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Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

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Old 12-09-2006, 01:58 PM
  #1  
Greg Covey
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Default Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Performance meets convenience when a traditional .40-sized trainer is redesigned to use today's advanced electric flight technology. The all-new Hobbico [link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXNVC0**&P=ML]ElectriStar Select[/link] uses clean and quiet electric power, making it economical to operate and ready to fly in under an hour! Unlike other smaller or underpowered electric trainers, the ElectriStar Select flies just like a .40-sized glow-powered trainer! The ElectriStar Select was engineered from the ground up as an electric-powered plane, so unneeded weight could be removed from the airframe without compromising structural integrity. The factory-installed, high-performance ElectriStar C-42 brushless out-runner motor provides the performance you would expect from a conventional .40-size glow engine. The ElectriStar is stable, strong, and with a wingspan of more than five feet, it's easy to see in the air!

Specifications:[ul][*] Wingspan: 63 in (1600 mm)[*] Wing Area: 709 sq in (45.7 dm2)[*] Weight: 6-6.5 lb (2720-2950 g)[*] Wing Loading: 19-21 oz/ft2 (59-64 g/dm2)[*] Length: 53 in (1345 mm)
[/ul]Features:[ul][*] With the computer radio and brushless motor already installed, final assembly takes less than an hour![*] The two-piece wing slides onto a strong aluminum joiner tube, to speed assembly.[*] A bolt-on tail makes the ElectriStar Select quick to assemble, yet is easy to remove and replace if required.[*] Includes: Futaba® 4EXA 4-channel computer radio w/R168 receiver and 3 servos, 42 mm brushless out-runner motor, Great Planes® ElectriFly 45A brushless ESC
[/ul]
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:04 PM
  #2  
Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Note that the Electristar requires two 7-cell 8.4v 3000 mAh NiMH battery packs ([link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/WTI0001P?&I=LXNZB8&P=V]GPMP0355[/link]) or two 7.4v 3200mAh 20C discharge batteries with balance connector ([link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0095p?FVSEARCH=GPMP0622&FVPROFIL=++&search3=Go]GPMP0622[/link]) and an appropriate charger.

The ElectriFly SS-45D Brushless ESC provides superior throttle control and is compatible with either NiCD, NiMH or LiPo batteries.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:28 PM
  #3  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

The ElectriStar Select comes very well packaged which keeps the parts in perfect condition during shipment. The Ready-To-Fly (RTF) Select version includes a Futaba® 4EXA 4-Channel FM Computer Radio System. With the Futaba 4EXA FM computer radio system, you'll enjoy the performance edge and ease of digital operation. With simple programming operation, you can navigate menus and select your set-ups using just two keys. There's no inconvenience of "trading up" to a new radio in the future — the 4EXA is as useful tomorrow as it is today.

The all-wood plane comes almost fully assembled and expertly covered with a MonoKote trim scheme. The assembly time is quick because all the servos, linkage, and control horns are already installed and hooked up!

The landing gear mains, wing mounting parts, prop adapter, and spinner come packaged in groups that are easy to find. The kit also includes an 11x7 e-prop.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:49 PM
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Manuals are supplied for the ElectriStar assembly and Futaba radio setup. A data sheet is included for the installed R168DF dual-conversion, full range 8-channel receiver and an addendum showing proper installation of the prop adapter onto the motor shaft flat spot is also supplied. Note that channels 5-8 on the receiver are not used in this model.
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Old 12-09-2006, 02:53 PM
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

As much as I despise posting in a review thread while the review is currently being written...I couldn't stop myself. This is going to be another excellent Greg Covey review I'm sure, and the plane seems great! If I was learning how to fly again, this might have been my choice...or if I was a glow guy interested in looking at electrics.

A side note: Your "Project VTOL" has my interests. Be sure and start a thread when you're done with it!
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:04 AM
  #6  
Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Thanks. I have no problem with people posting in these threads as they are meant for discovery as well as a placeholder for my reviews. Sometimes the review models go out late and people are already buying them or even flying them. I often get some great ideas or questions in these threads that help make my reviews even better. So far, I am quite impressed with the ElectriStar. If it was around when I started electric flight, it would have saved me plenty of frustration and money. The ElectriStar is much like my hopped up [link=http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/article_display.cfm?article_id=577]Superstar EP[/link], only bigger and without needing all the modifications.

