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Old Aug 29, 2009, 08:56 PM
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Tayio Edge Hovercraft Mods

The Tayio Edge is a neat little toy Hovercraft that you can still buy on e-bay or from some online stores. My dear wife got me one for my birthday a couple years ago. It has a simple three motors arrangement, one for the fan, and two for the left and right propellers. The overall design of the craft and the skirt is quite sound.

However in practice it suffers from a lot of limitations that make it less than enjoyable to use. Of course you'd expect that for a low cost toy like this.
- The remote control is too basic. Controls are all or nothing, with one separate stick for each motor. Basically each propeller is full forward or full backward. The fan is always full on unless you depress a temporary button which kills it while you press it. It is very difficult to control the craft this way.
- Autonomy is very limited. Couple of minutes with the included NiCd battery.
- It lacks lift. It barely works.

Here are the mods I did to fix all of these issues. Basically I upgraded the battery, changed to fan motor to a powerful brushless motor, and replaced all the electronics so it can be controlled with a good RC transmitter, all proportional control. It has been transformed, it's now a joy to use.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 09:10 PM
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The first step was to upgrade the battery. I found a 3 cell LiPo that has the same weight and about the same size as the original NiCd battery. This gives me 11V instead of the original 9.6V, and 3000 mAh instead of the original paltry 700 mAh.

It can be purchased from all-battery.com , which by the way is a super site for getting excellent batteries at a fraction of retail price. This one did cost less than $38:
http://www.all-battery.com/111volt-2...-polypack.aspx

The battery is slightly larger and thicker than the original, but it fits in the receptacle. However there is no room left to accommodate the original rigidly attached power connector, so I removed it and used a free floating Deans connector instead.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 09:29 PM
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Next I needed to take a look at the electronic innards. The hovercraft is assembled in a clever modular fashion and the whole electronics and fan block comes out quite easily as one unit.

All I had to do was pull the skirt out from its rails around the bottom of the block. Then remove a couple of screws and pull the center block out from underneath the craft. Electrical connections to the fan motors and the antenna are through self aligning prongs, they will disconnect automagically when you pull the center module out from the bottom. Very clever arrangement. Beware, there is one screw all the way in the front that's a bit tricky, the block has a lip that gets sandwiched in-between the two pieces of the shell. Just slightly separate the two shell pieces and pull the block out.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 09:40 PM
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It's another few screws to open the block up and reveal the electronics and the fan motor.

I removed the electronics board by simply de-soldering the ends of the connection pins. The whole board then just comes out along with the motor.

The fan motor is a Mabuchi, one of the better speed 300 motors out there. It's also sold under the Graupner 300 name in the RC world. 24 mm diameter, 34 mm in length, output shaft 2 mm, 44g, 1.16A at 5 V, 29,000 rpm are the specs of this motor. I checked that the two propeller motors where also Mabuchi, these are powerful enough and do not need any upgrading.

The electronics are built around an Actions Semiconductor 5-Function Remote Controller chip, RX2C ATS302R meant for cheap toys with all or nothing left/right, back/forward and power boost capability. Only 3 channels are used in our case. The motors are DC controlled through simple H-bridges. Nothing I can reuse here.

Note that the original electronics didn't like the 11V supply. Radio and fan control were fine, but the propeller H bridges would lock up as soon as I tried to go forward. So don't upgrade to 11V unless you are willing to change the electronics.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 10:03 PM
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I found a little brushless ElectriFly motor at my local dealer (whom I recommend and also retails online www.aeromicro.com). Part number is GPMG5115, 2650kV. Input voltage is up to 11V, and max current is 5.5A. It is quite a bit smaller than the original Mabuchi: dia. 20mm, length 30mm, same 2mm shaft. The max power is 60W, up from probably about 10-15W with the original motor. That's actually way more power than you need, I use it at about 1/2 stick up in practice.

To mount it, you'll need to drill two holes 16 mm apart and find some short M2.5 metric screws.

You'll also need to drill some more holes around the motor and on top of the plastic module for ventilation . I found out the hard way not having done that first, and the heat from the motor started to melt the plastic. I cut very crude openings with a dremel, see picture.

Finally, you will need to find and glue a long hex 4/40 spacer to the shaft in order to connect the fan.

I connected the motor to a small brushless controller, a Thunderbird-9, a 9A model one from Castle Creations, which was also available at www.aeromicro.com.
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Old Aug 29, 2009, 10:19 PM
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Controller for the remaining two brushed propeller motors were trickier to find. You need very small ones, as there is very little space in the module. And it has to do forward and reverse. And it has to support brushed motors. Fortunately, I finally found fantastic ones from Mtroniks in the UK ( www.mtroniks.net ). These are the parts that truly enabled this project to succeed.

