So it’s been a couple of months since I’ve flown any of my planes or driven any of my R/C cars. They’ve all been busted up in a broken pile of parts and clutter and I just haven’t had the time or energy to get them back up and running…until last weekend. The last time I flew my Mini Showtime 4D the rudder servo stuck mid-flight with the rudder swung all the way out to the right. It was one of the cheap E-Flite S75 servos, the kind that just about everyone blames at one point or another for the loss of their plane. Fortunately I was able to land it with only minimal damage to the fuselage from a less-than-stellar landing (which didn’t have so much to do with the cocked rudder but a big pipe sticking up out of the ground that I somehow didn’t see. Doh!)
I replaced the rudder servo with a new S75 (I know, lessons are hard-learned) but it’s only a $12 servo and it only weighs 7.5g and doesn’t tax the BEC in the ESC. I did replace the elevator servo with the much-better Hitec HS-65HB servo which although is heavier and draws more current, is a very robust servo for a park flyer like the Showtime. I figured if I lost the rudder again, I’d at least be able to land it, but if I lost the elevator, I knew I’d be dead, so I didn’t want to risk it. My old S75 that was on the elevator was on its last leg anyway. The HS-65HB draws more current and according to the specs on the E-Flite 40-Amp V2 ESC, they don’t really rate it for running 3 micro servos and 1 digital servo, but I figured it couldn’t be too much more. Besides I’ve got the ESC placed so plenty of air flows over it. Of course, the loss of the BEC in your ESC is probably the worst thing that could happen mid-flight. I think at that point the plane is a total loss, so it’s somewhat of a risky tradeoff. But the HS-65HB is a smooth servo, and it’s a drop-in fit in place of the S75.
My first flight with the plane all fixed up went without incident. Though I was nervous since I hadn’t flown for so long. People talk about having rusty thumbs, and boy do I know it. I didn’t try anything too crazy, just flew around doing loops and some inverted flight and I kept it nice and high in the air. It was a blast to fly again though. And the new elevator servo really has some great authority to move the plane up or down on command. I’d like to replace all those stinking S75 with them. But a new BEC would be a must at that point, and it’s an expensive upgrade. So until another S75 bites the dust (and hopefully I can recover the plane) I’ll be sticking with my current setup.
Of course R/C planes aren’t my only vice, I also recently broke out the ole’ Micro RS4. I think it was some 8 years ago that this little 1/18th scale R/C car took the radio control world by storm. I spent more time than most people should playing around with this sweet little R/C car, so much so that it took up almost 3 years worth of my time and life. (Check out www.aktionRC.com and you’ll see what I’m talking about). Now it’s been more than 3 years since I even opened the boxes that these cars lie dormant in and inside of one weekend I have almost 4 complete rollers ready for electronics and ready to race. Now that my kids are a little older and the HOA built a full-court basketball court up the street, I’ve got the perfect racing team and perfect track to race at. Once I get them up and running I’ll throw up some more pictures and specs of what they’re running. For now it looks like the kids’ 2 cars will run stock motors on full-upgraded 540 and 480 chassis’ converted back for stock setups and my car will be running a 180-sized 6200 Kv brushless on an 11.1V li-po. Should be lots of fun! More details to follow…