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Dec 26, 2013, 12:14 AM
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FMS 1700mm retract mod (stock and all metal upgrade)


21 Oct 2015
Do you have one of the beaut 1700mm FMS birds (P51, P47, F4U), but retracts that are horribly unreliable electrically, or simply just don't work electrically?
While there are guys who have had nil issues with these retracts, there are many of us who have had no end of frustration, not to mention damaged planes, and seems to be related to bad batches of the black resin micro switch controller board.
Having bought a bunch of FMS retracts for my 1700mm FMS birds and other planes as well thinking FMS upgrades = quality, I'd spent too much money on more unreliability, there had to be a way to make these pathetic useles retracts work reliably...

Thanks again to those who helped out.
Brandon and Lou for their never ending contribution to our community.
wefinance for his great suggestion.

Here's our work-around fix:

I searched the hell out of my shed to find my old LX P40 retract controller, the LX controller seems to operate on overcurrent to find the end point travel limit on retracts, as opposed to using micro switches, so the LX type controller will allow power to go to the retract motor which will run until it reaches travel limit, for a split second the current draw will rise and the controller detects this as travel limit and subsequently cut power to the retract motor. I really like this method because if the retracts binds part way through travel the controller will immediately cut power, rather than straining the motor until the over current protection kicks in after a few seconds on the stock setup.

This is the retract controller I'm using, this is the latest offering where-as the one I'm using was one of the very first that came out with the LX 2000mm P40. I'm using this one because I figure the size of the P40 retracts & related current draw would be about the same. I'm guessing here but I think if I used a controller of this type that was designed for much larger retracts there might be a risk that the motors might fry before they draw enough current to trigger the controller... and the inverse for a smaller spec controller. Someone please educate me on this!
http://www.aliexpress.com/item/Retra...953020725.html

UPDATE: Retract Controller
31 Oct 2015
Today Blisters & I modded his rotating retracts in his 1700mm F4U.
During testing we started with a new LX controller and we discovered the occasional hicup where one or the other retract would not immediately respond and would require the next gear cycle to get sync'd again. It would seem that there is a difference between the very first of LX's controllers and the current new ones, my original works faultlessly, but the new version hiccups. Not the end of the world because it always resumed after another flick of the switch, but I wasn't happy with it.
I had bought some "JP" brand retracts controllers which arrived during the week so I thought it fitting to try one of these. And it performed perfectly. I had to trim the 3 wire servo plug down to 2 pin (red/black) to plug into the controller (nice metal case too), and this was a bonus because you can plug the retracts into the controller reverse polarity if need be to have the mains cycle up/down correctly with the tail wheel.
So now Blisters has his retracts operating reliably. While chatting all things planes, he was flicking the retract switch, put them through quite a few cycles, and we also tested cycling receiver power too, all works beautifully.
So it would seem that these JP controllersd may be a better option to the LX controllers.
Purchased from Find Hobby for a whopping $11 lol, these controllers are a part of this retract set:

3rd Feb 2016
f-hobby.com


I emailed Rose [[email protected]] and asked for for the controller only from the above retract set, I bought a handful of these controllers.
Rose is very helpful, and most of their prices are difficult to beat, a while back I've bought a couple of 2000mm planes of them which went very smoothly.
I've added a pic below from f-hobby of the actual JP controller.

UPDATE: 2 more Retract Controllers
31 Jan 2016
I thought I'd post a couple more alternative retract controllers here, OV10 on Hobbysquawk forum had posted these controllers, I haven't used them, they should work as good as any other
http://www.dragonhobbyusa.com/parts/...etract-cb.html
http://www.troybuiltmodels.com/items/ESMLGBOARD-V3.html

UPDATE: 1 more Retract Controllers
4 Feb 2016
USA retail contact for the LX controller:
http://www.bananahobby.com/retract-p...ueryId=1671307

THE MOD

First I removed the retract.

Then I cut the red/black motor wires and the servo wires from the FMS micro switch board [if you'd prefer to keep the boards, perhaps leave short tails out of the board in case you'd like to reinstate them at a later date... *all* of my boards are now in the trash lol]. Gently pull the wires back through from under the plastic motor covering.
Be very cautious with the motor wires!
One of my bench practise retracts literally stopped working during testing, one motor wire came away from the motor with barely a touch of solder from manufacturing, and that white stuff does almost nothing for containing the wires, after I noticed that wire coming adrift I've been putting a healthy amount of hot glue around the wires/motor to try protect the wires better.
I'd suggest hot glueing the motor wires at the motor prior to pulling the wires through, to prevent them from being inadvertantly pulled from the motor connections.

