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Thunder Tiger Trainer 40 project

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Old 09-20-2014, 04:41 PM
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AllModesR/C
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Default Thunder Tiger Trainer 40 project

I picked this up from Criagslist yesterday. It is a Thunder Tiger 40 size trainer that according to the seller was never ran let alone flown. He claimed it sat for 1o years but I am thinking more like 15. Anyways I have several questions as I'm new to airplanes:

1) The radio has a charger but I don't know how to hook it up to charge the servo battery pack and transmitter pack. I plugged the charger into the transmitter overnight and the transmitter voltage jumps a little when I turn it on then goes back to zero. The transmitter and receiver are powered by 650ma ni-cd packs. Would I have to purchase new battery packs considering the age of them?

2) The engine is very difficult to turn over. What is the best way to loosen it up? Does it have to be gone through?

3) The wing has some damage to the covering. What is the easiest way to repair this? I have a pic so you can see what I am talking about.

I would greatly appreciate any advice in getting this plane running. Now I think I may be over my head with my limited experience and know-how.














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Old 09-20-2014, 06:08 PM
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My first priority is to get the radio working. I don't think I have the correct charger as it's a Futaba model and the radio system is a Hitec. Anyone know what type of charger I need for the Hitec Focus 4 system? I know they have new LiPo batteries now and all that so I'm confused.
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Old 09-20-2014, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by AllModesR/C View Post
1) The radio has a charger but I don't know how to hook it up to charge the servo battery pack and transmitter pack. I plugged the charger into the transmitter overnight and the transmitter voltage jumps a little when I turn it on then goes back to zero. The transmitter and receiver are powered by 650ma ni-cd packs. Would I have to purchase new battery packs considering the age of them?
You will most definitely need to get new batteries all around. A NiCd is good for 3-5 years with proper care. Yours haven't had proper care, and they are at least twice that old. Take them to a battery recycling center (not the trash can) and get new NiCd packs. A little extra capacity never hurt anything, but a 600-800 will work fine for your trainer.

Originally Posted by AllModesR/C View Post
2) The engine is very difficult to turn over. What is the best way to loosen it up? Does it have to be gone through?
It likely has congealed castor oil in it. That's a common condition for engines that have been left sitting for a few years. The easy way is to take off the carb, head, and backplate and soak the engine in fuel for a few days. See if you can work the crank and carb barrel back and forth after the first day, and keep soaking it until it all moves freely. An alternate method is to use an old crock pot to soak the engine in hot anti freeze. Just don't put any rubber or plastic parts in. You'll also need all new o rings on the carb inlet and needle valves.

Originally Posted by AllModesR/C View Post
3) The wing has some damage to the covering. What is the easiest way to repair this? I have a pic so you can see what I am talking about.
The easiest way is with packing tape. The right way is with some Monokote or Ultracote and a covering iron.

When you get this plane put back together, what are you plans for learning to fly? Learning from an experienced pilot is much better than learning on your own. The experienced pilot route generally means joining a club, but the expense of that will be offset several times over by the avoided crashes that good training will give you.
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:07 PM
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The first order of business is to properly dispose of both the transmitter battery as well as the receiver battery, They are far beyond any reasonable self life even if never charged and would be extreme dangerous to attempt to use. That charger could be used for the transmitter however the that plug for the airplane switch harness is the very vintage 'G' plug and has been extinct since the 1980's

This leaves a question mark what plugs the Rceiver and the servos use In other words you may have a real rats nest of vintage stuff. Is this stuff worth the price of purchasing new batteries, well no and remember you cannot get that type of plug anymore at least without an extreme pain in the rear on new batteries.

The Engine is just stiff from dryed caster and is very simple to free up with certainly no disassembly, by the way do not turn it over dry. Fir what its worth it is a Thunder Tiger forty or forty six GP. An excellent engine.

The repair to the wing hole can be as simple as sticking on a piece of packing tape.

You will be best served by seeking help for your nearest club and finding a mentor and do not buy anything just yet with imput. Trying to depend strickly for help in learning to fly and refurbish an old airplane by dependence on the internet is most often an expensive mistake.

By the way the TT trainer is a great old trainer that will serve you well if you make the right decisions and get help.

