The flying monkeys got me...

Helis and fixed wing

AMA 957918
IRCHA 4345
AMA Intro Pilot Instructor

Saturday, January 26, 2013

DX8 won't bind...hope its the antenna.

Decided to brave the 27 degree weather and light winds and put the EXI450 FBL up. Ended up freezing while trying to figure out why it would bind, drop bind, but not set off the drop blink on the reciever.
 
 
I wrapped up and went home and trouble shot the bind issue. I found my radio would not bind, with any of my helis. It bound with my Sim Stick on my Phoenix sim however, before the antenna broke again. In Bind mode it would hang for several seconds in BIND, then TRANSMITTING, which it has nev done... and then reboot into the model. Meanwhile the reciever would keep on blinking.
 
I had noticed that the antenna wasn't attached at the knuckle earlier, and had snapped it back on. I wondered if the wire had become disconnected inside the radio (the fact that the wire is so long in the pic above shows it wasn't internally plugged in anymore). In trying to fix it I accidentally cut the wire with a screw as I was thinking it was a bad idea to do what I was doing because it was likely to cut the wire. Crap. Tried soldering it, but the distal end was too close to the plastic antenna (broke toow short on the antenna end), and couldn't get a decent solder. I also wasn't sure how much tolerance the antenna has for being shortened but suspect there isn't much problem with a 2.4ghz quarter length antenna bein a mm short). But there is a problem for it being 1/3 its length. Not doing the math, I really don't know how short it could be, but even when I did find the plug disconnected inside, it still wouldn't bind.
 
 
Getting the back cover off this thing was a PITA. You have to remove the usual screws, then peel off the rubber hand grips, all four if them, to get at the last two screws and release the sides. Not sure how I am going to get it to stick back together.
 
I replugged the antenna wire, not sure when it had come unplugged. Was it the problem I had in the field? I didn't go about this as methodically as I usually do... Was it the software upgrade? I don't recall but I am pretty sure I had to rebind the aircraft with the radio when I upgraded the Airware on the DX8.
 
So I ordered an new antenna from A Main Hobbies. I will replace it, put the radio back together, and hope that's all it takes to get the bind problem solved. I hope that the sign was TRANSMITTING, that the antenna is the problem.
 
Please... let this solve the binding problem. Grounded for now.
 
UPDATE (2/4/13): The antenna came in on Saturday, and I installed it today (thanks A Main Hobbies for shopping so fast!). It was very, very easy to replace. The instructions are available on the interwebs, and a copy comes with the antenna. Took a couple of minutes, a couple of screws and that was it. The grips, which I worried about getting to stay in place as I had to divide the double sided tape holding them in place, went back on without a hitch, and laid down perfectly, no issues. I didn't have to replace the tape. You have to carefully direct the rubber pegs into their holes and the grips return to their stock position with a little coaxing of the edges.
 
Fired up the transmitter and she bound immediately to the reciever! The problems were all related to the antenna. Problem solved!
 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Nacelles added to Rolling Gear

I described earlier how I went about on a whim adding rolling tripod landing gear to my HK500, which I posted here. I noted I was working on nacelles to put over the head of the gear using wheel pants from my Eflite PulseXT 25e.
 
I finshed them, though one needs another coat of paint. I installed the starboard nacelle and am posting some pics because, honestly, it looks frickin' awesome!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The money shot! Sweet with both nacelles on. I test spun her with the blades slightly off kilter so there would be a start up wobble and she bounced on her struts a bit but was stable. Started her with the blades aligned, sweet balance. This was with 2x 3S 3000 mAh up front.
 
Will work on getting some video!
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Tripod Heli Rolling Landing Gear Project

I have always liked the look of trainling link landing gear, and I have wanted to put a set on a heli since I first started modleing. A few months ago I found these trialing link landing gear at Hobby King, at a pretty hard to believe price.
 
 
I had asked on Helifreak if anyone had any ideas on how to put these on a 500 class heli, in this case my HK500, but no one had any ideas. I have been thinking about it for a long time, but the other night came up with this idea.
 
I used the nylon strut from a normal 500 Class heli and cut a slit in the bottom of the strut.
I opened this and pushed the landing gear through it.
 
Here you can see the way I fit the gear strut onto the nylon landing gear.
 
I used wire ties to secure the aluminum strut to the nylon strut.
 
You can see a touch of CA to further secure the gear.
 
I built a wood cross bar to secure the nylon landing gear strut to. I bolted the nylon part to the wood, and used servo screws to attach the wood to the heli frame.
 
I tossed on a couple of wire ties to push some of the landing torque to the frame
rather than just the landing gear screws. (Yes, I see the exposed connectors... will be taping them).
 
I built a wood brace to put some of the rear gear ooad onto the
frame since the gear itself is attached to the reciever tray.
 
Side view. I changed the screw that the gear is mounted to, to a longer
one to allow a larger spacer, extending the length a bit.
 
Here's a view of the change with a larger white spacer.
 
