While the Futaba GY611 gyro is fairly easy to setup, the manual that comes with it isn’t the easiest to understand and doesn’t how to set the gyro up for your average pilot. If you need a copy of the Futaba GY611 manual, you can download it from here.
If you’ve been struggling with the setup of your GY611 or just need a little push in the right direction, here’s what I recommend as a starting point no matter what RC helicopter you fly.
Pirouette Speed: To set the pirouette speed of your heli, you need to adjust the rudder ATV setting in your radio. If you start with a limit of 70% (both ways) it will give you a good predictable pirouette speed. If you want a faster tail, you can increase this value, or if you want a slower pirouette speed, you can decrease it.
Revo / Program Mixing: Before you start, you’ll want to go through your transmitter settings and make sure that all revo / program mixing settings are either set to inhibited (INH) or 0% as they can interfere with the operation of the gyro.
Rudder Trim: They GY611 is not adjustable by the rudder trim in your radio and you want to make sure that you have the value set to 0 (centered) . If you have a Futaba 9C, 9Z or 14MZ radio, you can disable the rudder trim completely to avoid any mishaps.
Many of these settings are the same or similar for Futaba’s GY601 gyro, so for the most part you can use them there as well.
Part 1 – Gyro & Servo Installation
Mount the gyro to your heli using the mounting pads provided or using your own mounting hardware (ie. green zeal tape).
Mount the control amp to your helicopter frame keeping in mind it’s location for accessibility and protection in case of a crash. You can use any combination of strong double sided tape, mounting pads, plastic zip ties or Velcro. You’ll also want to make sure the leads will reach your receiver, and your gyro and rudder servo leads will reach the control amp.
Install the rudder servo, but do not connect the servo horn or rudder linkage.
Plug the gyro and rudder servo links into the appropriately labeled spots on the control amp.
Then plug the rudder output on the control amp into your receiver’s rudder channel and plug the aux output into a spare channel on your receiver with an easily accessible switch that will allow you to adjust the gyro’s gain. If you don’t have a spare channel available, no problem, the gyro gain can be adjusted manually in the control amp.
Part 2 – Gyro Setup & Programming
The “+” and “-” FUNC (function) buttons can be used to access the control amp’s menu and the “+” and “-“ DATA buttons can be used to change the value within the menu function you have selected.
Before we get started with the programming, you’ll want to make sure the gyro is moving the tail the right direction.
To check that the gyro is working in the right direction, push the rudder stick to the right and note the way the tail servo moves. Then take the tail of the heli and yaw it left. If the rudder moves the same way both times, then your gyro direction is set correctly. If it moves in opposite directions, then you need to change the GDir (gyro reverse) function.
To access the GDir menu, press the +/- FUNC key on the control amp until you get to the GDir menu and use the +/- DATA key to chance the selected value. If it’s set to REV (reverse), change it to NOR (normal) and if it’s set to NOR, change it to REV.
Please note: The instructions provided above assume that the direction of your rudder servo is set correctly in your transmitter – so be sure to also check that it’s moving the tail servo in the correct direction.
Press the +/- of the FUNC buttons on the control amp until you get to the Mode menu function and set the Mode to CMT. This will allow you to switch between NOR (rate) Mode and AVC (heading hold) mode using the remote gain channel on your transmitter, which will all allow you to set the rudder neutral position of the tail servo.
To set the rudder neutral position, move the rudder stick left to right several times until the servo centers itself.
Go back to the startup screen of the gyro and toggle the gain switch on your transmitter between normal and heading hold mode 3 times until **** shows on the screen. This will save the center position within the gyro that you just set. Depending on how your radio is setup, you may need to assign the normal / heading hold gain functions of the switch in your transmitter.
You’ll know that the gyro is changing modes because the “A” on the screen will change to an “N” when you toggle the switch.
Now that the gyro is operating in normal (NOR) mode and we know that the servo gear will be centered when the rudder stick is, install the servo horn on the rudder servo. It’s important that you get it set the servo horn at exactly 90 degrees to the rudder pushrod so you get equal travel in both directions.
The servo horn included with most Futaba servos have 4 holes in it – make sure you choose the one that will get you a perfect 90 degree angle.
Adjust your tail linkage length (by tightening / loosening the ball links) until the throw around the center of the servo horn is equal.
Using the LmtA / LmtB menu settings on the control amp, set the limit on side A and B equally so that they’re over 100% without binding. You can toggle between LmtA / LmtB using the rudder stick o your transmitter.
Setting the limits under 100% can significantly reduce the life of your servo.
From what I’ve heard, the gyro works best with a travel limit setting between 110% and 120%, with 115% being the optimum setting.
If you are binding before reaching a travel limit setting of 100%+, then your servo horn is too long or the hole you’re using is too far out.
On the other hand, if you run out of adjustment room (setting is over 145%) then your servo horn isn’t long enough or you need to use a hole that’s further out.
Note: This is an especially important step, so please take the time to get it right. Messing it up can not only affect the life of your rudder servo, but the overall performance of the GY611 gyro and your heli.
Use the +/- FUNC buttons to get back to the Mode menu setting and set it to AVC (heading hold) mode.
If you’re flying a scale Model and want to use rate mode, then go ahead and set the Mode to NOR (normal).
Push the +/- FUNC buttons until you get to the FMod menu. The FMod function will allow you to choose between FC3 and 3D flying styles.
FC3 Mode will stop the tail more precisely while 3D Mode adds a little softening to the mix and results in a more consistent pirouette rate during fast flight.
I’ve got mine set to 3D mode as I’d suspect most RC heli pilots do – just try them both out and see what you like best.
Use the +/- FUNC buttons to get to the D1IA / D1IB menu. This function is responsible for how fast / hard the rudder responds to your control inputs.
To avoid excessive stress on your servo / heli, change this setting to 10% using the +/- DATA buttons. To get to the D1IB setting, move your rudder stick left or right until it displays on the control amp.
Use the +/- FUNC buttons to get to the D1DA / D1DB menu. This function is the opposite of the above function and is responsible for how hard the rudder decelerates when centering the tail rudder stick to stop tail movement.
As in the above step, to avoid excess stress on your heli and components, set the D1DA to 40% and D1DB to 40%. Use the rudder stick to switch between the D1DA / D1DB settings.
You won’t notice much (if any) difference in flight performance by changing the D1DA / D1DB and D1IA / D1IB (above step) settings, though it will help preserve the integrity of your tail drive system and the life of your RC helicopter.
And finally, you’ll need to set the gyro gain. If you setup the gyro with the remote gain function, you can set the gain ATV’s in your radio transmitter or you can set it manually using the G: 1A menu within the control amp. I’d recommend starting with a gain somewhere between 32% and 37% (Futaba radios) or 66% and 69% (JR radios).
You can increase this value later on if you’d like, but it’s important to not start with a gain setting higher than 37%. If your gain is set too high, it can stop your RC helicopter tail very violently which can cause damage to your heli.
That’s it. There are a few other menu settings within the control amp which for the most part can be left along. As always, any questions, please feel free to ask by leaving a comment and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.Have a question about this article or anything else RC Heli related? Ask it in our brand new RC Helicopter Forum and you'll get expert answers quick.
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