Syma S107 On Steroids
Syma S107 Mad Flying Tips-by Matt
Matt if I may call him by that name sent me an email which is below on his crazy flying mods for the Syma S107G, also some photos,this guy is crazy but a great Syma Freak like me.Well worth the read of his email and view photos at the bottom of post-Thanks buddy-another legend-This is so cool to get these emails
Syma S107 On Steroids Awesome Syma S107 Mod
Email received-This is written totally by Matt:
Hehe, yeah they do drift a lot, but when it's calm, intentional drifting is a LOT of fun with the power and agility the described mods achieve. Very much like doing donuts in a car, only much more fun! Today I managed to drift with very nearly ninety degrees yaw angle, so the nose of the chopper almost points to the centre of the circle I am flying - well probably around 80 degrees or so. The closer you get to 90, the closer you are to crashing, but the cooler it looks! It almost looks like the chopper has a 4th channel, because it is going sideways more than forwards.
A good trick is to fly a very wide circle, maybe fifteen metres diameter, slowly. Then, carefully speed up, correcting rudder so the circle does not get wider, and then adding a little extra rudder to make the circle tighter. Slowly increasing speed and rudder leads to a tight and fast circle, down to maybe three metres diameter at insane speed.
The only reliable way to get out of it without crashing is either a) to reverse the whole procedure and gradually decrease rudder and speed, or b) if you have enough space, just suddenly give full throttle and stop any rudder input, which will make the chopper shoot out of the circle in a straight line - after which it takes it a good 30 metres or more to level out and slow down, so leave the circle *towards* you so it gets closer to you at first before zooming past you, otherwise it gets very small very quickly. I have the feeling if you do it right, your chopper might end up as the first micro aircraft model leaving earth's orbit.
I think having a fourth channel on them would probably make them *easier* to fly, not more difficult as many people seem to think. Much more chances to correct something you messed up before. Then again, I'd probably push that as far as I can as well, and end up right at the edge of what is possible again...
I think actually in my case flight time only seems shorter since the modding, because a) I hardly land anymore in between, and b) I am using the tail rotor more, and c) that means that now I'm also having the throttle set higher for more of the time, because otherwise, the increased forward tilt means it loses altitude. The cold may be a factor, but maybe not the biggest one, after all... if you do find out about that, would be good to know though.
It's great to share, take your time, I know it's a lot of stuff I emailed you. One of the disadvantages of being able to type really fast... 🙂
Again, great to be able to meet people online who share the same passion, so much to learn, and with many people sharing ideas, it's a case of "1+1=more than two". Bouncing ideas is great. Without the internet, we would probably all think that we're the only "S107 freak" in the universe, hehe.
See attached photos, hope they explain the whole thing.
I wish I could send you a video to show what it does now, but didn't get my hands on a video camera yet, also have to find a fast camera operator!!
PS: Think I really need to put a red downwards tail LED into the boom end. Just flew over a pretty high power line on the street again, with extra clearance because it was dark and distance difficult to judge, meaning I ended up probably twice as high than the power line; but then the only means of determining which direction the chopper is pointing is to give forward throttle and see in which direction the little LED dot in the sky moves...
PPS: I heated up the tips of the wire with a lighter to melt the holes through the lens. The front ends are bent only to prevent me from poking someone's eyes out with them, no technical reason. Might make it nicer some day.
PPPS: I almost had a crash with a driving car tonight. It was dark, there is hardly any traffic here at that time, but of course the one car that drove by the whole evening did that just as I was exiting a fast circle on one side of the street, and across the street was the only space where I could go at that speed.
All I could do when the car came around the sharp bend in which we live (where cars typically go around 25-35 km/h) was to give wild rudder and turn sharply into the direction the car was also going, ending up flying ahead right in front of the windscreen for a second or two before getting away to the side.
At one point, I must have been about two metres away from it at most. The people didn't stop, so either they didn't even notice it, or they thought they are seeing things that aren't there, or maybe they thought they don't want to meet the freak who is holding the remote... lucky I didn't smash into the side window, I wouldn't be surprised if that would shatter it, since side windows are mostly flat and not that strong. Then how would I get the chopper back??? Not to self: Must be more careful with cars.
