Archive for September, 2014

Review of the Micro-Motor-Warehouse CL-0820-17 “Dark Edition” Motors

Despite having some recent issues with these motors that were resolved, I’ve finally repaired the 180QX! Woo! Micro Motor Warehouse sent me a replacement set of CL-0820-17 Dark Edition Motors, but I had to wait on the replacement booms (screw paying $10.00 / 2 from a hobby shop- I snagged them online for $4.88 / set). Here’s how I set everything up:

Some assembly required

A fair warning for these motors: To use them with the 180QX, you’ll need to trim off the Latrax connectors and roll your own solutions. My previous idea was to solder them directly onto the boom wires- bad idea, as it’s not serviceable and leads to all sorts of problems. Since I wrecked the booms with my first attempt, I stole the wiring and clipped off the lame little connectors Horizon uses on all of their stuff (I’ll save that rant for another day). I clipped the motor wires down to around 2cm, and used a jet lighter to burn away the wire sheath since it’s so tiny and fragile.

I cleaned it with 98% Isopropyl and set them all aside. For the connectors, I measured out 1cm above the heatshrink and clipped them. Again, I used the jet lighter to remove the sheathing on the eye-strain-o-vision magnet wire (which usually caught fire and burned it all away! Careful with leaving too much exposed wire.)

I placed some heatshrink over each motor wire and slid them down, then looped the magnet wire around and fed the motor wires into it to “tie” into a knot, and tamped it down before soldering it together. I isolated them with the heatshrink and used liquid electrical as both strain relief and extra protection against bridging.

Quad set-up

Another important note is the direction of the motors. Where you had a “white/black motor”, you would place a “red/blue motor”, or reverse of what Horizon initially had. Remember that White and Red are POWER (+) and Black and Blue are GROUND (-). The Black and Blue wiring runs up to the control box on the side painted Green on each connector. I had to negotiate the wiring around a bit, and the connectors were not making a solid connection inside of their respective female plugs. I bent them out so that they were snug, and placed a bead of liquid electrical to keep them firmly in place. You wouldn’t believe how easy it is to jerk these out while placing the motor mounts back on!

First Run

My initial test failed- Front right motor wasn’t spinning. Turned out, one of my FETs blew on the mainboard during the previous explosion, and I had to spend a few moments of cursing as I attempted to negotiate the tiny SMD part into its place. Pro tip: VERY LOW AIRSPEED and around 350 centigrade heat, and hit it directly from the top while holding it down- otherwise, the air catches underneath and throws it across your workstation. Trust me- I’ve had plenty of practice thanks to this. After a bit, I had it back together, and hovering lightly in my bedroom. Time to take it outside for a real test!

The Real Test

Josh agreed to film me, and we took it outside. I couldn’t resist the urge to beat on it and really test the motors out. After getting it all trimmed up, we went into the street and started cutting up. I bit it a few times, and accidentally hit my ad-hoc cameraman after telling him I wouldn’t– oops!

I continued to fly it after this, much to the delight of a curious neighborhood cat who loved to chase it. I could definitely feel it recovering better and slicing a lot more aggressively. Unfortunately, I didn’t keep an eye on my battery and I had a bit of a fly-away followed by a loud CRUNCH, which caused a gear to hop oddly. I switched it out and it went back to normal, so no biggie.

Final thoughts

These things definitely zip! I can’t wait to take them to a larger area and really give them the stick. I haven’t tried any hard launches or intense maneuvers yet, but in the test video above, there was a very noticeable wind that would have usually knocked it around. Coupled with the LP5DSM controller I’m using now (get away from that stock MLP6 POS- it causes heaps of grief!), the 180QX performs great. Recovers are smooth, and switching direction feels a lot more responsive with the dark edition motors in place. I have sort of gotten used to how sluggish the stocks are, so I’ve had a few close calls already as I overcorrect- so take it slow and get used to these! Here’s my breakdown of the pros/cons of the CL-0820-17 Dark Edition Motors:

The Good

  • Great performance.
  • Costs less than stock.
  • Awesome support from the company.
  • Looks great.

The Bad

  • Requires some modification to adapt it to the 180QX. If you have a Latrax Alias, though, you’re golden.
  • The plastic pinions tend to sheer material if you crash.
  • Fits a little snug into the motor housing. Be VERY careful when removing, as the wiring can come out.
  • Directions for the 180QX are switched. Do NOT follow the 180QX’s motor wiring colors- You have to reverse them. (this isn’t standard! The motor wiring is CORRECT from, this problem is with Horizon!)

If you’re looking at replacing your motors and getting a little more bite out of the 180QX, let Benedikt Haak and his team at hook you up. A full set costs $37.00, and ships quite quickly. If there’s any issues with them, too, they’ll take care of you.

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Thursday, September 4th, 2014 Hobbies, Reviews Comments Off on Review of the Micro-Motor-Warehouse CL-0820-17 “Dark Edition” Motors

Why passion for your product is good for customer satisfaction

As you can tell, I have many hobbies, one being RC planes and helicopters. I recently picked up a Blade 180QX Quadcopter to play with and learn how to do stunts with.

After a nasty crash that destroyed one of the motors, I took it as an opportunity to upgrade, and opted for the Black edition motors from They arrived rather quickly, but I noticed that they required some work to adapt, since the connectors were for a LaTrax Alias, not a Blade 180QX- but they were the same size and gearing, so they could be made to work.

I spent some time soldering everything together and adapting them to fit with my setup. Initial tests were promising- they spun quite well and seemed to perform much better than my stock motors.

I assembled everything and went for a test flight. Sadly, an oversight was that the polarity was reversed, which caused the quad to crash violently and destroy itself. Something happened, and the mainboard fried. 3 of the support beams were cracked, and I had to resolder a few wires. I had an old broken mainboard, which I salvaged some parts from to get it running again. After a few hours, I had it running again… sort of.

After 5 minutes of stable flight, the motors stopped responding properly, and down it went again. One motor stopped completely, and the other ones cut out erratically. I saw red and immediately fired off an angry email to MicroMotorWarehouse to vent.

Benedikt Haak, the chief scientist at MicroMotorWarehouse, responded 19 minutes later. I was offered a full refund, which made up for the day. Sure, I cracked a few beams and wasted my day repairing it, but I was happy about this, since I hate wasting money. Since the motors were the extent of the damage, recovering on those was my main priority.

I responded, and Benedikt offered to send me more motors once I get the quad back together. I was floored by this; you don’t get this level of customer service much nowadays. This was the response I got:

I fully understand your frustration.

We should have known about this issue, but didnt pay attention.
There is now an additional section on the relevant motors pages to warn other Blade pilots.

I have just issued you a full refund on you purchase.
However, I think there are good chances that your board is still OK. Stuffed motors will make it act erratic.

Our goal is not to make money from selling motors.
We make money so we can keep selling motors. Because we want to spread the worry-free fun of flying micro quads.

If you discover your board is still working, and you want to get your 180 back into the air,
Im happy to send you another set of motors on top of the refund.
Just let me know 😉



Their mission isn’t to get your money, but to truly provide their audience with a quality product. I was impressed with how quickly I was being taken care of, and the level of commitment Benedikt was showing. As a customer, I went in steaming and wanting to spit venom, but came out an advocate. I’ll have to buy parts today to repair it, and am definitely going to tell everyone about what did for me. Thanks again, Benedikt!




Thursday, September 4th, 2014 Hobbies Comments Off on Why passion for your product is good for customer satisfaction