RCHeliGears: Align T-Rex 550L Dominator Super Combo review. A must have RC helicopter for beginners and advanced pilots

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Align T-Rex 550L Dominator Super Combo review. A must have RC helicopter for beginners and advanced pilots



If you are an experienced RC heli pilot since 10 years ago like me, you must be missing the 30 class nitro heli Raptor 30 from Thunder Tiger because of its relatively low maintenance cost such as parts, electronics, engine, and fuel consumption. It had given me a very good time in learning and flying(and not too painful when crashed).
If you are a beginner just stepping in the RC heli field, and always struggle in choosing an appropriate heli to learn and practice; find no balance in between cost and performance and the feeling of size....Unless you want to fly a nitro heli like Raptor 30.
Now here comes the electric heli with the same advantages as the traditional 30 class nitro heli which you can enjoy the even better performance than nitro. Align T-Rex 550L Dominator would be one of the best choices; ready to fly with only one LiPo battery, no additional battery for servos, gyro and; receiver like 700 class heli, save the time in charging. Not too small, not too big in size, easy to carry and maintain. If you already have a 700E like I do; you can fit the 700E's batteries on this T-Rex 550L Dominator directly, no additional expense for power batteries.


 Who needs a T-Rex 550L Dominator?
A beginner used to fly small heli and is looking forward to feel the stability of big sized heli, but still enjoy the lower cost and convenient in carrying and maintenance, and lower pressure.
Or
An advanced pilot already has a big 700 class heli, but still want something easier to play with, and for pressure relief; because T-Rex 550L Dominator needs only one 6S LiPo battery for all electronics & power source, no additional BEC required, so less charging time needed. And share the 6S batteries from 700 heli, save the battery budget. And the appropriate relative smaller size of 550L is easier to carry and fit in the trunk of your car, and is still very stable in flight and clear enough to identify in the sky, all 4 standard sized brushless servos provide the same performance as 700 and 800 helis, the beast motor 730MX motor gives 550L as much power as you want for any 3D maneuvers you can do. (You can see Alan flying 550L on YouTube for proof)


Pros:
1. Perfect size for anything, :good to identify in the sky, sounds exact a big heli, easy to
     carry and store, and only have to charge one battery.
2. Much Stabler compared with the smaller sized heli like 500 class and under.
3. The top level of electronics as 700, 800 heli; you can transit all the servos.
4. Equipped with high voltage brushless servos. 3x BL815H(0.055sec, 23kgs at 8.4V)  cyclic
    servos and BL855H(0.028sec, 12.5kgs) rudder servo; very fast servos in current market;
    high speed servos are very important for 3D performance; the high speed helps a lot in
    maintaining the head speed during hard stop maneuvers; and the torque of these servos are
    more than enough for 550mm blades.
5. Beast motor 730MX 850KV provides non-stop power to 550L, it performs any maneuver
    you  can do.
6. Strong and rigid fuselage: Carbon frames, full metal rotor head and tail rotor control
     assembly.
7. Correct COG(center of gravity) because of the sliding battery tray, no more tail heavy as the
     previous version of 550 rc helicopter.
8. Only one 6S power battery for both motor and all the electronic,, save the charging time and
    the cost.
9. Share the same power batteries with 700 class heli, no need to buy a bunch of batteries.
10. Lower crash cost compared with bigger helis like 600, 700 class.
11. Easy and convenient to set up the GPro parameters in the field with the GPro app on smart
      phone through the blue tooth device, no more laptop.

Cons:
*Sometimes cut-off happens on Talon 90 ESC if you punch the pitch hard, but this can be avoided by setting the voltage cut-off option in the Talon 90 setup menu to 3.0V and "RPM Reduction Cutoff"; and disable the current limiting; so the ESC will not completely cut off  when the battery voltage drops a lot under heavy loading;  the RPM will drop 25%, and you still have time to land as soon as possible. If you still feel uncomfortable on the cutoff problem; you can fix it easily by an additional 2S LiPo to the GPro for the electronics, but I personally don't like it as I have to take care one more battery and I have to check the voltage before each flight to make sure it still has enough capacity.
*Not as stable as 700 class heli in windy days; due to it's 1.6 kgs lighter than Align 700E; so I fly 700E when it's windy; a 5kg 700E handles stronger wind better than a 3.4 kgs 550L, this is physics.

Summary:
Overall a heli with 550mm main blades is the best choice for a beginner to step into the big-sized heli from the smaller heli; perfect size(106cm) and weight(3.4kg with 4200 mah 6S LiPo); flight time is about 5'30"(I set the alarm on my 14SG for 5'10") for a flight mixed with sports and intermediate 3D; only one LiPo needed for flight; share the batteries with 700 class heli. With the monster 730MX motor you can teach your 550L to do everything you want, what else you need?

Settings for my T-Rex 550L Dominator(everything stock, just right out of box):
Pitch:
Normal: -6,6,13 degrees
Idel 1,2: -13,0,13
Hold: -13,0,13
Throttle(Governor mode on Talon 90):
Normal: 2000 rpm head speed
Idel 1: 2200
idel 2: 2400
Rudder Gyro Gain on Futaba 14SG(Tail Gain)
Normal: 84
Idel 1:78
Idel 2:76
Rudder servo setting: Please install the linkage ball on the 4th hole out from the center. If you follow the instruction manual from Align to install it on the 3rd hole out from the center; the travel of the left rudder will be limited and can't go all the way to the end, it may result in the left rudder insufficient.

Battery and flight time: 6S 4200mah 65C; about 5'40" flight time and 20% capacity left(3.75V per cell); I set the alarm on my Futaba 14SG at 5'10", landing as soon as the time is up,it's usually about 5'40" when the 550L is landed on the ground and the throttle is back to zero. My flying style is mixed with sports flight such as figure 8, big loop, forward and backward flight rolls, different orientation hovers;  and some intermediate 3D maneuvers such as continuous forward/backwrd flips, rolls, and inverted flights.
I also use the 4 pcs of 6S 5200mah 40C LiPos from my 700E on my 550L, the flight time is about 30 seconds longer than the 4200mah 65C LiPo.
The flight time would be around 1.5 minute longer if just hovering and some gentle figure 8s.


My GPro and Talon 90 settings:

Castle Creation Talon 90 ESC Settings for 550L Dominator
GPro Parameter Settings for 550L Dominator


More snap shots of Align TRex 550L: 

Very neat arrangement of the motor and cyclic servos, all gather and close to the main shaft which is the C.G.

Simple and clean rotor head assembly; save the time to build the heli, and easy for settings


 CNC machined slant thread main gear; precise and low noise 

Carbon fiber rudder linkage rod with only one tail control guide, makes the whole tail simple. 


I like this view, where the tail servo seated.


Metal tail rotor assembly; good engineering mechanism.

P.S. I don't know why this helicopter is named T-Rex 550L Dominator, it is supposed to be called 550"S", because it's shorter than the previous version 550Pro DFC due to the shorter tail boom.. LOL







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