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Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Old 08-08-2009, 08:21 PM
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Mustang Fever
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Default Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

I just got my receiver ready Axe 400, and the programming sheet makes no sense to me. Anyone care to help me with this?
Old 08-09-2009, 12:52 AM
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Dick T.
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

At first look the radio set up sheet with the RxR is confusing and not explained very well.

Most of the confusion comes from the top row listing the individual systems and the swashplate set up. It is divided into columns which have nothing to do with the information listed below the swash set up row. So once your swash set up is selected for your particular transmitter, ignore the remaining transmitters and the column they are in.

Move down to the larger chart and read across the row for settings pertaining to the item listed in the black column on the left.

The 6EX does not have the easiest to navigate menus so have your radio manual available.

It helps to download the manual for the RTF version as it contains rod lengths.

Also my RxR needed adjustments to the collective pitch linkages on the rotor head to obtain the pitch settings described even though the rods lengths were correct. The tail rotor rod length was correct but the position of the servo on the tail boom needed adjustment to center bellcrank linkage at the tail rotor end.

The Gyro was completely out of adjustment but easily corrected using the hidden trimmer pot illustrated in the addendum (download if not included with your heli).

It took me several hours to set up the heli using the 6EX, however it flew well on the initial lift off requiring only minor tweaking.

I view many of the heli manuals today as being prepared by a heli Geek. He knows what he is talking about but lacks awareness and communication skills to describe things to a normal person!

Advise if some of my explanation makes sense, or not. I'll help where I can.




Old 08-09-2009, 07:45 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Thanks, Dick

Shortly after I posted last night, I realized the "horizontal vs vertical" split on the table, and it all kind of fell into place.

As I've had two of the 6EX systems for a couple of years, I'm used to the menu and the programming was simple, but as you say, the manual is necessary as Futaba's abbreviations for the categories are kind of cryptic.

I flew a CPP 2 for several months, and became consistent at nose out and side in hovering, and could get it back after the wind blew it across the lawn. ( I also got real good at rebuilding it, but after my last crash, lost interest in the squirelly little sob) With that skill level in mind, do you have any recommendations for Newbs on the "low rate" end of things? I was able to tame the Pro by using 3 or 4 weights at each end of the flybar. Is that something you think would help on the Axe?

Old 08-09-2009, 07:46 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Thanks, Dick

Shortly after I posted last night, I realized the "horizontal vs vertical" split on the table, and it all kind of fell into place.

As I've had two of the 6EX systems for a couple of years, I'm used to the menu and the programming was simple, but as you say, the manual is necessary as Futaba's abbreviations for the categories are kind of cryptic.

I flew a CPP 2 for several months, and became consistent at nose out and side in hovering, and could get it back after the wind blew it across the lawn. ( I also got real good at rebuilding it, but after my last crash, lost interest in the squirelly little sob) With that skill level in mind, do you have any recommendations for Newbs on the "low rate" end of things? I was able to tame the Pro by using 3 or 4 weights at each end of the flybar. Is that something you think would help on the Axe?

Old 08-09-2009, 12:44 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

There's good information in this post [link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_8045816/tm.htm]Helimax 400 3d[/link] about the axe 400. Just beware of the gyro many people have had trouble with it.
Old 08-09-2009, 01:21 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Thanks again, Dick.

I too, had to shorten up the tail rotor pitch pushrod before I could get the bird to stay more or less pointed in one direction. Also, the switch on the gyro had to be reversed, the gain turned all the way up (on the gyro) and the gain bumped up to 50% in the Tx before it was controllable in yaw. Before reversing the switch, it would do lovely pirouettes on the skids during spin up.

I'm not sure it will hold a heading yet, as during my last test session my 1250 mAh battery tripped the low voltage protection in the ESC. It was doing ok at about 3-4 inches altitude but I was still fighting the heading with the stick and had all the right rudder trim pumped in. This time I cranked on the T/R pushrod until I could see some positive "turn right" pitch when the rudder stick and the trim were centered. As you pointed out, that seems to center the bellcrank.

I also had to lengthen one of the main rotor blade pitch adjustment links so that it would be 0 degrees pitch with a centered throttle stick and the flybar at 90 degrees to the M/R mast. (6 full turns. Now it's the same length as the other one.)

After the recharge I'll take another run at it. Meanwhile, I'm going to that website you provided. This bird is much easier to handle than my Pro 2. Things happen a lot slower. Sounds nice, too. The pro always sounded like a Road Ranger 15 speed that was low on oil.

Almost forgot: is the correct power up procedure as follows (this is how I've been doing it):
TX ON
Low rates to low, gyro switch down (off), throttle hold on
Bird ON
After all the beeping and chirping stops, gyro switch up (on), throttle hold off, fly.

I'm asking because I'm not sure I'm initializing the gyro correctly.

