RC Helicopters can become an endless source of fun and entertainment. Many hobbyists have chosen this pastime for many reasons. One of the most challenging aspects of RC Helicopter flying has to do with the birds themselves. Whatever the model, whatever the size, helicopters are material objects that are prone to accidents. Therefore, there will come a time when some kind of maintenance, repair work or part replacement will be needed. When this happens, you will have to get your heli fixed. Even when there are many professional repair people out there, there is a certain satisfaction in fixing your bird yourself. Here is a simple practical guide on the most common repairs needed in most models.
Most Common RC Helicopter Repairs
Your Heli is flying in Circles: If you are an RC fan, you already know that this is the most frequent issue you will have to deal with. Luckily, it is also one of the easiest to tackle and diagnose. There are two alternative treatments, each of which will depend on the type of heli you have.
If you have a coaxial RC Helicopter you should know that they spin for three reasons:
- Lose rotor: this is very evident when you compare the speed in the two rotors. Even if you can’t see the problem, you can test the rotor to see how it works. Hold on to the bottom gear to keep it from spinning and press lightly to spin the top rotor. This way you will be able to spot a loose screw or something. Repeat the procedure with the top gear and the bottom rotor to check if they move when they shouldn’t. If they do, you have a faulty connection. Search through the gear until you find the screw and tighten it or replace it accordingly.
- Burnt Connection on PCB: This can be easily identified because you will see a black burn mark. The only solution for this unfortunately, is to buy a new PCB.
- One of the Motors is dead: If you have checked the connections in search of a loose screw and find that everything is tight as it should, then the problem lies in one of the motors. This is harder to diagnose, but typically you can tell by removing both of the main motors and spinning the gear on the little rod coming out of the motor. If one motor is much more difficult to spin, then this probably means that motor is dead or dying. Replacement needed right away.
Motor Replacement: If you are the owner of a small electric RC chopper, you will find yourself replacing the motor quite often. This is one of the simplest repairs to learn. All you need to do is unplug the motor from the PCB, ESC or Receiver, depending on your helicopter; typically, coaxials and FP helis have their motor plugged into the PCB, while CP helis have it plugged into the ESC, and the Receiver via the ESC. For a CP heli, go ahead and unplug the one which is easier to get hold of. This should make the motor removable without any cutting of wires. Simply pull it out, gently, and put in your new motor. The type of motor or part number of the motor that you should use to replace should be specified in the instructions or online; if you have a very low quality heli, this is not an option. This is one of the main reasons why you should stick to top-class or well-known brands.
Overheating: This is also a very frequent issue with RC Helicopters. One way to solve this problem is to change your flying habits by using the bird for shorter periods of time. However, this may turn out to be very frustrating. So, the best alternative is to make some technical adjustments that will help prevent this difficulty in the near future. You can increase the size of heat sinks on your PCB / servos / etc, which doesn’t work on all helicopters. Additionally, you can also cut ventilation holes in the canopy or remove the canopy to help.
There are many more repairs or upgrades available for you to learn. The good news is that you can always find online help to deal with the issue yourself.