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Old Jan 05, 2013, 08:11 PM
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What is the problem with e-Flite?

What is the problem with e-Flite?

I was the happy recipient of an e-Flite Carbon Cub for the holidays. I had been eying them previously, but the LHS continually sold out.

Just as background: I am an experienced pilot (5 years). I fly everything from sailplanes to EDF. As a matter of fact, I have the e-Flite UMX MiG 15. I am very impressed by its handling of 15+ mph winds. I also had the chance to fly another pilot's Carbon Cub and it proved to be docile, with enough performance to carry out aerobatics with confidence. That Carbon Cub was a great plane.

The Carbon Cub I received is not the same plane as my friends. My Carbon Cub is not a great plane. Sure, they are both gray and cost too much, but that extra price is for product support, or so I thought.

I started the first flight with initializing the ASX3 system. The near sunset weather was fairly calm, maybe 5 mph at the most. I had just flown the HZ Champ with no problems. I had launched the Carbon Cub and it went vertical with no inputs. I quickly chopped the throttle, let it go through a tail slide and then began to climb out, assuming it was a problem related to trim or my flying. The plane when level began to bank left, and then suddenly rotated violently to inverted. Completed a split-s, then brought it in for a power off landing in a grass field. Checked the control surfaces, which were at neutral and tried again. Plane required a fair amount of down elevator and right elevator to fly level. Trim on radio would not effect much change, as the plane continued to roll violently without warning. Hands off flying results in a increasingly tight left turn, usually followed by the abrupt roll to inverted. Turn does not happen immediately, but is without warning and regardless of trim.

This has continued for 10 flights over several days. I tried to trim it via radio, placed the battery so it was tail heavy all the way to nose heavy. Flown in winds from 0 (sunrise) to 15 mph. No crashes in spite of bad behavior.

Useful Troubleshooting stuff: Rebound TX to Rx, initialized AS3X indoors, TX is DX6i used with five other planes, placed tested CG from tail heavy to nose heavy, used different batteries all fully charged, hands free flying results in erratic behavior, throw controlled in radio from 100% to 80%. Exponential used at 5 rudder, 10 elevator, 15 aileron (which is near what the MiG-15 requires). LHS owner agrees that there is a problem.

I called customer support and asked for advice. This was over five days or so. First customer support was polite and suggested I send the plane in for work. I looked at RCGroups to see if it wasn't a simple fix (it's not) and saw that others had received a return number and prepaid postage. Called customer supports Two and Three (different people, same attitude). They were less than polite, if not rude. They also stated that postage is only included if the situation/problem was exceptional. They stated it may be covered under warranty, but made it a point to say the repair costs and shipping return would be born by me if not a warranty issue.

I can understand that. What I cannot understand was their hostility. It's pretty clear that the AS3X isn't working properly. However, I was treated like an idiot by customer supports Two and Three. The plane is clearly not working, especially when I fly a known good Carbon Cub as a reference, then fly mine with radically different results.

What confuses me is how e-Flite behaves relative to ParkZone. My Radian Pro was prone to tail heavy behavior. Within the first couple of minutes with the ParkZone customer support I was being offered a new replacement Radian Pro at no cost to me. I declined, and we figured out the problem together. ParkZone also replaced my T-28's bad ESC at no cost to me. I offered to mail it back, as I assume they needed proof. I was told not to. You pay extra for ParkZone because they treat you properly if customer service is needed. Polite, technically competent and customer oriented.

e-flite does not treat customers as such. Most of the postings regarding the early Carbon Cub headaches showed that e-Flite was serious about fixing their problems. Unfortunately, I get customer service that is on par for a Chinese Hobby distributor, but at three times the price.

What really confusing is that that Horizon Hobby provides the customer support for many brands, including e-Flite and ParkZone. Does each company set the return/service policies? Do only certain techs work on certain product lines?

I know this was long, but I need some advice. If anyone can give me some insight I would appreciate it, as I don't have $70 to fix a new $170 plane I would appreciate it.

