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Kyosho Minium, Minium Parts
Old 08-22-2009, 05:07 AM
ofychw ofychw is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 1
Default Brief Review and Close-ups of Caliber 120

I was supposed to post this long time ago, but summer makes students lazy especially when you're just out of high school. I apologize to TinyRC about this long delay. I have no excuse.

I got hold of some Caliber 120's that were tested by TinyRC, now they are all sent back but one which I'm doing more experiments on. I was very lucky to have this opportunity. It was my school project at first, but since I graduated last month, this is on my own.
I've had some RC monster trucks and a 30-dollar IR 2-channel helicopter and wondered what Kyosho's micro helicopters were like. However, the information about Caliber 120 or any other Minium series was very limited online.
I hope this review with some close-up shots inspire online shoppers like me to get to know little more about this awesome machine.

I was originally going to do a comparison with the Caliber 120 type R (the newer model), but I didn't bother to take its bent main shaft out because I felt like I was going to total that fragile thing.

From the little information I read, I wasn't expecting an easy-to-fly 4 channel micro heli out of the box. Some said, ďit wasnít flyable at all, ď and others said, ďit just needs some work.Ē

First Looks
The first impression was this, ďwow.. Itís smallĒ
Its length is just over 8 inches, and rotor span is about 7 inches.
In that little helicopter, two on-board servos and a gyro were mounted. Kyosho tried its best to keep everything small, light and symmetric. However, I am sure that the connectors couldíve been much smaller/lighter. Also, with a 150mAh battery, I could feel the difference as the battery drained every minute as I flew one the first time.

Balance it? Or not
As a naÔve flyer, I noticed that there were quite a bit of vibration and noise as I revved (too big of a word for something so tiny) up the heli when I flew them for the first time. So I thought, ďMaybe I should balance the blades.Ē I spent couple hours on each heli to balance the blade weight-wise. The heli was taped onto a table by the training bars, and a strip of tape was used to balance the blades. Once it was done, it had no vibration on the table. So I took it off the table and tried flying them. The result was exactly opposite of what Iíve expected. When I tried to fly them, it was still very difficult to control or even more difficult than before balancing. Why? Iím not sure. My best guess is that, as the blades spin in high speed, they just balance themselves dynamically, and are okay. So tapes came off right away, and I kept proceeded with other stuff.

Built Quality
All the gears, most of the ballheads and things on the rotor head are made out of are flexible plastic to minimize the damages from crashes. It was actually quite amazing how sturdy the heli was. It survived numerous (literally) crashes and was fine.
Unfortunately, the ballheads have too much gap for a little machine that should be more precise than any other larger scale RC models. Thatís a big minus and a huge factor that prevents from easy flight.
Two ball bearings help the main shaft to spin smoothly. And makes me feel better.
Landing gear of the Caliber 120 is nicely improved on the 120 R. It was fragile, ugly and inefficient. Mine broke during testing and had to be held together with tape.

Servo gets stuck
A servo problem. Aileron servo on two of the three Caliber 120ís had weird symptom. When I moved the stick up on the controller (mode 2), the servo would get stuck in that position and would not come back to neutral position by itself. I had to tap it with my finger to bring it back. Interestingly, that problem solved as the heli flied with the vibration it had. It seems like the vibration loosens the ball heads or something. So when you get the Caliber series and have a symptom like that, donít worry too much. (However, the cause of the problem should be fixed anyway)

Take a look at this picture. At first sight, I thought it was weird to had two servos that was at diagonal position of the rotor head. As a matter of fact, when they moved, it wasnít quite moving as I wanted. When I and the heli to go forward, the right servo moves, and tilt the rotor head forward and slightly left; without getting used to it, it is difficult to control precisely. Also, this is the same story with the other servo. Maybe it was easier for the manufacturer to layout the circuit board and on-board servos, it mad flying difficult for a beginner like me.

Something Worth Doing: Free from battery $$$
Iíve seen some posts asking if there is a DC adapter for the controller which eats 4 AA batteries like a monster. First I got 4 energizers and had about 5 complete charges with them. Second set lasted about 6. Unfortunately the rechargeable batteries donít work since each cell is only 1.2 volts while the controller needs at least 5.5 volts to charge the 3.7V lipo battery.
I thought of an idea looking at the battery slot of the controller and found a little 6.0 V DC adapter. It had 200mAh current output and was perfect. Then some wire stripping and connecting. I didnít need any batteries since all the flights are done indoors anyway. So if you donít wanna spend $$$ buying alkaline batteries, find a little power supply or an adapter with 6 V output, hook it up and youíre free.

looks ghetto, but sure works!

Personally, I think Kyosho is an amazing company; looking at its products, especially something tiny like Mini-Zís! However, the Caliber 120 is a little unKyosho. Just by looking at loose ballheads of this micro helicopter, I knew it wouldnít be a silky road to fly this thing. I donít recommend this product to give it to your 10 year old cousin or 13 year old son, but if you want some work and effort put into something small and nifty, Caliber 120 would be your choice. Just be prepared to practice and work for it : )
After couple hours of flight time, I could take off from ground, fly clear down the room and land on a pingpong table. Itís awesome! There is so much to improve such as bigger motor for steadier flight and bigger battery for more flying time with consistent supply of power. And I hope the Caliber 120 R has fixed most of these problems.
If I have a chance and little urge to find some time to dig into micro helicopter. I would definitely choose Caliber 120 type R for my next machine(or even the newr Caliber 120 type S which seem to be coming out on 1st of August 2009). The improvements could be seen just by looking at it. Thank you again TinyRC for this great opportunity!
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Old 08-25-2009, 02:31 AM
Marc Marc is offline
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 62

My Dad and I got one of these and we couldn't get it to fly worth beans. My Dad is an dvid electric RC helicopter owner/pilot and has been into theme since electric-flight first started and we couldn't get this thing off the ground. Ours just flapped around like a dying bird.
I also love Kyosho, their Z's and D's are my favorite toys in all the land. Knowing that, I was expecting this thing to be wonderful, but we were sadly disappointed. The best micro flying helicopter bar-none is Eflite's MCX. Also, Walkera's Cobra is a pretty neat micro too and the best conventional flyer out there.
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Old 01-04-2010, 07:16 PM
JulietteKlonk JulietteKlonk is offline
Junior Member
Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 1

Very interesting,keep up the good work.
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