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Newbies: Tips and Information Section of HF, specifically for Passing along info to newcomers to the hobby. Setup, tweaking, orientation practice, etc.


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Old 04-23-2016, 03:43 AM   #41
ShadowRC
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Awesome read...I mean perfectly worded...and I am serious when I say this...most of everything you mentioned about developing ya know how things seem impossible but they are not but rather hard etc. all of it...that is the very reason I LOVE this hobby. This hobby gives me so much of a challenge and huge goals to always work towards. Now I know reaching many of those rewards and goals can and will be stressful and in many cases expensive...but it is all worth it to me.

I really mean this when I say it...if flying RC Helicopters were easy to do...I would have no business flying them.


...this is why I quit flying rc planes..HAHA
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Old 04-23-2016, 10:59 AM   #42
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Thank you for your comments! Yes I have also grown passionate about this hobby! It is a big challenge.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ShadowRC View Post
Awesome read...I mean perfectly worded...and I am serious when I say this...most of everything you mentioned about developing ya know how things seem impossible but they are not but rather hard etc. all of it...that is the very reason I LOVE this hobby. This hobby gives me so much of a challenge and huge goals to always work towards. Now I know reaching many of those rewards and goals can and will be stressful and in many cases expensive...but it is all worth it to me.

I really mean this when I say it...if flying RC Helicopters were easy to do...I would have no business flying them.


...this is why I quit flying rc planes..HAHA
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Goblins: 500 Sport (Ghost - in progress) / 420 (Panthro) / 380 (Yellowbird) / Others: Oxy 3 TE (Danny) / DX9 BE & DX6 G2 / [Citizen 755] Team Pilot HobbyBoost.Com YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/toadiscoil
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:21 AM   #43
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Introduction

Basics and how a helicopter flies,helicopter sizes, types and brands (this post)

Batteries, care, and other considerations, glossary

Dissecting a helicopter for building your own

My experience and tips, safety, computer simulation, acknowledgements

Basics and how a helicopter flies

On North America, usually controls are “Mode 2”. On other parts of the world they are different. Throughout this document I will only refer to this control scheme. I will also be using Collective Pitch helicopters although Fixed Pitch and Coaxial also exist. It is very difficult to recommend where to begin, although I will touch on that for a bit, but it helps to understand the concepts on the most complex but most used helicopter. Collective Pitch helicopters are also the only ones who can fly upside down (inverted) and are capable of “3D’. But more on that later.

Before understanding the movements, let’s talk a bit about how a helicopter works and its parts. Helicopters are mostly built with the following components:
  1. Airframe. This is the “skeleton” of the helicopter. Pure plastic, metal or carbon fibre, screws and Loctite.
  2. ESC. Electronic Speed Control. It funnels the energy from the battery to the motor.
  3. BEC. Battery Elimination Circuit. It powers the electronics on the helicopter that don’t need as much power as the motor. A lot of ESC’s nowadays have an embedded BEC. On large helicopters, usually BEC’s and ESC’s are independent.
  4. Servos. Electronics and gears that allow movement. Basically a lever that moves along a center hub, which provides a measure of how much it has moved in which direction.
  5. FBL. FlyBarLess controller. On modern helicopters, a complex mix of electronics and gyroscopes (think of the accelerometer controls that allow your phone to detect movement) that act as the brain of the helicopter. With or without included receiver for capturing the signals from the remote control (transmitter).
  6. Receiver. A stand-alone full receiver or a “satellite” receiver. Depending on the brand, FBL units will natively support one brand of transmitter, but will allow to add-on a receiver or satellite to receive controlling signals from other brands.
  7. Battery. There are different sizes and capacities. Usually they are LiPo (Lithium Polymer). More on batteries later on this post.
That alone was probably a lot of information. Add on top of that there are several brands that can be mixed and matched to build a helicopter so that it can be as inexpensive or as high-end as you want. Usually when you buy a helicopter it comes on a “kit” or a “combo”. Kits are basically just the airframe. Combos will include some or all electronics. Regardless if you purchase a kit or a combo you will need not only to assemble, but to solder the connectors for the battery and ESC (and BEC if you use a standalone) and program the ESC and FBL as well as tune it afterwards.

Again there is an argument for and against two approaches. Buy an assembled and Ready to Fly (RTF) or Bind and Fly (BNF – basically the difference is RTF is ready to fly and includes its transmitter, and BNF needs you to purchase a separate transmitter but is also ready to fly once you “bind” the transmitter to the helicopter’s FBL) or a kit or a combo. Buying a kit or a combo will provide you the opportunity to learn skills you will not have if you buy an RTF or BNF. These skills will become particularly important when you try to rebuild after a crash. So to start, the ideal is to get a helicopter that is easy to fix (usually a small size helicopter – around 200 size) in my opinion. Some recommend to get a bigger, more stable helicopter that will teach you all you need. Problem with this: more things can go wrong if you are just getting started = more crashes. More crashes = more money and more time and more chance of an accident. Yes, rotating blades at a high speed, the faster they rotate and the bigger they are, the more damage they can cause to property or *gasp* people.

Once a helicopter is ready to fly, it achieves so using lift. Basically, the main blades rotate until they reach a speed that is enough to generate force downwards that can propel the helicopter upwards. Since the blades are rotating along an axis going through a shaft to the motor, it creates torque. Basically the helicopter will want to rotate on its own axis. To counter this effect, tail blades will rotate countering this torque allowing it to remain pointing the same way.

On Collective Pitch helicopters, the speed of the motor will remain constant all the time. The helicopter will achieve lift by tilting the main blades in an angle that moves air differently allowing lift. With the helicopter attempting to lift off, it is called “positive pitch”. The blades angle to force air towards the ground and propel the helicopter upwards. If the blades are moved in the opposite way (say to achieve lift you need 6 degrees of positive pitch, having -6 degrees basically in the opposite direction) you will achieve what is called “negative pitch”. If the helicopter is flying upright, then the effect is that the air will blow from the blades to the sky, and not from the blades to the ground. This will effectively cause force downwards, slamming the helicopter to the ground. However, if the helicopter is upside down (inverted), the force is now on the correct direction to allow lift to be towards the ground, propelling the helicopter up. To me, this is by far the most awesome feature of these helicopters.

Collective Pitch is achieved by moving all three “cyclic” servos in tandem, which is why it is called “Collective”. But there are two more axis of movement on a helicopter. One is the rudder. Remember the torque countered by the tail blades? On Collective Pitch helicopters usually there are two designs TT (Torque Tube) or belt. They both try to match the speed of the main shaft with the speed of the tail shaft. Of course with the right gearing ratio to ensure the rotational torque is cancelled. There is one additional servo that goes to the tail which moves the pitch of the tail blades. This will allow either the rotational force to win and rotate the helicopter one way or counter it stronger to rotate the helicopter the other way.

