Sounds like the Align GS FBL unit is pretty good for a first version
Bobby Smith over at RRE models is submitted to us his very detailed review and opinion of the Align 3G Flybarless Gyro with a flight video as well.
This week with the recent release of the new Align FL760 Flybarless conversion we have spent an excessive amount of time testing at the field over the past 72 hours. We have been comparing it to one of our Vbar equipped Trex 700’s to make a fair comparison, in as broad of a spectrum of flying styles as possible ranging from basic FFF and sport aerobatics, FAI type maneuvers all the way to on the deck 3D.
Both machines are pretty much identical twins.
At the time of testing we did not have an Align head available, all testing was done with a RJX head set up with zero delta offset
Align DS 610 servos on 8 volts
JR 8900g Tail Servo
Align 91 / Os 91HZ non pumped
SB20 Tuned Muffler, with stock Hatori
1950 Head speed
Pretty much your standard Trex700 setup
The install of the align unit was very very simple. One feature we especially like was the locking connectors on the sensor cable. No use of goop required to keep the connector from working its way loose. Two lengths of cable are included with helps to make a clean install. Another very nice feature was labeled servo leads. The Align unit also has two separate power buses, so no need to make up an adaptor for the tail servo like is necessary with the Vbar when utilizing a 7100R
Align 3G Setup:
Included Gyro tape
Included horns set on the inner holes
Gains set at roughly
Elevator: 10 O’clock
Aileron: 11 O’ clock
Zeal tape (Strapped down tight)
Vbar file available upon request
Now on to what I’m sure you’ve all been patiently waiting for how does it really fly?
Well the answer is very good. Overall it feels like flying a well set up FB equipped model but with the power increase that comes from a FBL setup.
In comparison to the Vbar model they both fly terrific but noticeably different.
On to a broken down flight review:
Fast Forward flight, sport flying (Big Sky, FAI type maneuvers)
The Align 3G and the Vbar are fairly similar in this regards. When you watch the model in flight it is apparent which one has the Vbar. The vbar model looks to fly more locked in, in all reality they both track very very similar in flying big fast flowing maneuvers, the Align unit shows the corrections a bit more than the vbar Similar to a flybar. From a distance the Vbar looks to fly more electronic, as compared to the 3g which looks to fly more mechanical. Which is the same as they feel to fly.
Two of the biggest differences in these two units that were apparent during testing in these types of flying were.
Lack of Piro Comp on the Align unit. It won’t just sit in one spot hands off during pirouettes like the Vbar will
Exiting stall turns / tail slides, during the straight vertical descents the Align unit felt like it “wandered less” in comparison to the Vbar.
Hard 3d flying:
Here is where the two units seem to fly a bit differently. Across the board the Align unit flys similar to a flybar equipped model.
For someone used to flying a flybar machine there will be less of an adjustment in flying style in switching to the align unit as opposed to the vbar unit. The Vbar requires you to “fly” it through transitions more than the align seems to flow through like a flybar does.
Like any machine tail set up is crucial at first ours wasn’t set up quite right and the tail felt quite notchy it didn’t have a real consistent piro rate. After a bit of tuning and going through the setup again the tail started to feel real nice. Here is an area where we give the slight nod to the Vbar for a smoother more consistent tail.
When pushed really hard the Align unit would sometimes (bobble) during hard abrupt starts and stops, this problem was made worse if there was an accompanying droop in head speed
This is where the current lack of tuning of the align is a bit of a hindrance as it’s a bit more difficult to tune out. Due to a lack of options
The align unit seems to fly better with higher head speeds (less bobble). It should work really well when used with an electric setup running high head speeds
Blade choice The align unit is very picky in regards to blade choice
We found that the Edge 693 Flybarless mains flew by far the best: we had tested all of the following blades
EDGE 693 FB and FBL
Zigsaw 700 GP4D
Rotor Tech 710
On the Vbar machine the Edge blades flew the best followed by Rotortech 710SG blades
They flew very neutral and stable without being overly aggressive
The Vbar machine wasn’t near as picky in regards to blade choice
The Align unit flys very well across the board especially in its first release version. The only slight issues with the align unit are only apparent when it is pushed very hard which in all actuality is harder that 80% of the people out there are going to fly it. Flying big wide open fast maneuvers the unit tracks great and has extra power to boot. We do highly recommend the Edge Blades to go with the align system.
It’s kind of like having the best of both worlds the increase of power associated with FBL setups and a very direct mechanical feel of the machine similar to the flybar. It’s hard to put into words how the machines react differently you really have to fly them to feel the differences. Some of the guys who flew both preferred the Align unit over the Vbar while others preferred the Vbar over the align for the very smooth feel it can provide. It’s not that one unit flys better than the other, they just fly a bit different.
I recently burnt out my Align 650L 1220KV motor on my Trex 600 and decided it was time for an upgrade (as a side note the 650L was a pretty good motor as far as Align goes it lasted over a year). One of my main goals was to allow me to initially continue to use my current configuration of 6s batteries and 100A Align speed controller. But at the same time allowing myself an upgrade path to an 8s setup once my current set of 6s batteries die (that also implies an upgrade to a high voltage speed controller).
I finally decided on a motor, the Scorpion HK4025-890KV, which actually comes in slightly cheaper and lighter than a replacement 650L 1220KV with similar power consumption. The one main difference however is the KV rating, a difference if 330KV. The way to compensate for the lower KV was to use a larger pinion, as it turns out Mikado do a 20t pinion which fits a 5mm output shaft, which addresses the problem nicely (on the 650L 1220KV I was using a 15t pinion)
The Scorpion motor whilst shorter in length than the Align 650L is slightly wider, and the 650L was a very tight fit, hence a simple frame modification is required to get this badboy in. A small section of carbon just below the motor mount needs to be removed on both sides of the frame, nothing a couple of minutes of dremeling wont fix
Once the frame has been modified the motor slides sideways into the frame easily, the next thing you will notice is the Mikado 20t pinion is so big it doesn’t clear the main gear (and if you took the main gear off it’s likely to be too tight or not fit at all).
Another small modification is needed, this time to the Align motor mount, again very simple, all that is required is the bolt holes need to be enlarged lengthwise towards the front of the model which can be done with a drill and 4mm bit. You don’t need much, I drilled one hole at the end of each bolt hole to enlarge it, which allows the motor to slide forward more on the mounting bolts.
All things considered this modification was very easy and other than the Mikado 20t pinion no other non Align parts are required. No one likes modifying frames but this was truely very quick and simple with the dremel and doesn’t compromise the frame at all in my opinion. Also as it turns out I came up 70g lighter which is always a bonus.
Flight testing on 6s with the Align 100A speed controller went very well, I don’t think I’ve gained or lost any flight time I’m still at 4mins hard 3D. The motor seems have good torque and be very resilient to bogging, the ESC and motor temperatures are also healthy. Overall performance with my setup is slightly above the 650L (…and I had good results with the 650L). Obviously with any 6s setup when flown aggressively will push the batteries limits in terms of heat, current draw and performance which is why in the future I will be moving towards 8s, which the Scorpion HK-4025 890kv should handle nicely.