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  1. #151

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Thanks for the response and thanks for your patience with me. After re-reading post #5 and the links that you provided, and applying the infospecifically to model aviation,see if you thinkI have this right.

    1. The motor would not be considered a 3-phase AC induction motor, but a brushless DC (BLDC) or an electronically commutated motor (ECM).

    2. I could not figure out whether there were permanent magnets in these motors. I've never held on in my hands or had the opportunity to take one apart.

    3. I still could not figure out how the speed was controlled. I can only guess that it is either constant frequency-pulse width modulated, constant pulse-frequency modulated, or a combination of both. From the graphs that I looked at,I strongly suspect that it is only the frequencythat is modulated. Perhaps you could clarify?

    Again, as I stated in my original post, none of these questions seems to have a whole lot of importance in how to hook them up or to operate the systems, it's just my own curiosity about how things work. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    Thanks
    Charles

  2. #152
    Moderator aeajr's Avatar
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT



    See my comments below ...


    ORIGINAL: Lone Star Charles

    Thanks for the response and thanks for your patience with me. After re-reading post #5 and the links that you provided, and applying the infospecifically to model aviation,see if you thinkI have this right.

    1. The motor would not be considered a 3-phase AC induction motor, but a brushless DC (BLDC) or an electronically commutated motor (ECM). Ibelieve that would be correct.

    2. I could not figure out whether there were permanent magnets in these motors. I've never held on in my hands or had the opportunity to take one apart. Most have magnets

    3. I still could not figure out how the speed was controlled. I can only guess that it is either constant frequency-pulse width modulated, constant pulse-frequency modulated, or a combination of both. From the graphs that I looked at,I strongly suspect that it is only the frequencythat is modulated. Perhaps you could clarify? The power is pulsed. I don't know what form of pulse.

    Again, as I stated in my original post, none of these questions seems to have a whole lot of importance in how to hook them up or to operate the systems, it's just my own curiosity about how things work. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.

    Thanks
    Charles
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  3. #153

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Thanks, Ed

    It's good to know that there are guys like you in this hobby that not only have a ton of experience, but also willing to share with those of us who are learning. I'll let you know when we finally make the plunge into electrics. There will probably be some 'teachable moments" involved in that.

    Charles

  4. #154

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Hi guys I am new to EDF's and need some advise/help. I purchased a real nice 90mm F-18 foam last year and just got around to building it. I got it from a dealer in Hong Kong and I dont know te manufacturer because the plane cam in a different box. I need help with the motor or the ESC. I had everything hooked up and was calabrating the landing gear when I smelled that plasticic melting smell. I dropped eerything and started feeling the wires to see if any are getting hot. The esc was very warm but not so that would make that smell. I then tried to test the flight controls and motor. Thats when strange started. Flight controls started moving on their own moving intermiten and then the lights on my RX went out and got the smoplugged the battery and started looking at the wireing to see if there was a problem but did not see one. I plugged the battery in and did not get anything, I tried to bind the rx and did not get the flashing lights. Frustrated I walked away from it to calm down and come back later to look at it again with different eyes. I looked in the tail pipe and noticed that the wires leading from the brushless motor are deformed but not showing wire. Is there anybody out there that can tell me if I burnt the motor and need to replace or the ESC is bad and needs to be replaced?

    Specs:
    All was incuded with the model except battery, TX and RX

    Battery size recomended in instructions and I purchaced - 3800 mAH 5S 18.5 volt Li-Po flight power EON. Battery was about 35% cost of airplane so I have some cash in this.

    Thanks for any help you can give me,

  5. #155
    Moderator aeajr's Avatar
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    harleykingofdividson

    Sorry to hear about the problem with your jet. However this is not the right place to post this question. This is a general knowledge thread about electric flight, not a place to have your individual plane debugged.But Iwill try to give you some advice on the process of figuring things out.

    First, if you smell burnig plastic and you see deformed wires it is clear you overheated something.Sounds like you overloaded your ESC, or failed to provide enough cooling air to keep things from overheating.If wires are deformed, and you smell burning plastic,that is a sign of overheating.

    It is also possible that the wire you are using is too small for the amperage you are trying to pull. This will cause the wire to heat up and if it gets hot enough it might break a solder joint or cook the ESCor the battery.

    Try using a receiver battery or another ESC to see if you can get the receiver working. If the receiver comes up and your servos work then I would assume you fried the ESC.

