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Assembling model helicopter news...

Yay so I Sunday night I finally sat down and really got some work done on this baby: 

First off I have had this for months and months and not had a chance to build it up too much. It is a cheap $30 airframe kit from china called an HK-450 "450 size" helicopter:

So thats just the airframe. I had it assembled in an afternoon, but no electronics installed. Sunday I installed 3 of these servos for the cyclic control. Together they control the pitch of the main rotor blades:

Went ahead and installed the radio. It is a Spektrum "compatible" receiver unit. It was only $6 but folks are saying it is reliable.

I had already installed this motor before FC. It was like $7 dollars back when I got it before FC, but China's neodymium export restrictions drove up the price a little bit. Some folks are saying they are getting away with only a 25 Amp Electronic Speed Controller, but others said they had a tester on the motor and it was drawing closer to 35 amps. In hind sight, I should have gotten a better motor. Hopefully this littler guy will hold up.

Of course any electric R/C model, be it a car, plane, or helicopter has to have an electronic speed controller or ESC. These ESC's are plugged directly into the battery and provide power to all of the electronics in the model, especially the flight motor. It has a special circuit in it that provides a carefully regulated 5V current to the radio receiver that in turn distributes that power to the servo's and the gyro. This one is a 45Amp ESC that is a but heavy, but gets good reviews and is probably way more power than I need. This will not overpower the motor though. The motor will just draw what it needs. The 3 blue wires go to the DC brushless motor

And finally the Gyro. This was also already installed before FC. It is normally connected to the back of the airframe above the brace for the tail boom. They call it a heady hold gyro. It keeps the heading of the helicopter on the same direction at all times so that the pilot doesn't have to do it. If you want the heading yo change you just apply rudder and the gyro allows it to happen. A good gyro can make or break (sometimes literally) how well a model can fly.

Finally I had to solder some of my high current connectors together. First I soldered these XT-60 connectors to some adapters for use on various things and then soldered one of them on the ESC so I can plug a battery into it safely. I love these XT-60 connectors over the Deans Ultra plugs because they are so well thought out and easy to work with. Even at about $3 for a 5 pack of pairs they seems very high quality. I also use shrink tubing over the solders.

I also needed to solder together these high current bullet connectors to connect the ESC to the 3 wires of the brushless motor. After soldering, I use enough shrink tubing to cover the solderings and all of the connector that does not go into it mating pair so when together they are completely covered. If they shorted out during flight it would be an instant crash and a blown ESC at the minimum.

And I finally got to use "Mr. Jig" a snazzy little aluminum wonder that holds my connectors and bullets while soldering. Super happy I got this. Before I was using "helping hands" but this is much easier.

And finally last night, got on my awesome Spektrum DX7S that reveille_d got me for Christmas and slowly figured out what servos needed to be programmed to do what, set their home positions and such. There is no users manual that comes with these Chinese helicopters so its some guess work.

Finally got the rotor head initially setup so the swash plate moves in the correct direction based on my cyclic input from the right stick on the radio. The swash plate is the 3 pointed thing at the bottom of the rotor head assembly, it has the peg that goes through the tall anti-rotation bracket. It can be moved by the servos via its outer ring, but its inner ring spins with the main shaft providing movement to the mixing assembly above it. This gives you the control. Pretty amazing little assembly really. 

If anyone has any questions feel free to ask. Assuming this post didn't out you to sleep. :D

FC 2012 Report

Behind the break is my report. I just don't have the energy to proof read it any more than I have so please forgive any errors in spelling/grammar. It's a bit of a long read. Over all I had a great FC. I can't wait till next year. 

-- Kiteless 

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Sphero is inbound ...

I preordered 2 of these a loooooong time ago, expecting to get them in time for Christmas. One of them was a gift for my wonderful reveille_ but they could not make the holiday deadline. So they are supposed to arrive today at home, assuming UPS can deliver them without drop kicking them! 

Anyway, very much looking forward to playing with my balls! 

More info about Sphero can be found here: 

-- Kiteless 
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2012 State of the Union...

I stayed up late and watched it last night on YouTube. Thankfully PBS has the whole thing on YouTube, in HD even. Obama has what I feel are a lot of good ideas. I liked the speech and it makes me hopeful about the economy and my personal future. That being said, there is only so much he can do. He asked for a lot of laws to be placed on his desk so he can sign them. I think they are all good ideas. But there were also a lot of Republicans that looked... less than excited about most of his ideas. 

I am not a political person. I do the best I can and general default to Democrat. Its the party that I dislike the least. And to be honest align with many of their views. But not all. :)

Anyway I just wanted to say all this. I am NOT LOOKING FOR A POLITICAL ARGUMENT ON THE INTERNET. If you want to disagree with me, I am fine with that. But please keep things positive. I generally totally avoid talking about politics as it is. The only thing worse (maybe) is talking about religion. 

In other news I need to finish up my con-report before, um FEBRUARY! hehe.. 

-- Kiteless 

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My 2007 Yaris hatchback joins the 100K Mile Club...

Yesterday while I was driving home it happened. I managed to snag a pic right before it clicked over at a red light, the flash went off and I didn't have a chance to snag another one without the flash. Continues to drive home and when it rolled to 100K I pulled over and took a picture without the flash. Both pics taken with my Droid 3's "okay" camera. Anyway, wanted to share. So many memories since I got this car shortly after my birthday in the middle of 2006. She has been a great little reliable car. 

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Getting back in the hobby ...

Excited to get back into Radio Controlled things for 2012, especially aircraft. I have been picking away at getting a 45 size helicopter built and also excited to build a scratch built airplane made out of foamcore. Below are just a few of the parts I have sitting in a box waiting to turn into something that flies. This whole plane will cost about $40 dollars to build. Got everything from Hobby King. Of course if anyone wants to get into aircraft with me, I would be happy to have you. :)

Turnigy 1100KV motor $9

Master Airscrew propeller 9x5 $2

4x Hextronik HXT900 9gram .12sec Micro Servo $3 each