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Thread: Balancing props is a real PITA. Isn't there any descent prop balancer out there?

  1. #1
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    Question Balancing props is a real PITA. Isn't there any descent prop balancer out there?

    Since I've been building & flying tricopters and quadcopters for about a year now, I've been always having problems balancing my props accurately.

    First of all I bought the HK "Extreme Accuracy prop balancer". Well that turned out to be an extreme inaccuracy prop balancer because the holes in the cones were drilled so poorly that it seemed as if a drunk had hand drilled them. Also, a design that uses a balancing rod that's much longer than necessary is more likely to be crooked. So that, needless to say, became a paper weight.

    Then I bought the Top Flite Power (long name here) prop balancer. It worked better, but the rubber cones themselves weren't balanced, and it too had a weak design in that the balancing rod was much too long. I couldn't balance my props accurately with this either.

    Then I bought a pair of Great Planes GPMQ5000 finger tip prop balancers and modified the Top Flite balancer in order to support them, since they have shorter shafts. This method is the most accurate so far, but even with this, I still can't accurately balance my props because just when it seems that my props are balanced: if I then hold the balancing shaft and turn the prop about 90 to 180 degrees and then suspend it again, then one side of the prop will drop again .

    My current method of balancing is to balance each prop a few times using tape, each time shifting it roughly a 1/4 turn around on the balancing shaft, and then guessing if it's finally balanced based on average behaviour.

    All in all, I really hate balancing props this way: it's time consuming and not particularly accurate. Isn't there any accurately machined prop balancer out there? I mean with cones that are well machined and fit very snug on the balancing shaft's thread (because loose fittings can cause the cone to lock slightly crooked depending on how flat the prop's hub is), a balancing shaft that is short and perfectly straight.

  2. #2
    I see you... Derrick's Avatar
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    I use the Dubro balancer.
    http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXD712

    Here is a good video showing how to use it... it can be configured to balance anything.


    Here is another 2 part video:



    I hope this helps, I have used a lot of different balancers in the past and this is the one that seems to give me the best results consistently.
    When nothing else out there will suit your needs... design and build it yourself.

  3. #3
    Cor blimey, guv'nor!
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    +1 for the Dubro balancer from me too!

  4. #4
    Let your perspective soar
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    I use the Dubro balancer too.

    I really like using iSeismometer on the iPod / iPad. You can really see the vibes over time then.

    Some people like putting a tiny mirror on their quad's arm, then using a laser to reflect off the mirror and onto a wall.

    One of the better balancing videos I saw would add tape to the motor, rotating it 1/8th of a turn each time, until there was clear improvement... then add more tape until vibes are just about gone... then I'd try to move the tape to the prop to get the moment balanced.

  5. #5
    BUILD.FLY.CRASH.REBUILD.
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    DuBro Tru-Spin prop balancer. hands down, best one on the market.

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    Have you tried balancing a prop on the Dubro balancer and then rotating the prop a 1/4 to 1/2 turn on the 'auger' to see if it remains seemingly balanced? The Dubro balancer has a long 'auger' too and isn't magnetically levitated so I'm not too keen on it yet, but perhaps I'll order one too on Ebay to give it a try.
    Last edited by turdsurfer; 22nd March 2013 at 02:14 PM.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by turdsurfer View Post
    Have you tried balancing a prop on the Dubro balancer and then rotating the prop a 1/4 to 1/2 turn on the 'auger' to see if it remains seemingly balanced? The Dubro balancer has a long 'auger' too and isn't magnetically levitated so I'm not too keen on it yet, but perhaps I'll order one too on Ebay to give it a try.
    You sound like you're wondering how freely the non-magnetic one moves.

    I'll say this, I have to move the thing over to the other side of my little work shop to get it more than a few feet away from the heat vent that is BEHIND the desk on that side. That little bit of air flow, that I can't even really feel, throws the thing off with a 10" prop on it. So ya, it moves freely enough for my purposes.

    That answer your question?

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    Penguins Do Fly! paintz2007's Avatar
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    Get the DuBro and don't look back.

    Prop and Hub balance everything and fly vibe free.

    .

  10. #10
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    I'll give the Dubro a try.

    @paintz2007 I tried Top Flite. It's not too great. See the 1st post. Perhaps for heavy props it's ok, but the lighter props become, the more influence tiny imbalances or imperfections in the balancer parts shall have on the outcome.
    Last edited by turdsurfer; 22nd March 2013 at 08:18 PM.

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