Lastly, there is one more movement. It is called “Cyclic”. It controls the banking of the helicopter, in any direction, be it left, right, front or aft. It is achieved by moving each of the individual cyclic servos depending on where the movement is indicated on the control stick. So tail-in, if the helicopter banks right from a transmitter stick input, the cyclic right servo is pulling downwards to tilt the “swashplate” to the right. This swashplate is the piece, mounted on the main shaft, which tilts the entire blade assembly. It also travels up and down to tilt the blades for collective.

Of course it is a bit more complicated than that, but those are the basic movements of the helicopter. So now on to how they relate to the transmitter controls (mode 2):
  1. Collective. Up and down movement. Left stick up and down.
  2. Rudder. Rotation movement on the helicopter axis. Left stick left and right.
  3. Cyclic. Banking movement of the whole helicopter. Right stick all directions.
Remember the controls are different when flying inverted. If you want to play with that, use a simulator! Remember that when flying upright, cyclic controls change depending on your orientation. When flying inverted, also collective controls change as well as different cyclic controls.

Of helicopter sizes and types

There are many brands and sizes of helicopters. What I will put in here, again is my own knowledge. It is biased I know but I will try to place some options. Do some more research to find out what is best for you.
  1. Nano class. Helicopters 100 size and less. Also common to have the word “Nano” on their name. These are very small helicopters that are very useful for training and introduction to the hobby. They can and should be flown indoors since wind will carry them away. If what you want/need is to fly outdoors, this class may not work for you. A lot of people have Nanos for indoor flying and many more learned on them.
  2. Micro class. Helicopters 200-300 size and less. Probably the most common size people start out with, and very popular with even experienced pilots as they are referred to as “backyard flyers”. They fit perfectly on a backyard space, are usually made out of plastic and are easy to fix and cheap to repair. They are NOT toys though. You can tell by the name what size the heli is. For example Align TREX 250, Blade 230 S, Oxy 3.
  3. Mini class. Helicopters 300-500 size. This is the most common class experienced pilots fly as their main helicopter. Helicopters these size start to be VERY powerful and VERY fast. The components start to separate from the previous class (separate ESC from control board, sometime separate receiver from control board). They can be hovered on a backyard, but suitable for small fields. The low end of this class share characteristics with the high end of the previous class (like tail driven by main motor), and the high end of this class boarder on the next class with very powerful 6S batteries (more on batteries later) and aggressive maximum performance.
  4. And above. Starting 500 size I think helicopters don’t have too much of a difference from the high end of the previous class. Starting with the 500 class, they get much more expensive and the electronics are very similar from 500 all the way to 800 class. The 700 class is the most common competition class and what a lot of experienced pilots end up having. But have in mind a 700 class will need a dedicated R/C flying field or a large field to fly on.
  5. Odd sizes. This “class” classification was pioneered I believe by the most common R/C helicopter manufacturer, Align. Their TREX brand helicopter used to be THE most widely flown and owned helicopter a few years back. But competition has grown so much that Align is just one more player on a lot of brands available to purchase helicopters from. As of late, and I believe SAB Heli Division is to blame on this one, helicopters are also named not by their “class” but by the size in millimetres of the main blades. So the Goblin 380 is really a 450 class helicopter with 380mm main blades. They can be somewhat related to their class for standardization though. For example 350-400 size blades can be related to 450 class. The new convention is because what happened was that these helicopters, as the main blades are made larger, the tail has to be made larger as well. This is called “stretch” so the Goblin 380 is really a 450 stretch, but it is not yet a 500 size but if you compare side by side say an Align TREX 450L with a Goblin 380 you will see the Goblin is larger.
Brands

This is a VERY subjective portion of this post, be warned (well what part of this post isn’t). There are also MORE helicopter brands out there, but I will try to put in as many as I can think of.
  1. Blade. Very common brand. Most, if not all hobby shops will carry their product and spare parts. Hobby Town USA, a big national USA chain carries Blade helicopters so that extends how much people they can reach. They have from beginner to expert helicopters, but they all come pre-assembled and ready, either RTF or BNF versions. Blade is the brand of Horizon Hobby that makes helicopters, but Horizon Hobby is actually one of the biggest R/C players in the industry having also Spektrum for transmitters/receivers, Dynamite for battery chargers as well as products for R/C cars, boats, planes, helicopters and multi-rotors. Usually regarded as having excellent product support and good prices. However they may not have very cheap replacement parts (some of their parts compare to aftermarket prices which tend to be usually higher), specially on some higher-end models. Also you don’t get to pick your own electronics, you get what comes with the helicopter. They have very poor out-of-the-box maintenance/repair documentation.
  2. TREX. This is the brand from Align. People will usually refer to Blade helicopters as “Blade” but to TREX helicopters as “Align” mixing up the brand with the company that makes them. I will probably make the same mistake on this post, though. Align enjoyed a very dominant position in the R/C helicopter market until a few years. They were victims of heavy cloning of their designs which caused some lack of release of information trying to protect their intellectual property. Typically Align owners like them, and like Blade they have very good parts support, ironically also thanks to the cloning market. They tried to sell RTF packages but they no longer do (you can find them still but beware they are no longer manufactured ongoing, unsure about factory support), and sell only kits or combo with Align electronics. While being a very good value on its combo form, a lot of people complain they don’t include very good electronics. Also Align has one of the best team pilots, Alan Szabo Jr. which has helped introduce many people to the hobby since he flies stock Align helicopters. Align helicopters have a solid reputation of being reliable, but somewhat difficult to setup and build, and usually a step up from Blade, however a lot of people started out with Align helicopters.
  3. Gaui. If there is something that Gaui helicopters are known for is being very sturdy. They have a very good reputation for being able to be very resistant on crashes. While all helicopters sustain heavy damage when crashed, Gaui seems to have a very good design that allows for less parts to be damaged compared to a similar heli on a similar crash, and cheap replacement parts. Gaui is also one of the main players on the R/C helicopter industry.
  4. Logo. This is the brand produced by Mikado. This German company not only produces the Logo helicopters but also the VBAR and VCONTROL electronics. VBAR is widely regarded as one of the best FBL units and recently they developed their controller/transmitter called VCONTROL. It has several features which I will not cover here, but is apparently a step up from the current batch of such products. Remember that even though Mikado manufactures the VCONTROL to be used with VBAR (VLINK is basically VBAR with included native receiver for VCONTROL), with a receiver or satellite receiver, VBAR can use any brand of transmitter. Being on the topic of transmitters, it is important to note that Horizon Hobby with their Spektrum transmitters, has a significant market share on this segment of transmitters. But there are many brands, ranging in diverse prices. Transmitters is probably actually a different post altogether.
  5. Goblin. Before it was only an Italian helicopter brand with limited parts availability and ridiculously expensive. Today, it is difficult to not see a Goblin dominance at any R/C helicopter event, talking about sheer number of Goblin owners. It is widely regarded as the most expensive to own and crash, but best performing helicopter around. It is so popular that it can be very easy (if you have the money) to build one (the build step-by-step instructions are also a big part of their success) because there are Goblin specific electronics from different manufacturers, especially on their most popular model the Goblin 380. They conquered the industry with a radically different design, and great performance. They also sponsor a huge pilot team, being their best pilot Kyle Stacy. I mention him because he even has KSE (Kyle Stacy Edition) helicopters made by SAB that have a unique look and different components than regular versions. The company that makes Goblins is called SAB Heli Division.
  6. Oxy. This is a very unique case. The owner of Lynx Heli Innovations, a helicopter aftermarket parts manufacturer, decided to create their very own helicopter. It is wildly popular as it is very configurable on different battery options, is resistant to crashes and has low ongoing maintenance costs. It also has a reputation for excellent performance. Given the size of its only current offering, the Oxy 3, pilots of all skill levels tend to have one as a backyard trainer.
  7. Others. Although there are many brands out there, these I think are the most well-known and the ones that manufacture helicopters on diverse classes to tailor to different types of customers. Well, except for the Oxy 3 but it is such a popular helicopter it was worth mentioning. Other brands compete also on the higher size helicopters so I have also left them out given they are not for entry-level pilots which is what this post is designed to target.
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Goblins: 500 Sport (Ghost - in progress) / 420 (Panthro) / 380 (Yellowbird) / Others: Oxy 3 TE (Danny) / DX9 BE & DX6 G2 / [Citizen 755] Team Pilot HobbyBoost.Com YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/toadiscoil