What's your opinion on shortening the aileron servo link one turn and lengthening the collective link one turn to build in some right hand swashplate tilt so as to counteract the T/R induced left hand drift? (I used trim for this on my Pro, but wonder if that's really correct.)

Here's a shot of it with the 1250 battery and 4 oz of lead to balance it
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Old 08-09-2009, 01:39 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Bob,

Additional flybar weight is the easiest way to tame a heli.

Additional blade weight tames it down further but requires new, heavier blades or carbons. Flybar weights are the least costly and easiest.

Leave all throws on the recommended low rate/exponential then begin reducing the expo as you become more comfortable or if you feel the heli is sluggush in cyclic response. Next step is to increase the % of the low rate.

Basically get the heli to feel the way you want it without loosing control authority.

The eflite/esky CCP helis are squirrily because of the light weight and some of the 400 size helis exhibit similar characteristics. Add 4-6 ozs to the airframe makes them more stable, but at the expense of shorter flight time (a couple of minutes at most).

On my AXE 400 RxR, I carry a standard Futaba 4.8 battery pack and mini switch to power just the receiverand servos. This adds 3-4 oz of weight strapped under the frame directly below the main shaft.

Most of the ARF electric heli setups are for geeky 3D pilots and too wild for beginners, sport and mild aerobatic flying. Personally I think the setup out of the box needs to be geared towards that level as the 3D geeks will hop them up right away as nothing is hot enough for them. The E-flite Blade 400 sales suffered greatly (at least locally) shortly after introduction as it is way too hot out of the box. Horizon now has a video out on taming the bugger down for sport and aerobatic flying. It is a good little heli and parts sales at the LHS were great for a while which drove a number of beginners out of the hobby altogether. The LHS heli guru is a 3D geek so thinks that is the only way to fly helis.

I think you will like the AXE 400. It is a good value for the money.



Old 08-09-2009, 02:01 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400


ORIGINAL: Mustang Fever

Almost forgot: is the correct power up procedure as follows (this is how I've been doing it):
TX ON
Low rates to low, gyro switch down (off), throttle hold on
Bird ON
After all the beeping and chirping stops, gyro switch up (on), throttle hold off, fly.

I'm asking because I'm not sure I'm initializing the gyro correctly.

What's your opinion on shortening the aileron servo link one turn and lengthening the collective link one turn to build in some right hand swashplate tilt so as to counteract the T/R induced left hand drift? (I used trim for this on my Pro, but wonder if that's really correct.)
The gryo should be initialized in head hold so try it with the switch on when plugging in.

Setting up the gyro is the most time consuming. Start with rudder trim and subtrim at zero, set the gyro gain pot to half way between stops. Turn off the gyro switch so the servo is centered. Loosen the rudder servo mounts and slide the servo fore/aft to center the T/R bellcrank. Turn on gyro switch....if the servo creeps or travels quickly in one direction the trimmer pot under the label needs adjustment. Toggle the transmitter gyro switch on/off and adjust the trimmer in HH mode to match the center. It is very sensitive so make extremely small adjustments. You may never stop the creep completely but it should hardly be noticable.

Use transmitter aileron trim to correct the left drift unless it is severe. If so, adjust the linkage.

Initialize in HH mode and lift off. Rudder trim can then be used to counter tail drift. If it takes a lot of trim, go back through the set up again. It shouldn't take more than a couple of trim beeps to correct the drift.
Old 08-09-2009, 02:07 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Thanks so much, Dick. That is all good info. I printed out the gyro setup info and will go through it when the battery is charged up.

To add a separate Rx battery, all I have to do is clip the red wire on the ESC throttle channel connector, and use the battery port on the Rx, yes?
Old 08-09-2009, 02:27 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400


ORIGINAL: Mustang Fever

Thanks so much, Dick. That is all good info. I printed out the gyro setup info and will go through it when the battery is charged up.

To add a separate Rx battery, all I have to do is clip the red wire on the ESC throttle channel connector, and use the battery port on the Rx, yes?
That is correct but don't cut it. Use the tip of an Xacto knife to lift the little tab in the center of the connector then slide the wire out, double it back and tape to the other wires.

Keep in touch.
Old 08-09-2009, 03:11 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Dick, here's the latest:

I was closing in on the bird actually holding a heading by itself when the battery pooped again. So far, the switch on the gyro is reversed, the gain in the Tx is opposite what they call for in the book and is at 80%, and I have about 48% of the available right rudder trim.

The only problem I didn't have was the rudder servo drifting in HH off. The tag on the gyro has a hole torn in it where I think that pot you referenced lives, so they must have adjusted it at the factory. (It's between the switch and the gain pot, yes?)

Judging by the last flight, just before the battery quit, I'll probably end up with the gain at around 90-95% in the radio.

Old 08-09-2009, 05:19 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Success

At 90% gain in the TX, the heading hold works very well, and does not change throughout the flight the way the gyro did on the CPP2.

