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Velktron's blog
Posted by Velktron | Nov 21, 2008 @ 05:41 PM | 2,237 Views
A ride inside a small RC car 2 (now MORE PIMP!) (5 min 48 sec)


and in case you missed the original:

...Continue Reading
Posted by Velktron | Nov 03, 2008 @ 03:36 PM | 2,090 Views
It would soon come to that... outdoors + lights + fast forward flight.

Lama V3 Night Flight outdoors (3 min 47 sec)


Keep in mind that my Lama is mostly stock, except of course for Xtreme Blades, Extended rotor hub, and the Xtreme motors I recently installed, and which kick major ass outdoors.

The lights are a recent addition by me, nothing too fancy, just two mini colored LEDs, and two high brightness white LEDs powered by the LiPo.

I also moved the swashplate linkages to the second hole from the outside...so it has some throw to spare with mild wind (it's still very slow going against the wind, but not impossible).

I really need a moving cameraman for the next time though...
Posted by Velktron | Oct 20, 2008 @ 08:30 AM | 1,975 Views
After a year of flying the Lama V3 in almost every imaginable circumstance (including out of my window from 5 storeys height, with rain, at night, indoors, outdoors high-speed etc.) without ever changing motors, I decided to equip its battered airframe with new (Xtreme Stock 180) motors.

Not that the old ones were bad or inadequate in any way, they just showed increased signs of aging, such as redding-out the 4-in-1 a bit too soon, especially with the Xtreme blades fitted.

So, I just removed the old motors, placed them with care in a drawer (they still work, and afaik they belong to the longest-lived stock Lama V3 motors so far, with an estimated 50+ hours of accumulated flight time. Photo included if you want to check their manufacturer and the condition of their sprockets )

Anyway, I installed the new ones without "breaking them in" or anything, I just ran the Lama at half-throttle without taking off for a couple of minutes. When I went serious with the controls, the bird took off like a dream, no 4-in-1 adjustments needed (part of my lucky stream with this particular Lama, I guess...).

They really do add to the flight time, the motors and battery themselves hardly get warm to the touch, and indoors hovering lasts like what seems forever. Plenty of throttle reserves to make up for maneuvering mistakes, too. I can't wait to try this outside
Posted by Velktron | Jun 17, 2008 @ 06:54 AM | 2,798 Views
Now my "Ghettocopter" project is complete. It is proven: the Lama V3 can fly (relatively) stably even with junk blades from a rubber-band toy.

Ghettocopter 2: Lama V3 with toy blades! (2 min 43 sec)


To make them, for the upper blades, I grounded away a portion of material from the root of each blade in order to make them fit in the blade grips, drilled a hole, and then used a lighter to bend the blade near the grip area, in order to give it some pitch. Since the toy blades were already made for CCW rotation, the task was relatively easy. It took less than 5 minutes for each blade.

The heli flied with mixed blades, as can be seen in my previous blog entries.

For the lower blades, my job was a tad harder: since the blades had to rotate CW this time, I had to cut and sand the rounded leading edge of the blades, and use them as my new root, while the actual blade root portion was smoothed and sanded in order to make them into a leading edge. This of course resulted in asymmetries between upper and lower blades. After that initial work, the procedure was the same as for the upper blades. I had to perform more plastic bending though due to the blades' twisty shape.

However, the end result paid off: the heli flied, and the blades were surprisingly balanced. However, there was a lot of CCW rotation (which means that the lower blades are exercising too much torque). However, this couldn't be dialed out or even reverse even by placing the proportional at its extremes, so in the video I'm flying with a tad of right rudder input.
Posted by Velktron | Jun 11, 2008 @ 02:25 PM | 3,312 Views
... so I bought a couple of those toy rubber-band helicopters (hey, for 1 euro each, that isn't really much of a setback!) since they came with some blades of roughly the same size (not shape) with the Lama's blades. They are made of green transparent plastic, almost the same consistency as the Xtreme blades, and each 1-Euro heli come with 3 of them.

Anyway, I filed and hacked at a pair of them until I obtained a workable shape/attachment, and replaced the upper pair of Xtreme blades with my masterpieces.

To my surprise they were exceptionally balanced and caused even less shaking than the Xtreme blades...however they didn't produce any lift even at full throttle

The problem seemed to be in their airfoil profile, which was heavily flat, symmetrical and near zero-pitched (angle of attack) while the blades weigh more or less as much as the Xtreme ones.