Last edited by ArchmageAU; 05-04-2016 at 10:27 PM..
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:29 AM   #44
toadiscoil
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Introduction

Basics and how a helicopter flies,helicopter sizes, types and brands

Batteries, care, and other considerations, glossary (this post)

Dissecting a helicopter for building your own

My experience and tips, safety, computer simulation, acknowledgements

Batteries, care, and other considerations

One more thing that comes to mind is batteries. This is the power plant for all electric R/C helicopters. Someone will surely note that I missed a few things so far like Coaxial helicopters (helicopters without tail blades, using two main blades rotating on opposite direction to counter rotational torque), Fixed Pitch helicopters (helicopters that have no Collective, using motor speed instead to achieve lift), Speed helicopters (highly aerodynamic and powerful helicopters for high speed competition – they can be specific Speed models or regular models tailored for speed), F3C helicopters (high precision helicopters – again can be specific precision models or tailored), Nitro and Gasser helicopters (which use alternate means of power instead of batteries), among others. Honestly the topic of R/C helicopters is so immense that as long as this post is, it could be ten times larger. That is why Helifreak is such a massive site. But I hope this post serves as a good introduction point.

Well back to subject. With electric R/C helicopters, the power plant is LiPo batteries as briefly explained before. They come in different sizes, with a varying amount of cells (which dictates how much power they can output as well as the physical size of the battery) and varying amounts of power that they can hold (measured in mAH) and varying amounts of power they can output to the motor at a time (measured in “C” ratings). Batteries are very important not only because they power the helicopter but because of their weight they are important also in CoG (Center of Gravity) considerations in a helicopter.

To be honest the first time I found about the importance of CoG I felt kind of dumb that such a simple concept was so important, but to my defense it is not very well documented. When placing a battery on a helicopter, they are placed at the front of the helicopter. They need to have Velcro-type adhesive straps to fix them in place and a Velcro strap to fasten the battery and lock it down during flight. How much farther front or aft the battery is placed will affect the overall balance of the helicopter. If the CoG is towards aft, the helicopter will tend to want to tilt backwards during flight, and of course the opposite is true as well.

To assess CoG grab the helicopter by the head and hold it so the main shaft is parallel to the ground (it's supposed to take this strain as this is how movement in the blades is transferred to the body of the model). While main shaft parallel, turn the main body of the model. If it tries to always settle tail down, it's tail heavy (move battery forward) If it tries to settle nose down, it's nose heavy (move battery backward). These tests must be done with canopy on.

For a quicker CoG test, lift the helicopter with one index finger on each bottom of each blade as close to the centre head as possible, with the blades open and perpendicular to the helicopter tail (boom). If the helicopter tilts backwards, then you need to adjust CoG by pushing the battery farther ahead. Yet again, test with canopy on.

Also the best way is to place the wiring towards the aft of the helicopter so that the end that has no wires does not interfere with the canopy and can be pushed forward without the cables taking up space when setting up CoG. You can strap the wires with the fastening strap to avoid them getting to the moving parts of the helicopter.

Now to the terms on batteries:
  1. Size. Generally speaking, battery size is determined by the amount of cells it has. Although there are other sizes, the most common are 3S, 6S and 12S. A bigger helicopter with a bigger motor will need a bigger battery. So for micro helicopters, usually you will have a 3S battery. This means you have 3 cells on that battery. Each LiPo battery cell supplies 3.7 volts of power at 10% charge. It is important to know because batteries will be damaged (even potentially catching fire, true fact) holding their charge for less time if you discharge them below that level or if you keep them charged at their max (4.2 volts) for too long. Generally speaking, a voltage of 3.8 is a good voltage per cell to keep the battery in storage, and it is recommended not to go below this. Regular transmitters will have a timer option so you can always hit the same discharge voltage after a flight. It is fairly predictable since a particular flying style with a Collective Pitch helicopter having the motor always at a constant speed, will drain a particular battery on the same amount of time consistently, given it is in good shape. There is also telemetry that can actually measure the voltage real time but that is advanced setup which I won’t cover.
  2. Capacity. Generally speaking, the more mAH, the more power the battery can hold. So 1800mAH battery will yield on a particular heli say 4 minutes while a 1300mAH, 3 minutes. These are not typical numbers, just used for didactic purposes. Power is volts x amps, so a 3S battery with 2000mAH holds the same amount of power as a 6S battery with 1000 mAH. From two 3S 1000mAH batteries you can make one 3S 2000mAH battery by connecting in parallel, or one 6S 1000mAH battery by connecting in series.
  3. Discharge rate. Both the charge and the discharge rates are measures in units of “C”. Generally speaking, the higher the number, the higher the discharge or charge rate. Let’s tackle discharge first. Let’s take for example a 1800mAH 6S battery. The manufacturer will usually state on the battery the discharge rate. Let’s say this battery has a 45C discharge rate. The difference with a battery with a say 65C discharge rate is that this last battery is capable of discharging more power to the motor, which usually results in a helicopter that is faster (motor running faster), which is the ideal for hard 3D flips, pirouettes, and manoeuvres that require quick movements of the helicopter. Discharge and charge are output in Amperes. The higher the discharge rate, the shorter the flight time, though (but more intense during that shorter time).
  4. Charge rate. The charge rate is also dictated by the manufacturer. Generally speaking, 1C = 1000mAH=1 Ampere. This number is very important because that dictates how many Amperes you can charge the battery at. Since there are many types of batteries, battery charger manufacturers provide models that can charge a variety of batteries.
Choosing a battery charger is also a task by itself (and another post), but there are many that are one single unit where you can set by buttons or dials the Amperes at which you want to charge the battery at. To determine this, use the simple 1C=1000mAH=1A rule. Let’s take our same battery example, 1800mAH 6S with a charge rate of 1C (discharge rate is not really important here). Just divide 1800 by 1000 which yields 1.8. So you need to set your charger to charge this particular battery at 1.8 Amps. Please note that manufacturers may state that they have a higher charge rate. Although you might choose to do so, have in mind that this may stress the battery. It is generally safe to charge ANY battery at 1C. People with batteries with high charge rates may decide to use that while at the field when they need a quick recharge, but will almost always charge afterwards at 1C or a bit higher (if the battery spec allows). So for example in our same battery if it has a 5C charge rate, then you can charge the battery at 9 Amps because 1.8 Amps for 1C, so 5 times that is 9. This translates to more power output by the charger to the battery which yields shorter charge times. Have in mind that a charger that can output more Amps is generally more expensive though. People also parallel-charge to charge several batteries at a time but that is also an advanced topic I will not cover here. Bottom line, charge at 1C always, maybe charge at 2C if you have a high charge rate battery like 5C.

