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E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

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Old 08-29-2005, 02:13 PM
  #1  
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Default E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Coming back into the hobby after being gone for a LONG time. So I'm starting slow at first. Bought an E-Starter and have flown it 5 to 6 times so far... some with succesful landings, some with not. Epoxy is now my best friend. Anyway, I'm having a couple of problems I was hoping you guys could help me with...

First a run down of the setup...
GWS E-Starter
EPS-400C
ICS-480 ESC
GWS 9.6V 750mah NiMH
GWS 10x4.7
Futaba 7UHFS (Super 7)
GWS R6NII receiver
GWS Naro STD servos (3)

I bought this kit off ebay which sums it all up (except for the Tx which I already had): http://cgi.ebay.com/GWS-E-STARTER-AR...QQcmdZViewItem

So, on to the problems...

1) Flight time is rather low. 7 1/2 minutes is as good as it gets. I was hoping for at least 12-15 minute flight times, but after 7-8 minutes, it's DONE. At that point, the thing is such a slug that even level flight is difficult! Soon after, the battery cut occurs.

2) Battery gets HOT HOT HOT! Sometimes to the point where I can't touch it. Surprised the foam hasn't melted yet!

3) It's rather slow. Yeah, I know it's a trainer. But it has difficulty even doing loops without stalling at the top. And that's right off the ground with a fresh battery. I also find I need to run close to full throttle most of the time, especially if there's any head wind at all. I'm hearing that the GWS stock motor is not the greatest. Perhaps an upgrade to a brushless/LiPo setup would help out quite a bit here.

4) The tail drags (flies low) when doing turns. I have been correcting for this by giving a bit of rudder in the direction of the turn to bring the tail up. But I didn't know if this was normal behavior or if something was wrong. Could it be tail heavy?? I actually had to add weight to the tail to get the CG where GWS recommended. It was too far forward otherwise. Maybe GWS's recommendation is incorrect?

I'm sure a lot of this is probably related to the current propulsion system. Maybe the best thing to do would be to get a brushless/ESC/LiPo setup. That would probably give me more power, less weight, and hopefully also more flight time. For right now it's a fun little plane to learn (again) on. But I'm starting to get to the point of wanting to do more with it. If you guys have any suggestions, please let me know.

Thanks!
Brian
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Old 08-29-2005, 06:22 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

my gws pt-17 had the same power problem but mine had a D gear drive. it wouldn't do loops and it would stall very easily. i also got only 5-6 minute flights except on a 8.4V battery. i think its just the gws motor system.
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Old 08-29-2005, 08:30 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Could be. Looks like the battery might also be the culprit though. I read in another thread that the GWS AAA 9.6V packs are only good for about 5-6 Amps. I'm sure it's trying to pull a lot more than that, which is most likely why the pack is blazing hot after a flight. Do you know if the ICS480 ESC can run on lipo's? I plan on getting a 1500 3S lipo. And if not, that would mean I would need to replace the ESC as well. And if I'm going to do that, I might as well do the whole thing... Lipo, brushless ESC, and brushless motor.

BTW, got two more flights in today. At about 5 minutes I can tell it's starting to turn to mush. lol And at 7 minutes, it's definitely time to bring 'er in, or risk a motor shutoff which is still not a great idea for me yet (still re-learning). I definitely need to upgrade some components.
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Old 08-29-2005, 08:34 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

i dont know if it can take li-pos. im pretty sure it can because i used a 2s li-po with a ics-300 on my slow stick and it did fine. i still havve the battery and it works. but for a 3s you should ask your LHS or some one else. sorry!
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Old 08-30-2005, 10:21 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Brian :
Your batt at 750 ma is the biggest problem. Can't handle the amp draw is why it's getting hot. Also the low capacity is why your getting the short motor run. Get a 3 cell lipo around at least around 1500 ma and it will keep you and your plane happy . Teaching a fellow to fly on the same setup. If you want to go brushless the Balsa Products BP 21 with the 18 amp ESC would be a good combination in that plane. Doesn't cost a lot and works well. The brushless will give you a lot less problems than the brush type.
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Old 08-30-2005, 01:28 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

I wouldn't run a 3S lipo pack on the 480. We're not exactly sure what happened, but a fellow pilot's TM 400 crashed due to a fried ESC (the 480). His motor shouldn't have been drawing enough amps to toast it, so we're assuming that the BEC couldn't handle the 11 volts and the 3 servos.

I think he's had GWS servos which I've heard draw more current than Hitec 55's, so you could give a lower drawing servo a try with the 480. The voltage cutoffs aren't going to help you though. You'll have to watch your packs so the voltage doesn't drop too low.
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Old 08-30-2005, 01:36 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Flypaper2: Thanks for the info. Yeah, I was kind of figuring that was the big problem. I imagine all that heat generated is also energy wasted too. I'm going to look into a lipo/esc/brushless setup. Any idea what this GWS battery weighs? Sorry, I don't have a gram/ounce scale to measure it. edit: Nevermind... I just checked GWS's website. Wow! This thing weighs 120grams. I can get a 3S 1500 Lipo for less weight (110 grams probably), and it will have TWICE the capacity!!

