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Review: Align 850mAh Lipo 30C Battery (HBP85001T)

October 8th, 2009 No comments

Align 850mAh 30c Trex250 Lipo (HBP85001T)I was looking for a couple more Trex 250 batteries but unable to source any Outrage 860mAh 30c (which are great). I decided to give the Align 850mAh 30C a chance, given they were just so dam cheap (lets face it, the cells are probably sourced from the same factory).

On initial inspection when compared to the the Outrage equivalent the balancing tap and JST power connector are on opposite sides. The power cable whilst perfectly fine is not insulated with the nice supple silicon that the Outrage battery is, which makes it slightly stiffer, not a big issue really. The Align battery is 1 gram heavier (when I weigh it) than the Outrage, so the COG setup is essentially the same, which made life easy for me.

Flight testing proved the Align battery to be equally as good as the Outrage with identical flight times of about 4 minutes hard 3D (I could squeeze a bit more but I tend towards the safer side). The only thing that remains to be tested is the life span of the battery in terms of the number of cycles.

Overall the battery is value for money, I tentatively give an 8 out of 10 based on the fact I have no idea how many usable cycles it will get.

Rating: 8/10

Review: Align Pitch Gauge (K10390TA-1)

September 27th, 2009 No comments

Align Pitch Gauge (K10390TA-1)My budget pitch gauge of several years died the other day so a re-investment was needed. I opted for the “Align 300-700 Pitch Gauge”, my only reserve was whether it fitted my Radix 710SB wide chord blades. After doing a bit of research there was conflicting results as to whether it would fit, some said it did, while others said the oppersite? So purchased one and as it turns out it fits the wide chord blades, all be it very snug, which is not really a bad thing. You couldn’t however afford to go for a wider chord balde than the Radix 710SB (is there a wider blade?)

For a generic multi-purpose pitch gauge it’s great, the “pitch twist” dial is a great feature which is really good for fine adjustments, also the pitch gauge seems to be built well and relatively sturdy. It comes with a plastic insert for micro heli’s, which means the gauge can even be used on a Trex 250 (or similar size heli).

Obviously the pitch gauge has had a previous revision as you can see from the part number K10390TA-1 and on my box there was also a “V2” sticker. I can only assume the max width of the gauge was improved to allow for a wider chord blade.

Summary
Overall a good quality cheap generic tool (love the “pitch twist” feature)

Rating: 8/10

Pitch gauge with plastic insert for smaller micro heli’s

Align Pitch Gauge (K10390TA-1) with Adapter

Pitch gauge fitted on a Radix 710SB

Align Pitch Gauge (K10390TA-1) on Radix710SB

Review: MicroHeli Trex250 Tail Upgrade

September 22nd, 2009 No comments

micro_250_tail_upgrade_box1After a few flights and tweaking with the Trex 250 it is clear the tail is not amazing. The new V2 Trex250 kits have the latest generation (2nd or 3rd I’m not sure) tail with chinese weights built into the blade grip. In theory that improves the tail dramaticlly in terms of power that is required by the tail servo. This youtube video clearly shows the theory applied and working.

With that in mind I decided to try the MicroHeli complete tail solution, which is a whole new tail box minus the tail output shaft which needs to be supplied from the original kit.

There is lots to like about this upgrade initially:

  • Zero slop in the blade grips or anywhere
  • All CNC metal
  • Blade grips have longer blade bolts and nuts to secure the baldes
  • Tail bell crank moves the tail slider from both the bottom (ball) and top (pin)
  • Quality bolts

The upgrade is so simple, the hardest part is putting the belt back on and adjusting limits on the gyro :)

There is an interesting design that uses a plastic washer/spacer which sits against the tailbox on the tail output shaft. From what I can tell stops the tail from slidder arms from inverting and binding. Obviously there is enough touque to drive the tail so full throw in that direction is not required, also the tail slider on the original Align tail has a small disc which protudes (which the MicroHeli tail does not).

