Here's where you'll find the latest updates, tips and info to get the most from your special bird.
last addition 11/08
Quick links to some of the information down this page:
BRUSHLESS MOTORS & MOUNTS
DIY SUSPENSION RODS
(recommended for brushless or dual IPS use)
NEW FRAME CONSTRUCTION NIGHT FLIGHT LED CONSTRUCT ARCHIVE PAGE GWS Servos - Brushed Motor Hop-Ups - LEDs - Vectored Thrust Mod
2008: I've added a couple setup and test flight videos to ease new owners getting their plane ready to go - here's the directory:
TRIM STRIPS update:
We've found that since the trim material is Nylon and the sail is Dacron, if the wing is subjected to extreme temperature changes the trim can develop puckers if viewed from the bottom. DON'T try to peel the trim off and re-stick it as after a couple days of curing, as it is on for keeps! (voice of experience)
It's important to hand shape the nose area a little when you set up your CF to achieve the proper airfoil at the root. Work the fabric forward on the LEs to relax the pressure at the nose that wants to flatten it out. The center rib should be located forward resting on the nose tube between the wire ties. If it gets pushed back too far it can drop down behind the tube and cause the nose to loose it's shape. Also, if it gets sideways out of the wire ties you'll lose camber also.
SAIL ATTACHING BANDS:
All planes use with 3/8" diameter heavy duty dental bands. Using two of these at each location is a good idea for redundancy in case of a crash and potential loss. Extras are included in the parts bag if needed. They are also great for holding the receiver, ESC, even battery packs to the frame.
There has been some confusion over the location of the GWS IPS motors on the mount. Your drive shaft should be on the top of the mount stick in flight. This is shown on page 21 and 22 of the written manual but may not be that clear.
If your motor mount stick gets loose in the motor over time, an easy way to tighten it back up is to coat it with thick CA, sprinkle backing soda on it, shake off excess and light sand to fit. Other ideas are to just use a coat of wood glue, let dry completely and light sand or even just CA a piece of thread lengthwise around the stick. Even just adding a small piece of masking tape can make a big difference.
Here's the ELECTRONICS DIAGRAM for those that want a better understanding of how to hook everything up:
Brushed motor systems are wired the same but have 2 wires to the motor instead of 3 from the ESC. To reverse the direction of the motor rotation just switch the two wires.
LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries used for the CF have only two 3.7 volt cells in series for 7.4 volts total. Read more about them below.
Besides our on-going research and testing, our customers are sending in or posting many good suggestions we want to pass along to everyone. Also, this is where you'll find out about any improvements we've discovered since the owners manual was printed.
BATTERY PACK WIRE MOUNT:
The stock rubber band mount is simple, easy, and allows the pack to absorb even severe impacts. However, be sure you tape the battery lead from the ESC to a frame tube so if the bands do break and the pack goes flying off, it will disconnect itself without wanting to take the ESC with it. Be sure to stress relief the wire coming out of your battery pack with a piece of strapping tape to protect it also.
As much as you may want to stick the most cell-count battery you can on your CF, first try it with less. Yes, I said LESS! Using the stock IPS drive as an example, I started flying it with 7 cell AAA NiMH packs but then went with only 6 cell packs with it. Why? Because it seems that the heavier 7 cell pack doesn't give it much more power than it takes to just carry the extra cell! It feels heavier in the air and for some reason I can't explain, doesn't give the same satisfaction as the lighter 6 cell pack does with this motor. The motor charts show they are more efficient with less cells so this may explain it.
Generally, people use one extra cell with NiMH batteries than used with NiCads, but in this case just try it and judge for yourself. For the other optional motors, I've tried 7 and 8 cell packs but now stay with the 7 cell ones for the higher current motors for the same reason. It should be noted that if flying in higher winds, the extra cell weight does help with wind penetration however. If you are using the light-weight GWS Nicad packs and aren't worried about burning out your motor early, the extra weight of a seventh or even eighth cell may be worth it to you in this case.
