Saturday, January 27, 2007

Free your swash, check your washout linkage

We all know that a free-moving swash is a critical element of a good-flying helicopter. I have worked with all my links to make sure they move smoothly and don't bind. I thought I had a good swash as I have sized all the links and made sure they moved smoothly by squeezing them gently with pliers while on the ball.

However, when I took off the head to replace the main shaft (damaged in my previous crash), I noticed that the swash was quite sticky. I couldn't figure it out, I could move all my linkages easily with my fingers. Then, I isolated the movement on the washout linkages (part HH5003B-3) and they were very tight.

So, out came the ball sizer. Now my swash is truly smooth.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Dumb Thumbs

Range trouble fixed. As it turned out, the antenna connector to the Tx circuit board was frayed. wo23Dodge (from whom I bought the transmitter) sent out a new antenna and full range was restored.

During the downtime, I decided to put in some upgrades and improvements that I've been wanting to do for a while now.

The new tail control system. The tail grips are captured by screws instead of a ball link so there is less slippage in the system. The tail servo rod has been changed to to a thin stainless steel rod with guidance hoops that are large enough to allow for free travel without binding.

The new gear set. Changing the main gear doesn't require removing of the one-way bearing. Also, the new gears are stronger and truer. I took it up this week for a test flight and they seem to run smoother and quieter.

Of course, I'm still adjusting to the DX6, I tried going into idle up and flipped the throttle hold instead. 15 feet straight down into the dirt. Ahh well, more practice.

Lipo pack and the canopy took the brunt of the impact. It hit on the end with the taps so I'm concerned that there may be some hidden damage. Time to retire it.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Range troubles

I just picked up a DX6 and installed the AR6000 Rx in my Trex. Took it up for a test flight and noted that the range is horrible. I got a lockout at around 20 feet. Fortunately, my trex came down in some long grass and it looks like only my landing gear is broken. (yes, I've learned my lesson, do range check before flying!) However, performing a range check on the ground, I found the following: Just walking away from the Trex (on the ground), the maximum distance I get before all control is lost is about 20 feet. With the binding button depressed, I cannot walk more than 7 feet away before I lose control. Obviously, something is amiss. I'm thinking about asking a friend with a DX7 to bind my RX to his TX to see if he gets any better range (which should mean something is amiss with my TX).
The good news. I reset the head using the Trueblood Engineering Swashplate Leveler. When I took off, everything was dead on perfect! (Except for the blade tracking, but I expected that)
Great product (with great instructions)

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Spektrum DX6

Well, I've taken the spread specktrum plunge and picked up of used DX6 thanks to wo23Dodge at RCGroups.

I've been eyeing the DX line for a while now but never felt a compelling need to get one. My Optic6 has been working just fine. However, the new flying field by my work does not have any frequency and that has me concerned. It's actually two flying fields, one for nitros and one for electrics. The two fields are separated by a distance of about two blocks and a small hill. You can't see anyone in the other field, all you see is their heli. I'm concerened that I wouldn't know that someone was using CH11 in the other field. I could see their signals with my frequency checker but there's no guarantee that their TX would be on at the same time I'm checking (or vice versa)

I thought about a DX7 but it's a little much to spend just on a radio right now. I figure I can pick one up after they release the DX9. It's an OK transmitter. Having only 3 point curves is not a detriment to me as I run:

0-100-100 on normal and 100-100-100 on idle up.

The only thing that I miss is the dedicated gyro adjustment and a timer. Good thing I have a lipo alarm.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Dialed in (Flight #106)

OK, after two nights of reprograming the ESC and readjusting the gyro gain, I finally have my TREX dialed in to flying the way it was before my "crash".

The big trick was setting the throttle neutral and maximums in the ESC. Doing so finally allowed me to get the head speed back to where it was.

Here are the current settings of my Quark 33 Universal

Advanced Section 1

Mode Selection: HELI
Turbo: OFF
Torque Selection: SOFT
Neutral Range Selection: NORMAL
Race/Safety Mode: RACE
Noise Cancel: OFF

Advanced Section 2

Battery Type: Li-Poly Low
Motor Type: NORMAL
Brake Type: 0% NONE
Cut-Off Voltage: 2.6V
No Governor

Did three packs today, was going to do "one more flight" but thought better of it. Must keep listening to that inner voice.

Here is a link to specs on that huge Joker electric that I saw last week.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New Flying Site

I recently found a new flying site close to my work. Just one exit up along the freeway. It's a nice open lot area next to some boat docks. The best part about it is that it is frequented by other helicopter pilots.
As you can see, they're into larger electric helis. Here's my Trex next to a Joker. The main blades are 700mm!

I spent the past two days trying to dial in my helicopter. I've had to readjust the tail servo and up the gain to bring it to "rock solid".

Seems to fly OK now. Can't wait for this stormy weather to pass so I can get airborne again.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Back in the air

After a one-month hiatus, I'm back in the air. Took a while to repair the damage from the crash. At the time, I didn't notice it in my damage evaluation but I also stripped a servo. Fortunately, it was the one of the ones mounted on the side of the frame so replacing it was pretty easy. I have some replacement gear sets somewhere so I will repair this servo at some time.

One thing I've noticed in flying is that my tail is not as rock-solid as it was before. Under full power, the tail will swing hard to the right (nose left) and applying right rudder will not bring it around. I think it could be a tail pitch issue so I'm going to readjust the tail throws to make sure I have maximum movement.