T-Rex (RC helicopter)

The T-Rex is an electric-powered radio-controlled helicopter model produced by Align. Since the initial release of the helicopter several years ago, Align has produced several variants of its T-Rex 450 and T-Rex 600 models.

T-Rex 450

The T-Rex 450 is the smallest helicopter produced by Align. The first incarnation of the T-Rex 450 was the 450X, which was comprised mainly of plastic and was available with an "HDE" (mechanically mixed) rotor head. The T-Rex 450X was upgraded to a version 2 (V2) which was largely identical to the original model but included some additional bearings and repackaging. Align released a series of blue anodized aluminum upgrade parts for the V2 and these were the basis for the later (and evolved) SE model - see below.

The 450XL model, nearly identical to the 450X mechanically, was equipped with a longer tail boom which would eventually become the standard for future T-Rex 450 models. It also came in two versions, one with HDE (with mechanical mixing) and one with CDE (CCPM-mixing) rotor head. Another difference with the XL models was an apparent change in the plastics used for the frame and mechanical parts - the mixing levers and flybar mechanism. These were now released in a black plastic (rather than the grey plastic used in the initial models) and were apparently more robust and (possibly) more precisely constructed, resulting in better crash resilience and less 'slop' in the control structures. 'Slop' is a term used to describe freedom of play in the levers and control systems of a model helicopter which result in it being difficult or unpredictable to fly.

Align later released their flagship model, the 450SE. Based on the Trex XL, the SE was equipped with a carbon fiber frame, along with many blue-anodized aluminum upgrade parts. It also featured direct servo-to-swash CCPM-mixing, eliminating much of the play (slop) from the bellcranks in the older versions. The "kit" comes about 80% assembled. During the life of the SE there were several incremental changes that lead to problems as some people (including dealers) were calling the upgraded kits V2, then Align came out with an official V2. So the updated SE kits were called V1.5 kits. Some of the changes over the SE lifespan included the tail hub, tail pitch pushrod, washout block, seesaw, main and tail drive gears. Later kits came with the 430L (3550 Kv) motor and the 35G, 35 amp electronic speed control. Earlier models came with the 420L and a 25 amp electronic speed control.

Align followed with the 450SA model, an ARF (Almost Ready to Fly) version; this model was a cheaper version using the same layout with as the SE, but with aluminum frames and the most of the CNC aluminum parts are replaced by plastic. This model is only sold in North America and is distributed by Horizon Hobby.

Align eventually produced the Trex 450S, which is a kit (semi assembled like the SE) based on the SA that was available worldwide. The S was available with an aluminum or carbon fiber frame.

Align made a official V2 (Version 2) of the SE featuring several notable improvements. The new frame mounts the gyro underneath the tail boom for added protection, and includes a new, more powerful motor(430XL) and an improved electronic speed control. Additionally, the V2 features several updated parts including the rotor head, tail assembly, and servo mount. They added thrust bearings to the main grips and increased the spindle shaft to 4mm thick. The anodizing is a deeper blue, and the frames are modified. Also came with the 430XL (3700 Kv) higher output motor and the 35X, 35 amp ESC that supplies 6 volts to the electronics.

The lastest version is the 450S GF version, which is an S with fiber glass frames instead of carbon fiber or aluminum.

The electronics included with the T-Rex kits have also evolved alongside the mechanical characteristics of the model. The initial 400S (short can) and 400L motors have been replaced by increasingly powerful and more efficient motors including the 420L series (XL and early SE), the 430L series (SE models), and the 430 XL (SE V2). Electronic Speed Controllers (ESCs) - the electronic throttle for an electric motor - were also introduced and have evolved thru models that were rated at 25 Amps and 35Amps. Additional functionality such as governor functionality were added to later ESCs.

Align started to offer marketing bundles including motors and ESCs with later T-Rex models.

The Trex is a "park sized" helicopter that is suitable for flying in baseball fields, soccer, field and other parks. It uses fairly inexpensive 3S 2100 battery packs ($50 - $80 per battery pack).

