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450 Class Electric Helicopters 450 Class Electric Helicopters manufactured by Align, Tarot, SYMA, Airhog, Chaos, HK and similar.


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Old 01-08-2013, 06:43 PM   #1
PcChip
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Default The Complete Thread of 450 FBL & DFC Heads! (And FBL Lessons for Newbies)

Hey guys, I see a lot of posts asking about certain FBL heads, and asking what heads are available for their 450's so I decided to make a thread listing as many as I can (and will be constantly updating the thread with people's input / notes about each one)

First a few things for those new to the hobby (or new to FBL):

Flybarless heads eliminate much of the mechanical linkages between the swashplate and the grips, making it lighter and more efficient, and more agile in the sky. Two of the balls on the swashplate go directly to the blade grips to set the pitch of the blades, and the other two balls are used only to "drive" the swashplate around.

DFC-Style Heads: I believe Compass was the first to eliminate the "swash drivers" alltogether (so two of the swashplate balls are now unneeded) - these heads are commonly referred to as DFC because that's Align's branding term for it (they call it "Direct Flight Control" as a marketing Buzzword). The real key here is that it lowers the head closer to the CoG of the helicopter by shortening the mainshaft - thus allowing quicker rolls and flips and more agility in general. How is the swashplate still driven around the shaft you ask? Simple - instead of little metal rods controlling the pitch of the blades, they're replaced by thick metal control arms that swivel on a bearing, so when the head starts spinning those control arms drive the swashplate. This is why you're starting to see "DFC-Style" swashplates come out with only two balls instead of four. The Align branded DFC swashplates have the balls at a 90 degree angle compared to where they used to be (so there's no possibility of it popping off in-flight), and from pictures it looks like the new Tarot DFC swashplates have them at a 45 degree angle.

Now on to the different FBL / DFC heads!

(Note: as far as I know all "DFC" style were designed to work with DFC shafts, which are designed with a collar for a 450 Pro instead of the SeV2 length. Please research what is needed to use a DFC head on a SeV2 / Sport before buying!)

STANDARD FBL STYLE (normal 450 length mainshaft)

Tarot FBL head - Tarot makes just as high quality (and sometimes higher quality) items as Align

Tarot FBL head (Updated) (CHINA SHIPPING) - updated version - This is a revised version, please note that some Tarot heads use a different Thrust Bearing arrangement than standard Align heads - I'm not sure which Tarot heads use this, but it's actually stronger and better designed (radial bearings are farther apart)

RJX Flybarless Head - lots of people have had good experiences with this RJX head. VWINRC also produces a copy of this one. HERE is a link to the RJX manual (although I'm not sure if it includes thrust bearings and spindle or not)

Microheli FBL head - I haven't used this head however I know that Microheli makes very good quality parts

VWINRC FBL head (RJX Clone) (CHINA SHIP) - I've had good experiences with VWINRC so far, the only issue with this head is that it's shipped from china (I hate waiting)


DFC STYLE (shorter mainshaft for lowered CoG - faster roll rates / no separate swash drivers)

Hobbymate DFC head - sold by Hobbymate.rc - this seller is great, I had a stripped screw hole on one of my grips and he replaced it immediately no questions asked. This head flies perfectly, and is so cheap you should buy two for crash parts! I've crashed and rebuilt this head probably a dozen times; starting to get a little bit of slop in it from all the crashes, but still flies fine. Has the benefit of fitting all Align parts for easy crash replacement from your local hobby store (Align DFC shaft, Align Feathering Shaft, Align Dampeners, Align Thrust Bearings, Align Control Arms, Align threaded links) and for $30 shipped actually comes with everything you need. (Hint: the Align version does not come with feathering shaft or thrust bearings, and the old v1 align dfc main block doesn't clamp to the shaft)

Align DFC head - Align name-brand, comes with DFC shaft. You need to use your old Thrust Bearings and Feathering Shaft.

