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Old 08-09-2009, 11:29 PM   #1
Kepler
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Default KDS Flymentor first look.

Well there’s a new kid on the block. China have done what they do best and created a low cost flight stabilization system with very similar features to the Helicomand 3D.

Due for release at the end of this month, I have been lucky enough to test fly a sample unit provided by XC-RC www.xc-rc.com.au . So far I have setup and flown both CPII and Helicomand equipped helicopters so I have a good basis for comparison.

Below is the manufacturer’s description.
__________________________________________________ _________________________________
Product Description :
The functions of Flymentor:

New type of sensing process provides reliable geographical positioning, completely independent of the visible horizon.
Particular CCD sensor can catch the ground picture to compare, and prevent helicopter from drifting.
Adjust the working status of Flymentor by AUX Channel, switchable gain system offers three different positions: Off, stabilisation and Position-holding mode.
Head lock gyro outside setting and Swashplate mixer.
Control the sensitivity and mode of gyro by GEAR Channel.
Support helicopters with 3S 120��swashplate,or 3S 140��swashplate,or 4S 90��swashplate, or 4S 90��+45��swash plate.
Attitude stabilisation in inverted flight.
Set Flymentor by computer USB adapter.
If you use FM/PPM radio equipment, Flymentor will make the ailerons, elevator and tail servo back immediately. The pitch will remain in the final signal position. And Flymentor will switch to position mode automatically. The sensitivity is 70%.
__________________________________________________ ___________________________________

Setup is all done via PC so you must have a laptop to make changes at the field. Setup is not difficult and it took me about an hour to have the unit installed in my Trex450 ready for flight.

First impressessions. Better then I was expecting.

The unit has two flight modes, Position mode and Horizontal mode.
Position Mode utilizes a CCD camera to control drift.
Horizontal Mode is for stabilization only.

Without going into too much detail at this point, horizontal mode works very well and has no problems keeping the model flat when hovering and doing slow circuits. It quickly recovers the heli without osolation. Still need to further explore the units characteristics during aeros but with the standard settings, the interaction is too much and makes aeros very uncomfortable. However I think this can be tuned out with the override percentage function. Further testing required here.

Position mode so far does not seem to have a huge effect and only marginally improves the drift over horizontal mode. However, this may be improved through further tuning as the settings are still in their default postion.

The unit has a built in heading lock gyro. Very similar in its performance to the Helicomand tail gyro. Not great but certainly useable.

So after about 10 flights in total I think this product has some promise and certainly worth spending more time further testing and tweaking.

This unit looks like it will be very well priced and without doubt the best priced ccpm helicopter stabilization system to date.
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Last edited by Kepler; 08-11-2009 at 01:41 AM..
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Old 08-10-2009, 04:38 AM   #2
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looks as if performs nicely on video, curious as to the pricing will be.
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:43 AM   #3
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I found this german shop has them 249 EUR

http://www.microhelihobby.de/Shop/OS...roducts_id=187

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Old 08-10-2009, 08:27 AM   #4
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And that equates to ?? in US dollars? ...got it, bouts $350.00 think I'll stick with helicommand if I'm going to spend that much again
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:09 PM   #5
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Europe gets hit hard with taxes so purchasing a product made in China from a European supplier will rarely be a bargain.

I am tipping more like low $200 USD as a more likely figure.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:01 PM   #6
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I have found them on line at about $130.00 USD to $180.00 USD + Air mail to the USA. This gives me one more reason to get a lap top computer.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by klh66 View Post
I have found them on line at about $130.00 USD to $180.00 USD + Air mail to the USA. This gives me one more reason to get a lap top computer.
FOR THAT MONEY NOW IT PAYS TO LOOK INTO IT, WHERE DID YOU LOCATE A SELLER?
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:10 PM   #8
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Seems to be on Ebay - now 10 availible

http://cgi.ebay.com/KDS-Flymentor-KD...4.c0.m14.l1262

199.00 + 65 shipping from Hong Kong
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Old 08-10-2009, 07:57 PM   #9
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Thanks for the link Bit-Man, Does it come with the USB Cable ?.

Here is the Instruction PDF http://www.kdsmodel.com/script/News/...r%20Manual.pdf
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:00 AM   #10
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Yes it come with a USB cable and software. Software is very easy to use however I did have a few issues getting it to reconize the virtual serial port it creates. My laptop defaulted to serial port 11. I need to re config this to serial port 2 before it would connect.
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Old 08-11-2009, 01:24 AM   #11
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Thanks for doing the review Kepler, just still deciding whether to spend just over $310 Au on the KDS Flymentor or $600 Au on Helicomand 3A. I wonder if the gyro's used on the KDS Flymentor are SMM or piezo to keep cost down.

