TREX500 Helicopter Project

My quest to build and fly an Align TREX 500 Remote Controlled Helicopter

I just finished steps 34-39 (click HERE) where I configured all the servos and linkage rods to ensure the main rotor head was level.  This took many attempts since it was my first time.  However, I think everything is level now with zero pitch.

Next steps are to revisit that pesky gyro.  It seems to work, but I think something is wrong.

Earlier this summer, my computer hard drive crash…twice in a 3 week period.  So instead of  building my Trex500, I was focused on re-building my computer.  Add in vacations and other summer adventures and not much time was spent on the trex.

So, after 10 weeks,  I’m finally back on my helicopter project.

This morning I recharged my LiPo.  Even though I have yet to fly, the whole process of setting up the ESC and the servos did drain the battery by about 8% (228mA of 2650mA).

Finally got the ESC programmed.  Servos are also moving IN-THE-SAME-DIRECTION.  Next is the swash plate leveling.

Well, I’m stuck.  I need to power my helicopter in order to set up my servos and make other adjustments.  So its time to venture into the scary world of Lithium Polymer batteries or LiPo.

These batteries can be dangerous if not handled properly.  There are lots of videos on YouTube showing what happens when you mis-charge or puncture them.   So I took all the precautions: charged them outside, away from flammable items and contained in a cinder block.

I had no issues.  Everything went well.

To see more photos and the steps I followed, click on LiPo Battery Charging link in the header or click HERE.

Yesterday I soldered the XT60 connectors to the 14gauge wires coming from the Align RCE-BL60g electronic speed controller (ESC).  I’m not use to soldering such heavy gauge wires with sensitive electronics a couple of centimeters away.

Click HERE to see the steps I followed.

Later today, I’ll hook up the battery, receiver to the ESC and configure the ESC.

Spent some time today trying the ‘connect-the-dots’ between:

  • Futaba 7CH radio transmitter and its bazillion different settings.
  • Futaba R617FS radio receiver and hows its physically wired into the heli.  Which channel goes where?
  • JR G7703D gyro and how it fits into the big picture.

So if I flip a switch on the transmitter, how does that map to an action on the heli?

I ended up creating a spreadsheet of all the Futaba 7CH configurable parameters, their default settings and ranges.  I will need to do this eventually in order to capture & experiment with the different settings of the radio.  This was a good exercise in that it forces me to walk through the transmitter manual.

I’ve uploaded my latest steps and photos to


I’ve moved my blog postings on the TREX500 construction into static webpages on this site under the TREX HELICOPTER CONSTRUCTION menu.  In the top navigation bar of this website, you’ll see Steps 1-9 Head Assembly etc and other links to each step.  Click on those links to see the construction steps for the TREX500.

This was done to get around the annoying feature of WordPress where is truncates a a blog posting.  In hindsight, I never should have put each construction step as a blog post.

I suspect this may cause the search engines some grief.

Today, I”m working on the tail section of the heli.   Building this TREX500 is becoming easier and easier.



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I’m venturing into the crazy world of building and flying remote control helicopters. I’ve always wanted to fly these as a kid, so when a guy at work had one for sale, I jumped in.

This blog is my diary of the construction and eventual flight (and crashes) of this heli.

I purchased an Align TREX 500 ESP.  Here is the box:

And here is what the final heli should look like (borrows from a buddy):