Updated 02/01/2011 – Update at the bottom of the article
I recently got my hands on a Twister CPX and I have been slowly trying to come to grips with flying a collective pitch Heli. The CPX is the much bigger brother of the other heli I have been playing with the Micro Twister Pro which is a fun little 3 channel indoor I/R heli which is cheap, easy to fly and tough as nails when you crash, the Twister CPX is none of these things, though when(if?) I master the CPX I suspect it will offer a whole heap more fun.
The Twister CPX is a RTF (Ready to Fly) package and comes with everything you need to fly (except the skill), the package includes
- The Twister CPX Helicopter
- 6 channel 2.4 Ghz computer radio with 4 model memory (more on this later)
- 1200Mah LiPo battery
- 12/240 volt charger for battery with power pack.
- 2 spare canopies
- A very thin and less than useful manual.
The box and manual claim that the CPX is test flown at the factory and this claim might even be true as the model was certainly better trimmed than a friends E-Flite Blade 400 . Throughout this review I will be using the Blade 400 as a comparison product mainly because I have been sharing airspace with one for the last few weeks and because the Blade 400 is by all accounts an excellent machine.
The Twister CPX comes with a Twister branded radio which is one of the better looking ‘Chinese’ radios I have seen, however the manual has no instructions on using the radio which leaves the user the fun and possibly exciting task of working out what settings do what. Now if you already own a 6 channel radio it is pretty easy to sort out what does what and the menu system seems similar to others I have seen, the big problem is that the CPX is marketed as a beginners helicopter (trust me, it isn’t) but supplies no instructions on how to change the settings on your radio, so a beginner is left with no way of knowing how to setup things like exponential and dual rates or anything else without using a lot of trial and error which is not something you want to be doing when playing with an expensive bit of kit . While the radio also has a four model memory this is more than a bit pointless as I am not sure if it is even possible to buy a compatible receiver to put into a different model and there is no mention of whether or not the receiver in the system is compatible with any of the major brands. Putting all this aside the radio seems to be fairly solid in feel and performance, though if I had my choice I would swap the receiver out for one of my Spektrum receivers and use that radio instead. The E-Flite Blade 400 wins points here in that it comes bundled with a Spektrum DX6i, of course it is also nearly $100 more expensive but I think the extra money is justified.
The Battery and Charger
The Twister CPX comes with a fairly puny 1200mAh 3S LiPo battery which give you about 5-8 minutes of flight time, to charge the battery you are given a 12v/240v charger which has fly leads for charging from a 12volt source or a powerpack which converts 204VAC to 12VDC. This unit takes about 40mins to an hour to charge your battery so you had better factor in the purchase of an extra battery when you look at buying this helicopter (the Blade 400 also only has 1 battery but of a slightly better capacity). There is a catch though, when it comes to batteries for the Twister CPX, the battery holder on the CPX will severely limit the size of the battery you can use. Because of the way the speed controller sits and the shape of the spot for the battery I have so far not been able to find anything bigger than 1300mAh batteries that will fit into the CPX, so this may mean that you will end up buying lots of smaller capacity packs to give you a decent flight time.
(Update 21/12/2010) – Rob from Wings over the Downs found me an Intellect 1600mAh flight pack which does fit into the CPX, coincidentally Wings over the Downs also sell the Twister CPX from the Australian Arcade Store in Toowoomba. They also are able to source parts for the CPX, which as you will read later on is something I have needed to purchase.
The CPX comes with a very slim and less than informative manual but it does have a few good points in that it gives you the hint to move the flybar weights out from the center to make the helicopter less twitchy and it also give an exploded view of the helicopter and a full break down of parts and their numbers.
- Main Rotor Diameter……….550mm
- Tail Rotor Diameter…………142mm
- Main Rotor Drive…………….Brushless Outrunner
- Tail Rotor Drive………………Belt Drive
- Wood main rotor blades
The CPX is a 6 channel full 3D capable collective pitch helicopter with a 120 degree CCPM and a heading lock/hold gyro . It is powered by a brushless outrunner and utilises a belt drive system to power the tail rotor.
Ok this section is going to be brief because as yet I do not have the skill to fly the CPX much past a hover and I am still practicing that :-). However I have found that it seems to be very stable and holds its heading really well, I have been able to do all the exercises recommended in the various websites.
Well I have had one bingle when I chopped throttle too quickly and the CPX came down a bit fast. The skid on the tail hit first and it did it’s job of stopping the tail rotor from hitting the ground but the main blades flexed and hit the tail boom, this resulted in two damaged blades and a bent tail boom, on further investigation I also found that the feathering shaft had been bent. A quick trip down to the LHS and I had all the parts I needed for the repairs except the feathering shaft. Total cost including shaft was approx $25, so on the whole it doesn’t look like crashes are going to cost the earth, but it was a reminder to not get ahead of myself and try to fly before I can hover. In an effort to improve my response times with less cost I got hold of one of these. I will be doing a review of the Blade MSR shortly but at the moment I am having too much fun flying it
Update – 02/01/2011 – Ok after a bit of digging I think that the Twister CPX is a rejigged clone of the E-Sky Belt CPX I have ordered a few parts for the E-Sky to see if they match. I am also pretty sure that the Twister 3D X is a rejigged clone of the E-Sky Honey Bee King 4, I found this early Twister/Honey Bee and I actually managed to get hold of one that someone had in a cupboard, it has all E_Sky branded gear in it and is an exact match for the E_Sky Honey Bee FP. It seems Twister are now being a bit more circumspect with regards to branding but I will hopefully be able to pin down an exact match from the E_Sky range within the next few days and that means access to a bigger range of spare parts suppliers as well as upgrade parts.
Update – 02/02/2011 – Well I have still not been able to pin down an exact match to the twister CPX, it does seem to be a match for Esky products but with slight differences just to make things more annoying. I have since found that the gyro supplied with the heli has now died so another part is required, it seems there is a reason people tell you to stick to a known brand where parts are easily sourced. To make things worse our LHS lost a lot of stock in the Toowoomba floods so parts are harder to find. – See comments section for more infor on spares for the Twister CPX