Syma X5C-1 Modifications thread

Discussion in 'Build Logs' started by Mike H., Feb 20, 2016.

  1. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Ive always wanted an x5c-1 and, now it has become a reality for me...For several months ive pretty much read everything about the X5 with all its upgrades and possible mods.. Some ive found appealing and some not so much.

    The goal, will be to squeeze out as much performance as possible from the X5 but, doing so in 3 stages...Stages 1 through 3 will all have a different budget and skill level to complete...Improvements will cover many areas such as flight times, flight characteristics, flight range, weight, durability and even reliability.

    I hope some of you x5 owners will enjoy this build as much as i will.

    BUILD STATUS: Stage 1 under way.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  2. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    STAGE 1 MODS : WEIGHT LOSS. (Updated 3/21/16)

    Ive come up with 108g for a fully equipped X5C-1...This is with prop guards and battery installed...Fully stock with all accessories mounted.

    Lets begin the process of dropping this weight.

    1.) REMOVE THE PROP GUARDS...The guards are an easy 6.5g of weight loss including the screws used to mount them.

    2.) REMOVING THE CAMERA....The camera weighs in at 8.3 grams including the screws used to mount it to the battery door.

    3.) LANDING SKIDS... an easy 2.6 grams to remove.

    4.) BATTERY DOOR....1.1g of weight....(Do this at your own risk as it will make it much easier for moisture and dirt to enter and contaminate the battery plug and flight board)..This is one mod i could personally ignore and accept the added weight from...Also, its bad for the aerodynamics as it will cause a degree of drag.

    This is now a total of minus 18.5g of weight...Not bad at all...for those of you who have done these mods before you already know the big difference it makes with the performance of the X5.

    So, what else can you do to remove weight?...Youve already taken off everything you can from the X5.

    5.) SCREWS....My goodness, syma used alot of screws to hold the two body halves together..A total of 22 screws to be exact...The weight of all these screws total a whopping 1.6g of weight...Considering how tiny the screws are thats alot of weight.

    You really only need to use a total of 4 screws to keep the body together and i chose the very outer screws on each arm to do so...Not using the other 18 screws has saved me 1.4g of weight off the X5...Maybe not a huge amount but ill take it personally.

    6.) WIRING:..Most all models come with excess wire lengths and all this added wire weighs more than one probably might think...I have not performed this mod as of yet but i will....When i do i will post the results of the excess wire....For anyone who wants to go a step ahead of me and just do it, i highly recommend it. . Actual weight loss is not determined at this point...stay tuned.

    7.) MOTOR POD LANDING SKIDS:...Those little extensions on the motor holders were designed to be used as landing skid without the camera and regular landing skids installed....For anyone who doesnt know ,these are essentially Old syma X1 motor holders...Ive found that by cutting off half of each skid is worth minus .4g in total.

    You have the option to remove the entire landing skids and lose up to another .4g but, i dont recommend this personally as you want SOME sort of protection for the gears when landing.

    8.) BODY LIGHTENING:...Considering im only using 4 screws to hold the body together there is alot of plastic and even body ribs that can be removed from the body...My efforts have resulted in a loss of 2.7g of weight...I did not remove any of the reinforcements around the battery and fcb areas.

    IMPORTANT NOTE:...there are 8 plastic posts that stick up to align and hold the motor holders in place..DO NOT REMOVE THOSE or you will have serious problems and also DO NOT remove the posts that align the very tips of the arms...This is what your screws screw into to hold the 2 halves together.

    9.) BATTERY DOOR LIGHTENING:...you can shave of a tenth of a gram from the door by grinding or cutting off the ribs on the back side of the door...not much at all but it brings us now to 22.9g of weight lost in total....I gotta find another tenth somewhere to bring this to an even 23g..haha.

    Now we have an actual weight loss of 24.3g... plus an estimated weight loss of maybe 1g for excess wire which brings us to a possible total of minus 25.3g of weight.

    The stock 500mah 20c battery and camera assembly together weigh in at 22.8g....Do you see where this is going with increased flight time and performance with even a stock battery. ;)

    This is the equivalent to removing all the accessories including the camera and not having the weight of the stock battery although it is installed.....This will be a very large gain in performance all around no matter how we look at it.

    Now this brings us to those who wishes to use the syma 2mp camera....You can re-install the landing skids (+2.6g) and camera assembly (+8.3g) along with the battery door (+1.1g) but, will gain back 12g of weight.....What im proposing is, mounting the camera inside the body without the camera case....This will allow you to eliminate the need of the landing skids and battery door as well as the camera case with attaching screws...Remember, this is just over half the weight we have already taken off so, not really a step backwards we want to take.

