Okay, so I'm kind of a beginner... so what materials do you absolutly
NEED to start a glow engine? The manual says I need a glow starter and
a propeller spinner, but I've had people tell me that I don't really
need either. If possible I would like to spare as much of that possibly
huge expense as I can (not to sound cheap or anything). So what do you
You need a fuel tank, fuel line, 1.5 VDC source with ample current capacity,
a means of applying the 1.5 VDC to the proper connections on the glow plug,
something to mount the engine to (do not hold in a vise or other clamping
device), a propeller, fuel, fuel tank, fuel line, a means of transferring
fuel to the fuel tank and the nut and washer to hold the propeller (tightly)
to the engine, which should have came with the engine. Depending upon the
type of mount you use, you may need machine screws to hold the engine in
place. The more of this stuff you already have, the less you will have to
buy or barter for.
You probably got lost in Ed's extensive list, but he mentioned that you
need 1.5 volts. You can flip the propeller with a screwdriver if you
want. A lot of old timers and those of us too cheap to buy an electric
starter have used our fingers, but this is like playing with snakes.
Sooner or later they bite you. After I got tired of cutting my fingers
I started using a screwdriver. I held onto the pointy end and used the
handle to flip the prop. It worked very well. Later I graduated to an
electric starter. It made me wonder why I would ever want to use
anything else. All of the common starting gear is like that. They make
a small variety of attachments to get the 1.5 volts to the glow plug.
I've used a lot of weird setups to fire up a glowplug, and they all make
me realize how nice it is to have the real thing.
Well, thanks a lot guys. I've been held up for a long time on this. I'm
on my first project, so I didn't know to buy CA glue, and I wanted to
buy anything else I needed in that order. I didn't know what else I
needed, so it held me up a couple weeks. Thanks for the advice.
Assuming that you already have the engine properly mounted in an
airplane that has all the plumbing, and that you have fuel in the fuel tank: * You need a _big_ 1.5 volt dry cell battery and a glow plug adapter
* If you're really cheap you can use alligator clips.
* If you're really cheaper you can use a bunch of 'D' cells in
* I highly recommend springing for a rechargeable nicad glow starter.
This will set you back 2-3 times as much as the glow plug wiring
+ battery above but (a) you can find it and (b) you will have a
more reliable source of watts to the plug.
* You need your hand (you didn't say "start safely").
* Folks who use their hands to start engines, but who are safety
minded use leather gloves -- after a propeller strike this keeps
all the bits together, which makes it easier on your flying
field buddies and emergency room personnel.
* You can use a "chicken stick", which is basically a dowel fit to a
piece of rubber hose -- you put the chicken stick in the line of
danger, and the worst that can happen is that _it_ gets smacked by
* You need patience. If your engine is set up correctly and your glow
starter battery is well charged and your glow plug is working
correctly and you correctly prime the engine _and_ Bill Brown's
ghost is in heaven interceding on your behalf -- the engine will
start right up.
You _can_ get the engine started this way, but it can take time. In
particular there is no way of knowing whether you have set things up too
rich or too lean -- I find that purposely setting it up a bit too lean
then over-priming it will start me out with a flooded engine, but as I
try to start it I'll go through the band where it'll run. If I'm lucky
it'll run long enough for me to find a running needle valve setting,
then I can go from there. There's lots of burps and bumps and belches
that an experienced hand-starter of engines learns to recognize and
respond to that you never have to bother with if you have an electric
starter in your hand.
I have found that if you bring a nice airplane to the field, make sure
that everyone knows you're a beginner, then struggle with it for a while
someone will show up at your side with a fresh glow starter and an
electric starter. This can be very handy getting an engine going the
The main thing to have for starting a glow aircraft engine is the knowledge
of how to do the original setting up of the equipment, ( Mount - Fuel tank -
throttle linkage - glow igniter - prop - prop size for the engine and proper
starting point for needle valves setting ) I therefore strongly suggest you
seek out a club and at least observe what is going on even if you don't want
to get acquainted with the members and the club. However if you think you
are serious about this hobby ( yes it can be expensive and if this is a
problem DON"T START ) I strongly suggest you get acquainted and join the
club. I am sure the club can in the end save you a lot of $ by you not
making the wrong decisions without the guidance of the experienced flyers.
Another side of the club is that there is usually equipment that the members
have outgrown or changed types of planes they desire. Good used equipment
usually goes for about 1/2 the new price.
Just my views.
You have been given lists of everything but the kitchen sink, but the
best idea is to find a helpful local modeller. It all seems a
nightmare at the start, but is like riding a bike after a little
Personally, I use a small 2 volt GellCell and a glo-clip, and a rubber
finger guard, several folk used to make these, but they are hard to
find nowadays. I get the occasional crack on the finger, but it
hardly hurts. OTOH, without the guard, I'm sure I would bleed, esp
with some of the very sharp-edged props.
I have never found the need for a starter and don't own one, except
for a tiny home-made high-speed one for Cox .049 engines. But I don't
use anything over a .90 size engine.
You can start the engine by flipping the propeller with your finger, but I
don't recommend doing it that way. It is too easy to be struck with the
propeller and injured. Some folks use a stick-like device called a "Chicken
Stick" and use that the force the propeller around, instead of their finger.
