Align recently announced the new DFC rotor heads for their 700 and 600 electrical helicopters.
According to Align the new heads provide sharper responses, lower wind resistance and over all better performance due to their lower height and direct swash plate connection.
I’ve been eager to get one of these for my 550 V2 Heli and last week I finally placed my order for it.
I’ve also ordered Align’s new head grips as they are needed for this upgrade (I had the 550E EFL ones which have a casted ball link in them for the flybarless and are not compatible for the new DFC head.
In this post I’ll document the upgrade process and the steps needed (to try to help others that might want to do the same).
It took a week to arrive but was well worth the wait.
Here are the parts:
Some things you should notice:
1. The grips come with bearings but not with thrust bearings.
2. None of the kits include a spindle and screws – you need to either buy these or take them from your current rotor head.
Here’s a quick photo of the Heli with the original rotor head (before I started the upgrade):
Notice the height of the head relative to the chair in the background and relative to the anti rotation bar (rear metal part behind the swash).
I started by taking the current head out:
Next, I took out the main gear and swash plate:
I took a photo of the current 550E flybarless main shaft side by side with the new 600 DFC main shaft. Notice how the new DFC main shaft is a lot shorter (the DFC shaft is the one on the top):
Now I took apart the current rotor head (open the spindle and remove it along with all bearings and washers.
I also started to assemble the new DFC grips (all nuts come in loose so you need to apply some locktight and tighten them in):
One important note is: Align had an issue with the first batch of DFC heads they made (the screws that hold the main link to the grip were too weak and tend to break off) – since then they replaced it with a new high-end metal screw. To know if you have the new screw or the old one – checkout its color – if it is metallic chrome (like the image above) then it is the new series. If it’s black – then it is the old series and you should contact align or the shop to get a replacement screw set from them (free).
Next step was to assemble the new DFC rotor head:
Now comes the fun part – putting it on the main shaft and removing the two (no longer used) shorted ball links from the swash plate:
Last step is to re-assemble the blades and the rest of the stuff and of course to re-program your flybarless system (as you head geometry had changed).
Here’s the complete upgrade “after” photo:
Again – notice the height of the main blades compared to the back anti rotation bar and to the chair. It is significantly lower.
I’m hoping for some good weather later on this week so that I can do a quick test flight and report the finding here. Keeping my fingers crossed that this beast will fly as good as it looks now…
More to come…