    You may want to invest in a Wattmeter. If you dont' know about wattmeters, look at the table of contents in the first post of this thread and find the chapter on Wattmeters.

    I suggest you post your questionin the Electric forum in the jet/ducted fan section as these guys will have more specific knowledge about your individual plane and ducted fans.
    http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/forumid_198/tt.htm

    Best of luck getting it sorted out.
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  6. #156

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    here i fly using electric. its easy...no need to thing so much.................really essy..........hahaha
    im enjoy my flight...


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mHba8...eature=mh_lolz

  7. #157
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    HI aeajr

    As earlier to my emails I was wondering if you could explain the formula for flight times with this set time. I would like to set my counter on my radio at a starting point and work from there.
    Also could you please explain what KV means it is just not make sense to me.

    Thanks

    Power 52 Brushless Outrunner Motor, 590Kv
    Product Specifications
    Type: Brushless Outrunner
    Size: Equivalent to or surpassing the power of a 50- to 55-size 2-stroke glow engine
    Recommended Prop Range: 4S: 14 x 7 - 15 x 8; 5S: 13 x 8 - 15 x 7; 6S: 11 x 10 - 12 x 8
    Voltage: 14.8V-22.2V
    RPM/Volt (Kv): 590
    Resistance (Ri): 0.016Ω
    Idle Current (Io): 2.3A @ 18.5V
    Continuous Current: 65A
    Maximum Burst Current: 75A
    Cells: 14-20 Ni-MH/Ni-Cd or 4-6S Li-Po
    Speed Control: 80-Amp
    Weight: 12.2 oz (346 g)
    Overall Diameter: 2.00 in (50mm)
    Shaft Diameter: 6mm
    Shaft Length: 3.1 in (80mm)



    G3 Li-Po 22.2V 5000mAh 6S1P 35C

    Voltage:22.2 V
    Cells: 6 Cells
    Capacity:5000 mAh
    Charge Rate: 3-5 C
    Discharge Rate:35 C

    Sig Kadet LT-40 Weight 6 Lbs

    50 watts per pound = Casual/scale flying

    75 watts per pound = Sport flying and sport aerobatics

    100 watts per pound = aggressive aerobatics and perhaps mild 3D

    150 watts per pound = all out performance.

    Weight: 6 LBs
    Discharge rate is 35C
    Watts needed is 600 Watts Formula 100 Watts X 6Lbs = 600 Watts
    AMPS needed is 27 Amps Formula 600 Watts / 22.2 Volts = 27 Amps

  8. #158

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Im wanting to build an electric control line combat plane. I need it to run hard and fast for 4 minutes. It needs to run 100 mph if possible. Its a 48" wing and 250 grams without the power system. Could you help me with picking a power system? I dont know crap about electrics, and dont want to go through a long and expensive learning curve. So is what Im asking for available yet, or do I still need to wait a few years? Our FAI engines that the electrics will be replacing weigh about about 150 grams.

    Bob

  9. #159
    Moderator aeajr's Avatar
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT


    ORIGINAL: Bob Mears

    Im wanting to build an electric control line combat plane. I need it to run hard and fast for 4 minutes. It needs to run 100 mph if possible. Its a 48" wing and 250 grams without the power system. Could you help me with picking a power system? I dont know crap about electrics, and dont want to go through a long and expensive learning curve. So is what Im asking for available yet, or do I still need to wait a few years? Our FAI engines that the electrics will be replacing weigh about about 150 grams.

    Bob
    Helping you pick components for a specific plane is not what this thread is about,. This is a book about understanding electric flight and how to understand motors, batteries, speed controls and the rest. If you read the book you will understand what I am about to do.


    Using WebOCalc, a free tool I will put in your paramaters.
    Wing area is not important for this work. I put in 200 sqinches
    Single prop and Iset it at a max of 10 inches
    http://flbeagle.rchomepage.com/softw..._imperial.html

    Iwork in ounces and pounds, so if your plane weighs 250 grams, that is 9.6 ounces. Iam going to round that to 10 ounces and add 6 ounces for the power system, battery, servos, etc, taking it 16 ounces or 1 pound. I am going to set the watts/pound target at 200 because I want a lot of power to create that kind of speed.

    Going to WeboCalc Iput in the numbers.

    I have to pick a battery voltage - I pick 3 cell.

    An 11V battery will draw about 19 amps to hit 200 watts, so lets put that in as a starting point.