Remove the signal wire from the servo lead, solder the remaining 2 servo wires to the motor wires (ensure red and black are in the correct positions on the servo plug, you don't want to reverse polarity the motor!)).
Remove the e-clip from the motor pivot shaft (don't allow the e-clip to spring off- you'll never find it!!!) and the retract mounting side plate screws (4 on the plastic stock, 3 on the all metal gear).
Remove the micro switch circuit board and discard.
Re-install the side plate & e-clip.

Plug the retract motor wire into the LX retract controller, and the controller into your rc receiver and test operation.
Make sure the trunion travels smoothly with no binding otherwise if the controller detects load it may stop the action.
When I installed my all metal upgrade gear I had to trim a little off the sides of the retract mounting bracket with a grinder, it was a little wider than the plastic wing tub.

And that's it, if it works well on the bench, it should work equally as well in the plane. If the controller doesn't allow the retract to go full travel, make absolutely sure the retracts aren't binding. If they worked fine on the bench but not in the plane, look for some form of resistance againt retract operation. Check the mounting screws aren't over tight, try backing them out a little, it isn't uncommon to have the plastic wing mounting tubs to not be perfectly flat and/or parallel so when the retracts screwed down snug, the retracts may actually be twisting and consequently binding the retracts.

While testing I spent the better part of the last half hour (2 glasses of wine worth) punishing the hell out of this LX controller with both my "faulty" 1700mm FMS retracts (1 x original stock and 1 x all metal) and neither retract motor so much as got warm, neither did the controller, and powered by a 4.8v nimh batt (approx 5.5v charged).

You may require a servo reverser
The only hiccup with using the LX controller was that the tail wheel was retracting reversed in operation so I put a servo reversing Y lead on the tail retract, happy days. Works perfect in every way now.

Or you may not require a servo reverser for the tail retract lol
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wefinance01
Plug negative to positive to reverse the retract motor current.
As the good man said, simply reverse polarity on the main retract motors while solder the servo wires to the motor wires.
I'll have a go at this too, I prefer to run with less electronics as possible, less one reverser is a good thing

*Servo reverser not required*
31 Oct 2015
Exactly as wefinance suggested, when soldering Blisters's retracts I reversed the red/black motor wires and sure enough, everything sequenced correctly

Last weekend I flew several flights with my Red Tail P51 with perfect operation, in fact I would do one pass with retracts up, next pass retracts down, next pass retracts up, next retracts down... continuous operation ad-nausium. Blisters was with me, he is witness to the operation of the retracts, he has the F4U so as soon as my new LX controllers turn up (I ordered a bunch of them heh heh) we'll then give his rotating retracts the same loving treatment, he's been having the same electrical issues.

100% reliability.

At less that $10 that's a cheap fix, if you've been having no end of retract frustration.

Attached pics of the basics.

Hope this helps someone

Stock sequencer
I thought I'd mention the sequencer...
Earlier with the retract malfunction frustration, using the stock sequencer sometimes one mains would operate but not the other, then the other way around, or neither would work, and every now and then both would work... yet all the while the inner doors always functioned correctly. I tried an RCLander sequencer which operated the mains perfectly but had the inner doors completely reversed in operation. So to make this work I retained the stock sequencer to control the doors, and the RCLander sequencer, and it worked well.
Briefly.
Until the next retract circuit board failure.
Now that all my circuit boards have been removed and the LX controller installed, I'm back to the stock sequencer operating both the retracts and the doors, and thus far, has works perfectly with the LX controller.
Go figure

Just a quick note, we noticed on Blisters's F4U sometimes on the first pre-flight gear cycle check the doors would close slightly premature, it's almost a non event but I do wonder if a 6 second sequencer might be advantageous... dunno...

As with any sequenced gear, make sure you cycle your gear at least a couple of times prior to flying, give the sequencer and controller a chance to do their thingso there are no surprises in the air. This should be a part of normal regular pre-flight checks for any plane anyway


JP Controller
8 Nov 2015

Someone asked me how to setup the JP controller once they'd removed the micro switch circuit board, in brief here's my reply...

Quote:
Originally Posted by hoft
could you assist me in the hook up of a jp retract board. i have one with no instructions and assume the gear goes with two wire connections as listed on the label and adjust the stop amps on the pot screws.

what is servo 1 and servo 2 are those gear doors and if so do the have a built in delay and is the delay adjustable.
thanks in advance for any help.
it is going on my fms 1700mm p47 that i have removed the retract end point buttons and now have a direct wired plug to the motor.
Nah, I'd seriously doubt there'd be any instructions in existence lol
Yes the motor wires plug into the 2 pin sockets on the controller. I simply trimmed the 3 pin servo plug down to 2 pin, seeing as the signal wire is no longer required.
Also keep in mind it is perfectly safe to put the motor wire plugs in either way around so if you need to reverse the direction of the mains to sequence correctly with the tail retract, simply pull the plugs out of the controller, roll them over so the red is now plugging into the "-" and the black wire into the "+".

