I took one (of the old ones) apart to see what's in there. It's amazing they run at all. To get it open I drilled a 1mm hole in the plastic end and pried it up. The magnets go inside the coils, which spin around them but inside the case. There is no clearance at all. There are two tiny brass bearings. I saw how small and fragile the brushes are. There was some rust on the case from spending a winter on the roof last year.
7-11-2015: The #1 motor has finally quit. I'm buying a set of replacement motors for $16.00 from Micro-Motor-Warehouse.com. They're advertised as faster, but I'm hoping they're just more durable. Maybe I should buy several sets. I was just getting good at flying the little monster. I just found a YouTube video of a guy flying one FPV.
6-30-2015: Have been flying this a lot lately in Frank's vacated office. I broke the motor cradle, even with the earplug landing gear, but it's OK. After they see it fly everybody wants one. I need spare motors so I hope they all buy one. I was afraid it would die before I could learn to fly it. But I can fly the whole battery without crashing if I pay attention, and wear the right glasses.
5-24-2015: Here are some pics of my Proto-X, with liquid tape painted underneath for protection. Flew her around a little today, she's very hard for me to see at all outdoors, and would be very easy to lose. Again. I read somewhere that there's a clone of this that will bind with my Devo 10 transmitter. When this one wears out, any time now, I want to get it.
5-21-2015: The Estes Proto-X was the first quadcopter I bought, for $40 bucks. When the boss announced that I was to fly his Phantom 2, to tow a banner, I bought the Proto-X to see if I could fly these things. I couldn't. After slamming it into the cieling and retrieving it from behind the bed repeatedly, I decided to fly it in the parking lot. In seconds a gust of wind blew it onto the roof, where it stayed for 3 months. During the rainy season. When I finally borrowed a ladder and brought it down I didn't expect it to fly again. But this week I bought some new props, and it flies better than before. Or maybe I do. Yesterday I painted some liquid tape on the board to protect the circuits from impact. I tried binding the Nano QX radio to it without success. It's possible to bind my Walkera Devo 10 using a $35 module from Hobby King, but for only $20 I can buy a clone that uses the Devonition protocol by default, and use my best radio with it. I'm up to doing clumsy circles with it, struggling to manage altitude and direction at the same time. Somehow flying Christine (my TBS Discovery) a mile away was easier. Although the blades turn at 77,000 rpm, I've flown it into my face without any harm, except breaking a rotor. My glasses provide eye protection. I'd like to add prop guards, because they are very sensitive to any damage. I don't know of any cameras small enough to fly on it.