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Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 03, 2014 @ 08:54 AM | 2,008 Views
...but a welcome pain.

After two months of packing, tossing out stuff and giving away the rest, not to mention the seemingly incessant rounds of paperwork, my wife and I are finally in a new home. This one's ours!

So, once we finally unpack, one of the first things I'm going to do is to build racks for some of the models. One of the bedrooms is now the "hobby room" and I have a place to work on projects and to put up some small foamies. Larger models can be racked up in the garage and let me tell you, I have some plans for that garage.

Now if I can only find the power cord for my charger...
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 06, 2014 @ 06:45 PM | 2,379 Views
Now that I've had some time banging the sticks, I can honestly say I love this little quad! Again, I'm glad I spent the money to get the electronics after I'd gotten a bare frame for review here on the site.

Thanks to my buddy "TheOne420," the low voltage alarm now works, but it comes on a bit too soon. It's good for the batteries, so all is well for now. I'm going to arrange to have him give me a bit more bank and pitch in self-leveling mode; before long, I'll break down and buy the USB cable and download the software. Armattan has an excellent video tutoral on their site dedicated to setting up the Naze Afro Acro board. Like the Naze-equipped CF 258 tricopter, it's a real handful with the self-leveling switched off, quite the opposite of my KK 2.1 quads. The self-leveling practically removes the bank and pitch.

The fun continues!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 20, 2014 @ 01:35 PM | 2,529 Views
Well, I promised a photo in my last blog and I always keep my promises!

To recap, I just completed this very morning what had been nothing more than a frame provided by Chris Leroux at Armattan Quadrocopters for use in a "mini-review" here at RCG. He later sold me the DIY components so that I could complete the model.

The review may be found here for those interested in seeing what I had to start with.

I did a somewhat gentle test flight in the driveway with the self-leveling engaged. Like all of Armattan's designs, the CF 226 with its Naze Afro Acro board flies like the state-of-the-art machine it is.

That frame just beckoned me to hang some electrics on it and I'm honestly glad that I did. It was worth every moment of the work I put into getting it together.

Of course, Chris will gladly sell an RXR or TXR version.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 19, 2014 @ 12:48 PM | 2,811 Views
After spending the past few mornings changing my bare Armattan Quadrocopters CF 226 quadcopter frame from an interesting bit of carbon fiber art to a functional flying machine, I've gained even more respect for Chris Leroux. Chris has to assemble these machines to order and within a certain time frame.

Me? I'm having a blast.

Lots of soldering and desoldering, but as of now, all of the soldering is finished. The power distribution board, the Naze Afro Acro control board and even the battery strap are in place. Checks of each individual motor as if they were airplane motors were A-OK. I no longer have a bare frame but rather a quadcopter which is more than 95 percent complete.

Next stop: Plug-in time!

I'll post photos when it's done.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 10, 2014 @ 06:03 PM | 2,783 Views
Oh, am I ever going to have some fun.

After doing a mini-review of the Armattan Quadrocopters CF 226 mini quadcopter frame, I just had to do it.

Order the electronics, that is. They arrived this morning!

Chris sent me everything - and I do mean everything, including solder! While turning my empty frame into a functional quadcopter isn't too daunting a task per se, it will definitely take time which in turn gives me a whole new appreciation of the work Chris Leroux puts into each of his builds.

Armattan fans and fans of quads in general, I am on the verge of unleashing one seriously fast machine on the unwary.

Stay tuned for updates!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 03, 2014 @ 08:37 AM | 2,648 Views
There was a spam post the other day here on the blogs where some doofus was "selling" a lightly used $90,000 Lexus SUV for only $20,000. I and a few others had some fun with some comments before the post was rightfully delegated to the bit bucket. Won't be long before that same doofus has his account suspended.

The bit bucket has a lot of the most unintentionally hilarious spam posts I've ever seen. Run one's native language through a computer - assuming one has mastery of the language in the first place - and out comes pure weirdness.

As they say in the programming biz: Garbage in, garbage out. I'd like to offer up my own version, namely garbage in, hilarity out.

So, as per my previous blog, I present what seems to be spam for a bodybuilding product.

No spam links, of course. The bold type and some of the spacing are mine.

Remember when lifting weights to end your term with a shoe.

Grab the popcorn!

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Don't victory into the hole that muscles antiquity is all you require to defend a bouncing embody. If you are misery from any typewrite of fat sinew transform is uppercase, but it needs to be united
...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 30, 2014 @ 08:55 PM | 3,347 Views
Yup, it takes a machine to take whatever language this started as and turn it into something really, really weird.

I was going over some of my old posts to see whether or not I'd missed any responses on various threads and I found the following bit of weirdness in the bit bucket.

