Posts Tagged ‘review’

Flybarless: Align 3G vs Mikado V-Bar 4.0

January 28th, 2010 No comments

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.

Machine setup:
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
Spektrum AR7100R
1950 Head speed
Switchglo Pro
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
VBAR Setup:
Zeal tape (Strapped down tight)
Vbar file available upon request
Flight Testing:
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
Align 690D
Zigsaw 700 GP4D
SAB 690
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.

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.

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.




Installed MicroHeli tail upgrade #1


Installed MicroHeli tail upgrade #2


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)


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