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Old Jan 08, 2013, 05:04 AM
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Align 700E DFC HV Super Combo

I purchased this Align 700E DFC HV super combo from Helipross, for what seemed to be a good price at USD$1,349.99, including shipping.

I had already decided to use a different FBL controller as my experience with the 3G and 3GX had not been good at all. I opted for the MSH iKon (Brain), because of good flight reports and the self level feature. A Black Friday special of $169 also added to my decision.

I also decided to upgrade to the black plastic main gear, tail boom gearbox gears and the new 6mm tail shaft also with black gears.

Colored 2mm tail fins (red in this case) were also a must have for me as I find these add to visibility significantly.

I really enjoyed this build. Probably my best to date. Fit and quality was excellent in the kit. The design is simple, easy to work on and strong. No more bellcranks and the carbon fiber plastic impregnated frames are clever. I also like the plastic nose assembly, which allows plenty of room for all of the electronics. Three bearings on the main shaft are standard and so is an extra bearing for the motor pinion. I followed Align's new instructions to align the pinion with the bottom of the main gear (not on the bearing, as in the manual), in fact I set it just above, as the main gear rides up slightly when under load.

The same can't be said for the upgrades. The Align TT bevel gears were too large in diameter to fit the bearings on them. After contacting the supplier Align suggested to them that I sand them down. In the end it was the only option I was left with and I managed to get the diameter just right by sanding them down to 12.05mm, as the bearings must be a snug fit on the gear.

The upgrade 6mm tail shaft required a 0.1mm shim to remove the slop in the gearbox. The original shaft with a step down to 5mm at the end did not have this slop.

My only other gripe about the kit was the size of the wires on the Castle Phoenix ICE2 HV 120A ESC. The supplied motor bullet connectors would have been a nightmare to fit on the ends of the pre tinned ESC leads. Since the wire gauge was hugely bigger than the motor wires I opted to cut off the tinned end of the wire and remove some of the wire strands until the wire fitted neatly in the bullet connector.

This in no way spoiled the fun of this build. The rest of the kit is so good and Align have been very thorough to ensure everything you need is provided, including ample velcro strips and straps.

No parts were missing and all electronics worked as expected. I really like that Align does not thread lock anything and that all bearings are pre lubricated.

I didn't use Align's thread lock and instead used my Tarot 222 thread lock, as I really like this thread lock. 222 is usually purple and is rated for use with very small screws up to 1/4 inch screws. The Tarot 222 is a blue color.

The electronics I used seem good. As I mentioned I didn't use the 3GX as I don't think this FBL unit performs very well, even though some are reporting better performance with the lastest v3 firmware. I also don't like that it still requires Tx helicopter 3 servo mixing.

The servos seem to perform well, even at 5.5 volts. I'm undecided yet what voltage I will use. I've wired for a 2S lipo, but will be plugging in a 10amp (15amp peak) HV BEC to start with which has selectable voltage from 5.2V to 8.4V. I might start off at 6V or 6.8V and see how it goes.

I had already purchased a Castle link so I had it when the kit arrived, however inside the Castle ESC packet is a voucher to obtain online a free Castle link or a Field link for $10. US shipping is free but international shipping charges have to be paid.

The Castle Phoenix ESC connected to the PC fine and I changed the settings to governor mode using 3 RPM's 1750, 1950 & 2150.

When I first flashed up the ESC to check the motor direction, I was unable to get it to arm. To get it to arm, I ended up having to set my throttle hold to -20%. Normal, idleup 1 & 2 are set to 30, 70 and 100 percent with the EPA's on throttle set to 110 percent. These settings select the 3 RPM's programmed in to the ESC.

I also added a couple of mixes to my Tx to get the 3 flight modes the iKon has. One of which will have the self level enabled. A second large switch forces the flight mode to the mode with self level enabled.

I'm using a Hitec Optima 7 and will be using the telemetry to report the voltage of the battery connected to ground. This same battery will have the most load as it will also supply the BEC.

I'm still waiting for the BEC and red tail fins to arrive.

I found this build video very helpful:
ALIGN 700E DFC Quick Assembly快速組裝 (13 min 17 sec)


However there were some things I disagreed with. Like installing the elevator servo before putting the frames together and thread locking all screws going into metal.

Also watch out for the small screw on the inside of the tail gearbox side plate, that needs to be thread locked. This screw holds the pitch slider arm on the side of the gearbox side plate.













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Old Jan 08, 2013, 08:30 PM
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Some more pictures with the new tail fins that just turned up:





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Old Jan 15, 2013, 07:41 AM
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Nice!

