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HelicopterMain Discussion › Torque tube or belt...your opinions
11-29-2007 12:22 AM  9 years agoPost 1
BJames111

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San Diego, California

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A friend and I are sharing a friendly little debate about the difference between torque tubes and belt driven tail systems.

I feel that the torque tube is a more efficent means of transmitting energy to the tail rotor. My friend agrees, but states that "you can't tell a difference". I think that I could "feel" a difference, but that it would depend on the pilots skill whether or not someone else would notice the difference.

Anyone care to chime in? FWIW, the vigor was belt driven, then offered later with a torque tube.

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11-29-2007 12:26 AM  9 years agoPost 2
MMike

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Holland,Mi-USA

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Brian

I personally wouldn't know.

However, Just Plane Chris on Inside Heli says the belt is more efficient.

MMike

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11-29-2007 12:28 AM  9 years agoPost 3
BJames111

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San Diego, California

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another part of my logic tells me that if a belt were better/more efficient, wouldn't the manufacturers of high end helicopters all use belts?

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11-29-2007 12:29 AM  9 years agoPost 4
AndyH

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Rockledge, FL

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I've flown helis with both torque tubes and belts and there are only two differences I ever felt:

#1) Torque tubes did seem to have more hang time at the bottom of an auto.

#2) Torque tubes cost more than belts in crashes cuz they always break and its rare to break a belt (not impossible but rare and they are tougher than torque tubes.)

Freezin up there in Montana yet Brian?

This hobby is like Kryptonite to chicks!

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11-29-2007 12:39 AM  9 years agoPost 5
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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I used to fly X-Cells for a while, as well as a Raptor "70", and even a Falcon 46SE with TT drives. I was sure then it was the only way to go. Then, I switched to Hirobo X-Specs for both 3D and FAI flying. I was quite humbled in my opinion that TT drives were superior.

For hard core, mainshaft twisting 3D, I would say the TT drive is probably more efficient. The belts are just more reliable and less maintenance intensive. I put a hundred or so gallons through my contest FAI machine alone in the past two years competing, and never had to touch the belt system at all.

Now, I fly a Kyosho Caliber 90, which is a Top Level competition aircraft with a belt driven tail (actually everything on that machine is belt driven).

The bottom line is, IMO, that Belts or TT drive, the average Joe Pilot shouldn't make a decision on which heli to buy based on how the tail rotor spins, nor spend the hundreds of dollars it takes to convert some belt driven tails into TT.

Properly adjusted, either drive system will work just fine for 90% of applications. On that point, improperly adjusted or worn - either will not work as effectively, or fail in short order.

There was a comment about top end machines using belts. Well, aside from my Caliber 90, the Yamaha R-Max uses a belt drive.

Erich

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11-29-2007 12:45 AM  9 years agoPost 6
tlankford01

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Amarillo, TX 79110

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In the trex 600 what makes the difference to me is that if you want to shoot autos the tt is better but I have done so fine with the belt. However if you want to do high speed piros you better go with the TT. The belt stretches way to easy if you work the tail violently for 3-d. Unless you are a major 3-d'er it really is not necessary to go to the TT. This is with the 600. other heli's are different but I would imagine that the principal would be the same.

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11-29-2007 12:47 AM  9 years agoPost 7
LouInSD

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San Diego CA USA

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A belt doesnt break when you hit a blade of grass...

I agree with Andy, but the only thing with TT's is the mesh has to be juuust right...

and Brian must be wishing he was back in San Diego with a beer in his hand and his toes in the sand right about now...

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11-29-2007 12:49 AM  9 years agoPost 8
oldfart

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Vancouver, Canada

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IMHO, the only way to really tell, is to have two identical helicopters, equipped with the same equipment, where one has a good belt drive system and the other a good torque tube drive system.

Fortunately, I have had numerous flights on two such helis a number of years ago.

