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 Post subject: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 11:39 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 am
Posts: 65
Hi guys

After listening to all of the banter about the 500-550 size helis I am seriously considering doing one to learn collective pitch helicopters. I know this is not always the recommended size to start in, but based on my airplane experience a large size is a better trainer than smaller stuff and I have the hobby budget to afford something in this class.

I already have 4x Gens Ace 6S 5300 30c packs for my 70" EF Extra (previously 71" slick RIP)
spare ICE 100 laying around

After listening to one of your guests talk about the Skookum 720 auto level feature, that seems a good FB controller for what I am trying to do. Playing on the sim, loss of orientation seems to be my biggest problem.

I have progressed through some of the blade heli's up to a 120SR and I have a nano CPx that I can fly in normal mode, but it gets too small too quick in stunt mode. I though about getting another step up in the blade line, but this seems like buying a Stratos to learn on rather than a Alpha 40 (my trainer). I am a OK 3D airplane pilot (no rolling harriers yet) but helis is a different animal.

Anyways looking at the choices I can find these seem to be the choices for flybarless:

Align Trex 550e combo $800ish with stuff I don't want
Blade 550x with stuff I don't want. $640
KDS 550 with questionable parts support $360 from HK
Goblin 500 $650ish from helidirect which is on the way home from work but would need new packs.
Logo 550SX $650 with parts support issues.

Outside of HK I can't seem to find a reasonable Trex 550 clone but since I am new to helis I don't know much where to look. Tarot does not seem to make a 550. I understand that this with the controller could be up to a $1500 project.

There are a number of quality heli guys around here to help with the setup and such, but not a lot of true 550 experience as 450s and 700s seem to rule in the electric circle.


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 31, 2013 1:29 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2011 11:58 am
Posts: 4968
Location: Austin, TX
If you can afford it, there's no reason not to start with the 550. Back in the good old days, that's what we ALL started with (.30 size nitro helis were about as small as they came).
The SK720, or even the iKON FBL unit would be a good choice, both have self-level capability. Bobby may have more to say about the iKON's capability as time goes on and he plays with it some more.

HK has a 550 clone now, in fact that's what James started with for his Stretch Armstrong build. There are some parts you'll have to replace (according to him) but it's overall fairly decent. There's also the VWIN RC 550 clone, which seems to have a fairly good reputation for good parts from what I've read. Ebay is about the only place I've seen to get them.

Don't discount getting something like the Thunder Tiger X50e and just running it on a 6S power system. For learning, even with 600 blades, that will do nicely. In fact, it'll take you a long way before you get bored and want more power. I've pretty much decided (for today, anyway) if I toast the Fusion 550 beyond repair and/or parts support goes away I'm going to go for the X50e.

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wt ... LXBYFE&P=7

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Chris Boultinghouse


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 5:50 am 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 am
Posts: 65
That heli looks nice. What would I have to do to convert it? Just buy a 1100ish kv motor?

Of these choices is the Trex 550 significantly cheaper for parts or does that balance out. My LHS can get Align, Blade, and Thunder Tiger stuff. Helidirect is literally down the highway.


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 4:40 pm 
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Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2011 4:04 pm
Posts: 280
Let me add to what Chris said about the Thunder Tiger x50. There is no reason you cannot just strap a set of 550 blades on there as well. I am currently running my Trex550 with a 600 boom. I did not really notice anything major between flying with the 550 boom and 600 boom. Hell you can strap on some 520mm blades as well as that is what I am running on my Trex550.

Then it is just a matter of getting the right pinion for the motor that you select to run on your 6s packs you already have.

The HK 550 Clone is pretty decent. The parts that I would definitely replace are all the links and rods. The "on the fence parts" are all the gears. Considering you are going to be learning, I am sure the gears will work out just fine for you. By the time you are ready to put the smack on it, I am sure you will since replaced those gears :P. The only other issue I had with it was the gear mesh from the tail drive gear to the TT Drive gear. You will need to do a little dremel work to get them to mesh up properly. Nothing too difficult.

If you ask me what "everyday flier" to buy in the 550 class, I would say equally either the X50e on 550/520s w/6s packs or the Trex 550.

FYI, there is a guy on Ebay that strips Align Kits down and parts them out. Here is a link to a Trex550 DFC airframe only.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Align-T-REX-550 ... 23295fb8f3

You just have to play the Bidding war.


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 01, 2013 10:29 pm 
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Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 11:35 pm
Posts: 183
Location: Longmont CO.
Don't forget about the Gaui x5 super combo, although you will have the same battery problem.
http://www.empirerc.com/gaui-x5-fes-hel ... 2bb519bba9


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 Post subject: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Tue Apr 02, 2013 8:56 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 28, 2013 8:53 pm
Posts: 31
Maybe_James wrote:

FYI, there is a guy on Ebay that strips Align Kits down and parts them out. Here is a link to a Trex550 DFC airframe only.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Align-T-REX-550 ... 23295fb8f3

You just have to play the Bidding war.


Dude! Don't go giving away my parts supplier! Having a hard enough time with the bidding. :)


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Thu Dec 05, 2013 5:59 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 am
Posts: 65
After talking to Eury, I decided on a Blade 550X. Here is my setup

Blade 550X with stock motor and blades
Ikon
King Max HV servos from onlyfinehelis
Hobbywing 100A platinum ESC from another plane
Castle BEC pro from the same plane
Hobbywing sensor
Gens Ace 5300 6S 30C Lipos

This will be the only collective pitch heli I have had outside of my Blade nano CPx, which I could not really fly, so essentially I am stepping up from a Blade 120SR to this. I am essentially taking my own airplane trainer advice and getting the biggest thing I can stomach as bigger truly does fly better, at least it does in airplanes.


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 2:30 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jul 27, 2011 8:13 am
Posts: 1523
Location: Caldwell, TX
Sounds like that should be a great setup. Very true about the bigger they are, the easier it is to fly. You will do great. Just be sure to take the time to set up the self level on the iKon and practice using it. You can fly it in self level mode and it will fly like a coaxial helicopter. ;)

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Bobby Barr
DT Helis
Graupner USA


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Fri Dec 06, 2013 7:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 am
Posts: 65
Got the kit today. Taking the manual with me to read up on the build at work. All the components are here so I could be putting to together starting Monday. I am getting help with the setup and iKon.


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 Post subject: Re: First Big helicopter questions
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:09 am
Posts: 65
Got the 550X all built. Nick programmed the Ikon for me. I was going out with Horizon sponsored pilot Tyler McCormack to maiden it when we saw that the heli was constantly browning out the satellites. I am using DSMX Spektrum dual sats. After throwing a lot of parts at it and upgrading the BEC to a Western Robotics, the only thing that truly solved the issue was a $1 capacitor I got from Hobby King. Got it all back together and I hope to meet back up with Nick and Tyler this week.

I have been using Castle BEC pros in airplanes for a few years, but this heli electrical setup is more demanding it seems. I also tried hooking up a straight lipo to the Ikon and I still could get it brown out with pitch pumps. I am thinking it is purely a Ikon with Spektrum thing. I hooked up the servos with a inline servo meter and did not see amp draws over 1 amp, but who knows what the instanteous voltage was.


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