RCMF Donations

Enjoy using RCMF? How about a wee donation to help us keep you in the style to which you've become accustomed?

Welcome to RCMF. Please login or sign up.

May 29, 2020, 11:35:58 am

Login with username, password and session length

Lock-Down Rebooted

Started by PDR, May 15, 2020, 00:08:20 am

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

PDR

May 15, 2020, 00:08:20 am Last Edit: May 15, 2020, 00:44:36 am by PDR
Despite the abortive attempt to revive the EP Concept I still wanted something to fly in the garden until we get back to normal flying. I looked at getting another 450size heli, but frankly the prices have gone mental, and I wanted something bigger than the sub-micro Trex150 size which can be very twitchy. I happened across teh Blade 230 S (v2) on the midland helicopters site. It looked a better size (21" rotor dia) and the reviews seemed to like it, so at under £200 the old debit card took a pasting again.

For those that don't know - the Blade 230S is a full-blown aerobatic flybarless heli with gyro stabilisation & flight control unit and a separate motor-driven tail rotor (a nifty solid 3-blade unit). The servos are digital, the motors are brushless and the flight control unit has an integral DSM2/DSMX receiver. They recommend 3s850 lipos, although people fly them with 1000 and even 1500mAh packs for more duration when worked hard for aeros. The only downside here is that it uses JST battery connector - packs with these connectors are not common, and it can be difficult to get these connectors with decent sized wire. But HK do sell the Turnigy nanotech 3s850 with a JST connector, so all is not lost.

The flight control unit has three operating modes, switchable from the Tx: "Self Levelling", "Normal" and "Agile". It also has a "panic mode" which will allegedly bring it back into a level hover at the push of a button if it gets away from you.

When it arrived I set to with the complex building process after carefully studying the instructions. The build sequence goes like this:

1. Take model out of box
2. Pop canopy off and fit battery
3. Bind Rx
4. Replace canopy
5. Fly.

It looks like this:

01.png
03.png
05.png

The longest bit of the job is actually setting up the Tx (although you can avoid this by buying the "RTF" version that comes complete with transmitter)...

Actually setting up the Tx is not a completely straight forward task unless you happen to be using a Spektrum Tx. Than manual includes full instructions for setting up a Speckrum Tx (DX6i or the more complex ones) but it only tells you was settings to program in - it doesn't tell you what the settings are supposed to do and what they send out on each channel. As I would be flying thyis from my Horus 10 s this was rather important! It took me a day of carefully studying the instructions and a Spektrum DX18 manual to decipher it all, but I have now produced an OpenTx model definition which mirrors all the functions and settings they recommend plus a few more. I've actually written out the full definition of the settings in a document so if anyone wants to know how to programme a Blade helicopter (or indeed any other "SAFE"-equipped aeroplane) I'll happily post those details here.

So I got it all ready to go last night. Set up absolutely stock as per the manual, using a Turnigy Nanotech 850. I had noticed that with this battery the CG seems a bit aft - if I fit a 3s1300 pack it balances level at the mast, but with the 850 it's a bit tail down. I assumed this was normal/acceptable because there's no reference to CG checking in the manual.

But today it was windy - far too windy to risk a first flight with a new small heli, at any rate. Especially when you consider that apart from the brief abortive flight with the updated EP-Concept and a few micro-indoor helis, the last time I'd flown a reasonable collective pitch heli would have been in 1992ish, and I'd never flown a flybarless heli at all.

I've been waiting all day for the wind to drop, and it finally paused for breath so I quickly popped into the garden, fitted a battery and committed aviation. Starting in self-levelling mode and high rate I spooled it up to about 40%, and nothing fell off, so after a brief appeal to His Noodley Appendage I nudged the stick to 50% and lifted it rapidly to about 5 feet where it sat, steady as a rock, drifting lightly in the remaining breeze. I started gently stooging it around the garden and noted initial impressions - amazingly stable, although responsive to controls and possibly a little over-sensitive on the collective (I won't change the pitch curve yet - it's possibly just a matter of getting used to it). As I flew it in slow hovering circuits of the garden I slowly became aware that I was leaning forwards on the cyclic a bit. I know you don't use the trims on a flybarless heli (I've actually switched off the aileron and elevator trims to avoid this temptation), and the effect was only just noticeable so I ignored it. We're supposed to dislike separate motor (rather than shaft or belt-driven ones) but this one was very solid and very responsive, so I can't really fault it. An expert 3D flyer might, but that's not me.

