ECO 7 Sport

ECO 7 Sport Gallery
LiPo Batteries and the ECO 7
Gigatronic Board Layout
Adjusting the Swash Plate
Using Extra Channels on Transmitter
ECO 7 Links
Contact Me
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The Ikarus ECO 7 Sport is a German-made mid-size electric RC helicopter with a 37" blade diameter.  A complete kit (with transmitter) is about $600, and can be ordered directly from Ikarus-USA.  They
sell two complete-kit versions of the ECO 7 -- one has the Jet Ranger canopy and comes pre-assembled and ready-to-fly; while with the other, ECO 7 Sport, you need to install the electronics and servos.  The instructions are not great, but you don't have to be an expert to manage the assembly.

Hints:  The E7 Powerboard (speed-control) is soldered to the top of the main motor.  The FM-Module plugs into the Gigatronic board.  If the servos are plugged in to the correct connectors then action of the swashplate will follow the motion of the control stick on the transmitter.  See the Gigatronic Board Layout section below for more info, especially the part about running with the motors disabled.

The 7-cell battery that comes with the heli is rather weak.  I highly recommend using lithium polymer (LiPo) batteries, as described below.

While the ECO 7 Sport is not the most acrobatic helicopter out there, it's not bad.  Other helis this size tend to be much more expensive.  In the months I've had it, I've enjoyed flying this machine quite a bit.


ECO 7 Ranger Manual (from Ikarus site)
ECO 7 Sport Manual (from Ikarus site)
Gigatronic Board Manual

Most of the internals of the Ranger and Sport models are the same and are covered in the Ranger manual.  Features specific to the Sport are covered in its manual.

ECO 7 Sport Gallery

These pictures may help with assembly, etc:

ECO 7 Sport Gallery 1
ECO 7 Sport Gallery 2

LiPo Batteries and the ECO 7

I figured out a really good solution for LiPo (Lithium Polymer) batteries on the ECO 7:  Wire two or three smaller LiPo batteries in parallel.  Using two batteries, each at 1800mAH to 2100mAH, works well.  Here are some possible battery options:

Mega Power Li-Po Battery 2100mAH 15C 11.1V:

E-Sky 1800mAH 3S 11.1V Lipo Battery 15C:

Cellpro Revolution 2100mAH 18C 11.1V LiPo CP02100-3S-N:
(If using the Cellpro battery, you'd also want to get the Cellpro 4S or 10 charger, which I think are the best LiPo chargers out there.)

Two 15C batteries in parallel provide 15C x 1800 each, or about 54 amps of current (two 12C batteries provide about 43 amps).  Three 1350 mAH batteries could also be used.  An adapter harness can be made to mate the battery connectors in parallel and then to a connector that mates to the heli. (I've converted my ECO 7 to use a Deans connector, which is much better.)  Just solder all the red wires together and all the black wires together.

LiPo batteries can only be charged with a lithium-polymer-compatible charger.  Balancing chargers (that connect via the separate balance connector on the battery) are best because they keep all the cells in the battery at the same level.  (A separate cell-balancer can also be used.)  Different manufacters use different styles of balance connectors.  The Mega-Power and E-Sky batteries shown above use balance connectors that are compatible with Align, E-Flite, Dynam, and Great Planes ElectriFly (Power Series).  Cellpro batteries use a different style of balance connector (converters are available).  See the links below for some charger options.

I mount the batteries under the plate on the forward chassis of the heli.  (Because the LiPo batteries are lighter than the stock NiMH battery, they want to be pushed forward to have a good center of gravity.)  I've attached velcro under the plate, and I have the velco battery straps (that came with the heli) pushed into the slots on the left and right sides of the plate.  I have velcro on the batteries to hold them together and to attach them to the velcro on the plate.  I wrap the velco straps around the batteries and stick the straps to each other.  This all keeps the batteries safely in place.  See these pictures of the battery setup.