I mounted the rear gear just aft of the servo tray screws to put the loan
on the pivot rather than on the end, decreasing the torque on the tray.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
The heli's weight sets the gear a bit on the springs, giving it a nice bounce and recoil. I think the tripod's footprint is a bit small, and I may need to move the rear gear further back. If I do I will need to develop a base a bit stronger than the nylon receiver tray.
 
I have a set of wheel pants from an Eflite Pulse XT 25e I am playing with to make nacelles for the gear tops. Could be pretty sweet!
 
Addendum: Added nacelles. Check out the pics here! I went back and moved the nylon strut in front of the wood block, effectively moving the wheelbase another cm forward and long. Not sure it matts, but it makes me feel better. I just couldn't shake the feeling the wheelbase was too short, almost cartoonish. Looks much better. I had to trim the ends of the spar.
 
 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

I hate it when this happens...

Flying my Phoenix sim when I heard a "tink"... and the right gimbal lost its detente. I took the cover off to find to see if the gimbal lever thingy pin had fallen out, and it had. In fact, I couldn't find it. As I was putting the cover back on the other gimbal "tink"ed and went askew. Crap, both sides. Last time this happened I sent it to Spektrum and they fixed it, but this time its a few years old. They will likely still fix it, and maybe for free, but just as likely they might charge me this time.
 
Cross eyed gimbals...
 

Winter Bored... Need to crash something.

 

Nav Lights on a my EXI 450

Bored last night, dragged out the damaged Tiny Bright Lights nave set I once had on a Walkera CB 180D. The red strobe wire was damaged a ways back, so its missing. These are among the brighest lights out there, but the company doesn't seem to be around anymore. Heard the guy got sick... Shame, they were affordable, tiny and bright, even if the wires were fragile. Decided to solder a Spektrum plug on them and plug them into the battery spot on the receiver.
 
The green does seem brighter than the red.
 
Port
 

Starboard, caught the white stroe on above the horizontal stab.
 
Two white lights, one under the carrige, the other on top of the Tarot FBL.
 
Rear view catches the two white lights. Purists recognize yes, you can see the port and starboard lights from behind. Maybe someday I'll care.
 
 
 
 
Crappy video, but you get the point. Made in iMovie which I hate...
 

Legal for another year!

 
 
 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Absolute RC Heli Sim for iPad and iPhone

I have wanted a decent RC sim for my iPad, but the selection was limited to games that are sorta like flying RC but cartoonish. Every now and then I search again, and today, payday! I found this little gem called Absolute RC Heli Sim, a misnomer since it also includes planks, by Happy Bytes. The app is free and comes with a coaxial Blade CX heli and an Apprentice. For $2.99 each you can add other aircraft, and after seeing about 3 secs of flying the Blade coaxial I immediately bought the Trex 500. I have never understood how people sit with games for hours on their iPads, but now I see. I cannot put this thing down!
 
Those of you familiar with the Clearview RC flight sim will find the look of this basic sim familiar. This one has only simple adjustments, like low, medium and high rates, mode, but once you get used to the sim, it is a whole lot of fun to while away time! I wish there was a way to screenshot video, but you can download it for free from iTunes and enjoy the stock aircraft. Here are a few stills!
 
 
Here's where it starts. I in-app purchased this Trex 500. As you skim next or previous the in app available aircraft go buy, all seem to be $2.99.
 
 
The simple settings menu. Unfortunately when you close the app it starts over and doesn't save your last settings. This isn't more than a minor annoyance. It does nicely reset to your current settings when you crash.
The wind setting allows you to set a whole gang of, well, wind!
 
This is where it takes you when you start your aircraft. A tap on the edge of the large gray Help notes disappears them.
 
 
And so this is what it looks like to fly. I found the controls responsive and tight.
 
 
The heli flies nice. Nothing fancy, but I think it does neg pitch and in high rates you can invert it, but its still great for working on reflexes, orientation and basic skills.
 
The apprentice flies nice, very easy actually, but the throttle is fast and I flew it at about 1/4.
 
 
Aerobatics were easy and true, and flying was fun if not a bit snappy.
 
 
All in all I really like this sim and have no doubt I will spend hours tooling around with the Trex 500. I am a fish-head, but they do offer several scale helis. I will likely pick up the Trex 700, but for now I am pretty happy with the 500! I very highly recommend this fun app!
 
UPDATE (1/12/13): I had to contact tech support to get help downloading the in-app purchased Trex 700 (got into a loop where it can't download), and the help link took me to, Clearview! Clearview was my first RC sim and I still strongly recommend it as a lower cost option. When I needed tech support for the Clearview sim (changing computers it was installed on required tech resets) the owner was quick and effective, so I expect I will have the same experience. Now I know why this is such a good app!
- They got back to me almost immediately. They are having problems with in-app purchases and are working to fix it. Anything I purchase, they assure me, will be remembered and downloaded in the fix. I'm good with that!
UPDATE (1/14/13): They are having server issues and are changing ISPs. Bear with them, its totally worth it!
Update (1/15/13): And they fixed it. I uninstalled then reinstalled the app this morning and reset all previous pruchase. All of my previous purchase popped up immediately and the graphics are all the. I ordered the Trex 450 and it instantly downloaded. Psych!