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Old Nov 07, 2012, 10:34 PM
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NAS Whidbey Island/Oak Harbour, WA
Joined Jul 1999
335 Posts
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Please help identifying this coax 3.5 Ch Heli!

Good evening all. I have always loved helicopters but have actually shied away from them the more I came to understand their potentially capricious nature(the full-sized ones...) and shelved youthful interest in taking lessons in them.

I've watched the micro-R/C copter & coaxial holiday gift toys blossom out of nowhere some 8yrs back and didn't pause to purchase one as I imagined blowing $70 on a miniature, self-destructing one-off distraction.

Now that the price & accessible quality is ridiculously simple, I've picked one up as a gift for an Army friend--she's not much of a 'gear-head/toy nerd' but I love her to death and wanted to surprise her.

Saw 2 of these in a ROSS store on discount for $20/ea; picked up the less fingered-looking one and decided I could fix anything amiss once I touched base w/the friendly, neighbourhood E-Zone forums.


It is marked Sky Runner, by EB Excalibre RC and sanctioned officially by the U.S. Army(logos all over it)--hence why I thought of my lady friend. Appearance wise, I can tell they were aiming for AH-64 Apache w/the Army association, but I recognized more of an Augusta A-129 Mangusta.
Getting home and searching the web, I was not too, too far off: Eurocopter Tiger EC-665--passable 1/72 semi-scale replica!

I've scoped old posts and Google searched but haven't seen any RCGroups discussions on this particular model, besides a brief mention that it was probably junk.

Charged and started up, it hummed and weakly spun its rotors while the lights flashed. Discouraging! Still, I'd pull it apart and apply a dose of what I've learned on these forums.
After identifying its layout & components, we(my 2 recently adopted kittens, Earlah & Will.i.am, watching intrigued) discover:

1)Both drive pinions ridiculously out of contact w/their spurs.
2)The tail motor having 1 wire broken off at the contact tab point.
3)The nose LED glued in place with NO wires leading back to the battery or
circuit board.

My concern was that it would be a complete dud, but I mustered my tools and adhesives and set about dissecting it.

Always concious of L/W ratios, I took the liberty of using a blade and hot knife to fret out sections of the fuselage to reduce weight and allow more cooling air inside. I scavenged some micro-wires and spliced the nose LED onto the tail strobe LED.

So, a day later I've got it back together and it flies!!!! Lights work properly too.

I am a bit bent over the flight times being so short; its taken me several full charges to get the hang of directional control & throttle management. My feline groundcrew are mortified!

The lithium batt is marked 180mAh; is there a greater capacity unit available I could swap in?
I've read about stripped gears, uprated motors and replacement rotor components. At this time, the lower rotor pinion has slid out of alignment and/or may be stripped(kept playing with it to teach myself!!!)

Before I trim & repaint it to package it off for my friend, can anyone with experience with this model suggest best upgrades so my friend can learn?

I'll have her mail it back to me if it fails. I just hope she has some fun and can step out of her hectic management responsibilities for a bit.

Meanwhile...I'm hooked!!
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Old Nov 10, 2012, 06:23 AM
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Newcastle, UK
Joined Jul 2010
2,709 Posts
I bought this model a while back, I can't say I was greatly impressed with it but it does fly and mine was described as a "Land and Sky" as it can be "driven" along the floor and then you can do a rolling take off.

I have never tried to do any modifications to it as it works and I am a great believer in "If it is not broken, why fix it"

John.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 01:00 AM
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NAS Whidbey Island/Oak Harbour, WA
Joined Jul 1999
335 Posts
Thanks for the feedback, Scotsoft.

I've become most concerned w/the flight pack charge duration.

The warning to run it no longer than 4-5min lest the pack be stressed and the fact that although a beginner 'toy', it took me 6 charges to get the hang of its behavior and flight envelope.

One of the motors(lower rotor) shifted alignment with its pinion-to-spur so I've had to open it again and correct. While I was at this, I took it to the LHS to ask about replacement plastic gears, motors but most importantly what upgrade batteries were possible.

