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Home✈️Aircraft🚁Helicoptere-Electric General Discussion › Quick review of the Walkera #35 (Z400)
04-19-2005 07:57 AM  15 years ago
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jknoell

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Quick review of the Walkera #35 (Z400)
Well, mostly since quite a few people seem to be interested in these things. So I decided to write a quick review, since I got mine today and took it out for a spin (actually a few spins... spare batteries are nice).

As far as I can tell, it's a clone of the Zoom/Zap/Shogun 400. I haven't looked all too close, so I cannot say which parts are interchangeable, if any.

The specs of this bird are:
Length: 750mm (29.5")
Width: 320mm (12.5")
Main Rotor Diameter: 630mm (24.8")
Tail Rotor Diameter: 145mm (5.7")
Flying Weight: around 555g (19.5oz)
Comes with Gyro, all-in-one board, servos, TX and a 10.8v/650mAh NiMH battery and charger, plus 25-page manual
Price is usually around $200 +S&H, I've seen it much cheaper than that though.

Mine had extra blades (tail and main), a 1800mAh LiPo plus cheap charger and training gear. Also, it came with a 400 motor whereas Walkeras page claims it comes with a 380 motor.

There also is a brushless version of this helicopter. The only difference is that it comes with a separate ESC and a brushless motor. What I do NOT know is if the wiring is any different in that case.

First thing I noticed when I opened the box: The canopy is still as crappy as all other micros I've ever seen Seams are pretty obvious, decals applied sloppy.

Next: a look into the manual. It has the usual bad grammar/spelling that comes with many cheap foreign products. It's not as bad as some, but still somewhat annoying. The manual explains a lot, just not the things that a beginner would need to know. Controls are not explained in any detail, almost no explanation of proper setup. A few useful hints thats all. A useful explanation on how to take the main shaft out, and the tail assembly. Parts list at the end of the manual.

On to the helicopter: It may be ready to fly for some, but it was not for me. The paddles were totally out of alignment. Good thing I have a pitch gauge. The manual mentions that the kit comes with one, but I haven't seen it anywhere. Putting the battery in place isn't described anywhere at all, some headscratching might be common here. I also had to tighten the tail rotor blades, and tie the antenna closer to the main frame (else the canopy would not fit properly).

First impression here: Solid, I'd even say sturdy construction, but I doubt a beginner could get this bird up in the air without help. The tail rotor is shaft-driven, with plastic gears all around. We'll see how that holds up. Main rotor has a freewheel assembly so it _should_ be possible to auto. I'm not yet there, so no comment on that. Landing gear seems to be a tad too far forward - center of gravity is barely ahead of the rear landing gear end. That's adjustable though.

I won't comment on the kiddie skids since that doesn't come standard.

First takeoff - no problems. Tracked the blades (which is actually described in the manual) Pulled it up out of ground effect and noticed that the tail was slightly wobbling. Adjusting the gyro fixed that. I was very impressed by the gyros ability to hold the tail steady, since that Walkera Gyro is not a HH gyro. Hovered it a bit, and the stock battery... erm... piece of crap. And I mean it.

The NiMH battery is PATHETIC and only gave me maybe 5 minutes flying time - I put in a 1800mAh LiPo and got about 20 minutes flying time out of it.

Talking of batteries... you have to take the canopy off to charge the battery and plug it in. The manual hints in a forgotten paragraph that Walkera at one point or another actually wanted to put in an on/off switch and a charging lead. They really should have done that. I'll solder one for my bird anyway.

Okay, next round of flying, with gyro adjusted. Took off, and decided to hit what Walkera pompously calls "the 3D switch". GOODNESS GRACIOUS! Enging revs up, and cyclic control really is ONLY cyclic control. In "normal" mode, cyclic also controls the engine speed. But in 3D, the controls were nice and crisp, _almost_ like the big glow bird my (former) neighbor lets me fly every now and then (thanks Mike!). All in all, very stable in my opinion. It feels like it may have enough power for basic 3D, but it'll be a few weeks before I can say anything there