Tarot DFC version2 (CHINA SHIPPING) - uses new Tarot thicker feathering shafts and special thrust bearing / radial bearing arrangement for less wobble / more firmness and crispness. This is by far the best head I've ever used, however it does not fit any standard Align parts so you must source Tarot DFC feathering shafts, Tarot DFC mainshafts, and (possibly) radial bearings and thrust bearings). This thing is built like a TANK, quite strong, firm, flies very crisp, clean, and precise. UPDATE - HobbyRover ebay store is now stocking all parts for this head!

Hobbyking DFC head (china ship) - This just came out today, and it looks to be an exact copy of the Align DFC head (for half the cost!) and includes spindle, thrust bearings, swashplate, and mainshaft. (At the moment only available in the intnl warehouse) They also have a version without swashplate or mainshaft for only fifteen bucks! The really awesome thing is it has what *appears* to be turnbuckle links to get absolutely perfect tracking! To be honest, I'm really just interested in purchasing these by themselves!

VWINRC DFC Head (China Ship) - Looks just like their RJX FBL head clone, but with DFC arms installed. Would be my one of my DFC heads of choice if I had access to just those DFC arms (for replacements)!!

DFC-Style Swashplates (only two balls):

Tarot DFC Swash (China Shipping) - Two balls at what appears to be a 45 degree angle; looks to be good high-quality Tarot like all their other items

JMT DFC swashplate (CHINA SHIP) - I've never heard of this company and have no idea of their quality. Seems like long shipping times to USA.

Align DFC Swashplate - This is the genuine Align 450 DFC swashplate


I hope this list helps any newcomers to the Heli hobby, or anyone thinking about going FBL with their current Flybarred heli!

Please inform me of other heads that are out there (and new ones as they come out) so that I can update this list - and be sure to let me know the good and the bad qualities of each one you've tried so that this thread can be as informative as possible!

Thanks for reading!
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Last edited by PcChip; 01-20-2013 at 08:36 PM..
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:58 AM   #2
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[QUOTE=PcChip;4606523]
STANDARD FBL STYLE (normal 450 Pro length mainshaft)

Tarot FBL head - Tarot makes just as high quality (and sometimes higher quality) items as Align

Tarot FBL head (Updated) (CHINA SHIPPING) - updated version - This is a revised version, please note that some Tarot heads use a different Thrust Bearing arrangement than standard Align heads - I'm not sure which Tarot heads use this, but it's actually stronger and better designed (radial bearings are farther apart)

RJX Flybarless Head - lots of people have had good experiences with this RJX head. VWINRC also produces a copy of this one. Note that this does NOT use the shorter DFC shaft, but the standard 450 Pro shaft. HERE is a link to the RJX manual (although I'm not sure if it includes thrust bearings and spindle or not)

Microheli FBL head - I haven't used this head however I know that Microheli makes very good quality parts

I have one question. At the beginning of this section you have in parentheses (normal 450 pro length main shaft). Then you go on to state later that the RJX does not require the shorter DFC main shaft. Just a little confusing. I just bought the Tarot FL head to install on a new build. So can I use my standard main shaft or doI need a new DFC shaft?
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:21 AM   #3
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[quote=eatfire;4608013]
Quote:
Originally Posted by PcChip View Post
STANDARD FBL STYLE (normal 450 Pro length mainshaft)

Tarot FBL head - Tarot makes just as high quality (and sometimes higher quality) items as Align

Tarot FBL head (Updated) (CHINA SHIPPING) - updated version - This is a revised version, please note that some Tarot heads use a different Thrust Bearing arrangement than standard Align heads - I'm not sure which Tarot heads use this, but it's actually stronger and better designed (radial bearings are farther apart)

RJX Flybarless Head - lots of people have had good experiences with this RJX head. VWINRC also produces a copy of this one. Note that this does NOT use the shorter DFC shaft, but the standard 450 Pro shaft. HERE is a link to the RJX manual (although I'm not sure if it includes thrust bearings and spindle or not)

