February 22, 2006

Silverlit X-UFO's Gyro 'issues'

I recently picked up a x-ufo from thinkgeek, which I've taken a picture of for your enjoyment. These are very fun, cheapish (180$) 4 axis helicopters. Thier construction is fascinating. You might remember a previous, weird, post I did about gyros. I complained that mechanical gyros stink and should be replaced. Well, I was talking about this one. I had a minor (my fault, I assure you) crash that resulted in the gyro, well, shattering, and without a gyro these things are impossible to fly. I ordered two new ones from an outfit in Utah and recieved them last week. Installed the new one and got a good look at the damage I did to the old one.

Some interesting things about the X-UFO. Its construction is pretty labor intensive. Lots of little parts, screws, multiple circuit boards, it is a testament to just how cheap Chinese labor can be. If you were designing it for local contract manufacturing, you might have opted for a single board solution with a mems or piezo gyro. Things to note include the cheap plastic gimbal housing, the super fine copper power wires to the internal motorized flywheel. The weird thing about this gyro is that it doesn't really work all that well past about 30° and the electronics assumes that you are inverted and tries to right the copter.

Of course, this is how I ended up driving the x-ufo into the ground from about a 25 foot hover. Oops. Anyhow, its a really cool toy, but I think if you buy one, you should try to pick one up with an electronic gyro. Click on the pictures for more fine details. Note that the gyro boards piggyback on the actual board and thus might be replacable with a different system, in theory. In practice, there is a reason I bought two replacement gyros.

Anyhow, check out the pics, the person who designed the copter really was quite the hacker. Note the washer as a flywheel.

20 comments:

voetemm@hotmail.com said...

I also crashed mine last summer.
The gyro is dead too.

So, do you think it is replacable by a piezzo one ?

Chris DiBona said...

Nope. The replacements ain't cheap. You're looking at $40 to do it. I bought two just in case.

Peter said...

I only got 2 flights out of the X-UFO and the already the GYRO is broken!! but alas I found this link... http://www.iwac.se/xUFO/xufogyrofix.htm
Please Please Silverlit give us a proper GYRO!! just look at the next generation.. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=4686188&postcount=495

Melvin said...

I thought I was crazy. I ordered my first X UFO and had a minor crash before I realized that the gyro was dead. I thought it was defective and ordered another one. The gyro powered up on the new one, but wasn't very stable. I crashed this one hard from 15+ feet. Again, I've got a dead gyro and an un-flyable UFO.

If these gyros can't handle a few minor crashes, then why bother? I'm too dissapointed for words.

*sigh*

Anonymous said...

there is someone who modified the original gyro by replacing the mechanical parts with NEC TOKIN piezo sensors.

this one was available at e-bay:
http://cgi.ebay.de/X-UFO-Kreisel-Platine-modifiziert-mit-Piezo-Gyro-Sensor_W0QQitemZ7395901926QQcategoryZ13313QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

no idea, if this modification works well, costs more than 100Euro...

Anonymous said...

there is someone who modified the original gyro by replacing the mechanical parts with NEC TOKIN piezo sensors.

this one was available at e-bay:
http://cgi.ebay.de/X-UFO-Kreisel-
Platine-modifiziert-mit-Piezo-Gyro-
Sensor_W0QQitemZ7395901926QQ
categoryZ13313QQssPageNameZWDVWQ
QrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

no idea, if this modification works well, costs more than 100Euro...

Anonymous said...

I was considering purchasing one of these X UFO RC Flying Toys but I have to say that after reading these comments about the gyros I’m not sure. I had a Draganflyer at one time. It had electric gyros but it was given to me from someone who had already crashed it several times and I never was able to do very well with it at all. It seemed to be under powered or something. I could barely get it off the ground! The Draganflyers were much more expensive, $800.00 at the least. Anyone have any advice about purchasing an X UFO? I am now going to research the gyros to see how expensive it would be to refit it with electric gyros.

Anonymous said...

Hi, i have just got my new x-ufo. after charging up the battery and reading the instructions , i went out in the garage for my first flight, but found it really difficult to controll. i could hardly get it off the ground, it was so unstable and just will not fly. is this a gyro fault?? how do i know if the gyro is working or not??. Please help. Thanx

Eric (tend2it) said...