Currently LiPolys are the battery of choice for their light weight to power capacity. The only disadvantage with these are that they can be TOO light. With any of the heavier motors on the back, the pack might need to stick out too far forward to balance properly. This has been overcome to some extent by mounting the packs sideways allowing it to be moved further forward and by using larger packs which still stays within the recommended weight limit but greatly increases the duration of the already extended flight times possible with these cells!
LiPo safety: PLEASE follow these SAFETY GUIDELINES for LiPo use. Since LiPos don't have a hard enclosure, it's best to place the pack sideways ABOVE the center frame tubes to prevent crash damage to the packs if possible. They should be wrapped in foam and secured with bands as well as using some velcro to prevent them from slipping around.
If you are flying over a hard surface like a parking lot or street, you might consider making a light foam pod-like cover to stick over the nose and battery for added protection. Find some of that rubbery foam used for packing stereos, computers, etc. and cut a piece to shape that will wedge over the battery pack or can be attached with velcro. It doesn't take a lot to protect it but can make a big difference if you nose in and don't want to ruin your pack. We now pack the center frame with a foam sheet that can be cut to fit under the nose as a battery protector. It can be rubber banded on the center frame or a little stick-on velcro can be added for quick removable.
Here's a simple idea a customer submitted. Ever wonder what to do with that great foam piece your GWS receiver comes packed in? Well here is an easy, light and very protective skid:
Another method is to get some thin walled, small diameter foam insulation tubing and cut it in half to cover the gear. Shape the front and rear to taste and attach with rubber bands or velcro to the center frame tubes. This isn't the lightest way to go but will allow great protection, some additional streamlining, and should make it look cool in the process.
If protection isn't really a concern but you want to streamline your bird with a minimum of weight, try a vacuformed canopy underneath. It can be painted for looks, even tinted by dying it in cloths dye and should be easy to attach with velcro tabs at the ends or sides if you don't cut off all the excess plastic around it prior to fitting. If using wide packs that are thin enough not to interfere with the sail, you can put them on top the spar to reduce drag even more.
If the rubber bands attaching the pack are too light or loose, a hard landing or launch can shift the pack causing the CG to change making the plane possibly uncontrollable. It was suggested to add a small piece of thin ply to the tubes where the battery lies on which a piece of velcro can be attached as well as on the battery keeping the pack from shifting. Still use the bands for security to keep it pressed on firmly however. An alternative is to just add thin Velcro strips on the tubes themselves as well as on the pack.
CG LOCATION CLARIFICATION:
The older manual states to balance your plane with the root "level". If you look at the picture of it balanced you'll notice that the nose is up slightly. "Level" in my mind when I documented this was flight level, not level to the horizon. Since the nose is raised about one inch in level flight, this should be sufficient. Some are running about two inches high so the range between one and two inches will keep you in the ball-park.
NOTE: With SUSPENSION ROD USE, balance the plane level on the marks to start as the rods change the airfoil shape.
Remember, the entire CG range is available AT THE MARKS located out on the wings. Nose balanced level, slightly nose heavy needing up trim (best place to start). Nose a little raised, about right. Nose raised a couple inches, getting tail heavy and twitchy or unstable.
PRE ADJUSTED SERVO LINKAGE:
Apparently everyone's radios don't center the servos the same. (We knew that.....) So, although close, please don't assume the adjustments are correct without checking them or you may have to add lots of trim to get it to fly correctly. We originally adjusted them so that if the horns were square with the servo bodies, the tip adjustment is correct. As of March 03 however, we are shipping them offset forward slightly as noted below.
When you power up your system the first time with it set to center trims on your radio, do it without the linkage connected. If the servo horns are not even and square to the servos (or even and forward slightly depending on when you're was received), you'll have to first reposition the horns on the servos. If you find yourself in this situation, read the differential note below also because you might want to do it at the same time if yours didn't arrive with them set forward a notch.