Microheli FBL head - I haven't used this head however I know that Microheli makes very good quality parts

I have one question. At the beginning of this section you have in parentheses (normal 450 pro length main shaft). Then you go on to state later that the RJX does not require the shorter DFC main shaft. Just a little confusing. I just bought the Tarot FL head to install on a new build. So can I use my standard main shaft or doI need a new DFC shaft?
If , that is the head you are using, you can use your standard main shaft.
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Old 01-09-2013, 10:30 AM   #4
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[quote=eatfire;4608013]
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Originally Posted by PcChip View Post

I have one question. At the beginning of this section you have in parentheses (normal 450 pro length main shaft). Then you go on to state later that the RJX does not require the shorter DFC main shaft. Just a little confusing. I just bought the Tarot FL head to install on a new build. So can I use my standard main shaft or doI need a new DFC shaft?
Yes, FBL is considered normal shaft length, and DFC is considered shorter shaft length.

Sorry for the confusion of me writing "450 Pro" as I originally wrote this in the 450 Pro section, and moved it to the regular 450 section!

That Tarot FBL head you linked will work with normal shaft length!
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Old 01-09-2013, 12:50 PM   #5
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So what's with the DFC Swashplates? Are they any better than your "standard" swash?

The first time/place i've seen them was from your link in the first post, ReadyHeli and Helidirect do not appear to carry the DFC swashplate but they have the rest of the head. Is there a chance for the links to pop off on a regular swashplate? Or is it more something to get us to buy a part we don't necessarily need?
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:14 PM   #6
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Or is it more something to get us to buy a part we don't necessarily need?
Exactly this. Some people prefer it for the way it looks though (cleaner looking as it only has two balls instead of four), and some people prefer the added "security" or "peace of mind" that the links cannot un-snap from the balls during flight from centripital (or centrifugal?) flinging them outward (although it's never happened to me or anyone I've read about)
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Old 01-09-2013, 01:49 PM   #7
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DFC swashplate definitely is an meaningful upgrade, not just for the look. It will improve the geometry of DFC head as well as reduce side load stress on swash ball(potential swash ball thread shearing off during flight or crash, although I have not had this issue) and linkage(I have had broken linkage even on normal swash plate, most likely plastic getting damaged/weaken from removing a few times for adjustment) breaking from additional load/stress caused by DFC head.

On the downside, it is very hard to remove the link for adjustment on DFC swashplate.
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Old 01-09-2013, 02:13 PM   #8
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DFC swashplate definitely is an meaningful upgrade It will improve the geometry of DFC head.
I've never used a DFC swashplate and my DFC geometry is perfect... ?

Are you saying the DFC swashplate has the balls spaced farther out ?
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:32 PM   #9
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Geometry being perfect you are referring to is for static set up for your blade, not when head/blade/swashplate under load or in motion. Set up maybe good for static blade set up, it will be different under load.

On your set up, DFC head with standard swashplate, hold the swashplate with one hand and try to turn your head/blade grip in direction of blade rotating. If you look closely, you will see a deflection(or slight bending) on ball link or your ball link will rotate(slightly under force) around swash ball due to torque/force created by the head. Also it is creating side load on swash ball and swash ball thread. This deflection will impact blade tracking(if both side is not even) or even pitch and cause vibration under heavy load. Additionally, this will stress the DFC linkage rod more so than with the DFC swashplate, possibly stressing and shearing off the threaded part(probably weakest link) easier on standard swashplate.

On DFC swashplate, this issue is mostly eliminated due to the design change of the swashplate and the geometry of the ball link. Deflection of the ball link will be much less as ball link is no longer free to rotate around the swash ball like that of standard swashplate. Also resulting much less vibration in my experience. Loading on the DFC linkage rod is still there but I would think much less on DFC swashplate set up than standard swashplate.
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Old 01-09-2013, 06:44 PM   #10
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[quote=tony521;4608520]
Quote:
Originally Posted by eatfire View Post
If , that is the head you are using, you can use your standard main shaft.
[quote=PcChip;4608541]
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Originally Posted by eatfire View Post

Yes, FBL is considered normal shaft length, and DFC is considered shorter shaft length.

