Looking to expand my operation... - RC Groups
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May 15, 2005, 11:16 PM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar

Looking to expand my operation...

Ok so I've got my XRB, and I'm finally getting the hang of it. I never particularly liked the XRB, but with posts here and some other sources I decided it was the best heli to start with. It's been great, something anyone could learn to fly, no problem. It had a very "toy" appearance which I hate, but after examining it and flying it, I deffinitely think it's more than a toy.

Ok so I'm thinking about my next purchase. I don't want(and can't) spend a pile of money on R/C all at once, but I can contribute a few bills to the cause every now and then.

What should I be shopping for? I think I should get a GOOD TX unit. Back when I used to do R/C cars(15+ years ago) we had nice Futaba radios that we would use on car after car after car. Any investment in radio equipment was a good one since you didn't usually wreck it. But I don't want a radio for the sake of spending money, I need to get a unit that will improve my XRB and also control any future helis.

Which brings me to my next option. A larger electric heli that can handle wind outside. I've tried my XRB outside, and sure it works, but it's NOT fun to fly outside. My living room is 18' x 12' roughly and I'd really like to fly outside. I'm worried a larger heli might be a mistake since it might be more difficult to fly and I'm sure more expensive to repair.

I would like a very small single rotation heli that I can use my own electronics with. But since my house is small, that might be a bad idea. But it could teach me to fly better so that might be good. Probably cheaper to fix than a large single rotation heli.

Finally, Matt's mods look really cool. My tail boom is pretty beat up, and my skid is repaired. A carbon airframe for my XRB would be real nice. Regardless of where I go with this I think I will be getting some heatsinks for my motors at least. No plans to retire the XRB at all.

So, from people who've gone down this road.. what's my "upgrade path?" Any suggestions on equipment to look at?

Sorry this turned into a book. Thanks for reading!

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May 15, 2005, 11:35 PM
Veracitarian at large
Here's a logical progression.

1. Entry Level computer TX. The Futaba 6HXS or similar. Can be had for 80-100 used.
2. Carbon XRB frame. I just got one and it rocks. Highly recommended. Handles wind better too. I can fly outdoors more now.
3. Add the Carbon XRB swashplate for $25. To max out your XRB capability
4. Move to indoor Helimax, http://www.towerhobbies.com/products...ax/hmxe01.html or similar micro sized FP. Get used to a single rotor indoors. Not too expensive to repair. Or skip to next step
5. Trade it all in for a Corona and move outside.
6. Go from there. You'll know what you want by then..
Last edited by SAILORMAN; May 15, 2005 at 11:42 PM.
May 16, 2005, 12:07 AM
Sportin my new 'do'
raz's Avatar
From what I have gathered from several heli pilots (r/c) most recommend starting with either the Corona and the HoneyBee C/P. as a second choice. It can be flown as a f/p but is more stable than a true f/p then when you are ready for a c/p you already have one. The HoneyBee c/p is the one I'm getting anyway, in fact I'm thinking of selling the xrb to get the hb.
May 16, 2005, 08:20 AM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar
That Helimax looks cool. I've looked at it a few times in the past. I just like the appearance I guess.

Ok.. so I'm going to start radio shopping. Thanks!

May 16, 2005, 09:41 AM
Sportin my new 'do'
raz's Avatar
There is a Helimax in the for sale section.
May 16, 2005, 09:08 PM
Registered User
ukgroucho's Avatar
Don't buy a cheap TX... and don't spend a fortune.

Futaba 7CHPs are ~$170 new. This type of TX will deal with your likely needs for some time... I have one and whilst it could look a bit more 'bling' it is very capable. There is other stuff out there so spend time on research and do not believe folks (like me) that suggest 'what they have'.

Rotofly, Dragonfly, AeroHawk, Hummingbird... basically a fixed pitch, small, single rotor heli. I started on AeroHawks and got interested in XRBs when I bought my brother one as a birthday gift. The XRB is VERY easy to fly... you will spend a lot more time and effort flying one of the micro's I've mentioned. In fact (or should I say IMO) the XRBs unusual design allows it to defy 'convention'.. smaller helis are usually HARDER to fly than bigger ones. More twitchy, less stable etc. With mods the XRB gets more interesting (or so my brother tells me) but it will always have a limited flight envelope.

The big advantage of small helis is that they have less inertia.. so damage to themselves and surroundings is more limited..

A small FP is a good training ground and, with suitable blades (e.g. Like90 wooden blades) and brushless motors you can cope with a reasonable amount of wind.

The Corona looks very nice but I think the logical progression from a small FP is to a small CP... Trex (my choice), X400 (supposedly an improved Trex) or Shogun/Zoom/Zap/Dolphin400 (all the same, different names). I'd suggest the Trex because it is robust (heed my warning about not listening to one person earlier) ... but you still break WAY more stuff when you dump one of these things.... but not always.

