Repairing Broken Syma X1 Quadcopter

As anyone who has flown quadcopters knows, unfortunately they have a tendency to break! After a series of hard landings or straight up crashes, even the best designed quadcopter may show some damage. This is especially a problem for the lighter models that are flown indoors and with full manual control, such as the Syma X1 quadcopter.

When I first was learning to fly the Syma X1, I crashed it probably five times per every flight (which last about 10 minutes) - and many times I thought it was a goner! It would ram into brick walls, hit the ceiling, fall down stairs, etc. and make an awful sound each time like the plastic frame was shattering and the propellers were popping off. Surprisingly, it held up quite well though and each time there was little to no real damage - sometimes I’d have to pop back in the plastic housing that held each motor in, but that was usually it.

But after a flight outside on a windy day, I lost control of the quadcopter and it came hurtling down to the hard-packed ground, bending one of the main arms. I was able to later bend it back and attach it with regular hot glue gun. This worked very well for fixing the quadcopter, at least for a few weeks and dozens more flights. Another option would be Gorilla Glue, a super-strong adhesive. The key when repairing is to get all the lateral arms to line up so none of the propellers are higher or lower than one another - if that’s the case, your quadcopter will always drift in one direction or the other.

Poor Syma X1 - Missing an arm!

The arm had completely come out!

The after-repair job - Hot Glue holding the quadcopter together

As you can see in the pics, I had some success in repairing the quadcopter. But after a series of hard landings over the next few weeks the arm had bent back and the quad was drifting. I tried in vain to repair it again, doing a complete dis-assembly, but it didn’t work. The result?

 

The aftermath, quadcopter no longer.

I did get to learn more about the motors though, they’re pretty interesting - essentially they are coils of copper inside a magnetic housing, with a gear attached to one end that feeds to the propeller. Here’s an up close:

Internal copper motor assembly, with gear unattached and magnetic housings in background

The main circuit board is also kind of cool - in later posts, I want to examine each component and learn more about which chips and components are common across different quadcopter models.

Syma X1 Circuit Board Exposed

Anyways, after my disassembly clearly this thing was never flying again - but at only $35 online, buying another one wasn’t a huge deal and I think I definitely got my money’s worth before it died. What’s been your experience with quadcopters breaking? How many flights did you get, and what circumstances did it finally give out under?