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Old 05-13-2008, 05:26 PM   #1
TomC
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Default Helicommand Rigid - my take on it so far

Iíve been playing around with my Helicommand Rigid flybarless system for almost 2 months now so I thought Iíd share a few of my findings. Since I have not tried other systems, like V-bar or CMS, I cannot compare these. This is just my opinion about the Helicommand Rigid system.

I chose the Helicommand Rigid system over the Mikado V-bar for 2 main reasons. The main reason was that the HC offers stabilisation modes. I thought this might be useful while working on my 3D flying skills, so that I could have a Ďbail-outí panic switch option. The second reason was that the HC set-up looked a lot less complicated. Price-wise, there was not much in it. The HC with software was only ~$50 cheaper than the V-bar (right now I think they are about the same price).

I initially tested HC on my 10s Tango 45-08 (w/12t pinion) Trex600 w/flybar, and Radix 600 main blades. This was a very simple installation. I just had to replace my Fut401 gyro with the HC unit, rewire it, set it up as per the instructions, and go fly. I tried both the horizontal stabilisation mode and the rigid mode. I did not try the position mode (holds a ground reference position but only good for up to ~2 metres) since I did not think that this was going to be useful for me.

In short, everything worked as advertised. The horizontal mode allowed you to bang the sticks, re-centre them, and the heli would then go into a nice level hover (with a bit of drift). The rigid mode worked much like without the HC but I noticed that the heli seemed to track a lot better, esp. in gusty winds. The tail seemed about the same, or better, than my old Fut401 (but this did need a few adjustments). So, no more excuses, time to try it without a flybar!

This was a very simple exercise (see picture below). Flipped the grips over, installed Vario ballís (~14mm to centre), removed the headblock pins, installed a Mikado swashdriver, and replaced the trex600 inner swash balls with ones from an old clapped out Mikado swash. I brought the cyclic servo arms in to ~22mm (from ~28mm) and used a couple of 75mm Mikado rods/ball links that I had in my old Logo stock. While I had a most of these parts in stock, most will find it easier/cheaper to just go with the Mikado Trex600 head upgrade imop.

Trex600HC.jpq

Only a couple of flying sessions were required to get the horiz and rigid gains right, and I had this heli flying fantastic. I upped my collective pitch from +/-12deg to +/-14deg and cyclic from 8deg to 10deg, all at 1950 rpm HS (Iím not a high HS junky) this heli was much more ballistic in climb-out, and very agile, with little or no bogging. I do not normally use expo on my cyclic but I needed to add 25% in this case. I flew the heli in very strong/gusty winds (grounded most of my flying mates) and it seemed to cut through the air with more authority than my larger/heavier Ion-x. By the way, the all up flying weight was 3.6 kg without flybar versus 3.7 kg with.

I tested both set-ups with Eagletree and found that both recorded about the same peak amps/watts but, on an average run, that the HC used ~12% less Mahrís to do this. Iíd estimate that the peak performance improvement with HC was in the order of ~20%. There is no doubt in my mind that the HC Trex600 is a much better flying heli, and I was getting ~1 min extra runtime to boot. I hated to switch it back to the flybar but I needed to go the next step and try the HC on my 10s single staged (10:1) Ion-x.

The Ion-x conversion was also very simple (see picture below). This was made esp. easy since Fredrick (MrMel) had already done it so I just followed his lead and got some K&S Raptor 60/90 metal grips and brought the cyclic servo arms in a bit (from 19.5mm to 15mm) in order to get a bit more torque and resolution out of my old Fut9252ís. The picture shows them before I brought the arms in. I used the Mikado Swashdriver and the stock swash-to-grip MA 2.6mm links.

IonxSSHC.jpq

To cut an already too long story short, the HC Ion-x, after a number of fine tunning flights (~5 times as many as the Trex600 took), is now flying very nicely. Iíve been able to up the collective pitch from +/-11deg to +/-14deg and cyclic from 7.5deg to 10deg without the heli bogging too much. The total flying weight with 2x5s Evo25 3700 is 4.3 kg versus 4.65 kg although ~80g of this is due to switching to lighter MA Razor landing gear. I recently replaced the PowerJazz esc with a Jazz 55-10-32 esc and have knocked down the weight to 4.15 kg. Not bad for a 90 sized heli swinging 690mm Radix blades!