Cheers
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Old 08-11-2009, 05:08 PM   #12
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JohnAU, I think you will be able to do better then $310 AUD. The delivery cost from that ebay site is just silly for a small box. XC-RC are Australian agents for KDS. Worth enquiring with them.
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Old 08-11-2009, 07:58 PM   #13
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Hey Kepler, what TX are you using with the KDS Flymentor, there is some talk from the German forums that people with the DX7 are having initialization problems with the KDS Flymentor. KDS are supposedly looking at the problem .

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Old 08-11-2009, 08:02 PM   #14
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A DX7. No problems here.
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Old 08-12-2009, 06:18 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kepler View Post
A DX7. No problems here.
Hi Kepler!

I'm from germany and I know a guy who has big problems in connecting flymentor to the AR7000 with DX7. Which receiver do you use? Is your flymentor recognizing/connecting this receiver every time you switch on power?

Thank you for some help!

Regards
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Old 08-12-2009, 04:57 PM   #16
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I use a Spectrum 6100 6 channel receiver.

Now that you mention it, it does have some trouble connecting to the receiver sometimes. Probably every third time I switch it on, it wont connect. Didnt think too much of it at the time as it would always connect once the power was cycled. Certainly once connected, it stays connected though.

I will report this back to the supplier also.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:59 PM   #17
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Have done some more flying with the Mentor now. The occasional connection issue does exist but a re powering a second time gets it started OK. I only had it not connect once out of about 10 connections. Personally, if it doesn’t effect the flight, i can put up with that.

So back to the flying. Worked on getting the position hold mode working better. Basically once I had the gain set to 100% I could get the model to hold position reasonably well and got to a point that it would stay within about a 2 metre circle for around a minute without touching the sticks in quite calm conditions. Not too much difference to how the Helicommand handles this mode.

At 100%, the stability is very solid with the model returning to a flat hover like a spring when centring the sticks after a big input. Trim holds very well and although there is no actual documentation on the trimming process, it seems that you uses your trims as normal to reduce drift to a minimum. Also the trim seems to hold OK between Mentor on and off.

In relation to circuits, I set the stick priority to max (Mentor has control only close to stick centre) slow circuits are fine but as you start to go quicker and bank the model over, the mentor is constantly fighting you to keep the model straight. Turning down the gain helped this and gave the model a more natural feel. I am yet to test inverted and emergency recovery however, I see no reason why this wont work fine.

The Mentor essentially has 3 modes, Position mode, Horizontal mode and off. This means you can utilize a 3 way switch and a slider or if you have a DX7 or similar, you can use the two way switch and a couple of mixers to utilize all 3 modes. This is my DX 7 setup for the Mentor.

Gear switch used for mode switching but also mixed to itself for activation though the flight mode 3 position switch.
I setup flight mode 1 and 2 with the same pitch and throttle curves.

Gear switch up + normal mode = Position mode (used for maximum stability hovering and slow circuits)
Gear switch up + flight mode 1 = Mentor off ( used for most normal and 3D flight)
Gear switch up + flight mode 2 = Horizontal mode (used for emergency bailout and inverted hover practice)

With this setup, gear switch down will lock the mentor on horizontal mode regardless of what flight mode you are in. This will be good for indoor flying as position mode is not recomended for indoor flying. I currently have the gain set 100% in position mode, and 60% horizontal mode which seem to work quite well.

Lastly, I have done a lot of tail tuning and now have the tail gyro operating reasonably well, however, it does tend to drift still. I would compare the performance to a well setup pizzo gyro like the Mystery / 401B. Certainly not what a 3D pilot is after but good enough for training, sports, and scale flying.

I really am quite pleased with the overall performance and now plan to install my FPV setup into the model. I believe the Mentor will handle this task very well. Also would be a great addition to any scale project as the unit can be tucked away in the fuz and the proximity camera tucked underneath.

Last edited by Kepler; 08-15-2009 at 03:15 AM..
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:29 PM   #18
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Nicely done Kepler

Have to think about this unit now, was getting set to order up another Helicommand for my 600, I think I can wait a few weeks now and see how this unit performs in the real world b4 I commit $600.00
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:58 PM   #19
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Yeh the Flymentor is still in its teething stage and like anything new has to go through some fine tuning. At this stage of what i have read it looks very promising as a cheaper alternative to the Helicommand. Saying that, the Helicommand is top of the Fligh Stabilization systems on the market.

Cheers
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Old 08-15-2009, 01:43 AM   #20
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Hey Kepler, how about some video of you flying the heli with the KDS Flymentor?, even if its taken with a phone, it will give us a true idea how well it works.

Cheers
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