FlyTech Dragonfly Autopsy

I wrote a review of the WowWee FlyTech Dragonfly for the next issue of MAKE. It’s a pretty darn nifty flyer. Honestly, it’s actually a lot cooler than I thought. For a lot of these sorts of toys with a high-tech “wow” factor, I always wonder how much playtime kids (of any age) will get out of the thing. With the Dragonfly, it’s really fun to fly and to try to improve your flying skills. It’s also great that it’s very lightweight, in a Nerfy sorta way, so you can fly it both indoors and out (on VERY calm days). Of course, once you’ve had your fill of the Dragonfly as-is, it’s hacks time. The Dragonfly is still fairly new, so there aren’t that many mods out there yet, and given the light weight requirements, hacking it will be a real challenge.

So far, FlyTech owners have taken the styro shell off to figure out how it works and what parts it uses, replaced the LED status lights, from blue (at about 3V) to red (1.6V) to save some battery life. In stripping the shell and revealing the hardware, one hacker tracked down the Chinese company that makes the tiny Lithium Polymer battery packs. There’s a pack available that’s over twice the capacity of the 50mAh now in the Dragonfly. Unfortunately, it’s also twice as heavy, so again, the challenge is compensating for weight issues. Out of the box, the Dragonfly gets about 10 minutes on a 20-minute charge. The battery pack is charged from a cable connecting to 6-AA batts inside the R/C unit.