"Whopee!" Pete Conrad while hopping down the lunar module of Apollo 12 onto the surface of the moon.
Main Email from Matt
just wanted to share the results of this evening's experiments, thinking they might be an interesting addition to your web page, which has already helped me out quite a few times before.
If you let me know your email address, I will email you photos of the remote mod, which will help people to replicate it easily; and pictures I have taken with night vision to show the different focus width of the infrared beam on a wall, which helps to understand and visualise the potential of this mod.
I learned a hell of a lot through these mods and am still learning, and would highly recommend them to anyone who feels that they have their S107 ‘under control’ now after having had it for a while.
Disclaimer: I have zero affiliation with Syma, and I gain nothing from writing this but the joy of knowing that others will be able to experience what I do right now, and maybe see some cool videos online soon of all your new adventures after doing these mods!
For reference: Being a complete remote chopper beginner, I have accumulated about eight fun hours (yes, hours, not battery charges) of very experimental air time without shying away from crashes with the unmodified chopper before I did this. I am constantly pushing myself to see what else I can do. The leading edges of the blades at one point looked like a saw blade, but other than that, it pretty much still looks in excellent shape – despite the fact that I have worked out that because of my style of flying, this chopper has crashed at least three hundred times, no exaggeration. I think if you don’t crash, you don’t learn (caution: only applies to model aircraft!). There was no catastrophic damage at any point. These crashes cost me one rotor head, one set of blades, two tail rotors, one of those little distance pieces between the canopy and the frame, and I had to readjust the gears a few times. I think for how hard I have been putting it through its paces and still am, this is outstanding.
By the way, I always let the battery cool down for fifteen minutes before and after charging, and after about 70 charges, it is now tangibly nearing the end of its life time, which I think is pretty ok for how cheap it is to replace.
MODS PART I: High speed, more agility, faster responses, longer flight time
What I did: This part might not be new to many, but I think I can add another perspective to it. Removed the plastic parts of the rear fuselage (small horizontal and vertical wing) and the two lower beams of the boom. In addition, took both weights out of the flybar, and didn’t put their caps back on either.
Result: Both the downwash from the rotors and the headwind – a significant factor at the now radically increased speeds – do not push down on the boom fuselage anymore, and there is less weight in the rear, both contributing to more forward tilt when giving forward throttle. The much reduced weight in the flybar means that the chopper reacts ridiculously fast to throttle changes now and literally jumps off the ground into the air, and it also extends flight time somewhat because there is less weight that has to be kept in the air.
Effect: The S107 creeps forward slowly by itself, which is undesirable - but it absolutely screams along at insane speed when I give full forward! Found that I hardly was able to go full throttle at first, simply because it is quite hard to keep it under control that way. The problem is twofold: When going that fast, say, away from me, and then turning a corner to come back that is anything but very careful, it gathers momentum like a space ship doing a sling shot around a planet, and comes shooting back towards me and flies past me EVEN faster than it already was before! This is why:
The chopper turns around very quickly, so it is pointing back towards me while the momentum is still carrying it BACKWARDS to an extent, meaning because of its forward tilt it gets pushed up a bit, and tilts forward even more, resulting in more of the main rotors’ power being used for forward thrust. That means it is now tilted forward so hard that it takes all the motors’ power to keep it from loosing altitude, and it takes a good 25 metres or so to level out again even if I completely let go of the throttle right after the “slingshot corner”. I can make it slow down faster by applying reverse throttle, because that means that the tail rotor is pushing down, lifting the nose, and thus more of the rotor power is applied upwards than downwards; in these high speed situations, the tail rotor almost functions as an elevator.
