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Old Dec 04, 2012, 03:56 PM
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MSH Brain/iKon/xBar Flybarless Gyro with Self Level

With the addition of the iKon, and the recent special introductory price of USD$169, I thought it was time to have a thread here, as a lot more people seem to have them now, and it would be nice to keep the information and tips in one thread.

Here are some pictures of the Brain, iKon and xBar:
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Measurements: 34 x 29 x 14mm
Weight: 13g

*** WHAT'S HOT ***
New firmware released v1.1.014 and software v1.1.005. Run the PC App to download it. Make sure you backup the current firmware when prompted.

Latest PC Software: 1.0.008
Latest Firmware: 1.1.026

One of the very cool features of this gyro is the 3 flight modes and the self level. The self level must use one of the flight modes, so that when this flight mode is activated, the self level is activated, along with whatever other adjustable setting for that flight mode, so you can also make the heli very docile, as well.
Note: To use this feature, you must be using a 7 channel or greater Tx and either a serial Rx (Satellite or s-bus) or a 7 channel Rx. PPM is currently not supported.

I've setup my Aurora 9 so that I have a 3 position switch to select each of the flight modes, as well as a separate large switch (hard to miss), that takes it to flight mode 3, that will have the self level activated, no matter what position the 3 position switch is in. I'll share the method I used for this mixing later on.

This gyro is very vibration resistant, as it uses hardware filters, but my understanding is that the self level feature requires a heli with very little vibration to work correctly. So make sure you test this feature at a safe height. This gyro has no vibration reporting and can't have it, because of the hardware filtering. It also has no flight log.

Programming is via the PC software only at this time, but there is talk of an Android app using a Bluetooth adapter. The interface on the gyro is a micro USB port, so no adapter is required to connect it to a PC, just a USB lead, which is supplied. The gyro also has 2 satellite ports and a governor port.

The packaging on my iKon was very poor. It uses the same method as the ZYX, but the cardboard is so thin that the gyro just falls through and then rumbles around in the bottom of the box.

The iKon also has a white glue holding the case shut at the end where the leads plug in, almost like the plastic is deforming after coming out of the mold and needs to be glued to keep it closed. One side of mine is already coming apart. Like this one:
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The two circled pins in the picture above are what you have to short out with a small screwdriver if you have a failed flash, and the gyro wont work. If you short out these two pins during a power up, the gyro will enter the bootloader and wait for a firmware flash.

See post #2 in this thread for some interesting comment from Dr.M about what tail settings actual do, in terms that we know from the low cost gyros. He also points out in post #14, that the cyclic gain slider in the basic wizard only adjusts the P gain, unlike some of the other gyros, which is interesting to know. The I and D gains are however available, in the advanced settings, under each flight setup mode, under cyclic.

I'll build up this post as I get to know more about this gyro.

WARNING!!! Whatever you do, do not plug a power supply (battery, BEC etc.) into the end port labeled CH 4-5-6 / Bind. This will damage the gyro.

iKon Manual:
http://www.ikonflybarless.com/downlo...n%20Manual.pdf

iKon PC software:
http://www.ikonflybarless.com/downlo...ninstaller.msi

iKon flight selection switch setup, using the Hitec Aurora 9:
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...php?p=24352482

Videos:
Trex 700 with J1S Cyclone blades: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=362
Trex 800 doing self level. Thanks khoysagk: http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showp...&postcount=174

Video overview:
MSH Brain fbl system overview (4 min 43 sec)


Auto level from inverted:
MSH Brain Flybarless: Autolovel from inverted flight (0 min 10 sec)


Bert Kammerer introducing the MSH Brain (Pre production):
MSH Brain FBL on Goblin 700 Introduction by Bert Kammerer (6 min 51 sec)


Bert Kammerer flying the MSH Brain:
Bert Kammerer flying the new MSHeli Brain flybarless system (3 min 9 sec)
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 02:18 AM
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Very nice. I was wondering when you were going to start a review thread on your new iKon.

For me, the Brain flew very well on cyclic with default settings (600 class 3d preset), but the tail took some tweaking to get right.

Here's my first contribution to the explanation of the advanced settings terminology, which took some fiddling for me to figure out ...

The parameter MSH calls "Tail dynamic", is known on other FBL controllers and tail-only gyros as "Deceleration". Since these other systems generally feature adjustable Deceleration rates for each piro direction separately, I'm speculating that Tail dynamic works in conjunction with "Assymetry" to provide the required difference in deceleration between the two sides.

Further, TD also probably serves a role similar to what other systems call "Acceleration" also probably modified by the Assymetry parameter to account for the... uhm assymetric behavior of helicopter tails.

So, if your tail bounces or barks after an abrupt piro stop, decrease Tail dynamic first, then fiddle with the D gain. You'll notice that if you go too low on TD, your tail will start acting sloppy and twitch in hard pitch pumps, so try to find a balance of TD and D gain to tune the piro stop behavior.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 02:22 AM
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One thing I noticed during my latest flight was a subtle, strange instability when going FFF into the wind. This was not the more typical pitch-up behavior, but rather a very touchy cyclic response, almost as if somebody switched the sign of the expo in my radio from +20 to -20, making it extremely sensitive around center. Left to its own devices, the heli tracked pretty well, but as soon as I touched cyclic, I got greatly amplified response, e.g. just a hair of right cyclic (which would've been barely noticeable in a hover) put the bird into knife edge.