    I am going to assume an in-runner because we are looking for speed rather than thrust and inrunners tend to be higher efficency

    Now I have to pick a kV for the motor. This is a trial and error thing.WeboCalc can suggest some kV numbers. I will start wtih 2000 Ipick 2000 kv as a starting point and we can adjust from there. Let's see what Webocalc suggests.

    After playing with the amps and the kV numbers Webocalc suggests

    Using a 2800 kVmotor and a30 amp target on a 3 cell lipo with a5X4.5 prop for a pitch speed of 109 mph.That would probably do it.

    So you go look for an in-runner with those specs, an ESC that can handle that and a battery that can safely supply 30 amps.

    There are other more elegant programs, but as a first cut I often use Webocalc and just play wtih the numbers till I get what I want.

    Where did all these numbers come from? Well, this is an e-book on electric flight. You have to read the book. As I said, this is not a thread where we pick the components for your planes. This is a book that teaches you how to do it.

    Happy reading, or happy flying if you want to take those numbers and go shopping.

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  10. #160
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Ah!!! Could you go over that again. [8D]
    DX-7,RDS8000. big Bingo,1/4 Scale Cub, SeaMaster 120, Forget the health food, I need all the preservatives I can get

  11. #161

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    I need help! I've converted my Hangar 9 35% Extra 230 to electric power. The motor is believed to be a Hacker A150, which is rated at 8000 watts, 44.4v and 200 amps. I have a 200 amp Turnigy Monster ESC and 4 Turnigy 5000 mah 6S LiPos in a series parallel conbination delivering the 44.4+ volts and somewhat over 200 amps (measured with a 200 amp ammeter with a 75mv shunt). It flew once for under a minute before the power died and dead sticked in. However, power was there to taxi back. Holding the plane down for testing, with the ammeter in series between the batteries and ESC, the set up will pull just over 200 amps at full power, but only for 20 or 30 seconds before it shuts down uncommanded. The motor gets quite warm in that short time. Even when started from ambient temperatures sometimes the motor will drop off line at only 70 amps when the power is coming up. The voltage from the 4 LiPos never drops below 42 volts, even under full power, so low voltage would appear to not be the problem, although anythings possible. If the power is brought up very slowly, full power may be attained, but it usually doesn't last more than 30 seconds. Anyone any ideas on how to fix this short of putting the DA 100 back in?
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  12. #162
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT


    ORIGINAL: RAYGIB

    I need help! I've converted my Hangar 9 35% Extra 230 to electric power. The motor is believed to be a Hacker A150, which is rated at 8000 watts, 44.4v and 200 amps. I have a 200 amp Turnigy Monster ESC and 4 Turnigy 5000 mah 6S LiPos in a series parallel conbination delivering the 44.4+ volts and somewhat over 200 amps (measured with a 200 amp ammeter with a 75mv shunt). It flew once for under a minute before the power died and dead sticked in. However, power was there to taxi back. Holding the plane down for testing, with the ammeter in series between the batteries and ESC, the set up will pull just over 200 amps at full power, but only for 20 or 30 seconds before it shuts down uncommanded. The motor gets quite warm in that short time. Even when started from ambient temperatures sometimes the motor will drop off line at only 70 amps when the power is coming up. The voltage from the 4 LiPos never drops below 42 volts, even under full power, so low voltage would appear to not be the problem, although anythings possible. If the power is brought up very slowly, full power may be attained, but it usually doesn't last more than 30 seconds. Anyone any ideas on how to fix this short of putting the DA 100 back in?
    Believed to be a Hacker A150? You don't know? Which model of the A150? And if you don't know what it is where are you getting the specs from?

    Do the math. 8000 watts at 44 volts is 181 amps. You are overloading the motor with 200+ amps. 200 amps at 44V is 8800 watts, which is 10 % over the motor's rating. Assuming this is a Hacker A 150, it is rated to 9000 watts/204 ampsfor 15 seconds ONLY. And the recomended ESC for that motor is a 220 amp ESC.

    Hacker motor specs:
    http://www.hacker-motor-shop.com/e-v...&t=3&c=35&p=35
    Depending on model the motor can handle 150 or 188 amps.
    Recommended prop is 27X12. What prop are you using?

    You say you are pulling over 200 amps on a 200 amp ESC. You are overloading the ESC!

    And you wonder why the system is shutting down? If it did not shut down it would catch fire.

