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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Killing El Diablo And Other Fun Stuff

Those of you who made it all the way through the last article saw a lot of my red Yak in action. That airframe has had an especially difficult life, going through two canopies, three rudders, four landing gear legs and a motorbox. That and I knocked the stab out of it two or three times. The last time I got it back in a bit crooked but it did not seem to matter. This has been my primary Yak for about two years and the only reason I kept rebuilding it was because it kept flying great. The thing has just been teriffic.

This plane has simply been so mean that I have not been able to kill it. It has survived one merciless beatdown right after the other and every time I wreck it, the plane just flies better. This is one mean old dog, and it seemed fitting when I started referring to it is "El Diablo."

Of course, you can kill any of them, and eventually El Diablo's time ran out. I'm not even sure what happened other than I went to full power out of a low blender and then I simply had no control of it. It's quite possible I had a brain freeze or something, but I think the radio just gave up long enough for the Yak to go in full throttle straight down. If you had lined it up with a square it could not have gone in any straighter. The tail stuck up in the air like a tombstone marking the spot, and that was the end of El Diablo.

You can see the crash damage at the end of the video, but the only thing I took a picture of was the battery. That got accordioned when the motor was rammed backwards into it.  That was a brand new Thunder Power 4s 2700 70C Pro Power pack that was on it's third flight. 

Now's a good time to mention Thunder Power's half price crash replacement policy. Sure, it's only 50% off on a replacement, but that's 100% more than any other company in the industry will give you.

Generally I will not award one of my own planes the honor of a Viking Funeral, but this was a great plane that went out in a glorious blaze. So, a sad farewell to my beloved El Diablo.

Testing Thunder Power's New Lightning 55C Packs
I'm planning to do a lot more with the 60" planes this year, and I was just about due for some new battery packs. I am flying Thunder Power 6s 3300 70C Pro Force packs in my 60" planes, and those packs are so hot that I have more power than I can really use. When Advanced Energy released the new Thunder Power 6s 3300 55C Lightning Series Packs, it seemed like a good idea to try a pair of them. I could save money and a little weight, and I needed packs anyway.

For no particular reason other than I felt like it, I chose my 60" Laser to test the new packs. This is such a smooth flying and beautiful looking plane. I don't get to fly it as much as I would like because I also have the 60" Yak, Edge and Extra. There just isn't time to fly all of them enough, and that will only get worse when I get another 64" MXS, which will hopefully be soon.

I like this plane so much that I have been overly cautious with it, but I am starting to loosened up with it really well and enjoying it.

My reasoning for choosing the Lightning packs is that 15C is not that much difference in power, and the Lightning series has newer technology and chemistry than what I have been using. It should be a better battery than the Pro Force packs.

I flew three packs through my 60" Laser today to try them out and was very impressed. I could not tell the difference between those and what I have been using, so I saved a lot of money and didn't give anything up. Today is only the first day with these packs but so far I am really pleased with them. I'll be flying these all summer, plus some 3s Lightning packs for my secret project (later this week hopefully).

I've been running my 70C packs in this spot all along, so it seemed like a reasonable place to start with the 55C packs, and I left it there all day. If it changed the CG any I couldn't tell by flying it.

You can compare this video to any of my other 60" Laser videos and make up you own mind if the 15C of difference shows up as more power. I don't think it does, so I will probably switch over to these packs for all my planes eventually.

Charging And All
Below is a typical charging set up for me when I take two planes. The Thunder Power TP820CD can charge two packs at once, and is good for 20 amps per side. At 20 amps you can charge a 6s 3300 in about 12 to 16 minutes and a 4s 2700 in about 10 to 12 minutes. I can also cook a 3s 2250 pack in about six to eight minutes, and that will come in handy when the secret 3s project gets rolling.

I like the 820CD because I can charge different size packs at the same time. I usually charge one pack for my 48" plane and the other for my 60". This way I've always got plenty of charged packs for both planes.

I have my 820CD charger velcroed down on top of my Thunder Power TP1527PS power supply. I've also zip tied up the excess wiring so that now I have a neat little package that doesn't take up a lot of space on the workbench, which is really nice on a crowded Sunday at the field. I like this power supply because it is compact and has nice features. It also matches my charger and looks very professional, something you need to think about if you are the Thunder Power guy at your club.

Seen on top of my flight box is my Thunder Power 610C AC/DC charger. Usually it just sits in the top of the box unless I take just one 48" plane. I can charge a single 4s 2700 pack in about 25 minutes, which is fast enough unless you want to be an air pig and fly continuously. This charger will put out 8 amps on a 3s 2250 pack and 6 amps on a 4s 2700 pack. Like this, I am well below the rated charge rate for both the Pro force and Lightning packs, so this is very safe.  I also keep a spare 610c AC/DC under the seat of my car just in case I get behind on my charging.

