Thursday, 26 June 2008

Fibreglass Canopy for Protos

Ok I have been slowly working on buidling my own fibrerglass canopy. It seems someone else (sorry can't remember RC Groups name) has taken a plastic canopy and reinforced it with fiberglass. In hind sight this would have been a lot easier that what I have done.

  • 1st day - I created a fiberglass mould over a plastic canopy.
  • 2nd day - Then I split the mould. I greased it (should have used wax). Then I coated it with PVA and let it dry. Then I strapped the two halves together and put on more PVA. After the next layer was dry I coated the inside with resin and started laying down fiberglass matting as it dried. Then after that was done I soaked it with another coating of resin.
  • 3rd day - After this finished curing I popped the mould off (breaking it in the process, remember, wax). I pealed off the PVA. Then I started sanding, and sanding to get my bad PVA job smother.
  • 4th day - Primer, sand, primer, sand, primer, sand...
  • This weekend I will hopefully put on the color coats of paint (need to come up with a style) and may go as far as a polished gloss coat (if it looks smooth enough to go that far...)
Take care. -J

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Painting Plastic Canopies

I had always just bought canopies before. Now I am playing with painting the plain plastic white ones you can get. No, I am not doing air brushing (yet) but I thought this was a cheaper way to make the heli look good. Well, I have painted one and this is how I did it.

  • I went over it with 240 grit (or finer) sandpaper. Go over the whole thing until it looks like it was painted matte white.
  • Then clean the thing. I used a rag and some white-spirit. Just make sure you do not use soap. You want it very clean. What ever you might use to clean paint brushes is probably a good choice.
  • Getting some pliable paint is going to help (Plastikote, hobby spray paint, Krylon. just ideas). I think the sanding is more important than the paint, but good paint will help.
  • Spray on lightly. The first coat should not be shiny. Let that dry for at least an hour (depending on paint).
  • I would go with two coats of any color you use. I went with two coats of white.
  • Let that dry over night.
  • Mask it with newspaper and low tack masking tape.
  • Spray your next color, again two thin coats are better than one runny one.
  • It is probably a good idea to take your masking off while the paint is still wet, but not runny. The new paint in the masked area won't peel this way.
  • Repeat the steps the are necessary to get the style you want.
I have posted a picture of my partly completed canopy. I will try and get some (day glow) orange paint and finish it up for the weekend. -J

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

High timing - Lower motor temp?

(posted in but slghtly edited and update for here.)

Well, I did some testing today (well really just flying and then measuring). I set the ESC to High timing and then tached the headspeed and set it to 2400 where I have been flying.

Running the Align 60a ESC in HIGH timing mode on the stock MSH Protos 14 pole motor made a noticeable difference in motor temp! It past the 3 second rule. Actually I was able to keep my finger on there for over 7 seconds. The battery was ambient temperature but I did not check the temp of the ESC. It seemed to slightly raised the amp draw, but still need a couple more flights to know for sure.

The helicopter also seemed to perform better and hold headspeed better. This may have just been me, but it did feel like it. I know some ESC allow for timing advances of 7 degrees to 30 degrees for 10 to 14 pole motors. Anybody else want to run their ESC with High timing and let us know your motor temperature results?


Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Nuneaton RC Helicopter Fly-in

Jim and I went down to the Nuneaton RC Helicopter Fly-in and it was the start to a pretty good flying day. We met a couple of our other flying buddies down there, Keith and Nick. It was hot and I am sure Jim and Keith both got burnt.

There were some very good pilots down there. Adam Crane, Duncan Osborne, and Steven Gerrard to name a few. Damn Gerrard has gotten even better. He was burning a lot of fuel while we were down there. With as much flying as he does there is no wondering why he is so good. I regret to inform you that I did not take any video or photos from the field. I was just having too much fun.

I had a couple of flights while we were down there. Jim, Keith and Nick did not. I understand that. I flew toward the quiet end of the field not down where Gerrard was flying. :-)

We left there after a few hours and went to a quiet field to fly at. It was a very good flying session, except for the point where Jim accidentally flew behind his head and flew right over me. He handled it well and gave it just a little bit of elevator until he could see it again without turning his body. Then he gave it a very hard turn and recovered and continued flying as cool as can be. It is part of the sport. You could have a failure at any point that is why I always try to watch the helicopter no matter who is flying.

Keith did a flip and a roll. He has been flying for under a year. I do not have video of this last weekend, but I have some from the weekend before.


Friday, 6 June 2008

Flying again - No Static

I picked up my 15t pinion this morning and yesterday I received back my updated AR6200. So tonight I went and did some test and setup flights. I did not have one twitch or glitch.

I did a few things to make sure I did not have static problems again:
  • I grounded the tail shaft bearing to the sanded tailboom.
  • I then grounded the front of the tail boom to the motor mount.
  • I also grounded the upper mainshaft bearing to the motor mount.
  • Then I went all the way and grounded the motor mount to the negative side of the battery connection.
  • I updated my recevier to 'quick connect'
  • and finally sprayed my belt with silicon again.
I do not think everyone will have to go this far (I might have gone too far with the mainshaft bearing), but I was not going to take any chances.

