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Upgrading the T-Rex 450 v2 25Feb08

Posted by tanker in Advanced, TRex.
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T-Rex 450 v2 -G4This article focuses on Align’s T-Rex 450 v2 but the basic concepts apply to almost any 450-sized helicopter. The T-Rex 450 v2 is a great high performance helicopter out of the box, but there are some simple modifications and upgrades you can do to get even more performance out of it. The easiest performance changes you can make to the 450 v2 are to just adjust items the kit provides but there are also a few new additions/changes you can make to gain even greater performance.

Adjusting your flybar and paddles is one of the easiest, and probably most noticeable, ways to improve your T-Rex performance. The rules to remember with flybar and paddles are that longer flybar, lighter paddles, and larger paddles give faster response. Obviously the converse is also true. You can play with these three in various combinations to get the performance you wish. To increase responsiveness certainly one of the first things you should do is to remove the flybar weights or at the very least move them all the way in. The cyclic response of the T-Rex 450 v2 is a bit slow with the flybar weights on and out. This is nice for beginners but not what you want when doing 3D. Some folks also swear that moving to lighter paddles makes a difference. Changing to the longer 220mm flybar from the original 190mm flybar will certainly make the 450 v2 a bit more responsive even with the stock paddles (And as an added bonus a longer flybar also gives more stability for beginning pilots. Just remember to keep the weights on and out).

If you are not already using them you will want to use a nice set of carbon fiber main blades. The ones that come with the kit are fine but others prefer other Align carbon blades or those by Helitec, Hyperion, or others. Carbon fiber blades also have the advantage of making autorotations a bit easier. As soon as your head speed hits 3,000 rpm you do not want to be running wooden blades anymore. If you are using a heli without metal blade grips you will probably want to upgrade those as well.

Those craving higher performance will want more power as well. More power will give you more consistent rpm and increased stability for 3D maneuvers, but you will probably see a drop in run times as well. A high head speed for the 450 is around 2,800-3,300 rpm (a beginner should be at around 2,200 rpm). Use a head speed calculator (see links under Tools on the right of the page) to determine what you need to achieve a given head speed and then confirm your settings with a tach. The kit provides two motor pinions, a 12 and 13 tooth, and moving to the 13 tooth will increase your head speed noticeably. Those doing extreme 3D, or who just want more power, can move to a 4S battery setup. A 4S battery will take you from 11.1v to 14.8v. The included motor and speed control will support up to a 4S battery but you should change to a 10 tooth pinion on the motor. Aftermarket motors can take an 11 tooth pinion for very high head speeds. If you use an aftermarket motor or simply want a few new features you may wish to also upgrade the BEC to the Castle Creations 6S 10 amp unit or something similar. Also note that you can go the opposite direction with a 4S setup as well and if you keep the head speed down you can trade performance for longer run times (because of the lower amp draw) with 2200mAh packs. Simply swapping the pinion will let you switch between a screamer and a more sedate, but longer flying, bird with a 4S setup.

Of course you always want to keep safety in mind. If you are just beginning to fly 3D you will want to make these changes slowly and not all at once. Do check-flights after each change. This will allow you some time to get used to the performance changes of the heli. If you move to a 4S setup you absolutely want to move to carbon fiber blades. And of course when flying with higher head speeds and performing more radical maneuvers make sure you are in a safe location as the helicopter is now considerably more dangerous to yourself and bystanders.

With just a few simple modifications the T-Rex 450 v2 can grow to meet any demands. Happy flying!

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