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DismayingObservation's blog
Archive for August, 2012
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 31, 2012 @ 03:23 PM | 6,088 Views
There are few models in my "hangar" with which I have a more love/hate relationship than my Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter.

I've had a ball with it, but man, have I had problems, starting with paying twelve bucks for a propeller nut.

No bigger nut than me; that was my last purchase from Rotor Concept, but not my last purchase for the model.

I've been through five sets of props, four motor endbells from Goodluckbuy.com courtesy of trying to overtighten propellers which wouldn't snug up, some motor bearings (thanks, Align) and the discarding of the nightmarishly bad radio system.

All this before I'd even repaid my friend who fronted the dough to buy the thing in the first place!

On this, the day of my final payment, I decided to take it up for a little spin since it had sat idle for quite some time. I'd forgotten that the front counter-rotating motor was acting up.

When it decided to stop working properly this morning, it wasn't hard to see why.

As I picked it up, a small, black thing fell from it.

It was a small eight-pin IC chip from the ESC.

Yup. A chip came loose. I have never seen anything quite like this before.

It turned out that the ESC lost not one but rather two of these chips. The one I was able to recover wasn't burned nor did the board smell overheated. From what I could tell, the chips were the victims of cold solder joints.

They merely vibrated loose.

I imagine that I could simply get a low-wattage soldering iron and a couple of chips (I hate soldering ICs), but that would probably cost nearly as much as a new board and there's no guarantee that other components weren't damaged.

I found it under the LotusRC T380 parts listing at Goodluckbuy.com for the rather odd price of $47.79 with free shipping as opposed to more than 65 bucks plus shipping and tax from Rotor Concept.

Frustration, thy name is Quadrotor.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 29, 2012 @ 07:42 PM | 6,101 Views
Or to put it more accurately, helicopter tails and grass don't mix.

To wit: A few days ago, I had the Skyartec Wasp X3V I'd reviewed with me and I thought it would be fun to do a little bit of flying at the park.

All was A-OK until I went to bring it in. I ran it a bit too long and the battery was dumping, so I eased it into some thick grass not far from me.

Bad move. The brief contact between the tail rotor and the grass was enough to strip the tail rotor shaft. One quick phone call to Max Ettinger at Park RC Models netted me a new shaft. That marvelous little machine is now as good as new.

Max is a straight-up kind of guy; he simply couldn't resist a gentle chiding.

Today, I took the HK 450TT Pro for a spin at - you guessed it - a park. I've flown from that soccer field countless times without an issue, but today was a bit on the windy side. Instead of my usual gentle spot landing, I bounced it on the skids, catching the tail rotor in the grass.

Not a good thing with a torque tube tail. The resulting crunch was a sure sign that I'd stripped the umbrella gear, only the second time I'd ever done so.

Off to the hobby shop tomorrow for an Align brand replacement and some fairly involved dissection to set things right.

UPDATE: Taking that tail drive apart was easier than I remembered. It only took me 20 minutes to do this morning. My wallet is ten bucks lighter, but I have the parts and they'll go in tonight after work. A good thing to be sure, but the weather is lousy! I hope to be able to test it tomorrow morning.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 28, 2012 @ 03:04 PM | 5,782 Views
Thanks to a minimal infusion of cash, my honked-up SkyFly 2 returns to the fleet in glory!

My little experiment did in fact work well. Almost too well. The CG seems to be fine, but it almost doesn't want to come down. Climbs great, though. Takeoffs are darn near vertical and if you've never seen a SkyFly 2 go vertical as it lifts off, you're in for a treat when you do. It's hilariously funny. I'll try some ballast or a heavier battery, but space being limited, I used a Turnigy Nano-Tech 1000mAh 3S for the maiden which fit perfectly. All that power makes it one heck of a powered glider; I almost didn't have to run the motor once I got it up a couple of hundred feet or so.

Best of all, I had an entire radio system I could devote to the project, one which I'd forgotten. It's the Spring RC TG661A six-channel 2.4GHz "el cheapo" I pulled from my Rotor Concept quadcopter when I updated it with a Spektrum AR660 receiver. It may have worked poorly in the quad, but it works to sheer perfection in this project. It not only cost zilch, it no longer collects dust.

Also no longer collecting dust is the ExceedRC 40A ESC I'd pulled from my second-hand The World Models P-51 electric when I updated it to a SuperTigre .10 outrunner. The timing was all wrong, so I bought a SuperTigre ESC and shelved the ExceedRC for just such an occasion. I was going to use an old Sonix 18A controller, but I figured that the cushion I'd get with the 40A was worth it since it's spinning...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 21, 2012 @ 09:16 PM | 5,779 Views
Well, I did it. I broke down and coughed up 30 bucks for a blow-molded plastic fuselage for the stalled Flyzone SkyFly 2 brushless conversion.

Now all I have to do is to take the bits and pieces off of the old, damaged fuselage, put them on the new fuselage and - with any luck - I'll have a fun, flyable three-channel thermal chaser.

As I learned on these boards and pointed out in a recent entry, misalignment of the boom with the pod results in a model plane which will not fly. Really. It scooted nicely across the ground, but no takeoff. The somewhat weak original power system contributed to a few rather bumpy meetings twixt model and ground. It did in fact fly and fly well prior to the fuselage failure.

This new part should take care of all of that and I'll have what is essentially a new plane.

I guess the thing which made me tumble was an article in Model Aviation in which a contributor made several unusual airplanes out of some clearance sale-priced Flyzone Sky Hawk parts.

Still deciding on a receiver. I have a presently unused Airtronics 92254 2.4GHz six-channel, but it's slated for a future review project. I may go the 72MHz route with a four-channel Berg Microstamp and dust off my trusty old Hitec Laser 4 in the meantime. If this monstrosity refuses to fly, I'd rather stuff it in with a tiny little Berg than a pricey Airtronics.

This should be fun!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Aug 16, 2012 @ 12:58 AM | 5,611 Views
There is certainly nothing like the sounds, smells and sights of a nitro engine. I remember the first time I flew nitro in a .25 combat plane and from there, I was hooked.

However, I also have a newfound love of modern electrics.

Charge up, plug in and fly. This is especially helpful at one of the places where I fly. That field allows anything and everything electric, but no nitros. My guess is the noise level given the field's proximity to a housing tract.

I can fly anything at that grass field from a simple park flyer up to a high-performance FunJET or 450-class helicopter and not have to mess with pumping in fuel, hooking up the ignitor, starting the engine and tweaking the needle, fun as those tasks may be.

Problem is, all my nitros now need receiver batteries due to lack of use!

On top of that, I don't know what kind of condition my fuel is in.

No matter. As cool as the new electrics are, the nitro birds are going to get some receiver batteries one at a time, starting with my Great Planes Spitfire .25 and going from there. On top of that, I have two nearly completed nitro projects in the wings (no pun intended) and I picked up a good used K&B .45 for a third project simply in need of a new engine. Got that engine from the same fellow I got the project from in the first place and it's one of the sweetest flying birds of any kind in my "hangar."

One thing is for sure: I won't be wiping castor oil off of the FunJET anytime soon.