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Old 07-11-2020, 09:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
BobHyatt
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Join Date: Apr 2020
Location: Birmingham, AL
Default Align 300x impressions

First, this is from a heli beginner, but a 50 year RC airplane flyer, pattern, racing, etc.

1. Before flying, you should level the swash, and get the pitch right. IE at 50% collective stick, 0 degrees pitch. Mine was nowhere near this from the factory. You should start with a decent digital pitch gauge, which is not that expensive.

2. Next is throttle/pitch curve. I experimented with this a bit, and I came up with the following which I really like. Throttle first. 0, 65, 65, 65, 65. Quite a few places suggested a tapered throttle, but I didn't like it. Here's why: If you want to climb, you have to bump the collective. With a tapered throttle, two things happen. When you bump the stick, the pitch changes instantly and you climb. Then the throttle ramps up (slowly) which makes you climb higher. As a beginner, I found this a pain. Then when you reduce collective, altitude drops when pitch drops, but motor speed continues to slowly drop. To me, it made it feel mushy. With the solid 65%, it will hover, climb like a rocket, but the main thing is that now all you depend on is collective pitch, not throttle. It moves with collective, and there is no lag as the throttle spools up. My pitch curve is 40% at 25, 55 at 50, 70 at 75 and 85 at 100%. That translates to roughly -2.0 pitch at 25% to maybe 9 degrees at full stick. Pitch range was set to -11 to +11.

3. I am running with the roll rate (stock align mini-GRS gyro) at about 40-50%. Slower (lower) might be better to start, but it does introduce lag. That is, if you bump left, the servo will slowly drift left. Tending to make you go harder on the stick and over-control.

4. Gain is set at about 70% of max or so (gain on mini-GRS.

5. I am running tail rotor gyro at 60%. Does let the tail drift with torque, but not enough to be a problem. If I set the gain at 80, it tracks well, but the tail servo really gets hot. At 60, problem is gone.

I am running with the timer (Align A10 transmitter) set to 6 minutes. This leaves the battery at between 40% and 50% since there is no wild pitch changes and engine loads while working on hovering and basic forward flight. I am using the stock Align 1300 mah batteries. Note that if you order extras, you need to order both the mounting plate (comes two to a package) and the align velcro-type straps. I found those hidden on the amain web site, I think in the "tools" section. Go figure.

6. If you need more ball sockets, the align 250 size seems to work just fine. 8 to a package. Of all the things about this heli, the thing I like least is these ball linkages. The rods are really small, with very fine threads. There's not a lot of room to adjust lengths without getting close to too few threads engaged. The fine threads don't offer much of a grip with the plastic ball link either.

7. Main replacement part I would suggest anyone buy is main feathering shafts. I've gone through several of these. Just a hard landing can bend the thing. When you try to take off again and it starts to shake, time to replace.

8. There is a bag of 300x frame screws available. Buy a set. A couple of screws are critical (m2x10mm collar) which are used to hold the DFC links to the blade holders and such. Easy to break/bend one. Hard to find. m2x10 is easy, but collared not so easy.

9. Don't forget at least a couple of sets of blades. A hard landing can result in a book strike and a broken blade. And a bent boom. A couple of booms is also wise.

10. We have discussed landing skids elsewhere here. I like the 200 size mentioned in another thread. Wider stance. A little more flexibility in the legs.

For comments, the first thing that amazes me is the power of the motor and the battery life. I flew nitro aircraft almost exclusively until maybe 10-15 years ago I dabbled into electrics so I could fly close by in a park. Weak, poor battery life, etc. I was not sure what to expect with this heli, but it was quite a surprise. That little motor produces way more power on less current with a much smaller size than the old astro 05 size. Looks like electric flight of all kinds is now a reality.

I'm impressed with the fit/finish. The carbon fiber frame is cut incredibly precisely. About the only complaint here is the canopy. I know weight is a consideration, but the mounting scheme sucks. This thing is pretty small, so it takes good eyes and good light to work on it. One minor headache. If you need to change the main gear (I have stripped one) you have to pull the gyro system out, as it blocks access to the retaining screw in the bottom end of the main shaft. PITA to peel it out, then replace the shredded foam. Would prefer a foam-wrapped approach, but probably a weight reduction choice.

I've been happy with how it flies. Just like all my fixed wing aircraft, the controls are crisp and precise with no slop or vagueness at all. I figured these things would have all kinds of mechanical slop, but nope.

I'd call this a home run. Blast to fly. Fits in small areas. (would not spool it up indoors of course) but in a driveway (where I learned to hover) or even in of my 2-car garage, hovering is easy. Definitely affected by wind, just like smaller fixed-wings are more affected than larger (say 60 size or bigger) planes. But flyable in anything reasonable, using common sense.

Parts can be difficult at times. Often "out of stock" or "backorder" status. Batteries (extra) are more difficult to locate. Have not tried any non-align batteries but plan on doing so.

Final note. When I started, I flew without the canopy since it was a PITA to install. Not the best idea however, since the frame, skids, tail boom, tail rotor and mechanics, and most of main blades are all black. Get any distance away and it is hard to tell which end is up. Canopy solves this easily except maybe when flying dead away. But even then you can tell it is going straight away since it is harder to see.
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