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Old 12-31-2015, 11:14 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default AH-64 and the Spektrum Programmer

I mentioned this in another thread but it is worthy of it's own discussion.

I want to change some of the settings (dual rates, expos, etc.) to my desires but that cannot be done via the transmitter because of the pre-programmed AR6335 which is installed in the AH-64.

The Spektrum Programmer (SP) manual, page 2 states that all aileron, elevator, and rudder functions are to be set to their defaults and rates, expos, etc. are supposed to be controlled from the SP.

I have the SP and the PC interface cable but cannot access the features of the AR6335 installed in my AH-64. The SP does work with the AR6335 and AR636 receivers as long as the firmware is flashed to the generic (non-heli) versions. I have an AR636 and have full control of it via the SP but once the firmware is updated to the Blade 230 S (which uses the same receiver) it no longer gives me access to modify the settings; I can't even view the settings. And to further the pain, I cannot flash it back to the (non-heli) firmware to be used in another model. Because of this, I am reluctant to update my firmware for the AR6335 to the SPEKTRUM AR6335 VERSION 1.43 (NOVEMBER 25, 2015) because I believe it will render my AH-64 useless and I don't know if I would be able to flash the firmware back to the BLADE MICRO AH-64 APACHE VERSION 4.15 (OCTOBER 7, 2015) to get it flying again.

Any thoughts on this topic are greatly appreciated.

Thanks,

Dan
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Old 01-01-2016, 07:21 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Nowhere in the referenced pdf for the receiver do I see any reference to helicopter programming.
It is all airplane related.

Spektrum did not give the heli users the ability to change anything.

This was a sore spot in the 180CFX forums.

Stinks to be a heli pilot.

HW.
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Old 01-01-2016, 10:21 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heliwhisperer View Post
Nowhere in the referenced pdf for the receiver do I see any reference to helicopter programming.
It is all airplane related.

Spektrum did not give the heli users the ability to change anything.
That's exactly the problem. I guess the people who own the AS3X helis need to make some noise to pressure HH to release a Spektrum Programmer update for helis. Especially if they are going to be releasing helis that use receivers that are Spektrum Programmer ready.
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Old 01-01-2016, 05:41 PM   #4 (permalink)
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... I am reluctant to update my firmware for the AR6335 to the SPEKTRUM AR6335 VERSION 1.43 (NOVEMBER 25, 2015) because I believe it will render my AH-64 useless and I don't know if I would be able to flash the firmware back to the BLADE MICRO AH-64 APACHE VERSION 4.15 (OCTOBER 7, 2015) to get it flying again.
I'm not sure if the AH-64 has a firmware update available. I definitely wouldn't update from 4.15 to 1.43, that doesn't make sense. Especially since the 1.43 doesn't specifically mention the Apache.
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Old 01-01-2016, 05:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm not sure if the AH-64 has a firmware update available. I definitely wouldn't update from 4.15 to 1.43, that doesn't make sense. Especially since the 1.43 doesn't specifically mention the Apache.
The latest firmware update for the AH-64 is BLADE MICRO AH-64 APACHE VERSION 4.15 (OCTOBER 7, 2015). I am currently running that version (verified by running the Spektrum Updater) but what I was saying is that if I flash the firmware to the 1.43 version I'm fairly confident I will get full control of the receiver, but no settings for a CCPM heli like what happened with my AR636.

Does that make sense?
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:29 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I see, and you may be right. I wonder if you would be able to flash back with the Apache software?

I have a feeling that the SAFE software takes up quite a bit of memory in the receiver. Perhaps there isn't enough left to allow for all the customization that the normal receiver has. Heli software in general is probably more taxing than fixed wing.
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Old 01-06-2016, 10:12 AM   #7 (permalink)
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There have been no updates to the apache firmware at this time and no other firmware will operate correctly in that model, there is no point in trying a different firmware.

