Align T-Rex 550E vs. Blade 550X vs. Synergy E5 - HeliFreak
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550 Class Electric Helicopters 550 Class Electric Helicopters manufactured by Align, Tarot, SYMA, Airhog, Chaos, HK and similar.


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Old 08-14-2013, 11:40 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Align T-Rex 550E vs. Blade 550X vs. Synergy E5

I'm about ready to make the jump up to the 550 class and am still torn between them.

Is there anyone out there that has experience with both the T-Rex 550E (combo) and the Blade 550X (combo) that would like to offer their opinion as to which is the better choice and why? I'm not so worried about any kind of initial cost difference. I'm more interested in how well they perform in their stock configurations and how well they hold together over time. In either case I plan to put an AR7200BX on it. I know the 550X is pretty new so not many people have them. Anyways...any advice will be appreciated.

Edit: Changed the title to read "Align T-Rex 550E vs. Blade 550X vs. Synergy E5" as the Synergy is part of the discussion in later posts.
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Old 08-14-2013, 12:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It's probably worth posting this question in the 550X subforum too to get more replies. Personally, I like the way my 550X flies - but it definitely benefits from a 16T pinion (stock is 14T). It's a solid and very simple build with low parts count. Mechanically very strong.

It's nothing like the 450X though, so if you're expecting a bigger version of that heli, you'll be surprised. Really, it's a cut-down 600X with a short boom, smaller blades and a 6S setup.

I can't comment on the Align 550E I'm afraid, but my reason for choosing the 550X was simply that I didn't want another Align at the time. I'm not a fan of DFC head configurations either.

I suspect either will be good helis that you'll enjoy. You'll almost certainly get lots of replies claiming one or the other is best - but to be honest, I think the best is the one that suits you!
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:05 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomatwalden View Post
It's nothing like the 450X though, so if you're expecting a bigger version of that heli, you'll be surprised. Really, it's a cut-down 600X with a short boom, smaller blades and a 6S setup.
I know that it's a bigger heli with more power and the flight characteristics will be different respectively. I have flown a friends 550 size heli before so I understand that to some degree. But I wonder if you could elaborate on what you meant when you say the 550X flies "nothing like a 450X"? Is there a finer point I'm missing here other than the obvious size/power difference?
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Old 08-14-2013, 02:46 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Haven't seen anyone in this subforum with both a 550x and a 550E so I don't know what kind of replies you're going to get. I have seen a 550x in person and was really impressed with how well built and solid machine it looks to be aesthetically. It is a newer heli so thats always good. I'm not sure about the gearbox, however. I like the fact that Trex 550's have the option to go Mod 1 gearing and run 12S without issue - don't know of you can do that in a 550x.

Blade also seems to have addressed the ESC issue they had in the 500x. Their 550 comes with a 130A ESC! A bit overkill but, still, i'd rather have a namebrand ESC like YGE or Castle on my heli. They come with titanium geared Spektrum servos as well. Probably pretty decent, but I don't see many people running them.

I don't understand why they have that atrociously ugly landing gear on the 550x though. They could have come up with something more pleasing to the eye.

Any heli is the sum of its parts. If I had the option, i'd try to find an airframe and put my own electronics in it along with a motor of my choice. Then all you have to decide on what kind of head setup comes in the kit and choose accordingly. That's the route I would go.

Personally, I like the Align 550's because you have so many options for upgrades - you can custom tailor a heli to your liking.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:07 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Nelsonisms View Post
But I wonder if you could elaborate on what you meant when you say the 550X flies "nothing like a 450X"? Is there a finer point I'm missing here other than the obvious size/power difference?
Not really - power/size is about it ...
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:09 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Blade also seems to have addressed the ESC issue they had in the 500x. Their 550 comes with a 130A ESC! A bit overkill but, still, i'd rather have a namebrand ESC like YGE or Castle on my heli. ....
The ESC has been discontinued due to reliability issues. The combos are now cheaper, but you need to provide your own ESC. Alternatively, if you pick up a combo that includes the 130ESC, you can return it to HH in exchange for a $100 cheque.
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Old 08-14-2013, 03:26 PM   #7 (permalink)
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As above, I've heard the 550x is a solid Heli.
Trex550 you can get parts for anywhere(mostly) and there is lots of support, forums etc discussing such

I love my 550 but if you can get parts just as easy for the 550x, I would say go with whatever you find most pleasing to the eye. I'm sure you'd be happy with either.

Decisions, decisions.......
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Old 08-14-2013, 04:12 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I know from my experience with the 300X and 450X to stay far away from EFlite's ESCs. I've had to highly customize both of those birds to get them flying like I expect. I even hesitate to use their servos and motor, but I suppose the Spektrum branded servos and 550 motor are of higher quality from what I can tell. If I do go with the 550X I would definitely get their combo without the ESC and slap a Castle Edge 130 in there. I've grown way too accustomed to the features you gain in Castle ESCs to give it up and it would be nice to have them all with the same type of configuration....that is Spektrum Telemetry and Castle Governor / Data logging.

