HobbyKing.com New Products Flash Sale
DismayingObservation's blog
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 14, 2013 @ 05:05 PM | 8,196 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!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 12, 2013 @ 09:38 PM | 8,448 Views
I've said before that few feelings are as truly remarkable as the ones felt when a project comes together.

It would seem that my attempt to resurrect, rebuild and otherwise resuscitate a dead Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter was a success!

Recall that I have said less than kind things about a cheap little quad with a horrible radio still being sold for an insane and unreal $899 on the company's website...but hey, they'll unload one on you for $299 at shows.

Like they did with me.

Well, I'm glad to announce that the terrific HobbyKing electronics are installed and work great!

I'm waiting for a new set of APC 8x4.5 quadcopter props since one of the Gemfan props I was using was shattered thanks to my having switched the numbers 3 and 4 motors on the KK2 control board. This caused the quad to violently flip over, shattering that prop and chipping another. Only spare CCW prop I had was the right size, but a different brand. However, it worked well enough to get the thing airborne once I discovered the mistake. It's wandering a bit at hover, but I'm attributing that to the mismatched propellers.

When the props come in, I'm going to pick up a male-to-male jumper so that I can connect the auxillary channel and get battery voltage readings. I had enough of the original jumpers to connect the receiver to the board and get it flying, but without the aux.

I've promised photos which I'll post on the next entry. Promise.

I can also promise that if anything happens to this frame or motors, I'm getting some real motors and a frame, maybe from Armattan Quadcopters. I still love my CNC 258!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Sep 09, 2013 @ 08:21 PM | 7,107 Views
Between my day job and my tasks here on RCGroups.com, I'm a busy guy.

Pleasantly busy and having a lot of fun, but still busy.

I figured that I'd been staring at a hundred bucks worth of still-bagged electronics from HobbyKing and a custom-built component mounting plate from Armattanquads.com long enough.

Today was the day I whipped out the soldering iron and some other small tools and got going on the resurrection of the Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter.

I had a serious chunk of change invested in this beast before I'd learned more about quads; I wasn't about to let all that money go down the tubes.

It was admittedly interesting to solder twelve new male bullet connectors to the very tiny leads coming off each of the motors once each motor was unbolted from the frame and the wires cut to length; they're somewhere in the neighborhood of 22 AWG. Ridiculously tiny. What clearly made things worse where these motors were concerned were the rather long leads coming off of each motor. Since the original ESC was a sort of "4-in-1" unit mounted on the chassis beneath the control board, the leads had to be long enough to reach back. Why they couldn't have been made of heavier gauge wire escapes me, but that won't be an issue anymore save for the first two inches or so.

Perserverence pays off and did so earlier today with each motor sporting three new bullet connectors and each radial sporting a brand new Afro 30-amp ESC, each held in place with a single tie wrap for the time being.

I've taken some photos of my progress so far and I'll post them on the next blog entry.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 19, 2013 @ 03:14 PM | 7,598 Views
A wonderful little cardboard box hit my PO box this morning! One HobbyKing KK quadcopter control board, one power distribution board and four Afro ESCs with SimonK firmware waited within.

I quickly learned this is NOT a project for the faint of heart. The electronics from the Rotor Concept HPQ1 which is going to receive all these lovely goodies have a wider mounting footprint than the standard 45mm spacing on the HK electronics. So, I have to make some sort of an adapter plate. I hope I can find a piece of scrap acrylic; that would just be cool.

That's the easy part. Less easy is the setup of the control board since HK's online manual is borderline gibberish. That's where my quad expert buddy comes in. First things first, so I'll get the new electronics mounted soon and go from there.

I might do a review of the components and the conversion over at The E Zone, so stay tuned.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 17, 2013 @ 03:56 PM | 7,743 Views
...but still on the other side of the country!

It took less time for my HobbyKing order to go from Hong Kong to New York than it has for it to go from New York to Flushing.

Oh, well. At least it's moving. By this time next week, I might actually have the goodies in hand and installed on my quad frame.

Plenty to keep me busy in the meantime.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 12, 2013 @ 08:58 PM | 7,655 Views
I tell you, when HobbyKing turns up the heat, the stuff gets here fast. My quadcopter stuff hit American shores today! OK, so it's in New York and I'm in California, but the goods are closer than ever. That will be one fun project!

Finding time for all the other projects I have in mind will take time, but it'll be time well wasted.

So, it's off to the next project!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 10, 2013 @ 09:56 AM | 7,673 Views
At least it did long enough for me to order some parts. Kindly refer to my blog a couple of posts back.

I in turn refer to the Rotor Concept HPQ1 quadcopter I picked up at the 2012 AMA expo. Looked good to me, having had zero quad experience.