These larger LiPo batteries would also work (without having to pair-up two batteries):

Mega Power Lipo Pack 3300mah 20C 11.1V MP3300203

Zippy-Ec 3600mAh 3S1P 20C Lipoly Pack Ec3600-20-3

Zippy Flightmax 3000mAh 3S1P 20C Z30003S-20

Rhino 3700mAh 3S 11.1v 20C Lipoly Pack R3700-20-3

Cellpro Revolution 3200-mAH 20C 11.1V LiPo CP03200-3S-N

I use the "HRPoly-X low-voltage warning device" from to monitor the battery level to make sure that it doesn't get too low.  (Draining LiPo batteries too low can damage them.)  I wired a JST-female connector to the points on the E7 Powerboard where the battery leads go in, and wired a JST-male connector to the leads of HRPoly-X device, which I attached (using velcro) just above where the boom goes into the main body of the heli.  The HRPoly-X comes preconfigured with a low-voltage limit of 3.0V per cell (setting #6, 9.0V).  I configured its low-voltage limit to 3.1V per cell (setting #7, 9.3V), which I found works better in that the early-warning beeping from the device happens sooner, allowing time for a non-panicky landing.  The HRPoly-X is also available from

Here are some cheaper battery-monitor/warning devices that would also work well:

Doohan Three Cell Lipo Voltage Alarm

Maxpro Battery Monitor 3S Maxpro-3S

The increase in power and agility that you get moving from the NiMH to the LiPo batteries is really quite amazing.  With more power and less weight, the heli jumps right up when you hit the throttle.  On top of that, the flight time is about twice as long.  Once you fly the LiPos you'll never want to go back.

AC LiPo balance charger:

DC LiPo balance chargers:

FMA Direct Cellpro Chargers:

Deans connectors:

JST connectors with wires:

JST connectors without wires:  (items 4500 and 4522)

This "Guide to Lithium Polymer Batteries" has a lot of good info:

Gigatronic Board Layout

Here is the layout of the Gigatronic board, from the Ikarus/Gigatronic manual:

The servos are connected as follows:

TS1 Servo --> left (roll) servo
TS2 Servo --> right (roll) servo
TS3 Servo --> front/back (pitch) servo

The other servo connections are unused.  The wired connectors from the
E7 Powerboard (speed-control) plug into the "Tail PWM" and "Main PWM/Servo" positions, with the E7-Powerboard wire that's closest to the edge going to the "Main PWM/Servo" position.

On the upper nine connector pins (for servos, etc), red is +5V and black is GND.  On the "PC" connector (on the bottom), the black and red are where the serial-data inputs go into.  (The two wires on the GigaTronic serial interface cable should be oriented to go into these top two pins.)   The "optional navigation lights" described in the manual can be hooked to the red and green pins, with the red pin being positive.  (I've used the +5V power from unused connectors to power LEDs that I've mounted on the heli.)

The serial interface cable has a two-pin header on one side, and a DB-9 female connector on the other.  The two wires go into the DB-9 on pin 5 (ground) and pin 3 (signal).  The DB-9 needs to go into a computer's serial point or into a serial-to-USB connector.  (A servo connector could be used in place of the two-pin header.)  The files from the Gigatronic CD may be found here.

The heli can be run with motors disabled and servos enabled by disconnecting the connector for the "Main PWM/Servo" on the Gigatronic board and disconnecting the white connector for the tail motor power wires on the E7 Powerboard (speed control).  The
"Tail PWM" on the Gigatronic board should be left connected to provide power to the electronics.


The three control servos that come with the kit are "Naro Max Std. Servo" (720366).  I've used the "GWS Naro Max" (GWSNRM/BB/F) servo as a replacement.

See the above section for info on where to connect the servos.  The ECO 7 Ranger Manual has a diagram on page 42 showing how the servos are mounted, and some of the photos in the ECO 7 Sport Gallery on this site may also be helpful.

Adjusting the Swash Plate

In the Ikarus/Gigatronic manuals, the instructions for adjusting the swash plate can be confusing.  The following notes may be helpful.  For starters, the "confirm" mentioned in the instructions is a brief pulse of power to the tail motor, making the tail rotor spin briefly.