    I would bet there is a good chance you have damaged the ESC. Whether you have damged the motor I can not say but this is not a good combination of components.

    You could prop down to reduce amp draw. that might resolve your problem. You don't say what prop you are using.
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  13. #163

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT


  14. #164

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Dear aeajr: Thank you for your reply to my inquiry. From someone authoring over 7000 posts I will certainly pay attention to what you post. However, I’d like to offer a few words in my defense. Living in rural Maine does not present the opportunity to experience much hands on education on big RC airplanes, particularly electric ones. No one in this area has seen a motor of this size, let alone run one, so we must experiment to some degree. As for my not knowing the pedigree that the motor, let me state that I purchased it at auction, and it came with no paperwork or instructions, and the motor itself has no markings whatsoever on it (see attached picture (I hope)), no logo, manufacturer, model or serial number. The price was right, so I purchased it and the seller stated that I might find some information on a Hacker webpage. Upon doing so, I came across a web page showing the Hacker A150-8. It certainly looked like the motor in my possession, the dimensions were identical. Consequently, I concluded the motor I had was a prototype of the A150, or a ‘knock-off’. A web page from Aero-Model had a list and description of all Hacker motors, including recommendations for the A150-8. This page showed the same model number for two motors, the difference being one operated on, apparently, two 6S Lipos in series at 42-44 volts and 155 amps (as you point out in your post) and the other on 7S in series for 48 volts and 188 amps. I chose to operate at the lower voltage and wired two Turnigy 6S 5000 mah LiPos in series to obtain the 42-44 volts. An identical set was wired in parallel with the first set to add flight time. A Turnigy 200 amp Monster ESC was purchased to complete the system. I did consult with a knowledgeable colleague living some distance away and described what I was doing and he had no concerns, saying it sounded OK to him. Of course, hindsight is better and I should have put an ammeter in series between the batteries and ESC and run some tests but none were available anywhere local so I had to order one, along with its external shunt. The motor responded during the initial turn on with the proper sounds, the recommended size Xoar 27 X 12 wood prop spun in the proper direction and all seemed well, I did not do a full power test prior to the first flight but did run it up quite a bit and there was plenty of power. You know the rest. When the ammeter arrived and was inserted I was quite surprised that the system was running at just over 200 amps at full throttle! You are probably correct in assessing that the ESC could be damaged. I have not tried to run things again until I can get a smaller prop to drop the amperage. What size would you recommend? Effort was made to keep things in their proper range, but with the recommended prop the current draw is too high. You are, of course, correct that 8000 watts at 44 volts is 181 amps. I was expecting the amperage to be around the recommended number of 150, and thought a 200 ESC would be plenty. I am aware the recommended ESC is a 220 amp one. Perhaps this undocumented motor has a problem. I’ve requested Aero-Model to examine and test it, and haven’t heard back from them at this point. Sorry I’m so long winded, but the details are important. Again, thanks for your thoughts and perhaps you could recommend a prop size.
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  15. #165
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Ray,

    This thread is a book.I presumed you had read it before coming to ask these questions. The book is about understanding electric power systems. Perhaps, before you go any further you should read the book to understand what you are working with.

    Here are the challenges.

    I have no idea what motor that is. If it were a hacker it would say hacker, like this one:
    http://www.aero-model.com/Hacker-Brushless-A150-10.aspx

    I don't even know if it can or should run on 44 volts I don't know the kV rating or the max amps,so I have no basis of a recommendation other than to say it should be something smaller than what you have now in order to not overload your ESC.I have no idea what the motor can take but I know your ESC can't take over 200 amps.

    You mention, "the recommended size Xoar 27 X 12 wood prop spun in the proper direction and all seemed well," . Who recommended this prop? What was the recommendation based upon? Or are you saying that would be the recommended prop for a Hacker motor, if this were a Hacker?

    The motor you have may have no relationship to a Hacker motor and have nothing in common with the Hacker. If the kV rating is different than NONE of the Hacker specs will apply.

    Sorry, I wish I could be more helpful. Perhaps you should start a discussion in the giant scale section. Someone there might recognize the motor.
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  16. #166

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Thanks for reading my 'book'. I don't know what it is either.....so I'll post a pix in giant scale.