Besides, Rotor Concept sold them online for $899! They still do! So, a $299 show special with a radio, battery, charger, GoPro mount and aluminum case must be the ultimate deal of all time on the ultimate quad, no?

No.

The radio was junk from the get-go and the onboard electronics proved to be junk later on. It's little more than a LotusRC T380 RTF which sells for about $250 via any number of Asian mail order companies. We won't even discuss the customer service nightmares associated with Rotor Concept.

One lives, one learns.

So, plunge taken in order to recoup my investment; see my post titled "To Wii or Not To Wii." A new KK board is on its way from HobbyKing as is a power distribution board and four Afro 30-amp ESCs, all nicely flashed with SimonK firmware right out of the packages. This is stuff which literally didn't exist back when I bought this paperweight and I couldn't have told you who SimonK was back then if you'd paid me. The whole enchilada set me back less than a hundred bucks.

Including shipping.

I'll be working with Chad Graham, the fellow who recommended the stuff to me in the first place and who posts here as "TheOne420." I'm kind of afraid to ask where he came up with that name...

Anyway, I might do a review of the conversion at Ezonemag.com for those looking to do a similar project.

Now to wait for the goods to arrive from Hong Kong.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 06, 2013 @ 06:15 PM | 8,177 Views
Ah, summertime. Nice, hot and perhaps a bit too hot.

That didn't keep me from trying out the World Models P-51 with its new ArmSafe arming system earlier today. FYI, I talked about it in my last blog.

For the first time in all the time I've had the thing, I actually felt safe putting the wing and belly scoop on it with the battery plugged in. Small wonder, since the arming plug wasn't in place at the time. No chance of an accidental bump of the throttle putting an unpleasant end to the day.

It's also a LOT faster than I remembered and despite the very small ailerons, I actually got the model to roll for the first time! I even tried some inverted with it.

Problem: Trying to take off from short grass caused a noseover and bumped the motor slightly loose from its mount. The odd sound which I thought was simply harmonics later turned out to be a loose motor. No tools meant only one flight, but it was a beauty. That model's light wing loading even makes for some of the best landings I've ever managed to pull off with a model plane and today's was no exception.

All's now well with the mount and I do believe it's going with me to the field tomorrow if I do in fact go.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 04, 2013 @ 04:45 PM | 7,084 Views
The ArmSafe kit now has a new home in the World Models P-51 as does an Airtronics receiver. I took the Futaba out of it to use in an upcoming Ezonemag.com review and the Airtronics receiver came out of one of the nitro models I'll be dusting off soon. I figured that I can simply share a receiver between the two.

That little Mustang is a delicate thing and with little room to work, but I got that kit installed. There was simply no place to put it to make it look reasonably attractive, but that's the way it goes. At least I can get it ready to fly without worrying about getting sliced into tender strips of meat with an accidental bump of the throttle.

Onward to the next project, assuming some money doesn't get sidetracked into a Blade Nano QX quadcopter.

I just HAD to go ahead and fly one of those little gems and I kind of wish that I hadn't!

On the other hand, some 15% nitro, a receiver battery and a starter battery will get my Great Planes Spitfire .25 back in the air. That innocent looking Spitty is one of the hairiest rides I have, so it hasn't seen action in awhile. It's small, fast and not nearly as forgiving as my souped-up Multiplex FunJET, capable of the same speed and beyond. The Spitty is about four years old and still looks close to new. The same model with the same O.S. engine is flyable on RealFlight 6.5; the computer shows 85 MPH (137km/h) in straight and level flight with power dives flirting with nearly 100 MPH (180km/h).

Decisions, decisions.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 03, 2013 @ 12:37 AM | 7,526 Views
Well, I did it.

I went to the hobby shop and picked up an ArmSafe system for the little World Models P-51. I figured that I might as well get it installed while I wait for its new battery to arrive from Hobby Lobby.

Last time I checked the tracking, it had just left Nashville.

Sounds like a good name for a country song, but I digress.

That system will be installed tomorrow. The USPS tracking says the battery should arrive by Friday and if it does, that little sweetie is going with me to the club on Sunday, assuming the club's videographer will be there to shoot video of a couple of current review subjects for Ezonemag.com.

I don't think that I have more than $125 in the whole thing and that includes the original $40 purchase price when I bought it from a club member complete with everything but a receiver. I'd transfered the original Turnigy motor to another project, but it was destroyed in a crash. The current SuperTigre setup consists of an extra SuperTigre .10 outrunner sent as part of a warranty claim along with a SuperTigre ESC. Both motors were fine; I just had to buy another ESC for use in the P-51. The timing is kind of high on that motor and no spare ESC I had on hand wanted to work properly with it.

Next up will be the E-flite P-47 and its paint touch-up. That'll be next week.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jul 01, 2013 @ 07:20 PM | 6,923 Views
In certain areas at certain times of the year, it's too cold to fly.

