Electric RC Planes - Newbie questions

wrote:


    I think you are guilty of "presentism." He wants exactly the same thrill that the Wrights had. Flying as you describe might have been more exciting for the Wrights than doing five axial rolls in 3 seconds, 12' off the ground...with an r/c. <g>
    Ken
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Crash,
I do have some experience in flying real ultralight aircraft (Titan tornado, I think). Although I flew as a passenger in that ultra light few times, It gave me lots of info on flight mechanics and other things.
I agree that this is in no way going to help me to fly my rc plane but I think I have the confidence to try it out without flight sim. My be I'll crash it under 30 secs, but may be I can brag about flying a Su XXL foamie as a newbie without any prior rc experience.
Lets see :)
CRaSH wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Well, if you're going to try it, the Su-27 foamie should be a good test bed. The complete outfit from Hobby Lobby (nice folks!) won't break the bank, and if you break the foamie (and you WILL :), they patch very easily.. You might stock up on 5 minute epoxy and some carbon fiber rods for significant extra strength at low cost and negligible weight.. Good luck!! d:->))
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

Just for comparison, if I were starting from scratch:
(i) Futaba 6XAS or Hitec Optic 6 (ie. basic 6ch computer radio) (ii) Ditto the Berg receivers - spend a bit extra on quality receivers - with electric planes, cheap RX's can cause a world of grief. (iii) I like the Waypoint servos - I've used a pile of the 084 units with no problems http://aircraft-world.com/shopexd.asp?id "40 (iv) A charger like the link below - it is badged as Hyperion/Multiplex/Swallow and a few others in different countries. Charges pretty much every battery, easy to use and small. http://aircraft-world.com/shopexd.asp?id575 (v) A 12v 7.2Ah Gel-Cell and smart charger - they're cheap and quite portable, can be used at home or in the field. (vi) I strongly second the FLIGHT SIM - even the free FMS simulator will put you streets ahead before you take off for real. (vii) If you put in some solid time on the flight sim, you can probably go straight to an intermediate plane - there are heaps out there.
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    These are interesting lists but we cannot disregard what we know. And what we know comes from experience and a knowledge base that a beginner does not have.     Recommending a computer radio to a fellow who does not understand the difference between channel, function, band, and frequency. Come on now! I hope to heck that when he gets to the field, he is on your frequency!     Giving a beginner what we would have started with is good advice, if you can implant in the beginner the knowledge and rational (and experience) that led you to those decisions.     I think a beginner should get pretty much what we got as a beginner...but with up-dated technology.     Personally, I think a beginner should learn to fly with a single-channel, digital system. He would learn about building, trimming, and the nature of wings that fly and the relationships of speed and atmosphere.     But he doesn't want to learn, does he?     He just wants to fly.          Or they can do what they have always done..."My favorite airplane in the whole wide world is a P-51, so that is going to be my first plane. I figure I will get a bigger engine for it because I will need all that power to get me out of trouble...I can always power back while I am learning. What sort of retracts should I get?"     (I wish I was making that up. <g>)
    God bless the beginner! I am glad I never was one.
    Ken http://www.photos.windmillpro.com/
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The Natural Philosopher wrote:

That's a clever idea, I'd never have thought of that.
--
Boo

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I bought a portable charcoal grill (looks like a mini WEBER) with the dome lid at Walmart for $10. Great place to charge lipos. The battery sits on the wire rack.

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Not that I am personally aware of.

No.
Special recievers only - same brand as TX. This is restrictive.

No.
Yes. Essentially. Some plugs are not quite perfect fits, but can be made to be.

No. The only limitations on motor/prop/gearbox, ESC and pack are that everything is operated within current and voltage limits to prevent excessive heat build up in one or other of the components.

Not at this stage. 6 channels is more than enough to start with..but get one with at least some mixing and more than one model memory.

No, Brushless and brushed motors need completely different ESC';s. Apart from that its down to current and voltage ratings when selecting what ESC is needed.

Part of the ESC, or separate sometimes. Separate when using higher voltage packs (>12v) as heat build up in onboard BEC';s gets excessive. Outboard ones use switching technology and are more efficient.

