Blade 130X Maintenance schedule and upgrades

A while ago I decided to buy a second hand Blade 130X which came with a good bunch of upgrades already installed. I was on the market for a step up from my old mCPX and at the same time for something which required less bench time than my T-Rex 250 Pro in the event of a crash.

The only thing I had to do was to bind it to my DX8 and go fly the heck out of it. Needless to say, I had great fun for about 25 flights, this machine is awesome: extremely precise, powerful, and crash resilient.

After these first flights though it started to develop a whole series of shakes, wobbles and defects, which made the helicopter unflyable. A quick research on internet showed that everyone incurs in the same problems after a few flights. Apparently the 130X is always in need of love and care because of numerous design flaws from Blade, but when she flies good...boy it is fun!

Anyway, back to the story. I shelved it because I was having a great time with my Sbach and other planes at the club, and I really couldn't be bothered taking the whole heli apart, check what was wrong, buy replacements and fix it. Until now, for some reason I had enough of seeing her on the shelf like that, and I decided to do something about it, and to do a write up about what I did.

Here is the helicopter taken apart in its entirety. It is incredible how many pieces there are in such a tiny model
As of now the bird is all taken apart, there are a few stock parts and A LOT of aftermarket bits. Some came with the heli when I bought her, some other I bought after.

Another...more "dramatic" view of the pieces, with a close up of the carbon frame

Here is the frame, with all the electronics and the head. Note the rotary servo for the tail, which I am going to try to see if there is a difference...and if I am going to like it!
And here she is, almost complete, I only need to connect the battery and put the canopy on. Pretty exciting things!


While I was at it I performed a good round of maintenance on it, specifically:

Tail section maintenance:

The tail is a pretty complicated part to mantain: very small bits need a lot of care to function properly and to keep the tolerances to acceptable values
  • Make sure tail blades are balanced. To do so you can disengage the tail gears and see which blade is heavier, add a large chunk of tape on the lighter one and remove tiny bits until the blades stay leveled.
  • Check your tail bearings. Because of vibrations in the tail sections the flanged bearings will get notchy and will not rotate smoothly anymore. Keep them well greased, reduce the vibrations the best you can and replace the bearings if necessary.
  • Check your tail gears. I prefer to keep the stock plastic C and the D gears rather than go with metal upgraded ones. Make sure the mesh is correct (the torque tube will protrude about 1mm from the C gear) and check for wear. After a number of crashes hitting Throttle Hold in time, my gears are still going strong. Replace them if you have missing teeths or if the plastic starts to round.
  • Check your tailboom. Mine was twisting quite a bit and upon close inspection I found that I had split it in a crash. This is a massive cause for vibrations, so I put some CA in the seam and even if it is not perfect I am pretty satisfied with the result. Also you need to check the boom placement in the frame. If it sits too foward the gear mesh will be wrong and will wear your gears in no time. So loosen the screws on the frame, spin the head with your hands and move the tail boom back and forth until the head is very smooth, and finally tighten the screws back.

Rotorhead section maintenance:

The aftermarket head, 100% Xtreme, with aluminium swash, rotor head, DFC arms and grips. One sure thing is that there is NO slop whatsoever!
  • Make sure the head is balanced. This is pretty obvious but well overlooked as well on these micro choppers. Take your time and properly balance the entire rotorhead minus the swashplate using a prop balancer. You will find many resources on internet on how to do this.
  • Add O-Rings everywhere. I bought something like 150 o-rings in three different sizes from this website, for not more than $5. Now I have a lifetime supply of them, and they are great to eliminate the wobble in the head.
  • Check your main shaft. You checked your tail boom for splits, now do the same thing on the main shaft. You will be surprised by how much wobble comes from a split shaft.
  • Check every link. The holes will get oval over time, inducing a lot of wobble as well. They need to be replaced on a regular basis.
  • Check your feathering shaft. Sometimes FS will bend on a minor tip over, some other times they will not budge even after a major crash. It is good practice to check if it is straight, especially if you cannot seem to be able to track down vibrations. While you are at it put some oil on the dampeners.
  • Check your blade grip tension. The main blades come way too loose from the factory. Follow this video from Horizon to set them up properly.
Servos and electronics:
  • Clean your servos. Maybe this should be the first thing to do, as for the mCPX it is a crucial step to keep your bird healthy. Check this article for a more in-depth explanation.
  • Check your motor. If the motor can touches the frame it is very common that it will transfer micro vibrations to the 5in1 board gyros, causing all sort of unexplicable vibrations. Also check the gear mesh between the motor and the main gear.
Generally I found that micro helicopters require a lot more maintenance than bigger birds, but will reward you with a fantastic tool to try manouvers without the fear of causing big damages when crashing. Just think that you can buy two sets of main blades for a 700 class bird at the cost of a whole 130X!

Please let me know if you think I left something out, or if you disagree with something written above!

In the meantime, happy landings!
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