But there’s a trap to that: It is easy to overdo that so that the nose of the chopper actually points upwards, and the insane momentum which is still pushing the chopper forward then makes it climb rapidly, which can lead to more exposure to wind and makes it harder to see its orientation at times, but most importantly it means this: If you apply sharp rudder while it is pointing upwards with the nose, all you do is rotate the chopper so that then the nose is pointing downwards steeply, and you are now at a forward tilt that will result in even higher forward speed than before, which often is uncontrollable. You can keep doing this from one ‘sling shot’ to the next, and it’s exhilarating fun to do, but also extremely hard to keep under control.
Normally, I run either out of space or, when outside on a calm day with little sunshine, out of remote reach, before the chopper has levelled out and returned to a normalish speed that I can dare to take the next corner at to bring it back to me again. Another effect, probably of removing the vertical fin, is that it corners faster now, which combined with the speed means you have to be very careful and delicate with the sticks; it takes a lot less rudder now to achieve the same effect as before the mod, and cornering too fast means the chopper is starting to kind of skid sideways, which easily leads to crashes as it is very hard to control.
The flybar mod means three things: Throttle changes have a much, much faster response now, which is hard to control but also necessary to keep the chopper under control when flying corners at high speed; in addition, for some reason I have the feeling that while the flybar mod makes the chopper a tiny bit less stable and a bit more “edgy” during harmless flying situations, it seems a lot more capable of being controlled in difficult situations now; and finally, it has tangibly reduced blade strike, which sometimes happens when the chopper is grabbed by a sudden sideways gust of wind, especially when decending at a fast decent rate from higher altitudes at the time.
Without the flybar mod, I find that the speed is not controllable; with the flybar mod, the necessary fast throttle changes can provide the response that is necessary now – as long as YOU are fast enough, that is! Another side effect of the massive gain in top speed is that I can now fly in higher “winds” than before. I always enjoy flying outside when there is a bit of air movement going on, and improve my skills by managing not to crash. That so far was very limited by the lack of forward thrust; the chopper often just drifted away without being able to work against the moving air – that is not the problem anymore, now I am the limiting factor most of the time (unless there’s real wind, of course, which is a hurricane for the little S107).
MODS PART II: 30+ m remote reach
What I did: This in all likelihood you have not heard of before; at least I never came across this mod anywhere on the net before. I made a contraption from a wire coat hanger that allows me to place one of those one dollar credit card sized fresnel lenses (or magnifying glasses / reading aids from the optometrist) in front of the infrared LEDs underneath the center blue cap at the front of the remote. I can slide the lens forth and back to adjust the distance to the LEDs. As long as it’s reasonably centred in regards to the LEDs, don’t worry too much to get it perfectly aligned, it makes little difference.
Result: I can adjust how much exactly I want to focus the normally very wide beam of the infrared LEDs, narrowing down the beam, but dramatically increasing its reach, just like a focusable flashlight – as long as you point the infrared beam at the helicopter. For indoor flying, I can just ‘unclick” the wire contraption from the remote.
Effect: At the tightest focus point, which with my lens is about five centimeters away from the LEDs, I have achieved 50+ metres of reach with this! Before you get too excited I must admit that that is not workable in practise though, because the beam is so tightly focused that it is next to impossible to make sure the beam stays on the helicopter. In reality, about roughly two cm away from the LEDs is what I prefer now.
That setting gives me about 25 metres reach, which means the chopper can now fly 50 metres in a straight line, compared to about 20-25 metres before; and the beam is still wide enough that it is not too hard to learn to keep the chopper within the beam by pointing the remote’s LEDs directly towards it at all times, which most of the time comes pretty naturally anyway. I wouldn’t want to go much further with the chopper anyway, because at its size and new speed it becomes pretty hard to see which orientation it is in then. When learning to fly with that, note that at least in my remote, the LED’s are angled upwards a little; check yours so you know for sure where the beam goes, and align the lens with that. The increase in freedom is absoultely incredible!
Now I can actually use the power achieved with the mod in part I, and what the S107 can do now is really impressive. I can fly high speed circles with the nose pointing towards the inside of the circle with a yaw angle of a good 45 degrees; which looks very cool and dynamic, and actually takes some time to learn to control because if you overdo it, you loose control. I can do said “slingshot manoever” to do low passes at insane speeds, where the challenge is to keep it under control at the far end, turn it round and bring it back without crashing. I have flown up to the top of our house today, which means the chopper was about ten metres high and a good 15 to 20 metres away from me, and that was well within reach, no problems.
