Dec 28, 2014

Proto-X: The Original Nano Quadcopter

A good friend of mine gave me a Proto-X Quadcopter.  I've really enjoyed flying my Blade Nano QX so I was excited to see how the Proto-X would fly. It turns out that it's every bit as, if not more fun to fly than the the Nano QX.  The quad is only 1.8" in size. It's quite diminutive when compared with the larger Nano QX.  Mine is white but the quad comes in several different colors.

The controller that comes with the Proto-X is very small as well. It's so small that if you have very large hands it may be a bit challenging to use.  The transmitter is set up in standard mode 2 fashion with throttle and yaw on the left stick and pitch and roll on the right.
Red LED lights on each rotor boom, plus two blue ones in the front help with orientation.  Flight times are around 5 to 6 minutes with my flying style and recharging is easy with the included USB charger.  I've been very impressed at how easy this quad is to fly considering its tiny size. You can learn more at the Proto-X site.

Apr 19, 2014

Parkzone Piper Archer - RTF

Recently, I picked up the Parkzone Piper Archer from the local hobby shop.  This plane has a pretty incredible price point. Currently it's about $130 for the ARF version.  They only had RTF version in stock so that's what I got.  The transmitter with the RTF version has a trainer port, which is something lacking in many of the older 4 channel 2.4ghz transmitters that came with other Parkzone planes.

Now that we have another child, I can't easily fit the Fun Cub in our van.  The Archer fits nicely behind the back row of seats, nose down in a Styrofoam cooler.  The plane is a nice size, not too big, not too small...

The plane required a small amount of modification to suit my needs.  The 2 cell 1300mah battery and the speed controller had the standard Horizon Hobby battery connectors.  I replaced those with XT60 plugs that I have on the rest of my planes.  The cockpit has a clever latching mechanism which uses the aerial as the latch button.  Problem is, the area they give you to put the battery inside the plane is incredibly small and you have to have the wires lined up just right or you can't get the cockpit back on the plane.  To help with this, I removed about a quarter inch of foam from the bottom of the cockpit.  The last modification I made was the addition of a small plastic skid on the bottom of the tail.  The plane is very light in the nose and if you hit a bump or feed in up elevator too early you'll drag the tail.

The wheels are fairly small and don't provide much prop clearance.  I've taken off and landed on short mowed grass and it works okay...  Take off from the grass a few times and it will look like you spray-painted portions of the wing green :)

Overall this has proven to be a very fun plane.  It flies great, is easy to transport and looks great too. Parkzone has a winner with the seldom modeled Archer.

Mar 1, 2014

Teaching the little ones

I have two daughters.  One is four and the other is twenty months.  They both enjoy going anywhere with me to fly my R/C airplanes, and they seem to enjoy any time they can get on the simulator with my transmitter. While they just crash over and over and giggle, I'm sure it's helping build important neurological pathways :)
While at Target the other day I saw one of the Planes characters,  El Chu, with an infrared remote.  It was a bit of an impulse buy, but it has proved to be quite fun for me, and I think the girls are enjoying it from time to time as well.

Feb 22, 2014

New Creations R/C

Just wanted to do a plug for the local hobby shop.  Hobby shops seem to be dying out in most parts of the country, replaced by the larger, internet based hobby retailers.
We currently are living just north of Houston and we just happen to live close to a really great hobby shop.
New Creations R/C is the type of hobby shop that I used to dream about when I was a kid.  It's packed with R/C airplanes and helicopters, just like a hobby shop should be.  They are a Horizon Hobby distributor, so you'll find the same prices in the store as you'd find online.  Better than that though, you'll get personalized service.  Just don't go at peak times or you might be waiting while all the customers in front of you get help for their "how do I" questions...   The Fun Cub, and Nano Qx that my wife got for my birthday both came from New Creations.  It's a great shop and if you're ever in the Conroe, Texas area, stop by and check it out.

Feb 8, 2014

Fun Cub - Flight Review

The Fun Cub flies beautifully.  Trimming the model required only a few clicks of trim.  With the power setup I used take off performance ranges from scale at 1/3 throttle with a notch of flaps to unrealistic vertical performance at full throttle.
The plane required almost four ounces of lead in the tail to get it to balance, but it flies and more importantly, it lands easily.  Take the time to properly balance your Fun Cub.  I originally planned to paint the plane, but I'm glad I didn't. The kit decals give great visibility in the air and were alot easier to put on than paint.  I've been flying at the local school on the football field.  The huge tundra tires handle the short grass with ease. 
I'd heard of people having issues with vibration, but my plane certainly has no such issues.  Build it carefully and it will treat you right.
This truly is a Fun Cub.  

Jan 18, 2014

Multiplex - Fun Cub

Work has been taking quite a bit of my time lately, so it's taken me a few month's to get my Fun Cub built.  This was another one of my birthday presents from back in August, and I just finished the plane up in the first week of January.  The build time can only be contributed to a lack of time contributed on my part.  The actual time spent working on the plane was only a few evenings.

For my setup I used the following:

  • Hobby King 40A ESC 4A UBEC
  • Turnigy Aerodrive SK3 - 3536-1050kv Brushless Outrunner Motor
  • ZIPPY Compact 2200mAh 3S 25C Lipo Pack
  • OrangeRx R800X Spektrum Compatible DSMX 8Ch 2.4Ghz TwinPort Rx
  • Prop is a 12x4
Build Tips
  1. After cutting out the flaps, pay attention to which is the left and which is the right.
  2. The Fun Cub should now come with a metal motor mount, if the one in the kit is plastic, get a metal one, this helps with vibration.
  3. User three screws per side of the metal motor mount.  You'll need to drill tiny tap holes above and below the center hole on both sides of the motor mount. 
  4. Use loctite or equivalent on the screws holding the motor to the motor mount
  5. Glue everything with lots of medium thickness CA, use kicker only where necessary. 
  6. Grab a building square and a friend to help you glue the tail feathers on straight.
So far haven't had the chance to fly it, but hopefully will get a chance this month.  Initial testing of the systems and a few taxi tests have peaked my interest in flying this plane...

Jan 11, 2014

Carbon Cub - Use the flap switch for the flaps Dx7s - DX8

On radios equipped with the three position flap switch, using it instead of the default gear switch is a nice improvement you can make when flying the Carbon Cub.  I struggled to figure out how to program this, and had to contact Horizon to get the exact instructions.  In my Carbon Cub post I did mention this, but here are the exact instructions.

Select wing type DUAL AILE / SINGLE FLAP  (the AUX1 channel is simply ignored by the receiver) (***Do Not! change the receiver programming to AUX1 for dual aile/flaperon). 

This will force the FLAP system to the GEAR channel. 
Then set the NORM position to -100% (yes, that minus 100%)
The MID position can be set to a position of your choosing for take off flaps

The LAND position can then be set to 100% … *** Do Not! exceed 100% (actually never do this on any linear servo)

Jan 7, 2014

Blade Nano Qx

For my birthday this year my wife bought me a few toys, one being the Blade Nano Qx.  This is one of the funnest ultra micros that I've flown.  It's a different flight experience from a helicopter or airplane, but it's very easy to fly as long as you leave the SAFE flight stabilization mode on.  If the light under the canopy goes red, watch out as your in agility mode.  Flips are possible in agility mode, but you will need some space unless you've got skills...