  17. #167

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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Hi Ed, I have previously read your book via Ken Myers site. Good work, I refer newbies to both Ken's and your articles.
    Just a very small point. In post 3 you state that brushless/ ESC combo may be about 4 times the cost of brushed equivalent. Perhaps that needs updating as I think they are about line ball these days.
    regards
    Bob Comerford


  18. #168
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Good point Bob although the cost range of brushless motors can still be pretty broad. You can buy a 100 watt brushless for $15 or $30, just like anything else. Likewise with the controllers. If we look at the lowest cost brushless/controllers vs. brushed can motors and controllers, there is still a premium but it is not as much at the lowest end..

    You can buy a speed 400 for $7 and controller for 10. The brushless are not quite there yet, but the drop has been dramatic from when I posted that article. Time for an update, so I made some revisions and posted an updated article.

    Thanks for the suggestion.
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  19. #169
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    Replaced with the next post
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  20. #170
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    RE: EVERYTHING YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT ELECTRIC FLIGHT

    How To Select Your First Radio
    by Ed Anderson
     
    If you go through the beginner section on any of the major forums you will see this question, or some version of it over and over again.  And you will see it in the advanced flying sections too.  That’s because the radio is the single most important tool you will use to fly your model aircraft.  Without the radio control system there is no radio control flying.  So, how to choose?
     
    If you are totally new, never flown, and if you are going to learn without using a buddy box, I usually recommend an RTF, ready to fly package that includes the airplane, radio, all the electronics already installed in the plane. It usually includes the battery and charger too.   This eliminates so many decisions and considerations and points of confusion. This lets the pilot focus on learning to fly.  Which RTF? That is a question for another discussion but there are lots of good ones out there.  They all come with a radio that should be adequate to the task of flying that plane. And the value of the radio, in that package, is typically so small that even if you never use it for anything else, that’s OK.
     
    Once you have your basic flying skills down, NOW we can start to discuss what you want and need in a radio that will carry you forward.  You will have more time to read and talk to other pilots so you will have begun to learn about the aspects of RC flying.  You will be better prepared to understand the information below and to address the questions we will ask as we try to guide you.   
     
     
    Standard vs. Computer Radios
     
    A standard radio is one without model memories and usually very little, if any mixing capabilities.  The Spektrum DX5e or the Hitec Laser 4 would be examples of standard radios.  Standard radios are fine when you get them in RTFs or if you plan to have a dedicated radio for each plane.  Otherwise get a computer radio that has model memories, usually called a computer radio.   Enough on that topic.
     
     
    Brands vs. Off Brands
     
    There a lots of good radios out there.  The major brands in North America are Futaba, JR, Spektrum, Hitec and Airtronics.   I am going to add Tactic here as it is sold and supported by Hobbico, a major distributor/retailer that also distributes Futaba.  I don’t think Tactic’s market share is all that big but I think it is going to grow.
     
    All others have relatively small market shares, but that doesn’t mean they are bad.   The major brands are all safe bets and all have great service.   You will find those who love one over the other and those who hate one vs. the other.   But in the end, they all have good products.  If you go outside these brands you may get a great radio too but the level of service and support may not be up to the standards of the brands.  So if you go outside the brands, consider where you will get help if you need it.  Going “off brand” can be quite easy if your friend has one or if you a member of a forum with lots of users of this radio.
     
     
    Budget
     
    How much are you willing to spend?  As you shop for radios notice that radios often come packaged with other stuff.  That might be receivers, servos, cables, switches, etc.  When you evaluate the price of one radio vs. another you MUST take into account what is included in the package.  A $150 radio is not cheaper than a $180 radio package that comes with a $50 receiver.
     
    The more you can spend, the more capable radio you can buy and the less important the rest of the questions become.   Once you get over $400 for one of the brand name radios, they all pretty much can do what you are likely to need to do to fly almost anything, as long as they have enough channels. You will get all kinds of opinions from advanced pilots as to what is better for what, but they are talking shades of gray here.  If you can spend $400 or more on a major brand radio, then buy whatever you like or whatever your friend has or what you see in the champion pilots flying in the radio ads.   
     
    If you don’t have $400 for a radio, then you have to be more selective.  But you can still get a very capable radio for under $250. You just have to be a little more specific as we start finding limitations.  Of course these limitation may not matter to you so don’t feel you are buying junk.  Just maybe you are not buying a lot of stuff you don’t need. 
     
    When discussing budget, state a number.  Asking for an inexpensive radio means nothing.  When considering my needs, I consider $250, for the radio alone, an inexpensive radio.  How about you?  No matter what it is, start with a number.  Does you budget include a receiver?  Servos?   State a number and then define it.
     
