The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Monday, December 27, 2010

CopterX CX 250SE Project: Final Pics

All that's left is to put the grip links on, set the pitch, and take her for a test flight! Expect the links this week. Excited isn't the word for it!

I repositioned the GY292 today into an upright position this morning. I rechecked the gyro and had to reverse the gyro/rudder servo, but it moved perfectly.

I did a different graphics scheme as I haven't figured out a way to inkjet print a white logo, and I would have wanted to use white on this canopy. I have a Tacon canopy, but I am keeping it in reserve. Lets see how much damage I do before I put a good canopy on this heli!

I like it though. Not a bad solution.

Now to tune up and receiver up the ARF Dynam E-Razor 450!


I woke in the middle of the night and it occurred to me that my GY292 is laying down on its back... It's not supposed to, it has to e up on its edge. Darn... will have to redo that this morning. Beautiful morning, but windy.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

CX 250 Project: Electrics in

The electrics are in the CopterX 250, and its nearly done! It went much easier after learning so much on the 450 build, especially the swash and CCPM setups. Its a nice clean install, and it looks great.

I have a problem with the Raidentech Exceed RC 30A brushless ESC. I'm not sure its programmable... I can't find this ESC anywhere on the web except on the website, and I bought it assuming it was programmable. There is actually no information on the website...

Looking at this today I wouldn't have purchased it. I've written their support/sales people telling them I can't program it with my programming card, or with the transmitter.  I figured out its working as it sends power and signal to the servos and motor. Later it occurred to me that I am not sure its even programmable, and I don't now the implications. I've gone ahead and ordered a $14 Hobbywing 30A ESC from Hobbypartz that I know is programmable. I'm asking on about the programmability and if its not if that's a problem...

I had planned on using the GY48V gyro on the 250, but in its case its ginormous. I want to keep it in its case, so I traded the GY292 on the EXI450 out for the GY48V this morning. Everything checked out on the 450, looks good.

All I am waiting for now is the link set so I can replace the fixed length links from the washout see-saw to the grips, and to see if I need to change out the ESC.  I am also waiting on the new batteries (3S 1000mAh) that the heli can carry, and some more EC3 connectors.  I am going to start work on the canopy art. 

Next I will start preflight on the E-Razor 450. Should have all my helis flying by the end of the week. Weather has sucked these past few days, not getting any flying in...

UPDATE: Found the same ESC only in one place, on xheli. My posting on Helifreak learned me a couple of things. Seems Raidentech is Xheli, Exceed is Walkera... and the ESC is a replacement Walkera part which is probably NOT programmable. Doesn't say any of that on the Raidentech website, thought I was buying a decent 30A ESC. Guess I wasted $27... waiting for the $14 Hobbywing ESC to arrive. Wonder who they are under the rebadging... geez. I've written Raidentech via email and RCDiscuss, wonder if they will refund my money given I have changed the connectors.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The 450's

Here are the 450's! 

I did the graphics in decals and with a label printer. They look really good! Hope they fly as well. The Dynam E-Razor 450 arrived yesterday from I programmed the radio today, but need my EC5 connectors to come in so I can put a pack on, program the ESC and then setup the CCPM mixing. Should have this bird flying next week. Scared to take up the EXI 450 since I put so much time into it. Don't want it to shake itself into a thousand pieces, or go to ground on its maiden flight!

Really though, I can't wait to take them up!

Walkera CB180D Flies 3 packs!

I got the CB180D up and its flying great! I enjoy this little heli, its been a good boy since I got him a couple of months ago.   I took it out for a spin on yesterday and enjoyed hovering tail in and out in the small space of my backyard. A couple circuits and that's about all there is room for.

 Today I put the nav lights on. Bummer that the red strobe was not functioning, but all the others are and it looks great!  Some pics and a video from yesterday's hop!

Battery in...


Downwind leg.

Focus...must...stay... away...from...umbrella...

Oh, yeah, lovin' it!

Close up in hover.

Thanks Aidan for taking the pics and the brief test hop video below!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

EXI 450 Project: Well... all done but the hanging of crepe...

I finished the 450 build early this evening. Then I took it apart and started over...

