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Archive for February, 2017
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 19, 2017 @ 08:11 PM | 10,500 Views
My, how things have changed in this hobby in five years.

It was January 2012 when my review of the Extreme-Flyers X350 5A2 coaxial helicopter was published here at RCGroups. Since then, Global Hobby Distributors have, sadly, ceased operations and the X350 seems to be all but discontinued through other outlets.

Time hadn't been particularly kind to my X350. I spent more time crashing than flying and I turned my attention back to standard CCPM helicopters and early quadcopters, not to mention a lot of airplanes. Since long before moving from the place where I'd written the review and taken the photos, the X350 had been sitting in closets in both my previous house and my new house ever since.

After five years which included a great deal of flying a variety of models, I thought it was time to look at this chopper once again through the lens of history and some more polished flying skills.

I had everything I needed to get airborne again with one exception. I couldn't find the transmitter. I checked some boxes in my garage without success and that's when I thought to look where I'd once stored a couple of other oddball transmitters. Bingo. Still wrapped in the plastic grocery bag I'd used to protect it during the move. Even the transmitter's batteries were OK.

The original li-po had long since been discarded; I had one which I'd gotten as a gift from Max Ettinger at Park RC Models. It was almost totally discharged from lack of use, but I was able to get...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 17, 2017 @ 10:54 PM | 12,428 Views
When I reviewed the JYU Hornet S RTF quadcopter last summer, I lamented the lack of documentation and firmware updating software in English. I did find out that their customer service is excellent when the flight battery wouldn't connect with the charger. Kitty Zheng at JYU forwarded a new battery and charger and all is now well.

JYU is getting their act together with very good online documentation and, thankfully, some good software and new firmware updates. The key word is "getting" since the firmware updating procedures are not too well documented. I sure found that out when I went to upgrade the firmware in my model and transmitter much as I'd normally do in an open source program like Cleanflight. My Hornet went from one of the sweetest flying quads I own to something, well, not so nice.

The fun part? These here interwebs. I found a video on YouTube where a user followed the thread started by our own SeByDocKy which can be found here. By the way, SeBy also shared a way to make a wiring harness which allows the flight battery to be charged via a standard computerized charger. Although the original pack won't allow for balancing because of the internal issue, it charges just fine without balancing. So, I have two batteries!

It seems that unless things are followed in a certain (and seemingly undisclosed) order, the thing simply isn't going to work. This is where this video becomes invaluable:

JYU Hornet S - Firmware Upload, Calibration
...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 12, 2017 @ 05:22 PM | 10,117 Views
In addition to the resurrected Twister Police Helicam converted into a Blade CX4 presented in my last blog, these six micros are also refurbished and flying once more. The Skyartec Wasp Nano CP helicopter at left and the Helizone Thunderbird to its right are previous review subjects. So too was the green Cheerson FX-10 nano quad.

That Estes Proto X was my first ever micro quad and it's been rebuilt a few times over the years. Only the frame is original; I gave its transmitter to my son to replace the missing unit from his own. I'm flying it on a discarded transmitter given to me by my local hobby shop. Everything else is brand new and it flies like new as well. Once those motor mounts get tweaked, these little quads won't fly properly until they're replaced.

What looks like an orange FX-10 started life as an Estes Proto N used as a demo sample from that same hobby shop. It was less than a year old per the transmitter's date code, but it already had a burned out battery, a broken shell, three burned out motors and three missing propellers. At least it had a working transmitter with batteries and the FC board worked perfectly. That was given to me as a possible parts source for the green FX-10 and while the motors and props are available as service parts, the shells and flight batteries are not. I got those from overseas as well as a new shell for the actual FX-10 once it needs its battery needs replacing.

The little Helizone coaxial chopper was in need of...Continue Reading
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 08, 2017 @ 06:32 PM | 9,930 Views
OK, so resurrecting a coaxial helicopter isn't that big a deal, but dang, was it fun.

To wit, this centered around a "what if" thought I had when I dusted off my rebuilt Twister Police Helicam coaxial helicopter per a previous entry. That made me think of the incomplete model I'd purchased several years before but never operated.

A check of the freezer bag in which I'd stored it revealed a like new frame, all electronics except for the receiver (removed in order to test another model soon after I bought the helicopter) and all of the accessories including double-stick tape pads, tie wraps, screwdriver, used blades and a new, unwrapped set of blades. Since the Blade CX4 hadn't been released prior to the model being stored, I didn't have a US-based parts source, so away it went.

My worry was that the 3-in-1 mixer unit might not be working; I don't recall ever powering up the frame. To my utter delight, everything worked once I reconnected the receiver!

A very small infusion of money for the fuselage which I bought for half the retail price on Amazon plus the battery tray, skids and fuselage mounts from the local hobby shop resulted in the little green beauty pictured below. It is literally a brand new machine and I figured it deserved the new blades instead of the used ones. Naturally, it flies like a coaxial helicopter. Easy to fly and hover indoors; impossible to fly outdoors in wind.

I should have done this ages ago! Next on the list is another battery. For now, I'll enjoy the battery I have.
Posted by DismayingObservation | Feb 03, 2017 @ 06:37 PM | 10,133 Views
The new Blade CX4 fuselage in bright green arrived today! Like the old Twister Police Helicam fuselage, the new fuse has LEDs both front and rear which plug in the same way as the light system on the previous fuselage. Mocking it up to the frame this afternoon showed me this big buzzard of a coaxial helicopter is going to look really, really nice. It will be a brand new indoor/outdoor model for a total outlay of about $25. From scrap to superb, as it were.

Problem: It didn't come with the mounts. They're sold separately.

The good news is, they're still in stock. My hobby shop ordered the mounts today and they'll be here on Tuesday.

True, this is an incredibly simple rebuild as if it were being rebuilt after a crash. It's just that it had been returned to the original retailer for whatever reason, cannibalized for some parts and discarded. For nearly six years, it sat unused, but no longer. I'm even going to get a second Lectron Pro battery for the three models!

It's as I'd written; there's a great feeling taking a pile of parts - any pile - and turning them back into a fun, functional and like new model!