Right now, it's almost too hot where I live!

So, I am therefore moving some backlogged projects to the front:

*I've been blogging on and off seemingly for ages about a Great Planes Ultimate .46 given to me by a friend after someone else had given it to him after a minor crash. It had been built as an electric, so the firewall needed reworking. Best of all, I found a part I thought was missing! It was the last piece of the puzzle, as it were. I had a crash-damaged Pitts muffler I was thinking of using, but a new one can wait until I get the engine and radio installed.

*My rebuilt World Models P-51 electric with its SuperTigre .10 outrunner has spent most of its rebuilt time languishing in my closet. I was using the single 1600mAh li-po from my late and lamented Escale Zero from Hobby Lobby. Between one battery and the fact the wing needs unbolting with each battery change meant this sweet-flying model stayed at home more than it's been flown in a long time. The thought of an accidental bump of the throttle while that system was energized was enough to keep me away. I'm buying a safety plug tomorrow and a new battery is on its way from Hobby Lobby!

*I'm getting ready to order the ESCs and control board needed to get my Rotor Concepts HPQ1 quadcopter back in the air and no, I'm not using the factory junk. I mentioned a couple of blogs back how a quadrotor expert buddy of mine has...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 28, 2013 @ 10:49 AM | 6,673 Views
Southern California is gonna be one hot place this weekend.

How does a predicted high of 120F (49C) in some of the desert regions grab you?

Death Valley is going to hit 125C (51.6C) later today.

I for one can remember leaving some foam park flyers in the car during a heat wave. They weren't back there for long, just long enough for me to grab a quick bite to eat before heading home from the field. The vacuformed plastic cowl on one shriveled into uselessness as did the simulated black plastic canopy on the other.

Tempted as I am to make a run to the field before heading to work, I think I'll keep my babies safe and sound here at home for now.

At least the humidity should be low in most places. It's actually pleasant in the desert when it's north of 110 with about 6% humidity. I'll take that any day over 90 with 95% humidity in Georgia any day of the week.

Have a cool weekend, California!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 24, 2013 @ 12:17 AM | 6,422 Views
Simple question.

When one has a contact at one's local hobby shop totally immersed in all things multirotor, it stands to reason that some of the enthusiasm he shows is bound to rub off.

Less than two years ago, I walked out of the AMA Expo with a Rotor Concepts HPQ1 quadcopter in tow.

To know then what I know now.

That overpriced monstrosity currently sits in its case in my closet, victim of a propretary ESC which literally had chips falling from it and is now inoperative. I'd blogged about my experience with Goodluckbuy.com regarding an equally inoperative and poorly packaged replacement and the horrific experience of trying to get my money back.

Which, I'm glad to say, I did.

Anyway, the nearly useless radio system in that quad wound up in an experimental park flyer, namely a SkyFly2 with a Turnigy brushless motor upgrade. Languishing in that quad is a new Spektrum full-range receiver.

What to do? Enter my buddy Chad, the quad expert.

Once I get past my currently pressing hobby and non-hobby obligations, Chad and I are going to resurrect that quad with his recommended HobbyKing Multiwii control board and HobbyKing ESCs, all of which he'll reflash with SimonK firmware and all for only a few bucks more than replacing the Rotor Concepts/LotusRC ESC. About forty bucks beyond that gets me GPS capability.

Today, I watched while Chad flew a similar non-GPS setup based on a discarded DJI Phantom frame and outer shell, both crash damaged by a hobby shop...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jun 21, 2013 @ 12:39 PM | 6,199 Views
Wow, how time flies when one is having fun.

It's a blast being part of the greatest hobby site on the internet and I'm looking forward to a lot more posts.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 31, 2013 @ 08:31 AM | 6,473 Views
There was a time not long ago when I was attempting to launch an online R/C business. One of the first things I did was to look at the ad rates here at RCGroups.

They are not cheap and for good reason: LOTS of people see them.

Those who do step up to buy ad space are supporting this site and therefore the hobby. Many of these same paying customers provide review samples on top of that.

If there is one thing on these boards which completely steams me, it's when some cheesy company starts posting ads here on the blog space.

That tells me they are willing to literally rip the site off while trolling for dollars.

Please do yourselves, this site and its advertisers a favor. Buy from the distributors who have paid good money for ad space or at least from those who have provided samples at their cost.

Rant ended.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 30, 2013 @ 12:53 PM | 5,800 Views
It took about two months for them to return to stock, but the Ram Radio Controlled Models light kit for the Heli-Max 1SQ quadcopter is widely available.

Every visit to the hobby shop I'd made since placing the order was partially in anticipation of the kit finally arriving.

As far as I'm concerned, it was worth the wait. The kit was easy to install, adds a tremendous visual impact and really does help keep it oriented at night. In fact, the headlights do a marvelous job of actually lighting the quad's path.

