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The Cheapest Rc Electric Helicopter Build Guide

By Tony, May 6, 2011 | |
  1. Tony
    Hey everyone. I thought that I would make up a list of everything that someone would need to get into the great hobby of flying R/C Helicopters. Electric, or Battery powered is far easier than nitro. With a nitro helicopter, the ambient temperature has very little effect on how it runs. But, Humidity will cause it to run way rich, or way lean. I have seen a motor go from running in a race lean condition, a front blows through, and it's running pig rich. It's a headache to learn how to do the tuning on them. And, you will more than likely burn up the first piston and sleeve you get trying to figure it out.

    So, Here we are only going to talk about electric. We are also only going to talk about cheap. This is a guide that is purely to get you into the hobby as cheap as we can. I know that you can get everything you need, for less than $200. From the heli, to the Tx, to the charger and battery. Is any of this stuff top of the line? Nope. But, it will get you into the air and get you learning.

    Okay, so I know that you are asking yourself, "what all will I need". Well, that is exactly what this is all about. Below is the link to every part that you will need. I am trying to keep this list within the USA, so that shipping will not kill you. But, some things will have to come from the Hong Kong warehouse. The Helicopter kit, battery, and Tx will come from Hobbyking USA, the servos, motor, ESC, and training gear will come from Hobbypartz.com. There are some parts however that will need to come from Hobbyking HK Warehouse. Like the gyro, battery charger, Battery plugs, Tx Cable, and maybe even the Tx if the USA is out of stock. I have included two links to some parts just in case the USA is out of stock.

    Everything centered below is a link. Click on it to see the item in a new page.

    Parts List From Hobbyking USA
    HK450 CCPM 3D Helicopter Kit (Align T-rex Compat.) Ver. 2 (USA Warehouse)

    ZIPPY Flightmax 2200mAh 3S1P 20C (USA Warehouse)

    XT60 Connectors Male/Female (5 pairs)

    Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx V2 - Mode 2 (USA Warehouse)
    Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx & Rx V2 (Mode 2) (HK Warehouse)

    Hobby King 2.4Ghz 6Ch Tx USB Cable for Win2000/XP (HK Warehouse)

    Turnigy balancer & Charger 2S-3S

    HobbyKing GA-250 MINI-MEMS Gyro

    Parts List From Hobbypartz.com
    9G EXI Digital Metal Gear Servo D213F (x1 For Tail)

    Alpha 400 (3500kv) Brushless Motor for 400/450 RC Helicopter

    30A Brushless ESC Speed Controller [Volcano Series]

    Exceed-RC Brushless ESC Programmer Device for Volcano Series & HobbyWing Aircraft ESC

    T-Pro MG90S 9G Metal Gear Servo 1.8kg / 13.4g / 0.10sec (x3 For Cyclic)

    Training gear sets

    Okay, so you have decided what you want to order from the USA, and what you want to order from HK. When you order from HK, be sure to use EMS shipping. You will get your items much faster. That is all I use myself.

    Now, I"m sure you are asking, why are we ordering things from 3 different warehouses? The answer is simple, cost. You will pay a little more for shipping, but the overall cost is outstanding. I have made hundreds of dollars worth of purchases from Hobbyking, and everyone of them were perfect. Now, do they have bad orders, sure. Sometimes they take a little longer than they should. But, it will always get to you, and if it's wrong, they will make it right.

    Okay, with the parts I listed above, you are under $200. By rounding up, I came up with $158 (that was rounding each price up to the nearest dollar). So, that leaves you with over $42 for shipping. Well, Hobbypartz is free shipping if you order over $25. Hobbyking USA is free shipping, but only if you order over $100, so you will have to pay shipping there, but it's local so it shouldn't' be more than $10. Shipping will hurt from HK. Expect to pay about $10 for the little items that you will have to order there.

    By now, I"m sure you have looked at that charger, and are wondering why I would say to get one like that. Well, it's simple. Because that is the kind of charger you get with a RTF Kit. Sometimes they have an AC adapter, but most of them are DC only. Simple fix, use your car battery. It won't take much to charge these batteries.

    Another thing that you may be wondering is why I'm putting in those XT60 plugs for the batteries. You are saying "I thought you liked Deans Plugs". Well, I love Deans Plugs, I suggest Deans Plugs, and if you have a local hobby store, GET DEANS PLUGS! The only reason I put those in there is cause that is what the battery comes with. If you have ever shorted out a lipo, you know that it's not fun. So, I take that hassle out of it, and just do it so that you have to replace the ESC plug. Yes, simple soldering skills are needed, but you get 5 pairs of plugs for that price. Yes, 5 pairs, 5 female and 5 male. So, if you can get Deans, get them. Otherwise, the XT60 plugs are the next best in my book.

    Okay. So now you have all of these parts sitting in front of you, and you are going nuts cause you don't know where to start. Well, over time, I will be doing detailed videos directing you on how to put all of this together and how to make it work up until your first flight. You have all the parts you need, now we just need to make them work together.

    Please stay tuned as there will be a lot of updates to this post. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. I will answer any question, no matter how simple. I pride myself in helping others, and I'm on here EVERY DAY to do just that.

    Thank you everyone!

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