Glossary

Like any other hobby or field of knowledge, R/C Helicopters have their own arcane language. People who have been in the hobby for a while like to speak in these obscure acronyms and common wordings. Fear not and here is a list of some of the most used. There is a comprehensive list on Helifreak if you want you can check that also as well (link is at the end of this section). But hopefully this small list will get you going.

IRL. In Real Life. Due to the importance of computer simulated training, IRL is how the flying of an actual physical helicopter is referred to.

Dial in/tune.
The process of small tweaks on a helicopter after assembly. Advanced pilots will mostly build their own helicopters so any imperfections on mechanical setup, or unaccounted variables need to be corrected on the first flight. This process is a common step after building a helicopter. Experienced pilots will dial-in even pre-assembled helicopters being aware of small corrections needed.

Pre-flight check. The process of verifying correct operation of the helicopter before it is on the air. This is a VERY important process every pilot of any skill level should perform. Basics are to ensure the helicopter is safely on TH, perform movement of all actions (collective, rudder, cyclic), ensure all bolts are present and tight, belt has the proper tension, etc. Pilots will add to their own checklists from past experiences.

Maiden. The very first flight of a helicopter after assembly or after a pre-assembled helicopter is ready to fly (batteries charged, radio bound).

Auto/Auto-rotation.
It is possible for a Collective Pitch helicopter to land with the motor off. The motor will not brake but will keep on turning due to momentum of the blades. Applying the right amount of collective at the right time will allow the helicopter to push enough air down to provide lift. Properly timed, this can provide a small thrust upwards to counter the gravity and allow the helicopter to land softly. This is a very common method of landing because high speed blades and the motor still pushing them can significantly damage the helicopter components even on a tip-over at ground level. When an auto is done for landing from a small height, it is also called “mini” or “baby” auto.

Spool up. From when the helicopter blades start spinning until they reach the optimal speed, which may be pre-set by a governor or tied to a certain position of the collective (referred to as Throttle Curve).

CA. Cyanoacrylate. Krazy Glue or similar potent contact adhesive (cyanoacrylate is the basic component present on all brands of such products).

Bind/Binding. Process of connecting a transmitter radio to a helicopter receiver. A unique identifier will be set to each of the two sender/receiver which permanently attaches that radio to that receiver. Note the receiver can be re-bound to another radio or radios can have multiple helicopters (or planes, cars, etc.) for which they can have an unique bind to.

TH. Throttle Hold. An assigned switch on a transmitter radio that immediately signals the FBL and ESC to shut down the main motor.

Pitch Curve. The curve (as a succession of points) of the amount of pitch on the main blades, relative to the collective. Seen another way, this setting determines the amount of movement the swashplate has up and down. This is one of the settings used to determine basically how aggressive the helicopter performs with the movements of the collective stick.

D/R. Dual Rates. Originally used in RC aircraft allow different rates of response to the controls while the model is flying. DR changes the limits of the control signal. In short it is a limit on how far the servo is supposed to move at maximum stick deflection. A DR of 50 means at full stick deflection, the servo moves half the distance from middle to end. On a helicopter it is used on cyclic and rudder to adjust the maximum spin and roll rates thereby making controls softer or more aggressive. High DR (100) makes the model control feel aggressive, Low DR (40) makes the model feel more docile. Generally a beginner should start at a low DR so as to limit the aggressiveness of the models response to commands and gradually increase this as they grow in proficiency.

Expo. Alters the rate of change of the signal between center stick at the limits. The more expo, the slower the model will respond around mid stick, however the maximum spin and roll rate will be unchanged. With a low expo setting the helicopter to respond instantly to even the slightest movement. Another way to think of it is high expo the helicopter will feel "mushy", but at the at limits moves out of control, at low expo the helicopter feels "twitchy" and over-responsive to center stick movements. Different pilots will adjust expo to suit their taste. Generally speaking it is better to start at moderate expo so the controls still feel connected and use DR adjustments to slow the movement of the helicopter to what is comfortable to you.

CoG or CG. Centre of Gravity. Measure of how much weight is distributed around the helicopter relative to the axis of the main shaft. Perfect CoG therefore will be a helicopter that has the same weight on all of its parts from the main shaft to any extreme of the helicopter. Seen another way, this will affect how much the helicopter tilts to any direction naturally if weight is towards that direction. A helicopter with a perfect CoG (and correctly adjusted mechanically, that is if the swashplate is level or not and if the blades have 0 degrees of pitch at half collective stick) will be easier to hover.

TX. The transmitter radio used to control the helicopter. In the case of the helicopters described throughout this post, a 6 channel to 7 channel transmitter is required.

RX. The receiving unit attached to the helicopter. Some FBL units have included RX to their own brand of TX, or will be able to use an external receiver or satellite receiver.

Smack/mash. Common speak for quick movement of the sticks resulting in what is called “extreme 3D” or very quick movements of the helicopter in flight in all directions.

3D flying. Type of helicopter flying that has movements on all 360 degrees. The most common type of flying and most widely used on competitions. All Collective Pitch helicopters are able to perform these types of manoeuvres, however more powerful ones will be able to perform them more quickly and some helicopters will be able to perform them more precisely. How is probably a post of its own.

F3C flying. Type of helicopter flying that is based on precision rather than speed or extremism (i.e. flying too close to the ground).

Speed flying. Type of helicopter flying that is based on speed rather than precision or extremism. Usually very high end components, big motors and aerodynamic bodies.