It was at this point that I discovered it was darker than I thought, and so my distance perception wasn't as good as it could be because I gently flew it into a low wall made of railway sleepers! I was pleased to see there was no damage at all - not a scratch or even a scuff anywhere. So that was good. I flew it again for a couple of minutes just to confirm nothing had broken and then decided to put it away rather than risk more flying in the gloom, I score this as a success and I'm really looking forward to learning to fly this neat little heli.

So a question for heli experts. The cyclic trim thing - is this a CG issue? or is it that as a result of the CG issue the initial zeroing of the gyros is in a slightly tail-down attitude and it could be fixed by putting something under the back of the skids to level it before connecting the battery?

PDR

PS - that 4 minutes of  gentle flying took about 24% out of the 850 battery.
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

paulinfrance

Two questions the Panic mode, does it know where you are or does it just fly forwards ?.

Your Horus 'binned' ?.
Mode 2 THE only way to fly

PDR

Quote from: paulinfrance on May 15, 2020, 06:15:25 amTwo questions the Panic mode, does it know where you are or does it just fly forwards ?.

I haven't tried it yet, but I gather the panic mode will return the model to an upright hover. You let go of the sticks and push the button (or pull the switch in my case). It's intended for use if you lose orientation, even in 3D aeros. If the weather gods are kind and I fly again today I may try it to see.

QuoteYour Horus 'binned' ?.

Not sure what you mean by this. The Horus X10s (there in the photos) behaved perfectly throughout and I found it completely natural to use - the sticks are gorgeously smooth.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

FlyinBrian

With my JR DSX9 over 10 years old I was in the market for a new radio early last year, I really fancied a Horus (even at the risk of never being able to program it) however none were available at the time. I ended up getting a Futaba 14TG???
To be honest I don't find it easy to program but it works well. The rx are expensive but FRSky do an 8ch FAAST rx for about £25 which is not too bad but a lot more than Orange DSM2 rx which I have found to be incredible value for money.
Basic Research is what I do - when I don't know what I'm doing!.

PDR

I have over 30 Orange DSM2/X receivers which I originally only used on small foamies, but I have to say that I have never had any of them miss a beat and I've been progressively using them in bigger stuff. Even the really cheap/small, single-antenna DSM2 ones seem to just work. I have one of these in my hotliner where it sits on top of the ESC between the motor and the battery, with its antenna surrounded by metal and electronic noise, but maintains control even when taken 300 yards upwind at ~800 feet for a diving pass. So despite concerns about the "cheapness" I think I've tested them thoroughly and now have confidence in them.

Whether OpenTx (Horus/Taranis/JumperT16 etc) is right for you is a matter of how much initial effort you're prepared to put into learning about programming. If you come from a Multiplex background it takes about 30 minutes to "get it", but if you come from one of the others it may take a day or so. Whether this is worth the effort is again a matter of personal choice. If all you are ever likely to do is fly standard types of model with no special functions then the pre-programmed mainstream Txs (Futaba/JR/Specky etc) are probably your better choice, although the Horus X10 as supplied (running FROS rather than OpenTx) is worth a look simply on a value-for-money basis.

But if you want to do more than that - do clever things with 6/8 servo wings, retract sequencing, special mixing etc, or have multiple protocols with full integration rather than as a "hack", or if you just like to take proper control of what your Tx is doing, then I'd suggest OpenTx has taken the role from Multiplex as the best "serious" transmitter.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

RobC

I'd be interested to know how your setup compares with one I found via Google, it's for an X9D tx but if you load it into Companion it should translate to X10 format automatically after politely prompting you, at least it does for my X12.  I downloaded it as I obtained a Blade 130S for lockdown amusement.  I've never flown a helicopter other than crashing one occasionally in a simulator and I've not yet played with it in earnest but the otx seems to waggle the right things in the right order
flying's easy - it's getting it back down in one piece that's the hard part

FlyinBrian

PDR

I had a MPX 3030 for about 12 years and was pretty comfortable with that (after a few weeks) however I was about 22 years younger then, my logical thinking is not what it was.
Basic Research is what I do - when I don't know what I'm doing!.

PDR

Looks pretty similar - it only has dual rather than triple rates (I don't like putting dual rates on a 3-position switch because it can be ambiguous) and I'm not keen on his approach to the rates setting. I'm conscious that the input and mixer settings are actually a case statement which drops through, so the last line in the list should always be the default with no conditionals (like switch positions or logical values). So my rate statements start with <low rate if switch is ^ > then <med rate if switch is - > and then the final statement would be just <high rate> [I prefer high rate for the default]. That way if the software misses something or if a switch glitches you end up in an explicitly  defined condition. I just regard it as good practice.