I sanded both ends of the boom so that I could get good connections with the wire. I also tinned (covered with solder) the ends of the wires so they would last longer and not fray. Finally I checked to make sure there was continuity between the tail bearing and the negative lead. I will be very suprised if I have any issues again, but if I do hopefully the receiver will reconnect quickly and then let me know there was a problem by starting to flash.


Thursday, 5 June 2008

Field Story - No Flight Line

I figure while we are waiting for my RX to come back (actually we are probably always waiting for something...) I figured I could share a field story with you. I know a lot of characters that I fly with, but this story is about 2 people I do not know. I know their names now, but I only met them on Sunday. Anyway...

Jim and I go down to a very large feild to go fly. This place is toward the north side of Leamington's Galley Common (kind of like a park owed by the people or a trust). We get out there and start flying our T-Rex's and my Protos. As always we stay away from paths and always have one of us watch for dogs and kids while the other is flying.

It is all going well until a guy on a bike starts riding right through where I am flying. We will call this guy D. So, I move my flight area becuase maybe this guy does not understand how dangerous an inverted 450 with carbon blades spinning at 3000rpm can be. He makes his way over to us just as I am finishing flying and we say hello. He is a RC helicopter pilot too and has a 450 size in a plastic bag in his back pack! He tells us he has just gotten done rebuilding it from a crash he had earlier in the day. We let him fly next and both Jim and I had to step back. He flew close, over his head, and was one of these people who walk toward their helicopter while they are flying it. Okay, so we just make sure we watch his heli while he is flying.

Then another guy comes up with a EPP airplane. We will call him P. I can't remember the model, but it was a Multiplex pusher jet. He says he has flown it about 3 times. He does tell us he has a Raptor 90 too. This is when Jim and I look at each other and remember when we saw him before flying his 90 here at this feild. He flew high and fast, but it was way too close to people as far as I was concerned. This is a park with paths down all sides, so basically no flight line. Well, he puts up his plane, the whole time commenting on how he has trouble hand-launching it. He almost puts it in, but does get it in the air.

This is when he starts flying everywhere! The plane must be doing 60mph at points and he is flying over us and around us. I had to strain my neck to keep an eye on it, and the way he was flying I did not want to lose site of it. After a while D walks over to P and tells him that he should probably not be flying over the old guy walking his dog. P listens and flys elsewhere, but it was not a good experience and I was not happy with their lack of safety. Especially P's.

Nothing disasterous happened, but I do not think I want to fly with these guys again.


Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Testing and Spektrum Quick Connect

OK, I have just got back from test hovering two batteries through the Protos. I did not have one glitch or twitch. I am still not 100% confident in the helicopter though. So I have gone even further...

Yesterday I sent my AR6200 Spektrum receiver back to Horizon UK to have the Quick Connect firmware installed. I would hate to have missed something in my grounding (which I am sure I have not) or pull too many amps and reboot my receiver. With this update the receiver will reconnect in about .75 of a second. That should be quick enough to be able to recover in most situations*. Another bonus is that if the receiver is restarted and the transmitter has not been (RX brown-out or ESD hit) the RX will start flashing slowly. The bad thing about this is that you have to re-start your TX every time you change heli batteries. That won't bother me too much as my 'smart-safe' is set to zero throttle and I shut of my radio right after landing anyway**.

Horizon/Spektrum have been in contact today and it looks like I will have the receiver back by the weekend.

Tonight I will try and put up photos of the new grounding wire on the tail bearing going to the boom.


* Well, maybe hovering inverted a foot of the ground .75 seconds would be too long
** do not shut off your radio first unless you are on a Spektrum radio set AND you are sure your 'smart safe' fail safe positions are set correctly. You do not want it to spin up again when you shut of your TX. Don't ask...

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Crash - Spektrum Static Lock-out

Well, a crash was going to happen at some point, but I would have been happier if I had done it and it was not something that I could not control.

It seems that grounding the tailboom to the motor mount block was not enough. I have ground the tailboom out to the negative lead now. This is what I did on my 450 and never had major problems again.

It would not have been so bad, but one of the designers told us there would be no problems with static. Well, it seems he does not understand how static can build up in the electrically isolated boom. I will not be the last to suffer from this. Ground your booms to the negative lead please. This was a costly lesson. If it happens again I am going to be sending this thing back to Italy for them to look at.

Protos Flight Video

Yesterday's flight. I was getting close to the confidence level I have on my 450. This is my best flight on the Protos so far.

I have to say it flies well, with the same pitch ranges as my 450 it rolls and moves quicker and tighter.

Flying the Protos

Well, I have nearly gotten to the confidence level on the Protos that I have on the T-Rex 450. Yesterday at the flying field by the last flight I was doing big tail down snakes, dirty tail first snakes, funnels, and even did a half piro flip. Set up with the same pitch range (col&cyc) as my 450 the Protos is still more responsive an quicker in the air. I believe this comes down to a few things:

  • There is no play in the head.
  • The blades are 40mm wide
  • The helicopter is light
I think (I have not calculated) that the Protos actually has less disk loading than my 450. It sure flys that way.

We got video of my last flight at the field yesterday. I will try and get that video up tonight. Ok, I am off to fly again now...