Heli-Max Axe CP... It's old... Let's resurrect it? - RC Groups
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Jan 11, 2013, 12:10 AM
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Heli-Max Axe CP... It's old... Let's resurrect it?

I bought the Axe (first version) many years ago before I moved out of helis and into planes. It had eCCPM control, a brushed 400 motor, a 9-cell Ni-MH pack, and one of those godawful 3-in-1 control boards. I don't recall exactly why I stopped flying it. I believe it was related to isues with the tail motor that just wouldn't go away, and then eventually I think the radio just plumb stopped working. Well, THAT was quite awhile ago.

I have a HobbyKing gyro that I bought for no good reason, and I can probably scrounge up three servos... I have all the other stuff I'd need for a full-house brushless main + tail setup, too. In short, there's virtually no reason I shouldn't be able to put it back in the air very quickly.

So I just wrestled the stock motor out and installed an Electrifly Ammo 2040-size, 3500Kv inrunner with a pinion I found in my motor box. Hooked up an ESC and a servo tester, still not totally committed to this spur-of-the-moment idea... And then I spun up the blades and realized that the sound alone is probably half the original addiction.

I surely need a linkage set and maybe a feathering shaft, and then just a bit of elbow grease to get this old bird flying. I checked Tower and, being the good ole Hobbico stagnation pond they are, they have a full line of replacement parts in stock. Cool. Only problem is that I'm heading back to Fairbanks in four days, so I have virtually zero time to monkey around with shipping. I'm gonna check the hobby shops tomorrow to see if any Axe CP linkage sets got kicked under a shelf some years back, but I suspect I'll have to place an order with Tower anyway. Hmmph.

But for now, it's looking like a quick whirlwind of hunting down and mounting the requisite electronics, and then figuring out a half-decent way to stick a lipo in where a Ni-Brick used to sit. Let's roll
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Jan 11, 2013, 06:19 AM
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Ugh. Damn it.

I ended up having everything handy and got it all mounted. After a quick bit of soldering, some zip ties, and a LOT of fiddling with pitch curves and mix values to get the servos moving right, the behemoth was ready to be powered up and system-tested. I popped in a 1000mAh 3S pack, plugged it into the neat little JST/Deans parallel connector for the ESCs that I made up, and....


Lots of smoke, bad smell, and a couple glowing spots on the tail motor's ESC. Wat? My immediate thought was that 3S was too much for the small ESC (well, turns out it IS ), but after a quick inspection it turned out to be a much nastier beast: The JST connector I had pulled from a box and paralleled up with the Deans... Was literally backwards. I had soldered it correctly according to wire color, but the actual wires had been switched within the housing so the polarity was reversed.


The whole ground wire in the ESC's receiver fried. Insulation is toast, gone. I'm not totally sure I want to know where that much current was going or what it had to smash through to get there. I'm not totally sure if the gyro survived. It seemed weird until I pulled it off and started testing it, and now it appears to work fine.

But yeah, the now-fried tail ESC is only rated up to 2S anyway so I was making a second big booboo without even realizing it. I have more ESCs, so I'll just slap one in and try again... But damn, that was at least a $10, hour-plus mistake. If the gyro is trashed it's another twelve bucks down the drain.

Live and learn. The build was going so smoothly up to there that I knew something had to happen.

I've paid the dues now, though. This bitch is gonna FLY....
Jan 11, 2013, 08:05 PM
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Well that was interesting.

After fighting with gyro setup aaaallllllll day long, I finally got it figured out to a point that seemed flyable-ish and headed out to the back driveway for the second attempt (#1 earlier today was a complete farce and not worth describing). It was a little dark and wet and breezy, but my patience tank was dry by now

I got it all set up, braced myself, and eased the blades into a spin... Faster... And then quite suddenly it was off the ground and flying. Brought back memories. Also nearly caused unintentional defecation as the tail started slamming left and right trying to find center. The lateral drift wasn't helping matters, and I had set my cyclic travel a sight too low to get that fast, "go-there-now" control response. Plus I'm way out of practice.

I farted around with short hops just getting a feel for what adjustments needed to be made. I had a bit of negative pitch dialed in at low stick to stop it from "floating", but in my infinite inexperience I had used way too much and was slamming it down hard on every landing. At some point it started getting away from me and I flat-out lost my bearings and hammered it into the driveway, which broke a few head parts.

I'm not sure if I'll even replace them. Total repair cost would be like $25 plus shipping from Tower, and nowadays I can get a whole new Align-compatible airframe for just a few bucks more. Hmmmm...
Jan 13, 2013, 03:17 AM
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WELL... The plot thickens. I was just cleaning up a bit and found a dirty old Hub Hobby gift card in a pile of assorted trash. Almost threw it away, thinking it was empty, but I checked the balance online and it has ten bucks on it

If they still stock the older Axe CP parts, I'll see what I can do about getting this bird back in the air. If not, I'll use it toward some other project (either my Slipso or the tricopter I'm planning to build in the distant, or maybe not-so-distant, future).

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