    Naturally there are lots of used radios.  Buying used radio is like buying a used car, it may be great or it may be a dog. When you buy used you take a risk.  As long as you accept that, you can consider used.  My two main radios were purchased used.
     
    Last, forget about the “best” radio or the one that will last you the rest of your flying career.   There is no best and we all tend to want to trade up after a while.  But even a basic 6 channel computer radio can serve you for decades of flying fun if your needs are basic.   I have friends who have been flying for decades, who are instructors and who are flying radios that they love but that would not meet my needs at all.
     
     
    Trainer Port
     
    Trainer ports have two main uses, working with a simulator and attaching to a buddy box.  Will you be working with an instructor using a buddy box?  If so, what radios will work with your instructor’s radio?  If you are buying a simulator and want it to work with your radio, make sure the trainer port on your radio will work with that simulator.  Buying a cool radio then not being able to get flying instructions or working with our simulator really doesn’t work well.
     
     
    Types of Aircraft
     
    Computer radios typically have some level of software for airplanes and most include some type of helicopter software too. This software can go from basic to advanced and usually the more advanced the software the higher the price of the radio.   Many do not include specific software for sailplanes/gliders which are the same thing for the purposes of this discussion. That does not mean that you can’t use them to fly gliders. Gliders are just specialized forms of airplanes. What it means is that the radio’s software will not include the special mixes that many gliders pilots want. So, if you plan to fly gliders you may wish to look for a radio that includes glider mixes.  If gliders/sailplanes are in your plans then read this article:
     
     
    There are also quad copters, aerial photography and first person view as other forms of flying.   They may require special software or they may require extra channels.  Before you buy a radio, talk to people who do this kind of flying.  It would be very disappointing to buy a radio only to find it can’t fly the aircraft you just purchased.
     
     
    How Does it Feel in Your Hand?
     
    For many pilots this is the deciding factor between multiple radio choices.   Let’s face it, we each have different hands, different size hands and how the radio feels in our hands matters.  One of my good flying buddies purchased the same radio I have.  I love it.  However he hates how it feels in his hands so he purchased something else.   If possible, try to pick up several different radios and see how they feel.  Can you easily put the sticks in the far corners?   Are the switches convenient?  If it has side or rear sliders, are they convenient to work and reach?  Don’t overlook the feel.  For many this is the key factor.
     
     
    How Many Channels?

    While there are some interesting four and five channel computer radios, I am going to recommend you get a computer radios with six or more channels.  I don't see any real benefit for having less than six channels, as the cost difference is small and the benefits of 6 or more channels is high.  Even if you are flying a rudder elevator glider or 3 channel electric airplane today, next year you may be adding ailerons and flaps and landing gear.  So get a radio that can handle at least that, and that would be 6 channels.   

    Why would you ever need more?  Here is a typical channel breakdown, regardless of whether you are flying electric, glow, gas or gliders, giant scale or highly detailed scale models.  Jets, advanced helicopters, first person view (FPV) may have other needs, but it still comes down to channels.

    Rudder – 1 or 2
    Elevator - 1 or 2
    Ailerons - 1 to 4
    Spoilers - 1 or 2
    Flaps - 1 to 2
    Tow hook - 1
    Landing gear - 1
    Motor – 1 to 2
    Smoke, lights, Other – 1 to ?

    That makes 4, 5, 6, up to 18 channels depending on what kind of aircraft you have and how you set it up. So how many do you need?

    In my opinion, most sport flyers will be well served for a long time with a 6 channel entry to mid level sport computer radio but more channels could come in handy in the future.  If you are planning to become a more serious competition pilot, plan to fly giant scale, full house sailplanes, jets or are very interested in having cameras, lights, smoke or other things on your plane, that you can control from the radio plan for more than 6 channels.    
     
     
    Basic Features

    Most currently available new computer radios offer the following features. Regardless of what you are flying, I highly recommend your radio have these features.

    * Model Memories (at least 10)
    * Low Battery Warning
    * Trims on the channels controlled by the stick(s).
    * Timer – highly recommended but not required
    * End Point Adjustment/Adjustable Travel Volume
    * Subtrim (fine centering on the servos during set-up)
    * Dual Rates and/or Exponential on ailerons and elevator.
        If you are flying 3D you want it on the rudder too.   
    * Elevon/delta wing and V-tail mixes

     
    If it doesn’t have at least these, don’t buy it!
     
