Spektrum DX7 Ikarus Piccolo    Gaui Hurricane    E-flite     Tools




Spektrum DX7
LCD Backlight Mod

I do a lot of flying indoors in low-light situations and the LCD display on my DX7 is quite hard to see under those conditions.  Through the use of Electroluminescent (EL) panels, the LCD  display can be backlit and the results are very nice as you can see in the picture.

I have wired my EL panel directly to the battery pack and it only draws about 38 mAh so the transmitter battery pack is not affected a noticeable amount.

An added benefit to the LCD lighting is that it is obvious when the transmitter is left on due to the backlight. 

Click here to get detailed instructions on this modification.




E-flite Blade mCPx

One-way bearing mod

Parts: Tools:
Blade mCPx Main Gear [BLH3506] Drill bit set (7/64" to 7/32" in 1/64" increments)
Blade mCPx Main Shaft [BLH3507] 1/8" to 1/2" Tapered Ream Harbor Freight Item #66936
One-way bearing [Align 25018 or Gaui 203296] X-acto knife with #11 blade
Very small self tapping screw and washer 3/8" Washer (0.065" thick)

This modification can be made without removing the main shaft from the helicopter (as a matter of fact, it is better to leave it installed to get the proper length of the main shaft when trimming).

Start by removing the main gear from the main shaft.
Next using a 7/64" drill bit, carefully drill through the center of the main gear.
Continue to enlarge the hole in 1/64" increments up to 7/32". Take care to ensure that the hole remains in the center of the gear.  If is starts to get off-center, shave a bit off the 'thick' side with a #11 X-acto blade.
Once the hole is 7/32" use the tapered reamer to enlarge the hole to a point where the one-way bearing (OWB) fits snugly in the hole.

Place the bearing/gear assembly on top of the washer (to ensure proper clearance) and press down until the bearing is flush against the work surface and the main gear is flush against the washer. The side of the bearing with the washer thickness will be the top side so ensure that the OWB is properly oriented.

Apply a thin bead of CA around the washer on both sides of the gear.

Once the CA has cured, secure the gear/bearing assembly to the main shaft with a very small self-tapping screw that will thread into the main shaft without splitting the shaft.









E-flite LiPo Chargers

1S 3.7V LiPo Charger, 0.3A (this charger came with my mCX)
The only real downside that I can find to the Blade mCX is the included charger. It is powered by four AA batteries which are used to charge the 110mAh flight battery.  I have made the following modifications to allow the charger to be used as an adapter in conjunction with another LiPo capable charger.

  • First, the charger must be opened up to access the interior.  This can be accomplished by peeling off the 4 rubber feet on the bottom of the unit.

  • Take out the 4 screws that hold the top and bottom pieces of the charger together.

  • Cut a small rectangular hole in the side of the charger as shown to accommodate the female end of a JST plug.

  • Fit the JST plug into place and secure with epoxy as shown in the photos.

  • Solder the leads from the JST plug to the same terminals of the PCB for the flight battery receptacle.

  • Reassemble the charger.

When using the charger as an adapter with another charger, remove the AA batteries first.  I have not tested to see if this causes a problem or not, so it is just a precaution until verified.


Celectra 4-Port, 1-Cell, 3.7V, 0.3A DC LiPo Charger
(this one came with my mSR)

This charger is an excellent upgrade to the single cell charger that was supplied with my mCX.  As the name implies, it is a 4-port charger which means that you can charge 4 single-cell LiPo batteries at once. Unlike the single-port charger, this one can be used with an AC adapter, or 4 D-cell batteries which gives it versatility.

This charger, like it's predecessor, charges at a rate that, in my opinion is too high for the LiPo batteries (0.3A stated, 0.25A measured).  The nice thing about the Celectra is that the charge rates can be adjusted between 0.1A and 0.3A for each port by adjusting the pot switches inside the unit (see photo).  The inside of the unit can be accessed by removing the 8 small screws from the bottom of the unit (6 inside the battery compartment, and 2 under the rubber feet on the bottom like it's predecessor).


To measure the current, a 'Y' harness must be made. I have made mine quite long with Dean's Ultra connectors so it can be used with any of my models; some of which draw currents over 20 Amps (see photo below).  I have made some adapters to go from the Dean's Ultra connectors to the E-Flite connectors.  The connectors can be purchased separately, or you can salvage them from other places (i.e. the female end can be salvaged from an old single port charger and the male end can be salvaged from a dead battery).  Once the adapters have been made, plug the male end into one of the charger ports, plug the battery into the female adapter, choose the current setting on your meter and adjust the pot to the desired current.


E-Flite Blade mSR
So far, the only thing that I have broken is the landing gear. What I have found is that glue does not stick to this plastic very well so I repaired it by wrapping the broken area with cotton thread and soaking it in CA then adding accelerator.  This seems to be making a pretty good bond for now.


Ikarus Piccolo modifications

Direct Drive Tail Rotor Modification
I have been toying around with a mount option for the DD setup and have come up with a very inexpensive solution. Two pieces of styrene tube from a local hobby shop.  One great feature that I didn't plan on is that the mount does not need to be glued on to the tail boom.  It fits snugly without the use of CA, so it can be removed in the event that you need to replace your tail boom.

The larger tube is 1/2" O.D. and has an I.D. just slightly smaller than the Pro/GWS motor O.D. By cutting the tube longitudinally, the expansion of the tube allows the motor to fit snugly without the use of straps, screws or glue.

The smaller 1/4" O.D. tube is trimmed to accommodate the larger 1/2" tube and is cemented together with plastic cement. To further reinforce the joint, I have added a fillet of medium CA and sprayed with accelerator for further strength.

The tubing I purchased was white and I have painted it black. The weight (with paint) is approximately 1g.

I am using a GWS 3.0 x 2.0 propeller which has been painted black.


PiccoBell 47 Modification

Tool modifications

Micro Ball-link Pliers
This tool is suitable for micro models such as the Ikarus Piccolo, Century Hummingbird, FEDA Dragonfly, Gaui Hurricane, T-Rex 250, and others.  It will easily fit the small size of the ball links on micro helicopters.


Item # BLP01 $19.99 US  including shipping
Limited quantities available!

Pushrod length adjustment tool
I saw a tool like this at my LHS, but as usual, it was for the larger helis so I had to adapt for the smaller helis that I fly. 

  • First I pulled out some of my spare ball links and screws for my Gaui 200.

  • Next, I modified a plastic Vernier Caliper that I purchased from Harbor Freight Tools for $1.00.  I cut off the measuring ends of the tool and sanded off the measurement increments from the outer slider portion of the tool.

  • Lastly, I mounted the balls in the proper locations to ensure accuracy to each other.


E-flite Pitch Gauge Modification
Once again, there are not any tools for the micro size helis, so I adapted the smallest pitch gauge I could find to accommodate the main blades of my Gaui Hurricane 200.  I had some sheet styrene on hand so I layered multiple pieces together with plastic model cement and cut to fit the leading edge of the tool and viola!  It now accommodates my Gaui main blades.

Links to other Piccolo upgrades and modifications

Paul Goelz for everything Piccolo

Chris' Tuning Components for awesome CNC machined parts



Many thanks to all of these people who love the hobby and share their assistance, ideas, and inventions with others!


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Contact Dan  if you have any further questions.