    I will be showing you how i mount my camera inside the body of the x5 and it will take a little effort but this is 4.3 grams of weight here we can eliminate and, very worth the efforts it in my opinion... ..This will unfortunately still add back 4 grams of weight but, this is not really a concerning amount of weight to add back for the privilege of having a camera on our x5.

    I will be updating as i find even more ways to lose weight within reason.

    Thanks for looking and i hope some of you can enjoy these mods as much as i will.
     
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2016
  3. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    STAGE 2 MODS: (Battery choices, gears and, range extension)

    1.)Batteries are somewhat of a hit and miss...You will find many claims of Mah and C ratings which in all honesty, most are a bunch of bull crap with false claims and slick looking wrappers as a marketing strategy....One popular name such as Turnigy follows this route quite often so, i wont personally use them...If they work for you and you like them then thats great but, they arent for me ...I did a few years back on helis and i wasnt the least bit impressed.

    One battery i do have on order is a Venom Drone 600mah 30c which uses only grade A cells...has a lifetime replacement policy and will offer more than enough power at 18 amps and 2.22wh to feed our x5...stock batteries supply maybe 10 amps and 1.85wh.

    So why not a bigger 750 mah or even a 1000 mah battery?...Well, you can choose that if you want but remember with more capacity comes more weight and more stress on the motors....To take advantage of the weight loss we worked so hard to get why would we want to add it back with a huge battery?...A 600mah will supply the camera with more than enough power and still gain a respectable amount of added flight time based on the weight we already removed...I do expect a slight increase in weight over the stock 500mah but it shouldnt be an extreme amount like a 750, 800 850,950 or, even a 1000 mah battery...Ill report back with any weight differences between the batteries ive chosen...I do expect to see a solid 8 minutes of flight time while recording from the stock camera using the venom battery.

    Another thing to consider with larger batteries is longer flight time...this also unfortunately equals more heat generated into the motors, which is not a good thing...After 6 to 8 minutes of flight, most all these toy quad motors need a rest to cool off....If you want close to 10 minutes or more of flight time then by all means go with a much larger battery but, you didnt get the recommendation from me...Be sure to buy alot of spare motors.

    Since the stock camera also uses the flight battery to power itself, we are losing flight time...So that stock 500 mah battery may now only end up giving us 350 to 375mah of flight time with the stock battery...A 600 mah battery will compensate that use of battery power by the camera and give us closer to 500 mah to use in actual flight time without excess weight or over extended flight times.

    Ill be post the difference in flight times and performance between 3 batteries i will be testing...One is the stock 500mah 20c...i have three brand X 500mah 25c batteries (just to have at $1.83 each and test) coming and the mentioned Venom 600mah 30c battery ($8.99 shipped) which is on its way to me...I know it seems expensive but i would rather have one good battery than 10 garbage batteries.

    2.) Motor pinion gears: I see quite a few going with these metal "upgrade" gears to find out the quad becomes much noisier, not to mention is wearing down your main gear at a much faster rate than the stock hard plastic gears and is more weight in general for the motors to have to turn. (rotational mass)...Do yourself a favor and avoid those metal gears..they are not an upgrade and should be considered more of a downgrade...I almost forgot to mention the reports of the metal gears flying off the motor shafts because they dont offer enough tightness on the shaft to keep them on.

    So what other choice do we have?..MicroMotorWarehouse offers Delrin gears to replace the hard plastic gears and will offer a much better alternative..Delrin is a softer but a more durable material...Delrin is also a more "slick" material which will help reduce friction between the gears...Its only a cost of $1.00 for 10 gears but it does cost $5.00 for standard shipping to the USA areas...I bought 5 packages for a total of 50 gears to make the shipping cost worth it....The syma uses the 9 tooth pinion.

    3.) RANGE MOD: I havent done this yet but one can expect double the range to at least 80m if done properly to the stock transmitter.

    Since i have plans of increasing range even further in stage 3, i dont find it beneficial to myself performing this range mod with the syma controller but ,i will provide a link to the proper method of doing this range mod if you care to do this mod...There is also some added bonus mods to this link some may wish to follow and enjoy. http://rcnerd.net/syma-x5c-transmitter-hack/

    Or ,you can take yet another possible option to adding range....It is CONFIRMED the SYMA X8C TX will bind to only 2 versions of the syma x5 variations of boards..The V3 and the V6 board...No other version of the x5 board will bind and work properly with the X8C TX
    ...To clear up a rumor ,there is no X8C TX differences or versions..They have all been the same since introduced so ANY X8C tx you order will be the same and bind to the same versions of the X5 boards....I cant verify range but the X8C has been known to give over 300m of range with the X8C quad and even more with the same type 5dbi antenna mod as the x5 transmitter..some reports and video showing as far as 1500ft and longer....The X8C TX does have 2 antennas of which one is just a separate ground wire so, this may be playing a part in range and im not sure how much more range you will get with the x5 model but i will try to get some range numbers once the weather clears up...Lots of rain and wind..sigh..