John
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Old 09-20-2014, 07:39 PM
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Great info. I took some pics of the receiver, servos, and plugs so you can guys can adivse me if I should buy new batteries for this radio system or just upgrade to a new one:






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Old 09-21-2014, 03:48 AM
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Excellent, good photos can make all the difference in the world. Ok those plugs are the still current Hitec (s) plug also known as a JR compatable so apparently that green Futaba 'G' plug is just on the charger and someone just picked up the old Futaba charger. The only question but not likely is if the original owner spliced the G plug female on the switch harness to use that charger?

But lets move on from that for a bit. Is Hitec a good system and the answer is oh you bet and I am a Hitec user myself but there is a hidden problem with your system. Those are HS 300 servo's which were perhaps a mistake by Hitec and in my opinion the most problematical servo ever produced by Hitec. They only lasted a couple of years before quietly disappearing from the market Now new batterys are going to cost around fifty or sixty bucks and that's a must. The little Focus four was an much older borttom line entry radio and totally devoid of all the modern features and functions that folks now demand. So here is what will happen if you are someone who is just passing through then yes I would patch up the old system but if you are someone who is motivated and intends to really get involved Then you will soon be wanting to replace that system just like everyone does and it makes no sense to drop money into when new modern systems jammed with features and functions you will soon want are starting out around 150 to 200 bucks.

You have a good start with the engine and airplane.

John

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Old 09-21-2014, 05:55 AM
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I am with John on this one . I think you would be further ahead to purchase a new radio system . They are loaded with features like end point adjustments , servo reversing and on and on . And they are not that expensive . You can often pick up a good used one from a club member that is upgrading .Try for at least 6 channels . Something newer will be 2.4 GHz and that is much easier to use than the old er radios . The older radios interfere with each other so you can only have one on the same frequency at a time . The new 2.4 GHz don't interfere with each other so you can turn your radio on when ever you want to with no worries about shooting somebody down .
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Old 09-21-2014, 05:56 AM
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I'll add that you should replace the switch too. Switches are the most failure prone part on our airplanes because they lose their spring tension internally over time and due to vibration. You can't tell when this has happened, so it sneaks up on you. Get a good DPDT switch like an MPI or other well-established brand.

And I'm with John on the radio situation. The new radios do so much more for you that it's hard to make a case for still using the analog 4 channel units. You also may find it difficult to find an instructor who has a buddy box that works with your radio. That said, the best equipment to use is the equipment you have. So if you can get with an instructor who can connect to your radio and if the radio range tests well, then there's no reason not to use it. You can upgrade when you're ready to get into higher performance planes. And there's a chance that the $30 battery you buy for your radio will transfer into your new radio, so it may not actually cost you anything.

On batteries, you get what you pay for. You want welded construction with Sanyo cells. There are some Chinese made batteries that sell for a good bit less, but they also don't last like the Sanyos do. I get all of mine from www.hangtimes.com. Their stuff is as good as it gets, and their prices are a little bit better than most other places.

It looks like the charger you have isn't going to work, so do yourself a favor and get a computerized charger that also cycles batteries. This is an area where cheap Chinese merchandise is ok, so you can pick one up for around $40. The cycling ability is a must have IMO, because it lets you test your batteries to be sure they are still good. I saved a plane that way once. I bought a new name brand battery pack at the hobby shop and put it on the cycler after form charging it. It hit the voltage cutoff in about a minute and didn't have 10% of the capacity that it should have. The manufacturer replaced the pack, but had I flown with it I would have probably lost the plane on the first flight. Since then I've found one other bad battery that I thought was good, so even if I don't count the convenience of fast charging and the ability to charge lipos and lifes my charger has paid for itself several times over by now.

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Old 09-21-2014, 07:37 AM
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I decided to keep this radio system. Here is a pic of the battery packs.







Will this pack work for the transmitter?

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXDKP4&P=0

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Old 09-21-2014, 08:12 AM
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I guess it would depend on what voltage your transmitter operates on and the type of plug in it has .. I would be reluctant to put a battery in that was a higher voltage than the original but if it is the same it should be fine .
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Old 09-21-2014, 08:26 AM
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Yes, that battery will work just fine.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:37 AM
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No that battery will not work in the Tx if that is the four cell one you are holding in you hand. Your tx requires and eight cell pack period nothing else will work. The one in the picture that is still in your radio is an eight cell pack. Now the one you are holding in your hand and asking if it will work in the tx also may not work for another reason and all the current and even older Hitec transmitters require a small white two conductor plug as used on some cell phones. Its been years since I last looked in a focus but that Servo plug you are holding may not work in your tx, to find out you only need to pop that battery out of the tx and look.

