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Old 06-13-2017, 10:21 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default XLPower XL520 from Banggood - review

I can only assume that Banggood have got me mixed up with someone who can actually fly helis worth a damn, because they seem to be making a habit of sending be helis for review. I'm not about to tell them that they have the wrong guy!

The new helis is the XLPower XL520


And someone far better than me putting an XL520 through it's paces:
XLPower 520 XL520 6CH FBL RC Helicopter Kit Spirit Version (Flight 1) (2 min 50 sec)


XLPower are new kids on the block when it comes to helis but they have good credentials. The company is the brain child of a genuine heli enthusiast and ace 3D flyer called LouJiaWen (aka 'Raka') and it's he who designed the XL520. So far the 520 is the only heli in their lineup, but it seems to be a good one judging from first impressions of the kit and initial build. The XL520 is a 'true' 500 class heli that will swing blades between 480mm and 520mm. It also has a stretch kit available to take it out to 550.

The kit comes with a 1100Kv motor for operation with a 6S LiPo but the battery bay is large enough to take 12S if you used a suitable motor. The heli is quite conventional in design, pod and boom, single stage gear primary drive and direct belt driven tail. Overall it looks quite 'Logo 480 like', but this is no clone, it's different to the Logo in every component.

Bangood have a good range of spare parts, this link will take you there: https://www.banggood.com/search/xlpower-520.html
All spares as well as various upgrade parts are also available direct from XLPower web site. Technical support is also provided by XLPower and I have to say it's the best I've ever experienced. I had one minor problem with the kit (a titanium turnbuckle was not threaded) and within half an hour of me dropping them a note they had a new turnbuckle set on it's way, no quibbles. I also had a query on setup and got straight through to Raka (the designer of the heli).. There aren't many heli manufacturers where you could get that level of service!

So on with the unboxing:

Here's the box once I removed the outer protection that Banggood added for shipping:


And inside are three seperate boxes which gives good protection for shipping:


Contents of the big box. Quality is top notch, the supplied tail blades are Fun-Key Rotor Tech, not some no-name generic brand:


The paint job on the canopy is spot on:


The smaller box is packed full of the metal parts, there is almost no plastic on this heli, it's all CNC machined alloy.


The motor comes with the kit and is XLPower branded, size 4020 with 1100Kv. Windings look nice and neat:


Swash is fully rebuildable and perfectly finished:


Tail box is a real highlight, beautifully machined from a single piece of alloy!


All alloy head comes assembled:


Tail design is another stand-out feature, it's designed similar to a Goblin tail with floating feathering shaft on rubber dampers and Delta-3 geometry, this shows a lot of attention to detail in my opinion:


Tail belt guide pulleys and tail mounting brackets, all CNC alloy, as is all the rest of the frame hardware:


Kit comes with two booms, one fluorescent yellow, the other black. both are the same length, for up to 520mm blades.


Main blades again are Fun-Key Rotor Tech brand, 480mm


I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the build. The spec i have planned is:
  • Motor: XLPower 4020 1100Kv
  • ESC: Hobbywing Platinum 100A V3
  • FBL: Spirit Pro
  • Servos: KST mini size (still deciding on exact model)
  • Battery: 3850mAh 6S Nanotech (that I already have)
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Last edited by Smoggie; 06-21-2017 at 03:27 PM..
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Old 06-13-2017, 10:55 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Great Heli it will surprise you. It sure did me.
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Old 06-13-2017, 12:14 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Very nice looking quality. Enjoy the build!

-Markus
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Old 06-14-2017, 01:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Looking forward to the review. I am a little shocked at the price. Seems high for a new Chinese vender. I can get a Trex 500X for much cheaper.
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Old 06-14-2017, 03:43 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Krea I was also a little shocked at the price but after checking it out it's a much better helicopter than the Align 500X. I'm not saying the Align Helis are bad at all because I steer many people towards them. If you are looking for a serious 3D capable machine that can take the same 5000mah pack as your 700 size and has a belt along with super easy to drop main and antirotation gear it's worth it. With that said I also questioned how a new company in general could come in at that price point. I still believe it will take longer to build the brand at that price point however it's a really nice helicopter.
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Old 06-14-2017, 04:03 PM   #6 (permalink)
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We have as it's competition:

Compass EXO $614
Goblin 500 $609
Align 500X $649 - Combo w/ servos, ESC, motor & BeastX
Logo 550SX $620
Synergy E5 $549 - No blades
Synergy 516 ???
Gaui X5 v2 $530 - No blades

Except the Align, it's less expensive than any other in the size class.