Head-speed. Revolutions per minute at which the main blades are rotating. Helicopters will almost always have three settings (it depends on the brand of transmitter/helicopter, but it is mostly true in all cases). Normal, IU1 and IU2 (IU stands for Idle Up). “Normal” is usually low head-speed and what is used to spool up, some may use it to lift off and to land. IU1 and IU2 are usually mid to high (IU1) and max (IU2) head-speed settings. Take into consideration the positives and negatives of each. Positives of high head-speed is that it will handle the air better, and perform more aggressively. Negatives is that they become more dangerous to property and people, and when crashed they cause significantly more damage to themselves.

For more terms see:
https://www.helifreak.com/faq.php?faq...faq_hfglossary
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Goblins: 500 Sport (Ghost - in progress) / 420 (Panthro) / 380 (Yellowbird) / Others: Oxy 3 TE (Danny) / DX9 BE & DX6 G2 / [Citizen 755] Team Pilot HobbyBoost.Com YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/toadiscoil

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Old 05-03-2016, 10:31 AM   #45
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Introduction

Basics and how a helicopter flies,helicopter sizes, types and brands

Batteries, care, and other considerations, glossary

Dissecting a helicopter for building your own (this post)

My experience and tips, safety, computer simulation, acknowledgements

Dissecting a helicopter for building your own

On this post I have mentioned there are basically four types of helicopters you can buy (in the context of their flight readiness). BNF (Bind N Fly), RTF (Ready To Fly), kit and combo. In this section I would like to explore the kit and combo options. Have in mind there are additional skills and tools you require to build your own kit or combo helicopter. I recommend to start with a BNF or RTF helicopter which will require anyways work if crashed. A kit or combo should only be attempted by newcomers into the hobby if they come from a different RC background (cars, boats, planes) or highly proficient by trade on electronics and/or mechanical engineering. Even so it will be challenging.
You will need to know how to:
  1. Mechanically setup the head of a helicopter. This is required for the helicopter to be able to fly level.
  2. Solder electrical connections. Some batteries come with the connector installed from factory but chances are you will end up soldering your own. Also you will require to solder connectors for the motor and for the ESC. This also requires appropriate soldering tools. Depending on the size of the helicopter you may also need to solder a BEC.
  3. Program a FBL unit. After you have gone through the exercise of selecting a proper transmitter/radio and a matching FBL unit and receiver, you will need to setup the electronics via a computer, manual inputs, transmitter integration, or Bluetooth with smartphone app, depending on which unit is chosen.
  4. Program an ESC. The ESC has several programmable options to match the other components on the helicopter which will receive power from it from its internal BEC (if so equipped) or at least you need to setup several options to tune the motor and incoming throttle information from the transmitter/radio.
All of that information is daunting. It is a significant amount of skill, tools and information versus RTF/BNF units, which is why you should start there, in my opinion. Some of these can be “exercised” by getting the default settings and tweaking, and some mechanical knowledge will probably be learned when crashing and rebuilding even an RTF/BNF unit. So eventually the gap will be smaller and it will make sense to jump to a kit/combo.

Have in mind also that if you search the classifieds you will come across that people sell their kit or combo helicopters in a BNF or RTF format, or ARF missing a few components. This is certainly another option but note that it will be tailored to the pilot who had it (whose skill is probably significantly ahead of yours) so it may be uncontrollable and immediately crashed. Also it is not new, it has probably even had its mishaps. Experienced pilots make it a habit of reviewing the entire helicopter when they buy used to ensure everything is up to spec to prevent a crash. Again it is an option but should be explored when the time to build your own kit or combo has come.