Agine if you are contemplating an attempt to use those old batteries no matter how pretty they look and even if you cycle them they are gonna come back to bite you in butt without a doubt.

I can,t keep count of all the folks who I watched that have found a great treasure in old radios and insisted on using old unknown or unused packs and watched their big find auger large holes an divits in the runway, that's the truth!


John
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Old 09-21-2014, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by JohnBuckner View Post
No that battery will not work in the Tx if that is the four cell one you are holding in you hand. Your tx requires and eight cell pack period nothing else will work. The one in the picture that is still in your radio is an eight cell pack. Now the one you are holding in your hand and asking if it will work in the tx also may not work for another reason and all the current and even older Hitec transmitters require a small white two conductor plug as used on some cell phones. Its been years since I last looked in a focus but that Servo plug you are holding may not work in your tx, to find out you only need to pop that battery out of the tx and look.

Agine if you are contemplating an attempt to use those old batteries no matter how pretty they look and even if you cycle them they are gonna come back to bite you in butt without a doubt.

I can,t keep count of all the folks who I watched that have found a great treasure in old radios and insisted on using old unknown or unused packs and watched their big find auger large holes an divits in the runway, that's the truth!


John
John is being honset and truthfull about this ,i cant tell you how many new flyers try and use old batterys and end up re kitting their planes . joe
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Old 09-21-2014, 11:01 AM
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I was a dealer when these planes first came out. They fly great. The radio is solid.
First thing to throw away the batteries and the charger.
You can get new batteries and charger from Towerhobbies.
WD40 will loosen up the engine.
Now for the hole. These early planes used a sticky back covering. None of the current covering will stick to it. The best thing is clear pa king tape.

Remember this plane is to learn to fly. What it looks like is not important.

Have fun learning and get help at one of the local clubs.

Dennis
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:48 PM
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I do agree they fly well. I had one that I used for instructing. I had picked it up for a song on Craigslist and was really pleased with the flight characteristics. My only compliant was the plastic top half of the fuselage. While it doesn't hurt anything for flying, you can't repair it if you break it. I'm a fan of trainers that can be put back together after a bad crash, and the standard box type balsa fuselages can without much effort.
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Old 09-21-2014, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by JohnBuckner View Post
No that battery will not work in the Tx if that is the four cell one you are holding in you hand. Your tx requires and eight cell pack period nothing else will work. The one in the picture that is still in your radio is an eight cell pack. Now the one you are holding in your hand and asking if it will work in the tx also may not work for another reason and all the current and even older Hitec transmitters require a small white two conductor plug as used on some cell phones. Its been years since I last looked in a focus but that Servo plug you are holding may not work in your tx, to find out you only need to pop that battery out of the tx and look. Agine if you are contemplating an attempt to use those old batteries no matter how pretty they look and even if you cycle them they are gonna come back to bite you in butt without a doubt. John
No sir, what I'm holding in my hand is the yellow battery pack that came with the plane, I was trying to show the connector so you guys could advise me on which replacement pack to use.Getting replacement batteries would seem simple enough but so much has changed in the hobby since 18 years ago when I built a Duraplane ARF. Anyone remember those? Now they have Lithium, LiPo in addition to old ole Ni-Cads. Went to my local Hobby Town USA today but they didn't
have anything compatible. Not surprising considering the store is geared more toward the toy market than R/C. All the good ma n pa hobby shops closed years ago in my area. Looks like you have to buy everything online now. But I have to admit that this radio is advanced for it's time as it uses fused rechargeable cells while most units of the mid to late 90's used single disposable cells if I remember right.