    If you do decide to do a range mod on the X8 TX, DO NOT REMOVE THE SEPARATE GROUND WIRE!!!!!!..leave it alone.

    If you have performed the changes in both stages 1 and 2 then you have just made the syma x5 about as good as its going to get unless moving on to stage 3 which i will reveal sometime soon.

    I would like to note again that stage 3 will include a range mod as well..so, if would like to wait and see what the differences are before performing any previous range mods, you might find it beneficial to wait and see which method will suit your needs or wants best.

    Cost to perform stage 2 mods:
    1.) 2.4g 5dbi antenna kit for X5 transmitter. $6.00
    2.) MMW pinions (minimum of $6.00)
    3.) Venom Drone 600mah 30C Battery $8.99
    4.) SYMA X8C Transmitter..ive found them for less than $10.00 then if you take away cost of the 2.4g antenna you wont need for the x5 tx its costing maybe $4.00 more ????..A no brainer here..hahaha.

    On a side note...I dont really see why you would want to do the range mod on the X8C TX using it with the x5...Im sure range will exceed well over 100m in stock form and its just too small of a quad to warrant more range for LOS flying, unless you will be using a very reliable fpv signal to take advantage of the distance..In my opinion it would be a waste of money without an fpv kit to take advantage of the added distance.

    Total cost for me personally to do stage 2 mods? $15.00...your price will vary depending on what battery and what tx used.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  4. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Reserved for stage 3:

    Ok, so im impatient and want to start this stage already...I dont have everything i need just yet to fully complete what i want to do but ,i can maybe talk about some other options and comment on a few things.

    OPTION 1 MOTORS:..Syma ,when they came out with the X1 used very reliable and powerful 7mm motors...It was reported that syma sourced Chaoli for their motors but ,this has not been confirmed ...In short, the syma x1 7mm motors were very good motors...Today with the X5C and X5C-1, syma still uses a 7mm motor and, i have no reason to doubt that they arent a quality motor and, possibly even the same motor the x1 was using back then however, the weight of the x5 is about 40 percent more than the X1 was back then so, we are asking alot from these motors today.

    With a good battery and following deeper into stage 3 you will be able to wake up those stock 7mm motors and maybe find it enough for your wants or needs....There are benefits to staying with 7mm motors..So, be patient with me and ill show you what i mean further into the mods.

    OPTION 2 MOTORS: Upgrading the syma x5 to larger and more powerful 8.5mm motors has both ups and downs..On the up side it will help lift that camera and increase your speed and power to cut through more wind...On the down side we are adding a considerable amount of more weight back to the quad in a place that is really the worse place possible to add weight, the end of the arms... We are also going to draw a far amount more of battery current lessening our flight times not only from the weight but from the added power the motor will require....There is always that something to mess things up that are going so good..haha....The power to weight ratio will increase quite a bit none the less and this is a good thing despite added weight placement.

    MOTOR HOLDERS: You have basically 2 options here to fit 8.5mm motors to your x5... One,You can remove the little grooves inside the stock x5 motor mount with some patience and a dremel tool or option 2 is, you can use the ever popular FY326 motor holders which already accept an 8.5mm motor and with slight modification fits inside the syma body...Keep in mind its reported current FY326 models are now coming with smaller 7mm motors so, be sure your source of fy326 motor holders are indeed the ones that use 8.5mm motors.

    What motors should i choose?...Again, you have options here... One thing i will strongly suggest is using 8.5mm motors that were originally used in a gear driven application and, this is for a good reason.

    Gear driven motors tend to use a different timing curve which also effects the rpm capabilities of a motor...Geared motor sets offer more torque than rpm and are more favorable to geared set ups like our x5 that need torque to turn the larger higher pitched blades and needing to lift more weight as opposed to higher rpm motors such as in direct drive applications with smaller lower pitched blades and less weight....Im not saying you cant get a geared motor with higher or lower rpm compared to another, im just saying in general you want a motor designed for a geared set up.

    This gives us quite a few options with the many 8.5mm geared quads that have been introduced and on the market....Most of these geared motor sets arent cheap like our x5 motors you can purchase for less than $6.00 a set but, they arent expensive like Chaoli motors are either at over $30.00 a set shipped....Consider a cost of around $12.00 $18.00 for 4 proper 8.5mm motors...Also note the x5 uses a 9 tooth pinion and, whatever motors you decide on will most likely have 11T metal pinions attached.., they will need to be remove carefully and have 9T pinions installed on them such as the MMW pinions i mentioned in stage 2....11 tooth pinions will not mesh properly to the syma main gears and it will destroy them.

    I will post a list of compatible motors when i get a chance and also point out the better performers on the list.