Next I will discuss the options available for each component. Please note it is not a comprehensive list and as has been the case with this post it is based on my experience and biased opinion.
  1. Airframe. Several options of brands are mentioned on this post, but I will focus on the options available for some brands.
    1. Blade. They sell NO kit or combo helicopters.
    2. Align/TREX. Probably the most cost-effective option. They sell kits and combos with Align electronics. Due to the increasing popularity of other brands, used helicopters can be found for very good prices.
    3. Gaui. Gaui also sells combo options with Gaui re-branded electronics licensed from existing manufacturers as they are mostly an airframe company.
    4. Logo. As mentioned before, Mikado has a FBL and a transmitter/radio that are highly integrated but expensive. To my knowledge Mikado sells the bare airframe with no electronics (kit only).
    5. Goblin. These helicopters can be found in combo form with retailers, but they are essentially a kit model. The company behind them (SAB) sells only the kit with the notable exception of the Goblin 500 Sport which includes low cost but reputable brand electronics and is to my point of view one of the most cost-effective options of its class.
    6. Oxy. Currently only the Oxy 3 in several versions but planning other sizes. They bundle with the motor only although the parent company, Lynx does manufacture servos.
  2. ESC. As mentioned before, the ESC can have a BEC embedded or a separate one can be used. There is an additional option called “governor”. Given that the battery is reducing its capacity to produce voltage as it runs out, the governor option allows the ESC to try to maintain the motor at the same speed during the duration of the flight. On ESC’s there are also low voltage and high voltage applications which usually are tied to the size of the helicopter given the demand of more power from larger motors. Some options:
    1. Castle Creations. Probably one of the most popular brands and widely adopted. Has several types of BECs for low voltage and high voltage applications.
    2. Hobbywing. A relative newcomer brand that has aggressively priced their products and is popular for having good quality and good governing capabilities.
    3. Kontronik. Easily the most expensive ESC available. It is debatable whether the improvement of quality and features over other brands justifies the huge gap in cost difference against other ESC offerings.
  3. BEC. On smaller helicopters (class 450 and below) it is very common to have embedded BEC into the ESC. As the demand for power grows on larger helicopters, an external BEC is common on those. Some pilots choose to run independent power to the electronics especially with powerful and power-hungry servos. Given I have no personal experience using BEC as I use the embedded BEC I cannot comment on brands.
  4. Servos. Servos are the component that really moves the helicopter around and has to deal with the airflow. So they are a very important piece. However modern servos have gotten highly competitive and some brands are even manufactured at the same facility. Also given that servos really require no programming, the choice of servos is usually dependent on your budget and recommendations from fellow pilots. Just have in mind that if you get servos that are HV (high voltage) you have to set your ESC to output the power they need and this will require overall more power from the BEC. If the total power that the electronics require is greater than what the BEC can deliver you will experience a “brown out” and the electronics will power down, plummeting your helicopter hopelessly to the ground.
    1. BK. These are the product of a pilot who started his own business and was highly successful in doing so. There is a wide presence of BK servos in the helicopter world. Named after him, Bert Kammerer servos offer low cost, good customer service, reliability and have a machined casing that complements nicely with good looking helicopters.
    2. KST. Very high quality and reliable servos with a price that is usually lower than its competitors. Quite frankly I am very surprised why they are not more widely adopted, although their micro servo the KST DS215MG is very popular on the 450 class helicopters.
    3. Xpert. Again as mentioned the quality of servos has gotten to a point where only the most discerning pilot will be able to notice the change in performance. Also the difference will be more drastic on high voltage, bigger servos.
    4. Torq. Another good servo option.
    5. MKS. Yet another good servo option. Lots to choose from.
    6. Spektrum. By default found on Blade helicopter as Spektrum and Blade are both part of Horizon Hobby. Again reliable as most servos but their casing is usually made out of plastic instead of metal as most other servo brands.
    7. Savox. Another brand to choose from.
    8. RJX. And another.
  5. FBL. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options to choose from electronics, the choice of FBL unit is the single most important component given its efficiency dictated how well the helicopter flies overall. Many pilots like one FBL and stay with it. They can all be tailored to the pilot’s needs. And there are also plenty of options.
    1. Mikado NEO. Probably the most expensive option. However that does not stop it from being widely adopted. The VBAR Control (simply referred to as VCONTROL) is a radio/transmitter that seamlessly integrates with the FBL unit. Usually to program a FBL unit it is required to connect a computer or a programming unit. The NEO and VCONTROL combo allow to configure the FBL from the radio, even in flight (not recommended unless you really know what you are doing). Their VLINK is the receiver and FBL combo so only a single unit is needed.
      1. Cost: High
      2. Popularity: High
      3. Rescue: additional fee
      4. Embedded receiver: yes (VLINK only)
    2. Spektrum AR series and BeastX. Probably because of the popularity of Blade helicopters, this FBL is widely adopted. Since the AR7200BX has been discontinued, its price on the used market makes it a very affordable option. Spektrum allied with BeastX and their AR series is the FBL and receiver combo to link naturally to a DX Spektrum radio. However BeastX also sells the FBL stand-alone without embedded receiver.
      1. Cost: Medium
      2. Popularity: High
      3. Rescue: additional fee
      4. Embedded receiver: yes (Spektrum AR series only)
    3. Spirit. This is a FBL unit that is famous mostly for its Rescue capabilities. As I have not flown anything other than Spektrum AR7200BX I only know what I read about it. And what I read is that the Rescue works very well but it is a bit more difficult to program than others.
      1. Cost: Medium
      2. Popularity: Medium
      3. Rescue: Included
      4. Embedded receiver: None
    4. Neuron. Relative newcomer into the FBL market. Very small footprint.
      1. Cost: Low
      2. Popularity: Medium/Low
      3. Rescue: Included
      4. Embedded receiver: None
    5. 3Digi. Another newcomer into the FBL market. Also very small footprint. A very favourable review from the RCHN podcast has probably increased its popularity as it was compared to the top tier of FBL units in terms of performance and ease of programming.
      1. Cost: Low
      2. Popularity: Medium/Low
      3. Rescue: No
      4. Embedded receiver: None
    6. iKon and Brain. The iKon has also been a very popular FBL unit and the Brain is their low-cost option. The iKon has capabilities to be programmed remotely via Bluetooth. They did not have Rescue but a firmware update will add this capability to it.
      1. Cost: Medium
      2. Popularity: High
      3. Rescue: planned
      4. Embedded receiver: None
    7. Skookum. This is the only FBL unit that I am aware of that has GPS capabilities for a “Return to Home” function and “Altitude Control”. Basically in addition to returning the helicopter to a stable level on emergency as in any Rescue option, it also logs the initial lift-off position and returns automatically to it and preserves a set altitude.
      1. Cost: High
      2. Popularity: Medium
      3. Rescue: Included
      4. Embedded receiver: None
    8. Bavarian Demon. The FBL that originally pioneered including Rescue on their FBL unit. It seems it also has a GPS option unknown of its capabilities.
      1. Cost: Medium/High
      2. Popularity: Medium
      3. Rescue: Included
      4. Embedded receiver: None
    9. Spartan. This is the FBL that BK Designs promotes and represents in the US.
      1. Cost: Medium
      2. Popularity: Medium
      3. Rescue: No
      4. Embedded receiver: None
  6. Receiver. There are two types of receivers. A full stand-alone or a “satellite” receiver. The latter has the minimum footprint and capability and requires a FBL attached. Given the FBL massive adoption on the hobby, satellites are more common that full size stand-alone receivers. The stand-alones used to be for when the gyro and components were separate on the flybar days. The type of receiver must be matched to the type of radio. There are also additional components depending on the brand that allow for “telemetry” with additional sensors so that battery voltage, motor RPM, and other useful data can be stored and monitored throughout the flight.
  7. Battery. There are not only different brands of batteries but different types of connectors. Some are meant for higher capacity batteries to handle the extra voltage and some are just more convenient that others. Some batteries will come with connectors installed from factory but most batteries come without any connector. This requires the ESC and the battery to use soldering to attach the connectors to them and they must both match.
  8. Tools. Finally, I have learned that the proper tools make a SIGNIFICANT difference in proper assembly/maintenance of a helicopter. To add to this there are several types of lubricants for different applications. The most common tools are:
    1. Drivers. Hex, flat and Philips. Use high-quality drivers. Cheap ones will start to wear and start to strip the screw heads.
    2. Pliers. Cutting pliers for cutting wire and zip ties, needle nose pliers for miscellaneous tasks.
    3. Ball-link pliers. To assist with removing and installing the servo to swash and swash to head ball linkages.
    4. Digital pitch gauge. Required for measurements of the head when setup after assembly.
    5. Battery voltage meter. Required to monitor battery voltage before and after flights.
    6. Soldering gun or station. Required for soldering connections. Also need the appropriate tip and solder (usually rosin-core 60/40).
    7. Velcro. To strap batteries.
    8. Double-sided tape. To fasten electronics (mainly the FBL) to the frame. Tip also used to secure the FBL servo connections.
    9. Loctite. Blue Loctite (medium strength) is the one used on ALL metal to metal screws. Beware of metal to plastic as Loctite chemically attacks plastic and causes it to crack. Loctite needs NOT be applied in excess.
    10. Grease. The Dry Fluid grease seems to be very popular lately but do some research. There are several types of grease for several applications.
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Last edited by ArchmageAU; 05-04-2016 at 10:30 PM..
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Old 05-03-2016, 10:53 AM   #46
toadiscoil
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Introduction

Basics and how a helicopter flies,helicopter sizes, types and brands

Batteries, care, and other considerations, glossary

Dissecting a helicopter for building your own

My experience and tips, safety, computer simulation, acknowledgements (this post)

My experience and tips

I have been flying since March 31st, 2015. I started with a Fixed Pitch Blade 200 SRX which is very easy to fix, and is a very good overall helicopter. It has been on the market for quite some time now and will probably be discontinued after the release of the 230 S. But it has tons of aftermarket parts to the point where you can completely rebuild it with very minimal stock parts.