I agree that there are more optional items for a TRex 550...helical gears for one. And I'm in agreement that the stock molded plastic landing gears on the 550X are lame. Certainly some Align skids with aluminum pipes could be modded to fit on there. I've done that similarly on my other two Blade helis. I'm also not a huge fan of the white/green canopy either, but I already have a plan to plasti-dip that sucker in neon orange/yellow if I get it.

I've done some research as far as parts availability and they seem to be on par in that regard, at least in the US from the major online retailers. It's not like my LHS is going to have parts for either of them, so no worries. I know I'm going to have to order just about anything for this one.

Anyways, thank you all for your comments. I do appreciate your helping me to work through this decision.
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Old 08-14-2013, 07:30 PM   #9 (permalink)
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here's my two cents...the first thing when considering what heli to buy is not how well it stacks up against something else, it is whether or not parts are readily available. and there the Blade is going to be a distant second to anything align. blade is only available through horizon dealers, and that limits access, especially if horizon is out of stock on an item - where with align you have a number of alternatives.

there are an awful lot of happy align 550 owners out there, including me. I work in a LHS so I can get the 550X at cost, but I won't even give it a second thought because of what I wrote above. I see Horizon backordered on too many Blade products.

Helical gears are not an option for newer Align 550s, they are the supplied with the kit. Older V1 and V2 kits had straight cut gears.
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Old 08-15-2013, 09:32 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Parts availability aside, I own a Trex and have a friend with the Blade, and I have to say upon initial inspection the Blade has the look and feel of higher quality....as much as it pains me to say. Not bad for a "first outing" in the big leagues.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:36 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koppterx View Post
Helical gears are not an option for newer Align 550s, they are the supplied with the kit. Older V1 and V2 kits had straight cut gears.
Thanks for this tidbit. I didn't know that. That's one thing that I find a bit unnerving about Align helis is it is difficult to know which version you are purchasing.

I was looking at the one on HeliDirect since it seems they have a good deal on the kit. I just checked again and it does indeed state that it includes the mod 1 helical main gear, so I did miss that before.

Another question I have concerns the helical pinions. The stock 550E comes with an 11T helical pinion and the 600MX motor @ 1220 KV if I'm not mistaken. I plan to run the Castle governor and I know to do that I generally need to increase the pinion to keep the headspeed up with enough head room.

For instance, I know these numbers from Mr Mels calc are estimates but..

112T / 11T @ 1220 KV governed
  • max governed head speed: 2274
112T / 12T @ 1220 KV governed
  • max governed head speed: 2480
So I want to make sure I have the option to go up a pinion if I have to. My concern is that I can't seem to come across any 12T 6mm bore mod 1 helical pinions in the parts listing or pinions section on HeliDirect or Amain. I would think if they were commonly available either of these sites would have them. Googling around didn't get me much further.


Am I overthinking this? Does running a 12T pinion on this setup sound unreasonable? Is there some magic site out there that stocks align pinions in varying sizes that I'm missing?
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:45 AM   #12 (permalink)
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You need the pinion from the 700, part number H70G006XXW. I run it on my 550 DFC along with the Castle Governor, and it's great.
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Old 08-15-2013, 11:56 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by jimmy77611 View Post
You need the pinion from the 700, part number H70G006XXW. I run it on my 550 DFC along with the Castle Governor, and it's great.
Excellent. Thank you Jimmy.

I had seen that one but figured it had a bigger shaft size or something being for the 700. Of course it's not noted in the specs...at least on HeliDirect.

http://www.helidirect.com/align-moto...ar-p-29556.hdx

That is the only real thing that makes me hesitate when considering Align...that it's sometimes difficult to decipher which parts go with which version. Of course most of that probably has to do with my relative unfamiliarity with the brand.
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:06 PM   #14 (permalink)
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It can be a bit daunting at first, but after some experience with it, its quite simple. I like the fact that there are so many options - you can go almost any direction you want with it.

You will have no problems running a 12T. There are guys out there spinning 2600-2700rpm with the DFC's on 520mm blades.
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Old 08-15-2013, 12:32 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Excellent. Thank you Jimmy.
That is the only real thing that makes me hesitate when considering Align...that it's sometimes difficult to decipher which parts go with which version. Of course most of that probably has to do with my relative unfamiliarity with the brand.
This helps:
http://shop.align.com.tw/partfinder.php

It's got all the align models organized (including all 550 versions from what I can tell). Easy to get a part number.
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Old 08-15-2013, 10:27 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Nelsoninsms,

Looking at your sig, it seems that you are purchasing fairly good stock helicopters, but spending a fortune in upgrades. The Align kits like the T-Rex 550 (I regrettably own one) mainly sell as combo kits, so it will give you plenty of opportunity to upgrade to your hearts' content. The 550X seems to have some neat features not seen on the T550, but it too has many upgrade options, so figure that in your 550 size budget.

