Flybarless systems and companies have exploded onto the RC Helicopter industry and where before you only had a couple choices now you can easily choose between four to six different companies and products to get your heli in the air without that flybar. Markus from Freakware was kind enough to send us one of the newest up and coming units on the market, the Micro Beast by BeastX.
The Micro Beast comes in a very nice high quality packaged box . Upon opening the box the first thing you see is the Micro Beast unit sitting in its own protective tray. Underneath the cardboard tray are the rest of the contents of the flybarless system. Included are Micro Beast manual, Quick Start Guide, Sticker Sheet, Business Card, Micro Beast Flybarless unit, two mounting pads, special pot adjusting tool, and four receiver leads. A couple things to note are that the manual is still completely in German so it really does no good unless your fluent in German. However you can visit the BeastX site and Download the English manual here.
My overall initial thoughts on the unit upon first glance got me very excited. The unit itself is a metal encased unit with a plastic top. Very high quality feel and superior fit and finish. All the manuals and swag were also very nicely done. The unit itself weighed in at around 20 grams, and with the receiver leads and mounting pad your looking at adding a total weight of 28 grams to your heli. Of course you need to remember the weight of the one axis gyro your removing along with the head components your losing by going flybarless, very acceptable size and weight!
The first step as you would guess would be installing the Micro Beast onto your helicopter. I installed the unit and flew it on a Trex 700 as well as a Trex 450 Pro so I could get a good feel for how the unit worked on a big nitro heli as well as a small electric. One thing to keep in mind is that you must install the unit with the plugs facing either forwards or backwards, this is a must for proper operation. One unique thing about Beastx’s unit is as long as you install it either facing forward or backward it doesn’t matter if you mount it laying down or on edge, a very nice feature for fitting it in those tight spots. The manual includes very nice easy to read diagrams on how to install the receiver wires from the receiver and the flybarless unit.
Once I got the unit installed to be honest I was kinda dreading setting up the helicopter. As with previous units having to use a complex PC interface or sub par LED system I was worried this would be much the same. However my thoughts and worries could not have been further from the truth. I have never experienced such and easy setup in my life!! I would honestly say that after getting your flybarless head put on your helicopter the actual unit setup takes no longer than setting up a standard gyro.
The Micro beast uses a series of LED’s next to a row of corresponding letters from A to H. When you begin setup you enter setup mode via holding down the one actual push button on the unit and wait till setup mode is entered. You can then toggle through each letter with a tap of the button and once the LED is lit next to the letter than your automatically into that parameter. As you go through setup you toggle through parameter options with either cyclic or rudder inputs from your transmitter which will change the LED to a color of purple, red, blue, or nothing. Each LED will correspond to a different setting which you will find in the manual.
This is a quick rundown of the Parameter menus.
A. Operating mode- here you can pick between either a standalone tail gyro or the 3 axis flybarless system. I think this is a great feature for those of you that may want to explore flybarless in the future but may not be ready for it yet so this allows the option of just using the unit as a tail gyro.
B. Mounting Direction- this is where you pick between laying the unit flat or on edge, again very nice option for those tight to fit places.
C. Swashplate Frequency- in this parameter you select the swashplate frequency for the servos on your cyclic controls. This is a nice feature that ensure the most precise control possible. The Micro Beast manual includes a large spreadsheet at the back that has all the frequencies for 99% of the servos used today.
D. Tail Servo Neutral Impulse- here you set your tail servo’s neutral impulse. Options are 760us 960us or 1520us
E. Tail Servo Frequency- just like the cyclic servos here is where you tell the Micro Beast what frequency to operate the tail servo
F. Tail Rotor Limits- this parameter will have you set your neutral and max throws for your tail pitch slider in each direction
G. Tail Sensor Direction- here you set and correct the tail sensor direction
H. Swashplate Sub-trim- once you reach this parameter you can make sure you swashplate is level and all your head setup is correct. You need to be 0 degrees pitch on your main blades and have a level swashplate. If you are having trouble leveling the swashplate with the bell crank or servo linkage rods you can use the sub-trim and adjust each servo by toggling the rudder stick to show the corresponding led then moving the aileron control back and forth to raise or lower that part of the swashplate. Once this is complete the unit will memorize this as the center stick position.
I. Swashplate Mixing- here is where you tell the Micro Beast if your swashplate is 90, 120, or 140 degree swashplate
J. Cyclic Control Loop- this is a very important step, using the aileron control you can control the amount of cyclic and you must measure our exactly 6 degrees and set the unit at that point. This function does not set the maximum cyclic range but tells the unit the apposed ranges for a control loop.
K. Collective Pitch Range- here is where you will move the transmitter stick to the top position and using rudder you can further increase or decrease to your set max collective. I set mine to 13 degrees, you also lower the stick and do the same for the negative portion. You must make sure your pitch curves are linear.
L. Swashplate Limit- adjust using aileron and elevator the swasplate limit you want your cyclic to have
M. Sensor Direction- here you make sure the elevator and aileron corrections are correct
N. Pirouette Optimization- this parameter allows you to make sure the gyro is correcting the piro optimization in the correct way.
and that is it! After setting up those parameters your ready to fly. An additional menu lets you play with more fine tuning parameters but I never had to touch them.
The unit also had 3 pots on the top that allows for adjustments in the field, swashplate gain, swashplate direct gain and tail dynamic.
I first tested the unit on my Trex 700 LE, the following components were used. Trex 700 LE, Align DS 610′s on cyclic, Futaba 9256 on tail, Align 690′s main blades, AR7100R receiver, switchglo pro, O.S.91HZR with GP Exhaust. I started the first flights leaving the mixing pots completely at the stock 12 o clock position. Take off was uneventful and I immediately felt the helicopter had a very stable locked in feeling. Forward flight felt awesome however the tail felt a little loose. After raising the tail gain it felt extremely locking in and solid. Loops, rolls, flips and tumbles were a dream! Absolutely no bobble or odd tendencies during these maneuvers. As I started to progress into mild 3D and large fast hurricanes I felt odd tendencies when doing fast hard aileron changes like aileron tick tocs. I lowered the swashplate gain ever so slightly and all the oddness went away. After the one change on the swashplate gain dial I didn’t touch a thing the rest of the time. The helicopter flew like and absolute dream and with no tuning . One thing that I can say is the tail gyro is probably the best one I have ever flown. Flying in 20mph winds the consistency was amazing.
I then removed from the 700 and installed on my Align Trex 450 Pro equipped with stock align kit electronics and blades, KDBB tail blades, Thunder Power 45C 3s 2200 flight pack and Spektrum 6110E receiver. Setup again was a breeze and the heli was equipped with the RJX Flybarless head. First few flights were a little sketchy as the stock gains were to high for me but after a few adjustments the small 450 size heli was flying with supreme stability but with lightning fast responses on all controls. I was very happy with the performance in all aspects on the smaller heli as well as the bigger nitro. Another nice feature coming in a soon to be released firmware update is the ability to use a spektrum satellite rx to make the unit an all in one.
Soon after receiving the unit I received the update cable and updated my unit to the latest firmware via BeastX’s website. The update process ran extremely smooth and is compatible with PC as well as MAC. With no surprise the update USB interface and included cables were very nice and high quality components.
In conclusion I honestly can’t say there was anything about the unit that I didn’t like. The setup was super simple, the performance was spot on and the fit and finish of the unit is undeniable. If your and advanced or beginner flybarless user this unit will not dissapoint. Currently there is no U.S. distributor but you can find the unit at Freakwares website here for retail of approx $203.97
Also available on the BeastX website is an English section in there support forum