motors then you might think. I fly every day for at least 15 to 30 minutes and I would guess I loose a motor every 2 weeks. I always replace the mount with the motor. At $3 to $4 for parts and ½ hour to change a motor, I would call this an inexpensive hobby.
You need a plan and a budget. My budget for this build is $100. I just ordered 2 clones of the X5C without the camera. One is the JJRC H13C-1 and the other is a Mould King 33034. Once I receive them I’ll test fly the pair and decide which one to Hot Rod.
A hands on project you can do too
The cost for both with expedited shipping from China was $88. Each unit comes with everything you need to fly. So that’s $44 to start with. I used EverBuying as they have good reviews and seem to be a reputable company, but you never know when buying from overseas. If you opt for the free shipping you can save $23 and wait up to 60 days to get your Quad. So here is the outline of what I will be doing.
- Strip the Quad down and install JST Connectors for the Battery Upgrade. Cost- $0.15
- Modify the Battery compartment for a bigger battery and modify the battery leads. Cost- $15 for 4 ea. 750 mAh batteries.
- Modify the Controller and the Quad antenna to extend the range up to 300 to 400 feet. Cost-Free
- Install High Performance motors. Cost-$30
Once you complete this project you will have a Quicker, Easier to maintain and more Maneuverable Quad for around $90 leaving you $10 for spare parts. If you opt out of the High Performance motors you could have $40 to get MORE SPARE PARTS.
The main thing is to have fun!