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Old 09-21-2014, 01:16 PM
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Originally Posted by AllModesR/C View Post
No sir, what I'm holding in my hand is the yellow battery pack that came with the plane, I was trying to show the connector so you guys could advise me on which replacement pack to use.Getting replacement batteries would seem simple enough but so much has changed in the hobby since 18 years ago when I built a Duraplane ARF. Anyone remember those? Now they have have Lithium, LiPo in addition to old ole Ni-Cads. Went to my local Hobby Town USA today but they didn't
have anything compatible. Not surprising considering the store is geared more toward the toy market than R/C. All the good ma n pa hobby shops closed years ago in my area. Looks like you have to buy everything online now. But I have to admit that this radio is advanced for it's time as it uses fused rechargeable cells while most units of the mid to late 90's used single disposable cells if I remember right.
I was a instructer in those years and i remember the flying brick called a duraplane ,metal fuse rails and heavy ! lol joe
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:20 PM
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Originally Posted by joebahl View Post
I was a instructer in those years and i remember the flying brick called a duraplane ,metal fuse rails and heavy ! lol joe
Yup that's it LOL. Hey by the way since you're sort of from the area can you tell me when Venture Hobbies in Wheeling closed up shop? I went there a few weeks ago and was sad to discover it closed.
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Old 09-21-2014, 01:47 PM
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I am thinking of buying this battery for the receiver:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXH333&P=0

It is 600mA as where the original was 650 mA, will that be an issue? I can not find any 650 or 700 with this connector.

And this charger:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXNK66&P=M
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Old 09-21-2014, 06:04 PM
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IMHO, both of those are a waste of your money. They'll work, but the charger can't do anything but charge those low capacity NiCds. It can't cycle test your batteries or fast charge them at the field. And the battery is enough for your trainer, but if you do what 90% of all beginner pilots do and transfer your internals to a sport plane when you either grow tired of or wreck your trainer, you'll find yourself wanting and possibly needing something better. If you buy those items they will get you in the air, but you'll be tossing them aside and rebuying when you advance in the hobby.

If you like buying from Tower, get this charger and this battery:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXBJBY&P=ML

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXSFS4&P=0

Or go to www.hangtimes.com and get the same charger and their top quality NiCd in roughly the same capacity.