I've also attached voice messages to all the settings because I don't want to be looking down at the Tx to confirm whether I've hit the right switch.

If you like I'll send you may OTX file for comparison.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

PDR

Quote from: FlyinBrian on May 15, 2020, 11:24:58 am...my logical thinking is not what it was.

True for us all, but I don't think it's an age thing. I think it's the mileage that does the damage...

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

RobC

Quote from: PDR on May 15, 2020, 11:41:04 amLooks pretty similar - it only has dual rather than triple rates (I don't like putting dual rates on a 3-position switch because it can be ambiguous) and I'm not keen on his approach to the rates setting. I'm conscious that the input and mixer settings are actually a case statement which drops through, so the last line in the list should always be the default with no conditionals (like switch positions or logical values). So my rate statements start with <low rate if switch is ^ > then <med rate if switch is - > and then the final statement would be just <high rate> [I prefer high rate for the default]. That way if the software misses something or if a switch glitches you end up in an explicitly  defined condition. I just regard it as good practice.


I've also attached voice messages to all the settings because I don't want to be looking down at the Tx to confirm whether I've hit the right switch.

If you like I'll send you may OTX file for comparison.

PDR
Yes please.  I have to agree about the rates, in fact if I'd thought about it I'd have at least swapped them round with low rates as !Sx^.  The number of three position switches is of the few things I'd change on the FrSky transmitters, I'd prefer two positions clustered around the sticks and would change them but I'm out of tuits.
flying's easy - it's getting it back down in one piece that's the hard part

PDR

I have some square ones, but round tuits are on back-order.

My otx file is attached

PDR

230s b export.zip
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

FlyinBrian

Quote from: PDR on May 15, 2020, 11:42:31 amTrue for us all, but I don't think it's an age thing. I think it's the mileage that does the damage...

PDR

Probably more related to literage than milage
Basic Research is what I do - when I don't know what I'm doing!.

RobC

I see mine isn't much different, do you think that the higher expo would benefit a heli tyro?  I'm swiping your triple rates and audible warnings though. I usually set up warnings for flaps up, flaps 1, flaps 2, arm, disarm etc. on my fixed wing models but I thought it might be wasted effort on this if it annoys me too much!
flying's easy - it's getting it back down in one piece that's the hard part

PDR

No idea whether the expo is needed or not - it just felt like a good idea. The audible stuff uses the amber sound pack as an interim measure. But now I have TTSAutomate I'll be doing more specific ones for the actual tasks.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

PDR

I've just realised the version I sent you was before I'd worked out why my timers weren't working properly - I'd set the throttle source for the timers to Ch1 because that's the throttle output. The manual didn't make it clear that it wants the INPUT for the throttle source which is (of course) "CH3:Thr" because I selected the Futaba AETR default channel order.

This is one area where Multiplex software is better in that it clearly differentiates between the Controls (aileron, elevator, rudder etc) and the sticks/sliders/switches (called "widgets" in Mpx-speak) which you connect to them. This distinction is there in OpenTx software, but not in the terminology. Hence the ambiguity.

So if you want to use that opx file just change the throttle source on the first page (setup).

PDR

There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

RobC

Thanks Pete, I just copied the mixers and special functions so my timer1 still points to the throttle stick.  Checking your file the throttle is set as CH3:Throttle anyway.
flying's easy - it's getting it back down in one piece that's the hard part

Darkstar56

Quote from: RobC on May 15, 2020, 14:03:30 pm..., do you think that the higher expo would benefit a heli tyro? 

RobC I am rather a heli tyro having been teaching myself to fly little indoor ones for a while now. Slowly getting there.

I have found that Expo is not as effective as you may think to calm things down. I thought that lots of expo would be a good thing but am now stepping back from that thought. I still have some in and variable amounts with different controls. I find lots of expo on rudder is a bit of a pain so am usually below 15% now, more than that and it feels dead and then when the control starts to bite it does big style. So I am now on small stick movements and lesser expo. I found that lower rates and less expo are better on aileron and elevator.

I think that you need to consider how far you move your sticks and then adjust the rates and expo to provide a balanced set of controls and then learn to use smallish stick movements. When you get more confident you can start to stick stir and increase rates but not necessarily expo.