I came home with 240, 250 and 350 mAh Lipo packs. The 240/250 are 25C, but the 350 turns out its only 10C. I am concerned as to whether it is up to the job and worth soldering into place?

I'm considering making a tutorial vid for my friend; having to wait for a recharge would be the most annoying thing for less than 5mins. flying time and she is unaware of the 'charge/drain/charge...don't overdrain!' nature of Lipos. I don't want to fill her with 'kill-joy' fears about charging either.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 06:16 AM
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Newcastle, UK
Joined Jul 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spaaro View Post
Thanks for the feedback, Scotsoft.
You are very welcome, am pleased I have been of some limited help.

I've become most concerned w/the flight pack charge duration.
This is always a problem with anyone flying these small machines.

The warning to run it no longer than 4-5min lest the pack be stressed and the fact that although a beginner 'toy', it took me 6 charges to get the hang of its behavior and flight envelope.
4 - 5 minutes is all some guys fly their helis before landing, letting them cool down and then charging up again. One way round this is to buy more helis, which is probably something you don't wish to do.

One of the motors(lower rotor) shifted alignment with its pinion-to-spur so I've had to open it again and correct.
If this happens again you could try putting a spot of hot glue on the mount to stop it slipping. It is slipping because the landings may possibly be a bit heavy.

While I was at this, I took it to the LHS to ask about replacement plastic gears, motors but most importantly what upgrade batteries were possible.
I would imagine the LHS would be delighted to sell you so called upgrades, these inexpensive helis are not meant to have upgrades. It is only when you get into the hobby grade helis that you will find a supply of upgrades.

I came home with 240, 250 and 350 mAh Lipo packs. The 240/250 are 25C, but the 350 turns out its only 10C. I am concerned as to whether it is up to the job and worth soldering into place?
With these larger capacity batteries you need to be aware of their increase in weight. The heavier battery will decrease flight times drastically and you may find the 350mAh could be too heavy for the heli to take off.

I'm considering making a tutorial vid for my friend; having to wait for a recharge would be the most annoying thing for less than 5mins. flying time and she is unaware of the 'charge/drain/charge...don't overdrain!' nature of Lipos. I don't want to fill her with 'kill-joy' fears about charging either.
Perhaps you could suggest to her she flies this one as it is so she abuses this one whilst learning and if she finds she wishes to continue in this hobby then the two of you could look at more hobby grade helis for her to progress to. Many people who are new to this hobby have quickly progressed to a single rotor fixed pitch heli, the WLToys V911 is a good example, it is a very stable heli, upgradeable to a degree but the main point is you can have many batteries for it and change them over after allowing the motor to cool down for a few minutes. There are so many options along this path I could write for hours and still not cover all the points.

However, please feel free to ask any questions and I will do my best to answer them for you.

John.
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Old Nov 11, 2012, 11:35 PM
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NAS Whidbey Island/Oak Harbour, WA
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John,

Again thank you for the well-thought out responses.

The Lipos I picked up from the LHS I weighed right there on the store counter, w/the original present; the 240/250 were basically identical weight with the original(fraction gram heavier) but the 350 was 2/3rds heavier. I bought it, but will keep it off to the side for now. The discharge capacity of 10C marked on it was my biggest concern.

Having opened the heli up to tack glue the motor/pinion slippage, I barely touched the battery and one of its leads separated from the PCB board! Good thing I'm able to see the fractured solder point! The 250mAh Lipo I swappped in.

I replaced the dummy rocket pods and .30mm gun pylons with 'Cyano & talc' stiffened paper replicas--less the weight of the additional PCV plastic and tiny mounting screws!
Also, the PVC chin 'blob'(gun) with a wire & paper machiere replica of the full-size Rheinmetall RMK30 recoiless autocannon and the PVC chunk tail wheel replaced with a paper clip wire.

I don't have a scale/balance at home but I'm sure I've saved a small bit of weight and I consider this my first foray into hacking a micro-copter--practice for my next one!

Final colour scheme will be either one of these:
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