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Random Heli Skid Clamps 23Mar13

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, Products, Reviews.
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random-heli-logoIt’s amazing how long it has taken for someone to make such a thing but better late than never. The new Random Heli Skid Clamps provide a nice way to secure your heli. See the review on RC Groups. The only bummer is there are no options for the Goblin.

RealFlight 6 — Now Available 21Oct11

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News, Products.
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RealFlight 6A new version of our favorite heli sim is now available. RealFlight 6 is out and even comes with a free Heli Mega Pack. The new sim features improved physics and a rewind feature. The Heli Mega Pack includes over 45 heli models. Unfortunately the only T-Rex is still the 500. Where are the 550, 600 and 700? Although there is the KDE 700 which is a T-Rex 700 with all of the KDE upgrades. It is a very nice model and flies very much like a souped up T-Rex 700. Also the new Rave ENV 700 is included (not the new Ballistic but the original electric ENV). The full version with the Heli Mega Pack also includes a new Futaba transmitter that, finally, includes a smooth collective stick and a proper throttle hold switch!

[Updated: 23NOV11]

Castle Recall — September 2011 26Sep11

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News, Products.
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Castle Creations has yet another recall on the ICE HV line of ESCs including both the HV120 and HV160. If your unit is not labeled ‘ICE 2’ return it to Castle.

Thanks to Casey McGinty for the heads-up.

Recall Notices — July 2011 27Jul11

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News, Products, Transmitters.
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ICE HV120There have been a few important product recalls over the past few months. Certainly the biggest is Castle Creations’ recall of all Phoenix ICE HV120 ESCs and a recall of the recall including the HV160. Castle is asking customers to return their HV120s for replacement because of a risk of total failure in a small number of units. There is also the August recall of all BEC Pro units as well. Again, a small number of units, especially in higher vibration environments, were failing. If your unit does not have a ‘ICE 2’ or ‘Ver 2.0’ sticker on it for the BEC Pro return it to Castle.

The new Spektrum DX8 transmitter has had a couple of recalls as well. First is a chance of un-commanded servo movements in some of the initial units. The latest one is a problem with certain receivers that may result in a ‘hold’ (loss of control). If you have a DX8 be sure to check your transmitter against the advisories to see if you need to send it in for repair.

[Updated: 26SEP11]

The Ultimate Guide to the Spektrum DX8 — Review 20Apr11

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, Products, Publications, Reviews, Transmitters.
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The Ultimate Guide to the Spektrum DX8Chuck Bassani wrote a nice guide to the new Spektrum DX8 transmitter. It is entitled, surprisingly, The Ultimate Guide to the Spektrum DX8.

The book is a small 95-page, black and white, soft-cover. It has plenty of well done photos and covers pretty much anything you need to know about the DX8. It covers both helicopter and fixed-wing functions.

Of course your first question might be, “You need to read a book to use the DX8?!” Well good question! But no you do not. We have found the DX8 much simpler to program overall than the DX7. But this does not make Chuck’s guide superfluous. There are a few advanced features in the DX8 that will be new to many flyers especially those coming from the DX7. The Guide explains all you will need to know. We found it helpful with our first heli setup on the DX8 to explain the various gyro options. Recommended.

Note: When moving from the DX7 to the DX8 be aware that the DX8 uses 0 to +100% for HH and 0 to -100% for rate mode. It also reads true values rather than having to multiply by 1.4 like previous JR/Spektrum radios.

[Updated: 22APR11]

eLogger v4 — Now Available 16Dec10

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, Products.
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eLogger v4Eagle Tree Systems recently released the latest version of its data logger, the eLogger v4. It features a huge number of improvements including a much improved physical structure that protects the sensor pins and even has an on-board mini-USB connector. We find the logging on the Castle ICE ESCs often sufficient but having to pull the ESC lead out of the receiver is often more trouble than it is worth. The eLogger gives you far more information and in a more convenient package.

eLogger v4 Improvements

  • Logs pack current to +/- 100 amps (150 amps with MPRV4-LEADS-150) and voltage from about 5 volts to 80 volts
  • Current is measured with a true Hall Effects Sensor – NOT a power robbing resistance shunt
  • Adjustable logging rate (from 50 samples per second to one sample every 5 minutes)
  • 16 times the logging space of the standard eLogger V3, and lossless data compression.     Typically logs all available sensors for about four hours, at 10Hz.
  • All data logged to permanent memory, which retains the data even when the power is removed
  • Fully compatible with our OSD Pro expander
  • Includes Y cable for throttle position logging
  • Great for bench monitoring of battery charging also!
  • Supports the PowerPanel LCD Display
  • Accepts optional inexpensive sensors for  three Temperatures,  RPM (brushless, magnetic or optical), Airspeed, Altitude, GPS, Servo Current, and more
  • Software computes Wattage, mAH, etc. for complete e-flight data.
  • Fully Compatible with Windows 7 (32 and 64 bit), Vista, 98SE, ME, Win2K and XP™
  • Weighs about 0.8 oz (22 grams). Versions with Wire Leads may weigh slightly more.
  • Comes with our state of the art Windows virtual playback display and graphing software
  • Powerful Graphing software has advanced charting features, such as amps vs volts
  • Internet Updatable firmware – as we add new features or (heaven forbid) have a firmware bug, the update is just a download away! No need to ship hardware back and forth.
  • Full support for English and Metric units.
  • Software has built in English, German and Chinese language.

RealFlight G5.5 28Nov10

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, General Heli, News, Products, TRex.
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RealFlight G5.5

We finally got around to picking up RealFlight G5.5. It is a nice improvement on the last versions of RealFlight. The flight dynamics seem better than in G4/4.5 and the new depth of field feature is nice (when turned down to medium). For heli pilots it includes a number of scale helis. Expansion Pack 7 includes the Curtiss Youngblood Rave 450 model (but not the new ENV). Still no new Align helis (especially the 550, 600 or 700) but the T-Rex 500 is in Expansion Pack 5.

There is an upgrade version available for previous owners and we got it running on 64bit Windows 7 with a minimum of fuss. We did have a couple of startup dll errors where we had to reset to defaults to get it to load but then all was well.

T-Rex 700E — Review 19Aug10

Posted by tanker in Advanced, Beginner, Products, Reviews, TRex.
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T-Rex 700E 3G Combo

T-Rex 700E 3G Combo

The T-Rex 700E is Align’s long awaited 700-class electric helicopter. Currently you can buy the heli in two forms. First is the traditional 700E flybar version that also includes the 700M motor and 105mm carbon fiber tail blades. The other option is the 700E 3G combo kit that includes not just the 700M motor and 105mm carbon fiber tail blades but also 690mm carbon fiber main blades, 3xDS610 servos, 1xDS650 tail servo, flybarless head and the Align 3G flybarless system. Both kits include both an aluminum tail boom and a carbon fiber tail boom. There are reports of a new 3G package that includes a Castle Creations ICE 120 ESC as well as the new 700MX motor and CNC main gear. (more…)

Rave ENV & Total G — Shipping 23Jul10

Posted by tanker in Advanced, General Heli, News, Products.
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Rave ENV 700Curtiss Youngblood Enterprises announced they will be shipping both the Rave ENV 700 class heli and the Total G flybarless unit on 26JUL10. At last!