UPDATE: I used a lighter to curve the blades' grips as to increase the pitch of the blades (the first at a random "OK-ish" angle, the second as close as possible to the first one), and it WORKED! I had to dial out a heavy CCW yawing with the gyro and gain though.

The heli is stable and responsive as with the normal Xtreme blades, however flight times are considerably shortened, perhaps due to the gyro working overtime. Again, it's remarkable how the blades are remarkably balanced even after such an admittedly crude hack job.

Now, the next step will be making lower blades as well....it will be hard because the toy blades are designed for CCW operation, so I will have to lathe, drill and curve at the opposite edge.

Video or it didn't happen? Here you go :-p

Ghettocopter: Lama V3 with toy blades! (1 min 49 sec)

Posted by Velktron | Apr 22, 2008 @ 08:10 AM | 4,039 Views
All in all I'm pretty pleased with my Lama V3, and I feel it was the ideal introduction to the world of RC helicopters for me. Seeing how many problems are continuously reported by users of this forum, I realized I have been particularly lucky in several areas: I still fly with the original stock motors, no swashplate problems, inherent stability, and even after several severe crashes (mostly caused by insistence on high speed outdoors flying and trying to pull "stunts"), the heli was able to stably hover (hands free!) almost immediately.

My setup is mostly stock, except for two things which I now realize are VITAL for a better experience:

a) Xtreme Blades: Seriously people, these are a must. For one, the stock ones tend to chip/break far too easily, even as they slow down after closing the throttle if they merely touch a strand of tall grass.

Also, as I realized after first installing the Xtreme blades, it's a LOT harder to achieve stable hovers and/or gyroscopic stability with the stock blades. More flexibility? Lighter weight? Minor inertia? Whatever the cause, after each replacement of stock blades I had to go though major gyro/gain adjustments. The heli also seemed far more susceptible to its own gust of wind -or any gust of wind for that matter- with the stock blades than with the xtreme ones.

By all means, I'd advise all beginners to start with Xtreme blades and....to never go back to stock again. Only be careful in installing perfectly matched...Continue Reading
Posted by Velktron | Jan 01, 2008 @ 07:48 PM | 2,864 Views
OK, end of festivity leave for me, so I repackaged the little bird again, half-charged the batteries, and started looking forward to the next time I will be able to fly it again.

Nevertheless, I flew the hell out of it in these 6 days, including pretty "windy" adventures and even flying in (mild) rain + wind. It can just be done, and the extended alu shaft keeps the death rolls away from me, although the swaying is excessive at times and you need to fully throttle up to avoid a hard landing and cancel the wind-induced instability (the extended shaft does a good job cancelling blade clashes/death rolls but that's about it).

I really I wish I had some more motor power to spare in these moments... Xtreme motors to the resque? I'll find out in 2 months :-)

For now: Velktron, out.
Posted by Velktron | Dec 30, 2007 @ 05:07 AM | 2,700 Views
Since I'm a conscript RO in the Greek Army, I had to package my beloved Lama V3 a couple of months ago so it wouldn't get dusty/knocked off by someone.

First thing I noticed was that with the extended alu shaft and Xtreme blades installed, the thing just wouldn't fit in the original packaging. The solution was to remove the upper blades (not the flybar though) and tie them somewhere else inside the package.

Then I half-charged the batteries in order to achieve that mythical 40-50% "long term storage" charge level and carefully placed them in the packaging too. After two months of absence, I just popped everything off the box, screwed on the blades, charged the batteries and it just flew exactly like it did before.

These things are really top-notch in quality!

Luckily, after being nominated an RO (in another 2 months...) I won't leave it alone for that long again ;-)
Posted by Velktron | Oct 30, 2007 @ 07:47 PM | 2,856 Views
Today was clearly windy, but I was feeling bold and didn't hesitate to get down to the garden for some flying. This time, I was perfectly aware of the larger margin of maneuver the extended shaft gave me, and so I wasn't scared of taking sharp turns or challenge the wind without giving in.

I quickly flew my Lama V3 out of the windy ground level, and into the open garden. Without the fear of blade clashes, I used some throttle and cyclic play to make it gain speed against the wind, something which it did flawlessly. I made it fly circles and figure-8s at a medium altitude with more than what's you'd call a light breeze: no problem, perfect controllability.

I was even able to perform extremely sharp turns using rudder + roll, and even "strafe circling" at full lateral speed, something that's just calling for disaster with the stock shaft outdoors.

After than, I made it fly up and down my road (100 m across): again no trouble, and sustained forward flight was clearly better and lasted longer before being damped. Without too much trouble, I even managed to achieve constant altidude (2 m) at a constant speed (somewhat faster than a hurried walking pace).

