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Newbies: Tips and Information Section of HF, specifically for Passing along info to newcomers to the hobby. Setup, tweaking, orientation practice, etc.


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Old 10-21-2012, 08:29 PM   #1
m5burndt
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Default New to RC Helis, Need some buying advice

Hello all
I am new to RC Helis and new to helifreak

I have a lot of experience with RC surface vehicles (both on and offroad), so I have working knowledge of a lot of concepts that cross-over into the heli world (Transmitters, PWM, Motors, Battieries, etc). However, I do not know hardly anything about which brands/types of heli's are worth buying for a first timer. (I do have a "mall flyer" type 3-ch, lots of fun, but nothing hobby-level).

So what are the good brands/models for someone relatively new to heli's? Though don't want something totally "beginner", I would like to get something decent so I can develop my skills and hopefully master some 3d maneuvers. I am looking to spend around $300 on the chopper itself(with gyro, motor, a such) and pick a tx/rx separately. Looking for something in the 250-300 size as I dont want something huge, but would like to have decent stability/performance. I was thinking about:
EXI-250 from xheli.com
TREX-250 from helipal

I will probably get a Spektrum DX6i tx, but like I said, I want to spend around $300 for the kit, including servos, gyro, motor, esc. I am ok if it is just a barebones kit too, i know plenty about servos and batteries to pick out the electronics.

Any input is appreciated,
Thanks
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Old 10-22-2012, 12:58 AM   #2
rockinar
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With this question, you're going to get 1,000 different answers. It's like asking "what would be a good vehicle for a first time driver?" Everyone will have an opinion. None of them "wrong". You have to sort of do a little research and pick and chose different ideas on what's best for you based on others results.

Some will recommend the mCPX, some will say Trex 450, and I will say a 550 size heli.

One thing I think everyone who answers will agree on, is you NEED to buy a good flight simulator if you want to go far in the hobby. Either Phoenix or Real Flight is what everyone uses. They are expensive, but worth their weight in gold. They save you $100+ for every non-crash.

Understand this fact, the smaller and lighter the helicopter you choose, the less stable and twitchy it will be. Don't buy a 250 size heli expecting it to hold a rock steady hover. It won't. It's just does not work like that. If you want stable, you have to go bigger.

As far as radio, I would get at least a 7 channel. You will outgrow the DX6 should you decide to get larger helis.

Also keep in mind you can buy larger used helis for the same price as a new smaller one. No matter what you buy, you're going to crash it. It's part of the hobby. So buying used is not a bad idea.

Some will say "Don't buy used because you need to learn to build it". Well, you will get plenty of practice building after each crash. Just buy a used heli and an owners manual and rebuild it when you buy it, or you can just learn as you go after each crash.

Of your two choices, I would go with the Trex 250. But if you can afford, I would spring for a larger 450.
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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I was actually looking into a TREX 450. What are the differences between the originial and the v2? What about flybar vs. flybarless? (I understand this is a bit of a hot topic, but I am asking particularly about different versions of this model)
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Old 10-22-2012, 07:55 PM   #4
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Mcpx or Nano CPx (toned down with tx settings) and a sim. You will get into the hobby relatively cheap with the crash forgiveness of both the heli and sim.

Cheers

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Old 10-22-2012, 08:31 PM   #5
m5burndt
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I think I know the answer, but is getting a sim prior to flying heli totally necessary?
And what simulators do you recommend, Phoenix? Also, Are the simulators intended to be used with your RC transmitter or do you have to buy a USB transmitter?

About the radio, why would i need more than 6ch? What are all the extra channels used for? Actually, what are any of the channels used for? (other than the 4: throttle,rudder, aileron, elevator)

Sorry to be a noob, but I want to make sure I've got this straight before I drop $400 in a transmitter.

Thanks guys
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:47 PM   #6
rockinar
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m5burndt View Post
I was actually looking into a TREX 450. What are the differences between the originial and the v2? What about flybar vs. flybarless? (I understand this is a bit of a hot topic, but I am asking particularly about different versions of this model)

Go with the V2. It's just the "newer" version with a few parts and design fixes.