One could get the TSK Mystar 60 in a belt drive configuration and in a torque tube drive configuration - I had one of each.

After all was said and done, the t/t version won hands down. The belt drive version flew very well indeed. But the t/t version was noticeably better. And when pushed really hard, one could wear the belt relatively quickly - not so the t/t.

Due to the efficiency of the torque tube drive, I definitely could feel the power difference through maneuvers. This could even be easily demonstrated in practical terms. e.g. Setting the governor for a specific RPM, one could pull more pitch with the t/t version before the engine would sag.

Also, with a driven tail, one had noticeably more reserve then the other for auto-rotations (the t/t obviously took less energy from the rotor).

Unfortunately, the TSK torque tube had a splined coupler at both ends of the tube, so in a crash, any bending in the tail boom resulted in a damaged t/t.

Later I used t/t drives that had a universal type of dogbone at each end of it, which allowed the booms to bend a fair amount without damaging the t/t. With universals at each end, I actually think the t/t was just as crash resistant as the belt.

Also over the years, I have found thin walled stainless steel t/t, like in my Predators, to not only be lighter then the C/F units we used to use, but also more crash resistant (no splitting longitudinally from a tail rotor ground strike).

I am sure these advantages are the reasons the top flying BIG helis all use t/t tail drives.

This is also why I favor them in 30's and 50's.

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11-29-2007 12:53 AM  9 years agoPost 9
BJames111

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San Diego, California

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Brian must be wishing he was back in San Diego with a beer in his hand and his toes in the sand right about now...
instead my toes are in the snow, still with a beer in my hand, but with a big jacket on. fwiw, I flew last weekend though.

Keep the opinions coming.
There was a comment about top end machines using belts. Well, aside from my Caliber 90, the Yamaha R-Max uses a belt drive.
good point, BUT, the kyosho is a fai competition machine, and the R-Max is an industrial machine. The r-max doesn't count, as I'm sure the belt was used for weight savings. The kyosho...maybe it isn't as important for FAI flying. Agreed that they are top end machines though.

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11-29-2007 12:55 AM  9 years agoPost 10
RappyTappy

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North Denver, Colorado

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Simple fact is, a torque tube is a lot more set up and maintenance for possibly slightly better auto performance and even then a bad set up torque tube can fail prematurely and even have worse performance/drag than a belt drive.

Also a belt drive tail box is usually lighter due to have less bearings, couplers, gears and other associated components, thus containing less intertia on the end of the tail boom giving slightly quicker response and less strain on parts.

I really think the belt drive is a simple and cost effective means of transmitting power to the tail rotor. I'd probably give the nod to the belt as being the best and I haven't owned a belt drive heli in quite a while now.

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11-29-2007 12:57 AM  9 years agoPost 11
jal250r

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Mankato, MN, US

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TT

Correct me if Im wrong but dont alot of big HP motorcycles use belts becuase they transfer power very efficiency to rear wheel. I know that motorcycles and helis are not even close to the same but they are both trying to transfer power to another area from the motor. I dont know Im just rambling!

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11-29-2007 12:59 AM  9 years agoPost 12
BJames111

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San Diego, California

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again, interesting point, my Harley V-Rod (120hp) is belt driven, but I think it is due to weight savings over the shaft drive, and especially over the noise and maintenence over a chain.

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11-29-2007 01:04 AM  9 years agoPost 13
jal250r

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Mankato, MN, US

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Yeb

That would make alot of sence

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11-29-2007 01:09 AM  9 years agoPost 14
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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The kyosho...maybe it isn't as important for FAI flying.
I don't know if you are aware that AMA class III and all F3C schedules require an accurate autorotation landing into a 1 meter circle. Autorotation capability is extremely important on an FAI machine, and so far the #1 gripe with belt drives is that they rob main rotor energy.

The underlying point may be that to do hard 3D with a belt, you have to tension it quite a bit, which then you do lose energy in autos. Also, 3D blades are a bit lighter and don't bring much energy into the flare as do a set of real FAI blades.