My Eagletree recordings said similar things. That is, the peak amps/watts were about the same (at 1880 rpm HS) but the Mahr used during a normal run was ~10% less. However, the climb and agility increases were not as high as I experienced with the Trex600. Iíd guesstimate that the peak climb-out rate is up ~10% and the agility is up ~15%, versus ~20% for the Trex600.

The only problem Iíve had is that I have not been able to get the horiz/rigid modes working together as well as I did with the Trex600. This is because to use both modes (= fixed mode) you need to hard-wire the rigid gains. The step size in the software is pretty course so it is difficult to match this if the gain settings required are pretty low. Iím sure I will figure a way around this eventually, or hopefully the software will improve. This is not an issue if you are using rigid only mode (= Extreme mode).

Still, I would say that this 10s Ion-x is much nicer to fly with HC. But if I could only have one HC unit, Iíd put it back on my Trex600. Iím not sure, but I think that the 10s limit favours the smaller heli in this case.

My next step is to try the HC on a 15s Ion-x. I have an Actro 32-4 max ready to go to try on my SS Ion-x (waiting for new 111t MA main gears) and Iím finally getting back my Neu 1521/2y motor (~6 months in repair shop) to try again on my double staged 15s Ion-x. This should give me a good comparison on 15s.

Stay tunned!

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 05-29-2008, 02:17 AM   #2
TomC
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Just a quick update. The HC Rigid worked great on my 10s SS Ion-x but, Imop, I thought that it all felt better on my 10s Trex600e.

I think that this has made my Trex600e almost perfect! Lots of power (feels like +12s) and ~+20% more agility. Also, I'm getting 8-9 min runtimes as well. What's not to like!

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 06-07-2008, 12:39 AM   #3
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Thanks for the great info!
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Old 06-07-2008, 02:37 AM   #4
TomC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e292644 View Post
Thanks for the great info!

No problem Mate. Thanks.

Another important thing about flybarless imop, is you do not NEED the high headspeeds to get the same pop that you need with a flybar.

I'll probably buy a V-bar (from my friend Bobby at Espirit, of course) pretty soon to try on my Ion-x's. The HC-rigid unit is working great on my 10s Trex600e but I think it needs a few more V-bar fine-tunning features for my larger Ion-x's. In any case, it will be great to be able to properly compare both of them.

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 07-25-2008, 03:11 AM   #5
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Hi TomC

Any chance of posting some screen shots from the software of your HC rigid setup as I have been having problems trying to set mine up.

Regards

Graham
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:55 AM   #6
TomC
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Graham,

PM me your E-mail address and I'll post you my latest Helicommand Rigid file for my Trex600e. Some of these settings (esp. tail and rigid settings) may be useful for you.

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:20 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e292644 View Post
Thanks for the great info!
TomC, great topic, was wondering if you might have some tips for a very bad tail wag. HC rigid 450 v2 four bladed head. Just as I get the rpm up to just short of hovering the tail starts wagging BAD! Completely unflyable! Everything else works just great, well for checking controls prior to spool up that is.
Thanks
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Old 05-20-2009, 12:38 PM   #8
e292644
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Hmm, four bladed head means low RPMs and high twist force.
I only fly with two bladed head but not four.
You may need to play with Gyro gain with four bladed head.

Few questions:
1. How long does it stay stable on your short of hovering until it start wagging?
2. Is this your first flight with HC or it just happened.
3. Assuming you are using HC internal tail Gyro can you tell the Gyro gain setup?
4. Have you try out external Gyro? I will put a Gyro401 or similar one to test it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by hooked124 View Post
TomC, great topic, was wondering if you might have some tips for a very bad tail wag. HC rigid 450 v2 four bladed head. Just as I get the rpm up to just short of hovering the tail starts wagging BAD! Completely unflyable! Everything else works just great, well for checking controls prior to spool up that is.
Thanks
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Old 05-20-2009, 01:05 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e292644 View Post
Hmm, four bladed head means low RPMs and high twist force.
I only fly with two bladed head but not four.
You may need to play with Gyro gain with four bladed head.