I have a Silverlit X-UFO and did a few upgrades to get it to a hobby grade flyer: replaced the stock battery with a 730 or 900mAh lipo (15-20 min flights ... had to also replace the connector to JST and battery mount), replaced the mechanical-gyro with a 3 piezo X-3D gyro board (invented by the x-ufo developers but too expensive to manufacture by Silverlit, http://www.xufo-shop.de sells them along with other cool upgrades), removed the EPP frame (to reduce the weight), upgraded the transmitter to a Futaba 9CHPS Super. Now it flys like a draganflyer. For more x-ufo info on the upgrades, visit the info thread http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=577960

Eric (tend2it) said...

I also have a published Do It Yourself guide to making the 2-piezo plott-mod gyro replacement using two Wario Twisted games here http://forum.xufo.net/bb/viewtopic.php?t=1307

Anonymous said...

my gyro starts up for about four seconds then stops and the x-ufo's lights go solid on and does not respond in any way with the remote. ???

Bhuvana. said...

I recently bought a Silverlit X-UFO. It has been just two days since I started flying it indoor. After a crash, only the red light is glowing, and none of the blue lights are responding. Can you make suggestions on how I should rectify this problem??

Terry said...

Hi , I'm hoping maybe someone can help me - I bought one of these also from Think Geek ( a great site ) for my 14 year old for Christmas . We are following all the instructions , but the propellers do not turn - on the first try they did for a couple secounds - and now nothing .I cannot get onto the Silverlit website - ??

Tony Dean said...

Hi guys. I just got an X-UFO for Christmas. I was just getting the hang of it when it crashed and now one of the props doesn't react as quickly or as much as the others and therefore wants to flip on take-off. Anyone any ideas of what it is? I have found it difficult to get on the Silverlit website also.
If someone came up with professional battery and parts modifications I think it would be a hit as my original interest started last May in Singapore when one of these things went past me on the 72nd floor and went straight up another 100ft. before being flown back to ground. It too must have been modified.
Who can modify mine? Preferrably in the UK. I can pay but am a dumbo with this techo stuff!!!
Tony Dean

Tony Dean said...

Hi Chris and would-be flyers,
These X-UFO's are something else to keep running, aren't they?? With the help from Chris's piccies I have now dissassembled my machine and found the gyro centre spindle out of its' sockets and both feed wires snapped. It would seem an easy solution - if this is the main problem - to araldite the outside bearing in (taking care to avoid the spindle end) and re-connect the wires (very fine joining work). The design fault seems to be that to get the centre of the gyro with wheel into the bearings, one of the bearings has to be pressed in from outside the frame. The joltings of crashes then dislodges this bearing and the whole thing shakes itself apart. What do you think? Anyway - thanks for the piccies which have helped me know which wires go to which.
Kind regards, Tony

Anonymous said...

My son was over the moon when he got this. Sadly after one milde crash the gyro packed up. And the UFo has remained in the box for months whilst Silverlite find a gyro for me - that was January last year. Can anyone recommend somewhere (pref. in the UK) where I can get a new one? but after reading other messages I am in two minds if I should bother!

Anonymous said...

MY UFO WILL NOT FLY MORE THAN 8 INCHS FROM THE GROUND AND AFTER 30 SECONDS THAT HEIGHT REDUCES TO 3 INCHES ANY IDEAS ANY ONE

jesolins said...

First get a 600-900mah 11v lipo battery to improve your flight times. The original Silverlit as posted earlier is only good for hovering at 4-5 feet indoors with allot of room. You have to get it out of ground effect (above 3 feet) to gain the meager control that the non-modified original Silverlit has. The other knock off version that looks like it is technically inferior and will barely fly at all. So give up on that one and get a Silverlit. You can use the knock off frame, motors and props as spares. Just throw away the knock-off electronics. Go to http://forum.xufo.net/bb/viewforum.php?f=27 and read about all the ways to get the Silverlit to a hobby grade flyer level where you can fly it outside and even eventually do loops. Of course you will find your wallet about $1000 lighter by the time you do all of this, and you will be older as the parts come from a shop in Germany and shipping and cutoms charges add a couple of hundred to the whole schmear. But it is a fun hobby and the Quadrocopters are a blast to fly!

Anonymous said...

Absolute trash. The body is made of styrofoam. The battery, after charging overnight, lasted 20 seconds and the thing wouldn't lift more than 4" off the floor. Not sturdy enough to fly indoors, let alone outside, so the "100 meter range" is laughable.

Do not waste your time on this thing. It's not worth $1.60, let alone the absurd $160 price.

Anonymous said...

This is the "Osprey" of r/c modeling! Anytime I come across a web seller that carries this piece of trash, I e-mail them and tell them they should drop it or be hated by all who buy one. Silverlit must realize the problem but chooses to ignore it....Great fargin' company.

Bill