Go with Flybar as a newbie. The heli will have more mechanical parts, but electronics will be more more simple. You can always convert to flybarless later if you want.
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Old 10-22-2012, 08:54 PM   #7
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going by your original question, if 300 dollars is all you can put together, i would stay away from any of the clone rubbish out there (i know some of you will disagree but i have had my time with all this, and if i had my time again, i wouldnot waste my time or money.)

So $300 bucks, Assuming you have your DX6, i would jump in with a MCPX (no tail gears to strip etc) good to learn on if you have ZERO experience with 6 Channel Helis..

Or if you have flown and can fly reasonably in the sim etc, or other 6 ch helis, maybe a Blade 130X.
_______________
that being said you could buy a Tarot 450 Pro clone for that money, but you would honeslty be better off with the smaller cheaper stuff. to start with.

but if your question was what can $400-500 dollars buy you i would recommend an Align 450 PRO or bigger, but obviously your funds will not allow at this stage.
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Old 10-22-2012, 09:09 PM   #8
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Thanks andione, The $300 is not rigid, it was just a guide I set for myself, but I don't have a problem going up to $500 for heli w/o radio.

Also, Is it possible to buy the trex as a bare kit and hand-pick all electronics?
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Old 10-23-2012, 12:40 AM   #9
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With no experience trying to build and setup the 250 would be tough. After reading here I decided 2 months was not enough for that. I bought the CPx lasted a week till I needed more got the msr and a coupe weeks decided to go to cp and god a mcpx as I wanted something inside. But it was almost impossible for me to fly it inside. Then I had money to spend and got a 130x. It is easier to fly then the mcpx or the nano. So far about as durable if you fly in grass. But I spent two or three weeks learning to hover the mcpx as it is so much harder then a non collective pitch helli. Anything larger then a 130 and it is going to cost and be hard to learn to repair. A mcpx is dirt cheap to fix and easy the 130 is a fair amount harder but not too bad.
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Old 10-23-2012, 07:41 PM   #10
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If you look on ebay there's a usa based seller selling Align kits without electronics I have picked up a couple of kits off them and think they are good value.... I think from memory. rc-rocks just do an ebay search for align no electronics

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Old 10-23-2012, 07:42 PM   #11
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But seriously it depends on your skills level.... If you have never flown a CP heli buy a mcpx/Nano to start.... If you can handle one of them and fly most orientations the same start saving for a 450 Pro while you keep practicing on the mcpx..

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Old 10-23-2012, 08:29 PM   #12
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I have a fixed-pitch coaxial that I am pretty good with, (By "good" I mean I can zip it through the halls in my house without much problem. I am confident that I would be able to at least keep a 450 in the air without crashing, but maybe that's a bit ambitious. Honestly, I like the challenge of jumping right into the hobby without too many baby steps, so I think I will go ahead with the 450. Of course I think I will at least spend a few weeks running the simulator everyday before I fly for real, It will give me something to do while I'm assembling the kit anyway.

I would prefer to pick the parts myself so that I am getting the best all around kit. Thanks for the ebay lead. The way I see it, I will eventually be replacing most of the electronics with aftermarket anyway. At least, that has been my experience in the RC land-vehicle world.

As far as electonics, I would like to get a Castle system because I have good experience with that company (they make surface motors/escs too) So I assume that their products for flying are of the same quality. The specs of the Align kit recommend a 35A esc, but what size motor should I be looking for? (I have no knowledge of the size/mounting scale for heli motors)

Gyros... Are there different types? What type/kind would be appropriate for a trex 450? What brand?

As far as servos, I was going to get all Spektrum servos (sub-micro size right?) because that is the radio system I will be using and I also have heard good things about them.

Batteries: Are there major differences between a LiPo sold for use in RC trucks and a LiPo intended for use in Helis? I buy lipos for my cars for Traxxas because they will warranty pretty much everything, is it ok to use those in a heli as well?

Thanks again for the advice guys.
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Old 10-23-2012, 11:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m5burndt View Post
Thanks andione, The $300 is not rigid, it was just a guide I set for myself, but I don't have a problem going up to $500 for heli w/o radio.

Also, Is it possible to buy the trex as a bare kit and hand-pick all electronics?


