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Nov 08, 2016, 01:19 PM
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Night VisionAire (NVA) SAFE Installation


Hey folks,

I started working on a new Night VisionAire (NVA) with the intent of replacing the existing AR636A SAFE receiver with an Apprentice SAFE receiver. This gets a little complicated by the fact the original receiver is actually mounted upside down in the bottom of the fuselage. In my limited experience, an Apprentice SAFE receiver needs to be mounted right side up and have the servo ports facing the rear. Of course the servo ports come out of the top of the Apprentice SAFE receiver, so that complicates things when considering the top of the receiver must face up while being secured to the bottom of the fuselage. Get it?

My solution for mounting the receiver in its proper orientation was to use a 1/2 inch thick piece of foam for a platform as can be seen in my pics. Without getting any glue on the top face of the receiver, I was able to hot glue the receiver (face up) to the foam platform with a bead of glue all around the sides of the receiver where it touched the foam platform. I had cut the foam platform to fit the fuselage cavity, and I also cut an opening at one end to allow the servo wires to pass through the foam platform.

Before mounting the receiver to the foam platform, I connected all servo, throttle, and bind wires to the Apprentice SAFE receiver, bound my transmitter to the receiver, and proceeded to check all the servo throws to insure they would work properly with AS3X and SAFE. The ailerons were the only control surface which needed to be reversed, and that was done with an in-line servo reverser.

Because of the huge control surfaces on the NVA, I moved all push rods to the innermost hole in the servo arms, to reduce the throws to those huge control surfaces. Then switching the transmitter to Advanced Mode, I then centered the control surfaces by adjusting the clevis for each surface.

Once I was certain all servos were working properly with the SAFE receiver and AS3X, it was time to mount the receiver on the foam platform. I removed all wires from the receiver ports to make it easier to hot glue the receiver to the foam platform. Since the servo wires had to go up from the receiver, I cut a section out of the foam platform for the wires and installed 6 inch servo extensions in each receiver port (making sure the wires were plugged in and facing the correct way). I then held all 6-inch extension wires out of the way while I then hot glued the foam platform in place to the bottom of the fuselage.

At this point, the top of the receiver was facing up, hot glued to the foam platform which was hot glued to the bottom of the fuselage. Receiver and foam platform are solidly mounted in the NVA receiver cavity. After that, it was a simple matter to re-attach all wires to the servo extensions from the receiver and gather them together with wire ties.

Photos show Apprentice receiver glued to inch foam platform from top and bottom. Pics also show receiver mounted in NVA cavity and how wiring fits in cavity. I used two 6-inch servo extensions to route the Bind Plug wire to the battery tray area above.

The first flight of the NVA with Apprentice SAFE receiver was a success. The NVA worked with SAFE as expected, and the limited throws on the control surfaces made it easy to fly.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
Last edited by David Wile; Nov 08, 2016 at 04:29 PM.
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May 09, 2017, 02:21 PM
Registered User
Dave,
Ive been trying unsuccessfully to mount my apprentice receiver in my NVA. I mounted the receiver facing up on the clear access panel, which seems to be a great fit. After full safe checkout with everything normal, it flips over immediately after take off. Any ideas?
May 09, 2017, 11:17 PM
Headed down the far side.
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Hey All,

There is not enough info in your post for me to know what is going on.
Do you have any pics you could show?
Have you ever installed an Apprentice SAFE receiver in another plane?
Do you understand the SAFE receiver must be installed face up with pins to the rear when the plane is right side up?
Please do not think I am being short by asking these questions, but I am unable to figure out what you have done so far. You said you mounted the receiver face up on the access panel, but I have no idea how you would do that. If you mounted the receiver to the access panel itself, I do not think there is any way you could get a solid enough mounting for the receiver to work properly. If that is what you did, that may be causing the plane to roll. An Apprentice receiver must be mounted to a solid surface as shown in my pics. Give me some more information on what you are doing, and I will be happy to help any way I can.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile
May 11, 2017, 08:54 AM
Registered User
Hi Dave,
Thanks of the reply. This is my third aircraft I've installed SAFE in, with 3 more waiting! It seems I missed a step on the ailerons being reversed. Everything looked normal, but after closer looks, they are in fact backwards. Ive just ordered a reverser, hopefully this fixes the issue.

I have a Sukhoi, and a Waco that I have the SAFE receivers installed in also, so Im relatively new at this. Im using both the Apprentice and Timber SAFE receivers and I have several more ordered. My adult son and I started in December and we are both very much into the RC world now. Im pretty sure I will want SAFE regardless of how good I get, because I like the relaxed flying it provides. I have an A-10 and a P38 that are patiently waiting for the receivers to come in. I currently own all of the Eflite planes that has SAFE receivers including the new Carbon 150 Cessna.

We appreciate you all sharing these experiences. Without this technology and your experimentation, I would have lost interest.
May 11, 2017, 11:17 AM
Headed down the far side.
David Wile's Avatar
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Hey All,

You are correct, reversed ailerons will tend to mess things up a bit. The Sukhoi and the NVA are 3D planes that most folks have trouble getting the Apprentice SAFE receiver to work well. With their huge control surfaces, many folks report it causes oscillations in the flight handling. I seemed to manage this by moving all push rods to the innermost hole in the servo arms and to the outer holes in the control surface horns, and this reduced the throws quite a bit to those huge control surfaces. After making the push rod changes, I set the transmitter to Advanced Mode and then centered the control surfaces by adjusting the clevis for each surface. This allowed me to make the NVA into a park type flyer that I can actually use rather than a 3D "helicopter plane" which has no appeal to me.

I now have a few SAFE Select (Spitfire version) receivers and have begun to experiment with them. I put one in my P-51 Dallas Doll Mustang, and it works quite well. I am still getting used to the change from using the Apprentice SAFE to the SAFE Select, but with some more experience, I think the SAFE Select will become second nature to me. It is nice to have an extra channel with the SAFE Select so I can have flaps and retracts work separately rather than combined as I do with the Apprentice SAFE receiver. I have two big Flyzone Seawind amphibious airplanes in which I installed an Apprentice SAFE receiver in one and a SAFE Select receiver in the other. I am still getting used to flying the Apprentice SAFE Seawind before I attempt the switch to the one with SAFE Select. Once I get used to flying the Seawind, I am pretty certain using the SAFE Select receiver will be the best choice since it has the extra channel which allows flaps and retracts to work separately.

From what I have been reading, folks have been able to program their SAFE Select receivers so they can change orientation of the receiver mounting in the plane as well as being able to change servo direction when required. One apparently needs a special cable from one's PC to the receiver and software to make the changes, but I have no idea how to do it as yet. When I get more experience with the SAFE Select, I expect I will give the programming thing a try. It would be nice to be able to reverse a control surface without using a servo reverser or making a mechanical change.

I wish I had just one of my children or grandchildren who would have an interest in these RC planes and share it with me. I have one friend I met flying at the park, and he is an old man like myself who just started flying again in 2015 after a 50 year layoff. We have no instructors or buddy boxes - just our own learn as we go experience we share together, and that has been pretty good.

Best wishes,
Dave Wile


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