It avoids the irritating (and in the US, technically illegal) practice of having to swap crystals when someone else is on your channel.
In practice, there are a lot of channels to choose from so its no big deal. I would NOT bother with a synthesizer if you are starting up.
There are better things to spend money on
You NEED to join the ezone forums at www.ezonemag.com
Ask everything you need there. Before buying ANYTHING.
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On 10 Feb 2006 13:33:51 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

    OK, I will give you my observations...those are different from opinions...opinions can be unfounded or unqualified.     There are very few e-models requiring more than 4 channels. I will assume that a fifth might be for landing gear and a sixth for flaps and the like.     Four will do most anything you want to do and I have done most of my flying on three...and that is over a 43-year span.

    PCM had a real application when xmitters and other sources were splattering signals all over the spectrum. They had some added advantages of having a default position. As if things get out of whack, the motor drops to idle, and the controls go to neutral.     Like a lot of things in the hobby, they weren't necessary but just rather nice (fun) to have. I have not had one but many of my OFBs have.

    The cheapest way to go will be a complete system. You will have a choice of servo size and that will be about it. I have wanted to buy a few servos and maybe another receiver on occasions but then I found that for $2.29 more, I could get a xmitter and charger. (I exaggerate for emphasis.)     Once you have your basic system, servos are so cheap that if you are flying more than one model (and who isn't?) multiple servos are nice because they are the most difficult to switch from model to model, so buying servos as you build new models is a good idea. This will result in you have a lot of servos as you tear up models -- unless you keep building -- as you should.     The servos are cheap and there are only a few choices of types. For you basic flying, you will not need digital servos so that limits your choice to two. I believe that one of the major radio brands needs a different direction control pulse. I forget who it is because I have always avoided them for that reason.     And I recommend that you do the same.     (Some one will immediately post here telling me who this is that is different from all, or at least most, of the others.)

    Yes, if you avoid the one non-remembered above.

    With any motor and battery pack you will just have to remember what you are expecting of the motor... such as high current loads might disqualify some battery types for use.     I have often pulled 60 amps with a motor and that would be a little much for LiPo. For your 15-minute flights, you should have no problems unless you are building large models.

    I do not believe that there are any "bad" systems out there...and this includes some real cheapos. At one time, there were several makers one would like to avoid...not so now. I believe that it is Airtronics that have to use different servos from everyone else.     I have no problems with Futaba, but I particularly like Hitec. I have several of each. Hitec has always given superb service.     You didn't mention computer radios. I will jump in right now on this and catch the flak for it.     I recommend that new fliers avoid computer radios. I can explain why when others start saying how crazy I am.     I would suggest that you get a Hitec 4-channel system unless you can, right now, think of what you are going to do with those other two channels.     Some e-sailplanes might need them for flaps, spoilers, or the like, but that is the only application I can think of. I mod'd one of my 4-channel xmitters to have five channels on a competition Class A, Limited Motor Run sailplane...that is the only one I can think of.     Even on some four-channel sailplanes, five-channel xmitters are nice because motor and spoiler controls need to work in a similar manner but not be on the same stick.

    Four seems like plenty to me. That is your call. Write down on a piece of paper the functions you would want in these models. Choppers can make great use of a digital radio...but not necessarily. Pattern models can make use of digital radios for some of the coupling that is enjoyed.     The coupling of spoilers/flaps to elevator are nice with computer radios, but again, they are not necessary.     Again, write down on a piece of paper what functions you might want and decide based on that.

    Any receiver, yes. Any motor, no. You obviously need a brushless ESC with a brushless motor.

    The BEC is usually built-in to the ESC. I would suggest that you not get a receiver that has these internal to the receiver.     The BEC can be disabled for some applications but you will need to know which ESCs you have disabled.     The BEC is not a good idea (real neck on the block here) for a high-performance duration model. They are great for any sport plane.     In duration flying, there are times that the altitude and range...and the consequent, additional flight time required to continue flying the model at altitude can extend beyond the time left in the motor batteries after the BEC has disconnected the motor function.     I have lost models because I kept flying after the BEC cut-out the motor. Consequently, I use 270 mah flight batteries for the receiver. They are small, don't take up much room, easy to replace, and I never worry about ESC or BEC failure, or me extending the flight times well over 45 minutes after the BEC kicked in.     They are really nice for non-duration models because when they cut out the motor, that model is going to be on the ground pretty soon.