Thomas, the original programmer of the Brain suggested I decrease the cyclic Feed forward gain to address the issue, but I have yet to test fly this.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 03:40 AM
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Thanks for the info about setting up the tail. Knowing that is a big help.

Yes, interesting they had no hesitation suggesting that was the solution to the sensitive cyclic in FFF, so I made a note of that, when I read it.

Had you increased it from the default, prior to noticing this?
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 11:14 AM
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Yes, I had it up to 22 from the default 15. Increasing ff gain made the cyclic feel more connected in stirring moves, but the behavior in FFF is very disconcerting. I'll try to find a balance next time I'm out. Right now the bird is grounded with some mechanical problems, but I have the parts in the mail.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 01:04 PM
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Dr.M - I have a couple of questions/science project for you on the Brain.

I am very interested in trying one, but having been burned elsewhere.........

We talked before about what "agility" means on the Brain. Have you been able to confirm by watching the swash return rate on the ground that this parameter really does control the PID wash out rate?

Also, could you do a little test for me? On most controllers a very small steady cyclic input with the model at rest (like a few clicks of trim) will result in the swash moving slowly until the integrated input rate and wash out rate balance with the swash at some deflection less than max. On the Beast, the washout is inhibited as soon as the cyclic is moved at all so the swash will move to the stops (with the heli at rest). Which does the Brain do?

Hope you can help.

Jim Davey
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 01:25 PM
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I recently picked a ikon FBL on a Black Friday sale and when i click download on the ikonflybarless.com website my computer says the site has a virus and cannot download?
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 01:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fourstarforty View Post
I recently picked a ikon FBL on a Black Friday sale and when i click download on the ikonflybarless.com website my computer says the site has a virus and cannot download?
Gosh, they must have sold a truck load of these gyros on Black Friday.

I just tried the download and I'm not getting the virus warning. I'm using Avast, which has been very reliable.

Try the links in the first post. They go to the only two files in the download page, anyway.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 03:09 PM
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There are a lot of these floating around. According to MSH, the first batch of Brain was 3000units, and it's been sold out. Chances are the iKons had similar quantities, but there are still some of those around. I'm estimating about 6000 OEM Brains in the air around the world. That is a significant sample size and no major problems reported yet.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 03:50 PM
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Hello gentlemen,
I purchased the Ikon on black friday and it is my first real jump into flybarless. I tried using the zyx-s in the past but never got the bird to fly right. I currently just fly basic ff and circuits. No 3d. This Ikon, with just the factory settings in setup, is amazing. I had to lower the tail gain a bit but so far that was it. Flys almost perfect. I have two questions:

1) During fast forward flight my tail wags but when piroing no wag. What do I need to adjust to make that go away?

&

2) When in a hover, it is almost as if the heli is wobbling. That's really the best I know how to describe it. If you were to hold a main shaft up right and keep the bottom still but just move the top in a small circle. That is what it is like. Not alot but it is enough to notice it. Is that a cyclic gain adjustment?

I am not to savvy when it comes to the terminology and adjustments in the advanced menu. I have checked out numerous other websites that explain what all the settings mean but I never understand what is trying to be said. After reading, i am just as, if not more confused as I was before I started reading the explanations. Does anyone know where there is a lamens explanation or somewhere I can look to better understand all the advanced settings so that I will be able to make adjustments later down the road. What happens if the tail gets mushy or doesn't stop crisp or the cyclic shakes, etc..... I wouldn't know where to start on some of those issues. Thanks everyone and I am looking forward to this thread...
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 04:18 PM
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Based on my experience with other FBL gyros, both of your issues sound like the gain is too high.

For the tail, keep lowering the Tx tail gain until it stops the wag in FFF. Then make sure it's still holds and stops well after that. If it doesn't you will have to start dabbling in the advanced tail settings. If it does, you are good to go.

For the cyclic, first make sure you don't have any vibration, usually from the main blades or the tail. If the heli seems pretty smooth then gradually lower the cyclic gains until the heli stops wobbling. If you get it to stop wobbling, but the heli now doesn't feel stable, (wants to drift a lot of feels like it wants to roll over in a turn), then the gain is now too low and you must have a vibration issue, even if you can't visually see it.

I hope this helps. Please keep us posted on how you get on.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 04:41 PM
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+1 to what BF said. It sounds like you're running too much gain. Lower your Tx gain for the tail. Then, go into the Advanced settings and lower the cyclic P gain a few points for the wobble. Test the tail in FFF, and the cyclic wobble by giving quick jabs to the cyclic stick. If you see any hesitation or wobbles, lower P gain some more.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Dr.M, why just the P gain for cyclic. Does adjusting the overall cyclic gain in each of the flight style setups, have an undesired affect?
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 07:18 PM
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There's no overall gain (unlike the zyx). The sliders in the basic wizard actually adjust the P gain.
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Old Dec 05, 2012, 07:54 PM
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