I got burned by DT going out of business, so I'm not as interested in a start up company.

On a side note, how did you get on the review list for BG? BG said they'd send me something to review and never did and I never heard from them again.
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Old 06-14-2017, 07:11 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWeber View Post
On a side note, how did you get on the review list for BG? BG said they'd send me something to review and never did and I never heard from them again.
He's better looking...
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Old 06-15-2017, 12:43 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Also bear in mind that the XL520 comes with a motor, so add that cost to anything you are comparing with.

As to how to get on the review list, dumb luck i think. They contacted me out of the blue.
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Last weekend was too windy and/or raining to get any flying in so i had plenty of time for building. The airframe is now basically complete. When i do these reviews i always have good intentions to methodically photograph each stage of the build but once I get into it I can never be bothered, I just want to get it built, so apologies in advance for lack of 'screw by screw' build log (they are pretty boring anyway IMHO!).

The build was very straightforward helped by the fact that the sub-assemblies are loosely pre-assembled which saves a lot of time searching for the right bits. You do need to be careful though because every screw is only finger tight and dry assembled, so each and every one needs to be removed Loctited and tightened.

The manual is a download from the XLPower web site and is a series of assembly drawings, with no real written instructions. This is perfectly ok for the experienced builder but might leave a novice scratching their heads a bit.

The fit of all parts is perfect, everything that moves is buttery smooth. Links were all a good fit without reaming but take care to get them round the correct way. It's very obvious that there was a lot of thought and attention to detail in the design of this heli.

I still havent got the servos or ESC so the build will stall for a while but here is how it looks today:









But I have to admit that I've had some help on this build. Here's my helper checking the swash for level (he's my daughter's ten week old Wire Hair Dachshund called Oscar):


And relaxing after all the hard work:


Weight of the airframe and motor with only the servos, ESC and battery to add is 1405g which feels pretty light.
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Last edited by Smoggie; 06-30-2017 at 07:03 AM..
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Old 06-16-2017, 09:41 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Talking of lack of ESC and servos, I've had a change of build spec. In the interest of keeping the price down hopefully without sacrificing anything in performance I've gone for the following:

Cyclic servos: GDW DS590MG


Tail servo: GDW DS595MG

ESC: Align RCE-BL100A (Hobbywing Platinum 120A V4 re-labelled)


I've never used GDW servos before but the performance spec looks really good. Red anodised servos would have been nice to go with the anodising on the airframe but I'll just have to live with Blue.
The frame gives an option of mini or standard size servo on the tail, I went with mini to save a few grams. I never really could quite understand why any 500 needs the same size servos as a 700/800 size heli anyway.

The servos are coming from China so it will be a while before I get it finished off unfortunately:
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Old 06-17-2017, 03:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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The last small job I could do before the servos arrive was to make up the tail pushrod. It consists of the usual paltruded carbon tube with threaded rods which are inserted and glued into each end of the tube. I had a small problem with this because when I screwed the rods in the end the tube began to split. This is how I got around the problem:

First I bound the end of the tube with thread. I used Kevlar thread which is ideal but any strong thread will do. Once securely bound I coated the thread in CA glue so it looks like this:


Now add a piece of heat-shrink and you have a pretty neat job with no chance of the rod splitting:
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Last edited by Smoggie; 06-30-2017 at 09:07 AM..
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Old 06-18-2017, 01:40 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I contacted the XL520 designer 'Raka' about itthe little issue with the splitting carbon tube and he pointed me to the new part that he's made available to get around the problem. It's a tiny alloy clamp that fits around the end of the carbon tube:


I'm quite happy with my fix but it's good to see that XLPower is addressing these little issues.