Trex Models:

450X - Original Trex model with grey (soft) plastic frames and short boom. Used mechanical mixing for cyclic and collective. 315mm blades only.

450XL HDE - Upgraded X with longer boom to support 325mm and 335mm blades. Changed plastic to black, better plstic.

450XL CDE - Same as XL HDE but used electronic CCPM mixing for cyclic and collective control. Servos still actuated the swash via bell cranks.

450SE - Major change to direct servo to swash eCCPM mixing. Carbon fiber frames, CNC aluminum for the head parts, tail case, bearing blocks.

450SA - ARF (95% assembled) version specific to Horizon Hobby. Fully assembled, with frames based on SE layout, but made of aluminum. Head parts, tail parts, and bearing blocks were plastic like the XL.

450S - kit version of the SA with choice of carbon fiber or aluminum frames. Plastic head, tail and other parts. And now as the GF version with fiber glass frames.

450SE V2 - the official V2. Changed the SE blue anodizing to a deeper, darker blue. Updated the rotor head to take a 4mm spindle shaft and thrust bearings in the main grips. Changed the frame layout to change the battery tray angle and to mount the gyro under the boom block. The tail servo mount was changed to fit the mini servos that most peope are using versus the older versions assuming micro servos.

T-Rex 500

The T-Rex 500 is ALIGN's latest model, which is smaller than the Trex600, yet larger than the Trex450, using 425mm blades. Designed and tested by renowned RC pilots, Alan Szabo Jr. and Jason Krause. It can be powered by two 3S (6S1P) LIPO batteries in series. There are four different Trex 500 battery setup configurations that are recommended for use. 4S 3200 mah, 5s 3200 mah, 6s 2200 or 2500 mah. The Trex 500 can run on many different voltages with the advanced ESC system that is included in all of the kits listed below. The Trex 500 is also capable of running a wide range of blade sizes ranging from 425mm to 450mm long.

There are reports of crashes caused by [http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=61205 static buildup and discharge] . Having a belt-driven tail, the Trex 500 is susceptible to static generation from the belt and pulleys in the tail system; the Trex 500 is not unique in this regard. The static can discharge into the frame and result in malfunction of the onboard electronics. Grounding the tail boom to the frame puts these components at the same electrical potential and eliminates the high voltage discharge.

Latest model information (see www.thetrexforums.com or similar for more info):

Four models have been released.

The KX017001TA is the carbon fiber version and includes carbon fiber main blades.

The KX017003TA is the carbon fiber version and doesn't include carbon fiber main blades.

The KX017004TA is the fiberglass version and includes fiberglass main blades.

The KX017006TA is the fiberglass version doesn't include carbon fiberglass blades.

There is also a fibreglass version which comes with carbon blades.

T-Rex 600CF

The T-Rex 600e is a large electric helicopter, the same size .50-class nitro powered model. It uses 600mm blades. Like the 450 models, the 600e is offered with either an aluminum, fiberglass, or carbon fiber frame. It comes with the 600L (early models) or later 600XL motor and 75 amp speed controller. The Trex 600e has some plastic head and tail components like the Trex 450XL and SA. But Align does make many CNC aluminum replacement parts for most all of the plastic parts. And the metal upgrade parts come in color choices such as Blue, Black, Red and Dark Green. The Trex 600e uses eCCPM mixing, but the servos are mounted forward and connect to the swash using bellcranks. This is similar to the 450XL CDE version.

The 600e does not share any major components with the smaller 450 model, and is usually more expensive to build and fly, partly due to its use of larger and more costly batteries. This size helicopter also prefers more space to fly and thius it not suitable for many small parks. It could be flown in a more controled area such as a formal flying field.It is more stable than the smaller models and far more "wind resistant" meaning it is great for a beginner to learn with. Although it is still a far more advanced machine than most trainers. But if you can afford its sometimes $2500 price tag go for it! but do not count out its repair costs.

