13.2. Swashplate setup

13.2.1. Swashplate type setup

If your transmitter supports swashplate types, then configure your swashplate type according to the following chart. If your transmitter is not listed, consult your transmitter manual for the swashplate type.

Table 13.1. Swashplate type setup

 m CCPM90 CCPM120 CCPMNotes
Futaba 7CH-1HE3HR3 
Futaba 9CSWH1SWH4SR-3Ignore 4th servo for SWH4
Hitec Optic 6NORn/s120 
Hitec Eclipse 7NOR90120 
Multiplex Evon/s90120 
Airtronics/SanwaNORCP4FCP3F 
[Note]Note

You MUST set the swashplate type FIRST before any other settings because setting the swashplate type will erase the model memory on many transmitters.

[Note]Note

The 90 or 120 CCPM servo diagram in your transmitter manual may not match your model's servo layout. Your model may have one servo in front but the manual may have one servo in back, or vice versa. This will be fixed later in a later step by reversing the fore/aft cyclic mixing in the swashplate mixing menu.

13.2.2. Swashplate servo setup (CP heli only)

[Note]Note

This setup only applies for CP helicopters. Skip this section for FP helicopters.

[Note]Note

For this step, disconnect the motor wires from the ESC. This will prevent the motor from accidentally spinning. Do not rely on the Throttle Hold function.

Turn on the transmitter then power up the helicopter.

Remove any transmitter trim from the cyclic controls.

13.2.2.1. Swashplate servo reversing

Move the throttle stick up and down. When you move the throttle stick up, the swashplate should move up. When you move the throttle down, the swashplate should move down.

Some helicopters may be designed so the swashplate moves in the opposite direction. If your helicopter's directions say this is correct, please use this instead.

If some servos are not moving in the correct direction, then reverse the servo direction in the transmitter until all servos move correctly.

13.2.2.2. Swashplate servo centering

First, move the throttle stick to the center of its range. The servo horns should be perfectly horizontal when the throttle stick is in this position. If the servo horn is not horizontal, then remove the servo horn from the servo and rotate it before reinstalling it. It may help to rotate the servo horn 180 degrees before reinstalling, because the servo horn will only install at fixed angles.

After you have mechanically leveled the servo horn, you can electrically fine-tune the servo arm position by using the transmitter subtrim feature. This will allow you to change the servo rotation in very small increments. Second, adjust the linkages which link the swashplate to the servos so the swashplate is in the center of its travel range when the throttle stick is centered.

13.2.2.3. Swashplate leveling

Once the servo centering has been set, the swashplate should be:

  • In the middle of its travel range

  • Perfectly perpendicular to the main shaft.

There should be no tilt to the left/right or forwards/backwards.

If the swashplate is not perfectly level, then remove and adjust the length of the linkages from the servos to the swashplate until the swashplate is perfectly level when the cyclic servos are centered.

13.2.3. Pitch curve setup (CP heli only)

Place the pitch gauge on the helicopter main rotor blades following the pitch gauge directions.

Go to the pitch curve menu on your transmitter.

13.2.3.1. Normal mode setup

13.2.3.1.1. Setting the first pitch curve point

Lower the throttle stick to zero throttle and adjust the first point on the pitch curve. You should see the main blade pitch change. Leave the throttle stick in this position to set the first pitch curve point.

If you are planning to fly in calm conditions, set the first point on the pitch curve so the pitch gauge reads zero degrees of pitch.

If you anticipate flying in slightly windy conditions, set the first point on the pitch curve so the pitch gauge reads -2 degrees of pitch.

13.2.3.1.2. Setting the last pitch curve point

Raise the throttle stick to full throttle and adjust the last point on the pitch curve. You should see the main blade pitch change. leave the throttle stick in this position to set the last pitch curve point.

For microhelis, set the last point on the pitch curve so the pitch gauge reads 12 degrees. If the helicopter is not a micro, set the last point on the pitch curve so the pitch gauge reads 10 degrees.

13.2.3.1.3. Setting the middle pitch curve points

Set the pitch curve to be a straight line between the first and last points by setting the value of the middle points.

[Note]Note

Some micro helis may need about 10 degrees of pitch to hover. If you do not have enough pitch to hover, then increase the last pitch curve point to 15 degrees and adjust the middle points.

[Note]Note

If you do not have enough pitch range to set the first and last pitch curves points properly, then you may need to enter the swashplate mixing menu and increase the pitch mixing value.

13.2.3.2. Setting all pitch curve points

Copy the pitch curve values used in the normal mode pitch curve to the idle-up 1 pitch curve, and the throttle hold pitch curve (if the throttle hold has its own pitch curve).

13.2.4. Cyclic setup (CP heli only)

[Note]Note

This setup only applies for CP helicopters. Skip this section for FP helicopters.

[Note]Note

The collective pitch setup (swashplate servo reversing) must be completed before cyclic setup, otherwise the servos will not move correctly.

13.2.4.1. For transmitter mode 2 (US and Europe)

Move the RIGHT transmitter stick up and down. This should move the swashplate forwards and backwards.

Move the RIGHT transmitter stick left and right. This should move the swashplate left and right.

13.2.4.2. For transmitter mode 1 (Asia and Europe)

Move the LEFT transmitter stick up and down. This should move the swashplate forwards and backwards.

Move the RIGHT transmitter stick left and right. This should move the swashplate left and right.

13.2.4.3. Correcting swashplate tilt (JR/Futaba/Hitec)

If you are using a swashplate mode and if any of these swashplate movements are reversed, then go to the swashplate mixing menu (SWASH AFR on a Futaba 9C) and change the aileron or elevator mixing percentage from positive to negative or negative to positive until the swashplate moves correctly.