Finishing the "stroll" I made it fly again into my garden, did some more circles and landed it, to change the battery and allowing for some cooling. The second round of flying was pretty much like the first one, but this time I stubbornly pitted it vs. some tricky winds, making major corrections...Continue Reading
Posted by Velktron | Oct 28, 2007 @ 01:23 PM | 2,981 Views
Simply put, I just LOVE this upgrade. I went down my garden on late evening with some wind, and I witnessed once again how my Lama is now actually able to stay up in the air with the wind beating at it.

Of course, the wind still has the power to carry it away or even block it's advancement, but this results just in need for major corrections (which can now be handled by the blades), instead of a blade clash or a death roll.

In other news, I also managed to scare a cat that was hunting in my garden. I have no idea how exactly would a cat perceive a rc heli (sounds, visuals etc.) but the very least it must have appeared as a high-pitched screaming, hostile and definitively unfriendly giant flying bug :-D
Posted by Velktron | Oct 25, 2007 @ 10:19 AM | 3,045 Views
And I don't mean "pimping up" as in "throw in more bling bling gold", dawg.

I mean real, tangible pimping up that you can feel already from the first outdoors flight. What's this all about, you'll be wondering at this point? Read on...

As you may know, I'm not much of an upgrades man when it comes to the Lama V3. In particular, I believe most of the Alu Xtreme upgrades are only "bling bling gold", good for shows, and so I kept it strictly to the Xtreme blades.

However, since I was in need of a new tail truss for my Lama since the original one had accumulated enough duct-tape and glue tacks to start looking kind of ratty, I went for a glow-in-the-dark flex tail (also because I had a small UV LED project in mind, but don't tell anyone yet ).

Anyway, while I was ordering the flex tail from heliland.gr, I saw that they had some Xtreme Extended Alu head holders with shafts available (these were in permanent sold-out status). Now, I had recently replaced my main "B" gear so I knew the drill, and thought "let's try this". Yeah, so now you know the truth, I made myself guilty of purchasing an Xtreme Alu upgrade!

Anyway, after I received the package and installed the new tail and shaft, I proceeded to the usual trimming procedures: to my surprise, virtually no TBE, just the need for a bit of proportional trimming (I prefer zeroing in my Lama from its 4-in-1 so I can keep the Tx trims centered and have more margin...Continue Reading
Posted by Velktron | Oct 24, 2007 @ 03:20 AM | 3,086 Views
It's been some months since I made these flights (and the video) but heh, I'm selfish and vain so who cares, let's revamp it by posting it in a blog, too :-p

Flight Fun with Aero Jex (Sky Soldier) RC plane. (5 min 18 sec)


Ph34r my mad video editing & music choice sk11z!

The Aero Jex pictured is still alive, but I have broken the left propeller since the video, and is currently on shelf/hangar mode
Posted by Velktron | Oct 14, 2007 @ 05:17 PM | 3,057 Views
Again something that had been posted in a normal thread (this one) but I feel it will be better off in a blog:

Esky Lama V3 Sunset Flight (4 min 22 sec)

Posted by Velktron | Oct 09, 2007 @ 02:53 PM | 3,282 Views
I had posted this in the multi-rotor forums as "Your most intense flight experience" but I decided it would fit my blog better.

I think I just had mine today...I took my Lama V3 to my condo's rooftop for my daily practice, and drove it around the various obstacles found there (pipes, antennas, solar panels etc.)

At some point, I decided to fly over a certain pipe placed at about a 2 m height from the floor. Note that my condo's rooftop is at about 15m. Anyway, I passed over it, and then decided to bring it back the same way, but somehow felt it would not be so easy.

In fact, the wind started blowing just a little harder or I caught a weird air current...in any case the little heli started gaining height, and soon it was over the penthouse (not a good place to land, unless you like clinging to roof tiles afterwards).

I corrected the yaw to bring it towards me, gave some forward cyclic, but this had the effect of driving it farther AWAY and HIGHER!

"Oh great" I thought, "this is where I lose it for good". In the mean it had went at maybe 10-12 meters of altitude compared to the rooftop, and drifted some 15 meters away horizontally (enough to take it outside the boundaries of my rooftop).

Trying to stay cool, I corrected the yaw once more, facing the heli drifting away, and started reducing throttle....I swear, a throttle settling which wouldn't have allowed for the heli to stop shaking on the ground, was enough to keep it in the...Continue Reading