Just my thoughts.

Maxg
"... acquisition of knowledge is never too dear."
Sir Francis Walsingham, Spymaster to Q Elizabeth 1.

RobC

Thanks Max, that sounds like good advice.  My biggest problem is with arthritis which means I find it difficult to judge fine stick movements, for fixed wing flying expo helps in that aspect.
flying's easy - it's getting it back down in one piece that's the hard part

PDR

My biggest problem is that I'm crap at flying helis!

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

paulinfrance

Sorry but expo on a heli for me is a disaster, 'maybe' for a first flight where it might save a crash,,
Mode 2 THE only way to fly

Darkstar56

Quote from: PDR on May 18, 2020, 13:53:26 pmMy biggest problem is that I'm crap at flying helis!

PDR

Well I am glad someone else is in my league. I am crap and also don't get enough practice.

One thing it has done for me is taught me to use rudder when fixed wing flying so that has been an unexpected bonus.

Maxg
"... acquisition of knowledge is never too dear."
Sir Francis Walsingham, Spymaster to Q Elizabeth 1.

Darkstar56

Quote from: RobC on May 18, 2020, 13:43:01 pmMy biggest problem is with arthritis which means I find it difficult to judge fine stick movements, for fixed wing flying expo helps in that aspect.

RobC. Obviously I don't know how you fly but one thing I found helpful when I was trying to fly the indoor helis is to change from my usual thumb on top of the stick to the pinch mode and use a tray to hold the Tx. I still had some issues with the method, like not being sure that I wasn't holding in some contol when all should have been at zero. Overall though it helped and depending on where your arthritis isssues are it could possibly help you.

Worth a bit of thought maybe.

Maxg
"... acquisition of knowledge is never too dear."
Sir Francis Walsingham, Spymaster to Q Elizabeth 1.

FlyinBrian

My first  (and last) attempt at helis was a disaster, first, after starting the Irvine .36H the throttle linkage broke, it then ran up to full throttle and sat there in front of me with me being totally terrified and not knowing what to do. I could not reach under the meat choppers to reach the throttle arm and was wondering WTH to do when my thumb decided to have a mind of it's own and move the throttle stick UP. This of course resulted in the collective pitch increasing to a point where the bl..dy thing leapt off the ground to about 8 feet when I moved the throttle stick to closed thereby smacking the heli forcefully into the baked sod. (crash and rebuild #1)

Of course standard boom, shaft and blades were OOS and I had to get upgraded parts.

So back to the field and I actually got off the ground into a hover and moved around a bit, then the wind got up and it started drifting backwards and getting higher and was about 50 meters away when my fixed wing instincts took over and I shut the throttle. (Crash and rebuild #2) see second para above re rebuild.

Following the second rebuild I sold the evil blooming machine.
That was c2001 and I have never been tempted again



Basic Research is what I do - when I don't know what I'm doing!.

paulinfrance

Quote from: Darkstar56 on May 18, 2020, 17:18:59 pmWell I am glad someone else is in my league. I am crap and also don't get enough practice.

One thing it has done for me is taught me to use rudder when fixed wing flying so that has been an unexpected bonus.

Maxg

 Glider flying is even better, it teaches you to coordinate all the commands for heli translation,,
Mode 2 THE only way to fly

Darkstar56

Quote from: paulinfrance on May 18, 2020, 18:53:27 pmGlider flying is even better, it teaches you to coordinate all the commands for heli translation,,

Not if you learned to fly on 2 channel slope machines. Either Rud/Ele or Ail/ele.
"... acquisition of knowledge is never too dear."
Sir Francis Walsingham, Spymaster to Q Elizabeth 1.

PDR

Oh I can fly them around. Over the years I must have had a dozen helicopters from the original micromold lark (which needed hand-launching) and Schluter Helibaby (which didn't), and then collective helis like the Moreley Bell 47, schluter Heliboy and Helistar, Concept 30, Concept EP (x3), Graupner Bell 212, various indoor ones, a Trex 450 etc. I can fly them around and even do the odd roll & loop, but I've never been able to hover on a spot or fly accurately. I'm assuming it's a lack of practice because I got bored with them and tended to put them aside for a year or so before flying again. If the wind would drop off maybe I'll fix this with the Blade 230 and garden flying...

I agree that heli flying (especially before the days of gyros) taught me how to actually FLY the rudder rather than just waggling it for "aerobatics" - far more so than any glider flying ever did.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

paulinfrance

Quote from: Darkstar56 on May 18, 2020, 19:05:08 pmNot if you learned to fly on 2 channel slope machines. Either Rud/Ele or Ail/ele.

