Welcome to Jazzy's Flight Deck!

Are you a beginner RC airplane flier? If you are, I hope to provide valuable information to help you get off the ground! RC flying can be very frustrating, and this is quite normal, so don't let it stop you from enjoying this wonderful hobby! Once you get your plane up there, I promise you will be happy you did it! Please let me know if there's anything you'd like to see here or if you have any questions.

Aircraft listed in bold now have mini-reviews and/or videos.

Over and out!
jasmine2501 at "don'tspamme" netzero dot com

Saturday, July 26, 2008

E-Flite Blade 400

This is my E-Flite Blade 400. On the second flight, the tail servo stripped in mid-air for some reason, and the pitch servo stripped on the resulting crash. I replaced the cyclics with Hitec HS55 servos, and I replace the gyro with a GY401. The overall feel and performance of the helicopter was vastly improved by these upgrades.

Stock ESC and motor
HS55 cyclic servos
GY401 Gyro
Thunder Power 2100 3-cell
JR 290G tail servo
Align tail hub and carbon blades
Thunder Power Carbon main blades
Spektrum DX7 radio with AR6100e receiver

Here she is in flight:

And here's a photo of the new color scheme. I crashed it into a fence one day and had to re-build the whole thing. Instructional videos of how to build it are on Vimeo (search "Blade 400 Rebuild").

Here's the videos - first one is recently, but before the crash. After the videos are my radio settings for the Blade 400 and DX7 radio.

Blade 400 Light 3D from Jasmine2501 on Vimeo.

Radio settings
Aircraft Type: Heli
Model Name: Blade400
Swash Type: 3 Servos 120 degrees
Thro recovery: INH
Trainer: INH
(Is it possible I actually have 17 hours on this thing?!)

OK then on the flight settings I have this:
OK on the dual rates screen, I have 30% expo on all three channels. VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure to switch the dual rate switch for each channel and program the same expo again. You will use the dual rate switches for other things and it's pretty important that you don't end up changing the expo when you do that, so program both options to the same expo and rate (100%) on all three channels.

Timer: 6 minutes - gives me time to land
No programmable mixes are entered.

OK, "Gyro sens" screen: Set it to Auto - then next to the "0:" set your gyro gain rate for normal mode. Then next to the "1:" set the gyro gain you use for idle-up. Mine are 74% and 71%, but I'm using a GY401 and these numbers are never the same for any two people, so you'll have to figure out the numbers for yourself. They may be different from the gain settings on your DX6i, but that's a good starting point. OK, then on the side I set NORM: 0, STNT:1, and HOLD:0.

No revo mix is used - I'm not even sure what it is.

Pitch curves are:
HOLD - 0-25-50-75-100
ST-2 - 0-25-50-75-100
ST-1 - 0-25-50-75-100 (these are all three the same, important for autos)
NORM - 35-INH-50-75-100 (INH lets it calculate the line for you)

Throttle curve for ST-1 and ST-2 are both set to 100% all the way across.
Throttle curve for normal mode is set to 0-50-85-100-100, with "exp" activated which smooths out the line. You may want something different - don't be afraid to experiment. I'm at high altitude, and I find that this setting gets me off the ground nicely and pretty much eliminates any jumping when I switch in and out of idle-up mode.

Thro Hold: -5.0% SW:GEAR (you could adjust this for your personal preference)

Swash mix: AILE:-65% ELEV:+65% PIT.: +85% (again, personal preference, and checked to eliminate binding on my bird - I had to reduce the aile and elev channels. I may change that around though and reduce the pitch channel and increase the others. Just make sure you don't get any binding)

My travel adjustments are all 100% at the moment. I've some CCPM coupling though, so I'll be messing with that eventually.

I have the subtrims set to various numbers - I replaced the servos, so these numbers will be different for you. NO subtrim on the rudder... !

Reversing: THRO:N, AILE:N, ELEV:R, RUDD:R, GEAR:N, PIT.:R, AUX2:N (again, this might be different for you because I use different servos.)


lee said...

Great advice & videos, not sure if i will get the blade 400 or continue saving and get the trex 450 se v2 with a futuba 2.4 7c radio.
problem is with decent servos and gyro on the blade there isn't much of a price difference.
Is there any advice you can give me? feel free to contact me

Jasmine said...

It would be a little cheaper for the Blade - replacement parts are about the same for both. Invest in the radio first - get a DX7 if you can.

lee said...

Hi again bought the blade 400, had to reverse one servo to get the swash working correctly.
Unfortunately i have a problem with the tail servo. It was travelling to far left & right and binding so i tried to limit the servo throw in travel adjust but i am finding that it continues to creep left and right untill it starts binding again.
Do you think i have a bad tail servo?

Jasmine said...

No it is not the servo, and you can't change the travel distance with the radio when you are using a gyro. See, the radio doesn't actually send a servo position anymore - since the rudder signal goes into the gyro first, the signal from the radio is interpreted as a "requested rotation rate" which can be -100% to 100% with zero in the middle. The gyro decides how far the servo needs to move in order to give the requested rotation rate. So, you can't adjust the travel in the radio, or you will never be able to request the maximum rotation rate.

The G110 gyro does not have a servo limiting feature, but other gyros like the Futaba GY401 do have this feature, allowing you to set the travel of the servo itself. When using the G110, you must shorten the servo arm to reduce the travel. This is impossible with the arm they give you.

These complications and the fact that the existing setup can result in binding and subsequent stripping of the servo gears, means that the only way to really solve the problem is with a new gyro. Getting a different servo is a good idea too. I run the GY401 gyro and the JR DS290G gyro servo - it's a great combo for helis this size.

Travis said...

Jasmine i just looked at your videos,they are great i have cars trucks 2 planes 3 twin rotor helis and now i just added a cp pro 2,wow a whole new ball game, now for the dumb question on the blade 400 light 3d video what was the music it sounds like Santana i gotta know who it is.thanks happy flyin ! Travis1953

Jasmine said...

Yes, Carlos Santana and John Lee Hooker.

Dilip said...

Jasmine, you're a darling! Those DX7 settings were a life-saver for me!

Pianoman said...

Thanks a lot for the advice !!!
I have a Blade 400 that I just flew yesterday with my new upgrades (GY401 Hitec HS65 MG servos for cyclics and a HS 50 for tail servo)
And it works great
I have a few questions though:
-This may sound like a stupid question but....i don't know witch is my Idel up switch....i have a DX7 and the ar6100 ....the Gyro is pluged in on Rudd for the tail servo and the gain is on GEAR. Does this meen as soon as I flick the GEAR switch "idel up" will engadge ?
I set the THRO HOLD just like yours (-0.5) but my switch is Rudd D/R
Since I don't know witch is witch I don't dare touch any of the switches in flight.

Thanks a lot

Jasmine said...

There is no default idle-up programming. The flight modes are controlled by the 3-pos switch, but you have to program how each one works. It doesn't have to be idle-up, and the default is not a good pitch curve and throttle curve.

Pianoman said...

Thanks a lot
That worked !!!
By the way....could you tell me where you got that white color scheme on the Blade 400 ?

Jasmine said...

The custom coloring is stickers I printed and applied to a white canopy you can buy. If you look at my Trex 450, I did the same thing.

Pianoman said...

Thanks again !!!
I'm looking at upgrades....do you think that the aluminum upgrades such as these :
Are worth it ?
By the way....i find that the stock canopy is a bit to small for the stock batteries (3s 1800 mAh)
I got some Thunder Power 3S 2200 mAh
and they hardly fit
Some say that a TREX 450 canopy will fit well.
I tried one on yesterday and there is a tone of space for the batteries but the canopy flops around a lot....do you have any advice for strapping down the canopy or on other canopies that will fit better ?

Jasmine said...

I never had any trouble with the regular canopy, and I use bigger batteries. Read the manual and make sure you are putting it on right. The Thunder Power Extreme batteries are too heavy, but the Pro-lite 2100 fits good. The aluminum upgrades aren't necessary.

westy1 said...

Hi Jasmine,your blade 400 looks great in the white colour scheme,do you find it harder to keep in sight than the yellow

Jasmine said...

No I don't have any trouble seeing it. For me, the actual color doesn't make much difference, as long as there is some contrast.

Pianoman said...

It's me again ^^
Been flying my blade 400 with the setting/upgrades and it works great !
I tried that 3pos switch on my dx7 to see if it would go into idel up but the RPM's did not change =S Mabye it's the gear switch.
any advice ?

Jasmine said...

The 3-pos switch is the only one which can control the flight modes, but you have to set up each mode - the default settings are not correct.

Johnnie said...

Hi Jasmine, I'm trying to choose between the E-flite BLade 400 RTF, with the Spektrum DX6i radio, and the CopterX 450AE RTF, with the Futaba 6EX radio, which says Trex 450SE at the end of it's description. I'm concerned that it might not be the same quality as the Trex 450SE that you have (before your upgrades). I found a deal where I can buy the Trex cheaper than the Blade, which sounds too good to be true. I've done as much research as I can, that is what brought me to you. Is there anything you can tell me to help me make my decision?

Jasmine said...

The CopterX stuff is mechanically sound. It is mostly compatible with Trex parts. The greatest difference you can make is in the electronics. The mechanics are "good enough" but you can create a real problem with cheap electronics (even on the Align it would be an issue) - so yes, you can go with the CopterX and expect good quality - mechanically anyway. I would not advise buying package deals - pick your own stuff, especially the radio - the radio is your primary equipment for the hobby - get a good one. The 6EX lacks some features which are pretty important in helicopters, but it will work - just won't be good for long term.