     
    Model Memories
     
    How many planes do you plan to own and fly? Twenty years ago, when everyone was building kits, when electronics were costly, you might have 2 planes flying and maybe 3 in the hanger without servos, receiver or a motor.  Oh, there were always guys with 30 planes, but if you had 3 models flyable then 3 model memories were plenty. Today, I would consider 10 the minimum. Planes are cheap, electronics are cheap and “bind and fly” types are so easy to pick up and take flying.  Some radios will now let you save models to a memory card or to download them to your computer.  If you can save aircraft profiles outside the radio, 10 model memories are probably plenty to hold what you are currently actively flying. If you can’t save them then I would consider 10 an absolute minimum.  More is always better.
     
     
    Type of flying and surface mixes
     
    After model memories, surface mixes are one of the great features that computer radios bring to the game.  Input to one control can move 2 or more servos in a coordinated fashion to create the kind of surface control you need.  I use some mixes that move 5 servos at once.  This can reduce the pilot's workload while providing very consistent behavior.  In some cases these mixes can be overridden during the flight or can be turned on and off.

    In the list below, where two surfaces are listed, the first is the master and the second follows, sometimes called the slave channel. The following list is what I would consider the minimum set I would want in even an entry level radio.  They may be named mixes or they may be able to be created by “user mixes”.

    * Flapperon - requires two aileron servos on separate channels
    * Aileron to rudder mix (coordinated turns)
    * Flap to elevator mixing for landing and glide path control.
    * At least 1 user defined mix after the above.

    You should find these on even the most entry level computer radio.  If it doesn’t have these, I would recommend you don’t buy it.
     
    For many pilots this is all they will ever need.  But if you plan to get into full house sailplanes, competition pattern flying or other advanced forms of flying you may need other mixes.  Talk to friends and people on the forums to ask them what mixes they use.   Some are only available in those much more expensive radios so don’t put them on your required list unless you have the budget and REALLY need it.  Remember, people flew RC aircraft for decades with 4 channel radios without any surface mixing, and so can you.  
     

    Receiver Selection
     
    Without the receiver, the radio is useless, so receiver selection is important.   If you are flying larger planes you may have lots of room for the receiver, but if you are flying small planes, the size and weight of the receiver can be critical.  Putting a 1 ounce receiver in a 6 ounce plane just doesn’t make sense and it likely won’t fit.  If you are into indoor flying or micro planes you want them really small and light.  Some brands offer “bricks” that are ultra light packages that combine the receiver with the ESC and perhaps servos.  If this is your interest, make sure your radio brand has these available.
     
    If you have a 6 channel radio you can use a receiver that has more than 6 channels.  Sometimes we use those extra slots for things that the radio does not control, like plane finders.   So having receivers available with more slots than your radio can control might be useful.
     
    Most 2.4 GHz radios have very specific protocols that are used for the radio to talk to the receiver.  In many cases you must buy the same brand of receiver as radio.  And in some cases there are different protocols within the brand. For example, Futaba has FASST and FHSS radios in their line.  The receivers are specific to the protocol.  So a Futaba FHSS radio can’t fly a Futaba FASST receiver even though they are both Futaba 2.4 GHz systems. 
     
    In the 72 MHz days it was common to find “compatible” receivers.  For example, you could buy a Hitec or Berg receiver to use with your, Futaba, JR or Airtronics radio.  That went away with the dawn of 2.4 GHz, but compatible receivers are now becoming available.  Today there are compatible receivers for Spektrum/JR DSM2, Futaba FASST and Hitec AFHSS 2.4 GHz radios.  There may be others as well.  If the cost of receivers is important to you, and you would consider compatibles, then this may help influence your choice of radios.
     
     
    Bind and Fly/TX-R/others
     
    In the old days, 10 years ago, you purchased a plane and put a receive in it that worked with your radio. Today you can buy planes that are all set to go including servos, and receiver.  That is great, but you have to have a matching radio in order to fly them.  Horizon Hobby has a huge line of BnF, Bind and Fly planes.   If you have a Spektrum or JR DSM2 or DSMX radio you can just buy these planes, bind them to your radio and go fly.   Hobbico has come out with the transmitter ready, TX-R, planes.   In this case they sell an external module, the AnyLink, that will work with many radios.  Once you have an AnyLink module can fly any of their TX-R planes.
     