SP
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 05:03 AM
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Is it motionless for five seconds after plugging in the battery?
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 06:09 AM
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Yes, it is motionless for 5 seconds. I have let it sit for as long as 30 seconds. The AS3X appears to be working when you bump the throttle and bring it back to no throttle. Control surfaces begin dancing around when plane is moved, just like the MiG-15 and my friend's Carbon Cub. I'm hesitant to put it up in the air again, as any impact will be blamed for AS3X behavior. I am seriously disappointed in e-Flite/HH.
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 11:25 AM
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uhh, is the plane level to the ground for 5 seconds (not sitting on its gear?)

the as3x will take the angle its at for the first 5 second and try to maintail that, assuming its level with the ground. if its not, then the plane will try to fly nose up, thinking its 'straight and level'.

just my .02
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 11:33 AM
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Stockholm Sweden
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I'd take it back to the LHS (if that's where you bought it) and let them deal with it (it's their job).
Ask for a replacement or a refund.
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 11:56 AM
Lou
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United States, VA, Waynesboro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Palmetto View Post
What is the problem with e-Flite?

What I cannot understand was their hostility.
SP
Define 'hostility'. I have never known HH support to be hostile, even when I was difficult they were not hostile. I am sure they do have some turnover in their customer service department so any thing can happen.

If it was purchased from a LHS then take the plane back to the LHS, they will replace it or refund the money. The LHS DOES have a working relationship with HH and they CAN handle this problem for you, though some LHS are loathed to admit this as they have to call HH for a call tag and then pack up the plane to go back to HH. You will be out only the gas money to the LHS.

If not purchased from a LHS, then call back to HH and ask for a supervisor and take the matter of with he or she.
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nemoskull View Post
uhh, is the plane level to the ground for 5 seconds (not sitting on its gear?)

the as3x will take the angle its at for the first 5 second and try to maintail that, assuming its level with the ground. if its not, then the plane will try to fly nose up, thinking its 'straight and level'.

just my .02
Not true, as3x uses gyroscopes not accelerometers, gyros sense rotation accelerometers measure acceleration. As3x can initialize in any attitude as long as it is still, all it needs is to know what stillness is.
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 03:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airpower View Post
Not true, as3x uses gyroscopes not accelerometers, gyros sense rotation accelerometers measure acceleration. As3x can initialize in any attitude as long as it is still, all it needs is to know what stillness is.
I don't know the technical terms, but I initialize most of my AS3X aircraft upside down. mCPX, Carbon Cub, and Mig-15 all the time. They all do fine.

As far as the OP's issue goes:
If purchased from the LHS, see what they will do. A good one will exchange it. An "OK" one will send it in to Horizon for you at no charge. One that no longer deserves your patronage will tell you to contact Horizon.

If there is no suitable local solution, get a service request # and send it in. It will cost you the shipping to them, but they are very likely going to send you a new plane.
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 03:50 PM
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perhaps i was mistaken. the gyros im used to working with have no way to sense gravity, all they do i count angles and try to maitain the angle i set them at.
usualy i use old school analog gyros. i just count the mV change and log the time, then work backwards to maintain the more or less angle i wanted.

so i assumed that, seeing as how the AS3X uses gyros and not acclerometers, that the board would have no way of seeing the acceration of gravity downwards, and just try to maitain by counting angluar change of where ever its inital position is.

ive been wanting a spitfire, so can you tell me if i initalize the plane with the nose slightly up, how will the board know when im 'hands off' and trying to go level, or slighly below the angle it started at? i would have assumed it would keep trying to get back to the attitude it started at.

what AS3X plane do you fly?
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Old Jan 06, 2013, 05:22 PM
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Nemo, I am confused. I thought you were saying that as3x ships have to be on gear and level to initialize proper, which is incorrect since it only uses gyros and doesn't use accelerometers, I guess my post was too vague to get the the fact that as3x only uses gyros, not accels. Sorry I was vague.

Re-examining your second post perhaps you misunderstand what as3x does. When you take your fingers off the sticks it will NOT go back to the attitude it initialized or what is level, it only counter reacts to movement as they happen, the term is rate gyro, it only reacts with opposite control as the rotation occurs to reduce uncommanded deviations.
Helis use heading hold gyros, also they do not return the ship to the attitude where it was initialized, it stays EXACTLY where you LAST put, the difference is that a heading hold will return an uncommanded position back to the last place you commanded it, difficult concept sorry, here's an example.
Constant is no input.
A plane with no gyros: gust causes a yaw left, aerodynamic forces move it as they wish.

