Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Blade Inductrix BNF review

I actually got my Inductrix over the weekend, and I was hoping to use it to try my hand at doing a video review. Unfortunately, I do not have a means to charge my digital camera - I only have a UK plug for the charger, and I simply cannot find an adaptor for UK to Canadian plugs! 

The GoPro OTOH works fine and dandy, but realized that the fixed focus means that objects close up are very blurry. After being unable to find a plug converter, I finally decided to just snap some pics with my dslr and write a small review of this new toy.
When I first saw it, I was extremely surprised at how small it really is. I always figured it to be the roughly the size of the Hubsan X4 from the videos, but it's far smaller. Four-bladed props spin inside the protection afforded by the translucent ducts. Two pairs of LEDs serve to indicate the front and rear on the bottom of the quad (can you tell from the photos, which edge is the front?). Two more leds, a red and blue pair, ride on the upper side of the pcb, the blue indicating stability mode (self leveling), and the red lights up when agility mode (aka rate mode) is active.

The Bind and Fly set I bought is extremely simplistic and well thought out with minimal space wastage. The package contains the Inductrix, a spare cover (a fine surprise!), a 150mAh 1S lipo battery, a USB charger for said battery, and instructions.
Binding it with my DX6 was effortless. I just picked a new aircraft model as my base setup, bound it and that was it. I did not even have to trim it!
How does it fly? Well it's very, very stable - or very unstable, as aerobatic pilots may say. The quad self-levels instantly, and combined with its small size and protected props, make it a joy to fly indoors. If it's out of the path of wind my fan blows, it appears to be able to hover in place easily.

I doubt it will do well outdoors, as the small fan in my room pushes it aside quite easily. While it can fly against the breeze, I really doubt this was what it was designed for. Rather, indoor flights would be its forte.

Flight time is about 5 minutes before the low voltage cutoff engages. Unlike the Hubsan which decreases performance when the LVC is activated, the Inductrix simply flashes its LEDs and just drops straight down to the ground. Always remember to set a timer on your radio if it has one! Remember, low voltages kill lipo batteries!
Speaking about dropping it on the ground, the quad took some of my rate-mode flying (more on that in a bit) with gusto, bouncing off the floor and furniture with nary a touch of damage. While I don't advocate full throttle into the walls, I think for learning how to fly a quad, this is a great choice as the props are well protected, and I can't see needing to replace them unless I get into a *really* bad crash. The tips of the props do extend above the fan ducts, so not a good idea to "ceiling crawl" :) Another minor point to note is how quiet this quad flies. This is the second quad I've flown, and probably the quietest little thing ever. Flying this quad at home during reasonable hours should be fine, unless you've got paper thin walls or neighbours with super ears!
Now while this is a beginner's quad, it's possible to turn off the self-leveling and switch to rate mode flying, which will probably appeal to the more experienced pilots out there, and masochists like myself. One of the reasons why I bought this, is to practice flying a rotorcraft indoors in rate mode like a cp helicopter. And the Inductrix in rate mode is very similar to flying a cp helicopter.

While I do have a mCPX BL, I hardly have the skill to fly it indoors, and even just hearing the mCPX BL spool up in its lower RPMs is still very unsettling. Heck even spooling up outdoors, I keep a good distance away! But I digress.

Now, flying the Inductrix at 100% travel is actually very sedate with self leveling on. Pushing the servo travel to 125% gives it very nice oomph to buzz around. However, once in rate mode, it's a bit too much for me to handle, and putting in some expo on the controls really helps tame the quad down. I personally have 3 flight modes on my radio for the Inductrix (like my heli), each with gradually more travel, so I can hand of flight mode one to a newb to fly with self leveling and low travel, and I can quickly move back to rate mode + high travel with a flick of a switch and press of a button. In addition, I also have a throttle cut switch for when I'm connecting up the battery.

With the DX6, setting up the quad for rate mode is quite straightforward. Simply assign the "gear" channel to channel 6 on the RX, and assign it a switch. I assigned it to my radio's bind button, so a single click will switch the self leveling on/off. You can also assign it to a toggle switch, but I found a single click easier than toggling a switch.

Things I wish would have been different on the Inductrix:
  • The front/rear LED indicators are not the best from a visibility standpoint, and I'm guessing the LEDs are placed where they are, on the control board itself, so as not to have to run 4 additional pair of wires. Less things to snag on, lesser things to break, weight savings etc. etc.
  • Some better way of telling where the front is, be it by colour coded props or some canopy design.
  • A yellow cover. mCPX Yellow. Red is nice, not a fan of blue, but I think yellow r0xx0r! Yes, this is a first world problem :P
Last thoughts, I think it's a great small quad for indoor flying, and if you get bored of it, flying it in rate mode will defo give you an exciting challenge!

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