There is also another version called the TREX 600 CF which is Carbon Fiber and it is the best and highest quality T-Rex 600.

T-Rex 600N

Align's first nitro-powered model, the T-Rex 600N, is a .50 sized model which shares many parts with its electric counterpart, the Trex 600. It is powered by a 0.50 cubic inch two stroke engine that burns a mixture of methanol, oil and nitromethane. Common motor choices are the OS50 and the YS50ST. And like the Trex 600 electric there are various upgrades to a complete CNC head and tail

The 600N comes in either a Pro version or a Sport version, with a Super Pro just announced (March 2008). The Pro version comes with a fiberglass canopy, carbon fiber frames, and a torque tube driven tail. The Sport version has a plastic canopy, glass fiber frames and a belt driven tail. The Pro version also comes as a combo complete with engine (Align branded version of the OS 50), muffler, battery and voltage regulator for powering the electronics, and blades.

The new Super Pro comes as the complete combo, also adding a governor. The Super Pro also replaces the plastic head and tail parts with CNC aluminum parts.

Setup

T-Rex helicopters are equipped with brushless motors for better runtime and power. The 450 models are usually powered by 3 cell (11.1V) lithium polymer batteries, while the 500 and 600 sized models use larger 6 cell (22.2v) LiPo battery packs. Yaw control is usually assisted by a gyroscope, which augments the pilot's yaw controls in response to changing forces, such as drag, at the aircraft. CCPM capability is required for those models equipped with 120° swashplates. Most compatible radio systems have at least six channels; the fifth(for futaba controllers) is typically used to control remote gyro sensitivity.

"Futaba/Hitech"Ch1 - AileronCh2 - ElevatorCh3 - ThrottleCh4 - RudderCh5 - Gyro GainCh6 - Pitch

"JR/Spektrum"Ch1 - ThrottleCh2 - AileronCh3 - ElevatorCh4 - RudderCh5 - Gear/Gyro GainCh6 - PitchCh7 - Gyro Gain

See also

* [http://www.rcheliresource.com RC Heli Resource] Where all of your RC Helicopter News Resources are Consolidated.
* [http://www.thetrexforums.com thetrexforums] Unbiased and enthusiastic support for all T-Rex models.
* [http://www.trextuning.com T-Rex Tuning] Dedicated to the build, setup, and maintenance of the Align T-Rex 450X electric model helicopter.
* [http://www.helifreak.com HeliFreak] Dedicated to helis, where Fun, Learning and Mutual respect reign.
* [http://www.rchelisite.com/align_t-rex_500_rc_helicopter_review.php RCHeliSite.com] T-Rex RC Helicopter Reviews
* [http://www.eflightwiki.com/eflightwiki/index.php?title=T-Rex T-Rex page] at [http://www.eflightwiki.com eFlightWiki]
* [http://runryder.com/helicopter/f94p1/ T-Rex Forum] RunRyder's dedicated T-Rex Forum
* [http://www.heli-spass.de/ Heli-Spass] German page about modell helicopters with special interest to cheap models
* [http://www.electric-rc-helicopter.com/ Electric-Rc-Helicopter.com] Forum dedicated to Electric Rc Helicopters, a lot of T-REX pilots are regular posters.

Books about the T-Rex

German books:

* Stefan Pichel: "Wunderwelt Modellhubschrauber - Der Einstieg am Beispiel des T-Rex 450". - ISBN 978-3-8370-4520-8 - Books on Demand Verlag - ( [http://www.heli-spass.de/index.php?n=Main.WunderweltModellhubschrauberBuch Website] )

* Stefan Pichel: "Der Modellhubschrauber T-Rex 600 - Bauen und Einstellen " - ISBN 978-3-8370-2972-7 - Books on Demand Verlag - ( [http://www.heli-spass.de/index.php?n=Main.Trex600ModellhubschrauberBuch Website] )


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