I still say, don't shop for a heli soley based on what spins the tail rotor. Get the machine that suits your flying ability and desires. That means looking at more important items, such as CCPM layout, head design and mixing ratios, damper design and durability, as well as main frame design. There are things more important to the performance of a heli than what makes the tail spin.

Erich

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11-29-2007 01:11 AM  9 years agoPost 15
ErichF

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Sutton, NH

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It was my understanding that high performance motorcycles used belts over driveshaft because of the torque involved with the transmission layout wanting to roll the bike in the opposite direction. Weight is also a valid issue.

Erich

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11-29-2007 01:18 AM  9 years agoPost 16
Zaneman007

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Texas - USA

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I think the key is can you tell the difference?

I first started flying with a Hawkpro. The basic kit does not include an anti-rotation bracket. A JR rep and most excellent pilot helped me with the final radio set up. He flew it, and mentioned that I should probably get an anti-rotation bracket. Ask me if I could feel this and that while I was flying. I said NOPE (LOL).

Same with audio equipment, if you can't tell the dif between a BOSE (POS) and a good set of speakers. Don't buy good speakers.

IMO, there seems to be less drag with properly set up torque tube, and a tad more hang time with autos. And I do say properly set up, and that goes for the belt systems also.

In summary, if you can not tell the difference, don't spend the extra bucks.

Old Guys Rule!

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11-29-2007 01:20 AM  9 years agoPost 17
skydude

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Gainesville, Florida, USA

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I had posted a similar question after reading that torque tubes were considered more efficient for slope soaring.

If someone had done a search......(juuuusssttt kidding. Ribbing another post)

I came across numbers in Mark's handbook for Mechanical engineers later:

bevel gears including bearings 92 - 95% efficient whether cast or cut gears.

belting 96 - 98% efficient.

This jives with what I have heard re motorcys etc. I am reading it right now. But it does not jive with what I remember as the last time I read it.

I must be losing my mind. But I don't mind. Still having a good time.

--

Watch out all you moles!!! (Vae, puto deus fio)

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11-29-2007 01:25 AM  9 years agoPost 18
Rodney

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St.Cloud,Florida

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I have flown both for a while. I am not a shaft bending 3D pilot but I say they both work great. As far as High End Machines what makes them High End, popularity or cost. The Compass all use belts and work great even the soon to come 90.

Dx7 With Ion Power Supply. Why use anything else.

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11-29-2007 01:35 AM  9 years agoPost 19
Yug

rrMaster

UK. Herts

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Belt drive does consume more energy than TT but it only really shows up in extended autos and very high speed piros. With the latter, the power delivery to the tail can cause the belt to slip even with fairly tight belts (poor gyro), while TT while deliver, albeit increasing gear wear substantially and increasing maintenance costs.

Vegetable rights and Peace

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11-29-2007 01:38 AM  9 years agoPost 20
Zaneman007

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Texas - USA

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I have to chime in again.

I had a motorcycle with a torque tube. The torque tube does eat power as compared to a chain driven machine. The tube creates a rotaional torque. As you give the motorcycle power you could feel the back tire, not the front tire, lifting.

Now for helis, the gearing is a bit different, you are changing the direction of the force being applied. I think that if you had a metal chain gear with no twists in it that could just hang on the machine, and not be torqued, and thus implying that the tail is horizantal to the ground and not vertical, and the additional bearings were gone. You would have a good, point. But fact is the belt is twisted, you have two pulleys keeping the belt tight and some monkey "or not" wrenching down on it pretty hard.

It is back to set up. I think a well set up belt "in theory" should be able to hold its own against a torque tube when it comes to effeciency. But in my experiance, if I spin the main blades the belt driven machine allways stops first.

Can you feel the difference, that would be a personal question.

Old Guys Rule!

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HelicopterMain Discussion › Torque tube or belt...your opinions
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