    Yes and no. The current synthesizers are frequency synthesizers and take the place of the crystal. You still would not want the synthesizer in the xmitter on the same frequency as someone else...whether they had a xstal or frequency synthesizer in their xmitter.     I am not talking about the new spectrum sweep or spread frequency systems here.     I hope this helps. I said many things that others may disagree with but what I said was for the most part true.
    Ken http://www.photos.windmillpro.com/
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On 10 Feb 2006 13:33:51 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:
    <Top Posting warning.>
    Whatever you do, would you please provide a service here to all the future beginners and to all of we who have taken the time to offer you our advice and observations.     If you get a computer radio...please...please...post back here how you like it. If you are having any trouble understanding it and if you are having any difficulty making it do what you want it to do.     Please...     Return the service.
    Ken http://www.photos.windmillpro.com/

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Ken,
I'm convinced in buying a basic 6 channel computer radio. No pcm. I'm sure I don't need a 6 channel computer as a beginner but I'm thinking 2-3 years from now. I want to use the same radio for all my planes (Electric only for next 2-3 years).
Another reason I think a computer radio will suit me better is that I'm a systems architect in .net. I work in computers all the time and I guess using computer radio is not in my worry list at all.
Sure I'll post my comments once I buy the radio but it won't apply to a person with little computer skills in the real world.
Thanks
Ken Cashion wrote:

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On 11 Feb 2006 11:43:03 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

    I like redundancy. I use each of my xmitters to fly maybe three models. I have labels on the xmitters saying which models it flies. I have a little "R" beside them if I need to move some switches to get the directions right.     Everything I have is on the same channel/band/frequency. <g> If I screw up and leave a xmitter on in the car or don't charge it like I thought I did, I just use one of the others. If I have a glitchie airplane at the field, I can switch xmitters to figure out what needs to be done.     I have a computer radio, the cheapest Hitek, because I was flying e-wings and wanted to change the elevons to differential throw. I was using the mixer portion of the xmitter but I found that it was easier to plug in a $19 mixer in the model and then I could use any of my xmitters.     I just realized that the two models I am flying on that computer xmitter, are not wings and I have no mixing. So I am using it as just another xmitter.     However, I like feeling of the trim on the sticks. I like looking at where they are when I get ready to make a high-powered climb and then change the trim for soaring.     With the computer radio, I look at it and the little electronic trim button tells me nothing...it is always in the same position. I can turn it on and look at the control surface trim but that is hard to remember where it should be for what proportion of flight.     None of these things are important...considering the advantages of a computer radio, but I have seen many fliers, good fliers, standing in the start-up area staring at their xmitter, punching buttons, and watching the plane's control surfaces...on a Sunday...when there are a lot of guys out...and flying time is limited... and the frequency clips sought after. <g>     When I was flying sailplanes, I had to learn to coordinate the pitch control when I would put flaps down or spoilers up. I did this OK. Later, I put a walking beam in the model so the neutral of the elevator would change as the amount of flaps went down. I enjoy the tinkering.     That would have been a perfect application for a computer radio.

    Good. Knowing what you are doing helps in learning the codes of the buttons...which two need to be held down when you turn on power, which other two need to be held down to go into another function.     The computer radio was the first radio system I ever had where I needed to take the instruction manual to the field. But I guess we have to put up with some things for all that convenience. <g>