    Im sort of jumping ahead of the game here by mentioning 8.5mm motors so, wait to see how to take full advantage of 7mm motors before jumping right into bigger motors...Its not always the wisest decision to go with 8.5mm motors.

    TO BE CONTINUED:
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  5. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Yay, picked up the X5C-1 a few minutes ago..its been a mix of snow and rain all day and a bit cold so ill just be doing indoor flight for now until the weather clears up...It sucks that it went from mid 60's and sunny to 34 and snow/rain showers...Update to level 1 completed.. more pics will follow soon.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2016
  6. Birdy

    Birdy Well-Known Member

    Good stuff. Looking forward to your progress. I have three X5c-1's so will be following with interest.
     
  7. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    While i wait for parts i figured i would play with the camera a bit and to be honest the camera is not that bad for what it is...I made some rubber stand offs to raise the camera angle and to maybe help with some vibration and im pretty happy with the results..I have ZERO jello effect and with the quad flying level has a really great angle that captures both the ground and horizon.

    Heres a couple of pics of what i did...I used rubber Nitro fuel tubing as the stand offs...To get an even higher angle i would need longer screws and longer piece of tubing.
    1456442883017.jpg
    1456443800664.jpg

    One of these days i might remove the camera from its case and install the camera inside the shell as i would an fpv set up..By the way, removing the shell is a weight savings of 4 grams...Half the weight of the camera assembly.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2016
  8. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    (Continuation of Stage 1 mods.)
    Still feel its maybe a little heavy?...You can fly without the battery door attached with no problems if you wanted and ,did you all know the screws alone used to attach the 2 halves of the body weigh in at a whopping 1.6g?

    I decided to use as minimal amount of screws as possible and chose only 4 screws to keep the body together...The very ends of each arm...So whats it weigh now with only 4 screws and no battery door?
    20160227_033653.jpg
    How could we possible drop anymore weight and it still look like an X5 model?...Ive seen people drill holes all over the body which to me was a bad idea aerodynamic wise and it just plain looked bad in my opinion...You can take things to another level with making motor wires, battery wires and light wires as short as possible...I dont plan to go this route just yet but ,all that excess wire is more weight than you might think.
     
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2016
  9. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Updated and re wrote stage 1 mod....it seems to repeat a little of what i typed afterwards in threads below it...Just ignore it..haha
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2016
  10. Birdy

    Birdy Well-Known Member

    I hear you on the number of screws. Found that out when I had to do my first motor replacements. Quite a pile of the little buggers to keep track off. Never thought about removing battery door. Will have to give that a try.
     
  11. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    I suppose an option if you arent using your camera...Using the stock camera in the stock mounting location will require the battery cover ,of course and ,landing skids so, this is weight you cant get away from unless you install the camera inside the body shell.

    Im sort of re thinking against removing the battery cover even though it does drop some weight... id rather have the protection from dirt getting inside the battery plug and on the flight board...You can still do it just be aware this can happen...In reality its probably not the best thing for aerodynamics either.
     
  12. Birdy

    Birdy Well-Known Member

    Saw a review not long ago (think it was an x5c-1) where the guy removed the battery cover and used a Velcro-like patch to cover the compartment opening. Seemed like a good idea but almost have to wonder about the weight difference, if any.
     
  13. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Ive found another area to shed more weight..ill add it to the stage 1 section once its done...Not sure how much weight it will be but it should help and its very easy to do...Maybe another gram or better.
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  14. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Yea, im not sure how much the velcro would weigh..i really wouldnt want to invest in velcro having to rip it off every time i wanted to pull out the battery...I would probably just keep the battery door.
     
  15. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Ok guys, ive done this update mod and i suppose i was a bit optimistic as to how much weight it would remove...No matter what the amount, it is weight loss and it all adds up..I cut off half of the landing pads for a weight savings of .4g

    I suppose you could cut the entire landing pad off but i prefer to have "SOME" protection for the gears..Removing entirely all of the landing pads should be worth about .8g but, at the expense of possible gear damage when landing.

    Stock landing pad.
    20160305_153522.jpg
    Modded landing pad
    20160305_153550.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2016
  16. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Ive received some of the parts i need to move on to the next 2 stages so stay tuned...it shouldnt be much longer...Stage 2 coming soon.
     
  17. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Stage 2 now underway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2016
  18. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    Well im having my first problem with the X5...It seems the power switch may be faulty as it doesnt want to turn on sometimes or maybe its the battery plug but, i plan to eliminate the switch and just plug in directly...I was looking at some deans micro plugs to replace the stock micro losi plugs on the batteries and quad board.
     
  19. Gramps

    Gramps Well-Known Member

    Got mine off ebay
     
  20. Mike H.

    Mike H. Toy Quad Builder

    My MMW 9T motor pinions showed up...Ill change them out when i get a chance...Ill be able to use these on my SYMA X1 as well.
    1457724859618.jpg
     

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