If you have a computer transmitter you can adjust the dual rates, expo, pitch and throttle curves its no different than doing so in the receiver. Use the stock setup as a reference and feel free to make small adjustments from there.

You also have the ability to adjust the advanced gain parameters in the receiver as outlined in the manual. Although this method may not be as simple as we would like it is easy to use and allows you to make adjustments that otherwise would of not been available.

We did our best to expose the parameters to the user in a safe manner and convenient manner that doesn't require the use of a PC or Mobile application.

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Brian Bremer
Horizon Hobby, Inc.
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Old 01-07-2016, 07:50 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Thanks for chiming in Brian. I have an original DX7 (no telemetry) and it is a bit cumbersome to adjust the gain per the manual because it is a function of swash percentage movement which is very difficult to see on such a small part. I can see how using a newer Tx with telemetry is a much simpler process but I just can't justify spending another $300+ for a new transmitter when the one I have works great.

I know you cannot make any public commitments but I will ask if you can at least give us hope that the Spektrum Programmer will eventually have settings for CCPM helicopters? You guys have come a long way and I would find it hard to believe that heli programming is beyond what HH engineers can do.

Thanks
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Old 01-12-2016, 07:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Since the gains are scaled to a reasonable range +/-5% really is not a big adjustment. The reason behind this was to keep people from getting into trouble by making large adjustments and to make editing via the swash a lot easier.

The best way to do this is simply; I want more or less gain and just move the swash a little forward for more gain and backward for less. This way you don't have to worry about exact %'s. Small movements in the servo are easy to see.

There are some cool things coming in the future, but I am not permitted to comment for obvious reasons

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Old 01-13-2016, 11:36 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Like in, will there be firmware updates to the ah64? I'd like to see a more predictable hover - my 130x is so much more stable and predictable in a simple indoor hover test (it's really a night and day difference between them), while the ah64 is all over the place, in both stability and agility modes, requiring constant stick input to fight it.

Maybe the confined space has adverse effects, but the two helis are not so much different in size.

Or are you referring to other products?
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Old 02-19-2017, 09:25 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Finally got hold of a programming cable

Latest FW is 4.35 (october 5, 2016). Heli came with 4.15

Update went smooth, have to charge the battery to do a test hover and see if it needs a calibration flight

No settings are available, just fw upgrade
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Old 03-10-2017, 09:00 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by danb1974 View Post
Finally got hold of a programming cable

Latest FW is 4.35 (october 5, 2016). Heli came with 4.15

Update went smooth, have to charge the battery to do a test hover and see if it needs a calibration flight

No settings are available, just fw upgrade
Any idea what changed between 4.15 (the version in my AH-64) and 4.35? I did some searching and could not find a reference to the firmware, let alone (horrors) a changelog. Trying to figure out if it is worth it to buy the cable and update my nicely flying AH-64.

I just love how Horizon keeps us informed.... NOT

Paul
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Old 03-11-2017, 12:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Just borrow a cable or see this thread https://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=670613 and do the upgrade

Hover in stability mode seems noticeable better
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Old 03-11-2017, 01:38 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
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Just borrow a cable or see this thread https://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=670613 and do the upgrade
Cool idea!

Quote:
Hover in stability mode seems noticeable better
"Better" how? Just curious.... mine hovers just fine. If it has any flaw, it would be that the roll rate is too slow for my tastes. I actually hit myself the other day when I mis-judged a turn and the roll rate at full stick was not fast enough. It isn't much better in acro mode.... just releases the maximum tilt restriction.

Still can't figure out if I want to bother with an update.....

Paul
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Old 03-12-2017, 12:27 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Indoor hover, 4.15 was all around the room (much easier to hover in agility mode than stability, at least in agility I did not have to fight with it), 4.35 does no longer want to explore the entire room by itself and takeoff seems a little more predictable.

Did not fly it outside.