We are now shipping with the servo horns forward slightly already as suggested below since most pilots it seems do not use a programmable radio. Even if yours does, this makes it easier to get in the air. If yours arrived like this, you can skip the next part.
This is covered in the manual but is worth repeating here. If you don't have a programmable radio allowing mixer differential, it is highly recommended that you relocate the servo horns forward one notch from vertical on the servos to prevent any adverse yaw. This gives the controls more up travel than down. Once repositioned, then unscrew both linkages the same amount to get the tips back to the required 2.25 inch settings as documented.
The empty plane with micro receiver, ESC, the installed servos but less motor-prop-battery weights about 5 ozs. The recommended max RTF weight is about 9 oz without the addition of a suspension rod add-on (below). This gives you 4 ozs to play with for motor and pack options. The plane has been flown successfully as light as 7 oz with LiPolys and up to as much as 12.1 oz. overloaded but with the suspension rods installed.
The 9 oz limit is not for structural strength as much as for control authority at higher speeds. It appears that higher weights than this can cause the speed to build in a dive so fast that a normal pull-out becomes impossible. This is due to the control loads required to overcome the down pitching moment of the wing at the higher weights and/or speeds.
Notice the wing shape change as the A of A is suddenly lowered. The tips are still up and working but too much of the sail is being forced down from the negative air load to allow quick recovery. Pullout is usually possible but can be unnerving depending on altitude and speed. Of course if you find yourself in this situation, cutting power is the first step to recovery.
We now have a simple suspension rod add-on available that you can use to raise the weight limit for higher powered motors and larger packs or faster airspeeds. (See below)
If your CF didn't come with suspension rods (now included as of 3/07) be sure to read on.
The Carbon Falcon is NOT a replacement for a high speed foam combat wing so don't try to make it one. (that's coming later). It IS however a great slow flyer, light stunt wing, and with this mod, can handle higher weights, winds and speeds.
(Also see weight limits above for more information)
So, if you just have to beef it up for more action and speed using a heavy motor, please be sure to add the suspension rods and limit yourself to a <3 oz. motor with preferably a LiPo battery pack to keep it under 11 ozs total.
By adding these simple pitch stabilizer rods, the CF suddenly feels like a whole new plane; much more like a rigid wing with snappy and more precise control. The following pics should fully explain the add-on.
Simply make two .08" diameter rods (2mm) that are 24" long. Wrap heavy thread in a tight ring, one inch in from one end. These lashed rings keep the tubes from sliding inward under their tension at the root.
That's about it. The rods lay against the inside of the sail and their plain ends extend out through the tip extension bands on top the tip fitting. The angle that the root ends insert at between the center frame tubes tensions these bows holding the majority of the wing much more rigid. The rods cross at about 4" from the nose.
Rubber bands can be added around the center tubes and the X they form at the root for additional assurance that they stay put if desired but ours hasn't moved under normal conditions. If you are real ambitious, vinyl tube fittings could be lashed to the root center tubes to accept the rods for a cleaner install.
Due to possible radio interference from carbon fiber, it's a good idea to add heat-shrink over the root rod ends where they can rub on the other tubes. (not shown)
We found that if you put the outer rod inside the LE pocket, the rods never touch here.
Insert rod through bands - (Viewed from bottom)
Testing has been done with this mod from 8.3 oz up to 12.1 oz with excellent results. Maximum size motor I've tried to date is a Nippy Black 0808 turning a 10x8 SF prop with a Kokam 2S 1500 pack. Estimate about 12 oz thrust at about 10 oz RTF weight. Vertical climb wasn't quite vertical but almost and was unlimited. Due to the very sensitive nature of high speed flight with a flying wing, it is recommended that you use dual rates so you can have a reduced control travel setting for high speeds. Also it's still a good idea to reduce power coming over the top as no matter how strong a plane is, it still has it's structural limits.
NOTE: this mod is recommended to ALL CFs for it's overall advantages. They are available in the CF frame parts section of the store if you didn't get any with your plane and don't want to make your own. As of 3/07 all CF shipped now include them.
