Rotor Balancing

Rick E

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Does anyone have an opinion as to the best tool for balancing rotors, Vibrex or Dynavibe?
 

Rick E

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Is it reasonably simple to operate Birdy? I used a Vibrex over the last few days and it didnt seem to be all that accurate.
 

ckurz7000

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There is the PB3. Better than either and much cheaper, too. Don't know why people still use anything else.

-- Chris.
 

birdy

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Rick, mate, if i can use it, its gota be simple.

Chris, is that the mobile fone one?
If so, i had the DV before i knew bout it, and i dont hava fone.
 

Rick E

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There is the PB3. Better than either and much cheaper, too. Don't know why people still use anything else.

-- Chris.
I hadn't heard of the PB3 Chris, I need to do a bit of research on the product as rotor balancing devices are few and far between over here. Is there anyone else that has an opinion on the various products available.
Thanks Chris and Birdy for your input.
 

Gookin

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PB3 is popular up our way - works a treat on various helicopter TRotor and M Rotor.
also good for isolating other sources of Vibrations.
I use android tablet and or phone in cockpit as the transducer sends out Bluetooth signal and later download save to computer for future reference.
Highly recommend.
 

birdy

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Iv used the DV to check the pto rpm on me drilln rig. :) ;)
 

Mike G

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Rick E
I'm a bit surprised that you found the Vibrex inaccurate, the ones I've tested have always been very precise. Could you please explain in more detail what you mean by accurate. If your problem was inconsistent results (ie wildly different IPS/angle readouts for the same flight/balance condition) that is more likely to be a question of accelerometer mounting, pilot input to controls during data capture, varying rotor rpm or turbulence. I've struggled with all of them at some time or another.

We did a back to back test of the PB3 against the Vibrex and it was published in a French magazine and in PSF (http://www.rotaryforum.com/forum/showthread.php?t=43921).

Basically with modern accelerometers and computing hard and software making a prop/rotor balancer isn't rocket science and all the balancers:

Vibrex site : http://vibratech.fr/,
ACES site [email protected] ,
DynaVibe site http://rpxtech.com ,
DSS MicroVib site http://dssmicrovib.com .
Smart Avionics site : http://www.smartavionics.com/contact.html

are good and give basically the same results. The big difference is the cost and local customer support.

What you must remember is that, except for the PB3, the balancers on the market were developed for helicopters and the manufacturers have a wealth of experience with helis but not that much with gyros. The PB3 was developed as gyro balancer and most of our experience is with gyros although we've done a few helis and some customers are using the PB3 successfully on multi bladed helis.

To be fair to the other manufacturers they all have to have largish organisations with sales/marketing departments and field service guys because their customers are usually the pros in the helicopter maintenance field who are very demanding.

Smart Avionics is a very small company with low overheads and a very simple website whose target customers are in the light aviation sector . Support is either an email/telecon from Mark Burton (the brains behind it) or me (the tester). As a result the PB3 is cheaper. There are nearly a hundred users out there and most manage to operate the PB3 out of the box, a few email me at the start because they haven't read the manual (which is very well written) and then they're off solo.

I did the demo of the PB3 at the Magni airfield (they use a Vibrex) and Magni ordered 10 PB3's for their service operators (I heard they just ordered another 10), Autogyro have 2 and are considering buying more, Trendal (Xenon Poland) have one, Chris was impressed when we did a demo at Arrowcopter (they had just bought a Vibrex).

After a few years plugging the PB3 to individuals my recommendation now is that unless you're really fascinated by the subject or out in the sticks on your own don't buy a personal balancer, buy it as a group.
a) It obviously reduces the cost
b) You only use it once maybe twice a year and each time you have to go up the learning curve.
c) Get the most enthusiastic hands on type member to be involved each time it's used so the group gets some collective memory.
d) play with it on a ceiling fan or using an electric drill spinning a piece of wood before you try it out on a gyro.
e) try balancing props first they're easier.
f) buy a balancer with the frequency spectrum option, it isn't essential for balancing but is essential for diagnosing other sources of vibration and allows you save a lot of time.

SmartAvionics also has some very simply (but very smart), ridiculously cheap rotor blade tip LEDs that allow you to check the tracking of a rotor in flight.

Mike Goodrich
 

500e

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Mike
We have tried lights as well.
Findings.
Switching OK, but unless you are leaving them on blades to fly with battery life is not a problem even with button cells.
Lights are bright but too diffused to be accurate, we initially painted enclosures to make them opaque this helped then we slid a piece of black heat shrink over LED to cut side scatter & also make end view narrower as present end view is 1/16" hole this has helped but with what we are doing not accurate enough.
Videoing lights is interesting
The plastic boxes we have found upset air flow from tips.
We have some ideas regarding the package for our use.
 
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500e

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I have short video of lights fitted on photobucket but cant post without my address header showing
 

Rick E

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Thanks a lot for the information regarding balancers, by the look of it the PB3 sounds like it's the best value for money. Hopefully I'm clever enough to work out how to operate it.
Thanks again.
 

Chopper Reid

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Thanks a lot for the information regarding balancers, by the look of it the PB3 sounds like it's the best value for money. Hopefully I'm clever enough to work out how to operate it.
Thanks again.
Not sure of the cost of the PB3 but I would be interested in going in with you as all my rotors give me the irritus [ sorry, I do have beautiful set of 28's that I wouldnt touch] .Would be terrific to have smooth rotors :)
 

500e

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Forget the blades Start with head\ hub bar then balance blades both root & tip
& match chord balance, this will give you a assembly that is near perfect to start with.
Have seen helli heads 2\300 grams adrift then you put a blade on it & expect a smooth rotor :eek:hwell:
Chopper Reid

http://www.smartavionics.com/shop.html
 

Mike G

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Peter (500e)
I'd like to understand better your problem with the tip LEDs, especially how they "upset the airflow from the tips".
Can you PM me your phone number and email so we can talk about it?

Regarding the video on photobucket, can you send me a photobucket "direct" link by PM and I'll copy it to my photobucket and post it on the forum for you, that way your address won't show.

Chopper the PB3 for rotors is 675 UK pounds plus transport, the tip LEDS are 20 UK£ each.

Mike
 

500e

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vlcsnap-2016-02-21-22h12m03s921.jpgMike I have your Email sent video I hope + some other info regarding lights.
Chopper
the PB3 was a doodle to set up both software & Bluetooth no problem on a £89 Huddle tablet.
I would suggest big screen easier to use
Regards P
 
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500e

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Mike used the built in one on the Huddle was not really a fair trial but you see the thick line.
The tip cap we CNC cut is a bit like jincamty's only full with of blade & less bulge
 

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