You could do this, but the stock electronics work just fine, and the kit will be cheaper than buying everything separate.
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Old 10-24-2012, 07:20 PM   #14
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I recently bought the TREX 450 Pro V2 3GX flybarless kit, with a Spektrum DX8. It's my first RC of any kind that cost more than $30. I had zero experience flying anything other than a Firebird Freedom 3-channel fixed wing when I bought it.

To confirm what others said, there is no replacement for a simulator. I spent about 30 hours in RealFlight before I ever flew my heli. Out of about 40 flights since then, I've only had three crashes, all of them due to power failures rather than pilot error.

Get RealFlight, and do the tutorials until your eyes bleed.

Also, let an experiened pilot fly your heli for first time, even if you have to go to the park and approach a stranger. An experienced pilot will be able to tell if your setup is out of whack, and I don't know anyone in the hobby that would turn you down if you met them at the park.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:28 PM   #15
m5burndt
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How did you connect your dx8 to the computer? I am trying to find adapter cables.
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Old 10-29-2012, 04:08 PM   #16
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Default Go for the Trex 450 pro... from a newbie too

Hi

Just finished building a Trex 450 Pro V2 (flybar).

Spent the summer with a Blade 120sr and splashed out on a DX8 (and Phoenix), had lots of fun and some fantastic crashes, I knew then I was hooked.

Spent a month building the 450 (I think that is part of the fun anyway) - Finless Bobs videos were very very helpful.

Got in touch with Dave Fisher (well known international heli flyer) from Flying Fish heli school over here in London. Spent the day with him and he helped me with the final setting up and got me out on his Trex 600 nitro trainer. (A trainer!)

This was my first time on a CP heli (apart from the sim), at the end of the lesson I was flying tail-in hover on my 450 after some excellent tuition from Dave and 8 tanks of nitro on his 600 - the wind was quite strong although the heli was stable.

Now writing this three days later, I am now hovering for a whole pack (4.30), not too much to shout about if you're experienced - for me I am dead chuffed, and have been flying CP for only 5 days

So from a newbie to other newbies:

1. Get the best Tx you can afford (you can always sell on eBay if it's not for you)
2. Get a simple fp heli to have a laugh with (msr, 120sr etc)
3. Build a 'quality' heli - Trex for me

4. The main and most important point: Get your Heli checked over by someone who is experienced - And get a set of lessons

Ian from London
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Old 10-29-2012, 10:25 PM   #17
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get phoenix, an mcpx, and a dx6i
That's all you need to get started
I have that same combo and I learned alot
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:54 PM   #18
m5burndt
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Well, after a week of looking at every possible combination of kit, transmitter, batteries, motors,etc. I decided to go with a T-Rex 450 kit (PRO v2, Flybarless).
It seems to be a good starter kit, yet will allow me to develop more advanced skills as well, (hoping to eventually get the hang of at least a few 3d maneuvers). The kit is ordered and on its way, I got an extra set of head and tail blades in addition to a carrying case.

As per the advice to go as big as possible with the Tx, I picked up a DX8 from my LHS for a good price. I am loving it so far. I do a bit of robotics in addition to my RC and the programming features (such as mixes, expo curves, etc,) have already been put to good use after less than 12 hrs. of ownership. Like most have said, it feels quite solid and has good weight to it (light and airy transmitters just seem to be cheaper than heavier ones). I love that it includes the rechargeable battery (lasts forever by the way) and the telemetry module. However, I do wish it included the RPM sensor as well. My only complaint is that nothing I have looked up indicates that there is any effective way of turning off the sound that the scroller makes as you go through the menus.

For pre-"first flight" practice, I am getting Phoenix and using a Simstick (hopefully I got the right one, they seem to make different ones for specific brands like futaba).

Thanks to you guys who offered advice, It was all helpful. I'm sure I will be needing much more of it in the coming weeks. I hope to become well-acquainted with this forum.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:00 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m5burndt View Post
How did you connect your dx8 to the computer? I am trying to find adapter cables.
I use a simulator called AeroSim RC. It comes with a dongle that you plug into the trainer port. All of the major sim packages come with a device that performs this function.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:25 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m5burndt View Post
How did you connect your dx8 to the computer? I am trying to find adapter cables.
Phoenix RC 4 comes with a USB cable that will plug into the Trainer port on your DX8.
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