It's rare but if for what ever reason, the preformed ribs (battens) could possibly lose their reflex, camber or both. This is easy to restore using the rib template and a heat gun or even just a hair dryer. Only the outer two ribs have reflex. If you notice that with the CG properly set the plane is requiring more and more up trim to maintain level as time goes on, or it starts showing signs of increasingly wanting to tuck in dives, be sure to check them. There was one case where this happened on one wing only causing an ever increasing tendency to turn. It doesn't take much reflex in them but the difference in flight characteristics is considerable. If you are prone to this happening (from high humidity, laying things on your plane, etc.) it's been recommended that the ribs be coated with CA to reduce them from flattening out again or see the aluminum rib mod below.
NOTE: Testing has shown that if the root rib flattens out at the front or it's camber location is moved back (from gear pushing up on it for example) the CG can become very hard to find and can cause pitch stability problems.
RIB TEMPLATE LINK
You should be able to set your page setup and/or print properties in your graphics program to 100% (no scaling), centered, and just print it full sized on an 8.5 x 11 sheet.
3/05 - ALUMINUM RIBS DIY MOD:
Making aluminum ribs has recently been presented and tested in the CF mod Ezone discussion thread. If for whatever reason you find that the stock ones just aren't up to the speeds, weights, or flying style you demand from your bird, try making a set. Get two 3 foot lengths of 1/8 inch diameter K&S brand (from hobby shop) and starting with the end on the template rib TE, gently hand form to match. Keeping the excess tubing off the LE aids in making the greater camber there. Mark and trim to length with a hobby saw and file the ends smooth and round so they don't poke through the sail.
They do make a difference in the flight characteristics and are almost as effective as the suspension rods yet allow more down travel for inverted and other stunts. If you need rock solid stability for winds or high speeds, try them with the rods.
Some owners have tried using Razor and AF 010 motors in GWS-300 gear drives. (see the Ezone threads on their development) but these are heavy and harder to mount properly.
The new lightweight CD-ROM and outrunner motors are just right for the CF and many are not even as heavy as the now obsolete IPS motor.
Here's more info on BL motor choices if needed: BL MOTOR BASICS
Here's the mounting for a typical 17 turn spindle mount CD-ROM brushless motor turning the recommended EP 0804 (8x4 direct drive) prop for 2S (7.4vt) LiPo packs. It puts out about 10 oz thrust and only weighs about 1 oz! A 25 turn version works well also with a 9x5 HD prop on 2S packs for super long duration or you can run an 8x4 HD with it on small 3S packs for a real blast!
The following is another mounting example. Note the use of a length of surgical tubing over part of the motor post. This is to even out the stepped diameter post used on these motors. This way a flat attachment to the mount stick can be made without any angle being placed on the motor that would throw off the thrustline.
Carve or file a notch in the top of the stock GWS stick as shown if yours didn't come with it already. This prevents the motor from moving side to side. Add some heat shrink to both the stick and the motor post or better yet, add a sleeve of surgical tubing over the motor post for a grippy hold and some flex to absorb impacts. Wire tie it up tight and go fly. The thrustline ends up real close to optimum.
The best part of this and other CD-ROM style BL motors is that the AUW is only 8 ozs or less with a 2S pack of ~1200 LiPos. This gives the best of both worlds for in-close slow and tight flight as well as being able to blast off vertical for stunts and such. Keeping your CF light gives it much greater speed range and versatility.
You could just mount the motor post between the frame tubes the same way as the PJS below which moves the motor forward and lowers the thrust line plus allows the thrust angle to be easily adjusted if needed. This will increase prop whine however due to the prop slicing the air coming off the wing being closer but lets you use a slightly heavier motor and still have it balance with the lighter LiPo packs.