I didn't like the pain in the butt position of the receiver. It works well for an experienced builder/pilot. but for me, who expects to change out a few servos before all's said and done, and who will make significant trims in the programming, it was such a pain to access the plugs and nearly impossible to get the bind plug in to rebind.  So I pulled the receiver, and after looking online for alternative positions, decided to put it under the tail servo. The aileron and pitch servo leads barely made it back there. It looks good, is pretty clean, certainly ain't going anywhere and the middle of the heli isn't threatening to end up in the main gear.

Here's a "prototype" photo!  It lacks the grommets as I learned how to shear them in half with fishing line not quite getting how to use it to get the grommets on. I think I have that figured out. And I want to replace one of the ball links that I took from a Blade 400 kit  to allow me to set up the CCPM mixing (its too small by a smidge).

The hardest part of this build, which isn't really over until I fine tune it and hover it for the first time, was the CCPM mixing. It shouldn't have been... but my flybar cage has been sticky since I opened the box. I rebuilt the bearings etc, and it was still sticky. I redid it today as one of my complete start overs (the other being the receiver mod), and its much better. Under spin it won't be a problem. It was frustrating watching Bob's CCPM part 2 and seeing his bubble stay centered, and his flybar not move a hair, while mine tilted with swash movement (better now).   I do think I have the swash set up pretty darn clean though, and am proud of that. I think there is some fine tuning that will need to be done. Right now I have it set up -8 to +8 for pitch in Idle Up. Its -2 to +8 or so in Normal mode.

There as still some things I am still not too sure about. I am not sure the tail setup is spot on.  I have it centered well, but I couldn't figure out how to set the end limits of travel with the gyro, my MKS GY292. Its not one of Bob's gyro vids. So I did the best I could.  I did the tail mod changing to following edge control, and that seems to look good, but we'll see. The DSP75 servos make a lot of noise just sitting there. Its not a buried servo sort of sound, just a hi-pitched buzz, like it jogging in place just waiting to take off. Nothing is moving, and it sounds solid when the servos get input. Its just noisier than I expected.  I'm using metal gear EXI servos on my 250.  I wish I had more confidence in my build, but I know I barely knew what I was doing.

The proof of the heli is in the hover. If I had a good heli builder around here that I knew, I would really like to have them look it over before I fly it, but I am all alone, with you vicarious minions, whose hopes alone I bring with me for that first spin up!  for now, I am scared to plug in the motor leads!

Thanks for your help!  Stay tuned for maiden flight pics/video. I hope it does not end with the hanging of black crepe...

After the new Year I should have my Dynam E-Razor 450 flight ready, and then I will start on my CopterX 250 build.

Challenges, Changes and Gaining Experience!

This build has been a challenge, mostly in those areas where inexperience plays a large part of having to redo installations and setups. In the future I will stick very closely to the order of events, to the smallest detail, in Bob White's video series. Its missing those little details, and the slight differences between the kits that makes for errors that have to be corrected. Experience makes my listening to his vid the next time more illuminating. I wish there was an explicit step by step go-by, would have saved me some time and angst. That being said, I am learning SO much from these brief forays along the wrong path. testing my patience though!

For instance. Bob, using his some many, many years of experience, set up his servos perfectly with his receiver OUTSIDE the frame, right after installing them  (is there any heli he has not built? See the list of build vids on Then he put the receiver in the middle of his ship. Well, I thought I had my servos setup properly and buried my receiver in the middle of the heli. Well... I had to swap the aileron and pitch servos plugs, have had to re-setup the tail servo having to remove the gyro lead and put the tail servo lead back on the receiver, set up the servo, and return everything back to gyro mode, and have had to rebind after changing several programming setups. Not easy with the receiver in the middle of the heli! I can't take the main gear out every time I need to rebind, so I struggle to get the bind plug in the receiver.

I also made a ouch mistake of ignorance. If the programming setup is not done, and you turn off the transmitter the heli can spin up! I had just moved the motor wires outside the frame, as seen in the pic. Fortunately no rotor blades, and the wires were outside the heli! Unfortunately I had not yet disconnected the motor leads so the motor was able to spin up.  I was able to disconnect the motor wire sustaining a bruised and cut knuckle, and broke a tail rotor blade. Later read on line that this is a common mistake.