It's also worth noting that you can get every spare part for the XL520 from the XLPower-RC web site : http://www.xlpower-rc.com/class.asp?k=2 Spares prices are pretty good too so if you do have a crash it's not the end of the world.
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Old 06-19-2017, 03:57 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JWeber View Post
We have as it's competition:

Compass EXO $614
Goblin 500 $609
Align 500X $649 - Combo w/ servos, ESC, motor & BeastX
Logo 550SX $620
Synergy E5 $549 - No blades
Synergy 516 ???
Gaui X5 v2 $530 - No blades

Except the Align, it's less expensive than any other in the size class.

I got burned by DT going out of business, so I'm not as interested in a start up company.

On a side note, how did you get on the review list for BG? BG said they'd send me something to review and never did and I never heard from them again.
Hi,you can check my parts price,XLpower520 parts is almost cheapest,For example,every time you crash,maybe about less than 50USD can be fixed.It is very light (RTF weight is about 2500g with 520mm blades) so easy broken parts is just landing gear,blades,tailboom.The shaft is all hardened and not easy to be broken.Now in china,I already sold about 300sets XL520,and crash more than 100times,The fact can prove that XL520 will become your everyday heli and fly it no pressure.BTW: we are the biggest rcheli shop in china and only focus in heli,2010 3DX china expert class champion.If you have any question pls add my FB(rakabun),We will be a major sponsor for Global3D 2017,see you there.
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Old 06-21-2017, 05:55 AM   #14 (permalink)
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On sale at banggood for 409. I also see a combo on their website listing 510 blades. I would actually really like to review this heli. My favorite size is the 480-520 range and would love to put it back to back to my Logo 480 and Trex 500X.

It has some nice design points. I like the looks a lot and think the weight may be super low for a great feeling in flight. I am curious how it feels without a belt tensioner and if the straight cut gears are loud.

I don't think the lack of a batter tray is a big deal but banggood already has a 550 stretch kit. Curious if 5000mah packs fit. a 480-550 machine is a big range.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:40 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krea View Post
On sale at banggood for 409. I also see a combo on their website listing 510 blades. I would actually really like to review this heli. My favorite size is the 480-520 range and would love to put it back to back to my Logo 480 and Trex 500X.

It has some nice design points. I like the looks a lot and think the weight may be super low for a great feeling in flight. I am curious how it feels without a belt tensioner and if the straight cut gears are loud.

I don't think the lack of a batter tray is a big deal but banggood already has a 550 stretch kit. Curious if 5000mah packs fit. a 480-550 machine is a big range.
Now we make M1 helical gear and not loud.
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Old 06-21-2017, 06:43 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by rakabun View Post
Now we make M1 helical gear and not loud.
Awesome, seems like there is a lot of options! Really excited to see your involvement on the forums. The XL Power 520 really intrigues me! Love some of the design aspects and versatility.
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Old 06-21-2017, 11:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Krea View Post
Awesome, seems like there is a lot of options! Really excited to see your involvement on the forums. The XL Power 520 really intrigues me! Love some of the design aspects and versatility.
Yeah a lot of upgrade you can choose.Thank you for your support.And our 700 will coming soon.Enjoy your flight
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:46 PM   #18 (permalink)
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I like the heli, design looks pretty cool. Canopy could use more flair. It might have made my wallet a bit nervous if it was double belted.

Buyers beware though, prices at Banggood start high when something is released and then get realistic. It's happened with every model, the D380's started near the real thing and now are dirt cheap.
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Old 06-21-2017, 12:50 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Yeah, it's great to see someone investing tin the RC heli hobby when some others are scaling back their businesses!

I'll also probably end up trying out some of the upgrades like bigger blades and the helical gears etc but for now for the sake of making a fair review I'll just build and fly it as the kit comes.

Looking forward to some more info on the new 700!
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Old 06-22-2017, 09:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Will you be at IRCHA? I'd love to see one up close and personal.

Actually, will XL Power be there? Or a rep?
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