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HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

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Old 10-07-2011, 10:08 AM
  #1
clp.eng
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Default HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I just got a HobbyKing Tuff Trainer. I'm pretty new to R/C airplanes. I've also got a J3 Cub & micro T-28. I wanted something I could fly at the neighborhood park/baseball diamond/park and this looked like a robust trainer. The vid on the website made it look like a pretty good flier but it turned out the plane was heavily modified after that vid was made. It became an aileron plane with 2 servos and they moved the battery compartment.

I ordered it. Just be aware that the shipping was about 1/4 the cost of the plane to the US. But it still seemed a bargain.

The package arrived in good condition (pics to follow) and the plane was well packed. However, when I took the plane out of the packaging, I found one of the battery holder frames broken. I immediately notified HK & they made me jump through hoops before they agreed to honor the warranty. Well, that was over a month ago & I still haven't received a replacement part. I emailed them last week & they pretty much said there is nothing they can do to speed it up! Service = 1 out of ten.

The plane is an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) which means there are some things that have to be done before it can fly. The 1st thing is you have to supply your own Rx. I used the HobbyKing Spectrum-like Rx, the one w/o the case. It's 6 channels & pretty inexpensive. You also need your own flight battery. They recommend a 3S 800 to 1000mAH LiPo I used the 1000mAH both an E-Flite version & a Zippy version - the E-Flite fits well, the Zippy is a struggle to get it in. You also need some sort of foam safe glue to mount the stabilizer and rudder to the plane. They recommend cyno glue but I had some foam glue that I used (looks like woodworkers white glue). Be very careful to mount these correctly as they will affect the flight characteristics of the plane.

I could not figure out how to hook the push rods to the tail, so I called my buddy Alex to ask for help. He spent about an hour bending, testing & lubing the pushrods before they worked OK. He then checked the aileron setup & noticed that they were off. He adjusted them as well. I opted to use a Y connector for these servos but Alex suggested that since I have a 6 channel Tx I'd be better off hooking both directly to the Rx. I have since made that change. He suggested a couple of other things that I haven't tried yet. During some testing the other battery bracket broke. I used a small piece of wood & some rubber bands around the nose to hold the battery in.

Alex & I took it to the local flying field for a maiden. It was a bit on the windy side but he tried it anyway. He did manage to keep it in the air but said it was a tough flight & he used the rudder to steer as the ailerons didn't seem to have much control on the plane.

I decided to try to fly it myself at the local park a few days later. Here are the [link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_DlBtXrb2ho]results.[/link] The results were exactly as Alex said. The only damage was the bottom plate of the battery holder. It is an extremely poor design as the laser etched direction arrows goes right through the plywood and makes 2 weakened spots on it. I found a piece of scrap that sorta' fits for now to replace it. Also, the motor mount was loose which was what caused that howling sound at full throttle. My quality score for this thing is dropping rapidly!

I was then motivated to make the servo extensions and try again which I did yesterday. The plane still pulled to the right during take off as shown in the 1st vid but I was prepared for it. I got it in the air & the 1st turn felt OK. I gave it more htrottle & the nose shot up, so I still have some tweaking to do with the CG. Then I brought it down & looked it over. Everything seemed OK. I took off again & made another turn. Then I tried a figure 8 but there was absolutely no control in the other direction. I managed to get it down safely. I looked everything over & I could not see any obvious reason it would turn only in one direction. I will need to try a few more things.

So far, I haven't enough experience with this to recommend it. Certainly I was expecting better performance without all this grief but maybe that's the way it is with other planes. Like I said I'm pretty new to this. I'll keep you posted as I work my way through this.

Chuck
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Old 10-09-2011, 05:05 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Here are some things I fixed or changed.

1. the broken battery holder - glued. Poor design since the arrows are laser cut right through the plywood making two weak spots.

2. With 4 bands holding the wing on, the foam bent over making littl flaps. I glued a popsicles stick on the under side of the wing to add some strength. And I onlly use two (2) bands now.

3. I cut small slits in the wings & pushed the servo wires into the slits with a popsicle stick. Makes for a neat look & keeps the wires from getting in the way. Thanks Alex!

Chuck
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Old 10-09-2011, 08:19 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Like mine, it wants to yaw to the right on takeoff. I hooked my alirons to the 6ch orange receiver. I installed some flat carbon fiber across where the wings are glued together. and at the rear of the wings where the rubber bands come across I removed those plastic pieces and put in a thin piece of ply wood. One of the vets and our field maidened it and found it very hard to control. I tried to fly it last week and broke the entire nose of it. Got it glued back together for another try.

