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GrapefruiTgirl 04-10-2009 09:59 PM

Any RC Helicopter enthusiasts around here? Seeking opinion on a few models.
 
I would appreciate some critique, based on hands-on knowledge & experience if at all possible, of the following electric RC Helicopters. I am considering acquiring one of the following or a similar model in the near future.
Alternately, recommendations on another comparable model would be well received, keeping in mind that relative cost is a factor, but durability, good engineering, & parts quality are very important (no junk!). Also, I'm not looking at any gas-powered models at this time.

Features I (pretty much) definitely want (may edit later):
1 - Collective Pitch main rotor.
2 - Able to replace/upgrade parts (electronics, motors, rotors)
3 - Do-it-myself assembly would be nice.

Things I am unsure about (pros/cons):
1 - direct-drive electric tail rotor vs. belt/shaft-driven tail rotor?
2 - Radio system: 2.4GHz vs. 72MHz?


Here's what I am looking at now:
1 - Heli-Max AXE CPv3 Micro
2 - E-Flite Blade CP+
3 - E-Flite Blade CP Pro-2
4 - Align T-Rex 250

Thanks for your feedback :)
Sasha

H_TeXMeX_H 04-11-2009 05:32 AM

I recommend you get a Kyosho or Align one, they seem better quality, but probably the others are ok too.

If you've never flown one before, I recommend you get a cheap one, because it will likely be destroyed. They're also quite difficult to tune or calibrate. You may need help from an expert with this. I had a gas powered one, and it was nearly impossible to calibrate without expert help. If it's not calibrated right, it won't fly at all well and likely crash and break. They're usually tough enough to last through many crashes, but eventually they do break. Not to mention that it's not trivial to fly a helicopter, even a mini one.

If you want an easier one to fly try one with a contra-rotating coaxial main rotor and no tail rotor:
http://www.rchelicopter.com/2007/09/...copter-basics/
http://www.google.com/products?q=RC+...rotating&hl=en
they're much easier to calibrate too.

GrapefruiTgirl 04-11-2009 09:01 AM

Hi Tex-meX,

Thanks for those tips!

I already have one heli, but it is a VERY basic, fixed-pitch, cheap beginner model, and as such, it is virtually impossible to fly in any sort of controlled manner :/
I am not interested in one of the CX units (with the counter-rotating blades) as it is not the 'real' thing IMHO and over-simplifies the whole point/experience of having a heli. :) I'm pretty mechanically inclined and reasonably coordinated, so I anticipate a learning curve I can live with.
I have done loads of Googling, joined an RC heli forum, and downloaded/read tutorials and primers on learning to fly.

I will have a look at some of the Kyosho ones as you have suggested though, and see what they have to offer. Most likely, due to my price range, I will be buying a pre-assembled unit as opposed to a nicer do-it-yourself kit version; the pre-assembled ones are flown at the factory and for the most part are calibrated decently.

Thanks!
Sasha

H_TeXMeX_H 04-11-2009 09:10 AM

Yeah, you're right, I did assemble mine from parts, it wasn't too hard, but it was not at all calibrated and stuff. I had to find an expert to help me.

I wouldn't call CX helicopters not the "real" thing:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ka-50

jiml8 04-11-2009 11:39 AM

You'll find a direct drive tail rotor to be more reliable. Belts and shafts both have their problems and won't even be lighter given modern coreless electric motors. Playing with a helicopter that doesn't have a fully collective head is a waste of time.

I personally am a contest director in the Academy of Model Aeronautics (which I have belonged to for 39 years) and have not done much in that time with helicopters. However, I have been giving it some thought over the last couple of years, particularly with electric powered helicopters.

I have known helicopter fliers literally since the first days of model helicopters, though, and I have observed a lot of the things they have done. One trick that hasn't gone out of style is to attach a couple of arrow shafts crosswise to the landing skids (so that they stick out on the sides) and attache tennis balls to both ends of both shafts. This will give you a very wide stance "training gear" that will make it much harder to tip the helicopter over and bash the rotor on the ground. You get a lot more practice time in, with much less damage and repair to the helicopter as a result.

You might also want to give serious thought to purchasing a flight simulator that will accept your transmitter as its control input. They exist, and they'll go a long way toward training you to fly the heli without destroying your expensive model.

brianL 04-11-2009 12:20 PM

RC helicopters? The Pope flies one.

GrapefruiTgirl 04-11-2009 02:02 PM

Thanks for the continued input you guys,

@ TexMex - Cool! I didn't realize there were (so many) CX helis in real life, and Russian too :) but still, for my purposes, I don't want a CX model; I still think while it's a neat innovation in the real-heli world, it detracts from the skill and functionality of the RC helis. I really want a single-rotor one.

Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8 (Post 3505587)
You'll find a direct drive tail rotor to be more reliable. Belts and shafts both have their problems and won't even be lighter given modern coreless electric motors.

'Coreless motors'?? Is this anything like 'brushless' or 'magnetic-drive' motors? I haven't done any searching as of this writing, but I've been dealing with electronics and stuff much of my life, and never heard of a coreless motor (unless this is a different name for something else). I'll hafta look around on that one.
But what I specifically wonder about is the controllability and/or responsiveness of the direct-drive vs the indirect drive, whereas the direct drive models deal with rudder-control via tail-motor-speed (AFAIK), while the belt/shaft models use adjusting pitch of the tail blades.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8
Playing with a helicopter that doesn't have a fully collective head is a waste of time.