    Please do. I am not the only one who is curious over this. And remember to keep track of what functions you are using on your computer radio that could not have been done with a non-computer one.     I will say, however, that the time will come when all xmitters will be computer types.
    Ken http://www.photos.windmillpro.com/
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| I'm convinced in buying a basic 6 channel computer radio. No pcm.
Oh, by the way --
Most modern TXs that do PCM can also turn the PCM off and talk to standard PPM RXs. Just because the TX says PCM, that doesn't mean you need a PCM RX.
(TX = transmitter, RX = receiver, if that's not clear.)
If you do go PCM, know that PCM only works within a given brand -- Futaba PCM TXs requires a Futaba PCM RX, JR requires JR, etc. For non PCM, you can mix the brands up (Futaba/Hitec work together, JR/Airtronics work together) but not with PCM.
| I'm sure I don't need a 6 channel computer as a beginner but I'm | thinking 2-3 years from now. I want to use the same radio for all my | planes (Electric only for next 2-3 years).
The price difference between computer radio and non computer radio is pretty small nowadays.
| Another reason I think a computer radio will suit me better is that I'm | a systems architect in .net. I work in computers all the time and I | guess using computer radio is not in my worry list at all.
The RC TX may have a computer in it, but it's still a consumer appliance. Knowing how to program a computer is no more essential or even useful in regards to it's use than it is with knowing how to use your Tivo or microwave.
(Though it may help you realize that the interfaces for the computer radios really do generally suck. It's like they're mostly designed by computer people who have never flown R/C ...)
| Sure I'll post my comments once I buy the radio but it won't apply to a | person with little computer skills in the real world.
Don't forget that most of the posters to this group have at least some computer skills, and plenty of us know how to program computers too.
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzy.com
"One word sums up probably the responsibility of any vice president,
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| The following question are relevant only to Electric RC planes
This really isn't true ... but I'll answer in the context of electric R/C planes.
| 1. Is there any ARF electric plane currently in market that uses more | than 6 channels?
Here's one -- the Ultra Stick Mini --
http://www.atlantahobby.com/shopexd.asp?idY88
If configured with quad flaps, you'll need seven channels for full functionality, but you can put the flaps on a Y cable and get by with six. (But you'd be giving up full span ailerons, which I guess isn't a big deal.)
Of course, this plane could be configured to work on four channels too. Or even three, if you were willing to give up rudder control, but I wouldn't suggest that.
| 2. Is PCM radio worth for electric flying for weekend fun. Does PCM | radio need expensive or special servos or receiver?
This has already been covered, but PCM isn't used much in electrics, since the new DSP receivers offer many of the benefits for a lot less money and weight.
| 3. When I buy a radio, should I buy receiver / servo / from the same | brand / company?
You don't have to, but it's not a bad policy if you don't know what's compatibile with what. Personally, I have a Futaba 9C TX, and have it talking to receivers from Berg, FMA, Sombra Labs, Hitec and Futaba.
| 4. Will any servo (brand, size, torque) work with any radio / receiver?
Generally, yes. | 5. Can I use a brushed or brushless motor on any type of lipo battery | pack? I'm plannning to buy a lipo that would give me longer fying time | ( > 15 minutes). Does high capacity lipo require special motors?
That's two questions. Yes and no are the answers.
| 6. I'm convinced on a 6 channel futuba / JR / Hitec. Your | recommendation? I will be flying only electric planes / glider / simple | helis in the near future. Should I go for the ones with more channels?
Seven channels will give you even more flexibility, but six isn't bad.
Given that you want to fly electrics and six channels is probably enough, the Spektrum DX6 might be just perfect for you, and the price is right. And you'll never have to worry about channel conflicts with it ...
| 7. Will any ESC work with any receiver / motor?
Two questions again :)
Will it work with any RX -- usually yes.
Will it work with any motor -- no. Brushed motors need brushed ESCs and brushless motors need brushless ESCs. And of cours the ESC needs to be able to support the current draw of the motor, and sometimes there's issues about the timing or frequency of the ESC needing to match the motor (but they're rare.) Getting a ESC and motor as a matched set isn't a bad idea if you don't know the specifics.
| 8. I know what BEC is, but Is this a part of the receiver or something | else?
It's usually part of the ESC, but can be seperate. It's almost never part of the RX.
| 9. What is a synthesizer? Does it mean I can fly my plane at the same | time when someone else is also flying?
Already covered nicely ...
--
Doug McLaren, snipped-for-privacy@frenzy.com
Some mornings I wake up grumpy. Other mornings I let her sleep.
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Spektrum DX6 tx, E-Flite Celectra lipo charger, E-Flite Park 370 outrunner, E-Flite brushless esc, Thunder Power 1320 mah 3s lipo. As for the plane: Go to www.3dfoamy.com and download some freebie plans. Scale them down a bit and go to WalMart and by some foamboard, soak it some water to remove the paper.........build as many planes as you like!!
Check out this site to give you some ideas
www.flyelectric.ukgateway.net/indoor.htm
good luck
Mike
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