First tip: Keep it stock! Upgrading a helicopter from stock involves going from plastic to aluminium and/or carbon fibre. This means not only that crashes will be significantly more expensive to keep the same upgraded part on the helicopter, but it also means that you will need to rebuild the helicopter in ways that you may not have needed to unless you had a crash. Sometimes people will buy upgraded parts precisely to replace crashed parts. But as my advice to you, don’t upgrade until you are comfortably flying the helicopter and not crashing often. Most parts will not improve performance, but even those who do your skill set may not even notice the difference.

Second tip: Practice autos and avoid high head-speed when landing. A helicopter if it tips over or hits the blades to the ground will significantly decrease damage to itself if it has lower head-speed or, even better, if the motor is off. This is why it is important to practice to try to land with the motor off (autorotate). Practice on the simulator and then move on to IRL. For me, safest way to land and take off is on Normal mode until autos are made proficient.

Third tip: Learn how to build (but take your time). Although it is perfectly normal (and in my case I did it that way) to start off with already assembled helicopters, building and setting up a helicopter is a skill that must be mastered. On the simulator, helicopters are always perfect, but IRL they may be mechanically imperfectly setup on top of more variables playing that the simulator cannot duplicate. There is a lot that is involved in learning how to build and setup a helicopter, so start with an easy and cheap (to fix – beware of the trap of a cheap/used helicopter and not taking into consideration the spare parts or additional tools needed to fix – so don’t just take into consideration the helicopter’s upfront cost) helicopter. I learned what I know so far by completely disassembling my 360 CFX (a pre-assembled helicopter) after a significant crash. This way I learned how to build and setup a helicopter.

Fourth tip: Be patient! Sadly, this hobby will severely punish being impatient. Trust me I have gone through that many times. My second crash on the 360 CFX was because I tried to setup the helicopter quickly without going through all the FBL configuration steps trying to get back on the air. It took me a couple of minutes to smash an uncontrollable helicopter to the ground, incurring in a very significant and particularly damaging crash.

Fifth tip: Get the right tools. Get a good set of screwdrivers, needle nose pliers, cable ties, cable cutters, tweezers, Loctite (blue) and CA. Some pre-assembled RTF or BNF helicopters include small tools that might get you by. But ensure you check all screws are properly fastened and always use Loctite on metal to metal screws (not plastic, it actually creates an adverse effect). Loctite when cured will help prevent the bolt from loosening, especially important due to the physical stress and vibration that will run through the helicopter on flight.

Final tip: Budget for the hobby. Even though this guide is meant to help you try to get the proper knowledge and resources to minimize crashing, it is highly likely it will happen, especially during the initial learning phase. You need to make sure you not only have money for the upfront cost of the helicopter and tools, but also for some spares when a crash comes. Some people buy a second helicopter as spare parts. Choose the helicopter that may probably allow you to even do this. It is very easy to spend at least the amount of the original cost of the helicopter on the first six months of ownership, or even less.

Safety


Don’t be distracted by the fact that this section appears almost at the end of this series of posts. Safety is VERY important on this hobby. The subject of safety is not just around how the helicopter itself can most evidently cause damage (the main blades) but other considerations.

Let’s begin with the most logical. Helicopters span blades from 100mm all the way to 800mm. The speed necessary to rotate these blades fast enough to perform 3D manoeuvres is sometimes insane. Helicopters need enough air pushing to perform stops, flips, flying inverted or sideways, etc. This basically transforms the blades into flying, rotating knives. As a practical example, a 450 size helicopter can create significant cuts on a person even with three layers of clothing if crashing directly.

When getting started, do not fly the helicopter past your skills. Try to fly “three mistakes high” and away from yourself. This is also why I don’t personally recommend to get started with anything other than a micro helicopter. They cause less damage to themselves and to any property or people, and are much less expensive and easy to fix (less parts).
The AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) is an independent association that publishes some guidelines of how to safely fly model aircraft. It is recommended to go to their web site and review them and also join them in membership. Basically the best recommendation is to fly on a dedicated AMA field (they also publish how to build a flying site that abides to their safety rules). If this is not available, then it is necessary to avoid proximity of people or animals and have a sufficient space for the size of the helicopter. It is also recommended to have a fire extinguisher handy.

The other risk of RC helicopters is batteries. The most common type of battery as has been pointed out previously is LiPo. They have the characteristic of being able to deliver power sufficient for the strong requirements of the motors (and other electronics but the motor is what takes the vast majority of the power), at the cost of being slightly unstable. LiPos should always be handled with care. With a charged battery, a physical hit can puncture the protective layer which will cause a chain reaction and cause the battery to start a fire or even explode (depending how much charge and how hard the impact is). Given the fact helicopters are involved in crashes, then there is a potential risk hazard every time they hit the ground (hence the fire extinguisher).

Always verify the integrity of the batteries, do not overcharge them and do not discharge them past the previous recommendations. Also do not charge a “puffed” battery or one that looks physically damaged. There are some threads on HeliFreak talking about how to discharge a battery to zero when in preparation for disposal and follow proper battery disposal procedures for your area.

Computer simulation


There are safety and cost considerations when talking about helicopters due to the possibility of crashes. What if you could fly and crash all you wanted without incurring any of these two potential risks? It is possible and HIGHLY recommended to use a computer simulation. Even pro pilots rehearse new moves or fine-tune their skills on computer simulators. Have in mind that no computer simulation can recreate all the variables that a real helicopter encounters (as a simple example, a real helicopter may be assembled slightly incorrect while a computer model is always perfect) but it is definitely an invaluable tool when learning from the start or when trying something new.

There are many brands of computer simulators, and each person likes their own as they have tailored it to their liking. Some feel more “real” than others (because of better physics engine codes on the program itself) and some have better training modes. Some include controllers and some even have easy wireless control capabilities (to use with your existing controller that is used for your real aircraft). Again as has been the case with this post, I will place my personal opinion on the options available:
  1. FMS. Very old, free program. I believe it is actually no longer available but you will come across the name mostly with cables compatible with FMS to use your existing radio/controller/transmitter.
  2. Clearview. It includes support and models for all RC craft, not just helicopters. It also supports community-developed model content so you can get more helicopters online. It comes in two versions. The full version includes all RC sites and RC models and allows for this community plug-in addition. The SE version includes only a few RC sites and RC models and allows you to pay individually for more as you see fit, but does not allow for community plug-ins.
  3. HeliX. This is the program used on ArchmageAU’s flight training. It comes with some of the best training aids available on any other program. It has a small footprint, that is, it can be run on most computers, not requiring a high-end computer to run like computer games.
  4. neXt. This is a more recent program that also utilizes a small footprint. It has started to gain popularity and is continuously updated with new RC models. Both HeliX and neXt are dedicated exclusively to RC helicopters.
  5. AccuRC. Regarded as having one of the best (next to RealFlight) physics engine which make them the most realistic to fly. The interface is complex but it is a very powerful software, but also requires a better computer to run. It has adapters that allow natively for wireless simulation with different brands of transmitters.
  6. Phoenix. Both Phoenix and RealFlight are possibly the most common RC simulators. They come in the usual “shrink-wrap” packaging and are available bundled with controllers. Horizon Hobby, one of the biggest RC companies in the world, purchased Phoenix so it has all the Blade helicopter models and supports their implementation of Rescue called SAFE.
  7. RealFlight. Another popular simulator. It is sold bundled with a transmitter or with adapters for wireless simulation. As mentioned before, regarded as having one of the best physics engines.