Sunday I was practicing nose in hovers and FF / FFF with my Trex at the bottom of my garden and over the field that adjoins.
Crash 1... lost orientation when it was ~75 yards away at maybe 30 or 40 feet. It went into some trees which grow out of a stream bank .. horrible sound (crash crash..). I rush down, get stung to bits by local vegitation and find (luckily) it's suspended about 6 feet above the stream in the dense 'canopy'. No damage, nada... I checked it out and flew it.

Crash 2 I just dropped it heavily from maybe 6 or 8 feet. No damage... bent the alu landing gear back and took off a minute later.

Crash 3 was from 3 or 4 feet up.. nose in hover, sun in my eyes.. allowed reactions to overtake thinking and dumped it on its tail. Broke tail rotor housing, tail blade and main blade pair (nearly new )... probably $20 in one small incident.

Bigger stuff costs more and you tend to bust stuff because of higher inertia and head speeds... BUT the Trex is an absolute HOOT to fly compared with my FP AeroHawks (which I still love) or my experience (limited) with the XRB - which I thought was a fantastic learner platform / hack around and have fun heli.

Whichever way you go this hobby costs... Have fun
May 16, 2005, 11:39 PM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar
Yeah that's the thing... I really want to see what a real heli flys like. I can keep my XRB flying fine, but I tend to get tempted by things in my house. Flying through narrow opennings, landing on small tables, and the cat condo. So, all the crashing I've done in the last few days has been because I was flying too close to something I shouldn't have. But I'm doing this because hovering my XRB is boring, and I don't have room for FF indoors and the XRB can't do FF outdoors with any wind at all.

A micro is cheap enough that if I don't like it it's not a big deal. But hey, I'll like it. As long as it CAN fly I'll like it.

I was thinking about making some boxes or something I could move with the XRB. Could be a fun game.

Radio first though. That's money well spent. Is Futaba still considered #1? Back when I did cars Futaba and Airtronics were the only real players.

May 17, 2005, 02:44 AM
Heli's rule!
dacaur's Avatar
My suggestion for radio would be a hitec optic 6, its a computer radio with all the heli finctions you need, from revo mixing to ccpm, that can be had for $135 with a single frequency module, or $180 with a spectra module, which gives you ALL channels form 11-60. plus its got an 8 model memory so you can use it with several different heli's and planes without having to mess with the trims/servo switches ever time.. and its got 100 step digital trims....

As for for your next heli, I would suggest you NOT go with a CP model just yet, as every report i have heard from people with the XRB going to a single rotation is that the XRB is nothing like the single rotation heli. My suggestion, which is the route im talking, is to buy a really cheap FP heli, such as the walkera dragonfly #4, which can be had for $115 shipped to your door, and learn on that, they are TOUGH little heli's, I have crashed mine hundreds of times, with crashes ranging from simple tip overs to crashing into walls/couches, to crashing into the ceiling and dropping 8 feet to the floor, and the only parts I have broken are tail rotors before I upgraded to a DD tail from a GWS dragonfly for $17.50 and 1 rotor head which is under $5..... plus a few skids which I just fixed for free with a bit of CF rod and electrical tape... Fly that long enough with the stock electronics and you will be itching to upgrade, another $80 (if you get a yaw rate gyro) to $175 ( for a futaba gy240 or gy401 heading hold gyro, which is what I got (240 that is)) and you can get an RX, 2ESC's and a gyro to put on your little FP heli and get REALLY good at flying it.... then and only then move up to a CP heli, for which you already have your gyro and radio...

I can almost guarentee if you jump right to a CP heli, you will end up spending a LOT more in parts than if you start on the cheepest FP you can to hone your skills. CP heli's are a lot more fagile than FP, with more expensive parts especialy when you move onto a servo driven tail. (a motor driven tail such as is on a GWS dragonfly will cost your $20 to completly replace if you break each and every bit of it to pieces, a shaft or belt driven tail will cost about $70-$80 to replace completly, just as an example.... There is a guy over on the mico heli forum who bought a $150 CP heli as his first heli, and is already in it $550 and claims he still cant hover for more than 30 seconds without crashing and breaking somthing.....

The biggest advantage I can think of to starting with a cheap mico FP is that, like your XRB, you can practice any time day or night in your living room (just watch out for vertical blinds heli blades dont seem to like them, dont ask how i know that) I fly in my living room wich is only about 6 feet wide till i get abve the couch, i would be very afraid to do that with the higher head speed of a CP heli....

If you get a walkera #4, you can make it bulletproof with 2 upgrades, replace both servo's with quality servos, and replace the geard tail with a DD tail from a GWS dragonfly (you can get the servos and complete tail for $45) you want to upgrade the servos becuase the stock ones seem to be a lotery, some are good and some are crap, and upgrade the tail becuase you will break lots of tail rotors if you dont......

