RCU Review: Heli-Max 1SQ Quadcopter

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    Contributed by: Laurent Caekebeke | Published: January 2013 | Views: 57417 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of the HeliMax 1SQ

    Laurent Caekebeke

    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Great Planes distributors locator



    Helimax specializes in small rotorcrafts, and the 1SQ model is among the smallest of the line. This quadcopter is ideal for both beginner flyers who are newly immersed to the fascinating world of helicopters, and more experienced heli-flyers who just want to have fun flying their 1SQ around the house or the yard.

    This model is a small 4-axis gyro-stabilized quadcopter which uses the same stabilization system that Helimax implemented on other models in their lines of helicopters including the Axe 100 CP/FP. The commercial name of this system is TAGs, for Triple Axis Gyro Stabilization.

    The quad is available in two versions: Ready to Fly (RTF), where the transmitter is included, and Transmitter Ready (Tx-R), which allows you to use your own transmitter. Today we are testing the latter version.






    • Use AnyLink with your own transmitter.

    • No assembly required.

    • Very stable in all situations, from indoor to light wind outdoors.

    • Gyro sensitivity adjustable from the remote.

    • Excellent durability.

    • None found.

    Skill Level:

    Time Required to Build:

    Frustration Level:

    What do these ratings mean?

    The HeliMax 1SQ includes a reusable transit box useful for transportation and storage. To use your own transmitter, couple the Tx-R version with the AnyLink Module manufactured by Tactic.

    Both versions of the quad (Tx-R and RTF) and included accessories are nicely packaged in a plastic see-through tray, fitted with vacuum-formed indentions for added protection. The storage tray also includes an indention to store the remote control below your quad. As seen above, the see-through packaging cleverly gives the appearance that the quad is hovering.

    Here is what you will find in the box:

    • The 1SQ quad.
    • One battery (1s 250 mAh).
    • The special charger, powered by a USB port.
    • 4 spare propellers.
    • One Phillips screw driver.
    Heli-Max 1SQ - manufacturer information

    Price: $79.98 (Tx-R)


    • Four independently controlled rotor blades make the 1SQ easy to fly indoors or outdoors in light winds
    • TAGS-Triple Axis Gyro Stabilization stabilizes all three axis for total control under all conditions
    • 1S 250mAh LiPo battery
    • USB compatible battery charger
    • Molded plastic and composite materials for high durability


    The 1SQ is unlike any other quadcopter ? and not just because of its compact size. A ?TAGS? 3-axis gyro system, combined with 4 independently controlled rotor blades, makes this machine so stable anyone can fly it. It?s very durable, capable of outdoor flight in light winds, and is available Ready-To-Fly and Transmitter-Ready. Both versions come with a LiPo flight battery, charger and extra blades: the RTF also includes a 4-channel 2.4GHz radio with SLT.


    Motor: brushed
    Length = width =
    5.7" (145mm)
    Height =
    1.37" (35mm)
    Weight with Battery =
    1.1oz (31.2g)
    Blade Length =
    2.16" (55mm) 
    Battery :
    1S 250mAh Lipo 

    The 1SQ operates on a 250mAh 1-Cell battery (included). The accessories also include a battery charger, which can be powered by a computer or cell-phone charger USB port. Also included is a set of replacement propellers, and a Phillips screwdriver. This last item is not needed to fly the quad initially, but will come in handy if ever one of the motor mount gets broken.

    The USB-powered battery charger works well if you are home as you most likely have a computer with a USB port available. Now, if you are outside, or at the local flying field, don't forget your cell phone charger! It is quite unlikely that your usual battery charger comes with a USB port in it. We have found that the spacing of the connector matches the pins of a servo lead. A quick-and-dirty trick is to remove the cover on the male side of servo extension lead, and insert the pin into the battery connector enabling you to charge the battery on your lipo battery charger (setting: Lipo, 3.7V, 300-400mA). Be very carefull with the polarity if you decide to build your own adaptor. If you don't feel confident making your own, Helimax has an adaptor on its catalog: Heli-Max Battery Plug Adapter w/JST Plug, ref HMXE2123.

    The quad is delivered with a racy vaccum-formed canopy, nicely shaped for easy finding of the orientation in flight. Orientation is critical with quads, due to the perfectly symetrical design. Helimax addressed this issue with color-coded props, and a distinctive protrusion of the cockpit towards the front. The brain of the machine is the micro-chip in the middle of the electronic board, a 32-bit ARM micro controller. The gyros are located on the left: a 3-axis MEMS gyroscope similar to those you can find in smart phones and tablets. Motor controllers and the receiver are located on the other side of the board. All in all, the nice and dense layout enables this aircraft to be light and responsive.

      Tactic AnyLink Adapter

    A transmitter alone can only do so much. But a transmitter with AnyLink? can do wonders. It's so revolutionary that a patent is already pending, and so simple to use that it takes only seconds to add. Yet, once it?s installed, your transmitter will be able to fly:

    • All Tx-R? (Transmitter-Ready?) airplanes;
    • Most electric aircraft equipped with a 2.4GHz SLT? receiver.
    But that?s not the only amazing thing about AnyLink. Here are three more:
    • AnyLink works with virtually any transmitter, regardless of brand, band or modulation.
    • AnyLink enables your transmitter to send out a true, 2.4GHz signal ? and operate with all of the interference-free dependability of a frequency-hopping, spread-spectrum system.
    • AnyLink offers all of the convenience, versatility and benefits listed above for far less than the cost of a new 2.4GHz radio system.