The combination of my new job (outside the R/C world) and winter setting in has backed up my plans for Part 2 of "Project VTOL". I have heard from several people that Part 1 has been published in the January issue of Quiet Flyer magazine but I haven't received my copy yet. With a little luck around the holidays, I can get out to test fly the VTOL plane as a normal plane and then complete the last Part 3 on transitions from hover to flight and back. As the article parts get published, I can update the [link=http://www.gregcovey.com/vtol.htm]VTOL[/link] section of my Web Hangar.
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Old 12-10-2006, 08:20 AM
  #7  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

A closer look at the fuselage reveals that most of the assembly and installation has been already completed. The fuselage construction is very solid and feels like a traditional .40-size trainer with the open motor compartment, standard servo bay, and dowel slots to strap on the wing with rubber bands.

The motor, ESC, receiver pack, receiver, and servos are already installed and hooked up. Even the keepers are in place on each clevis.

The motor keeps cool from the open compartment. To keep the flight batteries cool, an air flow system has been built into the ElectriStar with an opening for air in up front and another for air output behind the gear mains. The air flows through a lower deck right over the battery packs to keep them cool which makes them last much longer.

To show the level of completeness on the ElectriStar design, the On/Off switch has already been mounted in the side of the fuselage and an extension cable is already plugged into channel 1 on the receiver to connect to the aileron servo in the wing. A steerable nose wheel comes pre-assembled with all the linkage attached. The rudder is also ready to go and only the horizontal stabilizer needs to be glued in place, and linkage attached, to complete the tail assembly.
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Old 12-10-2006, 11:26 AM
  #8  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

My son's getting one whether he wants it or not. Thanks for review Greg
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Old 12-10-2006, 12:14 PM
  #9  
Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

LOL! I suppose that the younger your son is, the more you can use it too.

The assembly begins by pushing the gear mains in place on the bottom side of the fuselage. One side of the nylon strap is already screwed in place so you simply swing it out of the way, insert the gear mains, and then add the second screw to the pre-drilled hole to secure it.

The wooden wing holder dowels are inserted with the longer one up front. I secured them in place with a small amount of CA glue. Either medium or thin will work fine here. The 4 plastic covers are then screwed over the dowel ends into pre-drilled holes.

If you are just starting out in R/C, the [link=http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXJC65&P=7]Tower Hobbies Easy Tote Kit[/link] is a low cost solution to organize your tools and hold the plane fuselage upside down for easier assembly and maintenance.
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Old 12-10-2006, 03:44 PM
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Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

The horizontal stabilizer slides into the slot in the rear of the fuselage and is secured with two screws through the pre-drilled holes. The clevis is then clipped onto the control horn and secured by a snap fit as well as the safety keeper tubing.
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Old 12-10-2006, 04:08 PM
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

The more I read, the more I wish I had this when I started the hobby over 2 years ago. Great review (as usual)!
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Old 12-10-2006, 09:58 PM
  #12  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

whats the price??
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Old 12-11-2006, 07:20 PM
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Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Simply click on the link in my first post to go to Tower Hobbies for the price.

The prop adapter was secured to the flat spot on the motor shaft by first applying some ZAP Z-42 thread locker to the set screw and then tightening it with the supplied hex wrench. The prop, spinner, and backplate all fit perfectly without modification. The prop is secured by a second larger supplied hex wrench and the spinner is secured by two supplied screws.
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Old 12-12-2006, 07:22 PM
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

The wing halves slide together using an aluminum rod and wooden dowel to align and support it. The latches are then secured with screws into the pre-drilled holes.

I connected the aileron linkage up and tested the electronics using the supplied receiver battery that I charged overnight along with the transmitter. The Futaba radio comes with a dual wall charger to charge both the receiver battery and transmitter at the same time. Remember to turn on the transmitter first and then flip the receiver switch on the side of the fuselage second.

To my surprise, not only were the elevator, rudder, and ailerons all going in the correct direction but I didn't need to trim any of the surfaces!
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Old 12-14-2006, 07:18 PM
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

The Electristar is designed for several battery options. You can use either two 7-cell NiCd/NiMH packs in series or two 2-cell LiPo packs in series or a single 4-cell LiPo pack. When using a single 4-cell LiPo pack, you need to create a shorting stub for one side of the existing dual battery connection scheme. I created one using a mating Dean's Ultra battery connector. The shorting jumper wire was then covered with black shrink wrap tubing.