I'm reposting it here without the spam links but in bold (so you know it's the spam and not Your Obedient Servant) and with a bit of basic restructuring for your amusement. Ready? Just remember to mix "fruit succus" with "effervescent nutrient."

Here we go.

Maintaining your eudaimonia and upbeat is pretty lyrate, really. Honorable pose that bag of chips with a fabric of product and you're institution loose, hand? Shaft, not quite. If it were that easy, we'd all be thin and active to be 100!
There are galore theories active what constitutes a "perfect" diet. We cerebrate a bully foot for any diet consists of a mix of unfermented, minimally finished foods from all nutrient groups, including insufficient proteins; carbohydrates from impudent fruits, vegetables and complete grain-based breads, cereals, and pastas; and heart-healthy fats much as olive oil, nuts, and avocado. And, fair as key, a sound diet contains tasteful foods you savour.
Tho' every body has antithetic needs, here are several rubicund choices you can easily combine into your rife routines. These lyrate changes can sort a big number over indication.

Veg Out

Aim for at small cardinal servings
...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 08, 2014 @ 09:40 AM | 3,839 Views
One of my favorite sports stars is Kevin Durant of the Oklahoma City Thunder. Class act and one deserving of the MVP last night. KD has been a longtime spokesman for Sprint, a company currently airing the most ridiculous, inane and unfunny spots for the "Framily" plan, a word which is equally ridiculous.

I like surrealism, but when a hamster with the voice of Andrew "Dice" Clay is portrayed as the head of a bizarre human family...no.

The one reasonably palatable spot involves KD and...R/C planes!

In a dream sequence, a giant Durant hands a ParkZone UMX P-40 Warhawk to a boy in a treehouse, a model which in the hands of the boy is actually a giant scale version.

So much for trying to explain this. Here's the ad:

KD is Asked to Join the Framily - Sprint TV Commercial Ft Kevin Durant, Judy Greer (0 min 31 sec)

Posted by DismayingObservation | May 01, 2014 @ 10:05 AM | 3,634 Views
Between the wild little Proto X and my larger quads, one former review sample was spending far too much time in the box.

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Walkera Infra X here on RCG on behalf of Nitroplanes.com in November 2013, almost six months to the day from this entry. In what seems to be typical Walkera fashion, the little quad is a mix of affordability, really good ideas and really bizarre engineering shortcuts. The infrared and ultrasonic sensors which are supposed to help the Infra X avoid obstacles simply don't work as well as they should. With the sensors shut off (and they've remained shut off ever since the review), it remains a great flying quad thanks to its six-axis gyro.

In the review, I promised that I'd buy some batteries and last month, I did just that. They're dirt cheap; I don't know why I didn't buy some sooner! I've dusted it off and I've had a great time with it, even indoors. One of the few "unscheduled landings" it's had and which was made shortly after the review was published resulted in a broken landing leg which I repaired with some Pacer Plasti-Zap. Good as new and if need be, I have a spare motor assembly or two on hand. I'm still flying on the original props, for that matter.

As for the sensors, they're still switched off.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 17, 2014 @ 12:25 PM | 4,170 Views
Tell you what: I've had more fun with this $40 gadget than some of my models costing ten times that much.

All is not unicorns and rainbows, but the bad stuff isn't bad at all.

My first Proto X coughed up its motherboard less than a week after I'd bought it. No need to return it, said Hobbico. A brand new unit arrived less than a week later.

One new Proto X meant that the faulty Proto X now equalled a bunch of spare parts!

I liked mine so much that my wife and I got our adult son a Proto X of his own for Christmas and he loved the heck out of it until one of the motors started acting up. Since he doesn't have soldering equipment and I do, I offered to fix it.

Out came one of the motors from the original unit and onto my son's Proto X it went.

Success! It flies like new, if not better.

Less than a week later, my replacement Proto X started exhibiting many of the same symptoms after heaven knows how many flights. Same deal. Out came a motor from the faulty unit to be remounted on the good one.

Again, success! Between that motor swap and an earlier battery replacement with one from Common Sense RC, my own Proto X is going to be flying for a long time to come.

I really like the thought of having repaired two units for a total cash outlay of zilch.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 09, 2014 @ 09:56 AM | 5,191 Views
...a picture of my new DJI F450 Flame Wheel quad! It's a rather simple yet fun little beast with its KK2 board, Afro 30A ESCs, four 1800Kv D2822-12 motors (thanks, Armattanquads.com!) and four of APC's new 8x4.5 multirotor props. The radio, of course, is a DX6i and the receiver is a full-range AR600. That marvelous acrylic board mount, nylon standoffs and clear acrylic top cover were gifts from Chris Leroux at Armattan as a means of trying to mount the board to my old Rotor Concept HPQ1 frame.