Sorry for the confusion of me writing "450 Pro" as I originally wrote this in the 450 Pro section, and moved it to the regular 450 section!

That Tarot FBL head you linked will work with normal shaft length!
Thanks I was sure that the standard main shaft would work but you had me a little worried.
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Old 01-10-2013, 04:23 AM   #11
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Default linkage rod set

With the Align DFC head there is a difference in the thread sizes in the linkage rod set. The H45182a has a 2mm thread and the H45182 has 1.6mm. Hope this helps someone order the correct parts. Guess how I found out?
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Old 01-10-2013, 10:50 AM   #12
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Yes, that's supposed to be their new "upgraded" beefier links.

I actually prefer mine to break, as it saves everything else from damage.
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Old 01-10-2013, 11:01 AM   #13
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Default Warp head on my Beam E4

I have a Warp that is getting reworked and while I wait I thought I would try the head on my Beam.The Warp uses a 6mm shaft so I used a owb sleeve to adapt it to 5mm.I'm using the top hole of the Beam fbl shaft.It makes my Beam fly similar to the Warp but the head is boomer strong and able to handle 4000 hs.Another option!
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Old 01-10-2013, 02:21 PM   #14
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Quote:
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Yes, that's supposed to be their new "upgraded" beefier links.

I actually prefer mine to break, as it saves everything else from damage.
I wonder if the plastic linkage arms of a 450 plus dfc would absorb the impact of a crash better and help save the servo gears.
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Old 01-12-2013, 12:40 PM   #15
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That would be interesting to find out - care to test it ?

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Old 01-12-2013, 03:52 PM   #16
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No not really keen on testing the theory . I`m still repairing the result of my last test.
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Old 01-14-2013, 06:39 AM   #17
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Will an Align DFC head fit on a Trex Sport v1 model?
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Old 01-16-2013, 10:07 AM   #18
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Will an Align DFC head fit on a Trex Sport v1 model?
http://www.helifreak.com/showthread....15#post3867615
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Old 01-20-2013, 08:35 PM   #19
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Update: HobbyRover ebay store is now selling replacement parts for the new Tarot 450 DFC v2 (split-lock) style head! Finally!

CLICK HERE - then select 450 DFC from the menu on the left
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Old 01-29-2013, 03:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PcChip View Post

VWINRC FBL head (RJX Clone) (CHINA SHIP) - I've had good experiences with VWINRC so far, the only issue with this head is that it's shipped from china (I hate waiting)
That head is similar to the RJX head but it's not a clone and the pitch control arms and swashlocker arms may not be interchangeable. The grips and hub also look a little different.

Hobbyking does have an RJX clone head though.

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...450_heli_.html

You have to replace the plastic radius arms on this head because the holes are too big (real RJX ones are about $2). Also with the ones I got it didn't have the 2x3.5x0.1 washers that are supposed to go between the flange bearings in the swashlocker arms. I've heard that they now come with these though. There is a video series on Youtube that covers this.


Though he claims that the head uses soft metal I have not seen this personally. I ploughed my 450 into the ground so hard that it dug a furrow and the mainshaft bent at a 45 degree angle, the battery tray broke off and the feathering shaft split in half ejecting both grips with the blades and only the pitch control arm on one blade grip bent. The grips themselves were fine. Given how cheap these heads are and that HK doesn't sell individual spares for them (only real RJX spares) it's cheaper to just buy a whole new head if you need one piece for it.

I like to use a slightly longer screw than the standard one with a nut on the other side to hold the swashlocker arms on. Also the screw that HK gives you is 2mm shorter than the screw in the real RJX head.

HK also has the genuine RJX head for much less than most other places.

http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...450_HK450.html

One thing of interest is that the RJX clone head is not listed in the FBL head section on HK with the real RJX heads.
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