I flipped the ESC so the battery leads come out over the top of the battery holder, and the ESC leads come out of the hole in the nose. The motor leads now come out the front side of the frame. Very easy to reach and still clean.  I wish there was a similar easy positioning issue for the receiver, but I want to keep it protected in the frame. this mod makes it easy for me to disconnect the motor to tweak the servo setup/ESC, etc without the danger of a spin up.

I was worried about the receiver antennae which seemed to be folding back on themselves. I was worried they would begin to fray, and actually found one spot where it had. You can see the small piece of red shrink wrap I applied, fit snug on the receiver and satellite receiver antennae post and covering the most proximal part of the antennae. I like this and will likely do it to all my receivers.

I found that the "manual" online, the only one that exists, for the MKS GY292 gyro very inadequate. I could not find a setup vid or go-by that described how to setup the gyro, or what to set the gain on the gyro at when using the Gear switch to use the transmitter to set the gain. I did use Bob's gyro setup video and I managed to get my gyro set up in Heading Hold with the right gain (using his correction formula for a >50% = HH mode). I am not sure its enough gain... will have to tweak that. I don't know how to set the gyro limits; there is no limit pot on this gyro. I wonder if I do this using the Travel Adjustment settings for gyro? I will be trying that.

Today I have leveled the swash, and need to work on the pitch travel and setup the middle pitch CCPM by adjusting the linkages. I have already programmed the Normal, Idle Up and Hold Pitch and Throttle Curves.  I will program the swash mixing today. Many of the links on my Bell Hiller are not adjustable, specifically the ones from the washout to the flybar cage and the seesaw (inside the flybar cage) to the grips. Looks like I can only adjust the servo to swash and the swash to seesaw linkages. This is today's adventure!  This is pretty much the last step to the build!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

EXI 450 Project: Electronics are in!

I got the electrics in overnight with some adjustments this morning. I wanted to take pics as I went along, but my wife took the camera with her to Atlanta... I just got my hands on it this evening. The electronics look pretty good, but they are crammed in there.  I now wonder what Bob "Finless" White doesn't show us in between steps! I put the ESC under the battery (velcro) and the receiver is in the middle of the lower body (you can see the antenna sticking out. The receiver is up on a block of closed cell foam, the inserts from the blade holder actually, and held in place with velcro. Its difficult to get to the pins... I have to remove the main gear to make any changes, or to rebind the receiver. The satellite antenna is on the back near the tail boom. On this side you can see the butt of the elevator servo.

On this side you can see the gyro aft. I am a bit nervous as I am not sure I can find Finless' video where he describes centering the tail mechanism, and I don't really know how to set up my MKS GY292 gyro even after reading a lot about it.  I had to change the tail servo, moving it to hang from under the tray and adapter, as on top the ball ran into the frame of the heli.  I did get my new ESC programming card and programmed the ESC without any difficulty. I did fry the other card...  You can also see the blue EC5 male connector to the ESC I soldered having removed the red connector.  I have 10 pairs of connectors coming from China soon.

Here's the right side of the fuselage with the gyro in place. You can see the tail servo from here as well.

A close up of the receiver on the right side. the plastic tie is acting as a bulkhead to keep the ESC ferrite ring and the excess wires out of the motor.

I am not entirely sure which plug goes where on the receiver. The easy ones were the aileron, elevator, rudder (the gyro 3 plug), and I used gear for the single wire from the gyro. I plugged the ESC/BEC lead into the throttle, and the bind/battery plug is unconnected. I hope this is right. I initially had the BEC plug in the battery spot, but the motor didn't run and I realized that it was likely supposed to go into the throttle position.

Now I have to complete the swash setup and mixing, the curves, the tail setup with the gyro setup.  I am nervous as this is where my understanding is getting thin. More time with the Finless Bob videos!

I also purchased another heli today, a receiver ready Dynam E-Razor 450 and a Spectrum AR6100E to go in  it. I wanted at least one 450 heli I am sure can fly, and with which I will cry less when I crash it.  This was the 450 heli that first got my attention and made me want to build one. It was on sale at xheli, and now that I have the Dx6i I don't need a transmitter and receiver combo, so could get the less expensive one.

