XK K110 - Mini review and beginner settings

For the last 8 years I have been flying helicopters, I always had a micro lying around. They are awesome, and every time I want to learn a new move I start with the simulator, move on to the micro, test it on the 450 and finally on the 500 and 550.
Micros are so resilient that usually they forgive my dumb thumbs and allow me to fly another day. Well, all except for the Blade 130x which has always been an endless source of headaches.

The XK K110 in its stock form, coming out of the box


One of the latest I bought, back in 2017, is the XK K110. I was dubious at first because I had never heard of XK before, but for $50, what the hell, I thought let's try it.

It turns out it is one of the best micros I have ever flown: super stable, crash proof, extremely cheap to repair, incredibly wide spread user base and many many mods to perform!




Where to buy

First of all, where can you get one? There are basically 3 options:

Banggood - BNF - Banggood - RTF
Gearbest - RTF
TomTop - RTF - Tomtop - BNF

Usually Banggood is the cheapest and quickest, but check because the price fluctuates between the 3 vendors.

The stock components

This little helicopter has a great advantage, to me at least, which is the servos it uses. For the cyclic, 3 micro servos control the swashplate, and the good thing about them is that they are regular type servo (micro size), which compared to the linear servos Blade uses, do not need cleaning. See here why not having to clean servos is so much better.

The X2 servo, which costs about $8 at Banggood
The rest of the electronics is pretty good as well, especially the FBL unit, which holds the helicopter rock solid and allows for a great tail hold even in harder maneuvers.

To complete the electronics we have a powerful 1106 11000 kv brushless main motor, which works really well with the recommended 450mAh 1S batteries, the small brushless ESC, and a 7mm brushed tail motor.

The FBL unit, and the brushless motor.

The radio and the flight protocol

The radio the XK K110 comes with is pretty good, except for the fact that it does not have a timer, and given that the protocol this heli uses is the Futaba S-FHSS, unless you already have a Futaba radio (such as the 6J, the T8J for example), I recommend staying with the stock radio. You can add a S-FHSS protocol to your radio, but it is not something I have tried so I am not commenting on this procedure.
It has Plane and Heli modes, and being it a computer radio, it offers Throttle Curve, Pitch Curve, and gyro adjustments. The display is backlit, and it can store up to 10 models. 
As for the switches it has four 2-position switches, for Throttle Hold, Idle Up, 3G/6G mode, and dual rates.
You can switch from mode 1 to mode 2  and it also has built-in safety, meaning that if you try to power it up with Idle Up mode activated, it will beep, and not arm the throttle channel.

The settings for the first flights

Browsing the usual forums I found some settings, that I have tried and can confirm they work really good, so thanks to the pilots who took the time to experiment and post their results for us to fly better!

Pitch and throttle curve adjustments

To change the curves, first you press and hold the "Mode" button on the Radio, the monitor will flash after a beep. Then turn the dial on the radio clockwise to select "P. Curve" or "T.Curve", and press down on the the dial. 
The points on the curves are called "1" , "2" and so on and represent the first point, the second, ... Rotating the dial you can select which point to adjust, pressing down on the dial singles out that point, and only the number you selected starts to flash, with the pitch or throttle value setting flashing too. 
Rotate the dial to increase or decrease the value, in 1 step increments, then confirm with another push on the dial. When ready, press "back" and to get to the main settings menu. If you don't want to alter any other settings, press "back" again, to exit the menu, and return to the main control screen.


The stock XK X6 transmitter, and the main dial which allows all the programming

This are some curves, suggested by user Ridge_runner on Helifreak which work really well to tame the K110 down. When you master it with this curves you will know enough to experiment on your own ;)

Pitch - Normal Throttle - Normal Pitch - Idle up Throttle - Idle up
1 - 40 1 - 0 1 - 20 1 - 75
2 - 45 2 - 32 2 - 35 2 - 75
3 - 50 3 - 65 3 - 50 3 - 75
4 - 65 4 - 65 4 - 65 4 - 75
5 - 80 5 - 65 5 - 80 5 - 75


Note that the pitch in both curves is at 50, which means that the blades will be ideally flat, or at 0° at mid stick. 

Best would be to try and reach this with adjusting the servo links, but it can be sometimes hard to be precise, so the pitch can be electronically adjusted within 1% increments around the given values to obtain 0°.

Dual rates and expo

To further tame the K110 down you set your dual rates down to 50% for both aileron and elevator.
Be sure to set both sides of each stick axis - up and down elevator; left and right aileron have their independent settings.


While setting dual rates you have to hold the stick in one direction, set the desired value...
And then hold it to the other direction, while setting the other value. Usually the two values need to be the same.

Last thing I did was to use some expo. If you use the stock X6 radio, I found that a value of -25% softens the sticks just right.

The spares I recommend to buy as soon as possible

If you live in the States, you probably do not need to stock up with spares, because MotionRC imports the XK K110 helicopter and a bunch of spares which are readily available. If, like me, you live in Europe, Banggood is probably your best choice, but you need to be patient, and stocking up with the parts that break the most is a wise move.

I found out that the parts I need to replace the most is the main gear: it acts as a fuse and in a crash it gets dislocated (you will see that because suddenly your helicopter will not have enough pitch to take off again after a crash).
Another item is the bearing that holds the main shaft. If you lose the main gear, you will probably lose the bearing too.
While you are at it, get some feathering shafts and main shafts, because in after multiple crashes they will eventually bend, and all sorts of shakes will gradually appear.
I also bought a couple of tail motors because I thought they would quickly wear out, but after two years of flying I am still on my first, so no rush is needed.

Conclusion

This is such a great little heli, with a really widespread community behind it. Many pilots came out with mods and tips to make it fly better and I would like to present you with some in a separate article. 
So, in the meantime, set your K110 as per the suggested values and come back for more information!
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