They have a super small 10A controller, waterproof, forward and backward, a joy to program. It's called the MicroViper Marine 10. See it here:

http://www.mtroniks.net/details1.asp...r-marine10.htm

To finish the installation, I put the smallest 4 channel receiver I could find, a Castle Creations Berg 4L.

Don't forget to remove all BEC (Battery Eliminator Circuit) red wires from the connectors coming from the MTroniks controllers. The only power you want to your receiver should come from the brushless motor controller BEC.
I also removed the on/off slider that came with each of the Mtroniks and connected the two wires to each other permanently to save space.

Below you'll find pictures of the whole thing wired up. It's pretty tight in there, so be ready to cut the thick wires from the controllers just at the right (short) size.

Final detail, I found a miniature toggle switch with a long lever that would poke right through the original hole for the on/off switch on the shell, and used that as a master battery switch.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 12:02 AM
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Last step is to program the transmitter with the right mix to get the propellers to control left/right and forward/backward.

On my JR 9303 it's quite simple, provided you connect the servos the right way and use the right wing type.

Firstly you have to use the ACRO setting.

Then you have to set the wing type to DELTA, do not use the V-tail mode (leave it inhibited).

Connect the receiver channels as follows:

Channel 1 (normally Throttle) -> Fan brushless controller
Channel 2 (normally Left Elevon) -> Left propeller controller
Channel 3 (normally Right Elevon) -> Right propeller controller
Channel 4 (normally Rudder) -> not connected.

This way, the left stick (throttle) controls the fan. The more up, the more lift.
The right stick controls backward/forward and right/left.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 12:09 AM
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Last word

Do not forget to program the reverse on the MTroniks controllers. In mine it shipped with reverse disabled by default. Enabling it is a piece of cake and necessitates no special card or connection, just follow the instructions that come with the controller.

The fan motor is mighty more powerful than the original. It also spins much faster. How fast it goes is limited in practice by how well balanced your fan rotor is. In my original Hovercraft, it's not balanced nor centered at all, it's actually appallingly far off. So above about mid-stick it starts to vibrate objectionably, which effectively limits how much lift I can use.

The obvious solution would be to balance the fan correctly like a propeller. Haven't done that yet, but I think it's a mandatory step with that much power.

In the meantime I have electronically limited my throttle excursion to half stick - it's already way more lift than the original.

There you have it. You've transformed a cheap toy of limited capabilities into a powerful, controllable, fun Hovercraft. If I have time I'll post some video of it in "flight".

Marc
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 03:42 AM
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Video ?

Terry
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 06:14 PM
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Here is a short video. Of course the first thing that happens is me going straight into the weeds...

Tayio Edge Modified Hovercraft (1 min 57 sec)
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 08:44 PM
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I have always thought of doing something like this. I had an old toy hovercraft I gave away and I should have kept it. Nice build. You did, however, turn a 20 dollar toy into a 400 dollar toy.
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Old Aug 30, 2009, 11:42 PM
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Some truth in that, although the cost of the upgrades was less than $200. Obvioulsy enough, the reason they couldn't build a better hovercraft to start with was the toy's price constraints. Mind you, the original toy retailed for close to $100.

But driving your new overpowered hovercraft into the weeds right off the bat - priceless ...
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Old Sep 07, 2009, 01:11 AM
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I have the R/C Mini Typhoon II in Red & Black. I love the paint job on mine, but don't have the skills to upgrade it. Although the way you describe what to do is very concise, & I like the pix u took at every step. I also have another duplicate, that I broke the 3 spinning fan propeller right off of after a collision into a wall. This is very common and easy to happen, since it is extremely difficult to make a turn, riding on a cushion of air, & therefore leads to very large turning radius. I'm thinking of ebaying both, any idea of a good starting price?
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Old Feb 06, 2010, 08:51 PM
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Update

Short update to add that I indeed balanced the fan using a propeller balancer. It reduced vibrations by a large amount. I also replaced the Mtroniks MiniMoto speed controllers by similar sized Viper Marine Micro 10, from the same company. It's the same controller except that the Marine version has a symmetric throttle response for forward and reverse (the MiniMoto has a much softer reverse than forward). The only problem is that you have to get them directly by calling or e-mailing the manufacturer in England, I couldn't find any one selling them over here.

Both of these improve the hovercraft control further.
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Old Feb 06, 2010, 09:49 PM
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I'd love to see some new youtube videos of the upgrades of the hovercraft in action!!
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