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EXI 500 Review

Click here to view the EXI 500  at Xheli

Click here to view the EXI 500 Buyer's Guide

Click here for the EXI 500 thread on RCGROUPS.COM

Review Video on Youtube (enable Pop ups)

The EXI 500 is a 430mm bladed heli that is a clone of the Align Trex 500.
There are 2 versions at Xheli. The Plastic version and the Metal-CF version.
I don't think "Plastic version" is a very good name for it. Because you don't find very much plastic in it.
Note: The plastic version actually has lots of metal in it!

What does the Metal-CF version have that the Plastic does not?:
CF frames instead of Aluminum
Metal Tail box instead of plastic.
CF and metal tail servo holder instead of simple plastic
Metal tail blade grips instead of plastic
Metal front boom holder instead of plastic.
CF fins instead of plastic.
Lightweight paddles instead of solid plastic
Metal washout arms instead of plastic
CF boom braces instead of aluminum.

Like any ARF heli kit, you MUST re-loctite all the metal to metal fastiners. Indluding the head and tail screws.  This is a must and you should do this for your own safety and the safety of others. This is no different than what MUST do to other helis you might get from other manufaturers other than EXI.  If you find a screw is really stuck, heat it up with a soldering iron tip to loosen the loctite. The feathering shaft screws inside the blade grips as well as the tail grip shaft screws are known to be very tight on new helis from EXI.

When comparing this helicopter to my 450's, I find the 500 to be more than twice as stable in a hover. It is more than 3 times as stable in the wind compared to a 450.  A 550mm bladed or 600mm bladed helicopter which might weigh in at 3kg will be more stable than this helicopter but the power to weight ratio of the 500 with the properly equipped motor will be noticable compared to the average 450.  The 500 can be very fast and agile if you set it up to a full +/- 8 degrees of cyclic and +/-12 degrees of collective pitch.  As a comparison, my Thunder Tiger e550 (550mm blades) is more stable in the wind but the EXI 500 is faster in forward flight and will climb in stall turns and loops higher than the e500.  The front profile to the EXI 500 is thin and lets it cut through the air better than a TT e550.

So far, I have found the EXI 500 a great flying helicopter. The slop in the head and tail is very minimal and the machining is of very good quality. The canopy came a little bit warped and the paint job on the canopy was a little crooked but that's not going to affect how it flies.  

Inexpensive Fiberglass blades are good for this helicopter, especially at the beginning when your getting used to it. But Carbon Fiber blades will really show what this helicopter is capable of as well as have less tracking inconsistances compared to fiberglass.

You can pretty much follow the Align Trex 500 manuals and help videos when setting up the electronics and pitch curves. I have yet to find anything not compatible other than the dampers (for the EXI, you have to cut your own shim washer out of thin plastic to make up the size difference if you use an Align 500 sized damper).  Although I took various Align 500 parts from a friend and test fit them on the EXI 500 (main,tail, feather shafts, maingear, blades, boom) I am currently flying mine all stock with EXI 500 parts.

One thing I did mod on the helicopter was I put a chinese weight mod onto the tail grips