Before you go buy it, let me sum up my biggest negatives and positives:
NEGATIVE:
  • Manual is lacking if you're a newbie
  • Not necessarily set up properly out of the box
  • Stock NiMH battery is practically useless
  • I'm somewhat wary of the plastic gears at the tail shaft. Time will tell, but they seem a little flimsy to me
  • Got to take canopy off for charging, and it bugs the hell out of me that I have to plug/unplug the battery to turn the bird on and off, especially since the gyro needs a few seconds without moving to set itself.
  • (added 04/20/05) Plastic tail gears strip easily.
  • (added 04/23/05) I'm not sure if its the cable, my comp or the TX, but the TX does not seem to work with TruFlight (the sim that often comes with Walkera helis)
POSITIVE:
  • Fairly solid construction for such a cheap bird (well, maybe except the canopy)
  • Comes with everything needed to fly (ok, except a decent battery), even with tools to maintain the heli
  • Good flying characteristics for such a small bird
  • (added 04/23/05) Most parts seem compatible with Zoom/Zap/Shogun, thus easy availability of spare parts
  • (added 05/02/05) Flies very well in wind, at least up to about 15mph
Now, personally: I am happy with it.

[...irrelevant ramble deleted...] It has its disadvantages, and due to its lousy manual I would not recommend it for a total newbie without someone to check it over before first flight.

(added 04/23/05) TIPS, TRICKS & DOCUMENTATION

The following information was gathered by me in various forums and sometimes discovered on my own:

Default DIP switch settings:
Switch - Default - Name (from TX)
1 - Off - Elev
2 - Off - Aile
3 - Off - Thro
4 - On - Rudd
5 - On - Heli/Acro
6 - Off - Tail C
7 - Off - CCPM/Norm
8 - On - Unlock/Lock
9 - On - Pit
10 - Off - Gear

Default channel usage on RX:
Channel - Function
1 - Yaw (left/right servo)
2 - Pitch? (not sure)
3 - (unused)
4 - Tail servo (via Gyro)
5 - (unused)
6 - Collective? (not sure)
The main motor is plugged into a separate lead from the

Transmitter setup:
Make sure the trim on the throttle/collective stick is all the way down before you fire up the heli (mentioned in the manual, but easy to overlook).
Set trims to center for the first flight.
Make sure the switch on the top right is set to N (normal) before turning the heli on.

The PZT and PLT knobs are by default turned off. They are used to adjust the collective on the heli. To unlock them, flip switch 8 on the back of the TX to "unlock" (i.e. OFF). BEWARE! As soon as you do that, factory settings are lost!
I haven't experimented much with them so no details on that yet. Flipping switch 8 does lock YOUR settings in. One major warning: You should never flip DIP switches while the TX is on. Always turn it off before making changes.

Top right switch called "Flight Mode" works like this: In normal mode the left stick (presuming mode 2) mixes throttle and collective. In mode "1" it spools up the motor to full speed and the left stick only seems to control collective. I could be wrong there though.

The top left switch labeled "Gear" does nothing on the #35, but it does seem to be wired and functional. No idea which channel on the RX would use it.

Helicopter setup:
Before EVERY flight, check ALL screws and tighten any lose screws. From my experience, Walkera does seem to overtighten the screws though.

Blades... I guess everyone here knows how tight they need to be. Anyway. Main blades should be tight enough that just barely don't slip when you hold the heli sideways. Tail blades just about the same. If the blades are too tight the heli will wobble. If they are too lose... no idea Also make sure the blades are balanced and track properly.

Gyro: It has two adjustable settings: Sensitivity and Gain. If your tail is oscillating left/right, the gain is too high. If the servo is jittering badly, the sensitivity is too high. You can adjust both with a small screwdriver. Turn the heli off before adjusting.

Starting up the heli: The problem there is that the gyro is a little touchy. After the regular pre-flight check the way I did it before I added an on/off switch is to turn the TX on, make sure throttle is all zero (including the trim), Flight Mode switch is set to N. Then I set the heli on a flat surface (table), get the main blades approximately perpendicular to the flybar, and plug the battery in while making sure the heli sits perfectly still on the table.
The gyro LED will give you a good idea if the gyro got set up right. If it is red or blinking the gyro has not been set right - start over by unplugging the battery.
Test the pitch/yaw/roll function with your TX.