If you are not using a swashplate mode and if any of these swashplate movements are wrong, then reverse the appropriate servo to correct the swashplate movement.

When the sticks are centered, the swashplate should be level. The easiest way to check this is by holding the helicopter at eye level, then looking at a bookcase behind it.

Align the main shaft with the edge of the bookshelf, then raise/lower the helicopter until the swashplate is at the same level as one of the shelves. You should be able to easily tell if the swashplate is perfectly level or not.

13.2.4.4. Correcting swashplate tilt (Mutiplex Evo)

If the fore/aft swashplate movement is not correct, then go back to the swashplate type (geometry) menu and add a negative to the swashplate type, e.g. if the value was "120" change it to "-120".

If the left/right swashplate movement is not correct, then you will need to swap the servo channels by swapping the servo plugs in the receiver.

If you swap the left/right servo plugs, then you will need to go back to Section 13.2.2, “Swashplate servo setup (CP heli only)” to check the servo reversing and level the swashplate again.

13.2.4.5. Correcting swashplate tilt (Airtronics/Sanwa)

If the fore/aft swashplate movement is not correct, then go back to the swashplate type (geometry) menu and look at the swashplate type. If the last letter is a F, change it to an B, and vice versa. For example, CP3F would be changed to CP3B, etc.

If the left/right swashplate movement is not correct, then you will need to swap the servo channels by swapping the servo plugs in the receiver.

If you swap the left/right servo plugs, then you will need to go back to Section 13.2.2, “Swashplate servo setup (CP heli only)” to check the servo reversing and level the swashplate again.

13.2.4.6. Check for cyclic/collective pitch interaction (eCCPM only)

Move the throttle stick to the lowest position.

Now watch the swashplate carefully and apply left/right cyclic, then fore/aft cyclic, then test with both together.

Now move the throttle stick to the highest position. Watch the swashplate carefully and apply the same cyclic test again.

The swashplate should only change tilt and should not move up or down when the fore/aft cyclic and left/right cyclics are moved.

If the swashplate moves up and down, then you should move the ball link outward one hole on the swashplate servos.

If you are already at the outermost hole on the servo horn, then this can be fixed in one of two ways:

  • Replace the servo horn with a longer version

  • Decrease the aileron and elevator mixing on the swashplate mixing menu. This will decrease your cyclic control, so this should be a last resort fix for this problem.

13.2.4.7. Check for binding

Perform the cyclic/collective pitch test again, and check for servo binding. If the servo is reaching the mechanical limit of movement and emitting a buzzing sound, then it is binding.

You will need to fix this binding because the servo will draw a large amount of power when it is binding, which can overload the BEC and the BEC may shut down. This will cause a loss of heli control and probably a crash.

To solve the servo binding, you will need to enter the swashplate mixing menu and reduce the aileron and elevator mixing to eliminate the servo binding. Ensure the aileron and elevator mixing is equal after reducing the mixing values.

13.2.5. Cyclic setup (FP heli only)

[Note]Note

This setup only applies for FP helicopters. Skip this section for CP helicopters.

13.2.5.1. For transmitter mode 2 (US and Europe)

Move the RIGHT transmitter stick up and down. This should move the swashplate forwards and backwards.

Move the RIGHT transmitter stick left and right. This should move the swashplate left and right.

13.2.5.2. For transmitter mode 1 (Asia and Europe)

Move the LEFT transmitter stick up and down. This should move the swashplate forwards and backwards.

Move the RIGHT transmitter stick left and right. This should move the swashplate left and right.

13.2.5.3. Correcting the swashplate tilt

If any of these swashplate movements are reversed, then reverse the servo so the swashplate moves correctly.

When the sticks are centered, the swashplate should be level.

The easiest way to check this is by holding the helicopter at eye level, then looking at a bookcase behind it. Align the main shaft with the edge of the bookshelf, then raise/lower the helicopter until the swashplate is at the same level as one of the shelves. You should be able to easily tell if the swashplate is perfectly level or not.

13.2.5.4. Check for binding

Move the fore/aft and left/right cyclic to all extremes simultaneously, and check for servo binding. If the servo is reaching the mechanical limit of movement and emitting a buzzing sound, then it is binding. You will need to fix this binding because the servo will draw a large amount of power when it is binding, which can overload the BEC and the BEC may shut down. This will cause a loss of heli control and probably a crash.

If you are using a transmitter with swashplate support, then you will need to enter the swashplate mixing menu and reduce the aileron and elevator mixing to eliminate the servo binding. Ensure the aileron and elevator mixing is equal after reducing the mixing values.

If you are using a transmitter without swashplate support, then you will need to reduce the for/aft and left/right servo endpoints to eliminate the servo binding. Be sure the servo travel is the same after reducing the values.

13.2.6. Transmitter exponential setup for cyclic

The transmitter expo function can be used to decrease cyclic sensitivity when the cyclic stick is near the center (without decreasing total servo travel). This will allow you to make smaller cyclic corrections and avoid "overcontrolling" the helicopter.

For Futaba/Hitec transmitters, a negative value decreases cyclic sensitivity. A value of -20 to -40 is recommended.

For JR/Graupner/Multiplex/Airtronics/Sanwa transmitters, a positive value will decrease cyclic sensitivity. A value of 20 to 40 is recommended.

[Note]Note

If you increase the collective pitch range, you will need to add more expo to retain the same effect.