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Aug 03, 2012, 08:27 PM
Aviation Technician
GetToDaChopper's Avatar
DJI Ace One and Align APS Hover Testing is interesting but not a fair comparison as both helis should be of similar size and weight and at least both should have a cam mount or nether should have a cam mount......
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Aug 03, 2012, 10:36 PM
Love my scale Whirlybirds
Keyrigger's Avatar
I noticed that, GTDC. The extra mass does make it harder for the wind to move the camera equipped heli but both hold well enough for general purposes. I was hoping to see the camera equipped heli hold a lot closer to the set point than it did, so seeing it move up to 8 feet (to my eye, that is), was a bit disappointing, from a camera focus point of view. Wind or no wind, I was expecting to see quicker reaction to movement away from the set point in space, but maybe that will come with later versions. For now, I await others in this field.

Aug 22, 2012, 07:08 PM

Align APS in and working, finally

Well finally, after a half dozen crashes got the APS finally working with Craig's help here in KC (align team pilot) it was a costly project to say the least. As most of the products have poor instructions and unanswered questions. Craig had just got back from IRCHA and it was a mystery to most eveyone there. The first test flight by him he was at 100 plus feet and it rolled inverted when he flipped to APS and even scared him a bit. Thank goodness he spends most of his time flying some form of upside down. My tests were not so good or so high and ended in several very costly crashes as I scratched my head and bought more parts and rebuilt.

The negatives are:

Must be flybarless and use 3GX.
Pitches are setup like 3D pilots which seem not in keeping with the auto thing and scale flying.
The setup has very precise requirements requiring swashplate locker, vernier , digital pitch gauge and knowledge with too much guessing and failures in the learning curve. It took Craig about four hour rechecking and experimenting to get mine working. He can fly out of bad situation and is a phenomenal pilot. Without his help I would never have got it as I had exhausted my knowledge, patience, tools and budget.

The positives are:

It is amazing to fly and watch it do it's thing. Is it going to save you money by avoidng wrecks...NO! Is it cool? Absolutely.

Bad thing is even Craig with his advanced skills and knowledge climbs real high before flipping the switch with his finger nervously resting on the abort switch. I am still so shell shocked from spending twice the price of my helicopter on replacement parts I am reluctant to try it by myself. In APS mode it is like molasses to get to move about not much fun. Holds position great however.

It has great potential and seems to work great now but not knowing what we did right to get it working I am scared of it.

My two DJI Wookong H Lites won't do as much, no waypoints or RTH but takes the stress out of flying, doesn't require any inflight switching and is never scary or boring because I still have good control over the aircraft. They adapt to any kind of setup and hardware and are a pure joy. 2 year warrantee also! So at this point the Wookong is the winner by far. Costs pretty much equal if you figure in the special requirements of the 3GX, ect.

When the dust settles it will all come down to what Align does with it and if they will get working documentation, support and a decent warrantee on what turns out to be about a $1000 investment? With decent support and further development in the form of software and clarity it could be really cool and useful but right now DJI's experience with the Ace One ect. Really shows.

The next year or so should be exciting.
Sep 02, 2012, 08:00 PM
Registered User
I hate to hear of all your troubles Kattin but good to hear that I'm not the only one. After my heli (cameraship) flipped inverted and crashed on my first attempt of using the APS, I'm deathly afraid to activate it again. Had to send my first unit in after the crash. Got another but it took like 20 times to calibrate the compass and now.... although it's flying smooth as glass I can't get past the vibration test. Last unit calibrated the first time and passed the vibration test the first time.

Maybe I can find an Align rep somewhere close to help calm my fears. Anyone in the Georgia area?
Sep 03, 2012, 02:21 AM

Aps mess

Dont know if this helps but it absolulely imparative that your swash is perfect level, use a swash lock. Also no input to sticks when you switch into aps, hands off. Move your mode switch to left side so you arent hunting for it if things go bad! Dont forget the throttle calibration procedure.

I take off in aps and have my throttle curve set up so it is at 75% at the second of the five throttle points. Then it is simple to flip to idle up and the aps thinks i am in idle up because it is setting at 75 percent .. If you think about it it just sees the pulse width an doesnt know what caused it. It doent know whts creating it in the tx logic. Remember throttle calibration requires a linear line on pitch and throttle.. Then do the change mentioned.

