Dec 2010, that’s when it was decided that I reward myself with a Trex 550E and boy has it been the best decision ever! Not only and I totally enjoying this chopper, it’s the best chopper I’ve flown in ages, not that I have that many choppers to boast about and not that I have choppers of this class or even bigger. My closest chopper to this size is my trusty Mini Titan 325 from Thunder Tiger.
So why do I enjoy this chopper like countless others who are also doing so? Basically it flies like a big bird (very stable), and it has tonnes of power available at your finger tips. When first building the heli, I opted for the advanced settings, i.e. Full 14/15 degrees pitch and 14 degrees cyclic. However after test flying the bird, I decided to tuned down the cyclic to 11/12 degrees coz it was simple too responsive for my liking. The FBL system also made the chopper really sensitive to cyclic inputs. Even so, I only fly in idle up 1 80% midpoint throttle coz I also fine the 90% midpoint throttle a little too sensitive with the increased headspeed.
Since mid January, I’ve had approximately close to 30 flights and each one with growing confidence. I’m not sure what it is but with the increased size, power, stability, precision and perhaps ease of flight with the 3G FBL system, I have bend able to learn maneuvers faster and try them out in real life instead of just trying them out on the simulator. It is no wonder why they say a well tuned helicopter is so important in speeding up the learning curve. I found that after flying the 550E, I have also increased my handling capability of my Trex 250 (which is inherently unstable esp due to lack of tail authority).
From the simple maneuvers of front and back flips, tictocs, loops, tail slides, rolls, stall turns, funnels and etc, I am currently able to have flight times of up to 8 minutes on a 5000 mAH 30C Turnigy pack. More conservatively I think I should dial down to 7.5 minutes to stay within and clear of the 80% battery consumption rule.
I’ve managed to fix my tail wag issue on my T-Rex 250. Thought I’d share it with those of you who are looking for a solution.
I basically did the following:
1) I made my own “chinese weights” for the tail by using the nut ends of EZ Connectors and putting them through longer screws used to secure the tail blades. With the Nuts as added weight, it perfectly balanced the tennis raquet effect of the unweighted tail grips. After making adjustment, I was able to move the tail pitch slider (with or without the tail blades) easily without much force and when I let go of the pushrod, it would stay in place instead of move back to the center. The basically cures the high-torque needed to move the original tail slider due to design flaws.
2) I substituted the Align DS420 with a DS520 servo. I’m not sure if the 520 is needed after my fix above since I made the changes at the same time but the 520 definitely packs a bigger punch in terms of torque delivered to the tail slider.
As a result of the above changes, My GYRO Sensitivity which was previously at 60% is now up to 70%. I am probably also able to move it up to 75% without getting much wag but since I have changed my pinion from 15T to 16T now, I had to dial it back a little to prevent tail wag.
The Heli now feels locked in. I have yet to test full collective climb outs but I have a feeling the tail will hold this time round. Here’s to having more enjoyable flights rather than an expensive paper weight 🙂
I’ve also ordered a set of new tail grips from Align which comes with the counter weights. I’ll put them on to see if they perform as well as my mod but I doubt it since I’ve seen a video on YouTube which shows that the weights on the new tail grips are still not heavy enough to counter the tennis raquet effect. We shall see…
UPDATE – 4 July 2009 : I’ve installed the new tail grips from Align (which comes with the larger screw heads – thus new allen screwdriver is needed), and true enough, the weights on them does not make a big enough difference. As such I decided to put on my mod onto the tail which seems to even improve it more. Pls refer to the pictures below to see how I’ve done it.
Basically the new tail from Align and the weighted nuts did the job of curing the tail issue. When spooled up, I can move the tail freely with hand and if I leave it at any spot, it does not move or spring back to any position. Having said that, I’ve left the DS520 on the tail because that seems to deliver more power than the DS420 which in my opinion is a little on the weak side. Good Luck Guys
My latest addition to my fleet is Align’s newest micro helicopter, the TREX 250. This little baby captured my interest the first time I laid eyes on it… or rather the first time I laid eyes on the box. My next encounter with it was by reading an article on RC HELI magazine which featured the new comer. What got me interested was that the combo kit came with almost everything that you would need to get this heli up and flying except for a radio, receiver and battery. Apart from those three items, it came with everything like its very own digital servos, 3 for the cyclics and 1 for the rudder and it also comes with a high quality gyro fit even for larger birds.
The build of this heli was done over a span of 2 weeks although I believe you can actually get it done in 1 night since most of the heli was already pre-built. I took my time because I had to order LIPO batteries for it. For those of you who are short sighted and have fat fingers, do be warned… the screws and parts are really really minute! Don’t drop any screws or you’ll spend the rest of the night looking for them! Having said that… the instructions that came with the kit was pretty well written and laid out. Oh might I also add the quality of this kit is unbelievably good with its machined metal heads, carbon fibre parts and basically smooth operations of the tail drive and all head linkages.
I have just managed to fly this baby last Thursday / Friday but found that the GWS receiver which I used was prone to interference (which almost cost me to lose the chopper a few times). I have since changed it to a ‘spare’ 8CH corona receiver which seems to be doing very well.
I was also hit by the dreaded tail wag issue when gain was only set at 51% (head-holding) or 49% (non-head hold). Needless to say, the tail held terribly. I was so sure that I used the correct ‘+’ (plus) shaped horn measured at 5mm but still I decided to try to change it to the ‘o’ shaped horn which seemed to have the mounting point just slightly closer to the center than the ‘+’ shaped horn. Unbelivably, that cured the problem! So if you guys are having tail wag problems, make sure you use the right horn with the Align DS420 servo and Gyro! 5mm is the magic number. you might even want to try 4mm if there’s such a mount point! My rates are not at 65% there abouts and the tail holds like a dream. I have also set my gyro to have a delay of close to 100% since a 0% delay seemed to give me a slight wag. I think the servo might be a little too quick for the tail and gyro to keep up!
Alright that’s all I have to report for now. Btw I’m using a Zippy 1000 mAH battery that’s rated at 25C. It was a little tight for the canopy but that was cured by drilling two new holes just about 7 or 8 mm back from the original holes. The power is good but I will need to try some pitch pumps and see how well the power holds now that my tail wag problem is gone and that the tail holds rock steady!
I finally finished my MD500 body which I bought from Singapore Hobby last December 2006. Took me about 11 months, but it was worth the time. Of course I took lots of time off from this project while I was busy with other stuff. Anyway if you were to work on this full time, I think you can get it completed within a week or so of casual hours. Most of the time was spent cutting the body from the moulding. Stickers were placed in quite quickly and installation also didn’t take long. It was a fun project and it looks lovely just sitting there. Perhaps I should opt for an Airwolf body next for my Mini Titan when I’m done with it. Currently underneath the MD500 body is a Zap 400 (Shogun 400) V1.