RC Heli Advances in 2013

This has been a year with a lot of new electronics and other products.

Jeti DS-16 – Introduced this Spring, the DS-16 has proven to be everything I hoped it would be and I am enjoying this transmitter a lot. The voice telemetry it offers has been great including the battery mah alarms that tell me when my batteries have 40%, 30% and 25% left. This transmitter has been a surprising amount of fun to work with and that is something I could never say about an RC transmitter before.

JLog 2.5 – Introduced this summer, the JLog 2.5 is like the Rosetta stone for telemetry. It connects Kontronik Jive and Kosmik ESC’s and CC ESC’s to Jeti Duplex, Futaba FASSTEST, and JR DMSS receivers as well as Spektrum TM1000 systems.  It also offers its own sensors which allows a helicopter to have telemetry setup as Transmitter/Receiver independent. Just reconfigure the JLog2.5 and connect to your telemetry system of choice.  The JLog2.5 is now carried in the US at DemonAero.com

JLog25a

Cyclone Blades – Released in May, these are very efficient blades that really do add time to each flight. They are great for 3D flying and seem to add pop at low speed and I have found I’m getting over 1.5 minutes of additional flight time at lower head speeds than I was with my Radix 710mm blades that I also am very fond of. I really like how they feel on my TDR and look forward to seeing Cyclone’s other sized blades.

Skookum SK-GPS – Released early in the year, the SK-GPS was a very useful tool for me and allowed me to get over the fear factor of trying a number of new things. I think it can be a very helpful learning tool, however once I got over my fears and starting flying a lot more inverted and closer to the ground, I found I was not using it nearly as much.  I do credit it with helping me improve my flying ability, but it also increases the complexity and setup required and must be used carefully for greatest benefit.

What it does is pretty impressive. With the Flight deck feature enabled a barometer(altimeter) senses that it is below a height threshold and it flips the heli level, It then uses its compass to sense direction and rotates the tail to the same direction it was in when you took off, then it uses the GPS module to hold the heli in place until you are ready to take control back. In addition if you flip it to Fly Home after it has spun up it will record that GPS location. The next time that you flip it to fly home it will fly back to the position and hover.

To work best it should be mounted clear of magnetic fields generated by your motor and other electronics,  a compass swing must be done to calibrate the system which involves spinning and rotating the heli.  Once the swing is done, and before using the flight deck feature it is recommended to use the Position Hold feature and calibrate the collective gain it needs to hold position. It is also very important to have your GPS switch turned off when you are first taking off.

gpsmount

Skookum SK-720 BE – This is a substantial improvement over the older SK-720’s that I have enjoyed for the last couple years. They feel great in flight are very vibration tolerant with their pinpoint gyros and can be hard mounted. If you like to use the Auto-Level feature they should be mounted on a supplied pad.  The BE’s maintain a better sense of the horizon when you are tossing your heli around than the Blues did. The BE’s power bus can handle more current, and it has a nice black anodized case rather than plastic. I do like the auto-level feature and use it on occasion if I have a question about my heli’s orientation before I get into trouble. It has saved me from a number of crashes and helps reduce the pucker factor a bit.

SK720BE

Kontronik Kosmik Blue Tooth module – This product gives you a graphical interface to set up your Kosmik ESC.  It is not a complete replacement for the ProgDisc which you still need to upgrade the firmware on your Kosmik. Currently it only works with the Android, but the iPhone version is supposed to be available soon.

KosmikSetup

I did not leave the BT module connected after I had configured my ESC so that it is not damaged in a crash, doesn’t add additional weight and doesn’t cause any 2.4GHz interference even though it can be configured to be disabled by default.

BlueTooth

Other Cool things that I tried this year.

Futaba BR-3000 Battery meter – I like this much better than my Progressive RC meter which you have to wait on to sing it’s little song and tell me I don’t have logging functionality EVERY time it starts up. When I am checking a bunch of batteries that just gets annoying. The Futaba unit is nearly instant, so I can look at a lot of batteries very quickly and it presents a lot of information at once. I still have both meters and frequently leave an adapter for Thunder Power batteries on one of them.  BR-3000

BR3000

Balance Connector Protector – I don’t know how often you find your self pulling on the wires of your balance cables to pull them off a balance board, and sometimes prying them off, but I’m really liking this very inexpensive solution and have purchased a few packs of these for my batteries with JST-XH connectors.  AB Clips 6S  They are very easy to pull off of a balance boards. They come in 2S-6S sizes.

BalanceCableProtector

Yamaha EF2000iS Generator – I put it on a 50’ cable and can barely hear it. The Meanwell 1000watt PS in my charging kit is much louder than the generator.  Honda also makes a very nice generator that is very comparable. The features that I liked about the Yamaha compared to the Honda are that it has a fuel gauge and a means of cutting gas flow to the carburetor so it can be run dry without running the tank dry. With the tank vent closed I’ve never noticed any gasoline smell in my car when transporting it.  I happen to have a local place that I could have it serviced, but Honda does have a much larger network to service theirs.

Generator

New gas container – If you haven’t replaced your gas container in a while, you might want to consider getting a new one. I have not had any gasoline smell come from this container while it is in my car. In addition you have to press the green button on the spout after you have it in place to let gas out, and release the button and wait for it to drip a bit and pull it away. This removes the separate vent plug and makes spilling gas a lot less likely.

gastank

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