Like I said, simple yet fun. It isn't anywhere near as nimble as my Armattan CNC 258, but it's no slouch with those high-revving motors.

Best of all, I already had the board, mount, male-to-male servo leads left over from the HPQ1, a new Deans Ultra-Plug, ESCs and receiver on hand. All I needed were the motors, props and frame and I got the latter two items at the local hobby shop.

Thanks go to multirotor genius "TheOne420" for fine tuning the board.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 28, 2014 @ 06:46 PM | 4,901 Views
Well, almost.

I soldered up the JST receptacle for the voltage monitoring - after having to remove the bottom plate to get to some solder pads - and I started in with zip ties on the ESCs.

Although I hadn't finished tying everything down, curiosity got the best of me.

APC now makes multirotor props, but the 10x4.5 units I bought came without the customary APC prop adapters...and the darn things were just a bit too large for the motor shafts. Fortunately, I had some adapters which were enclosed with my spare props for my Armattan CNC 258 quad. Success! I've just found out something reassuring in that regard; the hobby shop has a package of prop adapters for a whopping five bucks. I'm picking up a pack tomorrow!

After a quick double-check of the controls on the control board's LCD display and a sensor calibration, on went the props, in went a battery and out the door I went.

There's nothing quite like seeing something you've assembled from a myriad of parts actually rise from the ground. Nice and smooth, too. The controls are in need of some fine tuning, but the fact remains the thing actually flew and in control! Once everything is properly strapped down, I'll get some pictures.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 27, 2014 @ 07:34 PM | 4,734 Views
I sure do wish that my efforts last year to get my money pit flying once more were not in vain.

At least I can take some solace in knowing those efforts weren't entirely wasted since the components are coming together on a newer, better project.

I'd blogged about the attempted rescue on my part of a Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter which had a burned out control board and for which I'd spent entirely too much hard-earned bread. It never did fly right even after a KK2 board and four Afro ESCs; a friend and quad expert told me that the motors weren't up to snuff since everything else indicated the board was working properly.

Fast forward to the last few days.

Chris Leroux of Armattanquads.com sold me four of the 1800Kv HiModel RC motors he uses in most of his builds. Just over ten bucks a piece.

Add to that a DJI Flame Wheel F450 frame and the custom acrylic control board mounting plate which Chris made for me for use on the HPQ1 and I almost have a new quad made entirely of affordable, discrete components.

Props, tie wraps and a JST plug for the board's battery voltage monitoring function are about all I'll need from the hobby shop.

This has been a fun project, so I invite you to stay tuned for a full report and some pictures of the finished product.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Dec 27, 2013 @ 10:32 AM | 5,179 Views
I'm writing in response to the gentleman whose blog appears just below this one. He ordered one of these as a Christmas gift to himself, but closed the thread before I could respond:

http://www.worldtechtoys.com/product...elicopter.html

So, in the interest of good will toward men during this Christmas season, I'm responding here in the hope that others interested in similar helicopters might benefit.

Back in April, I reviewed a nearly identical machine. The link may be found here.

Helicopters like this are best flown in a large, enclosed, obstacle-free space like a garage or a gym. They steer through the air much like a surface model. Small 3.5-channel helis are fine for the living room, but these particular models are far too large, ungainly and imprecise for in the house.

In order to fly outside, the wind must be dead calm. By that, I mean dead. There are no servos at the main rotors to control cyclic; all of the forward and reverse motion is done via the tail rotor. So, even a slight breeze will mean that the helicopter will be at the mercy of the winds since there is no cyclic control and no pitch control found on regular variable pitch helicopters.

That said, I still fly mine in the garage every so often. I back the cars out onto the driveway, close the door and buzz around. It's a lot of fun for what it is, but it's extremely limited compared to my CCPM helicopters or my quadcopters.

Happy new year and have fun, gang!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Nov 09, 2013 @ 09:00 AM | 6,442 Views
This was on the "hot topics" panel a few moments ago:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2009099

If you wish to see a truly amazing bit of amateur filmmaking shot on a cellphone, this is a must-see, especially for WWII warbird fans.

I thought I'd share it here in order to help it get some more exposure; it's more than worth the time it takes to view it.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 14, 2013 @ 09:54 PM | 7,524 Views
A review I recently wrote about the RC Aerodyne Beechcraft Duke B60 EPO electric twin can be found here:

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1957722

Ironically, I had very little stick time on the model when one compares it to the time it took to compose the review, electing to give the maiden duties to my club's president. All I'd done was to circle it once around the pattern with the gear down which immediately allayed my fears of the thing.

This past Sunday morning prior to football fun was the time I'd decided to put some time on that airframe.

I had the two Mad Dog lipos from 2DogRC.com used for the maiden charged and ready. Once the wing was bolted in place and plugged in and after a quick check of the controls, it was off for a real flight.