http://www.hangtimes.com/chargers.html

http://www.hangtimes.com/sportrxpacks.html

Yes, this is more money to spend up front when you've probably already spent as much as you're comfortable with. But this is also equipment that you won't need to replace next year. The charger in particular will grow with you into every area of RC you get into, and I've already told you how it can save you an airplane. It's a must have piece of equipment, IMO.
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Old 09-21-2014, 09:35 PM
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I have to swing in here, because I have some gear like yours.
So far, great advice from all.
I am sitting here with a Focus Tx just like yours. This very evening, I modified it to run on Lithium Iron (LiFe) batteries, as I've been doing away with all my nickel batteries. More on that later, but be advised that I have, and operate, a Tx just like yours.
And then, I see this post!
I train people in the club as well and find that newcomers are often unsure if they are going to fully commit initially, so if they can try it cheaply, but safely, then that is the right course.
Thus, the advice to trash the batteries right now, and if you must stay with nickel batteries (NiCd or NiMh), then get good ones like Sanyos is very important. If you stay with nickel batteries ... please please please get a charger that has the capability to cycle the battery for you. Cycle means that the charger will charge, then discharge, the battery, preferably a few times, and report to you how much charge (in milli amp hours) went in, and how much went out. Here is why I say this.
A very good pilot in our club bought a new NiMh battery for a well flown P51 he had. There was nothing wrong with the old battery, but it was old and he was playing it safe, so he changed it. Charged the battery the night before, took it out the next day, took off, flew two laps, lost complete control and strained the airplane through a tree. When checked, the battery was dead, but the battery was capable of providing for a full day of flying, so it did not die because of the servo load. It died because some new batteries need a few cycles to get to where they can hold their full capacity. So, if you stay with a new nickel battery, get a charger that will do that cycling for you ... on the ground.
I have a Focus Tx because a guy I'm training is exactly like you. He got some old gear from his father in law, that is incredibly similar to yours. I buddy box with him on my Focus 4 I had lying around. His airplane had:
1. Big hole in wing ... and stabilizer ... and the covering was sticky back like yours ... and we patched it with iron on covering in a completely different color (red) because that is what he wanted.
2. Old batteries ... for the airplane battery I convinced him to use a Lithium Iron (LiFe) flight pack. These batteries have shown good service on the exact gear you have for two years, they do not need to be cycled, they do not self discharge, and they charge much faster than nickel based batteries. We stuck with NiMh for his transmitter. If you get a Hitec programmable charger, it will charge nickel, LiPo, LiFe, lead and every other battery chemistry we use, AND will cycle! I recommend you get one with the 12 volt power supply internal to the charger.
3. Locked up engine. OK, this is what you do (much of the advice above is correct and I'm just repeating). If you have access to a low temp heat gun used for iron on covering (do not use ANY other type of heating, like a torch, high temp heat gun, etc) then warm the engine ... don't make it so hot you cannot touch it comfortably. All we are doing here is softening whatever is in there. Dump a huge amount of 3 in 1 oil, or Marvel Mystery air tool oil down the carburetor throat. Gently try to turn the prop until the oil gets sucked down there, and then put more in. Get yourself soaked in oil. Keep the engine warm if you can. Eventually it will loosen up. DO NOT take it apart.
4. Prop spinner interference. It looks to me like the prop spinner is locked against the front of the fuselage. Try removing the spinner and see if the engine turns easier ... look for any sign of interference between the spinner and the fuselage ... if there is any, then you may have the engine in the wrong place (too far aft) or the spinner is wrong for this setup.
5. I guarantee you that every nut and bolt in that thing needs to be checked over ... especially the nose gear. Look carefully at the nose gear arm and any collars used to retain the height of the nosegear at the firewall, and all the collars on the wheels. More than one great takeoff has been met with a groan after a wheel comes off at ten feet of altitude. All the locking screws on the servo arms and the linkages need to be checked for being fully secured. Careful that you do not overtighten the screws holding the servo arms on the servos ... all this is plastic that you can strip. I found that the elevator horn on this guy's plane was loose on the surface and it required some work to stiffen the wood underneath and a much better horn than he had to get it right.
6. Balance. This kills more airplanes than anything and it mystifies me why, at my field, so many guys are willing to "test fly" other people's planes and never check the balance! All you need to do is put your fingers under the wing, where you feel the covering go from hard to soft -- this is where the wing spar is and is about 25 to 30% of the way back from the leading edge. So if the wing is 10 inches wide, this point is around 2.5 to 3 inches back from the leading edge. Lift the plane on your fingers and you are looking for it to hang there, level. If it falls back on the tail ... do not fly it. Add weight to the nose - you can get weights at the hobby shop, or just use fishing weights at Walmart.
7. Loose stuff. Wiggle all the surfaces on the tail ... look to see if the stuff is glued on right. Sometimes the horizontal tail is loose from getting hit, or it was never glued in right in the first place. Pull on the moveable surfaces ... rudder, elevator, ailerons. Sometimes the hinges have come loose, or again ... were never glued in at all.
8. Fuel tank is old. IF this plane was flown at some point, THEN the fuel tank is a problem now. The fuel lines will have rotted or hardened or come off ... or something. The tank must be pulled out and rebuilt before you fuel the plane. I'd recommend pulling it out, pull all the fuel lines, internal and external, off and trash them, wash the tank with isopropyl alcohol or fuel (if you have it), dry it out very well and rebuild with new fuel lines. if the tank has a rubber "stopper" with holes in it that brass tubes run through, then replace that too.9
9. Do not try to fly this plane alone. It is not safe for you to even start the engine without someone with you, and you need a person who can fly to do the initial flight for you. Do not try to start the engine by hand flipping (although that is what we did back in the day). PLEASE ... find a flying club and get a guy that will train you.

Good luck! Welcome back to the Hobby Where Guys Fly Toys.

Rikk

Last edited by Lightning Fan; 09-21-2014 at 09:41 PM.
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:41 AM
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Originally Posted by AllModesR/C View Post
I am thinking of buying this battery for the receiver:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXH333&P=0

It is 600mA as where the original was 650 mA, will that be an issue? I can not find any 650 or 700 with this connector.

And this charger:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXNK66&P=M
Nothing wrong with the above. The capacity is not critical.