Few questions:
1. How long does it stay stable on your short of hovering until it start wagging?
2. Is this your first flight with HC or it just happened.
3. Assuming you are using HC internal tail Gyro can you tell the Gyro gain setup?
4. Have you try out external Gyro? I will put a Gyro401 or similar one to test it.
1. not long, I'd say right around mid stick it starts, 0,50,75,85,100
2. no packed it up to ship home from Iraq, now the wag.
3. had those settings all over, every change makes no difference
4. yes, tried spartan, same results.

guess i will try smaller gear setup to lower rpm more, right now 12 tooth.
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Old 05-20-2009, 05:06 PM   #10
TomC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hooked124 View Post
TomC, great topic, was wondering if you might have some tips for a very bad tail wag. HC rigid 450 v2 four bladed head. Just as I get the rpm up to just short of hovering the tail starts wagging BAD! Completely unflyable! Everything else works just great, well for checking controls prior to spool up that is.
Thanks
If everything is ok mechanically (belt, tail shaft, etc) then maybe try going through the HC setup again. Maybe your stick neutral postions have changed a bit since you've gotten home and put it back together again.

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 12-29-2008, 07:22 PM   #11
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G'day TomC,

I was wondering if you could help me with my HC rigid setup? I have just installed it on my HDX500 using a DX7 radio. Managed to get the swash and sensors all setup correctly using the PC adapter.

First test flight there was a very severe and fast drift to the left. Have not tried autotrim function yet as it confuses the hell out of me. The manual is vey poor at explaining things.

On the DX7 I have set up the autotrim function on the gear switch, which is a 2 position toggle. Up position EPA is 100% and down position is 0%. When hovering do I simply flip the switch up and leave it? or switch up then down after a short time.

Any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

How's the weather up north?

Cheers,

Nathan.
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Old 12-29-2008, 10:59 PM   #12
TomC
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Originally Posted by Heli Paramedic View Post
G'day TomC,

I was wondering if you could help me with my HC rigid setup? I have just installed it on my HDX500 using a DX7 radio. Managed to get the swash and sensors all setup correctly using the PC adapter.

First test flight there was a very severe and fast drift to the left. Have not tried autotrim function yet as it confuses the hell out of me. The manual is vey poor at explaining things.

On the DX7 I have set up the autotrim function on the gear switch, which is a 2 position toggle. Up position EPA is 100% and down position is 0%. When hovering do I simply flip the switch up and leave it? or switch up then down after a short time.

Any assistance you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

How's the weather up north?

Cheers,

Nathan.

Nathan,

Pretty hot and humid on the Gold Coast today!

Sorry but I cann't help you on the 'Auto-trim' since I have never tried this (except as part of the initial setup). I use a DX7 Tx as well and prefered to keep the spare channel for tail Gyro (internal) gains.

All I've done is use tx trims to get the heli hovering nice and level (in fader mode, no stablisation), land the heli and mechanically adjust the links to take the tx trim out. Later, when I go into horiz stablisation I find that I only need a couple of clicks of Tx trim to hold a level hover. I then just make sure that these Tx trims are the same on all my flight modes (normal, idle-ups and T.Hold). When I switch back to non-stablisation mode the heli trims seem fine.

Also, I use rudder subtrim to initially set the Heading hold tail gyro so it holds pretty good on the bench. I then mechanically adjust the tail links so that non-heading hold holds ok.

Hope this helps and best of luck.

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 12-29-2008, 11:18 PM   #13
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Hi TomC,

Thanks for your quick reply.

I've had some pretty good success so far on my 3rd test flight. Autotrim function is working perfectly using the gear switch. Just hold a steady hover manually for about 8 seconds then flick the switch up then down in about 1 second. Heli is then trimmed beautifully in pitch and roll axis. Only draw back is that I can't adjust tail gyro gain automatically now from the transmitter. Have to use the pc adapter between flights for that. This is not an issue for me as I'm only into sport flying with a view towards scale soon.

Only issue I need to resolve now is a slight drift on the tail. Is it best to use transmitter trim or adjust mechanically to get rid of the drift?

I have another question about the software. On the 'hor + pos' tab there is a setting for pilot channel default. Mine is set to 70 (default setting). Does this mean that if my transmitter EPA for that channel is set to say 80% it will actually only still be 70% due to the default setting in the PC software?