    The receiver is embedded on the board, so it cannot be changed. To control the quad, Helimax proposes to either use the dedicated transmitter in the RTF version, or your own with the Tx-R version. To adapt the signal from your transmitter to something the quad can understand, the module AnyLink by Tactic has to be used.

    This module is really easy to set up, and will work with any transmitter, as long as it is equipped with a training port. Three radios were available for the test: two Futaba and one Hitec Optic 6 sport. One of the Futaba only has 4 axis (6 axis are needed for the 1SQ) and the AnyLink module doesn't come by default with the right connector for the Hitec (it exists, but must be ordered separately). The test was only done with the Futaba 10CP.

    There is no assembly required with this quad, but it is strongly encouraged read the manual! (you can find it online on HeliMax website. Direct link here).

    Setup your radio in helicopter mode and set the swash to H1. In that mode, there is no coupling between the different axis of control on the radio. On the Futaba T10, all of these settings can be  found under the "parameter" section.

    If the transmitter is set in plane mode, instead of heli mode, the gyroscope sensivity will not be controlled, and you might end up with a very reactive little 1SQ.

    The gyro setting really depends on the radio, and the standard applied. Following our test, we recommend to start with a low setting for the gyro, and increase from there. A good starting point for the Futaba 10CP is 45% STD. At this setting the quad is easy to fly, and well behaved. Yet, it will nicely accelerate if you ask it to.

    With the gyro set at 60% STD, the quad becomes more aerobatic. You will have to push it to 70% to be able to perform a flip or a loop.

    We used the gyro set at 35% to keep the quad perfectly steady for the photo shoot.

    I can confidently say that as this quad requires no assembly, this was the quickest box to air  transition; talk about instant gratification. Only settings needed pre-flight are binding the receiver and setting the radio in the right mode, and of you go! The quad flew right out of the box in the workshop. I was first impressed with the stability of the 1SQ. Then, quickly after, I was even further impressed with the robustness of the little machine.The airframe is very strong and resilient and will take some abuse before giving up. The light weight of the quad helps reduce the load on impact.

    With the precision and accuracy of the quad, the house becomes the theater of many fun games: spot landing on the bar stool, speed racing around the dining table, or (my favorite) going through the blade of the ceiling fan and landing on one of them without hitting the ceiling. Make sure there is no one to turn the fan on as you play that game... there are limits to the robustness of this machine!

    The 1SQ also proved to be equally as fun and stable when flying outside. The gain can be pushed to higher settings, as we can cover more ground to recover from a less-than-perfect maneuver. The quad's power can only be truly seen when flown outside: going full throttle shows a very impressive climb rate. The machine is capable of nice and fast speed passes. Take good care though, the small size of the quad will make it difficult to control if brought too far away.

    The quad is capable of some acrobatic manouvers.  Basically, any stunt that does not require the machine to fly inverted is possible. The 1SQ can perform a loop from level flight, but it requires some skills to make it nice and almost round. The gain has to be raised up slightly. We found that 60-70% is reasonnable as above this it takes some work to recover from a stunt.

    A first and simpler approach for a tilt/loop is to bring the 1SQ to one-or-two-mistakes high, apply full throttle to gain some "going upward" speed, and pull the elevator. As soon as the machine starts tilting, the power has to be reduced to roughly 3/4, otherwise the quad will loose altitude rather quickly during the up-side-down phase of the maneuver. It is important not to cut power entirely, as all rotors would stop at once. The elevator can be centered once the quad is leveled back again. Every thing happens in a split second, so it takes some practice to get the timing right. If you go full ailerons, the quad will do the same maneuver but sideways.

    The quad was tested in many different situations (outdoors, indoors, no wind, light wind and, say, stronger wind) and performed very well in all. After multiple flights, the only negative point found was that the flight time is rather short. A normal flight lasts roughly 3 minutes, depending on how agressive you've been with the throttle. Better get some extra batteries to maximize the fun at the field.

    So Stable, you can let go of the remote! :-)

    Heli-Max 1SQ

    Photos, Videos and flight by Burc Simsek, David Smith and Laurent Caekebeke

    The 1SQ is one of those aircraft that grows on you as you spent time flying it. At first, the size of the quad looks attractive, similar to those tiny helicopters that became extremely popular several years back. The flight envelope of the 1SQ and its strength vastly outperformed anything I have seen in this category of small aircrafts. Despite its small size, the quad is capable of both intricate maneuvers and stable precision flying.

    During the course of the review, many pilots of different skill levels had a go with the 1SQ, from the weathered 3D heli pilot, to the complete beginner. I can say for sure that all pilots had fun with the quad, whether it was just to learn the basics of hovering or performing loops and tilt as low as possible. All in all, the Helimax 1SQ is a success, and I would not be surprised if this quad becomes a reference for stability and controllability. Let's encourage Helimax to increase the flight time or include a spare battery in the next revision of this machine!


    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Pictures and videos were shot at:

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    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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