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A helicopter from the junkyard

Filed under: Modellbau — Tom @ 19:08

Just a quick note. Recently I was out, dropping some items to the local junkyard. You know, these buy-back centres where you can bring your old paper, plastics, used electronics. While I was bumping my old internet router into the large electronics container I stumbled over a little helicopter, sitting in the middle of the pile in the container.

I asked a guy if I can get this device, he fished it out of the junk and handed it to me. It was a complete Thunder Tiger Mini Titan E325. Without a battery and with a Multiplex analog receiver.

450 class helicopter from the junkyard

It’s complete

The head was turning, the tail as well, the fuselage was not very nice anymore. One blade was bending while turning it. But all in all it was complete:

  • Stock motor and ESC
  • Futaba GY401 gyro (really one of the best in these days)
  • Four Hitec Feather HS-56HB servos
  • Multiplex receiver, don’t know which, dumped it in the meantime

What I fixed

  • Removed the blades which were mounted to tighten anyway. But they were so out of balance and different in weigth that they went straight into the trash. In addition there was added shrinking foil at the end. Got new once. Really, you never know, when the machine decides to through away a blade while the head is spinning at 2500 rpm you should better be far away.
  • Disassembled parts of the head, especially the blade holders from the center piece. Fixed the position of the thrust-bearings which were assembled wrong. Voila, the blade stops sticking and was rotating freely. Reassembled the rest of the head.
  • Added a used Orange DSMX receiver, 6ch, which I had laying around for a while. Did a quick electronics check: Everything worked, including the gyro.
  • The tail was making noise when turning. Reason was that the tail belt was twisted inside the boom. Fixed this and while doing that I removed a little wheel at the lower end of the tail fin. This is a helicopter not a race car. After the belt was mounted right the noise stopped completely.
  • Exchanged the HiTec HS-55HB for the tail with a Corona DS-319MG Digital Servo. Bended the control rod to the tail to a straight one, adjusted the tail mechanics and made the tail blades moving freely in the grips. They were tighten too fast as the main blades.
  • Exchanged the tail support holder, it was broken, removed some glue on the tail book and glued the slightly broken tail boom with CA.
  • Got a new canopy including a sticker set.
  • Programmed the radio, adjusted the head, servos, tail.

Added one of my 2200mAh/3S batteries and did a quick test flight. Yes, it flies, no unusual noise, tail was a little bit wobbling, blade tracking was not existing, the usual stuff on the first flight. That’s what a test flight is for.

  • Reduced gyro sensitivity to 60%. Not really great numbers but the tail feels nice and holds good. I like the GY-401.
  • Repositioned the tail servo a little bit so no trimming is necessary anymore.
  • Blade track is adjusted, too. Thanks to the blue and red stripes at the end of the blades that was easy in the sunlight.

The little machine does very well now. Never had a branded 450er class helicopter, always the ones from Hobbyking. Now I have one, like it a lot.

Finally ready with a new canopy

Lets sum up

Beside my radio (Spektrum DX9) I needed the following parts.

Necessary need to get it into the air

  • Orange 6CH DSMX receiver. I had one but if you need a new one it’s app. 25€.
  • A pair of main blades, 10€ plus p&p on eBay. I used original wood ones, for the look of this old timer. But new carbon 325mm ones are even better.
  • A battery, 2200mAh, 3S. Starting price is 15€.

So all in all 50€. Don’t forget if you buy such a machine on eBay you have to usually add a battery and a receiver on your own, too.

Not necessary things but recommended

  • Tail server, Corona DS-319MG or similar, 10€ plus p&p
  • Tail support holder, 5€ plus p&p. Or remove the tail support.

Unnecessary but for the look

  • A new hod, bought it in two pieces, 8€ and 10€ plus the decal sheet, another 8€. 26€ only for the look!

If you add it up it’s 91€ to get it back into the current state. Remove the battery and the receiver you usually have and you end up with 51€. Nice price for a Thunder Tiger Mini Titan E325 in a like new condition with good electronics.

Anyway, beside all the numbers. It was some cheap fun to get it back working. No heavy repairs needed (head, main rotor shaft, etc.), it flies great, looks fine and made me a lot of fun to reconstruct this oldie.

P.S.: Yes, you may spotted it from the first picture. The same day I found a Tamiya Dual Hunter in the container. added a receiver, a battery and my son was happy.

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