BTW, I flew it again today, and man did I have a blast. There was a considerable amount of wind (for a foamy airplane anyways). Probably gusts of 15-20 mph (shrug). It was a lot of fun though. I did a bunch of touch and go's into the wind and everything went smoothly. Except for the last takeoff that is. I attempted to get it airborn one last time and the battery said "I don't think so". haha I ran out of runway space (dirt infield at a ball park) and capsized into the tall grass. lol No damage though. 5-6 minutes and she was DONE! Having a lot of fun though. Longer flight times and more power will increase the fun factor exponentially.
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Old 08-30-2005, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Time Pilot: Yeah, it sounds like I just need to get a good lipo/esc/brushless combo, rather than worrying about frying one or more components.

I'm also looking at getting a nice aerobatic flyer like the U Can Do, GWS Formosa, etc. I would like to have something that can do some tricks for when I'm ready. Not sure what to get yet though. I really like the look of the Extra 330. Something in a park size made of EPP would be awesome for me! Decisions... decisions...
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Old 08-30-2005, 06:37 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Well, crap. I stuffed it. Was doing a high bank turn, approx. 10-15 feet above ground level. Winds were high this time. 15 mph sustained I'm guessing with gusts to 20. Anyway, the wind grabbed the plane and shoved it into the ground. It did a couple of cartwheels and then the wing sepparated from the fuse. []

Damage doesn't look too bad though, considering. It ripped the wing mounting bolt out of the fuse, ripped off one of the support struts, and some other minor stuff. Should be an hours worth of repair maybe, depending on how the motor/gearbox does... The motor shaft is loose, so I'll have to see what happened there.

Oh well. Probably shouldn't have been flying, but that's the way it goes. Maybe now would be a good time to upgrade the motor/battery combo.
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:22 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Bummer 'stang, now you'll need to go get a GP UCD-3D EPP... I can point you in hte "budget" direction for good electrical setup...
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Old 08-31-2005, 06:50 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

It's all good. Got it all back together last night in less than an hour. Was going to fly again today at lunch time, but... the winds are pretty severe now. At least for flying anyways. Must be the outer remnants of Katrina passing through.

I read the whole thread on the U Can Do. It sounds like a great plane, but I'm just not too crazy about the looks of it. I want a plane that flies good (of course), but also looks good (to me) also. I may need help with a motor selection though. It's overwhelming how many brands/models/etc. there are out there. It will definitely be a brushless/lipo combo though.
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Old 09-01-2005, 05:52 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Back in the air today. Winds died down and I could fly again. There seems to be a bit of a "Bermuda Triangle" at one end of the field though. LOL I almost crashed it today, in the same exact spot I did crash last time. Was able to pull it out just in time though. The wings tend to dip and bobble a bit there for some reason. It's really quite odd because it will be nice smooth flying across the field, until that point. It's over near a couple of small trees. Not sure if there's some weird thermal going on, or if it's some sort of radio interference. I know to watch for it now though.

Oh, btw, the roll rate with this thing is pathetic. I don't dare try any rolls for fear of ending up on the ground upside down. Anything I can do to increase that? I increased the rate on the Tx, but it's about as far as I can get it. Any farther and I can hear the servo start to bind on something.
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Old 09-01-2005, 06:06 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Is this the plane you are flying?

[link=http://www.modelflight.com.au/rc_model_electric_planes/gws_e-starter.htm]E-Starter[/link]

If so, this is a three channel aircraft. How did you get ailerons on it?
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Old 09-01-2005, 07:25 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

I have the E-Starter EPS400C which is 4 channel and has a 400 size motor. See it here:
http://www.gws.com.tw/english/produc...y/estarter.htm

I attached a picture of it in my first post above.
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Old 09-01-2005, 08:53 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

The one I'm teaching with has both ails. and rudder and a BP21 brushless for power. Rudder is more responsive than ails. But a good thing for the student to learn how to use both.
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Old 09-01-2005, 09:33 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

I'm curious then. How are you normally supposed to use the rudder in a flat turn? Because right now, my e-starter drags the tail. Tail flies low, nose is pitched up during a turn. And I'm correcting for this by giving a little bit of rudder in the direction of the turn. For instance... Left turn. I give left aileron, and once it's rolled over for the turn, I give a slight amount of up elevator to maintain altitude. Tail goes low so I give a little bit of left rudder, and the tail pulls up in line. But I don't know why the tail goes low in the first place. Does it have something to do with the CG??
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Old 09-02-2005, 12:00 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

'stang,

Yes, the tail-dragging trait in turns is normally a tail-heavy condition. Moving the CG forward maybe 1/4-1/2 inch will correct that usually on a plane this size.
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Old 09-02-2005, 12:59 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.


ORIGINAL: TManiaci

Yes, the tail-dragging trait in turns is normally a tail-heavy condition. Moving the CG forward maybe 1/4-1/2 inch will correct that usually on a plane this size.

I think this may just be a characteristic of the Estarter. My tail does the same thing and it is slightly nose heavy.