I plan to finish up the EXI 450 build and get a maiden flight this week!  This was a lot of work, and quite the learning experience. Soon I will start on the CopterX 250 build, as I have all the part in hand now.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

EXI 450 Project: 3S Batteries arrive, Mods needed

My trick of ordering a US based 3S battery to get my China ordered batteries to arrive worked... The Turnigy 3S 20C batteries arrived from Hobby King, about 3 weeks in transit. They came with a Hobby King connector called an XT60, which looks like a cross between a Dean's connector and and EC3 connector. My ESC had those ginormous red EC like connectors, of which I have none, don't know what they are called, and didn't feel like struggling to find, so I thought I would use EC3 connectors. I drove over to my LHS and bought up a bunch of them. Got home, and since I will be using these same batteries on my 600, decided to go with the larger EC5s I had purchased earlier (need to find a bulk order place...).

The wires were too large for my Burnzomatic butane soldering iron to heat, but I managed to avoid cold soldering the wires, and used the torch to liquify the solder in the pin cups. They went together very nicely, and when I accidently pushed the neg wire into the positive side of the plastic adapter (after carefully checking to make sure I wouldn't), I stress tested the joint trying to pull it apart and the littler mother held tight... Did manage to part the two and put them back where they belonged by forcing a pair of needle nose pliers back up the connector (took very little force, actually).

I also had to change the Sky Charger adapter from the big red ginormous one to EC5 so I can charge the batteries. Charged the first battery with the new connectors and it went fine. The second one was taking too long (about the same as the first, I was just too tired to wait), so I stopped it early to continue later so I could head to bed... I also changed the ginormous red connector in the ESC to the male EC3 (after a quick question on Helifreak was answered promptly), putting the female connector on the batteries as my HF buddies suggested. I found a small comment on a HorizonRC/Atlanta Hobby video that mentioned putting the pins in the male connector from the ESC and the tubes in the female battery connectors.

Once I had a charged battery, I set up the ESC prgramming card that I think is fried, and I think it's fried... Card connected to BEC reciever lead then battery to ESC, and the blue light came on steady, the beeping continued steady after the inital 3 notes, and the lights lit up normal on some lines, a couple on others where only one should be lit, and that beeping went on and on, the blue light never went out, and the card started to get warm. So I disconnected it, tried again, same thing. Its toast, so I tossed it, and will have to wait for the one I think I ordered from HobbyPartz to arrive. I say think because my PayPal went through, but I never got an order confirmation; waiting from an email response from sales.

It was tedious, but its done.

When I get the new programming card I can program the ESC. I took the motor pinion out, too difficult to get to the motor wires. Tomorrow the servo setup and install! I am off next week, so I hope to finish the build and get in my maiden flight then!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

EXI 450 Project: ESC Placement

This was a tougher job than I thought because things never quite fit the way they should, but overall it wasnt that hard to do.

In dry running the placement I found that the ESC is a hair too wide for the frame, so its squished in between the plates.The shrink wrap around the ESC frayed a bit, frustrating only my OCD.  Getting nervous with the tight fit and fraying, I looked for other places it might go, to no avail. It was going to have to go there if I wanted it clean, and inside the frame.  I had to squish them motor wire pins a little to get them to fit into the ESC leads, but they are still lock tight. In pulling the black one off, the pin came off the ESC wire; it was cold soldered... I had to re-solder that and re-shrink wrap it. It then took some time to come up with a way to fold the wires back, keeping the ESC motor wires off the motor pinion as Finless Bob warns, and then getting the wires to fold back on themselves to fit inside the frame. The plastic tie I used to hold the Velcro'd ESC and the ESC wires in place could not go alongside the tight fitting ESC, so I had to slant that down a bit. In the end its a pretty clean install.

In this first pic you can see the battery tray as if hinged forward. The blue ESC motor leads come out of the ESC, and fold over it. The plastic tie can be seen, with a piece of unheated shrink wrap around it to protect the wires underneath from vibration letting the tie cut through them. The motor leads (the red, black and yellow ones) lead back into the frame towards the motor.  The BEC wire to the receiver is the white, red and black one, also going back into the frame.

