Helix ZX5 Mini Quad Build Tutorial and Review

The Helix is set apart from other current mini quad frames on the market, being sold as a partial kit which includes custom made FC/PDB and VTX/OSD systems. It follows a common true-X layout, but brings new and innovative ideas to the table.

This build tutorial is written by RcflightNZ. Check out his Youtube channel and make sure you subscribe if you enjoy this build tutorial :)

Frame Overview

What comes in the kit?

  • Carbon Fiber and Frame Hardware
    • 4mm carbon arms
    • 2mm top plate
    • 2.5mm bottom plate
    • 2mm 30, 45 & 60deg camera plates
    • 2mm 45 degree HD camera plates*
    • Four black polycarbonate fairings**
    • Bolts and Nuts
  • Electronics
    • F3 FC/PDB, including foam sticker
    • VTX board and serial adapter
    • Dual programmable RGB LED strips
    • 45 degree SMA adapter
  • Rubberised LiPo Pad
  • Antenna tubes
  • Diamond files

* Soon to be added are 35° HD plates.

** If you pre-ordered the Helix, it will also include indigo, yellow and orange ESC fairings, which are available separately from ImpulseRC.

helix-zx5-mini-quad-carbon-parts

helix-zx5-mini-quad-arms helix-zx5-mini-quad-electroincs-fc-vtx-led

Review of the Helix ZX5

Pros

  • Attention to detail – all carbon is chamfered out of the box, diamond files are provided with the kit, 45° SMA adapter is included for when running the HD plates and extra standoffs for positioning the FC/PDB onto the foam vibration pad
  • Fast and easy to assemble
  • Compact, light and has a low surface area for wind resistance
  • The ESC’s mount underneath the arms inside the fairings, keeping the build clean and the preventing damage to arm mounted electronics from prop strikes
  • Holding the antenna’s in place are two nylon tubes positioned at 90° to each other on the rear arms, which is effective and tidier than the traditional zip tie and heatshrink method

Cons

  • Hard to change camera angle quickly
  • HD camera plate is set to 45°. However more plates will be available soon, and it is still possible to alter the angles to some extent
  • Does not easily support KISS FC/ larger ESC’s for those who may want to run KISS gear

Helix Mini Quad Build Tutorial

Parts list

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Arms

Shorten motor wires to 55mm (this may be different for other motors). Starting from the chamfered side of the arm, pass motor wires through hole at the end of the arms, and secure the motor with a spare bolt. Solder ESC to the motor wires, and heatshrink. Thread wires through fairings (with aikon 30a ESC’s, it is a good idea put the side with the cap near the edge inside the fairing, away from the carbon, protecting it in a crash).

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To finish, remove the spare bolt and hold the fairing and motor down while screwing in the supplied motor bolts. Pull ESC wires firmly to seat the ESC inside the fairing.

Flight Controller

Take the mid-plate, and mount the short standoffs to it using the long bolts, secured by the 4 press-fit nuts. To mount the FC, take off the outer strip of white on the foam pad and place it on the bottom of the FC. Peel away inner foam and save for later. Slip over the standoffs, with the buzzer pads on the side with wider holes.

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Use the supplied washer and short bolt to pull in the press-fit nuts to the top side of the mid plate.

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Tin all necessary pads, and solder receiver to the three positive, ground and signal pads after selecting 3v or 5v depending on what type you are using. The UART 1 pad can be used for telemetry, such as smartport for FrSky users.

helix-zx5-mini-quad-tin-all-solder-pads-on-fc-pdb

Solder LiPo pigtail, buzzer and VTX power leads (it is recommended you strengthen the buzzer with epoxy or hot glue here). For the power leads, trim to 45mm and solder carefully, it is a good idea to remove the standoffs for this spot, and then secure with a cabletie.

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Attach arms using long bolts, going through the antenna clamps and the press-fit nuts. The LiPo pad can also be placed on the bottom of the frame now.

LED Strips and Motor Wire

For the LED strips, make sure to solder in the non-symmetrical order, both are ground, positive, signal from left to right. For a simple method for attaching them to the Helix, cut up the left over FC foam, and use it to glue the strips onto the rear fairings.

helix-zx5-mini-quad-installing-led-rx-antenna

 

Soldering the motor wires is nice and straightforward, the only piece of advice here is to wrap all of the wires around the outside edges of the arms. Not only does this reduce the chance of prop strike to zero, it also prevents the battery from ever pinching cables if it moves during a crash

Antenna Tubes

Push the antenna tubing through the clamps slowly, taking care not to have any sharp bends that prevent the aerial seating inside. To achieve a smooth bend, a heat gun will soften the nylon to accept the curve more easily.

helix-zx5-mini-quad-rx-antenna-tubes

Please ignore the LED bar soldering in this picture on the left, wires are in the wrong order

FPV Pod

Solder the red jumper pin and your camera cable to the VTX board, as well as selecting whether to activate the mic by bridging two pads. At this point you will also want to make sure your FPV camera is focused, and the settings are correct.

Depending on your type of camera OSD system, it can be very hard to change video settings without disassembling the FPV pod. Re-use the special nut and washer to attach the four press-fit nuts to the top side of the VTX.

helix-zx5-mini-quad-installing-fpv-camera-vtx

Use the supplied files to square the inside edges of the FPV camera plates where they make contact with the press fit nuts. Attach the 45° SMA adapter, and screw in standoffs to one camera plate. Push one plate onto the VTX first, slot the camera in, then bolt on the other side. Plug in serial data cable into the FC.

Final Touches

Screw pod onto standoffs, and use two cable ties to hold your FPV antenna onto the horizontal standoff. Epoxy is an optional extra to strengthen the rear connectors. Plug in final connectors, thread a LiPo strap and your Helix should be fully built!

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Some Finished Build Pictures

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Conclusion

ImpulseRC have once again created a very well thought out, beautifully made quadcopter frame.

So far it has flown amazingly, and it has been my quickest and most painless build. There are many defining features, particularly innovative ideas are the under-arm ESC fairings along with their unique FC/PDB/VTX. This setup reduced complications, and I love being able to change PID, rates, and power settings without having to plug into a laptop.

This convenience does however lose options in terms of using your own VTX and FC/PDB, and the HD camera plates are limiting at 45°. Krazy FPV has a helpful tip for lowering this here, and 35° plates are on the way. It is also likely advancements for the ways to mount your own electronics on this frame will be developed, or possibly upgrading to the latest flight controller technology in the future.

Overall I am pleased with the Helix, and can’t wait to see how far I can push it.

6 thoughts on “Helix ZX5 Mini Quad Build Tutorial and Review

  1. Haydenj7

    I see a lot of people have trouble getting 4 screws per motor in to the mounting holes. You have only installed two per motor. I have the same issue. Have you had trouble with this? Is it still strong enough in crashes with 2 screws per motor?

    Reply

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