One last thing, I hear the XRB clones are crap.. but not so with the single rotation clones, just so you know.....
May 17, 2005, 11:30 AM
HoverBovver's Avatar
This is a toughy.
Fixed pitch micro's are tricky to learn and nothing like the XRB to fly. They are also no good in wind. Really a corona is the best choice for those in the US....they can handle a bit of wind and are tough as old boots. Setup right they are stable and easy to fly.
Outside of the US I'd agree with UKGroucho and get a T-Rex.
CP machines are more complex both mechanically and in radio setup but will allow you to expand and they are also stable and far easier to fly than FP micro's. They will also fly great outside in wind.
You may also consider a decent sim. I'd recommend reflex XTR, theres also G3 & AFP which are supposed to be good. All are v. pricey but well worth the effort if you're serious about learning to fly something bigger and will save you lots in crashes.
May 17, 2005, 01:25 PM
Got toys?
kenhiraihnl's Avatar
my path has been short, sweet, and satisfying. i started with my xrb. but now i'm getting too much jb weld from panic-landings in garbage cans, etc. now i'm considering upgrading to matt's frame and swash. in the meantime, i'm learning to smooth-hover my corona. but i needed expo (per toshi's advice.) so i bought an optic6 with spectra. it allows me to smooth-hover my corona and xrb--but not at the same time yet...i'm happy as a pig in you-know-what. i follow my yoda -- rickyblaze.

May 17, 2005, 01:47 PM
Rsetiegerd Uesr
CyberJay's Avatar
Why are CP heli's more stable than FP? I'm still learning that part of things. A Corona was looking very tempting to me. But I also like the Helimax, and the Bumble Bee looks nice too. Deffinitely gonna get a radio first, but I will get a second heli in the next few weeks. either a little indoor one, or a little bigger outdoor one.

A simulator makes so much sense... But I don't know. I want to fly, not play video games. I am mechanically inclined so I don't mind fixing things. I'll have to think on that some more.

May 17, 2005, 04:13 PM
HoverBovver's Avatar
CP heli's are generally bigger and heavier with higher headspeeds. Coupled with direct and instant control of pitch rather than relying on ramping up motor speed you end up with a sweeter flying bird than lightweight fixed pitch things. Unfortunately those are all the same reasons why a CP bird is more likely to self destruct on impact with the ground. Not very forgiving for a first timer. This is why a fixed pitch corona is good...it is big, heavy and can run a fairly high head speed like a CP machine but does not have the fragile complex mechanics of a CP heli. They do have some typical fixed pitch heli disadvantages..such as ballooning in forward flight and they are not great in wind due to the lack of instant collective pitch control....which is where Matt and his Ballistic upgrades come in.
Of course you will be throwing a hell of a lot more money at a corona or CP machine so micro's make a lot of sense while learning....just don't expect them to be much good outside in wind. But when you can fly a micro the bigger birds should be easy.

Decisions, decisions. Tricky one ain't it.
May 17, 2005, 04:26 PM
HoverBovver's Avatar
Just thought I'd add.....basically the difference between an XRB and a micro or a sub-micro such as the rotofly is that you have to be on top of the controls all the time and constantly and instantly correcting. Imagine how fast your brain has to work when you're nose-in.....it has to be second nature....if you think about it then its too late. Even the tail of most micro's you have to be constantly correcting unless you upgrade to heading hold & more expensive seperate components. Basically its not like the XRB at all which virtually flys itself in comparison. Forget about keeping a micro in a fixed position like an XRB for more than a split second...and unlike an XRB they will be 20foot down the garden jammed under a wheelbarrow before your fingers even reacted to a change in direction if you're not wary.

So yeah they are tricky to fly....but when you get it...its very satisfying.
A bigger bird is way easier but break easier and cost more. So thats it.
May 17, 2005, 05:49 PM
Heli's rule!
dacaur's Avatar
My feeling is this, no matter how stable a heli is, you are going to crash. Going from an XRB to a single rotation is like trying to go from a sim to a single rotation (from what i hear anyway, Ive never flown the xrb) tikaboo is right, a single rotation heli will not hover hands off for more than about .5 seconds, and if you are used to hovering about giving it a little input every now and then, well, you are in for a shock =) You are smart going for the radioo first, i wish I had been that patient.

The reason I recomend going with a micro FP first is simply to save you money. Yes you "could" go with a larger CP heli and it will be more stable, but its going to cost you more when you crash. Crashes that will cost you $10, $20, $30 in parts with a CP heli, will just make a micro FP machine laugh. With my FP dragonfly #4, in the 2 months since I got it I have spent under $20 in "crash fix" parts, which i feel is impressive considering the number and severity of crashes it has experienced because i had NEVER flown a Heli or even a real RC plane untill I got it (unless you consider the rubbish you get at wal-mart a "real" rc plane ) Here is a question for those with CP heli's, if you were hovering outside your house and lost control and slammed into the wall, how much damage do you think would be present? That exact thing happend to me, I walked over, set it upright, and took off again.
People who recomend a "beginner" get a CP machine must have more money than they know what to do with for replacment parts
May 17, 2005, 06:50 PM
Got toys?
kenhiraihnl's Avatar
if you decide to get a good xmtr (like the optic6 that i got), you'll be able to fly the xrb with it. then, if you decide to get a corona, you'll use the same radio to fly it, and become an upgrade addict (like my corona--ti tailboom kit, 4000mah polyquest, etc., etc.) i can assure you, you won't get bored trying not to crash your corona - lol.

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