I've since moved the taillights to the outside of the motors which should make them even easier to see at night.

All this and no impact on performance. My kind of visual upgrade.
Posted by DismayingObservation | May 05, 2013 @ 09:47 PM | 5,925 Views
Despite a bit of wind out my way earlier today, I had a terrific flying day for two reasons.

One, it was a special event at my club celebrating its founders. There are actually still a couple of active members from the 1930s and a couple were in attendance.

Two, my best friend was there.

He's an expatriate Californian who settled in Georgia with his wife years ago, so he'd never seen me fly nor does he fly R/C.

We spent one great afternoon at the club before he heads out toward the coast tomorrow to visit his brother and his family. He didn't get to see a turbine fly because of a toasted servo, but he saw several EDFs as well as a few of my own planes, a helicopter and even my Heli-Max 1SQ.

Although he was a spectator, he still had one heck of a good time. The one bird he really wanted to see was my new Dynam RC Messerschmitt BF-109, a sample RTF provided by Nitroplanes for review on Ezonemag.com. The review should be going live any day now.

The thing which cracked him up was my reference in that review to the old Daffy Duck cartoon in which he exclaims, "Messerschmitts! A whole mess of Messerschmitts!"

My friend not only saw me fly it, he has officially dubbed it "Daffy."

Can't argue with a name like that which fits as well as it does!
Posted by DismayingObservation | Mar 11, 2013 @ 02:52 PM | 5,856 Views
Step one: Think.

Since I had the privilege of reviewing the Helizone RC Lightning Bird helicopter for this site, I now count myself among the ranks of the WLtoys V911 faithful.

This is one fun little heli.

Sadly, all things eventually break and so was the case with the tail motor. The endbell and brushes finally popped off like something out of a Road Runner cartoon. Those who remember cartoonist Don Martin and his work for Mad can envision that motor popping apart accompanied with such onomatopoeic embellishments as "GLORK," "TOING" and "SPLAB-A-DAP." I sure did.

No motors on Helizone's Amazon store, "Halley R Us." A quick call to the main office later, I was promised a new motor which arrived this morning. Having glued and debonded more tail booms from my old E-flite Blade CP than I can count, I thought this would be a cinch.

Nope. Here's where thinking came in.

I cut the wires near the motherboard, put a few drops of CA debonder, let the stuff work and...nothing. That boom wasn't going anywhere and the slightly ominous sounds of overstressed carbon fiber warned me not to try anything rash.

Well, no problem. I'd just strip and resolder the cut leads and solder the new motor leads back at the tail. Right?

Nope again.

The insulation had gotten torn down where the wires exited the tail boom. The result of all this is a working Lightning Bird...with exposed tail wires taped to the boom. It's a neat repair and doesn't look too bad, but let's say it upsets my aesthetic sensibilities.

(Yeah, I know. Poor baby. )

That little heli is too nice a model, so the next time it needs a tail motor, I'll pick up a new boom and frame because some things are worth doing right.

Like thinking.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 11, 2013 @ 11:45 AM | 6,233 Views
Talk about frustrating.

When I've had the time to fly, the weather here has been far too wet and windy. When I haven't, the weather has been beautiful.

I'd hoped to maiden the amazing WIngthing2 with its handmade MicroDAN motor this past Saturday and maybe get some video as part of the reviews I'm doing. I would have brought the Skyartec Nano 100 flybarless CCPM chopper from Park RC Models which I'm reviewing along for the ride.

Not only did a friend call to remind me there was a car show on the grounds I'd hoped to use, but it was far too windy as well.

Today, I have no time but it doesn't matter.

It's windy.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Jan 29, 2013 @ 07:15 PM | 5,916 Views
It seems that high winds, a brief bout with the flu and a work schedule that's been deviating from the norm have all conspired to keep me grounded. Mike and Kyle from Aero-Model were kind enough to do a field repair on a Hacker motor of mine nearly three weeks ago at the AMA... and I still haven't test flown it. I hope to do so in the next day or two despite yet another schedule shuffling at work.

Credit for alleviating the flying urge has to go to the little indoor models. The new 1SQ super-itty-bitty quadcopter has been nothing but fun. I'm becoming fairly proficient now that I'm not trying to fly it like a cross between an airplane and a CCPM helicopter.

I must UNLEARN that which I have LEARNED.

Even if things don't go quite my way to put a big bird in the air, I still have the Helizone RC Lightning Bird I had the pleasure of reviewing and which is still on the main page of Ezonemag.com. I can also fall back on an E-flite Blade mSR and even a Heli-Max Axe CX Micro.

These little micro flyers are truly incredible. I don't know if they're the future of the hobby itself, but they are certainly in line for a bright future of their own.