In this pic looking down through the frame at the motor pinion, you can see the flatehead regular 4M screws I had to use for the motor, which shipped with the wrong screws. You can also see same 3 blue ESC wires folding back into the frame, with the battery tray "hinged" back into place and bolted in. The blue wires are well clear of the pinion, even when the motor gets adjusted for backlash against the main gear later in the build.

Finally, in this pic you can see the ESC below the Velcro on the battery tray, with some clear plastic tape I placed to protect the sides of the ESC, and a bit of the plastic tie holding the ESC in place. You can also see a little blue wire in the front inside of the frame, where they connect to the motor wires that come up as the red, black and yellow wires held together away from the outrunner motor with a yellow plastic tie. the receiver wire is the red, black and white wire that is temporarily spewing out from under the motor.

You can't tell from the pics, but the sides of the frame just below the battery tray (the Velcro) bulge ever so slightly. This is the best place for the ESC, where it is in the Align manual, and where Finless put his. It looks pretty good. I just did not want it hanging off the sides, and there was really no way to situate it so the wires at either end could go where they needed to.

Next I will install the servos. I am still waiting on the batteries from Hobby King in China that I ordered on 11/26. Last night, not wanting to delay the servo set up and the ESC programming any further and having no idea when the batteries would arrive, I ordered a battery from Hobbypartz knowing that in doing so I guaranteed they would arrive the next day. Of course, today an international registered mail package came to the post office, which I suspect has the batteries in it, but it will have ot wait until I can pick it up...

I also ordered another Hobbywing/Volcano ESC programming card from Hobbypartz because I may have fried the one I already have when playing with it (I was bored). I attached a 7.4V battery to it and it got hot at the connection and the lights came on like they were supposed to, but were pretty bright (what is it with me and batteries?).  I thought it would be fine, but I should have remembered that the BEC down regulates the voltage from the 7.4V battery to 5V... so I was not surprised to turn the page of the card's manual to read, "Do not connect to a battery of greater than 5V". So, when I did connect it to a 3.4V battery, only the middle three lights lit up. I then watched a vid on programming the ESC, and the host commented on not connecting a higher voltage battery because  "It might fry it...".  Pretty sure I have fried it and not wanting to delay myself further, as before, I ordered one with the battery.

Oh, the lessons we learn that constitute experience.

Monday, December 13, 2010

EXI 450 Project: Tail Servo Fit Problem Solved

As discussed on a previous post, I had a problem with my HSG 5084MG 22gm servo being too small for the tail servo tray. I ordered the Align 18gm carbon fiber servo adapter kit. I had to Dremel out the sides a bit to fit the 22 gm servo, but lengthwise it was fine.

The two screw holes in the plate did not line up with anything on the adapter. I used the plastic "nut" tab seen in the background, which came with the kit, on either end and they stabilized the servo quite well.

To be safe, I Dremel'd out the adapter to allow one screw at opposite sides on each end to prevent the servo from twisting in the tray.  You can see the small silver screws  in opposite corners. I ran out of metal washers, so made a Home Depot run. The only washers I could find that would work actually turned out to be perfect: I found #2 black fiber washers which can be seen in the pics.

All in all, it came out just right.  You can see the "nut" tabs holding the screws under the tray at either end of the servo.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Me and my CB100 #2

Flying the #2 a lot in the apartment here in Meridian. Getting a lot of hover time, small circles. The seizures are rare now days. I'm pretty sure its just a bad ESC and will replace it at some point. Last night my friend Bob came over, and despite having flown great all afternoon, it would not behave! Somehow the servo settings were wrong on the transmitter... not sure how that happened. Didn't figure it out until after Bob left. Curious as I didn't notice in preflight.

Flew a lot today, ran into a table, broke a tail blade off, glad I brought a spare.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Flybar failure...

Up in Meridian, flew the CB100 in the large apartment. I brought up the one with seizures, and it started out fritzy. I worked the reciever, plugs and the ESC, and its flying good again. I hope it behaves.