A fancier way to start it is with an electric motor with a special cup on
the end of the shaft that contains a rubber insert. This rubber insert in
the end of the "starter" can be placed in the cup one of two ways. One way
reveals a larger opening that is useful for starting engines with what is
known as a spinner mounted over the propeller and on the end of the engine's
crankshaft. Lacking a spinner and having just the engine's nut and bolt
exposed, reversing the rubber insert in the starter's cup reveals a smaller
hole that can be placed over the engine's crankshaft and against the
propeller's face in order to acquire friction sufficient to start the
engine. The electric starter will require a power source of some kind.
Usually Nicad batteries or a single lead acid/calcium 12 volt battery.
| used to be 1.5v, now its generally 1.2v from a Nicd cell.
Of course, that NiCd cell could be anywhere from 1.4 volts to 1.0
volts or so. (And that 1.5 volt battery starts at 1.5 volts and goes
downhill from there.)
| We used to use 2.2v lead acid in my day. They ALWAYS started...till
| the plugs burned out anyway.
I'm not so sure that having glow plug burning extra hot would make the
engine that much easier to start. The hard part is getting the right
amount of fuel and air into the carb -- once that's done, as long as
the glow plug is working properly, the engine will start.
(Of course, getting that part done isn't that easy.)
In any event, I agree with the others -- an electric starter is well
worth it. A properly tuned and primed engine will start just fine
with a chicken stick, but getting it to that point is hard, and a
starter will make things a lot easier.
If money is an issue, scan your local craiglist, local *.forsale
group, even the local club bulliten board -- people sell used starters
quite often, sometimes even giving them away. Often you can find a
whole box of almost new plane accessories and a smashed up trainer for
next to nothing :)
If you can't get a starter, at least get a stick or something -- don't
use your hand unless you use a thick glove, and even that's a bit
risky. Even a little 0.061 can cut you up nicely.
I'd suggest not using a screwdriver -- if the engine backfires or you
accidently put it back into the prop, it can become a projectile and
could take out an eye. A dowel or a broom handle cut off will work
fine and isn't quite so sharp.
As for the glow ignitor, get something that holds on good to the glow
plug -- anything less will just aggrivate you. The ones with the
meters are well worth it too -- they'll tell you if the battery is
dead or the glow plug has been burned out. (Note that there's two
parts to a glow plug -- the coils, and the catalyst coating. If the
coating fouls, then the engine will start as long as the glow plug has
power, but will die when it's removed. Just because a glow plug
lights up, that doesn't mean it's good!)
I have always hand started all my engines I always use a finger stool
(if that's the right word) and until recently I never owned a electric
starter I have owned glow engines from a cox 049 to a ASP 80FS and
several diesels including DC darts PAW's and all I can hand start them
all so you don't "need" a electric starter
the bare minimum you need is
1, chicken finger or a chicken stick (which just need to be a short
length of dowel with a piece of hose pipe on one end)
2, a c sized battery and glow clip
3, a means of get the fuel in the tank could be a hand pump or a washing
up liquid bottle
but I would recommend getting a proper glow starter as in the following
but a 12v starter is nice to have but then you need a 12v battery and
charger and then you have to carry it ?
Engines would run on the clip, but not off it, if e.g. very rich.
Indeed. You weren't brought up on Diesels obviously. Glo engines were
childs play after hand flicked Diesels.
It won't cut the fingers off though.
I've found with .40 and larger 2-strokes that once the engine is run in, you
can hand start them by gripping just the nosecone (so no fingers in the
prop) and flicking the prop backwards, bouncing it back off the compression.
It takes a little practice and technique, and you have to have a reliable
priming routine, but it makes for a very quick and safe way to start a
motor. Of course, if the needle valve is out of whack, or it's flooded, all
bets are off :(
Somebody wrote "Grip the nose cone...". Come on now, gentlemen. Nose
cones are on rockets and SPINNERS are attached to the propellor.....
Let's call it what it is....and this instance is almost as bad as the
people who call their R/C Transmitter a "Controller". My gosh, it is
a transmitter, and to be specific, the operator is the
This ought to get things started..........
Well, if my information is correct, a spinner has ALWAYS referred to
the rounded or pointed fitting on the propellor. As for nose cones,
I, again, without historical backup, have to rely on the information
at hand and that is, that a nose cone is the front end of a rocket.
As for the front end of the P-38 and your glider...I suggest that it
is called simply, "the nose"....but never a nose cone... Actually, I
dont think the word "nose cone" came into being until rockets...
I started out with control liners hand starting diesel engines many
years ago. When i moved to R/C electric starters were quite expensive so
i used to start my OS25 with a chicken stick. Recently i have bought an
irvine 53 now made by OS. OS have made a small change to the irvine
design which means that if you hand start it it will almost certainly at
some time result in minor engine damage curtailing a days flying. The
change consists of replacing the tapered crankshaft and prop driver with
a D type crankshaft and prop driver. If the engine is slightly over
primed it can kick, on my old OS this just caused the prop to come
undone, on the irvine it broke the D in the prop driver. The
instructions with most modern 2 stroke engines advise using an electric
starter, i would advise you follow those instructions.