I'd suggest doing what I do when checking operation of retracts for the first time after changes...
Unplug the retracts from the controller, power up the receiver and open the doors, then disconnect the receiver power while the doors are open, then unplug the doors from the receiver, and plug the retracts back in.
Now temporarily plug in a loose servo into the sequencer in place of the door servos, just so you can see the doors servos will operate/sequence correctly without risking damaging the doors and/or retracts if things aren't sequenced correctly first time around.

Unless you have a different version of JP controller than I was supplied, there are no adjustment pots on my controller. And I even opened my controller up to see if there was any adjustments inside- nada, nothing.
The only thing I can think of is that you're thinking the 3 small holes on top of the controller are access holes for adjustment? Unfortunately they're not- they are 3 LED's, they light up blue when they go in one direction, and red in the other direction, and they go out when the controller thinks the retracts have performed their travel.

Now the 2 servo ports have me stumped. I had one retract plugged in for testing on the bench and 2 loose servos to hopefully operate as doors. The controller did nothing with the servos, yet the 2 servo ports were active, just that the controller didn't send any commands to the servos regardless how many time I operated the retract.
I don't know if the controller is a "smart" logic controller in that if all 3 retract ports aren't being used, perhaps as a safety measure it disables the doors to prevent damage? I don't know to be honest, and I didn't have enough retracts to test that theory.
But on both Blisters's Corsair and my P51, we didn't use the 2 servo ports (only the 2 pin ports for the main retracts), we retained the stock fms sequencer to sequence the doors and retracts.
RC receiver -> gear channel -> fms sequencer -> [1] door servos, [2] ->[A] tail retract, [B] JP controller -> main retracts

Hope this helps a little


25th May 2016

For the benefit of new pilots...

For those who are new to doing this kind of thing, please *don't* mount the retracts back into the plane and wire up and try for the first time!

Test first!

If the retract/s happen to be operating in reverse, or even if you inadvertantly plug the controller into the door pins & doors into the retract pins on the sequencer, if everything is mounted when this happens, you'll most likely end up with damage to the retracts, the gear doors, the door servos, or all of them!

My suggestion is to lie the retracts loose on the wings or work bench, plug everything in, the give it all a trial run... this way everything can be wired wrong but nothing gets hurt
When everything is working as it should, then go ahead and re-install everything.

This is just a precautionary measure, everything should be fine, but just in case... better to be safe than sorry.
Don't ask me how I know


I've attached some additional pics as a step-by-step pictorial for those who are hesitant to attempt this mod, it really is very easy, but I thought perhaps some additional pics might assist some folks.

Cheers!
Last edited by AussieHoppy; May 25, 2016 at 01:32 AM. Reason: Update: Pictorial for the cautious & inexperienced folk, pics & footnote. 25th May 2016
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Oct 25, 2015, 02:13 AM
Gugie
I'm definitely book-marking this one!!!
I had my fair share of failures because of these boards!!!
Thanks for sharing!!!!!
Oct 25, 2015, 06:53 AM
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AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
Quote:
Originally Posted by gugie
I'm definitely book-marking this one!!!
I had my fair share of failures because of these boards!!!
Thanks for sharing!!!!!
No problem, my pleasure

FYI I'm waiting for another controller to arrive, I'll experiment with that one too. I'll update as I learn more.
Cheers!
Oct 25, 2015, 07:23 AM
Registered User
N99JH's Avatar
Thanks Aussie for posting this. I have been holding off the maiden of my P-51 awaiting your mod/test results. Looks like after this mod I can proceed with more confidence
Joshua
Oct 25, 2015, 06:32 PM
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AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
OMG your Hubert looks awesome! Honestly it looks like museum quality! Congrats on a superb job
And I can say I now have all the confidence in the world flying my Bunnie, prior to the mod it was quite literally a gamble, mostly I lost that gamble even on the test bench. I've set my bird up on fpv so I truly needed to rely on my retracts operating reliably- now I can. And do.
You should be able to maiden without a 2nd thought to your retracts after the mod.
Haven't tested on Corsair rotating retracts yet, will be soon, should be the same result, as long as the oleos freely rotate, any resistance and the controller will do what it is supposed to do- stop. Find out soon.
Oct 25, 2015, 06:45 PM
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Aussie Hoppy

Thanks for the compliment. It is funny - I posted about 10 or more pictures of it on the FMS 1700 mm page on RCGroups about a month ago and hardly anyone had anything to say, good or bad
You can see the rest of the pictures there or if you want - I'll be glad to post more on your page.
I am so glad you sorted this problem out. I ordered two controllers today (one for my Corsair) and hope to maiden within 2 weeks after installation. It will be nice to have that much more confidence for the maiden.
If all goes well, after I get used to the airplane - I plan on another upgrade to a Hacker motor with gearbox and a 4 blades, 21" Varioprop scale propeller on 10S.

