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[STATUS]

(*) [CK] (*) [D0]

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If core memory fails, cycle power, reload system from tape and initialize instruction register with switches.
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Thu, 23 Aug 2007
ECOMAN Firefly


The Firefly is a really small (micro) and cute helicopter. It fits in the palm of you hand. For its size it has a pretty good flight time, about 10 minute (so I'm told). I've gotten a number of short flight off of a single charge. It's small enough to fly inside. Actually, you probably wouldn't want to fly it outside unless there was zero wind.

Unlike the other choppers, this one is infrared controlled. I was a bit worried about range and receiver visibility during maneuvers but it has worked great.

Flying it is a blast. It's like chaos in motion. The thing is never in trim so every time you lift off you've got to hammer the trim buttons to get it in control otherwise it'll spin into an ugly crash. I've gotten into the habit of jambing the rotation control full over just to lift off. The Firefly only has two axis (two channel) control. Up, down, left, right, that's it. You don't have a forward or reverse. This is typical for these cheap copters. You can finesse forward and reverse. When you turn right, the copter moves forward and when you turn left, the copter moves backward. I don't know if this is due to how the copter is balanced or if it is due to gyroscopic precession caused by the tail rotor. Each of the ECOMAN copters has a gyroscopic stabilizer. While I haven't flown any copters like this without this type of stabilizer, I expect that this makes a major difference. If you can get the spin under control, the copter will be very stable not drifting horizontally very much. With all these limitations and difficulties you may be wondering why it's so much fun to fly. All I can say is that these quirks are what makes it so fun. Just trying to get it under control and then coaxing it to go the direction you want is quite a challenge and really keeps you on your toes.

I think I bought this one for under twenty dollars and I've definitely gotten my moneys worth with it. Sadly, on one crash, I lost the pin that holds the stabilizer to the rotor shaft. I know that I can get replacement parts but I think I can fix it with either a short length of paper clip wire or a pin. That's another aspect of these copters, they're so cheap that you really can afford to hack them and buy another for additional parts without investing too much money.

posted at: 04:57 | path: /Toys/Helicopters | permanent link to this entry

RC Helicopters
Recently I've had a thing for small, cheap, RC helicopters. I've bought several. They're all made under the ECOMAN brand name but are also sold under different names including AirHogs. I think that the real manufacturer is actually Syma. Each of these little 'copters were under $40 when I bought them at Fry's Electronics.

posted at: 04:38 | path: /Toys/Helicopters | permanent link to this entry