Rolls are not great. You need to get some altitude, go full throttle, dive a bit, pull up until you're slightly nose up and then give full aileron deflection. It is not designed as an aerobat.

It's a great flyer for a trainer.
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Old 09-02-2005, 01:06 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Yea, I have a Hobbico Nexstar Trainer, was doing the same thing. CG was in the front of the prescribed range. Moved it forward and it was much better. Sometimes the factory CG point is not right... it won't hurt to try it once. Nose heavy is not usually a difficult flying condition if you go too far, just inch up on it a little at a time. You might be surprised. Sometimes things like errors in incidence angles on flying surfaces can adversely effect the CG location.

Aircraft with large dyhedral in the main wing (angled up, not flat) are always hard to roll. This makes them very stable, but inhibit aerobatic capabilities. If you want to make it stunt better, you could try to remove the dyhedral and flatten out the wing. It will totally change the flying charictaristics.
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Old 09-02-2005, 08:26 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Thanks guys.

As for CG: Well, I've still got a little bit of tail weight, so I could remove that to bring the CG forward some. It's already a little bit forward of the recommended spot (by maybe 1/4"), but I could try more and see what happens.

Roll rate: I wasn't expecting too much aerobatic performance from this thing, since it IS a trainer. But yeah, if I really felt the need I guess I could do some modifications to it. Sounds like a lot of work though. Another thing I was thinking was to run two aileron servos, and move them out into the wings for a direct drive connection. There's probably a limitation to how good the torque rod setup can perform.

Oh, I've got the control throws super high compared to GWS's recommendations. lol Over an inch of travel on elev and rudder. Aileron is as high as I can get it. 3/4" maybe... can't remember for sure. GWS's recommendation is really low. If you go with theirs, you WILL crash it because you will have no control over the plane! It's something like 3/8" to 1/2" throw on elev and rudder I think.

Ahh, I'll probably just leave it alone and putt around with it for now though. I would at least like to get a lipo in it, to help increase flight times. But I've got an Ultrafly Extra on the way to me now. So when I get good enough at flying the e-starter, the Extra will be my aerobat. The e-starter will probably be the dust collector at that point.

Brian
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Old 09-02-2005, 10:21 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

'stang,

We built an Ultrafly Extra... I will tell you, it's a major handful even for an experienced pilot. It's very fast, not light on the wing, and has a bit of a snap tendency in hard pitch manuvers. Definitly a plane you have to FLY all the time. Hot landings with power is necessary. Very quick, easy to lose it really fast. We retired the bird after 3 flights for later. It's very heavy for it's size, needs LOTS of power to fly well, over 200 watts. Beautiful plane, no doubt, but not a beginner's plane for sure.

There is a short thread on it [link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_2765624/anchors_2765624/mpage_1/key_/anchor/tm.htm#2765624]HERE[/link].
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Old 09-02-2005, 10:40 AM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Thanks for the link. I had read your short review in the U Can Do thread also. I'm going to try and build it as light as possible. Great looking outrunner setup. I may do something similar just for the weight savings alone. Is there anywhere I can do carbon rods or other things to lighten it up? Oh, and what kind of flight times were you getting with the 2000 pack? I'm going to start out with the TP 1320 probably, which should lower the weight some also. Hopefully flight times will still be ok. Oh, and I definitely will get a lot more stick time on my e-starter before maiden'ing the extra. And even then, I'll be super careful with her till I get used to things.
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Old 09-02-2005, 12:40 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Out comes the epoxy again. lol Flew it at lunch time today. First thing was I pulled a hunk of the tail weight off. Immediately, it felt faster, but very weird. Didn't seem to fly well at all. So I brought it back in and stuck the weight back on. Lifted off again, and it was doing ok. But flight became very erratic. There would be times where a wing would instantly dip at least 30 degrees, or the whole plane would immediately drop or rise 6 feet at a time. I seem to be adding quite a bit of down elevator trim also. Couldn't tell what was going on, and I felt like it was not safe to fly right now so I brought it back in again (this was after about 4-5 minutes of flight time). Came in hot, but I didn't want to risk another approach. Smacked it down pretty hard and the damage estimate afterwards revealed a separated tail gear. Not too bad, quick fix. But something weird is going on. I don't know if it's something in the setup, weird wind patterns where I'm flying, radio interference, etc. It's getting aggravating though. Thinking about trying another field to eliminate that possibility.
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Old 09-02-2005, 01:32 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

We never ran the 2000 to shutdown, but we were pushing it real hard (overloaded at WOT) to get respectable thrust. I would guess, based on re-charge mAH's, that it will only fly 8 minutes on that battery. The 1320 is a good idea, but take care to prop it to draw at or below 22.5 amps (15C).
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Old 09-02-2005, 02:01 PM
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Default RE: E-Starter woes. Short flight time, battery barbecue, etc.

Hmmmmmm......I was actually gong to get an E-Starter for my next plane, almost ordered it today untile I saw this thread! Could I here from any other E-Starter flyers that don't have problems? The plane looks great....any other opinions?
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