I belong to two clubs, one which has 110 volt outlets at every table, and another club which has 12 volts. I can use the TP620 AC/DC at both places, or in a pinch I can hook it up to my car. It's small and light enough that it usually sits on my workbench at home until it's time to go flying, and then it's a perfect fit in the top of my flightbox.  I've been using this charger for five years and it's been flawless.

Finally, on top of the charger is my Bose Sound Link mini stero system that links to my phone by Bluetooth. It is compact enough to easily carry along and also to stay out of the way, but it certainly sounds big. It's nice to be able to take my music with me like this.

That's it for now. Hopefully we will get the secret project up and running soon.


Monday, June 8, 2015

A Flying Vacation

Over the past five years the only times I have not been building, flying, blogging, videoing, making artwork or offering set up support on RC Groups were the times I was in the hospital! This year I am breaking the pattern and going on vacation first so I won't have time to go in the hospital later.

I'm going to take some time off and just fly the planes, and if we get any video I will tag it on here as an update. Right now I don't have any builds planned or any ideas for articles, so it's an ideal time to recharge and just have some fun.

Some of these videos have been on my Facebook page, but never here or RC Groups. As you can see, we've been having lots of fun, and more is coming.

Update: 6/23/15
OK, this is not a video update, but it is worth documenting.

My friends at Thunder Power sent me two  3300mAh 6-Cell/6S 22.2V Lightning Series 55C LiPo packs. I found these to be very reasonably priced and I am on the verge of needing new packs for my 60" planes anyway.

I'll be dropping down from 70C, but with those packs and the Torque 4016 Mk II , I had more power than I could use anyway. I don't think I will notice any shortage of power at 55C. While I have not weighted them, they do feel lighter than the 70C packs, and they are considerably more affordable.

We are hoping to shoot today if the weather clears up. We will probably just hang out at the field and fly between showers, something you have to get good at if you live in Florida.

Update: 6/18/15

Update 6/15/15

60" Edge EXP

48" Edge EXP


48" Yak EXP




Thursday, June 4, 2015

MXS EXP__Depth Of Fleet


I was actually intending to take a short break from blogging and writing on the forums, but any time you get good video you hate to waste it. Three videos is usually enough for an article, but this one is going to be short because I am lazy right now.

Since I recently trashed my primary MXS, this is probably a good time to talk about back up planes.
The 48" planes are so affordable that I generally try to keep two of each in flying condition. Some of this is practical because you can be up and ready to shoot video or go to an event with the MXS the next day if you had to. With a well sorted back up plane you just snatch it off the ceiling and you are back in the game right away. You will be flying while you are waiting for the next kit to be delivered.

Part of having a back up is also psychological. You can relax and fly better if you have a well sorted second plane to fall back on. This is especially useful if your primary is a scruffy old beater. At worst you kill your primary, but then you get to fly a new one! It almost makes you want to have a crash.

Or, not really.

Still, you hate to kill off a good plane because it takes so much work to put one together and properly sorted. That, and it costs money. An older plane also seems to fly better, and I believe you actually have to break an airplane in, flex the wood, loosen up the hinges. Over time you get the thing dialed in perfectly, and if there are any peculiarities in the plane's character you adapt to them. When you kill a plane that you fly well, it really hurts.

While I was waiting for the kit I put some time on my backup MXS to make sure it was 100% . This one only had two previous flights on and it's already really well dialed in. I tweaked my low rate ailerons today because I had them a little slow, but it was a 2% adjustment. It's pretty amazing that I can take one out of the box, put my formula set up (which is very close to the set up in the manual) on it and it's that close. I've built about five MXS' (plus one or two for friends), so I know what the plane likes. You've got to have a straight plane for any formula to work though, and the EXPs are made so well I have never had any sort of trim issue.

Since this is a backup plane I can't allocate a set of 7.4 volt Hitec servos for it. I just don't have enough to go around, so I can't spend the money on a plane that's just going to sit. I built this plane last year before the 7.4 volt servos were available. It uses the tried an true Hitec HS65MG on ailerons and rudder, with the HS85MG on elevator. Power system is the Extreme Flight Torque 2814 with an Airboss 45 Elite speed controller. The Airboss' on board BEC feeds the servos a healthy 6 volts.

This is the same equipment set up that I put into my very first MXS in October of 2010, which is four and a half years ago. This is the exact same equipment as recommended in the manual. It worked then and it works now. I've been flying MXS' since October of 2010, and the only change I have in that time made to my equipment set up has been to switch to the Hitec #PN55709 servo arm for the elevator. The Hitec arm grips the splint on the servo output shaft more tightly than the aftermarket arms we were previously using, and a tighter flying plane flies better.

There is a lot of talk about servos, and while the new generation 7.4 volt servos are a big step ahead, the older 6 volt servos still work just fine. Since I have a lot of them, I am just going to use them up, but anything new I build will get 7.4 volt servos.

The nice thing about having a good backup plane is that you know you have something good to fall back on if you tear a primary plane up. I would have hated to be without an MXS for even a day, so keeping a backup of my favorites gives me a solid depth of fleet. After all, the show must go on.