Thanks again,

Nathan.
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Old 12-30-2008, 01:57 AM   #14
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Nathan,

Glad to hear you got Auto-trim working ok. I'll have to try this sometime.

I'd try triming the tail using tx rudder subtrim for drifts in heading hold mode. Adjust it mechanically for non-heading hold. Also, you might try increasing your gains a bit.

I use 0 as the horiz/pos default. That way the atv's on the tx = actual % gains. I think you only use other defaults if you do not have the pilot channel hooked up (like your tail gyro right now).

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 12-30-2008, 02:43 AM   #15
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Thanks TomC,

I'll change my default gain in the software to 0% and use pure transmitter ATV's for the gain. Good idea.

For the tail it feels wierd to use trim or sub trim as this is very different to the GY 401 that I'm used to. Anyway the trim almost completely fixed the drift in HH mode.Drift is now almost imperceptable. I've never used rate mode before, but I guess if I'm going to get into scale it would look better in flight.

Thanks very much for your help. I've only flown the helicommand 4 times so far and I'm very impressed.

Cheers,

Nathan.
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Old 03-01-2009, 09:54 AM   #16
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great info!! I have some questions about the helicommand. If you have it turned off and you get in trouble can you just turn it on to save your heli from crashing? How does it fly compared to it without it? Like when you try and do 3d stunts.

Thanks for the info.
Jason
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:43 PM   #17
TomC
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great info!! I have some questions about the helicommand. If you have it turned off and you get in trouble can you just turn it on to save your heli from crashing? How does it fly compared to it without it? Like when you try and do 3d stunts.

Thanks for the info.
Jason
Jason,

I'm currently flying mine in Fixed mode using one of switches to turn horiz mode on/off. I set the up switch atv to zero for rigid only and down to 80% gain for horiz mode (fairly high gain/quick recovery). I test this feature quite a bit to make sure it works ok. I have only had to use it once when I lost orientation and it worked very well. It kept the heli from spining/augering into the ground and gave me time to fully recover my orientation. You can fly around in horiz mode but you need to hold the sticks in position to keep it moving. Anytime you center the stick it will want to auto-level. I don't like flying around this way too often.

In this fixed mode you are limited to soft 3D since rotation rates need to be limited to ~200deg/sec for A/E and 400deg/sec for the tail (with an extrernal gyro, 200 if using internal one). This is to avoid confusing the stablisation sensors. If I use Extreme mode (you need your PC to switch to this mode) there is no limit but there is no auto-stablisation mode either. Right now I am finding the fixed mode great for soft 3D, backwards, and inverted practise. I'll switch it back to extreme mode when I want to wring it out.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 10-05-2009, 05:12 PM   #18
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I dont think the extreme mode is in the manual, they just have fader and fixed. Also I do not see where fixed mode have limitations regarding rolls and flips. Maybe i missed?
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Old 10-05-2009, 10:49 PM   #19
TomC
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I dont think the extreme mode is in the manual, they just have fader and fixed. Also I do not see where fixed mode have limitations regarding rolls and flips. Maybe i missed?
Extreme basically is Fader, but without the 200 deg/sec turnrate limitations (400 deg/s piro rate with an external gyro). I have been told by HC support not to exceed these limitations when using anything but Extreme mode, even if the pos or horiz gains are set to zero.

Cheers,
TomC
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Old 10-11-2009, 02:00 AM   #20
rodjam
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Default HELICOMMAND DSX9 AR7000 setup

Hi TomC.
Hope things are Ok on the Sunshine Coast.
Great and informative thread.
Now have a HC Rigid and looking to go doem that route.
Spend hours on Forums and like the stle of the product.
OK.
Noe setting up into a very stable Gaui 550 CF. Thought it would be ideal to test out and set up then transfer the unit to the Gaui 425 FBL, which to say the very least is a handful!!!
Using a JR DSX9 and Ar7000 RX.
AND
Having great trouble with the initial set up and connections.
Hopefully someone as this TX,RX and HC combo in action.
After many hours of back and forwards, we are in a loop of no real progress!.
Help gratefully accepted.
Cheers
Rod Jam.
PS. I have the Captron Belkin USB PC connection. But running Vista on the PC and it appears that there is no applicable driver.
And ideas?
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