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  1. #1

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    Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    OK - I'll agree that it's a clean look, but so far I haven't heard any big kudos for flybarless. Maybe more flight time at higher head speeds and a marginally lighter bird, but is that worth hundreds of dollars? From what I read, why not buy another helicopter for the cost of a Vbar setup ?
    Like most electronic items, the price is sure to come down over time while the product is further minaturized and improved. For now, isn't it better to have two birds in the hand than one in the bush (or crushed on terra firma).
    So lets hear it! Where are the high praises and enthusiasm for flybarless flight?
    I'm not knocking it, I just want to hear what's really great about it before a cash outlay that I might regret.
    Bobby Smith flew the hell out of that 600 Vbar Mikado, but all I heard him say that was different about it was the roll rate. Bet that in his hands, that Mikado with flybar and paddles flew much the same before the conversion.
    Best Regards and Happy Flying,
    Don

  2. #2

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    It all depends on what you want. The pros go beyond looks and flight time. Head speed is arguable but you do get slightly more available power or time due to the decreased resistance. You can use tis as you wish for longer flight time or more power during maneuvers or higher head speed if you were at the limit of your power train. But normally you should have sufficient power to hold your desired head speed even with a flybar so I think head speed is not a typical advantage.
    The other advantages are increased reliability due to the elimination of many head parts. Reduced head slop. Lower repair and maintenance costs. You will see may post on this in various forums. I fly both and can attest to the improved reliability and lower cost as well as less time I send on the head mechanics and tracking. You head cost less as well and you do not need a seperate tail gyro with the 3 axis Fylbarless Stabilization Units (FSUs) available such as Mikado and SJGD if you are starting from scratch. IF you use a high end gyro this can be a significant savings.
    But beyond this are flight characteristics. Flybarless controllers to some extent decouple stability and performance from the traditional physics and aerodynamics. Blade weight and stability is supplemented by gyros which add stability. So you could use a lower weight blade and the FSU would stabilize the copter. This could allow higher roll rates for 3D. Characteristics such as pitch-up in fast forward flight are typiclly compensated for by a FSU. A small copter like the 450 can be made more stable for the same reasons - gyros do the stabilization not just the physics.
    This also means wind and gusts have less of an effect and can allow flying in conditions difficult for a flybarred copter. Again I was amazed at the gusty windy conditions I could fly in.

    Another beefit is the ablity to tailor the flight characteristics to how you want to fly. You can go from scale type stability to sport to crazy 3D performance by altering the parameters. Of course the performance envelope of the copter is the limiting factor. You can't get water from a stone!

    But in the end if you are happy with the flybarred setup you have you may not want to change. For me I can say it actually saves money. But I fly a lot. On the other hand costs are coming down. SJGD lowers the entry price for an advanced FSU.


  3. #3

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    Pellicle,
    Thanks for that very good and through explaination. You've got me thinking about investing in an FSU system. Does it add to the stabilization of the 450 size electric in all 3 axis such that the normal drift that occurs in a hover without stick input is controlled by the FSU? Does it tend to hold the heli in a given altitude when flying in the wind when a normal setup would baloon? I like the idea of saving $ on head repairs, but what abouth the initial setup of the head for FSU flight? Do you have to buy a separate FSU head to make the conversion? How do you tweak the unit for various flight characteristics such as sport flying vs. all out 3D? Is it done via a computer and USB connector? Lastly, when is the best month to list high end gyros on Ebay? Moses got water from a stone, but I don't think anyone's matched that trick for a couple of thousand years.
    Best Regards and keep the info comming,
    Don

  4. #4

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    Don,
    The stabilization systems make the heli much more resistant to wind. In general you can set it up to be very stable in a hover but you still need to know how to hover. On some systems you can go into heading hold mode which does hold the copter very steady but this is not how most people set up and fly. As with any system you need to have your copter set up correctly with it trimmed well. For me even in a wind I can then take my hands of the trans for a few seconds. Drift is much less. With a flybarred copter in still air this is possible with the copter trimmed correctly. However with wind gusts the flybarred can be a more of a hand full wheas teh FSU prevents teh copter from tilting. You still get some verticle bobbing but you can fly fast forward thru windy conditions and the copter is like it is more on rails as opposed to being a leaf in the wind. You wll move in the direction of the wind and move slow when going into the wind and faster in the direction of the wind, but rotation in all three axis is vastly better controlled. So the answer is yes it does stablize in all 3 axis rotaionally but not linearly.
    Heli command and Flymentor make systems which can hold the copter very stable, Flymentor uses the existing flybar heads and helicommand has syytems for both flybar and flybarless as well as systems made for 3D. the HC systems are rather expensive however.

