RCU Review: E-Flite Mini Edge 3D


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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: April 2006 | Views: 61910 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    E-flite mini Edge 540

    Review by: Greg Covey

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    Manufacturer Info

    Mini Edge 540 3D ARF
    Distributed exclusively by:

    Horizon Hobby

    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    CHAMPAIGN, IL 61822
    Support Phone:
    (877)504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800)338-4639

    Website: www.horizonhobby.com



    Ratings
    Quality
    Performance
    Ease of Assembly
    Looks
    Price
    Manual


    Hits

    Superb flying characteristics

    Multiple Motor Mounts

    Multiple Rudder Options

    High quality construction, accessories, and covering



    Misses

    S75 servos lack centering accuracy when set up with long 3D arms


    Introduction

    Since the E-Flite Mini Edge 540 is based on the popular Hangar 9 33% Edge 540 ARF designed by Mike McConville, you can now sharpen your flying skills with a smaller 37" span version at your local park or in an open field just down the street. Torque rolls, hovers, tumbles and snaps are all possible with the Mini Edge 540's lightweight balsa and light-ply construction that provides better, more delicate flight.

    An adjustable micro pull-pull set for the rudder provides precise control and the mid-wing design also optimizes 3D performance. Team the included gearbox and propeller with E-flite Park 400 brushless motors for extreme 3D performance. The Mini Edge 540 includes a great looking lightweight fiberglass cowl and wheel pants. The landing gear are carbon fiber and the plane is finished in a colorful UltraCote scheme. Spare parts can also be purchased from Horizon Hobby.

    Features:

    • Lightweight balsa-and- lite-ply construction
    • Design characteristics optimize aerobatics
    • Hardware included
    • Based on Hangar 9's Edge 540 33%
    • Great precision 3D performance
    • Universal motor mount

    Specifications:

    • Wing Span: 37.25 in (945 mm)
    • Overall Length: 34 in (860 mm)
    • Wing Area: 297 sq in (19 sq dm)
    • Flying Weight: 24 - 26 oz (680 - 740 g)
    • Motor Size: Park 400 Brushless, 3700 Kv or 4200 Kv
    • Radio: 4+ Channels
    • Servos: 4 sub-micro
    • Prop Size: 12x6 (included)
    • Spinner Size: 1-3/4" (included)
    • Hardware Included
    • Speed Control: 20-35 Amp Brushless
    • Recommended Battery: 11.1V 2100mAh Li-Po

    First Impressions & Getting Started
    The parts for the mini Edge 540 come smartly wrapped and protected in a custom box. The ARF kit includes some decals, a manual, and an addendum.

    The wing, tail, and rudder are superbly covered in Ultracote to match the bigger 1/3 scale
    Hangar 9 ARF.

    The trim scheme uses the following colors:

    • Flame Red (883)
    • Bright Yellow (872)
    • Pearl Blue (845)
    • White (870)

    The Mini Edge 540's lightweight balsa and light-ply construction can be seen in the fuselage. It provides better and more delicate flight characteristics.
    The fiberglass cowl and wheel pants help create a lightweight model that was designed for 3D. The plastic canopy outer rim comes painted red.
    A 6.6:1 gearbox and 12x6 prop are included in the box along with a carbon wing spar.
    The quality kit parts are rounded out with a carbon-fiber landing gear mains and foam wheels.

    Extreme Power System
    Park 400 Brushless Inrunner Motor
    20-Amp Brushless ESC (V2)
    7.5 Gram Sub-Micro S75 Servo

    The Park 400 Brushless Inrunner Motor provides stronger and more efficient performance for your sport and aerobatic park flyers. It is an excellent motor for small airplanes between 12 oz ? 26 oz (340 g ? 740 g) and is designed to work with the included gearbox.

    E-flite's 20-amp brushless ESC has improved BEC capability, and a programmable voltage cutoff. It automatically recognizes Lipo batteries and has programmable braking and thermal overload protection.

    The S75 sub-micro servo features a universal connector compatible with all major brand receivers. The S75 offers superior speed, torque, and precision for its class, and includes complete mounting hardware along with an assortment of servo arms including an extra-long 3D arm.

    The ThunderPower 3-cell 2100mAh pack delivers the 15-20amps needed to supply power for the geared Park 400 motor.



    Assembly
    Landing Gear

    The first step in assembly was to attach the wheels to the carbon fiber gear mains. The gear mains assembly was then screwed into the fuselage bottom. Everything fit well and my first impression of this ARF is that it is very well designed and will be a quick build.

    Wing Assembly

    The wings are held in place by a hex head screw and get supported by a carbon tube. The alignment is perfect due to the wooden dowel insert in the aft end of the wing. I tied string to my aileron servo connectors to make them accessible until connected with a "Y" adapter cable.