But you would get more bang for your buck buying NiMH packs from these guys. http://www.batteryspace.com/48vnimha...ackseries.aspx

Your existing wallwart charger will do the job. I would plug it into one of these cheap time switches http://www.walmart.com/ip/Woods-5000...50000/21682990 set it to charge for 3/4 hour every day. When you come in from flying plug both the RX and TX batteries in and set the overide on the timer to charge for enough time to fully charge the batteries, say 5 hrs for a short flying session 10 hrs for a long one. Leave the timer charger and batteries plugged in and every day they get topped right back up. NiMH do self discharge more than most other batteries.
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Old 09-22-2014, 04:12 PM
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joebahl
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Originally Posted by AllModesR/C View Post
Yup that's it LOL. Hey by the way since you're sort of from the area can you tell me when Venture Hobbies in Wheeling closed up shop? I went there a few weeks ago and was sad to discover it closed.
I buy everything i need a leasure hobbys on rt 30 in joliet for the past 25 years,plenty of nice airplane stuff and good people . joe
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Old 09-22-2014, 06:37 PM
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AllModesR/C
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Originally Posted by joebahl View Post
I buy everything i need a leasure hobbys on rt 30 in joliet for the past 25 years,plenty of nice airplane stuff and good people . joe
I will have to swing by there some time. All the hobby shops in my area closed years ago. :-(
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Old 09-23-2014, 01:49 AM
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Originally Posted by jester_s1 View Post
IMHO, both of those are a waste of your money. They'll work, but the charger can't do anything but charge those low capacity NiCds. It can't cycle test your batteries or fast charge them at the field. And the battery is enough for your trainer, but if you do what 90% of all beginner pilots do and transfer your internals to a sport plane when you either grow tired of or wreck your trainer, you'll find yourself wanting and possibly needing something better. If you buy those items they will get you in the air, but you'll be tossing them aside and rebuying when you advance in the hobby.

If you like buying from Tower, get this charger and this battery:

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXBJBY&P=ML

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXSFS4&P=0

Or go to www.hangtimes.com and get the same charger and their top quality NiCd in roughly the same capacity.

http://www.hangtimes.com/chargers.html

http://www.hangtimes.com/sportrxpacks.html

Yes, this is more money to spend up front when you've probably already spent as much as you're comfortable with. But this is also equipment that you won't need to replace next year. The charger in particular will grow with you into every area of RC you get into, and I've already told you how it can save you an airplane. It's a must have piece of equipment, IMO.
Thanks Jester. This helps a lot. I will order them today. Now for the engine I made some progress. I took off the back plate and head and soaked it in fuel for a few days and it loosened up. In fact I saw brown goo come out. My question is, is it normal for the engine to make almost like a clicking sound when the piston is at TDC and transitioning for the downward stroke? Otherwise it turns over very smoothly and seems to have great compression!