I made several flights of a minute or so, at about 6-18" altitude only, as that small battery runs down so quickly that I don't want to get caught too high by the ESC. At 18", she appears to be out of ground effect and gets very easy to hold over one spot.
Old 08-09-2009, 08:31 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Sounds like you are getting it dialed in although I find your gyro settings a little strange. However if it works, leave it.
Old 08-11-2009, 09:41 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Dick:

I finally found the trimmer pot. Way over on the left side of the bird, under the label like you said.

I've been unable to trim out any drift, so went through the whole gyro setup process again. I set gyro A to +45 and gyro B to -45 as per the HM4000 instruction sheet, and centered the gain pot on the gyro.

Then, I had no drift with HH off, but drifting with it turned back on. (After initialization.) I switched back and forth between on and off, tweaking the pot, and now there's no drift in HH on.

I think maybe this will be it. Except for the slight drift in HH, the bird is flying great. I'm beginning to learn the controls and can stay (mostly) over one spot now, nose out.

Thanks for the help,
Bob
Old 08-11-2009, 11:02 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

The set up sounds correct now. The slight drift in HH can now be corrected with a beep or two of rudder trim while in HH but will drif when it is off. That is about as close as you can get.

Glad you like the AXE 400. It is a good little bird.

Old 08-12-2009, 06:31 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Dick:

Do you think its normal for the gyro to require tweaking before every flight? Otherwise, the little bugger seems to work fairly well, ie, it's at least as good as the one on my CPP2, and I could never get it to hold a heading, but it didn't drift off too much so I lived with it.

Also, the book and you both talk about subtrims, but my 6EX booklet is silent on that subject. Am I missing something?
Old 08-12-2009, 09:18 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

No, it shouldn't need adjusting that frequently unless there are wide temperature swings as that affects the gyro. Try to get it adjusted so there is little or no drift when switching between HH and regular mode.

The 6EX does not have a sub-trim function, only trim and trim steps. Actually this is better as sub-trim can create problems with HH gyros.
Old 08-13-2009, 05:33 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

I think maybe the temperature is doing it- going from inside a cool house to 75-80 degrees outside. The CPP2 needed about 10 minutes to "acclimate", I think I'll start doing that with this one.
Old 08-13-2009, 09:44 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Had a really good flight this morning, after letting the bird sit out on the front porch for about half an hour. Then, later on, after an equal amount of time "acclimating", she was doing really well in zero wind conditions, so I starting practicing going from nose out to side in hovering, and about half way into, she started spinning around. No apparent reason. I had zeroed the rudder trim and the trimmed the gyro pot for no drift, and it still had no drift after the incident.

I've had it. I'm afraid to fly it above about two feet altitude because I don't know what it's going to do next. I tried to get through to the Helimax guys at Hobbico yesterday, and all I get is a goddamn tape. I left a message and they haven't called back. If they don't call me by COB today, the whole thing, along with the two batteries I bought for it, is going back to Tower. This thing is poor in my estimation and should be withdrawn from the market until they can figure out how to make a decent gyro.
Old 08-13-2009, 11:54 AM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Difficult to tell if the gyro caused the loss of rudder but it is possible. Some fellow have reported gyros failing.

Could also be a bad servo pot that causes the servo to change position. Turn off HH and move the servo very, very slowly from end to end with transmitter control. If the servo jerks at any time, it may be defective.

Also try hovering with HH off to see if it occurs again. If the above check and it does not do it with HH off, it can then be the gyro.

Try those steps so you can relate the results to the Hobbico Techs.
Old 08-13-2009, 03:50 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Thanks, Dick.

I finally got through to Helimax support, and they are sending me a new gyro. The fact that I have to null it before every flight tipped the guy off right away.
Old 08-13-2009, 05:21 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Good to hear. Getting through to Hobbico tech support is sometmes difficult but they do take care of the issues.
Old 08-17-2009, 04:16 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Dick:

Still waiting for the new gyro to arrive. Thought I'd take the old one off so I'd be ready. It rattled. Interesting. Took the screws out and pulled the circuit boards out. A large capacitor fell out on the floor.

I'm really starting to doubt Helimax's ability to build gyros. I was thinking of getting a Futaba G-190 to replace it. Would that be a good one?
Old 08-17-2009, 04:36 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Not the first time I have heard of this. The E-flite gyros on the Blade 400 have a similar problem with a capacitor breaking off.

If you can repair it, then goop it with some silicone it should work properly. The LHS has repaired several E-flite's and they worked fine.

You might open the new one when it arrives and goop that one before using it.

If you plan on trashing the broken one, send it to me and I'll reimburse the postage. I'll attempt the repair and if no go, trash it here.
Old 08-17-2009, 05:02 PM
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Default RE: Programming Futaba 6EX for an Axe 400

Dick:

I went ahead and ordered the Futaba G-190. I can't tell where the cap came off the board. When I get the new one, I might open it up and take a look.

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