A week later I flew it again and the elevator would lock up puting me in a nose dive. I successfully got it on the round again. As Chuck mentioned the rods for the rudder and elevators are tooo tight, I lubbed and worked them which made it a little better but the servos seemed to be always struggling. I replaced both of these servo with HXT900, from Hobbyking, and now the rudder and elevator works great. Maybe I'll get a chance to try it again tomorrow. I do not recommend this plane for beginners, as I am, it's twitchy and poorly built. I built I delta out of blue core that's much easier to fly - it flyes fast or slow and handles wind pretty good too.

Brad
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Old 10-11-2011, 09:08 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Brad - did any of your experts offer any solutions to the problem? If not, please ask them.


From HobbyKing website, Tuff Trainer Reviews, Todd said in part "In the end we had to cut the wings apart and re glue with less angle this took care of the rolling out of turns and she flies pretty good now."

Chuck
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Old 10-11-2011, 06:40 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

If you mean the problem of the sudden nose dives -then yes. The solution was to replace ther rudder and alieron servos which I think solved the problem. But again I have not had a chance to fly it again. Hopefully this weekend I will get it in the air again and give a updated report.

Brad
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Old 10-12-2011, 03:51 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Thanks, Brad. I hope you get out so you can test it.

I found some vids on youtube (5 of them) but it was in a foreign language so I don't know what they where saying. It was very windy so I'm not sure how much that affected the flight.

Here is a pic of the bends Alex put in the pushrods for the tail.

Chuck
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Old 10-12-2011, 07:17 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I don't have quite that much bend in it, but I did bend them. You would be surprised at how much difference it would make if you switched out those servos. I had to take my dremmel and and enlarge the servo mounts - ever soo slighly -. They used 9gram servos but the HXT's are just a touch bigger. I'm off saturday so I will be making a bee line for the field, lol. I give a full report by saturday.

Later,
Brad
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Old 10-13-2011, 09:13 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

It's gone
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Old 10-16-2011, 07:30 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Way too windy to try any flights this weekend.

Chuck
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Old 10-17-2011, 04:35 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Well, I got it in the Air Saturday, all most for a full flight. It was a little windy but it flew very well. No problem with the rudder or elevators this time. As I shot approaches to the run way trying to land it, it was just a little to windy - and I just not experienced enough to deal with that I did a back flip to the left and broke the prop. No other damage. I started to try it again yesturday but the winds were definately to high. All in all again I say defiantely change out the rudder and elevator servo immediately for something stronger like the HXT900.

Brad
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Old 10-17-2011, 09:14 AM
  #11
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Excellent, Jazz. Glad to hear there was some progress. I'll have to see if I have any 9gm servos laying around. Any chance of doing a vid next flight?

Chuck
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Old 10-18-2011, 06:20 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

The tufftrainer looks a bit like my Flylite.
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Old 10-18-2011, 07:00 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

guver - yes it does! It looks like the biggest difference is the thickness of the foam, it appears the TT is thicker in all the wings & it weighs at least 100gm more. How's does it fly? Is it robust?

Chuck
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Old 10-19-2011, 01:46 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Yep, I love it. It's probably the only plane I haven't had trouble with , no crashes, ect. and no repairs either. I just started flying it very aggressively. Mine weighs 280 grams. I had my eye on the TT , but really I have plenty of trainer stuff now. They both look a little cartoonish.

Flylite is 3 channel.

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Old 10-19-2011, 06:15 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

That explains part of it. The TT was originally a 3 ch & then they added ailerons! I'm thinking they didn't redesign the wing for it but just added them.

I have a 3ch Cub that I flew for awhile but wanted to learn aileron. Here's my 1st [link=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AiwJI9bds7Q]attempt[/link], the 2nd was much better! LOL I also have the T-28 micro 4 ch but it doesn't like any wind!

Unfortunately, I'm now commited to get this darn thing to fly!

Chuck
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Old 10-19-2011, 06:43 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

Haha, looks like my micro piper I tried yesterday. It took off so fast I barely saw what happened. It spiral around to the right and went nose first into the ground. I know it will be fun because it sems way overpowered. I will stay away from the tufftrainer since I now have 2 flylites.
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Old 10-26-2011, 04:16 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

The wx has been windy & rainy so no new attempts. I'm still trying to find about the dihedral & what would be a good value to use for this thing, if that's really the prob.

