beginner ???

Hi,
I just bought the cheapest indoor helicopter I could find:
HX RADIO CONTROLLED HELICOPTER [HX-242ez]
and I can't do anything with it. It always spins around
it seems. If I push the stick to the right it will stop
spinning, but I don't know if that's part of how these
things work or not. The rear prop is turned horizontally,
and it doesn't even work most of the time. Is that the
way it should be with these cheap things? Does the rear
prop have any useful purpose on something on this level?
The main reason for getting it is to see if I want to spend
some more money for a decent one. I do. What should
I look for in just something basic and simple to learn how
the real toys work, for around $100? Do better types
operate a lot differently than the super cheap ones?
Thanks for any help learning about this!
David
Reply to
dh
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Unfortunately, most of the cheapo ones are crap. My father just bought one on Ebay for just under $40 that actually has possibilities but is near impossible to fly in any kind of breeze whatsoever. It also tends to spin but that is adjustable by turning a "pot" in tiny increments in the opposite direction of the spin. As far as getting it to go in a desired direction, that hasn't been done yet. It flew well enough tho to whet both our appetites for a better copter. We are looking at the Blade series of electric copters. He is interested in the Blade CX. I think I want the Blade CP. I have seen the CP fly in my LHS and was pretty impressed with it. The CX runs about $190. I think the CP is about $200. Its supposed to be RTF from the box. Hangar 9 sells em. I don't know what you could get that is worth getting for less than that.
Reply to
Fubar of The HillPeople
What's RTF? I've found a few that have blades and tilt etc. This page has several that look good to me:
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and here are some more that I've come across so far:
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any comments or further suggestions would be much appreciated. I've seen the one I bought for about $25 going for about $80, and at the first URL I posted they have some with tilting blades etc for about the same price. The LYNX-380XL at the bottom of the page looks like the best to me...but then I don't really know what I'm looking at.
Reply to
dh
RTF = "Ready to Fly" The model is supposed to be setup, trimmed and ready to go. All you should need to do is open the box, pull it out, charge the batteries, and go have fun. Unfortunately, it doesn't always work out that way. Experienced pilots make the minor trim changes with no problems at all, as a general rule. Beginners find themselves frustrated with a model that doesn't seem to work and they don't know what to do about it.
BTY, you'll also see ARF from time to time. That one means "Almost Ready to Fly." In this case, there'll be some assembly to do. Most of them require installation of the radio control system and engine/motor. Fixed wing ARF's usually require the user to glue the wing halves together, the tail feathers to the back of the fuselage, and install the engine and radio systems. FWIW!
Reply to
Steve R
The thing I bought is in a totally different class, unless all this sort of thing has no use:
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the one I got is in a much lower and less efficient class:
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I still don't know anything about all this, but I'm convinced the one I got is just a toy, where something like this is more of a functional device:
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Reply to
dh
What you got doesn't even reach the "toy" level.
At least that's a helicopter.
Reply to
Beav
That sounds like you have one of the helis with counterrotating blades? Two sets of blades stacked on top of each other? If thats the case and the heli spins, one of the motors delivers less/more power than the other. Usually that's either caused by: - Gear mesh too tight (makes the motor work too hard) - Gear slipping (you'd know that one - it strips the gears) - Faulty motor (doubt that one from your description) - Faulty electronics (specifically faulty ESC = Electronic Speed Controller)
These kinds of helis are the easiest to fly though. The Blade brand has recently made some headlines with a good line of small helis, among them one with counterrotating blades. The main advantage of this design is that it's inherently more stable than a "real" heli. And thus a LOT easier to fly.
A real heli on the other hand has only one main rotor, usually with "paddles" at a 90° angle, and a tail rotor to counteract the torque from the main rotor - all in all pretty similar to the full size helis. One biggie here is that these are a whole lot more difficult to fly. They are inherently unstable and need constant adjustments in all three axis, which is pretty tricky for a beginner.
There are a few major design differences between various R/C helis. First and foremost, electric vs. glow. Electrics are generally smaller than glow helis, although if you want to spend big bucks you can get a large electric. What's not so obvious with size is this: Small, lightweight helis are very very sensitive to wind. Even a tiny gust will toss them around a lot. Heavier and bigger glow helis are less sensitive in that area. On the other hand, you can fly electrics indoors, glow helis are a bit stinky for that purpose.
Specifically with electrics there are also two different types of rotors: Fixed pitch and collective pitch. Fixed pitch (short: FP) relies on motor RPM changes to influence altitude, collective pitch (short: CP) is usually flown at fixed RPM. Because of this, FP helis are more sluggish, and CP helis usually respond a lot more crisp.
Last but not least there are three different ways to deal with tail rotors. The really cheap way is to just use a separate motor for the tail rotor. Then there are shaft-driven tail rotors and belt-driven tail rotors. The latter two are mechanically more complex and thus more prone to damage and/or faulty installation.