I measured the current and power using two 7-cell 3000mAh packs and a single 4-cell 3200mAh (20C) LiPo pack.[ul][*] 27amps (190w * 2=380w) w/two 7-cell 3000mAh NiMH packs (30oz total)[*] 30amps (440w) w/single 4-cell 3200mAh (20C) LiPo pack (14oz)[/ul]
Note that the power level was higher using the 4-cell LiPo pack due to a slightly higher voltage output under load. Also note that the LiPo pack weighs a full pound less than the two NiMH packs! This will drastically increase your watts per pound rating.[ul][*] 380w/6lb = 63w/lb using two NiMH packs[*] 440w/5lb = 88w/lb using a single LiPo pack
[/ul]
The 63w/lb power level of the two 7-cell NiMH packs should provide good trainer power with some limited aerobatic capability. The 88w/lb level using the LiPo pack will provide the ElectriStar with strong aerobatic performance. A good scenario here might be to first learn to fly the ElectricStar as a trainer using less expensive NiMH packs and then upgrade at a later time to a LiPo pack (or packs) to make the ElectriStar fly like a sport plane and push your skills to a higher level.
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Old 12-16-2006, 10:05 AM
  #16  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

My ElectriStar was Ready-To-Fly at 73oz (4.5lbs) without the flight battery. The all-up weights are as follows:[ul][*] 73oz + 30oz = 103oz (6.4lbs) using two 7-cell 3000mAh NiMH packs[*] 73oz + 14oz = 87oz (5.4lbs) using a 4-cell 3200mAh LiPo pack
[/ul]
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Old 12-16-2006, 12:24 PM
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Another great review Greg. It looks like a fun project. I was hoping you would do a review on the Pulse XT as it looks that that is the project that I am about to start

I guess you would agree that electric rc airplanes sure have changed since we first started doing the larger conversions. Brushless motors and lipo batteries sure brought this aspect of the hobby lightyears ahead.

It has been a while since you have done a review and it sure was nice to see you back at it.

I am still waiting for you to make a trip south and share some of the nice off season flying that we have here in Florida. Bring your Electrostar EP for the test flight and I will do the video for you.
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:56 PM
  #18  
Johnnyrocco123
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Im new to this Forum, and not sure where to just ask a question??? Ive been flying the Hobbico Superstar Ep with Ailerons, Its been fun, but the plane is awfully sluggish. I need upgrades Bad!!!! I want serious Air speed!!! What do I need? Battery, motor, speed control.......?????? What are some specific brands, models that you would suggest?
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:56 PM
  #19  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

You say that you used 1 4-cell LiPo pack and just altered the other battery connector. But earlier, you stated that the model requires two NiMH batteries or 2 LiPo. What are the specs on the single LiPo that you used to power the model?
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Old 12-16-2006, 09:57 PM
  #20  
Johnnyrocco123
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

....or should I just go with the Electristar or a different plane???
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Old 12-17-2006, 01:15 PM
  #21  
Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Johnny,

I would recommend reading post #6 above as I made a link to my Superstar EP modifications. Good luck and welcome to RCU!

Hi Paul,

Since I have been been doing reviews non-stop, I suspect that you just missed a few. Sometimes they get held in the RCU queue for many weeks before it is released. I still write my column for Quiet Flyer, having two articles in the January issue, and, I also write reviews for Model Retailer that goes to the hobby shop dealers. There is always plenty to keep me busy now that R/C is my hobby again.

I have another 12 years scheduled in the corporate workforce so it will be a while before you see me down South.

Regards.

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Old 12-17-2006, 04:42 PM
  #22  
Johnnyrocco123
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

thanks for the advice. In looking at all of the modifications to the Superstar EP, Im looking at about $325.00. Hell, I should probably just look into the Electristar.
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Old 12-23-2006, 08:50 AM
  #23  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

Hi: Greg I am looking into this plane as a trainer for my self I am new to all this stuff. with the NIMH 3000 packs what kind of flight time should I get. I also have a sig senorita that was given to me from my dad. It has the astro cobalt 15 geared and the pegasus-35 controler. can I use the same NIMH 3000 packs in this plane as well ? any info would be great thanks.
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:52 AM
  #24  
Greg Covey
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

I haven't flown the ElectriStar yet but I expect the flight times to be between 10-15 minutes depending upon the amount of aerobatics.

I realized my mistake above in the power level for using the two NiMH packs and corrected the numbers. Since the wattmeter was only measuring the voltage of one battery, the power is doubled due to the second battery in series. Therefore, the power level looks fine with the stock NiMH packs although the plane still weighs a pound more than when using a LiPo pack.
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Old 12-23-2006, 11:05 PM
  #25  
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Default RE: Hobbico Electristar Select EP Trainer RTF

I saw this plane at my LHS for $350 and I was like, "Wow!"

It is basically a steal at that price, when you consider the fact that it includes a BRUSHLESS motor itself worth $75-125, a $135 computer radio, a high dollar brushless ESC, oh and nevermind that it is such a nice LARGE wood plane w/ ailerons! It must scream with some good lipo batteries!

If I hadn't spent all my money in so much plane stuff already, I'd definitely pick this up if just to get that 4EXA comp. radio and brushless motor/ESC combo!
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