Aplus 300/400 Radio Controlled Helicopter
I have bought many electric helicopters in my time in order to feed my heli habit, and I was quite intrigued recently when I saw a picture of the Aplus heli. It stood out from the rest because of its unusual design and engineering. So what else could I do, I had to have one!
When a manufacturer designs a radio controlled helicopter they have an opportunity not only to produce a complex working machine, but also to produce a work of art. Most manufacturers stay with fairly standard and proven designs of head and tail configurations and often, they are so similar that many of the parts are interchangable from one make to another. They almost seem afraid to steer away from the standard design pattern. Aplus however have completely rebuked from the standard pattern and produced something quite unique and very nice indeed.
OK. Here's the nitty gritty.
As far as I know Aplus make 2 electric helicopter sizes, the 300 and the 400. Both are fully 3D, collective pitch high performance helicopters based around the CCPM control system where three servo's are connected directly to the swash plate. The tail blades are belt driven which is reliable and strong.
The 300 is the baby and is smaller than the 400. they differ slightly in design and blade size but I understand that all the mechanics of the head and tail are similar. I thinks the 300 will take up to about a 1500mah 3cell lipo battery and the 400 up to about 1700mah.
Kits come in various formats and do-not come with any electronics.
1) Bare kit either standard or SE. The SE is complete with brushless motor and rather nice REAL carbon fiber main blades. Be aware that this kit requires complete assembly from scratch. Every last nut and bolt. It would not be particularly suitable for a novice. (This was the kit I bought and took me 5 hours to assemble). The kit comes with a CD rom which contains detailed instructions and diagrams of assembly step by step.
2) ARTF. Almost built. This kit is more expensive but all the major assembly is done for you. The kits comprises of three sections (Head body and tail.) and will take you less than an hour to set up. This kit is better suited to the lesser experienced person or those of us with large fingers and poor eyesight, as some of the components of the bare kit are positively tiny.
One major benefit of the Aplus heli is that all the working components of the head and tail are made from precision, quality CNC cut Aluminium AS STANDARD! Every single moving part has its own bearing and fits together perfectly and moves smoothly without any slop whatsoever. The design of the helicopters head and tail units is quite unusual and as familiar as I am with building these things, I had to consult the assembly drawings very carefully indeed. Everything fitted together so nicely, as fiddly as it was. The body and boom is made from quality, real carbon fiber and is both ridged and strong.
After 5 Hours of painstaking assembly it was finished and it gave me a real sense of achievement building it from scratch. I used 9g sub micro servo's for the swash plate and a 5g high speed servo for the tail. I also installed a micro head lock gyro. Power came from 1500mah 20C 11.1v Lipo.
On first power up it sounded very clean with very little vibration at all. Since being CCPM most setting up is carried out via the transmitter. A good computerized tranny with CCPM mixing is essential. I had the positive blade pitch set to about 9o which is enough for me as it lifted off effortlessly. One thing I noticed straight away is that the controls are very crisp and responsive, also very little drifting when hovering thanks to that beautiful CNC head. Flight characteristics I would described as very good indeed.
Before I finally rate this heli, one of the first thoughts in my mind before I bought the heli was : "Nice heli, What about spares?" Heli's break easily, so readily available spares at a reasonable cost are a must. Fortunately all Aplus parts are available at ***www.aplus-heli.com*** an eshop based in England. Yipee! They also trade on ebay at the link below
APLUS 300SE (Marks out of 10)
Ease of assembly(bare kit).........7
OVERALL.............8 out of 10
Final words. Very nice little heli indeed.