If you like how it flies / if you only use agility mode, probably don't worth the bother.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:16 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Hmmmm.... I do like how it flies and I use both agility and stability. Mine is very controlled and stable.... maybe a bit too slow and controlled for my tastes. I fly about 50% in stability because for a small and pretty scale ship, stability mode makes it less likely to accidentally tip over and crash in flight due to momentary loss of orientation. I like how it has some hysteresis around center so you can fly it in FFF almost the same as if it was in agility mode. Nose it over into forward flight and it stays there when you center the stick. Mostly I did one trim flight when it was new and just did another last week to correct a very minor backwards drift, but I would say that it is extremely stable. It has never had the common heli tendency you describe of "exploring the room".

I have not actually looked to see what firmware is in it (no cable) but based on the release dates I am pretty certain it has 4.15. But now I'm curious

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Old 03-15-2017, 12:19 PM   #17 (permalink)
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v4.35 was released resolve an issue when an open stock receiver (airplane code) was updated to helicopter code. No changes to the flight control algorithms in this version.

Please don't mistake the huge revision (ie x.15 to x.35) jump as meaning there were a lot of changes, the revision only applies to the current helicopter code base which is used on a lot of our products including some multirotor projects.

As mentioned before the intention of the helicopter code and adjustability is fairly simple, use the transmitter EPA to control the desired rate. If you want a faster rate simply increase the EPA's for the associated axis, or if you want slower simply decrease the EPA's. The advanced parameters are available if you need to adjust the PID gains.

You can also use the tx exp function to change the feel as well. If you want more collective raise the epa's and if you want less collective lower the epa's.

This saves you the trouble and expense of interfacing to a pc or a mobile device and allows you to make quick and convenient changes to suit your flying style.

We tried our best to ensure the features were available to everyone including those using legacy transmitters without telemetry.

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Brian Bremer
Horizon Hobby, LLC
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Old 03-15-2017, 03:00 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Thanks for the explanation Brian.

You mentioned increasing the throws by changing the endpoints. Do I understand that you are saying that the maximum cyclic response rate (the time it takes the swash to respond) is a function of the amount of stick travel? I fly at 100% throws and minimal to no expo and while it flies very "scale" it does feel sluggish and I have misjudged turns several times..... one time I actually hit myself. I would prefer the heli to be more responsive and leave the "scale" flight characteristics to the pilot. If I (for example) increase the aileron and elevator throws from 100% to 125%, will that make the cyclic response (ie., slew) rate faster without overdriving the servos?

I have been assuming that the stabilization system is actively controlling the maximum rate of change of heli attitude and that adjusting the throws will have no effect on the rate of change.

Paul
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:09 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hi Paul,

Raising the EPA will result in a higher maximum rate (deg/s) throughout the range of stick movement, this would result in the model feeling more responsive to the pilot.

It is very important to keep in mind that physics play a large role in this. Scale models generally have a heavier disc loading which can result in the scale like performance you mentioned. This isn't necessarily a limitation of the flight controller.

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Horizon Hobby, LLC
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Old 03-20-2017, 12:27 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Yes, physics does play a part. But in the case of the AH-64, I still think it is more the flight controller than physics. I checked and I have the throws at 125% in stability mode and 100% in agility. They both feel pretty sluggish compared to all my other helis of any size. By comparison, my three micro scale helis based on the MCPX BL are MUCH more responsive without being twitchy at all.

It is too bad that the FC is not more programmable for those of us who want something different. That is one of my issues with Horizon products... they are aimed squarely at a particular market segment, which is fine. But like the AH-64, they usually have little to no provisions for adapting to other styles of flying. Heck, it is just software... what would it cost to be able to tweek things?

Don't get me wrong... the AH-64 flies great as-is. The slow, damped response makes it look very scale when flown sedately. But as I think I said earlier, it is SO damped that I actually hit myself once when I misjudged a turn and could not tighten the turn up a bit. Truly pilot error, but with the AH-64 you definitely have to pay attention to the speed of response when flying indoors.

Paul
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