Originally Posted by Lightning Fan View Post
I have to swing in here, because I have some gear like yours.
So far, great advice from all.
I am sitting here with a Focus Tx just like yours. This very evening, I modified it to run on Lithium Iron (LiFe) batteries, as I've been doing away with all my nickel batteries. More on that later, but be advised that I have, and operate, a Tx just like yours.
And then, I see this post!
I train people in the club as well and find that newcomers are often unsure if they are going to fully commit initially, so if they can try it cheaply, but safely, then that is the right course.
Thus, the advice to trash the batteries right now, and if you must stay with nickel batteries (NiCd or NiMh), then get good ones like Sanyos is very important. If you stay with nickel batteries ... please please please get a charger that has the capability to cycle the battery for you. Cycle means that the charger will charge, then discharge, the battery, preferably a few times, and report to you how much charge (in milli amp hours) went in, and how much went out. Here is why I say this.
A very good pilot in our club bought a new NiMh battery for a well flown P51 he had. There was nothing wrong with the old battery, but it was old and he was playing it safe, so he changed it. Charged the battery the night before, took it out the next day, took off, flew two laps, lost complete control and strained the airplane through a tree. When checked, the battery was dead, but the battery was capable of providing for a full day of flying, so it did not die because of the servo load. It died because some new batteries need a few cycles to get to where they can hold their full capacity. So, if you stay with a new nickel battery, get a charger that will do that cycling for you ... on the ground.
I have a Focus Tx because a guy I'm training is exactly like you. He got some old gear from his father in law, that is incredibly similar to yours. I buddy box with him on my Focus 4 I had lying around. His airplane had:
1. Big hole in wing ... and stabilizer ... and the covering was sticky back like yours ... and we patched it with iron on covering in a completely different color (red) because that is what he wanted.
2. Old batteries ... for the airplane battery I convinced him to use a Lithium Iron (LiFe) flight pack. These batteries have shown good service on the exact gear you have for two years, they do not need to be cycled, they do not self discharge, and they charge much faster than nickel based batteries. We stuck with NiMh for his transmitter. If you get a Hitec programmable charger, it will charge nickel, LiPo, LiFe, lead and every other battery chemistry we use, AND will cycle! I recommend you get one with the 12 volt power supply internal to the charger.
3. Locked up engine. OK, this is what you do (much of the advice above is correct and I'm just repeating). If you have access to a low temp heat gun used for iron on covering (do not use ANY other type of heating, like a torch, high temp heat gun, etc) then warm the engine ... don't make it so hot you cannot touch it comfortably. All we are doing here is softening whatever is in there. Dump a huge amount of 3 in 1 oil, or Marvel Mystery air tool oil down the carburetor throat. Gently try to turn the prop until the oil gets sucked down there, and then put more in. Get yourself soaked in oil. Keep the engine warm if you can. Eventually it will loosen up. DO NOT take it apart.
4. Prop spinner interference. It looks to me like the prop spinner is locked against the front of the fuselage. Try removing the spinner and see if the engine turns easier ... look for any sign of interference between the spinner and the fuselage ... if there is any, then you may have the engine in the wrong place (too far aft) or the spinner is wrong for this setup.
5. I guarantee you that every nut and bolt in that thing needs to be checked over ... especially the nose gear. Look carefully at the nose gear arm and any collars used to retain the height of the nosegear at the firewall, and all the collars on the wheels. More than one great takeoff has been met with a groan after a wheel comes off at ten feet of altitude. All the locking screws on the servo arms and the linkages need to be checked for being fully secured. Careful that you do not overtighten the screws holding the servo arms on the servos ... all this is plastic that you can strip. I found that the elevator horn on this guy's plane was loose on the surface and it required some work to stiffen the wood underneath and a much better horn than he had to get it right.
6. Balance. This kills more airplanes than anything and it mystifies me why, at my field, so many guys are willing to "test fly" other people's planes and never check the balance! All you need to do is put your fingers under the wing, where you feel the covering go from hard to soft -- this is where the wing spar is and is about 25 to 30% of the way back from the leading edge. So if the wing is 10 inches wide, this point is around 2.5 to 3 inches back from the leading edge. Lift the plane on your fingers and you are looking for it to hang there, level. If it falls back on the tail ... do not fly it. Add weight to the nose - you can get weights at the hobby shop, or just use fishing weights at Walmart.
7. Loose stuff. Wiggle all the surfaces on the tail ... look to see if the stuff is glued on right. Sometimes the horizontal tail is loose from getting hit, or it was never glued in right in the first place. Pull on the moveable surfaces ... rudder, elevator, ailerons. Sometimes the hinges have come loose, or again ... were never glued in at all.
8. Fuel tank is old. IF this plane was flown at some point, THEN the fuel tank is a problem now. The fuel lines will have rotted or hardened or come off ... or something. The tank must be pulled out and rebuilt before you fuel the plane. I'd recommend pulling it out, pull all the fuel lines, internal and external, off and trash them, wash the tank with isopropyl alcohol or fuel (if you have it), dry it out very well and rebuild with new fuel lines. if the tank has a rubber "stopper" with holes in it that brass tubes run through, then replace that too.9
9. Do not try to fly this plane alone. It is not safe for you to even start the engine without someone with you, and you need a person who can fly to do the initial flight for you. Do not try to start the engine by hand flipping (although that is what we did back in the day). PLEASE ... find a flying club and get a guy that will train you.

Good luck! Welcome back to the Hobby Where Guys Fly Toys.

Rikk
I noticed you're by Milwaukee, I live by Chicago. If I don't find anyone locally once I get this plane refurbished would you be interested in giving me a lesson once or twice? I would drive out to you. What do you charge for training?

Last edited by AllModesR/C; 09-23-2014 at 01:56 AM.
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