MicroHeli has also decided to used mini phillips screw heads instead of hex…which by the way didn’t strip like the Align ones.

micro_250_tail_upgrade_box2

micro_250_tail_upgrade_box3

micro_250_tail

Installed MicroHeli tail upgrade #1

micro_250tail_installed2

Installed MicroHeli tail upgrade #2

micro_250tail_installed1

Flight Testing

The tail is very solid and I was finally able to 3D the sucker, fast inverted backwards flight seemed to hold fine. The tail did seem to oscillate a bit in strong wind, which is possibly due to my gain settings, which I’m okay with as I like my gain on the high side. Also the tail still seems to kick on full collective punches (running 100% flat curve) but shortly recovers back to its correct position, which I’m certain is due to the Align DS420 tail servo (it doesn’t effect my flying). I might try a JR DS380G (DS290G US)

Summary

Great quality with zero slop and a massive improvement over the stock Super Combo Tail, however it does come at a price. I still don’t have my overall tail setup perfect so it’s hard to know what effect the DS420 is having on the kicking (but I’m reasonably certain it’s the servo).

Rating: 7.5/10

Review: Torsion 205mm CF Blades (Trex 250)

September 15th, 2009 No comments

torsion_250_205cfAfter about 30 seconds of flight with the stock Align plastic blades it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize they are twisting under load. When the collective is pumped there is a noticeable delay in response which gives the Align plastic blades is a massively spongy feeling(not what you want on a small crazy heli).

So a blade upgrade was needed, I decided to try the Torsion 205mm straight edge blades. On initial inspection length wise the blades appeared to be slightly more flexible then the stock Align plastic blades (just an observation) however the “twisting” flex in the blade was basically nil, which is what I was interested in. Also the blades are a very tight fit when folded, this is due to being wider by the bolt hole probably in order reduce flex.

Flight testing the blade offered a marked improvement over the stock Align plastic blade. The head didn’t blog any more or less and the sponginess and collective delay was substantially reduced. Overall I’d say I’m happy with the result and would recommend the blade. The only thing is I haven’t tried the Align carbon blades so I can’t draw a comparison there.

Rating: 8/10

DX7 Gimbal Stick Upgrade

August 31st, 2009 No comments

JRPA143 Gimbal Stickends (DSX12)Whilst there is nothing specifically wrong with the standard DX7 gimbal sticks, they are not as sharp as I would like them, particulary after some use. I had a look around online and found some DSX12 Standard length Stick Ends (JRPA143), which are in fact the same length as the standard DX7 sticks. They were also recommended as being a stick upgrade specifically for the DX7.

I just got around to screwing the new stickends on (DX7 is not my primary radio now) and found a little bit of a problem, they don’t screw all the way down on the gimbal thread (the standard DX7 sticks do) so you end up with a stick 7mm longer than planned. Which for me is a problem as I  like my sticks ends short.

The JR sticks do come with a replacement gimbal sticks, which should be tension fitted in the plastic gimbal which is not something I really want to attempt because before you can put them in you have to “bash” the old ones out of the DX7.

The new JR stick ends are threaded from one end to the other, unlike the DX7 sticks which are thread 3/4 of the way from the top down, which allows the stick to be wound all the way down. The solution is to get a 4mm drill bit and drill approximarely 7mm out of the bottom of the stick end which will remove the thread that prevents the stick end being wound all the way down. After drilling use a M4 screw and screw from the top down to ensure the start of the remaining thread is clean, this will also help avoid cross threading. When screwing the modified stick ends on make sure there are no loose thread shavings as they will get stuck in the gimbal which is a pain.

JR stick end with new gimbal shaft inserted (this gimbal shaft was not used)

JRPA143 (DSX12 Stickend)

DX7 with new JR Stick ends

DX7 with JRPA143 (DSX12 Stick-ends)

All things considered they are great quality stick-ends and after modification they are perfect. I wouldn’t however market them as DX7 compatible unless you don’t mind really long sticks or modifying your DX7. Had I known I had to modify them first I probably wouldn’t have purchased them.