Building and flying RC helicopters are fun activities for people of all ages. When the helicopter begins to fly incorrectly or has other problems, users want to get their helicopters back in the air as quickly as possible. Sending the helicopter off for maintenance and repairs is consuming and expensive. Learning how to repair RC helicopters saves owners money as well as allows them to spend more time with their favourite hobby. While there are a number of issues that can cause an RC helicopter to malfunction, several common problems exist. By taking the time to learn about the parts of the helicopter as well as how to identify and fix these common issues, RC helicopter owners can easily make the repairs themselves.
Before attempting to tackle the repairs on an RC helicopter, people should be familiar with the terms or names of parts commonly associated with these vehicles. Doing so helps them understand how the parts work together and which parts likely caused the malfunction. While designs of RC helicopters vary depending on the manufacturer, each one has the same basic parts.
Lithium polymer battery that is lightweight and has a large capacity
Most common type of battery to power RC helicopters
Electronic devices that control moving surfaces on the helicopter
Available in standard, coreless, and digital types
Gyroscope that maintains the helicopter's orientation in space and helps prevent unwanted movements
Device that changes the linear motion of the servo to rotational motion
Receives signals from the transmitter so users can control the helicopter
Uses electricity from the battery to turn the shaft and do work
Available in brushed and brushless types
Also known as a stabiliser bar
Functions to stabilise the main rotor
Thin wings placed at the top of the shaft on the helicopter to control up and down movements
Thin wings placed at the end of the tail to control tail movements and directional movements of the helicopter
Small RC helicopters usually operate with batteries alone. Larger helicopters have larger motors and often run on gasoline engines. Because of the hazardous nature of gasoline, users should exercise caution before attempting to make repairs. This means becoming familiar with the anatomy of the helicopter before taking it apart.
RC helicopters often suffer from the same problems when they malfunction. Thus, it is easy for helicopter owners to pinpoint the source of the problem and make the necessary repairs. In addition to purchasing replacement parts, owners need a few tools on hand to take apart the helicopter. The tools needed are a hex wrench set, jewel screwdriver set, and hobby oil or lubricant.
Drifting refers to helicopters that move off course or erratically. The most common drifting motion is a helicopter that spins in tight circles. This often indicates a problem with the flybar. Helicopter owners should loosen the flybar and clean it. If this does not remedy the problem, then they may need to replace the main rotor.
RC helicopters should glide smoothly through the air. If they vibrate or fly rough, then this is a sign of a couple of problems. Firstly, the tail rotors may be unbalanced. Helicopter owners should examine the rotors and tighten them equally. They should do the same with the blades on the main rotor. Vibrations while flying could also indicate a problem with the motor. If the helicopter owner flies it a lot or if the helicopter is old, then the motor may be at the end of its usable life and users should replace it.
Users can recharge LIPO batteries, but as with all other rechargeable batteries, they eventually lose their ability to hold their charge as well. Before replacing the batteries, owners should make sure that they sit securely on the helicopter. Over time, the batteries may loosen from their positions and this affects the connection. Next, users should check the voltage to ensure it matches the specifications for the helicopter. If users do replace the LIPO batteries, they should be sure to care for them properly, including proper storage and charging.
RC helicopters frequently overheat. This does not always mean that a part of the helicopter is defective, but is more likely a flaw in the design. Overheating occurs because the motor does not have enough ventilation or a way to draw heat away from the motor quickly. Helicopter owners can try replacing the heatsinks inside the helicopter or cutting holes in the top of the helicopter to allow heat to escape.
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When an RC helicopter malfunctions, owners usually want to get them back in the air as quickly as possible. While they can send the helicopters off for repairs, addressing the issues themselves proves to be much more rewarding. With a little bit of research and hard work, they can fly the RC helicopter again in no time.