    I you look you will see several threads on head conversion. For the 450 there is the RG50099FL Complete Precision CNC Flybarless Head System 450 Size Helicopter with just the parts needed to convert the Align head. There are also full kits for the 450, 500, 600, 700 and fuel equivalents. If you are a bit more mechanically inclined ad want to modify the Align head this is possible also. There are number of threads on this. Most opt to go direct from the swashplate to the pitch arms. This is the most durable and simple setup. But you can also mod the head to keep the mixing arm and use the stock pitch arm geometry. I went the simple direct route and love the simplicity and durability. This is the most comon path. But you can try with moding your current head parts.

    Tweaking depends on the system you buy. Some have small programming boxes you can take to the field, some have both boxes and computer connectivity and some are computer only. SJGD, Axiom,Mikado and Skookum have programming boxes some use a USB cable. Skookum has both.

    Listing a high end gyro - don't know maybe now for Christmas maybe in the spring when everyone begins to fly more. Things usually sell on Ebay all year round.

    If you PM me we could converse more

  5. #5

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    How about this unit from Spartan RC :
    http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbycity/s...dProduct=10064

    No reviews on the HK website, any feedback from forum members on this one? Spartan makes a hellva gyro from what I've read.

    Thanks,
    Don

  6. #6

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?


  7. #7

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    The Spatan requires you also buy additional gyros for each axis. This also allows for use of a infrared stabilization unit. These sense the temp differential between sky and the ground.
    So for three axis you will need a gyro. This will drive up the cost considerably. The gyros need to be programmed for each axis individually from the main unit. It would be difficult to fit all the electronics into a 450.

  8. #8

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    I've narrowed my choices down to three FSUs for my 450 electrics and smaller:
    SJGD FS 600- The most expensive of my choices. Forum members regard it highly as one of the easiest to set up with clear instructions. Works for flybarless.

    Flymentor 3D - Low price. Fair ratings. Lots of info on setup online. Manual poorly written. Does what I want in that I'm looking for a bailout in disorientation situations. Not for Flybarless.

    Sookum SK-360 - Mid price range. Not sure about the ease of setup even with a perfectly pre setup heli.

    Any other suggestions are appreciated.
    Thanks,
    Don

  9. #9

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    Here's an email I received regarding the Axiom FSU :


    To: dicharry

    The Axiom will come with everything including the LCD, the price will be $349.99 and we expect them to arrive in a very short time.
    Hope this helps!

    Mike Fortin
    President

    561-222-4505 tel
    www.InertiaRC.com

    - On Mon, 12/14/09, dicharry wrote:

    From: dicharry
    Subject: Axiom 720 Flybarless
    To: info@inertiarc.com
    Date: Monday, December 14, 2009, 1:09 PM


    When will the Axiom 720 Flybarless stabilizer be available and where can we purchase the unit? What is the retail cost and can it be pre-ordered?
    Will all accessories be included or do separate cables or program boxes need to be purchased ?
    Thanks,
    Don

  10. #10

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    I think any of the systems will make you happy. Go with a 3 axis MEMS based systems which most of the good one are.

  11. #11

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    RE: Is Vbar worth the added expense?

    Modelers are always the last to know. Check out this link for availableity and low, low price on the 3-axis MEMS chip. http://www.eetimes.com/showArticle.j...leID=220900503.

    We should soon see these systems as standard equipment for everything flying. Next step is to integrate the spread spectrim receiver into these thing. The full scale industry calls it a Flight Guidance Computer or FGC. The most difficult part of marketing this will be getting the complete English version with all the grammatical enhancements.

    In case you haven't guessed by now, let me confess that the build cost for these boxes about $3.95 USD. The other $346.05 you pay is split between advertizing and profit.


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