The 700e V3 has a very low stance, doesn't it? It looks very well engineered, so i was surprised about your tail gear experiences. A friend of mine has a new V3, and he's the sort of flyer that just flies and doesn't bother with any sort of bling upgrades. As far as I could tell, he could fly pretty much any manoeuvre with the stock Align servos, though he uses a Quantum motor and a V Bar. I had a chance to fly it - and it sure felt bigger than my 450! I like the snap-in battery mount, and I believe the V3 frames were modified to allow for swelling of the battery packs, which made fitting and removing the battery harder on the older ones. With direct to swash links and DFC heads, helis are looking so clean and simple these days!
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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:16 PM
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I thought I should update this blog with some of the other posts that have gone on in the different threads, here on RCG, relating to the hardware on this heli. My apologizes if you have already read this elsewhere.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beenflying View Post
Maiden successful!!! I managed to fire it up this morning in my front section before going to work. Just hovering, pitch pumps and piros.

I lifted off at 1750 RPM and it was smooth and much quieter than I expected. I had the tail gain very low at 28, so the stops were very soft. There was no wag at all.

I upped the head speed to 1950, which felt more to my liking, and the tail gain to 35. The tail stop CCW was instant (no bounce) and the CW was still soft, so I suspect some tail asymmetry is required (I just need to figure out which way to go + or -). It also needs some pitch precompensation or a higher gain (once the asymmetry is set correctly), as the tail kicked out slightly on near full collective (12.5 degrees).

The cyclic felt great using the default 700 settings. I had the first flight mode in the iKon set to Sport, with the pitch expo removed in the advanced section. I need more agility than this mode offers and the piro speed was far to slow for me in this mode, but the heli stayed still during the slow full piro.

I switched to flight mode 2 which is set to 3D. The cyclic felt better but the piro speed is still too slow. Looks like I'll be trying hardcore 3D next, and making sure the tail speed is at least 500.

So my plan is to have flight mode 1 with 3D cyclic settings and a 500 tail speed. Flight mode 2 will be hardcore 3D setting, and flight mode 3 will be Self Level with Sport settings and a 500 tail speed.

1750 RPM seems good for take off and landing, and I will have 1950 and 2150 on idelup 1 and 2.

Unfortunately it seems the 700E DFC still has a tail issue. After the first hard pitch up down at 1950, I got a tail hum sound, which is not good. It was this hum/resonance that was breaking the old 5mm tail shaft (now it's 6mm). So I have some work to do on the tail before a proper flight. One person has reported fixing this by replacing the tail blade holder thrust bearings.

6 minutes of throttle hold released (motor running) and the 4500mah 50C Lipos required 30ma to get them back to storage.

First impressions of the iKon are very good, but I had no room for circuits, so I can't really tell if the cyclic setup is correct. It was super stable, piroed on the spot and had a nice feel to the cyclic and collective. Putting it on the ground softly was also very easy, and I didn't find myself fighting the collective close to the ground. You could just setup a slow rate of decent and it stayed constant until it touched the ground.

Also a thumbs up on the new Turnigy 10A HV BEC. Nice looking, high quality and seems to perform well. It's smaller in size than I expected, but it would still limit practical use to 500 size on up (a bit like the Castle BEC Pro). I'm currently using it at 6.8 volts. It has a green led to show it's running and a red flashing led to show low voltage (adjustable) and over current.
Quote:
Originally Posted by beenflying
Good news. The tail issue is sorted, so I can now do some serious flying with this heli. Turned out to be the Align 105mm tail blades. Replaced them with some Gaui X7 blades, and all is sweet, at least at all of the RPM's I want to use, anyway. Amazingly quiet heli for the size, even at 2100 RPM.

Tonight I'm upgrading the voltage protection capacitor to 10,000uf, and then it's good to go for a flight at the field, this weekend.
Quote:
Originally Posted by beenflying
The glitch-a-nator (10000uF capacitor) installed. A dozen power ups and no issues:
This has been fitted because the Align HV servo can have some very high peak currents, for a very short period of time.

As you can see the Turnigy 10A HV BEC (15A peak) is now fitted and works very well. XT60's have been fitted on both sides so I can use a 2200mah 2S Lipo if required. I've tested the iKon for brown out and it recovers in a few hundred msecs and continues to operate as before. All you get is a slight kick on the collective. My Rx can't brown out, because it's running off the bottom 6S lipo. So if I see any kicks like this in flight, I will swap to the Lipo.