Since it seems that you are going to upgrade whatever you purchase, consider the Synergy E5. The Synergy E5 is like buying a 550 size helicopter with all the upgrades included. The only problem with it is that it is pretty much optimized, so it takes the fun away of spending your spare $ on upgrades.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:17 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by johnahamelv View Post
Nelsoninsms,

Looking at your sig, it seems that you are purchasing fairly good stock helicopters, but spending a fortune in upgrades. The Align kits like the T-Rex 550 (I regrettably own one) mainly sell as combo kits, so it will give you plenty of opportunity to upgrade to your hearts' content. The 550X seems to have some neat features not seen on the T550, but it too has many upgrade options, so figure that in your 550 size budget.

Since it seems that you are going to upgrade whatever you purchase, consider the Synergy E5. The Synergy E5 is like buying a 550 size helicopter with all the upgrades included. The only problem with it is that it is pretty much optimized, so it takes the fun away of spending your spare $ on upgrades.
You've got that right. Of course it's been spread out over many months, but I'm scared to do the math to figure out how much I've actually spent upgrading my two "BNF" Blades.

But you do raise a good point. I hadn't really considered anything other than Align or Blade in the 550 class. Mostly because I'm a creature of convenience and want a company I know will be around for a long time and will not take a lot of time and effort to track down parts for. I don't want a situation like the Outrage Fusion 50 where the future has been uncertain or the KDS Innova 550 where the dealer relationships just aren't there yet.

But the Synergy E5 does look like a real nice ship and a worthy contender. I notice that both HeliDirect and AMain (among a few others) stock and sell parts for them along with a fairly long list of US dealers. You've definitely given me another option to consider. And for that, I thank you.
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:36 AM   #18 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelsonisms View Post
Thanks for this tidbit. I didn't know that. That's one thing that I find a bit unnerving about Align helis is it is difficult to know which version you are purchasing.

I was looking at the one on HeliDirect since it seems they have a good deal on the kit. I just checked again and it does indeed state that it includes the mod 1 helical main gear, so I did miss that before.

Another question I have concerns the helical pinions. The stock 550E comes with an 11T helical pinion and the 600MX motor @ 1220 KV if I'm not mistaken. I plan to run the Castle governor and I know to do that I generally need to increase the pinion to keep the headspeed up with enough head room.

For instance, I know these numbers from Mr Mels calc are estimates but..

112T / 11T @ 1220 KV governed
  • max governed head speed: 2274
112T / 12T @ 1220 KV governed
  • max governed head speed: 2480
So I want to make sure I have the option to go up a pinion if I have to. My concern is that I can't seem to come across any 12T 6mm bore mod 1 helical pinions in the parts listing or pinions section on HeliDirect or Amain. I would think if they were commonly available either of these sites would have them. Googling around didn't get me much further.


Am I overthinking this? Does running a 12T pinion on this setup sound unreasonable? Is there some magic site out there that stocks align pinions in varying sizes that I'm missing?
With the stock pinion 11T is enough (If you choose CC ESC) because the CC governor numbers are no accurate, CC is very conservative, the best efficiency is betwen 100% and 105% ( and 107% is OK) ...you must ignore the message in the CC software and check the % in the info button,

The Castle is very generous on the overhead values the software request

With the 11T your packs will last longer. run cooler, longer flight times. and you will pull less amps

https://www.helifreak.com/showpost.p...0&postcount=16
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Old 08-16-2013, 11:52 AM   #19 (permalink)
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I would put in one word of caution with the Synergy. IIRC, my two friends who had that heli had to do some interesting dremelling on their motor shafts to get them to fit properly. Don't know the details, but didn't sound like a perfect first build ...
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Old 08-16-2013, 12:05 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by msallua View Post
With the stock pinion 11T is enough (If you choose CC ESC) because the CC governor numbers are no accurate, CC is very conservative, the best efficiency is betwen 100% and 105% ( and 107% is OK) ...you must ignore the message in the CC software and check the % in the info button,

The Castle is very generous on the overhead values the software request

With the 11T your packs will last longer. run cooler, longer flight times. and you will pull less amps

https://www.helifreak.com/showpost.p...0&postcount=16
That is interesting. For the 550 I don't have yet, but also for my 300X and 450X. They both have Castle ESCs and I've kept them under 95% based on the software. But I would like some more head speed, particularly on the 450. So I'm going to have to give that a shot. If Bert says "trust me" then it's definitely worth a try.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomatwalden View Post
I would put in one word of caution with the Synergy. IIRC, my two friends who had that heli had to do some interesting dremelling on their motor shafts to get them to fit properly. Don't know the details, but didn't sound like a perfect first build ...
Thanks for the heads up. It looks like I've got some more research to do before I'm completely ready to make a decision.
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