General tips:
I'd suggest to make a small modification to the heli, it'll make your life easier: Install an on/off switch between battery and RX.

Also... go ahead and read up on general setup: how to track, balance and pitch blades properly for example.

Regarding blade pitch in particular: As long as you fly in "N" (Normal) mode, tail authority depends a lot on the basic pitch of your heli. Since motor speed is coupled with blade pitch in this mode, if your pitch is too high while the motor RPM is too low to give the tail rotor enough speed to counteract torque. In this case, the heli will spin opposite to the blade direction (i.e. rotor clockwise = heli spins counterclockwise).

If you have big troubles with wobbling, check blade balance. You can chicken out here: buy pre-balanced blades.

Always... ALWAYS check all (!) screws before you take off for a nice flight. Or use loctite if you want.

If (when?) you crash, check flybar (the bar which connects the two paddles) and feathering shaft (connects the two main blades - you'll have to take the blades and grips off to get to it) along with the main shaft. If either is bent: replace it. The easy way to check is to take them out and roll them on a glass (or otherwise very flat) surface.


If anyone has any comments, please let me know so I can add it!

Right now I'm looking for information about the brushless setup. If anyone can point out any differences between the stock brushless and the stock brushed setup please send me a PM.


Edited:
04/20/05: Added plastic tail gears as negative point (stripped crown gear today, tail touched carpet)
04/23/05: Added compatibility to positive list, started a tips,tricks and documentation section, added "sim doesnt seem to work" to negative
05/02/05: Added wind resistance to positive list
05/19/05: Edited wind speed (upped to 15mph). Added info on the PZT/PLT knobs. Also corrected a few minor mistakes. Added mention of brushless version. Added default DIP switch settings and RX connectors. Added motor info.
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04-19-2005 01:49 PM  15 years ago
mike5334

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Good review.

You may want to try cycling that stock NiMH battery a few times. They are notorious for having low capacity until they get "broken" in.
Mike M
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04-20-2005 06:08 AM  15 years ago
jknoell

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Nah... the stock battery has a measly 650mAh , that won't last long. Even the 1800mAh LiPo isn't exactly what I like. If I fly through the pack I get around 15 minutes full tilt, and maybe another 4 or 5 with reduced power.

Someday I will probably see if I can get a higher capacity LiPo, preferrably around 4000mAh. The only issue I'd have to worry about is weight and of course cost - my charger only delivers 2A max.

Btw, here is a video (6.8MB, 40 seconds) of the second test flight in my tiny basement. I checked gyro settings there, and for my dad I recorded this short video. Sorry for the sloppy picture and particularly for the awful flying. Walls on each side less than 4' away and a low ceiling at 7' make me nervous
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04-20-2005 08:25 PM  15 years ago
PeakPaul

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I'm amazed to see it fly. I bought a Walkera Hummingbird rip off and it was a complete piece of crap - very badly put together, it only evey flew into the ground successfully. These Walkera dudes seem to be ripping off everyone else's kit - buy with caution, they dont know what they are doing in my opinion.

Paul.
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04-21-2005 10:57 AM  15 years ago
contact303

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Netherlands

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Peak Paul ?
Do you have a Z400 ?
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04-29-2005 12:19 PM  15 years ago
supersub

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Hi Guys...

I'm new to RC helicopters and have a few questions..

1. How long does it take for the battery to re-charge?

2. My Giro Led light is Red should it be a different colour?


thanks...

SuperSub...
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04-29-2005 01:14 PM  15 years ago
jknoell

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With the original charger: No idea. Rule of thumb is about 90 minutes, give or take some. Usually if the battery gets warm it's charged (for NiMH anyway, LiPos don't get all that warm when charged).

You did not mention if you had the original Walkera gyro or any other gyro. The gyro LED stays red as long as the gyro is not set. It needs a few seconds (up to about 20 seconds I think) where the gyro has to sit absolutely still - no movement at all - to "set" the gyro. Then it should turn off. It will blink on each time the gyro compensates. To check it, jerk the tail left or right and watch the tail rotor blades. Their angle should change to compensate the jerk.