One perfect takeoff later, it was up with the gear for nearly five minutes of smooth, scalelike flying.

I don't know why I was so intimidated by the model at first, but I'm here to tell you that any doubts I might have had about flying a big electric twin are utterly gone. Even the landing was as close to perfect as I could have hoped for, eliciting a few attaboys from the club members kicking it back in the pit area.

That was some of the most fun scale flight I've done in a long time. In fact, I can't wait to fly it again!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 09, 2013 @ 02:18 PM | 7,637 Views
I had the pleasure a couple or so years ago to review the Yardbird RC Mini Su-30 pusher prop jet.

That little Depron ditty was one heck of a lot of fun.

Key word: Was.

Sadly, time and a few rough landings had taken their toll and I don't like flying glue bombs, something the Su-30 had devolved into, but all was not lost!

During the course of the review, I'd goofed the build after misinterpreting the manual. As a result, I wound up gluing the upper deck upside down across the bottom of the fuselage. I was able to rescue most of it with some cosmetic damage to the deck and more extensive damage to the sides of the fuselage.

Yardbird RC was kind enough to send me a new deck and a few other parts in order to properly complete the review, leaving me with nearly enough parts for a second model. Ken Young of Subsonic Planes now operates the company and I emailed Ken with a wish list of what I'd need to build a new plane, parts which he sold to me at a terrific price. I wound up needing new servos for which I paid full pop, an unexpected expense. No problem.

I used the original model as an assembly guide and before long, I had me a new/old Su-30! Even the slight cosmetic damage to the top of the deck was mostly hidden by the stickers and a Sharpie marker.

She flies like a dream and believe me, it's nice to have a Yardbird back in the hangar.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Oct 07, 2013 @ 04:02 PM | 7,311 Views
An ancient injury to one of the radials on the reborn HPQ1/T380 quadcopter was a lot worse than I thought it was.

The number two radial was loose and clearly somewhat fractured at the chassis plate; it's little more than a couple of CF tubes covered with unshrunken shrink wrap tubing.

And to think Rotor Concept wants nine hundred simoleons for the thing.

But I digress.

Thanks to a small eBay purchase from a US-based distributor, that radial is as good as new, frankly because it is new.

Genuine factory parts, low price.

When I took the old one off the model, I was amazed as to just how lunched those tubes were once I slid off the shrink wrap. I don't remember when it happened; I'm sure it was probably about the time the original ESC started spitting out IC chips like rotten teeth, causing a rather unexpected situation culminating in a sudden smack into an unyielding garage floor.

It was far, far worse than I had imagined. Not anymore, thank goodness.

I can only imagine what might have happened had the thing decided to turn itself into a tricopter during a flight!

Lesson learned!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 16, 2013 @ 08:37 AM | 7,997 Views
All remains relatively well with the reborn HPQ1 with its shiny new HobbyKing electronics.

I say "relatively" only because the number one motor kept popping its endbell during yesterday's flight adjustments. I'd removed the endbells in order for the quad to fit in its rather nice hard-shelled case which is SOP for that model.

Swapping out the number 1 and number 3 endbells fixed the problem, so I've temporarily marked that number one endbell with a Sharpie until I can engrave it or otherwise label it. The 8x3.8 APC slow-flyer props generate more thrust than stock, something to keep in mind when replacing them.

Good old Chad, aka "TheOne420" did a superb job of setup over at the hobby shop, properly activating the auxillary channel so that I can now switch the self-leveling mode on the fly. He even got the battery voltage indicator on the KK2 to work by soldering the leads of a JST connector to a couple of pads underneath the board. The positive lead went to a pad marked "AREF" and the negative was soldered to ground, or "GND." Once plugged into the male JST pins on the power distribution board, success!

I still want a better frame and motors, but we'll see how this one works in the long run.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 14, 2013 @ 05:05 PM | 8,108 Views
Yeah!

It took some time and effort, but the redone HPQ1 is a functional R/C model aircraft once more. This time around, the electronics are all state of the art except for the motors.

The new 8" APC quadcopter props aren't in the pipeline just yet, so I went with some APC 8x4.5 slow-fliers both normal and reverse. Good thing I'd kept the original brass bushings from the original props; no other prop I've tried will fit without them since the shafts are so tiny.

One of the Gemfan props which were on it met an untimely demise soon after I powered up for the first time. Seems that I had reversed the numbers 3 and 4 motors at the KK2 board. KER-BLAM! The quad violently flipped over onto its head, shattering the prop.

All is now well and the final fine tuning comes tomorrow thanks to user "TheOne420." Even with the initial settings, this thing flies better than it ever had with the old electronics.

On to the next project!