The CB180 lifted off, hovered a bit twitchy, i took it out, started a turn, and it kpet turning, flying quickly to the ground. Broke a blade, snapped off a skid. On post mortem I saw something that made me wonder if I will ever learn to properly and completely preflight... The bearings on the flybar were sheared off. Did this exist before the crash, or after? If before it wld make sense. If it would fly at all, it would do fair in hover, and if the disk was tilted for a turn, it would become unbalanced. Did that cause a crash? Or did it result from the crash? I went outside to see if I could find the bearings, nothing there... not sure what that means.

Ordered parts, no more CB180D until I get back to Biloxi. I wonder if I can find less brittle skids, this is the second set...

Monday, December 6, 2010

I'm such a moron... Shorted LiPo

Did you know that when you cut a bad JST balance plug off a battery you should cut the wires individually, 'cause when you cut them all at once it shorts the battery in your hand, which smokes and burns your hand for just a moment, and your wife thinks you've lost it when you come briskly down the stairs and toss the Lipo Safe Bag with the shorted battery onto the back lawn (not the front, 'cause that's where the kids and neighbors are, who already wonder about you)?

I didn't want to risk a Lipo fire in the house... (like the one in this video):

I don't recall if a shorted battery can catch fire, but me fool once, not fool twice!

I'm such a moron... I KNOW BETTER, but brain farted.

Thankfully it was only a $5 2S from FMT (no name brand from China) that I think was already shorted. They clearly had tested the battery's voltage before sending it, but the guy who did it broke off a male plug in one of the sockets, so I couldn't plug it in to my charger. I realized I needed to change out the balance plug, and that's when, well you know the rest of the story.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

EXI 450 Project Update

Last night I took apart the rotor head to check for grease and Locktite, very scary. The exploded diagrams in the Trex 450 manual were very helpful. I was so worried I would screw it up, but it went okay! Got white lithium grease all over everything... Kinda pathetic, really, like a Kindergartner with finger paint. One of the screws securing the feathering shaft was Locktited so well it was never going to come off. I finished much less afraid of the rotor head. Today I did the same for the tail rotor, less scary, quicker to finish.

At a downtime because I need the AR6200 receiver and the batteries to set up the servos before I can mount them, Finless Bob style. So I was checking out my Exceed Alpha 400 motor, when to my chagrin I found that both the mounting screws that came with the motor and the ones that came with my kit (they are the same screws) are too small for the motor on the pinion side that I will use (they were too large for the other end). What's up with that? The screws don't fit either end of the motor, most concernedly the pinion end I need to use.

I wrote to support at xheli, and Andy (yadac123) on rcdiscuss to see if they can send me what I think are supposed to be M3 screws. Am I missing something?

Too windy to fly today... Postman missed me with a package I have to sign for... Wonder what that could be?

Saturday, December 4, 2010


Wow! I finally got my UFLYs to fly, having had it for over 2 months without managing to do so. I solved the tail shaft power takeoff pinion problem, learned that mine won't fly with the 3X gyro on, (goes all rogue), and that the servo NOR/REV are wrong on the WALKERA chart (All mine need to be in NORMAL position). I don't know why I didn't notice in all my previous preflights...

Replaced the blades that came in less than 3 days from WOWHobbies (Yay, WOWHobbies!), tweaked a few things, and got her up and hovering (too little room in my backyard to do much else). Not once, but several times...

It does have a curious vibration. Not present at low headspeeds, but as headspeed comes up it gets pretty violent and does a funky chicken dance, a few more RPM and it disappears, a few more and I'm flying smooth as butter. Its clearly some kind of resonance, a fine wobble that manifests itself at a certain frequency... Can't find it, and since its not affecting flight, not going to chase it.

Lost a pin that secures the tail blade ball link to the slider, replaced it with a snug fitting end of a large thumbtack... McGyver rulz.

Flew CB100 #1 for a couple packs today, tuned it up, trimmed nicely, runs sweet!

All in all a great day! Happy dance!