Whichever software you decide, another important factor is the transmitter. It is possible to use the same transmitter you use for your real life model or to use a dedicated transmitter. If you use the transmitter bundled with the software you will have no issue. If you use your own transmitter, you will need to buy an adapter cable, either from the manufacturer of the software or an aftermarket one that plugs into the USB port of your computer. You can also purchase a USB controller that looks and behaves like a transmitter but cannot be used with a real helicopter.

Another option is to use wireless which approaches more the way real flying works. There are a few adapters available from HobbyKing, and a couple of options like RX2SIM and SimStick if your software does not support it with their own adapters. There are also a few threads on forums how to make your own.

Acknowledgements


Special thanks to ArchmageAU who contributed with some edits to this post and is my overall Yoda mentor on my R/C journey. Honestly, follow his training, it works.

Thanks to ChopperFreak for talking about this post and about Safety, so a section has been added.

Thanks to Jasmine2501 for commenting on the long post. Thanks to that suggestion it has been broken into smaller pieces which worked out nicely.

Thanks to YOU if you have reached this far, and that is a sincere thank you. I hope this post has been useful and serves as a brief introduction to a whole new world. An addictive and complex hobby, but the difficulty yields a higher level of satisfaction when achieved. It also creates a very nice atmosphere at fly events because they all know how hard they are to fly and how expensive, disheartening and time-consuming they are to fix when crashed. Some people enjoy rebuilding and some like building so much that they get into trading/selling just to get a different helicopter to build. But no one likes crashing for sure. Ironically, I have learned the most of what little I know about building/setup by crashing, though.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:41 AM   #47
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I admit I didn't read everything, but from what I've read it's very good and detailed, I'd have loved to have all that information available in one place when I started..

I have to note that iKon and Brain are the exact same thing, just different color casing. The iKon seems to be more geared towards the US market though. It's also sold as TracX by Compass.

Also, you seem to be missing MSH in popular heli manufacturers (especially with the soon to come release of the 380), maybe Compass too, though they don't seem to be very popular lately.
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Old 06-02-2016, 07:55 AM   #48
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Thank you for the comments.

Indeed now I have learned that iKon and Brain are basically the same thing. And I heard Neuron was developed by a guy that was originally on the Brain development team. I still don't get why iKon and Brain exist as separates I would like to think Brain is the economical version of iKon and there is some additional feature on iKon but that does not seem to be the case. I am shooting for a Brain 2 myself.

Yes I missed the Protos on popular choices.

I will try to make this feedback make its way to the appropriate portion of the post. I love getting feedback to make this document as inclusive as possible as I use it a lot to anyone who seems might benefit from it on the New Member Introductions sub forum. That way I can try to give back a little to the hobby as I have received A LOT of help from other pilots either personally or here on Helifreak even meeting some at events

Thanks again for your comments.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aryemis View Post
I admit I didn't read everything, but from what I've read it's very good and detailed, I'd have loved to have all that information available in one place when I started..

I have to note that iKon and Brain are the exact same thing, just different color casing. The iKon seems to be more geared towards the US market though. It's also sold as TracX by Compass.

Also, you seem to be missing MSH in popular heli manufacturers (especially with the soon to come release of the 380), maybe Compass too, though they don't seem to be very popular lately.
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Old 10-02-2016, 05:15 PM   #49
jody1974
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Hi.You seem to know a lot about rc helis.I was wondering if you would help me please.I built this kit myself.First one.Things went really good.When I try to take off the nose wants to go to the left hard.What can I do??
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Old 10-21-2016, 03:52 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toadiscoil View Post
Thank you for the comments.

Indeed now I have learned that iKon and Brain are basically the same thing. And I heard Neuron was developed by a guy that was originally on the Brain development team. I still don't get why iKon and Brain exist as separates I would like to think Brain is the economical version of iKon and there is some additional feature on iKon but that does not seem to be the case. I am shooting for a Brain 2 myself.

Yes I missed the Protos on popular choices.

I will try to make this feedback make its way to the appropriate portion of the post. I love getting feedback to make this document as inclusive as possible as I use it a lot to anyone who seems might benefit from it on the New Member Introductions sub forum. That way I can try to give back a little to the hobby as I have received A LOT of help from other pilots either personally or here on Helifreak even meeting some at events

Thanks again for your comments.
Brain and Ikon are the exact same thing. Brain is by MSH, and the ikon is a brain that is relabelled and distributed by helidirect.

1 is no better than the other. Though I like brain way better
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Old 10-21-2016, 09:08 PM   #51
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Yes found out they are identical now. I like the red and the support from my vendor AnythingHeli. No complaints there so far.

Quote:
Originally Posted by slikwrik View Post
Brain and Ikon are the exact same thing. Brain is by MSH, and the ikon is a brain that is relabelled and distributed by helidirect.

1 is no better than the other. Though I like brain way better
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Old 12-09-2016, 05:42 AM   #52
BillAmes
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Default a checklist?

Since I am starting from a zero baseline, all I have is coins in my pocket, is there a checklist of what I need to do before I fly the craft I eventually acquire?
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Old 12-09-2016, 03:28 PM   #53
toadiscoil
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Location: Racine, WI
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The best thing you can do is have a cheap computer simulator setup. You shouldn't need a super powerful computer to do it.

Get Heli X trial. It times out after 5 minutes or so and just reminds you to buy it which just forces you to lift off again. Then get a cheap USB controller that is shaped and works like a real RC heli radio. That is about $35 or so.

Then go through the basic training steps of what I recommend on my write-up: the ArchmageAU training.

Once you feel comfortable hovering tail-in you are ready for a heli. I recommend a Blade 230 S which is cheap and capable. Where you take it from there depends on you.

For sure you can keep asking questions here in the forum as you keep progressing. I can help as well as tons of pilots here who are more than willing to do the same. Always check the newbie or new pilot sub forums and the model specific forums of your heli when you get one or to research more about the one you want.

Good luck! And welcome to the addiction

Quote:
Originally Posted by BillAmes View Post
Since I am starting from a zero baseline, all I have is coins in my pocket, is there a checklist of what I need to do before I fly the craft I eventually acquire?
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