It was not perfectly calm today, but I’m planning to fly over the house from one side to the other when conditions are good while walking around it myself. I am not quite ready yet to fly it over the river nearby, which is about 25 metres wide… we’ll see. As a side effect of this mod, the chopper seems somewhat less vulnerable to sunlight interference; I can now fly outdoors in brighter conditions than I could before.
CONCLUSION: With these two simple mods, the S107 gets dramatically faster, several times more responsive both to rudder and throttle, and has more then double the remote reach at the very least. It truly turns it into a completely different bird, which to fly inside the house is still very possible, but the lack of space is now really limiting in comparison to what it can actually do now.
It may not be made for outside out of the box, but with these mods, while you can still fly it inside and have fun, it now clearly wants to have more space and let it rip. So contrary to what the manufacturer says, don’t be afraid to go outside – lawn is soft and more gentle to your chopper than most things in your living room, and as long as there is not a sunny day and not too much air movement, you will have a blast!
I prefer to fly in the morning or evening, just before the sun really comes up, or just after it is low enough that there is no direct sunlight anymore. Overcast days are great, too. On sunny days, any fully shaded area will work as well, like in the shade of a forest, cliffs, really big rocks, houses or similar.
Just be careful: With the new speed, I would definitely not want it to smash into my head anymore, even though it’s “only” 30 grams. I would not be surprised if you can break a window with it now. I am not going to try.
If you feel that without modifications you are reaching the limits of what the S107 can do, and would like to go further, this is the way I would recommend. Try to fly with as much soft lawn around you as possible, be prepared for quite a few crashes especially at the beginning, and accept that you will break parts more often than before the mod while you are learning – partially because you will be crashing more often, and partially because you are now crashing at about at least two to three times the speed over ground, and sometimes from much higher altitude as well. The effort and replacement parts are more than worth it – you won’t get the grin out of your face anymore once you get the hang of it.
In my opinion, the S107 was great off the shelf already. I never had a chopper before, I learned fast with it, and I have rarely if ever got more fun per dollar before. With the described modifications, it is pushing me to learn more about flight dynamics, orientation, and everything else related to flying a chopper. Its limitations, especially the lack of a fourth channel, do serve to teach some lessons as well; I see them as a challenge rather than a limitation, at least until I feel that I have fully mastered my ‘new’ S107 – and I know that will take me some months at least.
I would like to see these following improvements: Radio control; a fourth channel; increased flight time and / or an easily exchangeable battery which still sits inside the canopy, and not between the skids; and a continuously on front LED light instead of blinking, plus a tiny LED at the rear of the boom continuously shining downwards in a different colour, because at 20 to 40 metres flying altitude and at night or during dusk or dawn, it is getting really difficult at times to know the orientation of the bird! These LED’s could also be a lot less bright than the current front one is, by the way. That much light is not needed for orientation, and I found that with the LED disconnected, the flight time is about one minute longer, and I don’t really need the light unless it is dark. A micro switch like the on/off switch to only use the LED when needed would be a bonus, and would add many times more flight time than its little bit of weight would take away.
These improvements would probably add at least 50% to the price tag, but I would happily pay that. The missing fourth channel is the real limiting factor in going round corners at high speeds now – on the other hand I feel that that very fact teaches me a lot about flight dynamics, and fine tunes my skills.
I have flown it for six weeks without modification now; I have done about half an hour of flight time after doing these modifications; and I think I will fly it for months at least with those modifications before I might… well… probably more like, will… feel the itch to upgrade to something that pushes me even more.
I am eying the e-flite Blade MSR as the next step up, and then later possibly the Blade MCP-X. Together, these three little choppers will keep me busy learning and enjoying myself silly for quite a while I think.
I hope this was useful and interesting for some people to read – if you do these mods, I hope to see some of your flying adventures on youtube soon!