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Helipad and Hangar

Here's a photo of my Hangar. I just finished the shelf and hangar this evening. Its a small, or as I like to think of it, intimate space, but I like it that way. Its in the upstairs game room, behind the gaming couch. The top of the rack shelf is my Lipo charging station, and there really is a fire extinguisher at the base of it.  I am replacing my Flambeau toolbox with the PDY Lift-n-Lok (see posting below), which will neaten up the corner and make it easier to get to the tools and parts.  I will be moving the CB100 transmitters (the rightmost ones) to free up room when I start the 250 build. Nice and cozy!

EXI 450 Project Day #1

My EXI 450 CF Pro arrived this afternoon! The MKS GY-292 gyro (tiny) and the Alpha 400 motor (ginormous) also arrived, all from xheli.

In this pic is the EXI 450 body, and in the background on my notebook is the manual for the Align 450 Pro which I will be using, along with Bob "Finless" White's Trex 450 build videos on Helifreak.

I put the skids on and Locktited the screws, checked all the screws in metal for Locktite (all were on the frame). I sanded down all the edges on the CF frame, very sharp before doing so. I then removed the main gear (not Locktited because it would be removed for the build to work on the rotor head), and then pulled the main shaft and rotor head. I'll be taking the rotor head apart and checking all the bearings for grease, the screws for Loctite, and the ball links for freedom. I think that will all tonight. I want to read through the plans (on my iPad, too hard on the notebook) and review the first couple of vids tonight.

I also will be finishing up the shelf and hanger system I decided to put up next to my bench, which is already too crowded, to move my helis away from the bench itself to create more space. When its done I'll post a pick.

Excited to get started!

UPDATE:  Yay, our first problem... My Hitec HSG-5084MG tail servo is too small for the stock aluminum tail servo tray. I am trying to find an adapter. If not, I could try to adapt it to a boom mount, but I think I would rather try to find a tail servo that fits...

Thursday, December 2, 2010

CopterX CX 250SE Project

I've planned, and now made initial purchases for the Trex 250 Clone project. I chose the CopterX as it has better reviews, and looks better, than the EXI 250 kit I was looking at. And it came in much cheaper. I think there may be some changes.The motor is a bit robust, but I like the Scorpion... I will need to consider getting a smaller motor, and think I may even use the Exceed Alpha 400 (3500kv) again, the same i am using in the 450 build.  I am using the 30A ESC only because I have it. For sport flying, the servos are more than adequate. I will only be building one kit at a time.

- CopterX CX 250 SE

- Exceed RC Volcano Series 30A Brushless ESC/BEC

Hobby Horizon
- Spektrum AR6100 Receiver (came with my Dx6i)
- Spektrum DSP75 servo (x2, with a third having come with the Dx6i)
- JR DS290G Ultra Speed Servo (tail)

- Scorpion HK-2206-3900kv motor

- ESKY EK2-0704B Professional RC Helicopter Head Lock Gyro

I've ordered the CopterX since it will take about a couple of weeks to get here. I have the ESC/BEC, one of the servos, and the receiver. I may add an Infinity Kevlar belt for the tail rotor if the stock one fails.

So, this is the first draft of the CopterX project list!

UFLYS sorted out? CB180D loves life!

Early this morning I took the UFLYS and CB180D out for a spin. I started with the UFLYS, and promptly broke one of the break-resistant Airy Blades. Snapped off just like the cheap plastic ones I ordered this afternoon to replace them. In a post mortem of this very brief flight I noticed that the servo "dips" were all in normal position, when aileron and elevate were supposed to be reversed. Well, hells bells... No wonder it "had a mind of its own" (hate it when things do what we tell them to do instead of what we want). If I had preflighted properly I might have noticed. I've reset them, and will renew the habit of checking before flight. This is why I use the Walkera radio that came with each heli as all of the servo settings differ for each one. I hope the problem is solved, but it will have to wait for new blades and for me to get back from a week in Meridian.