With helicopters one thing is 100% sure: you will crash them while learning. Depending on how much you practice on a simulator first, you'll crash them a lot. And spend lots of money on repairs. Often a cheap FP heli with counterrotating blades and no tail rotor can teach you the basics without spending too much on repairs. Of course, they are of no use if you don't either have a rather large obstacle-free indoor area to practice (think gym here, not livingroom) or live in an area with enough dead calm days to practice outdoors.
My recommendation would be to get a sim, even if its just the free FMS sim with a dual analog joystick, and practice with that. Forget about doing fancy stuff in the sim, practice spot-on landings, flying along lines, keeping altitude and hovering. If you want, get a heli with counterrotating blades and fly around with that a bit. It'll at least teach you to keep your orientation straight. Once you can comfortably say you can hover, land EXACTLY spot-on where you want to, THEN get a CP (or FP if you prefer) heli, as large as you can afford, and try the real thing.
Stay away from cheap helis. I won't give a brand recommendation per se, but I've got some experience with a few of them: Walkera: Good helis from a mechanical point of view, but really crappy electronics. They got better lately, but their really cheap line still has about the worst electronics (mainly transmitter and receiver/ESC) I've ever encountered. If you must go that route, get at least one of their newer 6-channel helis. They're often advertised as being ready to fly right out of the box - which they really are not, they do need quite a bit of adjustments and such to get them to fly. Honey Bee: Same as Walkera, except their mechanical parts suck worse. They're insofar a mixed batch as they do need a bit of adjusting before they will fly properly, but they are relatively common and thus spare parts are often easy to get. Century Helicopters (Hummingbird et al): Good quality, good electronics, just a tad pricey. Blade Helis: Seems to be the current rage. Their quality is overall quite good, and they do indeed fly out of the box. Not to mention their prices are quite reasonable. Raptor Helis: This is the only glow heli in this list - it's so widespread thanks to a certain pro that it's easy to get spare parts for it, and it's mechanically quite sound. AFAIK it doesn't regularly come as an RTF though.
I know I left out a whole bunch of things, but that should do for starters nonetheless. Helis are fun, but extremely expensive and very tricky to fly. Whereas someone can learn to fly an R/C plane without any prior experience in just a couple of days, learning to fly an R/C heli takes weeks, if not months.
Have fun Jenni
Reply to
Jennifer Smith
I'm afraid so.
The top blade never did spin dependably. It would change speed never spinning anywhere near as fast as the lower one, and stoppig and starting from time to time. I only flew it a few times and it kept doing the start/stop more and more until if finally quit turning altogether. This was all within a few attempted flights.
Maybe one that works...
They are small and not as likely to kill somebody as the real toys, and if they really can be made to fly I might want to get another one someday to use in smaller rooms. This one needs to go back though since it never did work right, and I'm planning to try a 6 channel instead.
Since at this time I have access to a large room to practice in, now would probably be the best time to get one and learn to fly it.
In my brief time involved with trying to learn this stuff (less than a week) I've seen several people say the same thing.
I've thought about getting one of them, but got scared by comments about what you pointed out. Now I don't know whether to avoid them or not.
If the Walkera 6 channel has worked out the radio problems I might rather go with one of them.
Thank you for the great explanations! It helps a lot. Radd's school looks like a good thing to read:
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And this one:
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If anyone can suggest something else I'd like to learn about it. Also any good discussion groups.
Reply to
dh
If it worked there would be some real advantages to it though, like you don't mind if it bumps into you, and can be used in small places. Are any small harmless ones like that dependable and controllable?
I'm planning to get a Walkera or Honey Bee 6 channel.
Reply to
dh
Nothing wrong with them per se, but sounds like you did indeed get a defective one. With helis, price does often make a big difference ;)
Faulty motor or ESC, I'd say.
What quite a few people do is buy the bare-bone heli without motor and/or ESC and then put their own electronics in.
If that's out of your budget at least get one of their newer models, like the #39 or #60 model. You can make it a little more reliable by swapping servos - they do accept standard servos. Be warned though - you WILL need to look the heli over closely when you get it, and make sure all screws, nuts & bolts are tight, the gear mesh is smooth and so on. Both lines come with belt driven tail rotor and with shaft driven tail rotor. Which one is better is a matter of preference.
Personally as a beginner I would avoid them - they do not fly right out of the box, whereas others like the Blade helis do. That is, up to their first crash. After that you have to learn the intricacies of tuning a heli.
They have, but their electronics still are sub-par. I have 2 and they both fly well. One with original electronics and one with my own. However, I've also had one of their really cheap FP helis years ago and it was a pain to fly. RPM fluctuated enough to make level flight tricky, servos stripped in mid-flight and so on and so forth.