Plane with rate gyro: gust cause yaw left, gyros counter and reduce total yaw from gust by 50%.

Plane with heading hold: gust causes yaw left, gyro initially counters and reduces yaw by 50%, after gust ends gyro yaw right back to the last position. Now,this is complicated, it will not bring the plane back to the last commanded position, not initialization position. The last commanded position depends on your inputs. For explanations sake lets say the HH gyro is active even when throttle is down on heli. The last commanded position starts where it initialized, and depending and depending on your inputs it will change, depending how much you move elevator, rudder, and aileron.
People much better on other websites probably explain this much better than I do, sorry if I over explained it, it's better than under explaining.
Really sorry to change the subject a bit on your important inquiry, but it's a valuable thing to learn about when learning how to deal with gyros.
Also as a rule of thumb, rate gyros are usually used and planes, heading hold on helis.
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Old Jan 08, 2013, 05:20 PM
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(#1) The Carbon Cub I received is not the same plane as my friends. My Carbon Cub is not a great plane. Sure, they are both gray and cost too much, but that extra price is for product support, or so I thought.


*(#1) Im not sure how anyone can compare their aircraft to someone elses plane, we have to remember these are being built in another area of the world and shipped here for our amusment there is always a percentage in play when buying a prouct produced in another country that there will be a few lemons. just because your buddys plane works great does not really mean your will work the same. i have a v1 cc from one of the first batches and i havent had a single problem with mine while others have had numerous problems.

(#2)I started the first flight with initializing the ASX3 system. The near sunset weather was fairly calm, maybe 5 mph at the most. I had just flown the HZ Champ with no problems. I had launched the Carbon Cub and it went vertical with no inputs. I quickly chopped the throttle, let it go through a tail slide and then began to climb out, assuming it was a problem related to trim or my flying. The plane when level began to bank left, and then suddenly rotated violently to inverted. Completed a split-s, then brought it in for a power off landing in a grass field. Checked the control surfaces, which were at neutral and tried again. Plane required a fair amount of down elevator and right elevator to fly level. Trim on radio would not effect much change, as the plane continued to roll violently without warning. Hands off flying results in a increasingly tight left turn, usually followed by the abrupt roll to inverted. Turn does not happen immediately, but is without warning and regardless of trim.

*(#2) everything sounds correct here but did you by chance check the thrust angles on the motor? may have an issue there and is something im wary of and check frequently. it might even cause a rolling isue that yours has. have you looked inside and seen the board? when mine arrived i have a elevator linkage tangled in the flap servo wires which when checking control surfaces caused a binding and sudden release causing what would have been very erratic elevator control. might also check to see if when you angle the plane that the board moves from not being properly glued down. i had a um p-51 with this issue and it would affect rudder and elevator control.

(#3) LHS owner agrees that there is a problem.

*(#3) i dont know your lhs owner but if my brand new airplane was acting this way i would take it in and have them hopefully replace it out of good grace and or to retain customers.

(#4) I can understand that. What I cannot understand was their hostility. It's pretty clear that the AS3X isn't working properly. However, I was treated like an idiot by customer supports Two and Three. The plane is clearly not working, especially when I fly a known good Carbon Cub as a reference, then fly mine with radically different results.

*(#4) From what i listed above if you havent checked any of those things i question how you come to the conclusion that it is a fault of as3x when there are 7 soon to be 9 other aircraft that use the same system. im not ruling out the as3x programming by any means but looking at history it does not seem a very viable option as the failure point.

i mean none of this in any offence to you or your experiance just trying to help
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Old Jan 08, 2013, 06:24 PM
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Well a pitch up, no offense, is a pretty simple problem. Make sure the battery is in front, plane is completely still for first five seconds, and then manually trim the elevator until it tracks level.

Alot of people blame a problem on as3x, where as the only problem I've seen caused by as3x is oscillations.
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