Josh
Oct 25, 2015, 07:59 PM
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AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
I'll ask you and anyone else to please post their results, good or bad, on this mod, or any other fms retract mod for that matter. We're McGuivering the out of these retracts to make them work as they should've lol
I have a JP brand controller on order too, it's a hard case version so I'm hoping it isn't simply a cased LX controller, I'd like to try a different brand, if for no other reason than prosperity

Sure, feel free to post pics here, we're all enthusiasts of the PeeFiddyWun
Wow, a 'boxed Hacker? That's getting pretty serious! I've heard a guy running contra-rotating props being a scale Reno racer. I'll probably step up to a Tacon 110 & 17X8x4 Beila on 8 cell, that's enough creative modding for me heh heh
I'd love to have a go at installing a servo operated variable pitch prop, along the lines of a helicopter collective pitch, most likely too much miniature engineering than I'd be capable of... but the cool factor would be up there...
Last edited by AussieHoppy; Oct 25, 2015 at 08:35 PM.
Oct 25, 2015, 08:27 PM
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N99JH's Avatar

More pictures of Hubert


Check this video, it has a Hacker with Planetary Gear Reduction and in flight the gearbox's whine is producing noise that is closer to the actual Mustang's Merlin sound than any sound system I have ever listened to!

P51 MUSTANG HANGER 9 BLUE NOSE FOUR BLADED VARIOPROP (6 min 55 sec)
Oct 26, 2015, 04:06 AM
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AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
Now that's a sound I didn't expect to hear, that is so cool! It sounds like the gearbox whine almost drowns out the electric motor sound... add an engine only sound system and that would have to be an audible experience

And Hubert is a credit to you, very nicely done.Are you tempted to change out the pilot at some point? Callie Graphics? Flite Metal?
Oct 26, 2015, 06:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieHoppy
Now that's a sound I didn't expect to hear, that is so cool! It sounds like the gearbox whine almost drowns out the electric motor sound... add an engine only sound system and that would have to be an audible experience

And Hubert is a credit to you, very nicely done.Are you tempted to change out the pilot at some point? Callie Graphics? Flite Metal?
I definitely plan on changing the pilot. Hubert started life as a Tuskeegee Red Tail and the pilot looks like a 12 years old black kid snuck into the cockpit and pretends to be flying the Mustang

The graphics came from Callie, and - she did her usual magic !

I have not thought about flite metal but now that you mentioned it, it sounds very tempting. I need to first get it to fly with the true scale prop and after my confidence level will be high enough, I will consider doing flite metal.
I will post pictures of the Hacker/Varioprop set-up in the next few days.
Josh
Oct 27, 2015, 05:32 AM
what goes up, must come down..
AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
Yep, the pilot was no doubt another corner cutting exercise lol
Gotta love Callie!
So if you didn't use Flite Metal, how did you get the polished metal look? Very effective
Please do keep us informed on the geared setup, sounds very interesting... and tempting...
Oct 27, 2015, 07:02 AM
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N99JH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieHoppy
Yep, the pilot was no doubt another corner cutting exercise lol
Gotta love Callie!
So if you didn't use Flite Metal, how did you get the polished metal look? Very effective
Please do keep us informed on the geared setup, sounds very interesting... and tempting...
The polished metal look is simple Walmart Rustoleum Chrome rattle spray cans
It creates the illusion of polished aluminum. Scale after all is an illusion - not so much how faithfully does a model resemble a certain airplane but, rather, what image it connotes is the onlookers imagination.
Oct 28, 2015, 05:04 AM
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AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
Really? From a can? Looks impressive in the pics I think I've seen something similar in Bunnings hardware, I might have to go peruse some shop shelves...
Oh, did you have any problems with reaction on the epo? Or did you seal the foam first?
Oct 28, 2015, 09:22 AM
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N99JH's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AussieHoppy
Really? From a can? Looks impressive in the pics I think I've seen something similar in Bunnings hardware, I might have to go peruse some shop shelves...
Oh, did you have any problems with reaction on the epo? Or did you seal the foam first?
No need to seal the foam,EPO is impervious to paints, in fact I read somewhere that you can pour Acetone on it and it will not dissolve.
When spraying - use light coats because if you build thick layers there is a chance of some surfaces bubbling in texture. It happened to me on one rudder which I decided to replace.
Ferocious Frankie is easier to repaint than the Tuskeege Red Tail. The red adhesion is poor and the chrome does not adhere as well to it occasionally. I suspect that the red they use is cheap latex paint.
Oct 28, 2015, 07:07 PM
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AussieHoppy's Avatar
Thread OP
And mine is a Red Tail lol
Thanks mate, next project I'll probably have a go, I'm really impressed how yours turned out


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