pirouette before I could recover. So if you decide to try a three-blade head,
bear in mind that you might need to increase the tail speed, use larger tail
blades, or perhaps even go to a three-blade tail rotor as well.
There are a few other costs to consider before you charge forward. The
first added cost is just that—cost; with three blades, the cost of every set
of rotor blades increases by 50 percent, and since few suppliers are selling
matched three-blade sets, you’ll probably end up buying three pairs of
blades and breaking them up into two sets. And since you’re matching up
blades from different sets, you’ll have to be more careful with balancing
the blades. Once mounted, adjusting blade tracking is also a little more
complex. Many pilots running three blades end up marking them so that
they’ll always put the same blades in the same grips. There’s also the
issue of transport. On the three-blade helicopters I’ve flown, some heads
would allow the blades to fold neatly so that I could use a foam blade
holder for transport. Some designs don’t allow the blades to pivot quite
far enough, so for transport, you’re stuck with using a regular two-blade
holder and either having the third blade extending forward or removing it
for transport. The issue is primarily the depth of the “throat” on the blade
grips: If the grips are deep enough, you can fold the blades easily; if not,
you need to know that transport is going to be a little more work.
While personal tastes vary, three-blade heads also benefit from greater
rigidity. Successful three-blade head designs tend to run extremely hard
dampers or might dispense with dampers entirely for a truly rigid head.
Remember that the flybarless (FBL) unit depends on a tight feedback
loop, so the stiffer the head, the happier the FBL is; with a three-blade
head, this phenomenon is, if anything, more pronounced. In the end, you
should weigh the pros and cons before deciding if a three-blade heli is for
you—bearing in mind, of course, the final plus: the high cool factor.
Like many of you, I have my own portable charging station, with my main charger, a 75-amp ower supply, parallel
charging boards, and a selection
of adapters all mounted in a tough
Pelican case. This system has
served me well for more than three
years, but I wanted a smaller pocket-size charger for smaller flight batteries and
receiver packs. The iSDT Smart Charger SC-608,
iSDT Smart Charger
A remarkably user-friendly mini charger
The i SD T SC-608 is a remarkably capable balance charger for its compact size and
affordable price. The full-color display shows charge rate and millamp hours into
the pack, along with individual cell voltages.
The iSD T SC-608’s operator menu is simple and logical, and
the single click knob makes it easy to navigate and change
settings. This is the most capable micro 6-cell charger I’ve seen.
available from HobbyKing and other distributors, was just what I
was looking for.
The 608 fits in the palm of your hand, but it can charge LiPo
packs up to 6S at up to 8 amps. Its rated power is 150 watts,
which is surprisingly good for such a small unit. There are several
features that make the 608 especially handy. First, input voltage
can be anywhere from 9 to 32 volts, so you can use any 3S to
6S LiPo battery for a charge source. Second, the 608 has a 2.4-inch
color LCD screen that’s easy to read and interpret. Unlike most
micro chargers, it includes an efficient fan to keep things nice and
cool. Finally, the charger is operated with a single click knob, which
makes it easy to select menu options and adjust charge current.
It’s so simple to operate that a manual isn’t really necessary.
While primarily designed for charging LiPos, the 608 handles
all common cell chemistries (Li-Ion, LiFe, Pb, NiMH, etc.) as well
as discharging and storage charging functions. The simplicity of
operation is outstanding, with the single click knob letting you
quickly change settings.
I bought my 608 with the notion of charging the 2S receiver
batteries on my large helicopters, but it’s so capable that I know
I’m going to be using it for more demanding tasks, especially with
indoor flying season upon us. With a street price about $50, the
608 is a terrific deal.