One thing that's a bit tricky with the instructions is that the transmitter stick assignments are different depending on whether the transmitter is setup for mode 1 (Asia and Europe) or mode 2 (US) transmitter. With a mode 2 (US) transmitter, the "Push forward pitch and roll sticks to any side and hold" step is accomplished by pushing the right stick into any corner.

Before doing a swash plate adjustment, the model trims should be deleted. This is done by powering on the transmitter, then the heli, and then holding the left (yaw) stick all the way to left until the tail motor is pulsed three times (this takes about 10 seconds).

Using the "Adjusting the Swash plate" instructions, once the "Preselect with roll servo (right, center, left)" step is reached, it works like this: The pitch-control stick is used to slowly move a particular servo in one direction or the other, depending on if the stick is pushed up or down. Which of the three servos is moved depends on the position of the roll-control stick (left, center, or right).

The servo movement is a very slow creep, so you need to hold the pitch-control stick in the up or down position and watch the servos closely. The idea is to tweak the servo positions until the swash plate is level. There is limit, though, to how far this procedure will move a servo, and once it reaches that point it will not go any further in the given direction. (This is different from the absolute-travel limit of the servo.)

During this procedure, while moving a servo with the pitch-control stick, a "confirm" (tail motor pulse) will be generated when the servo is at its center of travel. If all three servos are at their center-of-travel positions and the swash plate is still way off level, or if the servos cannot be adjusted enough to get the swash plate level, then it may be necessary to change the position of one or more servo arms on the servos. (This is done by taking the screw off the top of the servo shaft, pulling up the servo arm, rotating its position, pushing it back on to the servo, and putting the screw back in.) Be sure that the model trims have been deleted and that the trims on the transmitter are centered, as these can affect the servo positions. On my ECO 7, the servo arms are at slightly below 90 degrees when the servos are centered.

Below are the transmitter stick assignments for the two common types of setups.

Transmitter Stick Assignments

Mode 2 (US):

Left stick up/down = throttle (collective pitch)
Left stick left/right = rudder (yaw or spin)

Right stick up/down = elevator (pitch)
Right stick left/right = aileron (roll)

Mode 1 (Asia and Europe):

Left stick up/down = elevator (pitch)
Left stick left/right = rudder (yaw or spin)

Right stick up/down = throttle (collective pitch)
Right stick left/right = aileron (roll)

Using Extra Channels on Transmitter

Switches can be installed on the stock Nova 6 transmitter to operate more channels, which can be used for extra functions on the heli.  Ikarus sells switches for channel 5 and channel 6.  I managed to put in my own, using two SPDT toggle switches, stock # 275-613 from Radio Shack.  (Center-off switches could also be used.)

A standard setup is to use a center-off switch on the left side
(channel 6) for "mode" and a toggle switch on the right side (channel 5) for "flight phase".  The "mode" switches between motor off (down), standard-mode gyro (center), and heading-lock gyro (up).  The "flight phase" switches between "hover" (normal) and "acro" (idle-up).

The Ikarus switches come with connectors that plug into the top of the circuit board in the transmitter, but I didn't have mating connectors, so I soldered wires from my switches onto the board.  Here is the pinout for the connectors on the circuit board, looking into the back of the transmitter:
           [ ch 6 ]                 [ ch 5 ]
input ----> o o <---- GND
+5V ----> o o <---- +5V
GND ----> o o <---- input
You should verify the pinout with a meter to make sure that the switch is not shorting out the power.  The "input" pin reads at about 3V.

The channels can be configured to operate extra servos (that could be used to drop a "bomb" or a parachuter, for instance).  The "Channel Allocation" tab in the "Gigatronic Control" setup software can be used to assign the channels to the "Extra 1" and "Extra 2" servo connectors, which correspond to the "Extra 1 Servo" and "Extra 2 Servo" pins on the Gigatronic board layout shown above.

ECO 7 Links

Ikarus Web Store - ECO 7 Sport
Ikarus USA
Ikarus ECO 7 Forum
ECO7 AndyJr Forum
Ikarus Forum post about pitch settings

Click here to contact me

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