Totally! I can't even keep my current FP heli going in an UNcontrolled circle, let alone any sort of controlled path :/ as the electronics are just too primitive and the FP rotor doesn't allow a decent hover at a fixed altitude unless the batteries are just the perfect amount of dead.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8
I... One trick that hasn't gone out of style is to attach a couple of arrow shafts crosswise to the landing skids (so that they stick out on the sides) and attache tennis balls to both ends of both shafts. This will give you a very wide stance "training gear"...

In fact, this quad-pod training arrangement is available from the heli suppliers too, and is included with some of the models I am looking at. If it isn't included when I buy mine, I will rig up something myself as you describe, with outriggers and foam balls or whatever.
Quote:

Originally Posted by jiml8
You might also want to give serious thought to purchasing a flight simulator that will accept your transmitter as its control input. They exist, and they'll go a long way toward training you to fly the heli without destroying your expensive model.

Yes, they DO exist; I am downloading one as we speak (not one that likely will interface with any controller I get, but who knows) and some of the controllers actually ship with the sim software too, and a USB cable to connect the controller. Again, probably the ones I can afford will NOT include this stuff, and also, I'd bet dollars to doughnuts that the included software is all Windowz stuff, so I wouldn't be able (or willing) to use it anyhow..

I am looking further into RC sim software for Linux, and it actually IS out there. Pretty cool.
As an aside, I just this morning finished building 'FlightGear 1.9.1' on my Slackware system, and even though I HATE trying to play such things with a keyboard, it is pretty awesome!! Excellent program, and it includes helis and even one RC heli :)
My roommate wanted a flight sim program before I wanted a new RC heli, so we may hafta get a fancy joystick or aircraft controller of some sort in the future, to use FlightGear properly.

Thanks again,
Sasha

jiml8 04-11-2009 07:22 PM

coreless motors: http://www.solarbotics.net/starting/..._dcmotor2.html

I suppose a direct drive tail rotor could adjust by adjusting motor speed, but I think it would be more efficient to keep it at a constant speed and just adjust the pitch, exactly as if it was a shaft-driven rotor. Given the mass of the rotor blades, I would think that changing speed (especially accelerating it) would lead to noticeable lags in performance, as well as large current transients on that motor.

Flick 04-13-2009 04:14 PM

Hello,

I was searching for RC Heli Linux Simulators when I saw your question on this forum. I'm new to Linux, so I signed up to the forum and to help you out because I am completely nuts about rc helicopters!

Anyways, I started on a Fixed Pitch Helicopter when I started. The pros: Cheap, easy to repair, cheap, crash well !!!

Collective Pitch Helicopters are the way to go. The head setup is a bit more complex, but they are more stable and the bigger the helicopter the more stable it is. I wouldn't mess around with the smaller CP's that are pretty much a Fixed Pitch Heli with a Collective Pitch head on it. They will not fly the same and they are a handful to learn how to fly on. I would recommend whatever you can afford in the 450 class size of electric helis. Don't worry about tons of upgrades right away because you will crash a lot and it is cheaper to replace stock parts then the fancy ones. I suggest training gear, taking it slow, and flying in big spaces. Also a simulator helps out a lot, but there is nothing like stick time. Like I said I started on a fixed pitch heli in the winter in my living room. Stupid idea. I crashed all the time and got really frustrated. I stuck at it and man I love this hobby. When you fly in a big space like outside you have time to correct yourself and figure the thing out before it hits a wall or something.

It is also a good idea to make sure you have a place to get parts for your heli. Don't buy something that will take weeks for parts to get to you. That's just no fun at all!

If you need an exact model to be recommended then I would say the E-Flite Blade 400. It comes with all you need to get going. Even a 2.4 ghz spectrum radio system. This is a model you can learn on and keep the radio equipment for other models. It also has upgrades and such for when you want to tinker with it.

Sorry for the long post. I hope this helps. Fly as much as you can!

ELBRUJO1 04-16-2009 07:25 AM

RC Heli Beginner
 
I just saw your post and maybe this will help. 2 months ago I decided to get in RC Helicopters & decided to go electric. I went into my local hobby store and after looking for some time ended up buying an electric plane, an rc heli "Helimax Axe CPV3" and a flight sim "Realflight G4.5".

To make this short and sweet I used the Sim for 2 days and then went outside with the CPV3 and was able to hoover, do some piros and some slow forward flight. BUT LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE!!!!! This heli is not good. The old saying is true the more you spend the better the machine. In the past 2 months I have purchased 10 other Helis including

1. Two TREX 250'S
2. TREX 600ESP
3. POSEIDON GAZAUR
4. GAUI 200

AND MANY OTHERS, the TREX 250'S when setup are awesome, the tail stays exactly where you want unlike the axecpv3 where you are constantly flying the tale (which in a way taught me to fly a bit better) The trex600esp I bought the top of the line stuff and it flys incredibly( gy611 gyro is great)

To sum it up purchase a really good SIM and you will save yourself hundreds of dollars, I must have crashed 30 or more times on the SIM and if that was the real heli besides the money I would have to spend the time fixing and rebuilding constantly. Buy a good Heli and you will stay in this hobby alot longer and not get discouraged. KEN

GrapefruiTgirl 04-21-2009 01:14 AM

Awesome, thanks very much you guys: EJBRUJO and Flick :) I will consider what you both have said when I go to do my shopping, and let you guys know what I get, though it will be a *little* bit yet as there are other financial considerations ongoing (working on the house for eg.)

Cheers :)

Sasha

rob.rice 12-06-2010 12:56 PM

yes I am well aware this is an old dead thread BUT what I have found I think justifies my posting
so what have I found
a rc helicopter flight simulator at
http://crrcsim.berlios.de/wiki/index...RCsim.HomePage
it is primarily a rc glider simulator with a rc helicopter option
the web page says it works with transmitter interface cables as well as the 2 joystick e sky FMS controller


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