Here's my old-style PJS-300 mount. It flies on a 2S pack of ET 1200 LiPolys right at the nose. This mount also fits the slightly larger Nippy Black motors. The 0808 has been tested with 2S Kokam 1500 LiPos turning a 10x4.7 and 10x8 SF props but is way overkill in the power department so the smaller 0508 would be a better match. Do add the suspension rods (see above) to stiffen the wing shape for the higher speeds with this and other hot upgrades or try the aluminum ribs.
A simple light weight prop saver hub can be fashioned from a large servo horn that is drilled out for a snug fit on the motor shaft. CA will hold it on nicely. Drill out the prop to fit the flange on the horn and you are in business.
Castle Creations now makes a very small and light BL ESC that works great with these motors. It's the mini Phoenix 10. For a little better balance with light LiPos, mount the ESC forward under the servos. Note the 3 pronged plug cut down from a 4 pronged Deans using the 3 evenly spaced pins. This allows reversing the plug for easy motor direction changing if switching the motor from tractors to pusher planes.
Use rubber over the ends of the frame tubes for a better grip on the nylon.Also note that you want it mounted close to the bottom of the tubes at the back, not centered too high where the sail can't lay flat on the frame. This will effect the tip measurements if allowed to rise any.
The mount is a 1.25" length of 3/8" ID "Poly" tubing (1/2" OD - a rigid nylon - comes on a roll at hardware stores). The motor is a tight fit in it and the thrustline can be adjusted by the angle it's clamped to the center tubes. This is the BL motor mount kit available at the store. Note that this mount fits 10mm posts so if used for the CD-ROM style motors (usually 8mm posts) that some shimming will be required for a tight fit.
NOTE: we found that on these motors a high pitched prop is just too much for the plane without the above described speed suspension rods. For the PJS-300 and small Nippy Black, use a GWS 9x4.7 for sporty performance without over-kill. These motors turn the prop much faster than IPS motors where you need the larger pitched props. In fact, less than half throttle is about the same power output of the "stock" IPS DX-A at full throttle so you will learn throttle management real quick!
4/05 - NEW FRAME DESIGN & SERVO UPGRADE DETAILS:
Here's the current production frame with BMS-380 servos. We've lost the lashed torque bushings and now use the wire tie attach method for a number of reasons. First is production simplicity and second this arrangment allows the bushings to be moved in or out to accomodate different height servos so that the linkage stays parallel. Also, if service is ever needed on the torque rod assembly, it can easily be removed by just cutting loose the ties.
You can easily convert your old style frame to this design by simply cutting loose the lashing being careful not to damage the exhisting bushings. Obtain (4) 1/4 inch diameter cable clamps and some small wire ties to reattach the bushings to the spar fittings.
The new style servo mounts can use your old 1/8 diameter clamps relocated as shown. They just slide over the center frame tubes and are held tight against the spar clamps with two more wire ties at the front. This makes changing to different sized servos easy and saves a little weight in the process by eliminating some excess hardware.
Note the roughed up bushings here. They are clamped securely but can be still be pushed in or out as needed for spacing.
Note - not shown here are the LE connector stops located just outboard of the fittings. These used to be held with lashing also but are now using a short piece of vinyl tubing CAed in place.
It's important to have both bushings aligned on the spars for proper freedom of movement of the torque rod. Before reassembly just eye-ball along the torque tube from the root end assuring it is straight with the spar. Rotate the root bushing fitting until aligned if needed.
Also, allow just a tad of free-play at the ends between the tip rod and control horn clamps for friction-free operation. To adjust, first get the root bushing located so the servo linkage is parallel then slightly move the outer bushing inward slightly for the free-play.
With a frame half in hand, you want the torque rod to swing freely without any friction anywhere. If you manually raise the tip rod and release it, it needs to be able to swing down under its own weight.
11/05 - Night Flight LED construction details:
John Sanner was nice enough to submit details of his NIGHT FLIGHT LED video LED setup.
Also see the video page for his incredable "Paint the Sky" time-lapse photos. Thanks John!
Here's the construction video: