Relaxed Dual Rates, Expo, Pitch Curves & Final Words

Now it's time for some finishing touches :)

The previous page showed how to reduce the main rotor and tail rotor RPM by switching to a 2S Lipo and modifying the settings in the Talon15 using the CastleLink tool.  These changes will:
  1. Slow the heli down (somewhat).  Make no mistake, it can still MOVE if you tell it to!
  2. Quiet the heli down as there are fewer collisions per unit of time between the teeth of the pinion, main and tail drive gears.
  3. Increase the flight times as battery current draw drops SIGNIFICANTLY when RPM are reduced.  The ESC, motor and battery can run cooler as a result.
  4. Reduce the wear and tear on bearings, shafts, gears, etc. 
  5. Reduce crash damage (somewhat) as there is less energy being released by the aircraft during a crash.  Remember to cut power to the ESC if a crash is imminent.
  6. Improve the reliability of the ESC's BEC since it doesn't have to deal with as high of an input voltage. By switching to 2S the BEC has 33% less voltage to convert down to 5V for your servos and receiver.  Typically the BEC will now run cooler and may even be able to supply additional current to your gear because of the lower supply voltage!
Great!  Now we'll soften the controls, a bit.

Dual Rates and Expo
First, let's set some Dual Rates and Expo in your transmitter.  These settings will affect your Pitch (elevator), Roll (aileron) and Yaw (rudder) controls:
  1. Dual Rates = 50%, Expo = 40%, or
  2. Dual Rates = 70%, Expo = 30%
Use #1 for lower RPM, like 3100 or so, when you want more precise control of the heli.  Maybe you're flying in a back yard or small area where you want a more relaxed response to your stick movements.  This works great for hovering practice.

Use #2 for higher RPM, like 3500 or so, when you want crisper response from the heli.  Perhaps you're flying in a larger area, want to try some loops, rolls, flips, etc.  This works better for sport or aerobatic type flying.

Collective Pitch
Second, let's soften the collective pitch a bit:
  1. Pitch Curve: 0-30-50-70-100, or
  2. Pitch Curve: 5-30-50-70-95
Softer Pitch Curves for 3D/Sport/Aerobatic Flying (#1 Left, #2 Right)
Use #1 for lower RPM, like 3100 or so, where the collective response is starting to drop off and you want the entire pitch range at your fingertips. 

Use #2 for higher RPM, like 3500 or so, where the collective response is strong and you want to limit the upper and lower extremes to prevent the heli from climbing or dropping too fast.


Final Words
The above settings may or may not appeal to your tastes - feel free to experiment and decide what works best for you.  One thing's certain - out of the box this heli is VERY VERY responsive to cyclic and collective pitch controls, so I suggest you start out with what I've outlined first, then gradually make changes and dial them in to your liking.

At these lower headspeeds the rubber dampers in the rotor head should be softer, not harder.  Some 3rd party dampers are very hard - these are for the higher, smack 3D RPM.  If you attempt to use hard dampers at low RPM the heli will wobble terribly.  The stock dampers seem to work just fine at these lower RPM.

If you have wobbling (with the softer dampers) then there's a bent shaft or loose something or another problem somewhere on the heli.  Check to make sure things are fastened properly to the frame, servo control horns are seated firmly, pushrods attached correctly, the AR6335 isn't loose, blades are balanced and not too tight or too loose in the grips, battery properly secured, etc.

Keep in mind that the only time the throttle value equals the power output of the Talon15 is when in Fixed-Endpoints mode, that is, 75% throttle equals 75% power output (for example).  When using governor modes, this is no longer true and you must use the CastleLink tool (or the lists I've provided) to tell you what throttle value to use for a given desired power output.

Using flat throttle curves for the governor modes means you must use throttle hold to start/stop the rotors.  If you decide to use zero for the beginning of the curve (ie. 0-75-75-75-75) you would then use the throttle stick to start and stop the rotors (lowest position stops the rotors).  BUT - don't attempt to do inverted maneuvers with a throttle curve like this or your heli will loose power when inverted and drop like a rock, even though your pitch curve may support full positive and negative collective pitch.

2S lipo packs in the 30g weight range will work much better when running the lower RPM (3000-3200).  Heavier packs (up to 46g) are more suited for the higher RPM (3300-3500).

As a general guide when starting out with these lower head speeds, you can initially assume the following for easy-going non-aggressive flying:
  • 2S 460/500mAh 30g packs are good for 4-5 minutes of flight.
  • 2S 610mAh 38g packs are good for 5-6 minutes of flight.
  • 2S 800mAh 46g packs are good for 7-8 minutes of flight.
You can add a minute to each of the above if you really take it easy.  Be careful, use a timer, and check the mAh put back into your packs when you recharge them so you know how much you're actually using.  Make adjustments to your flight times as necessary.  Remember to leave at least 20% in your packs.

Once you've configured the Talon15 for Auto-Lipo and Governor High mode, you may freely switch between 2S and 3S packs when you fly.  Just make CERTAIN you're using the proper throttle curves that correspond to each pack (56.4% - 74.8% for 2S, and 79.9% - 92.2% for 3S).  For example I'll fly my first few flights on 2S at 3300 and 3500 RPM, so I'll set the throttle curves to 71.2% and 74.6% respectively.  Then for my next few flights I'll switch to 3S at 3900 and 4200, so I then change my throttle curves to 79.9% and 83.2% respectively.  Again, make sure the throttle curve values are appropriate for the number of cells in your pack!

If you're using Set RPM Governor mode you'll have to use CastleLink to reconfigure the Talon15 each time you change between 2S and 3S packs - a royal pain!  For this reason I prefer Governor High mode.

RPM above 3528 (2S) and below 3900 (3S) are in a 'grey area' not recommended by Castle Creations as they require the ESC to operate outside of the 70%-95% recommended power output range.  It's best to stay out of this RPM range using the techniques presented in this blog.

I've found that the default tail gyro gain setting of 50 (per the user's manual) isn't sufficient to hold the tail so I'm now using a tail gyro gain setting of 95.  Works much better.

I've also found it VERY helpful to adjust the pitch of the tail blades to 0° RIGHT BEFORE SPOOLING UP.  Typically, you'll plug the battery into the heli, wait for it to initialize, put on the canopy, then walk it out to your heli pad.  In doing so the tail gyro will attempt to compensate for all of the yaw movements you induced in getting it to the heli pad.  Most likely, the tail blades will be pegged at either maximum positive or maximum negative pitch when you set her down. And, since it's not a rate mode gyro, it will hold the position of those blades until it's forced to change it.  Spooling up with the tail blades like this is going to cause the tail to swing around (perhaps rather quickly) as the main rotors come up to speed and the gyro tries to erroneously fix the position of the tail (it doesn't know the heli is on the ground and not flying).  This is added drama that nobody needs!  Do yourself (and the heli) a favor by moving the rudder stick so the blades are at 0° before spooling up - you may just save yourself a tip-over as well as bunch of cussing!

Finally, try to keep your heli as close to it's stock AUW (all up weight) as possible, which is 190-195g.  Optional metal parts, fiberglass canopies, oversized Lipos, etc. all add weight.  Too much weight will cause poor performance especially at these lower head speeds.  Remember, light is right ;)  I like to keep my 180s close to stock AUW so I can attach things like cameras and navigation/strobe LEDs without bogging them down.

I realize others will take/have taken the information I've presented here - FREE OF CHARGE - and attempt to profit from it.  Good luck with that ...

Questions and/or suggestions are always welcome - just leave a comment here or PM me on Helifreak or RCGroups.

Good luck, have fun, and enjoy your EZ-flying Blade 180 CFX !

Here's 2S and 3000 RPM:


Here's 2S and 3100 RPM:


Here's 2S and 3300 RPM:


Here's 2S and 3500 RPM:

Here's what happened on the very first flights (3S and 4200 RPM) when I decided taming it down and dual rates and expo might be a good idea ;)




17 comments:

  1. Great and amazing job ! Bravo ! I would take this heli after my Nano CpX, with all your advice is know possible ! Thank you very much

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  2. Hey Tchinzo! Thank you :) I hope you were able to find some things helpful in the blog. Any questions just ask ...

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  3. Hi,
    Do you think I can try some flip with the stock configuration in 3S if I program a stunt mode with 25% throttle like the normal mode ?

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  4. Hello!
    As long as 25% works with your heli you can set either normal or stunt modes to 25-25-25-25-25. Some helis need 30-30-30-30-30 instead of 25. Then just make sure your pitch curve is 0-25-50-75-100 and you should be able to flip just fine. With the stock 3S setup and ESC configuration all 25s (or 30s) will give you 4200 RPMs - more than enough to flip. Just do your first flips up high until you get a feel for how the heli responds and to give yourself time to correct a less-than-perfect flip.
    Good luck!
    -John

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  5. Hello
    It's ok
    Thank you very much for your advice and your help :)
    Alex

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  6. Hello
    Happy New Year ! :)
    I have done my firts flips with the CFX 180. It's fantastic ! I love it !
    Always in 25% throtle.
    Do you think i can try an inverted flight at 25% throtle ?

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    Replies
    1. Hey Alex - Happy New Year to you too :)
      As long as you have enough negative pitch (pitch curve 0-25-50-75-100 or similar) then 3S/4200 RPMs will work for your inverted flights. I've flown inverted with 2S/3500 - just make sure you've got your inverted flying skills polished :)

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    2. Thank you john
      It's a great news ! 4200 RPMS allows long fly. I'm still waiting a cable for the Castle Link ...
      Actualy a train myself regularly with a Nano CPX et neXt sims. After that i try my skills on the CFX 180. Hope to improve my skills by the end of the year 2017 in order to piro-flip and funnel :)Maybe @ this moment i will improve some RPMs

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Hi John,
    Thank you for all your adive.
    It fly inverted like a charm in 4200RPMs :)
    I'm still training to improve my skills but it's ok for me
    Today i have receive all cable for the Castle.
    I try 3900, 4221, 4608 RPM programation. Do you think i can flip and inverted in 3900 RPM ? I try to improve flight time

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  9. Tchinzo,
    Sounds like your making some very good progress!
    As long as you have equal positive and negative collective pitch then the heli will fly inverted just as it does upright at a given headspeed. Just give yourself some altitude when inverting in case it veers off or the motor bogs.
    -John

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  10. hi, i was wondering what your opinion would be on a stretched 180. I have the lynx stretch kit with 180mm blades that makes it a true 180 sized heli. I know that all of your finding were based off of the regular 180. What kind of changes could i make to tame it down more knowing that i have the larger blades and longer tail? Headspeed would go down but i'm not sure how much because of the longer blades.
    Thanks

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    1. I haven't tried the stretch kits yet (like the Lynx combo) but I plan to this spring or summer. Basically the longer blades will give you more lift and drag. If you simply install the stretch components your motor and ESC are going to run hot due to the additional drag. You should reduce the head speed to prevent this. The Lynx kit comes with a 9T pinion to replace the stock 10T - this will reduce RPMs by 300-400. You need to tell the Talon15 about the new pinion if using the governor. If you don't use the 9T then I would at least reduce RPMs to 3900 (on 3S) using the info outlined here in order to prevent stressing/heating of the motor and ESC. I would like to try the stretch on 2S and see how much lower (than 3000) I can go before the heli doesn't fly well. Stock on 2S the lower limit (70% ESC output power) is 2600 rpm ...

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  11. Hi FR4-Pilot, this is a great guide. I'm not at playing with the ESC (don't have the cable and time/priorities) but I slowed down a bit the RPMs at 30% throttle. I fly stock config with metal servos and servo savers. I also tried DR and Expo but the heli behaved strange: at 30 % DR the blades moved (pitch) at full range - but slowly! On my MCPX BL the blades move only 30% of the full travel (pitch), which is what I'd expect. Any explanation to this? Btw using DX7 gen2 with basically recommended manual settings. Thanks a happy flying! Jiri

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  12. Hi Jiri, Thanks for checking out the blog! Not sure what's going on - Did you fly the heli with your settings or are you observing its behavior on the bench? Sometimes flybarless controllers behave differently when they're sitting on the ground vs flying.

    Apologies - but by (pitch) are you referring to the elevator (right) stick or collective (left) stick? Dual rates should not affect collective behavior, only cyclic.

    Do you have any mixes setup in the DX7 ?

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  13. Hi Fr4, thanks for your responses. I was not sure whether the blog was still active.
    So: behaviour on the bench, not in flight.
    Confirmed: aileron with DR at 30% moves the blades at the same travel as at DR 100% - but more slowly (expo 20% for DR 30% and 0% for 100% DR but this should not change so dramatically the speed of blades movement).
    Not really willing to check this in flight as it would require high flip/roll altitude (and time). But can be done (before winter comes).
    By pitch I probably meant collective (left, I fly mode 2). Which is strange btw because DR should not affect collective as I forgot to realise: DR and expo is available only for aileron, elevator and rudder on the DX7 G2 (still learning but it makes me happy to find out).
    No mixes. I am happy to control my 180 CFX without any mixes.
    But now I definitely use throtle at 30% at lower speed and have one at 100% for higher speed.
    Thank you for that.
    BTW Do you happen to know ArchmageAU from HF?

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  14. Hello Ohawa,
    I don't know ArchmageAU, but I've read some of his posts - very informative for sure.

    The flybarless controllers behave differently when on the ground/bench versus when they're flying, so it can be difficult to understand what they're doing without some good documentation. For instance, according to Blade, the AR6335 has anti-tip-over functionality when the throttle curve is 30-35 or less. But this isn't good for flight so it's disabled when the higher throttle curves are detected.

    My helis seem to 'know' the exact moment I land and the FBL controller 'sucks' the heli to the ground (to prevent tip-overs I presume) even though I haven't applied any negative pitch yet. These things have minds of their own, unlike traditional flybarred helis ;) Get her in the air hovering and get a feel for how she's responding. Then tweak your Tx settings a bit, rinse and repeat.

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