So haven't you ever flown a 4 + channel glider in your life ?. $%&

My MM lark took off as a helicopter should do, vertically from the ground. :nananana:

I hade all of those with exception of the Morley Bell, and a few more as in Kalt, the 'tin' one,, still flying my old Schluter Youngblood.
Mode 2 THE only way to fly

Darkstar56

Quote from: paulinfrance on May 19, 2020, 06:20:05 amSo haven't you ever flown a 4 + channel glider in your life ?. $%&


Yes I do fly multichannel gliders and that is possibly my favourite type of flying. However it was the initial learning on 2 channel stuff that ingrained all the bad habits that cause you to ignore the rudder.

It was only when I started to fly helis that I started to change my habits

PDR you are obviously on a different level of crap heli flying to me, several levels up in fact. Because we only fly in a very small hall our limits are pretty restricted. The hall is just a bit bigger than a 1 court netball court.

The trouble is I do not have someone to compare my flying to and that is a bit of a difficulty. I have spent a lot of time trying to hover in one spot. Not sure how accurate I am supposed to be. I suppose that I am trying for say a spot and stay within an inch or two of it and that I cannot do. I sometimes wonder if my target is much to small especially with a TRex 150.

I also find with helis that some days I cannot fly them and on other days I am OKish. Tiredness is one thing but other than that I have not tied down the why of that.

Maxg
"... acquisition of knowledge is never too dear."
Sir Francis Walsingham, Spymaster to Q Elizabeth 1.

PDR

Quote from: Darkstar56 on May 19, 2020, 10:28:33 amPDR you are obviously on a different level of crap heli flying to me,

As Eric Blair said - all crapnesses are equal, but some are more equal than others...

:ev

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

PDR

I put another 14 minutes (two 850 batteries - consumed 70% and 61% respectively) in the 230 in the garden this evening. Slightly blustery conditions, so still not possible to do a "trim" flight to calibrate the gyros as some have suggested I should to address the trim errors.

I fitted the batteries on the garden table, but this time made a point of finding a "level" bit (using a simulated spirit level app on my phone) where it aligned after I connected the battery. In actual fact the spot was level laterally and 1 degree nose down. I did this for both flights and this time it would hover OGE hands-off, just drifting slightly in the puffs of wind. So my theory (for what it's worth) is that it is indeed set up OK, doesn't need trim flights or calibration - it just needs to be on a truly level surface while the gyros are aligning after connecting the battery.

I was flying in "medium rate" and stability mode because I have decided to unlearn 28 year old bad habits and really teach myself hovering in a fixed place properly rather than succumbing to the temptation to hare off around the garden throwing it around. My middle rate setting (aileron and elevator only) is 75% throw and 33% expo. I may knock the expo down a little as it's possibly a bit too soft around neutral.

Anyway, overall this really is a sweet little heli which even took gusts in its stride by just bobbing up and down. I'm still finding the collective a bit over-sensitive around the hover-point (~60% stick) - I find it hunts up and down +/- 1" vertically after a disturbance and it takes me a couple of cycles to damp it out. So there is a temptation to flatten the pitch curve a smidge and see what effect that has. But that's just tuning it to my tastes.

The tail remains locked-in and powerful, yet amazingly smooth and sensitive. I do an exercise where I slowly turn through 90degrees, move forwards 3 feet, turn slowly through 180 degrees and fly back. The 90 degree turn takes about 4 seconds, and the tail is beautifully smooth and precise making it very easy to achieve constant yaw rate while focusing on the cyclic to hold it over the spot. It's clearly set very "hard", because every now and then it will give a couple of fast wags (barely a sixteenth of an inch at the tail) in response to a side-gust. I'm not going to play with this because it feels right.

PDR
There are no shortcuts on the long, hard road to success. But if your dad's rich there could a limo service...

Darkstar56

One way of doing the trim flight that i saw on the net is to find a level surface and hold the model on its skids to the surface and then do the trim flight without actually allowing the model to leave the surface. It is a method that has worked well for me on smaller blade helis.

My comment earlier in this thread about expo also applies here. Unskilled though I am I would find 33% too great on the aileron and elevator. I am down around 20% for that.

Maxg
"... acquisition of knowledge is never too dear."
Sir Francis Walsingham, Spymaster to Q Elizabeth 1.