I've also recently gotten a Blade CP as a gift, and it truly flew right out of the box with perfect trim.
His stuff is pretty good I think. His claim that he can teach people to fly a heli without crashing seems a bit iffy though :) I've yet to meet anyone who has flown for a few years and not crashed their R/C aircraft, no matter if heli or airplane.
Never heard of that one, so no comment :)
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is a dedicated discussion forum, although a bit on the snobbish side. Buy cheap and the regulars will tear you apart without even reading the rest of your post. Otherwise good information though.
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is another general purpose R/C forum with heli section.
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is yet another general purpose R/C forum with a heli section.
More generally, try a google search for heli discussion forums and you'll get swamped :)
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Have fun (and patience) Jenni
Reply to
Jennifer Smith
Awww heck I forgot one of the most popular brands with E-Helis: Align with their T-Rex helis... generally good quality and almost reasonably priced :)
Jenni
Reply to
Jennifer Smith
The tail rotor is horizontal? It isn't going to do much to counteract torque off the main rotor that way.. I'm not familiar with that helo - and I'm not gonna go look - but it seems a bit of RTFM (Read The Fine Manual) might be in order.
Your $100 budget won't get you anything useful or even out of the "toy" arena.. You're going to be looking at around $200 for a counter-rotating model (Blade CX or a Lama) or $250 for a true collective pitch model (Blade CP, Honeybee CP2 etc..)
Yes, better types operate a lot differently than the super cheap ones. My $300 heli isn't nearly as stable or responsive as my $1000 heli which isn't as stable as my $2000 helis..
Reply to
The OTHER Kevin in San Diego
No. And it didn't even turn all the time. The Blade CX doesn't have a tail rotor at all I don't think, so might it have been of no real use?
How does a Honeybee CP2 compare with a Blade CP?
I've only seen these things twice...in the same day. The Trex frame and everything is bad ass, not plastic crap. But if you replace some of the significant parts of a cheaper model with better quality ones even though the frame is still plastic, can you get a similarly stable heli by doing that? How much of it is the receiver, and servos, and whatever else?
Reply to
dh
I believe you, but have seen that same machine priced at about $25 and also at about $80, so there's more to consider than what people are asking. Then again, the common price for a HoneyBee CP2 is now around $150, supposedly down from about $400. Do you remember them being in that price range?
How many motors does it have?
I just ordered a Honeybee CP2 hoping to avoid problems like that for a little while. I'm not opposed to making some upgrades though, if that would help. Once I get one and actually begin flying a bit it will be easier to see how much $$$ I'll want to sink into all this, and what to spend it on etc. Just seeing the actual helicopters in a hobby store changed my impression of everything a good bit. So far I'm still feeling inclined for going smaller instead of--or as well as--bigger. I'd like to have one about the size of a wasp, but don't expect to see that any time soon. Maybe the size of a real hummingbird though...something you could fly in a small room.
The CP2 has a seperate tail motor, which I've heard will end up being a problem and expect to have to change some day if all goes well.
Where can I learn some things about that?
He may still have a good point though if he's not trying to say he'll prevent people from crashing, but just that he can teach them how to fly without doing so *if* they want to. What people do after moving away from his suggestions is in their hands then.
Thank you Jenni! I hope this turns out to be more fun than pain in the ass :-)
Reply to
dh
Probably not, because the ones that are dependable and controllable are also the expensive ones.
Well it's a move in the right direction.
Reply to
Beav
I haven't looked at helis lately, I'm more into flying planes during the summer. Now that winter is approaching I'll probably take my helis to the gym again.
For a counterrotating heli usually two, one for each set of blades.
It's a good heli for beginning in the hobby. If you can, see that you can find a local heli expert to help you set it up.
Flying helis in tight spaces requires a lot of practice. You'll see what I mean when you fly.
They tend to burn out, yes. On the plus side you don't have to worry about mechanical setup of the tail rotor. If you bought a preconfigured, flight-checked model you ought to be fine, however a pre-flight check is always a good idea especially considering the nice rotating blades. Small or not, these things can do damage.
The best way would be to have someone show it to you in person. The second best way would be to look it up on the web. In essence you'll need to know about setting up your heli for flight in your workshop, and then pre-flight checking your heli each time you are ready for takeoff.
In your case, the shop set-up part would be at the very least: - Check that the heli is physically okay. Replace damaged parts. - Particularly: If blades are dented or cracked, replace them. - Use a pitch gauge to make sure the rotor pitch is within manufacturer specifications. Paddles ought to be level, a pitch gauge helps there too, but most people can eyeball it. - Make sure that the blades are reasonably tight. That requires some experimentation. The general rule is that the blades should be so tight that you can hold the heli tipped to the side and the blades should JUST BARELY not swivel down. The idea is that the spinning blades should be able to straighten themselves out on spinup. - Use loctite or equivalent on crucial screws. While you're at it, check all screws for tightness. I'm not sure if this heli has one, but I'd guess it should: Check the jesus bolt (that one holds the rotorhead on the shaft - people tend to scream "JESUS!" when that one comes off) in particular. A rotorhead disintegrating in mid-air is not a good idea.
