Not exactly flashlight or EDC gear but it does have dual LEDs for night flying so here goes…
SCORPION S-MAX 6-Axis R/C Helicopter
*The Scorpion S-Max was provided for review by DealExtreme
Why a helicopter review? Why the hell not? It’s fun and DX had, at the time, a list of things available to review and none of the few flashlights interested me so I asked Sandy if I could check out an R/C helicopter since this one really caught my fancy. I’ve had a few in the past that didn’t last long and my current Syma S107 is so easy to fly that it’s gotten boring and I hardly ever play with it. This one looked awesome from the video on DX’s site and I figured I’d run with it. Now the big problem was how do I do a review on an R/C copter? I’ve been putting off this review for sometime because this little dilemma. Sandy has been a saint with her patience waiting for this review. Thanks, Sandy! I finally figured I’d just do like I do for my flashlight reviews with some pics and my thoughts so here goes.
My experience with it
The Scorpion arrived in great shape with only a few dents in the box from shipping. Inside it is really packaged well to withstand the slow boat form China. Everything is locked down and the entire contents was covered by a form fitting plastic cover to protect the goodies inside. Everything was in great shape and I charged the included 500mAh battery using the included wallwart and special charging box that is able to charge two separate batteries (if you had a spare). Once charged (less than 20 minutes) it was time to pop in the battery and fire it up. First I loaded six AA cells into the controller (AA cells not included) then turned it on to check out the awesome little LCD display. Everything on the controller is digitally controlled and is displayed on the screen. Since my Syma S107 doesn’t have such a feature I was really impressed. A couple decades ago when I first got into R/C something like this was unheard of unless you bought a Futaba controller that was close to $1000. My, how times have changed! Once I familiarized myself with the basic controls thanks to the incredibly detailed instruction pamphlet I was ready to take flight for the first time.
To sync the Scorpion with the controller you first connect the battery connector on the Scorpion then turn it on. The LEDs in the top of the craft will light red signifying it is turned on. Then you turn down the throttle stick and turn on the controller. The controller will beep once it connects to the craft and the LEDs on the copter will turn green letting you know it’s go time. Trimming the copter took the longest time. With 6 motors whirring away I had to just take it a few inches off the ground then play with the digital trim controls on the controller. As you adjust them, the trim adjustment shows in bar graphs on the display panel. After figuring out which button controls what direction and which way to move the trim I finally got it to hover fairly stable in one spot. Compared to the Syma and it’s fantastic gyroscopic assist it is far more difficult to fly, hence the challenge and extra fun potential. I’m not the greatest pilot of these things and cars are more my thing but I was able to move it around the kitchen and torment the dog. Fear of it won out over his initial anger of it and he decided it was best to simply leave the room. I figured it was a good idea since he was likely to become emotionally scarred if he hung around too much longer. The large capacity cell (500mAh compared to the wimpy 150mAh-200mAh cell in the Syma) provides a solid 5-6 minutes of run time and is not bad at all considering there are 6 motors providing the lift. What lift it provides, too! This thing rocket skyward and indoors will smash into the ceiling before you realize it if you aren’t careful. Travelling speed is far faster than that of the Syma as well. Forward and reverse are pretty snappy and directional changes are a blast compared to the comparatively sluggish response of the Syma S107. If you already have a 3.5 channel gyroscopic stabilized copter like the Syma and are bored with it’s limitations, then $50 is well spent on this Scorpion.
The 6 rotors on the Scorpion are the same type usually found on the tail rotors of other more conventional copters. This means that they have relatively little rotating mass which allows them to accelerate their rotation very quickly but it also allows them to stop very quickly as well. This is extremely handy when smashing into walls, chair legs, radiators, people…you get the idea. I didn’t have even one break on me but if I did there are 4 spare rotors included in the kit. Replacements should be extremely easy to find and inexpensive as they are merely tail rotors used on the more common and popular copters like the Syma and even Air Hogs.
The arms that extend from the main chassis and support the motors are made from box section stainless steel/aluminum alloy tubing and are very durable and difficult to break let alone bend or tweak. The chassis itself is plastic but is extremely surable and well designed and made. The body shell is made of a thin and flexible yet durable vacuum formed plastic just like that of high end R/C cars.
Take my word for it, this thing took a beating until I got a better handle on it and I’m still not great with it. other copters, aside from the too easy to fly Syma didn’t last more than a few days in my hands.
|Material||ABS + Stainless steel aluminum alloy|
|Channel Specification||Forward / Backward, Left / Right, Up / Down, Sideward fly / Direction change with tilt angle|
|Remote Type||Radio control|
|Remote Control Frequency||2.4GHz|
|Remote Control Range||50 meters|
|Battery Capacity||500 mAh|
|Charging Time||90 minutes|
|Working Time||6 minutes|
|Remote Control Type||Included|
|Controller Battery Type||AA (not included)|
|Controller Battery Quantity||6|
|Other Feature||Remote control with 2.2” LCD display.|
|Packing List||1 x R/C helicopter|
|1 x Remote control|
|4 x Propellers|
|1 x Screw driver|
|1 x USB cable (55cm)|
|1 x Charger|
|1 x English user manual|
Here is how the Scorpion was packaged. Large, dense, closed cell foam caps protect the control sticks from any unfortunate impacts during shipping. All spare parts, charger, charge controller, and cables are each in their own compartments.
I can see why they named this the “Scorpion”. It really does look like one and looks just as aggressive, too.
Pretty sweet looking little gadget!
Here is the underside showing the battery compartment at the base of the chassis for a lowered center of gravity. More than ample thrust provided by the six little rotors allows the larger, heavier battery to provide great run time and not hinder it’s maneuverability and response time.
THe insede of the body shell. you can see the clear bubbles that the LEDs shine through.
A look at the component side. Everything is wired in with individual connectors for easy replacement and upgrades if that’s your thing. Very professional looking touch compared to most cheap toy helicopters.
A look inside the empty battery compartment. Most of the main body is battery with the control board sitting on top.
The 500mAh 3.7v cell
The controller powered off.
Powered on the display shows trim percentages in both numbers and bar graph for easy reading at a glance. Custom settings can be seen and configured here as well. Controller battery voltage is also displayed.
A look at the battery compartment with 6 AA cells inserted.
This is the charger circuit. The wall wart merely provides the input juice and the charger box monitors the cells and stops charging once it has reached 4.2v.
Separate charging circuits and jacks on either side of the box allow for charging up to two spare cells while you fly the Scorpion on a third cell.
here is the entire charging circuit in action. The charging cable lights to show that power is coming from the wall wart. this end of the cable has a standard USB connector and allows you to bypass the wall wart and plug the charger into your USB port on a computer or laptop. The other end of the cable plugs into the input port of the charger box and the cell plugs into either of the cell ports. The charging light turns from red to green once the cell is at full capacity.
The manual is extremely comprehensive and more than a little intimidating when you first look at it!
If you like fun toys and gadgets or are already an R/C helicopter fan, the new multi-rotor copters are the next step in copter evolution. For just $50 the Scorpion is a great way to step up your game from the boring old school dual rotor copters like the Syma S107. This is one toy even a grown man can appreciate without being ashamed to have folks see him playing with it. Very competitively priced and better built than most toy copters, I highly recommend it!