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Old Jan 23, 2013, 10:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2Doggs View Post
The 700e V3 has a very low stance, doesn't it? It looks very well engineered, so i was surprised about your tail gear experiences. A friend of mine has a new V3, and he's the sort of flyer that just flies and doesn't bother with any sort of bling upgrades. As far as I could tell, he could fly pretty much any manoeuvre with the stock Align servos, though he uses a Quantum motor and a V Bar. I had a chance to fly it - and it sure felt bigger than my 450! I like the snap-in battery mount, and I believe the V3 frames were modified to allow for swelling of the battery packs, which made fitting and removing the battery harder on the older ones. With direct to swash links and DFC heads, helis are looking so clean and simple these days!
Yes, they use the F3C landing skids which are lower than the v2 700E, and the canopy drops much lower than the v2 canopy, as well.

The tail issue turned out to be the tail blades, supposedly out of balance across the cord, so it's luck of the draw as to how the blades balance. This is why some get it and some don't. It also only occurred at a narrow RPM band in my case, but unfortunately right where I wanted to fly it.

I'm still two minds about DFC on this size heli. Goblin are starting to backtrack from DFC to what they now call HPS, which is a lowered version of the system we were using before DFC came along.

I definitely like the direct servo coupling, with no bellcranks. It was this that sold me on getting the 550, as well. I'm glad I got the brushless servos with a very high torque, as I'm sure this 700 will need it for anything past sport flying.

The plastic frames are really clever. Not only does it make the direct servo coupling work well, but as you say, it widens the frame at the battery to allow cables to run past the battery and they will no longer get chafed on the frame.

I really like this kit so far. It ticks all of the boxes for me and I recommend it to anyone considering a big heli.
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Old Jan 25, 2013, 07:50 PM
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I just had to post this amazing video of a stock Align 700E DFC HV flown by Jamie Robertson:
Jamie Robertson at Orlando Noon Demo HD (5 min 4 sec)
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:01 PM
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I'm really please with the way this heli and the iKon fly. This kit is an amazing amount of bang for the buck, when compared to other 700 helicopters. Heaps of power, tough and easy to work on.

Self level is now working well. It needed some tuning, as it went quite a bit to the left when I first activated it. The set level button had set aileron and elevator to 2/4, but in reality it needed -1.5/4 (3.5 difference for the aileron). It would seem the set level button does not take into consideration that the heli does not hover level.

It's also good news that Align has announced that they will do a replacement service on any dead/damaged/burnt out MX motor for half the price of a new motor. Supposedly, no questions asked.
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Old Apr 26, 2013, 02:15 AM
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The new Align 700mm blades turned up yesterday. Pretty amazing how much heaver the leading edge of the blade are compared to the older 690mm blades.


They supposedly add 15-20 percent to the auto rotate time.

Matching tail blades are on the way:


This is Align's work around for the torque tube issues. Lighter blades (6g), so less load on the TT, stopping it from orbiting. I fixed mine by fitting stiffer TT bearing holders and moving the back bearing forward 30mm, so even the original Align blades work fine.
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 06:14 AM
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no more updates?
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Old Jun 27, 2013, 06:50 AM
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Sure. I swapped the Turnigy BEC over to a Castle BEC Pro, so I could run some tests on the Turnigy BEC. The tests showed that it exceeded the specs on HobbyKing's site, but having a capacitor on the output of this BEC is a must.

The heli is flying well. I like the new 700mm main blades, but I haven't fitted the new Align tail blades yet. I'm still using the Rail 105mm blades.

I like the iKon and self level is still functioning, so that's a bonus. I'm using the ZYX foam for mounting, as some have found the foam to be the cause of their SL issues.

That's about it really. It's a good heli and has many design features that I like. If Align could incorporate some mods to stop the tail hum issues it would be even better. I'd like to see a thicker TT and a better coupling method for the TT at each end.
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Old Jul 05, 2013, 02:29 AM
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Thanks for the updates. And thank you for the reply on your youtube vid about the tail hum (that was me: pofrani)
I started getting the hum the other night as well. I thought it was the canopy vibrating on the mounts as when I landed, I thought I forgot to insert one of the canopy into the mounts.
Strange thing is, I've had this heli for nearly a month now and I didn't get the hum until 2 nights ago..

But I'm going to order Rail blades next week.
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Old Jul 20, 2013, 06:17 AM
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Hi - are you using 3 bearings on the torque tube? if so - is running 3 definitely better? what is the placement measurements for the bearings?
I had a slight crash the other night so now I have extra bearings for the tail torque tube. i'm keen on doing a 3 bearing mod if it will help with the hum problem (i'm running rail blades as well but I think I might still have a slight hum)
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