Chuck
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Old 10-27-2011, 05:44 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I found a new vid. It looked like it was flying under pretty good control. Still looked a little "floaty" though - CG? or diahedral? He changed out 3 servos, the rest was stock.

Chuck

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sY0ax5BJZfM[/youtube]
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Old 12-30-2011, 05:59 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

brad - How did you get the servos out of the wing? Mine appear to be glued in! I've been carefully cutting along the edges of the servo but I think there is glue under the servo as well. Not sure how to get it out without ruining the wing!

Chuck
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Old 12-30-2011, 07:20 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

It seems that even though this web site is full of complaints about HobbyKing, people are ignoring them or not bothering to look up problems/comments about Hobby King before they buy. Several of us have purchased a lot of product from them and have been totally unsuccessful in any warranty claims. If you succeed you will be a very rare bird indeed. What bothers me most is that when a group of us bought the 49" Decathlon we all expected to receive the plane that was pictured on their web site. Silly us! I sent them over 30 pictures showing problems with the plane and asking for the proper hardware kit. They refused to send a new kit. In the example I received, amount about 30 others issues, the wings did not have any strut supports to mount the struts - can you imagine what would have happended the first time it got in the air and tried a loop, lawn darts anyone! In the end everyone that bought that plane has had to do MAJOR tear-downs and rebuilding to get it to fly and some buyers have NEVER got the plane off the ground! The problems you are having here is very typical of HK's lack of quality control and what I can only surmise is their contniued efforts to defraud their customers. When it was pointed out months ago that their web site pictures didn't represent the actual product, as in your case, they kept them up on the site anyway and months later they are still up there. When several of us tried to warn others by posting a negative but factual review on their web site they were all deleted! Rather than cross-post issues and comments, please read this thread. Save your money. Iknow things cost more when you by from your local HS but after the experiences we all had maybe it is worth the extra money you pay. At least if you have a problem the chances are a lot better you will get it fixed.

Don't believe any of the comments from user on their web site - by far the majority of them are fake!

PLEASE - do a search on the major user groups about HK before you buy. I wish I had!

http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_10...m.htm#10717790
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Old 12-31-2011, 11:06 AM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

The servos ARE glued in! HOW INSANE IS THAT????? I used a hobby knife and razor saw to cut down the long sides & then used the knife to cut under the mounting ears after removing the mounting screws. Even after that they still wouldn't come out. I asked a guy in Neverland how he got his out - he pried them out with a screwdriver which I did & it worked. However the plywood mounting rings broke, so I'll need to replace them as well.

I did find a possible cause for the lack of control in one direction, the servo wires were damaged on one servo when they pulled the wires under the mounting plate. I could see bare wire on all three leads. I will add a additional space under the mounting plates for the wires when I repace the servos.

It's been many months now since they promised to send the replacement part for the battery holder & still nothing. I figure HobbyKing's customer service philosophy is if you wait long enough the customer just goes away!

I did add some reinforced packing tape to the under side of the wing to add to the stiffness. The regular clear tape wouldn't hold but the reinforced stuff seems to be holding well (3M ~$5 USD).

binx57 - thanks for the info. While I don't feel any better, misery likes company! Part of the problem is I couldn't find what I was looking for except at HK. They do have good batteries & parts. You just have to realize that occasionally you'll get a bad one of whatever you buy & hopefully the long term savings will be greater than the cost of the defective merchandise they don't stand behind!

BTW, I did research the plane before I purchased it & the reviews were mostly good but there weren't very many.

Chuck
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:01 PM
  #22
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I changed out the servos but the pushrods are flexing side to side. Any idea how to fix this? Thanks.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ptK2UB-booI[/youtube]

Chuck
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:23 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I'd guess that it isn't swiveling freely on the horn.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:46 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I agree, it's bending in both directions, pulling and pushing, the quick link on the servo arm is not swiveling freely enough, causing the push rod to bind. Try drilling the hole in the servo arm out a little, or take a scrap piece of push rod, heat it with a lighter, and push thru the hole to enlarge it slightly.
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Old 01-02-2012, 05:54 PM
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Default RE: HobbyKing Tuff Trainer

I didn't think of it till now cause I don't use them, but if you are using the kind of coupling that has a nut on the bottom side of the servo arm instead of the snap ring, then you may have the nut too tight. If that's what you have, you may want to get the kind that has the snap ring, other wise you will not be able to secure the nut against the arm with out some kind of bushing thru the arm to allow the nut to tighten against the top part of the coupling.
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