You may change the gyro's sensitivity if you cannot get the light to turn off. With a flat screwdriver twist the "sensitivity" screw counter-clockwise. Not too much, just maybe 90 degrees or so. For me the best way to get the gyro to set was to set the heli securely on a table top when plugging the battery in. Watch the LED, let it go off and then put the canopy back on and carry the heli to your launchplace.
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04-29-2005 04:49 PM  15 years ago
supersub

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Jknoell..

Thanks for the quick reply much appreciated...

I checked the gyro and found it to be a walkera which has the Mecedes Benz simbol on the top... i tried ajusting the gyro as per your instruction but am still unable to get the LED light to stop blinking when the remote control is switched off.. When the contol is ON and I fire-up the Heli, i think that the movment has been minimised. I also ajusted the Rudder Trim all the way to the left and the elevator trim all the way to the top..

Not sure if this is the right way to configure it but i thought that i would give it a shot, the heli now seems to stay in a more stable position when i engage the throttle..

Please let me know if i should make any other ajustments..

By the way i have noticed some pics on the web and found that some of these helis have a different coloured motor.. The one i have purple walkera and the numbers are 3200..

Is this the same as your?

One more question before i go, Do you know of any good and reliable website which i can you to order some parts as i am bound to crash this heli on its first flight?

Hope that realy does not occur but **** happens..

Supersub..
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04-30-2005 12:06 AM  15 years ago
HeliNewbie

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Los Angelos, CA

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I'm still stuck in the trench trying to figure out how to make this heli flies. At 3/4th throttle stick, this helicopter only gets light skid and it won't lift off and it shakes violently. This's my first collective pitch helicopter I ever own.

I wonder what did you all do in order to make this helicopter lifts off. Can anyone tell me in details? What pitch curve do you use? What does the "I" switch do on the 3d swtich, and when will I use it?

When I check the motor, it's a mabuchi rk-400SD, not 380sd as advertised by sellers.

thanks
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04-30-2005 10:35 AM  15 years ago
jknoell

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Supersub: never, ever turn the heli on before you turn on your TX. TX first, heli second. It would be really unpleasant if someone else was on your frequency and the motor would suddenly spinning up full speed.

With electrics, if you for some reason insist on turning on the heli first, unplug the motor first.

HeliNewbie: light on the skids at 3/4 stick? hmmm. That sounds a lot like the pitch range is set way too low. I haven't experimented with the pitch curve setting myself yet (I'm out of the country and don't have my heli with me). However: check the blade pitch when the throttle/collective is all the way down. Pitch should be like -1 then. If you unplug the motor you can also check the upper pitch range. I don't have my heli with me at the moment so I can't check with mine. The manual should have the recommended pitch range.

The motor you have is simply stronger than the default 380sd. The 3D switch works like this: In N mode, throttle and collective are mixed. When you flip the switch to "1" the left stick only controls collective, and the motor speed is set to full speed all the time. As a beginner it's probably best to leave it at "N". "1" yields more responsive controls and is needed if you intend to, say, fly inverted.
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04-30-2005 10:59 AM  15 years ago
supersub

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jknoell...

Thanks for the advice... I'll keep it in mind for next time...:-)

Have you had a chance to play around with the FSM software using the TX as a controller on the pc, as im unable to get my controller working with the software..

Any Ideas?

Let me know.. Cheers..
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04-30-2005 01:50 PM  15 years ago
jknoell

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No, I've never gotten it to work either - then again, I haven't tried much since the sim and cable is only supposed to work on win9x, and i use XP.
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05-01-2005 12:56 AM  15 years ago
HeliNewbie

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Los Angelos, CA

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jknoell,

Thanks for your advice.

Now I have the PZT knob at 11 o'clock, and that's equivalent to 8 deg. of pitch at full throttle.

As soon as I try to hover, the head of the heli spins to the left. I try to adjust (clock-wise) the gain pot, it still spins to the left.

The LED of the gyro is on the left side with the tail pointing at me. I wonder if the gyro is mounted correctly on the tail.
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05-01-2005 10:42 PM  15 years ago
HeliNewbie

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When I increased the throttle, I noticed the rudder servo arm pulled forward towards the front (decreases the tail rotor pitch) causing the head of the heli spun to the left. Is this normal? Does this indicate the gyro is a defect?