    If BnF or TX-R matters to you, then you want a radio that will work with these aircraft.  Not everyone cares, but if you do, take this into consideration.
     
     
    Other Features
     
    There are all kinds of special features appearing on radios.  Telemetry, touch screens, the ability to update the software over the internet and so on.   How important are these?  You decide.  Talk to those who love them and those who laugh at them, then make your decision.
     
     
    The Best and the Last
     
    People ask which is the best radio.  There is no best.  The best is the one that you can’t afford or that will be released 6 months after you buy the one you bought.  So don’t worry about the best, concern yourself with what will work for you, your budget and your flying style.  All of the major brands are good.  And there are many “off brands” that are good as well.   
     
    Some people want to buy the radio that will last them a lifetime.  Well, even and entry level computer radio can fulfill that, if your requirements never exceed the capability of the radio.   But the fact is that we all get the bug to upgrade.  So my suggestion is to look at something you feel will last you 3 to 5 years.  Who knows what you will want in a radio 5 years from now.  Ten years ago we did not have 2.4 GHz radios or radios that could be upgraded over the internet.   So forget the forever radio.  In the world of computers and electronics, 5 years is forever.  
     
    Now that we have covered the basics it is time for you to ask questions.  Read the advertisements, look at the boxes, talk to friends and ask your questions.  We are all here to help. 
     
     
    Resources:
     
    Most of the major radio makers have a customer support forum on RC Universe.
    Good place to see what kinds of questions/issues are being discussed.
     
    Radio Discussions – Some of the threads are HUGE. 
    It can be hard to separate fact from opinion or outright fiction but
    at least you can see what is being discussed.  Great place to ask questions.
     
    RC Universe
    RC Groups
     
    Long Island Silent Flyers
    www.lisf.org
    Eastern Soaring League
    www.flyesl.com

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    Just trying to join this thread and receive emails.

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    Welcome to our happy little family.
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    Thanks. I'm looking forward to learning a lot more about electric flight.

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    Folks, after reading the chapters, feel free to ask questions. The book was done in this format so that people would read and ask. So, feel free to do so.
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  25. #175
    Moderator aeajr's Avatar
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    This book has extended beyond the strict focus of electric power system and
    electric powered flight. Here, again, I will add an article/chapter that will be
    helpful to the electric pilot but is not unique to electric. This is the same
    process I use for gliders and the same process that one would use for glow, gas
    and jets. I presume it applies to quads and copters too.


    BASIC SERVOS SET-UP PROCESS

    by Ed Anderson

    If you are using a computer radio, establish a new model in a new memory slot
    -Bind the receiver to the radio or memory slot

    Before you put the servos in the plane connect them to the receiver on the channel
    they will be on when mounted. This will center them and you can confirm they work
    properly. Better to find out BEFORE you mount them. If you are going to have a
    matched pair, such as two flaps servos, see if they move together exactly the same.
    There can be slight variations between servos.


    -Mount the receiver and servos with the control arms off or in a way that you can

    remove them if possible. This allows you to re-position the servo arms as part of
    the trimming set-up but make sure you can get the screws on the servo arms after
    you are done.


    -Mount the receiver and servos
    -Connect the servos to the receiver

    -Confirm you have each servo on the correct channel
    -Confirm it is moving in the correct direction – use servo reverse if it is not.
    -Connect the servo to the control arm

    With the radio on, confirm that all the trims are centered.

    Check to see that the control surface is centered and the servo arm will move freely
    .....check for binding
    .....check for flex of the control rod
    .....check for restrictions that might block the servo from moving smoothly

    If the surface/servo are not properly centered don't go to the radio first, center the servo mechanically as much as possible.
    ..... Lift the control horn off and reset it so that the surface is centered
    ......Adjust the clevis to center the surface.

    Set your control throw using mechanical linkages as much as possible
    ...... use the control horn hole that is closest to the surface for the largest throw – furthest to reduce throw
    .......use the servo arm hole that is furthest from the servo for the largest throw – closest to the servo for reduced throw
    .......Only after doing this should you use the radio's subtrim, ATV/EPA features to do any centering or control throw adjustments.

    When you have one servo right, then do the next till you have them all working correctly.

    If you have flaps, make sure they move together, smoothly.

    If you have flapperons, make sure they move as flaps together, smoothly.


    How to select your first radio
    http://www.modelaircraft.org/insider/13_09/first%20radio.htm
    Last edited by aeajr; 06-06-2014 at 02:28 PM.
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