Before flying (i.e. when you're at the field and just about to turn on the heli/transmitter): - Give the whole heli a once-over again. Nuts, bolts, blades, motors... make sure both rotors spin freely and so on. - This one is VERY important out in the field: Check that your frequency is available. They usually have a frequency board somewhere. - Turn on the transmitter BEFORE you turn on the heli. If the heli has no on/off switch, turn on the transmitter before you plug in the battery. Also make sure the transmitter is NOT set to throttle hold or anything such, and that the throttle is all the way down. I'd STRONGLY recommend making sure that you hold the heli firmly and in a way that the main rotor can't hit you if it spins up suddenly. Gas helis have a clutch - smaller electrics don't. Be prepared to unplug immediately if something goes wrong. - If you want to do a range check (usually recommended, although I gotta admit I hardly ever do that with my heli), unplug the motors.
Similarly, when you are ready to power down, turn off the heli first, BEFORE turning off the transmitter. You'll feel really silly if you don't :)
That's what I am a little dubious about. I'd say it is possible to learn the basics without crashing and spending lots on repairs, but I also know that - overconfidence nonwithstanding - things just fail. Servos occasionally fail without warning, which in case of helis invariably means crashing. The tail motor can burn out without much warning as well, although that one usually goes gradually. There's just so much that can (and in my experience will) go wrong sooner or later, even if you are the best pilot out there.
Oh it's fun alright. It just takes a lot of practice and patience. Flying an airplane is by far easier to learn. On the other side, Helis can be flown in many more places, even bigger helis :)
Jenni
Reply to
Jennifer Smith
Being small and harmless might make them more expensive, but not necessarily less dependable and controllable unless people are limitted by how small they can make the parts.
I went for the Honey Bee and hope that I'll learn the skill of flying an rc helicopter with it. I would like to go on and learn to do something practical with one like taking video if possible, which would mean eventually moving on to a Trex or better...most likely buying a used frame here, and something else there...as always the least expensive way of successfully getting the job done but also learning about parts and how they work etc. If price is no limitation for you then I'm happy for you, but your position and my feelings about it don't do anything to help my own. On the other side I would like a small heli to play around with that won't hurt anything in a smaller room, and was wondering if people make any like that that can actually fly and be controlled. Maybe the one I had would have been if it worked right and I knew how to fly it. It was fixed pitch. The Blade CX looks like the same idea to me, though a lot more quality machine making use of it. Maybe that type blade system will allow for smaller helicopters...I don't know...
Reply to
dh
I'll start looking around then. Some of these guys:
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in about CP2s, which is one reason I got it, so I'll ask them. Maybe there's someone at the local HobbyTown that would help a beginner out a little too.
Is that a distance thing? What happens if the heli gets out of range of the transmitter?
Thank you for mentioning all that. Now if I can remember...I need to condense it down and print it out...
My first experience was with a defective one. Maybe if it had worked right I wouldn't even think about getting something better.
I get your point, but will probably attempt his method anyway not knowing of a better option.
It seems already that this should be more popular than it is, and that people should be making practical use of them in some ways.
Reply to
dh
I fly my Blade CP in my living room all the time. No problem controlling it in that space. I could probably fly it in a smaller room as well. Control is all about the PROPER setup of the machine and the pilot's abilities.
Reply to
The OTHER Kevin in San Diego
Yep, it's a distance check. Commonly it's done rather simple: Do not extend the transmitter antenna, then turn transmitter and heli on (again: with unplugged motors) and walk away. You ought to be able to get at least 10-15 yards away before experiencing control issues.
If the heli gets out of range, it generally crashes unless you have a rather expensive autopilot onboard :)
It's a quite expensive hobby, really. Think about what you already spent, and you're not up in the air yet. For me, helis are technically not affordable as a hobby. I make do with second hand parts and iffy repairs - and saving forever for good basic equipment :)
There are practical uses for R/C helis. Local law enforcement uses a bigger gas heli for getting aerials of accidents, for documentation purposes. There are at least two companies out there building semi-autonomous helis which one day may be used as drones, for example to explore areas that are too dangerous for humans. And last but not least, they are used for professional aerial photography and movies. A couple of well-known TV ads were done that way. That's a whole other league though, these people have helis which easily can cost in excess of 10k US$.
If you feel like it, look at the aerial video section on runryder. Lots of pretty footage.
Jenni
Reply to
Jennifer Smith

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