I looked at the tail rotor of the Walkera 22D. As the throttle increases, the pitch of the tail rotor increases helping to counter the torque of the mainblades to keep the tail still.
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05-02-2005 05:31 AM  15 years ago
Wolf0

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PA

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Z400 3D
I like thi heli I also have a 22D and the difrence betwen the two are astownding i have a dealer in US for factory parts and upgrades for both helis if you want numer leave a post ill get it to you
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05-02-2005 07:12 PM  15 years ago
n2lry

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Union County NJ

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I love the heli.
I bought this after alot of reasearch and little money. Out of the box I had to adjust everything and adjust 1 of the main blades which was wobbling and per the manual un-connected the blade pitch link screwed it down 1/2 turn and reattached it and no more wobble. Also the tail boom was loose and the tail gear was not touching the motor gear easily fixed by bringining the boom in slightly and tightening the screw. The battery chargers work very well for wall-wort chargers. Mine came with 2 sets of main blades training gear and 2-batteries. The small 650mah NIMH battery works ok and the big 2200mah Li-PO works even better. This heli for $220 shipped was well worth the money. You can easily spend $200 just in parts so I have no problem with it. If you have patience and spend the time to check it out completely and tighten everything down and trim it out and recheck it several times it will work very nicely. Also found DeeTee enterprises online which carries almost all parts for the Zoom Shogun 400 which are almost completely compatable.
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05-03-2005 03:14 AM  15 years ago
jknoell

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HeliNewbie: Try this to check the gyro... turn TX on, turn heli on, but don't give it any throttle. While you hold the heli, jerk the tail left. That should make the tail servo arm swing FORWARD to compensate. If you jerk the tail right it should move the arm backward. (I really hope I wrote that down right... *sigh*).

In essence, when the heli turns opposite to the direction of the main rotors rotation the servo needs to increase the angle of the tail blades to compensate. When the heli turns the same way as the main rotors rotation it needs to decrease the angle. The tail blades have a pre-set angle to at least compensate somewhat from the get-go. I'm sure someone here on runryder can explain that better...
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05-09-2005 12:08 AM  15 years ago
ptarp

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IL

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Hey guys, I think I'm going to get a #35. I have a HB2 which I really like, but the fixed pitch tail doesn't hold well at all during torquey maneuvers, and has no hope of being better (due to FP design). The CP tail on the #35 would probably hold well with a HH gyro added.

Has anyone tried any aerobatics with the #35? Does it have plenty of power to go inverted w/o tons of forward speed? My HB2 can go inverted, but it takes a LOT of forward speed to go inverted.

Just for the heck of it, here is a video I made today of me flying my HB2 (so anyone can do comparisons if possible).


HB2 Video

Philip
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05-09-2005 12:40 AM  15 years ago
bell1684

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Phil
Crazy tail grab bro!

Looks like your HB2 flys about as well as mine do..just got one of mine back in the air after replacing the 3in1 & the crappy servos which was causing the dreaded "yo-yoing" as reported by many others. Ive been looking at the Walkera #35 with some interest as well. Seems like the overall opinions on the quality have been mixed.

I too only do limited inverted maneuvers with my HB2..im thinking of a 3d Pro if more advanced maneuvers are in my future.

Darrell
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05-09-2005 12:44 AM  15 years ago
jknoell

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Well. From the video I'd say yes, the #35 has more power. I don't do any 3D and am still learning to fly around (i.e. Hover and some mild forward flight), so take my word with a big grain of salt.

Depending on how much money you want to spend and what kind of equipment you already have go for the kit and plug in your own electronics - that should give you a very decent heli. The stock electronics are okay, but there's lots of people reporting problems with them (not me so far - lucky I guess).

So my recommendation would be:
- Walkera #35 kit without electronics
- Get your own decent TX/RX/Servos/Gyro
- Get at least a 1800mAh battery (depending on servo size, anything smaller than about 35mm x 35mm will fit in the tray)

I still fly the stock RTF set and am still happy with it - although I'll probably replace the gyro as soon as I can afford it. At the moment I'm messing with pitch range & curve (PZT and PLT on the stock transmitter, and servo arm length on the heli). Once I'm done messing with it, I'll update the review above.
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