    Tail Assembly

    The tail assembles quickly after first cutting away a portion of the covering that gets inserted in the fuselage. The stabilizers are glued in place using thin CA wicked into the joints. The elevator and rudder hinges are also attached with several drops of thin CA on each side. The manual is well written and all the parts fit very well.

    Linkage Assembly

    The elevator servo is in the tail so the linkage is short and strong. The E-flite mini Edge 540 is such a well designed ARF that it allows for two ways to mount the rudder servo and linkage. For lighter power systems like the Park 370 outrunner, you can use the pull-pull cable assembly with the servo rudder in the main fuselage bay. For heavier power systems like the Extreme Performance Motor Setup, the rudder servo can reside in the tail for added weight in the rear to balance.

    Motor, Cowl, Prop Assembly

    The Park 400 (EFLM1100) Brushless Inrunner mounted easily using the stock post, 12" prop and spinner. The Extreme Performance Motor Setup will likely weigh about 26oz when RTF using the 3-cell ThunderPower 2100 pack.

    Big Brother

    Since I had to pull my 1/3 scale Hangar 9 Edge 540 out for another project, I took a photo to show the size difference next to the mini Edge 540. The two scale aerobatic planes will look nice together at the flying field.


    Alternate Power Setups

    My alternate mini Edge 540 uses a light inexpensive 150w brushless power system from FMA Direct. The power system uses the stock stick mount and spinner. It powers the 22oz Edge nicely at 109w/lb using a 3-cell Cellpro Kokam 1250mAh pack but will not provide 3D power to the Edge.

    The premise of my alternate power system setup is that if you don't fly 3D, you can drop 1/4 lb. from the recommended Extreme Power 300w setup. Bbased upon past experience, the lighter setup will be easier to fly and land if the pilot does not desire 3D capability.


    The E-flite Park 370 (left) and Park 480 (right) outrunner motors are excellent options for powering the mini Edge 540.

    The direct drive Park 370 motor provides about 150 watts of power and the Park 470 motor an incredible 275 watts!

    The mini Edge 540 fleet is Ready-To-Fly between 22oz and 26oz.




    Test Flying

    The first video below is of my mini Edge 540 using the 150 watt FMA Brushless Power System 150 with the stock stick mount and spinner. Note that this is equivalent power to the Park 370 Outrunner motor. It performed good aerobatics at an all up weight around 22oz., as expected. The wind does tend to blow around a light small design like this but it seemed to handle the stronger gusts well.


    See the mini Edge 540 in action!
    CLICK HERE (7.9meg)

    The second video is of my friend's mini Edge 540 using the stock 250 watt Park 400 Power System 150 with the stock gearbox, prop, and spinner. It performed unlimited aerobatics and 3D maneuvers at an all up weight around 26oz. My 3D pilot was not available for the video so we just show some aerobatics and a strong vertical climb.


    See the mini Edge 540 in action!
    CLICK HERE (3.3meg)

    Summary

    The E-flite mini Edge 540 is a superb design with multiple options for the rudder servo and motor mounting. It flies very well with various power systems and a wide range of all up weight. We tested two models, one at 22oz with 150 watts of power and another at 26oz with 250 watts of power. Both versions flew great!

    One thing worth mentioning are my concerns about the new E-flite S75 servo travel range, torque, and speed for 3D flying. While the S75 works fine with my lower power mini Edge 540 setup, the gear train slop and short range of movement do not make it the best choice for 3D flying when using the long servo arms. Although the long arms solve the travel issue, they tend to exasperate the torque, and centering issues. For my 150 watt aerobatic version, the S75 servo is fine. For 3D flying, I prefer the Futaba S3110 sub-micro servo with my faithful Hitec HS-55 being a second choice.

    The mini Edge 540 needs intermediate flying skills for a successful flying experience. Although it is supplied with a new improved gearbox for 3D flying, I much prefer an outrunner setup. Overall, the mini Edge 540 is an excellent design from E-flite!









    Manufacturer Information

    E-flite mini Edge 540 ARF
    Distributed exclusively by:
    Horizon Hobby
    4105 Fieldstone Rd.
    CHAMPAIGN, IL 61822
    Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639
    Website: www.horizonhobby.com

    FMA Direct
    5716A Industry Lane
    Frederick, MD 21704
    Website: www.fmadirect.com
    Sales: 800-343-2934 or 301-668-7614

    Comments on RCU Review: E-Flite Mini Edge 3D

    Posted by: markind on 06/15/2008
    Kit now discontinued. Low speed performance of this plane is not great - cut power and she drops, a poor glider, so land with some power going or you can tip stall or pancake her. Suggest toughen up the landing gear. Otherwise, a great performer!
    Posted by: markind on 06/15/2008
    Also, while the frame is well designed and light weight, it will crack in several places in a hard landing. Suggest probing around inside with a long thin CA applicator and flooding the stress points with thin CA. The thin CA will soak into the wood around the joints and toughen them up a lot without adding much weight.
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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