Just take off in aps mode. After six crashes i dont flip an flipping switches! In the air. Taking off in aps seems to be fine. I never go out of atti mode on my DJI suff either..

By the way turn off any expo and make sure your swash stays perfect level Thru the full travel. No trims.. Turned them off entirely on my 12z ..

If you were here i could probably get you going pretty quick. Try disconnecting you motor and playing with it in different modes. Leaning and such.

As for vibration test .. Use the little metal plate as if it were a fuel heli... Assuming it isnt. My 500 never wanted to pass the 600 always.

What the instructions leave out are critical an the instruction are misleading at times.. Got to be 100 percent on.. No fudgei ..

Let me know if i can help more or if you give up i will trade you something for it maybe?

Again take off in aps mode then you can feel it out.. Scary stuff!
Sep 03, 2012, 02:28 AM
Ps if you want to do AP buy a Wookong H ... Perfect! Really work nice .. Never turn mine off..
Sep 04, 2012, 02:06 AM
Registered User
Thank you thank you thank you for the advice! I sent you a PM by the way.
Sep 05, 2012, 08:42 AM
Cant find my PMs try
Sep 05, 2012, 09:28 AM
Fool your unit into thinking it passed, dont hove and push the button.. If your sure it is smooth.. I dont trust mine at all. The 3gx is a piece of junk let alone aps.. This thing might have potential with proper documentation and firmware but right now staying in a HK cheapie. My 600 hk passes the vibration fine my trex 500 no way??? No reason to any of this ... Solution .. Buy something else and forgive yourself for mistake or stick it back until possibly they get their act together.. Not likely though
Sep 07, 2012, 11:47 PM
Registered User
Stumblebee's Avatar
Hmm... so far I haven't heard any real ringing endorsements for the Align APS. I am not about to abuse my TRex 550 FBL in multiple crashes attempting to set up APS. I haven't crashed this bird in the year that I have had it and I am in no hurry to change that. I am running a BeastX which works perfectly and have run it since my bird was two weeks old. I have heard no information advising me that Align has de-bugged the 3GS or even admitted that there is a problem with it.

Kattinkc, I so feel your pain in all of this. To my way of thinking, that is just too much money to spend on parts and what appears to be quirky technology with questionable documentation. For my AP work, my quad does everything I want it to do with no problems using DJI products. I will sit this one out and wait for the next generation of products and pricing.
Oct 01, 2012, 07:02 PM
1.21 Gigawatts!
Steph280's Avatar
Sorry to hear some of you with bad experiences of this product. I've seen some setup issues relate to setting of 3GX itself. Many pilots jump into the APS world without any prior experience setting up the 3GX, which in itself can be overwhelming for a newcomer. I would setup the 3GX first and fly the heli to ensure there are no issues; then install the APS and perform the setup procedure.

No it's not a plug and play system, but I am no rocket scientist and I manage to figure it out. So with some patience, I am sure anybody can, too. By the way the instructional video helped me quite a bit.

I attended the recent Align funfly and learned there will be some exciting new products coming down the road pertaining to the APS system. If the success of T-Rex helicopters are any indication, I think the APS system will be the AP system of choice in the near future. Align is pretty serious about the AP business.
Oct 01, 2012, 07:04 PM
1.21 Gigawatts!
Steph280's Avatar
By the way, for the vibration test, I usually have to spool up the heli and hover a bit to let the blade stretch to their natural position, and then perform the vibration test. If your blades aren't straight and the heli does the chicken dance while spooling up, it will fail the vibration test. Need to keep the takeoff as smooth as possible.
Oct 01, 2012, 09:19 PM
Get to the choppa!
RFDelie's Avatar
I think it will bring a lot more people into the hobby, and I like the return home feature, but at a certain point it kind of takes the fun out of it. The fear of crashing my heli adds to the experience. But I am also one of those guys who will never buy a car that drives itself.
Oct 01, 2012, 09:59 PM
Need More PURPLE !!
Dejavu*Xion's Avatar
Kattinkc : Thank you for your recent and well written postings. They answered a lot of unwritten questions I had on the align APS.
Oct 06, 2012, 11:11 PM
1.21 Gigawatts!
Steph280's Avatar
Firmware V1.1 has been posted, free download from Align's site.

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