Toy Hacking: Stripping a $20 RC Helicopter (Syma S107) down in weight to carry payloads around the office.

Toy hacked stripped Syma S107 RC helicopter

Stripped in weight Syma S107 RC helicopter

Payload paper clip added to Syma s107 rc helicopter

Payload paper clip added to Syma s107 rc helicopter.

Payload paper clip carrying a Post-It "airmail" message on a Syma s107 rc helicopter

Payload paper clip carrying a Post-It “airmail” message on a Syma s107 rc helicopter

Can now carry an emergency packet to office friends via "airmail"

Can now carry an emergency packet to office friends via “airmail”

 

Parts I took off of the Syma S107G RC helicopter

Parts taken off of the Syma S107G RC helicopter to reduced weight and enable more payload carrying capacity.

Toy hacking Christmas presents time! I got my first inexpensive indoor Radio Controlled (RC) helicopter, a Syma S107/S107G R/C brand one, this holiday season. I’ve only flown a MOTA brand UFO ball around the office for a while before this, but it used the same prevelant four blade weighted rig that are on so many rigs for sale now. I wonder who got that patent!

Anyway, that UFO ball was very hard to control due to the plastic cage, and my newbieness, so when I found out regular helicopters had dropped to amazingly low prices of around $20, I pounced.

Syma S107 RC helicopter as shown on Amazon, Jan 10th, 2014.

Syma S107 RC helicopter as shown on Amazon, Jan 10th, 2014.

I got the Syma helicopter from Amazon Prime, for about $20. This is for a metal bodied, metal screwed together, helicopter, with a controller. Amazing. I don’t have much experience, but it flies pretty well in all directions I’ve found. The key of course, is practice. And careful slow practice. Also, like roller blades, if you just keep moving forward and steering you learn to trust the control, vs trying stop in a straight line if there’s trouble. This model does go rather slowly forward, but I don’t mind since I use it in an office and use it during breaks to flex and move around bothering people.

My first thought after flying it for about 15 minutes a day for two days, was that there was an awful lot of plastic on it that might be able to be taken off. Lighter weight might also improve battery time, responsiveness, and forward movement – but even if it didn’t, I like toy hacking!

Over the next 4 days of flying it a few minutes a day, I took more and more parts off, testing it each time. Now it’s much lighter, a little less stable, but still able to be finely controlled. Now I’m going to stop taking off parts before I break it. We’ll save that for an upcoming crash.

Here’s the results in two videos.

 

1 comments
degraff
degraff

I, too, bought a UFO ball several months ago (it was at Costco and I couldn't resist). This led me to look at RC helicopters, I can't believe they're so cheap now. I haven't hacked it yet, but will now.