RCU Review: Electrifly Brushless Outrunner VPP System

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    Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: July 2006 | Views: 61688 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Electrifly RimFire VPP

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Product Support
    3002 N. Apollo Drive, Suite #1
    Champaign IL 61822



    Ease of Assembly

    If you were like me the first time I saw Scott Foster' performance at the 2005 ETOC, you were in shock. I am not even sure shock is the correct word. What we had just witnessed defied every law of physics when it comes to fixed wing aircraft.

    Now anyone can redefine flight with the Electrifly V-pitch prop system. I will be retrofitting my RCU-Bype Flatout with it and can't wait to hit the brakes!

    Retail: $79.99

    The RimFire & Trade; Brushless Outrunner VPP System-

    Model No: 22M-1000
    Input (V): 7.2-12
    Max. constant amps: 11
    Max. surge amps: 15
    No-load amps: 0.65
    Internal resistance (ohms): 0.234
    Motor (dia. x length): 1.1 x 1.14 in (28 x 29 mm)
    Shaft (dia. x length): 0.16 x 1.73 in (4 x 44 mm)
    Bearings: (2); shielded
    Total package weight: 2.1 oz (59.5 g)

    VPP Unit
    Drop in replacement
    Making the cut
    Motor and VPP

    The Rimfire unit is already assembled and comes complete with everything you would need. Since I was already using a Rimfire 22m-1000, the RimFire VPP bolted right up to the firewall. Prior to that however, I had to take the included template and mark where the pitch control rod would exit. Using a hobby knife made short work of clearing the foam away.

    The Pitch control wire has to be bent to accommodate the off center position of the servo. There are measurements included with the manual, however I simply eyeballed it. The Servo is then mounted. Ensure that before you glue the servo in that you don't have any binding. The channel assignment in JR radio's for the Pitch Servo is Channel 6.

    The installation portion of this is done. Simple huh?


    Now if you are like me, your freaking out a bit over the charts above. I mean, I have never setup a VPP unit, much less a Helicopter and it appears to be greek to me. However, taking a step back and reading the instructions along with the charts as a reference, things become clearer.

    I started off by selecting a Model in my JR 9303 and choosing the Heli mode. This enabled the mixing charts you see above. In the JR Radio, they are Pitch Curve and Throttle Curve. All other mixes are turned off. I setup my mixes as the above chart references for Gov Mode. Everything seemed to be working correctly, but at the extremes of throttle on both normal and Idle, the system was getting hot and I had nearly no thrust. I began scratching my head as all of my mixes were set up exactly as the above charts depicted. I took my Wattmeter and took readings. I was pulling 23 amps at full throttle range. Something was definitely wrong.

    I then read between the lines. This is just a starting point and the mixing will need to be fine tuned. My throttle seemed to be perfect, but it was the pitch that was out of line. Basically I had max pitch mixed in so they blades were becoming paddles giving more than 50% pitch. I really only needed about 30% pitch. So I started by decreasing my pitch until the amps came into line. I found that I went from -100% and +100% to more like -25% and +60%. This kept the pitch to a positive or negative 30% at the high end and low end of the throttle. Amps came into line at about 11.5-12 amps at either range and gave an input of about 113 watts. This is right around what I had with a standard Fixed Pitch system.

    Normal and Idle up are programmed to a Switch. I have mine on my Flight Mode Switch. Flight Mode Norm or zero contains my Normal flight mixing. This simulates a fixed pitch system. Flipping the switch down to Flight Mode 2 enables the VPP mixing. Center stick has no pitch, up has positive pitch (forward flight) and down has negative pitch (backwards flight). Something to get used to is transitioning from normal flight to VPP flight. If you are in normal flight and down on the throttle and flip to Flight Mode 2, guess what is going to happen? Yep..negative pitch and your going backwards. It is best to transition from Normal Flight to VPP while at about 3/4 throttle from what I have found. In fine tuning the mixing, right around 3/4 throttle seems to be pretty even matched in Normal mode and VPP mode. This makes for a smooth transition.

    I set it up both with Governor Mode as well as Non-Governor mode and it seemed to be easier to fine tune in Non-Governor Mode. So that is were I left it. Same results either way, but you must take that extra step to ensure that your not over RPM'ing the motor in Non-Governor Mode.


    What? It doesn't still look like greek does it? Well this I hope will clear it up. Lets look at it directly in the Radio. I wish I had every radio to program for illustration purposes, but the mixing shouldn't be too far off from my JR 9303.
    Function List
    Throttle Curve Norm
    Pitch Curve Norm

    Throttle Pitch Norm as you can see spans the full range from 0% to 100%. This is a linear throttle that is the same as a Fixed Pitch setup. The Pitch Curve Norm is set at 60% and is a flat line. This gives about 30% total prop pitch and is constant no matter where the throttle is.

    Throttle Curve FM1
    Pitch Curve FM 1
    Mode Switch

    Throttle Curve Flight Mode 1 gives a different view however. It looks like a large V. As the stick is at the bottom, it is turning the motor at 100% throttle. As the stick moves toward center, the throttle is cut to 10% and as it moves towards the top end, it goes back to 100% again. The motor never stops turning although it is changing RPM from center stick to either full up or full down.

    Pitch Curve FM 1 shows that the pitch has been toned down a bit from the chart above. The max pitch on positive throttle is the same as our Norm setting which is 60%. On negative throttle I have about 25.5% to keep the blades from over pitching. Both ends produce about 12 amps and 113 watts.

    Nervous? Heck yes I was! This was a new adventure for me and I kept going through the stick movements in my head. That and not knowing exactly what to expect once I throw it in reverse so to speak. I had flown the Sim version of the VPP setup, but you truly never know if it will react the same. I was hesitating in letting it go, but throttled up and hoped for the best.

    Switching from Normal to ST-1, I climbed up and put the nose down. Then I jammed the stick down hard and it just sat there. I mean just a dead stop. From there, the nerves melted away and it felt like an old hat. This is fun! While I could not get it to climb in reverse, it had plenty of authority.

    I enjoyed the crazy reverse flat spins the best (for lack of a better description), It just flailed itself around. Lots of fun. It is easy to get overconfident though and allow yourself to get to close to the ground nose down. I found I had to keep reminding myself of that sometimes successful...and sometimes not!


    Strike a pose


    Electrifly has an outstanding product in this VPP setup. The Rimfire VPP is easy to setup mechanically. However it will take some thought to set it up electronically if you haven't experimented with your heli mixes in your radio.

    The thrill of seeing your plane come to a dead stop and torque roll or flip about wildly is hard to describe and must be experience first hand. A+ on fun!

    Distributed exclusively by:
    Great Planes Product Support
    3002 N. Apollo Drive, Suite #1
    Champaign IL 61822

    Website: www.electrifly.com

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