The CB180D flew wonderfully! The battery was waning, I knew it, but I was in fixed pitch nirvana, and took it around for another loop. It turned, and despite control inputs continued to roll right into the ground. The battery was down to 3.2v... My bad. Snapped a blade right off. Fortunately I have a bijillion of those. Tomorrow, flying the CB180D!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

UFLYS Flew... sorta

This morning before I had to run out to the dentist, I took the finally tuned UFLYS out for a spin. And then brought it right back in when I broke a rotor blade on the first spin up.  I hate this heli, sorta.  I had been writing to some others on Helifreak with similar problems, so after breaking the blade when it went rogue, I turned off the 3X gyro and left in in heading hold. Voila! Hovered like a skittish cat (a small breeze and a binding tail servo).  I have solved the tail shaft power takeoff pinion issue with my last replacement of the tail shaft. Its renewed my faith in torque tubes since repairing it. The headspeeds on the tail rotor are really good, making me realize how poor they were. but on this inaugural flight, i still had issues with the tail. I knew that the tail servo was stalling at full forward (full left rudder I think), so the heli spun as the gyro and I could not get it into the proper pitch. I swapped that servo out for the aileron servo, and now both are quite happy and I have full tail authority. Thus, the last hover which went really well in HH mode, though brief as I had to beat feet to the dental hygienist's chair.

Next breeze lull, perhaps in the morning, I will hit the field and fly both my Walkeras for the first time together.

My Spektrum Dx6i came in today, along with the servos for the 450 build. It scares me... it has so many functions and programming issues to learn! It looks easy, but the manual is a tome. Excited to hold it, and to start reading the manual.  Xheli is took their sweet time shipping out my EXI kit, what with Turkey day and all. it won't get here before I leave for a week up in Meridian. I am hoping my new toolbox arrives so I can take my Walkeras up with me. Otherwise there's just too much stuff to lug around.  Getting exicited for the build! Need to bone up again and again on Finless' build videos on I can almost quote them chapter and verse. I sleep thinking about helis, I wake thinking about helis. Already have plans in the works for a 250, a 600 and a 700 build!

Changes to the EXI 450CF Pro Project

After some advice, more research, and the realization that my next project will likely be an EXI 250, I have made a couple of changes to the EXI 450 Project.  I will be using a Spektrum AR6200 Receiver/satellite for this build, and use the AR6100 that came with the Dx6i for the EXI 250 project.  I also am changing to an Exceed Volcano 40A ESC/with 5V/3A BEC, and use the already purchased 30A ESC on the 250 project.

So here's the final parts:

Horizon Hobby
- Spektrum Dx6i Transmitter
- DSP75 Spektrum digital cyclic Servos
- Hitec HSG5084 Digital Tail Servo

Hobby Zone
- Spektrum AR6200 Receiver with satellite
- EXI 450Pro Carbon Fiber Belt Driven RC Heli
- Exceed RC Alpha 400 3500kv Outrunner Brushless Motor
- MKS GY-292 Professional Head-lock Gyro

Raiden Tech
- Exceed RC Brushless 40A ESC with 5V/3A BEC
- Exceed RC Volcano Series Brushless ESC Programming Card

Hobby King
- Turnigy 2200mAh 3S 20C Lipo (x3)

I am already planning the EXI 250 Project. It will have the Exceed 30A ESC/BEC I already purchased, with the Spektrum AR6100 receiver. The cylic servos will be Spektrum DSP75 (only need to buy 2 as there will be one extra from the Dx6i package I bought for the EXI 450 project). The tail servo will be a JR JRPS290G Ultra Speed Sub-Micro servo, and the motor will be a Scorpion HK-2206-3900kv (way too much kv, but it's for a Trex 250. In this setup that gives a headspeed of 5712 at full throttle! Need to find a lower kv motor, but the stock Align 250 motor is a 3400 kv motor...). I will be able to use the Spektrum Dx6i radio and the 3S batteries I have for the EXI 450.  This one is coming in a little over $200, much cheaper than the Trex 250 kits.

I found however, in planning for the 600 and 700 builds, that the Trex Super Combos come in just a little bit more or pretty close to the clone kits, so for my 600 and 700 builds, both will be real Align Trex Super Combo kits.

Parts for the EXI 450 Build are being delayed in China due to recent shipping limitations put out by the Dept of Homeland Security. It was easier, and cheaper, to restrict our liberties than it was to screen shipments better... but I digress.

So, my next year or two is all planned out! How about yours?