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New to electric - Direct 280 Info

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Old 07-18-2003, 02:23 AM
  #1  
maximumgravity
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

Howdy all,

Just a quick bit of background. I started in R/C when I was about 12 years old. Started flying .40 size stick builts. Simultaneously saved my pennies to play around with a few Cars, explored the boating side of things, then got out of the hobby through most of College. A buddy got hooked on Heli's about 10 years ago, and I got "drug back in". I sold the last of my helis off about 5 years ago. Now, my kids are getting to "that age" so I have an excuse to look for something for "all of us" to play with - and electric has progressed to enough a level of "cool" that I won't be lumped in with the HAM radio dorks of yesteryear (no offense to anyone). Needless to say, everytime I "get back in" to R/C enough time passes that the industry has left me behind, and I sit there scratching my head saying "what the....." like I have never seen an R/C "anything" before....

Anyway, this time the "bug" is coming back with a vengance, and I really like the idea of the slow/park flyers & the whole electric "thing".

I recently saw on e-bay a Direct 280 - and bought it before I did a whole lot of research. I saw a few video clips and decided it was docile enough to...ummm... teach my...errr.... son the.... basics.... yeah....for the boy - you know.... and still have a lot of fun for me (evil grin)...

Anyway, now that I got it, I am sctratching my head and saying "what the..." - how do I get it in the air??? It is the basic plane, no instructions. I blew the dust off of a never used Futaba 6XA that I had left over (kept for just such an emergency) and obviously the only "good part" for this application is the transmitter. I am beyond confused on batteries, ESC, and servos. I have used some of the Hitech stuff before - even in my Helis, and I like the looks of the GWS stuff. I have read enough about the basics for the +/- shift, and all that - and think I can manage the reciever. But again scratching my head at the prospect of...well..."pert near ever-thin' else".

I am mostly confused on the battery - that seems to be the obvious one of most newbies from what I gather - and I am not really understanding the relationship of the BEC (if even needed) to the amperage of the battery/ESC/Motor. I understand it's purpose - but that is as far as I know about picking one out. As for the servos, I am thinking that the GWS mini's might work, but wonder if weight is more crucial to performance than torque output, and if I should consider the Naro or Pico type servos. Then of course, I am back to the whole battery thing.

In short, what do I need to get this thing in the air? Looking for a little explanation behind the choices so I can begin to absorb and learn. Where can I find info on the motors Wattage rattings to help determine what size batteries to use? Any place to find a manual on the Direct 280? What type of ESC is recommended and why?

That is enough jabber-jawing for now. I appreciate any and all answers, and thank you for your time. Sorry to be so lengthy....
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:22 AM
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Matt Kirsch
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

http://www.hobby-lobby.com/direct280.htm

This will give you a start as to what you need. I like Hobby Lobby and all, but just because they say you need Brand X receiver and Model Y ESC doesn't mean you have to use them. You can use equipment from other sources simply by comparing the specifications. For example, Hitec HS-55 servos have roughly the same specifications as GWS Naros. The Hitec Feather is comparable to the GWS R4P receiver. You can get 720mAh AAA NiMH packs from many different sources. The Jeti 05 ESC is a 5 Amp speed control, and comparable to the GWS ICS100.

Hobby Lobby doesn't beat around the bush when it comes to recommending equipment. If they say to use a piece of gear, you know it will make the plane fly. That's why, even though you can use other stuff, I still say you should buy the recommended equipment for your first plane, just so you can see what goes into a successful setup.

A plane will be designed for a certain number of cells. In your case, the missing instructions are the key to your confusion. According to the Hobby Lobby website, the Direct 280 is designed for a 7 cell battery, which is pretty typical of Speed 280 powered airplanes (6-8 cells, normally). The 7-cell, 720mAh pack recommended by Hobby Lobby will give you EXTREMELY long flight times.

BEC is the battery eliminator circuit. It provides power to the receiver by tapping off the main battery. In planes this size with only two servos, the BEC is usually not an issue. It's only when you start running 3 or 4 servos that you have to start looking at the BEC's capacity. When you get into applications that use more than 10 cells, you need to disable the BEC because it can't regulate that much voltage, but that's not an issue here.

One thing we don't have is any sort of chart for this stuff. There are simply so many different viable combinations that it would be a full time job to keep everything up to date. Nobody wants to pay to have it done, and nobody in their right mind would volunteer! Once you get a feel for sizing electrics, it's like choosing glow engines, though.
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Old 07-18-2003, 11:31 AM
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

Matt,

That is exactly the kind of info I was looking for. I had checked out the Hobby-Lobby site, and was comparing the manufactures site of GWS and Hitec, trying to draw reasonable comparisons, and kept feeling like I was missing something - like an electrical engineering background....

Any good recomended reading sites? I have checked ezone, and found SOME useful info, I have also checked the RC Battery Clinic site, but need something a little more "useful" as far as one step above the bottom, but one step below the middle road.

Thanks for your help.
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Old 07-18-2003, 01:46 PM
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

Welcome maximumgravity,

I just went through re-establishing myself in RC in the past few months after an 11 year hiatus.

It can be pretty confusing at first. There are many opinions on equipment and opposing views are not neccessarily "right or wrong"... just different.

Your old radio is probably a good starting point. I assume it is narrow band and make sure the transmitter battery is still good. If it's like my old Airtronics, the receiver is huge by todays standards.

Receiver - Hitec and GWS both make receivers compatible with your radio. Single conversion versus dual conversion. I started out with a Hitec Feather single conversion. It worked fine, but I fly alone in a park in a tiny town in the Sierra foothills... very few other RC pilots in the area and not much other radio interference stuff. I dropped the single conversion and now only use dual conversion. That would be my recomendation to anyone. Hitec 555, Electron or FMA M5. (To avoid a religious war here, I also have 2 Berg SC - they are a world apart from Hitec feather, etc. and I would use them in any plane where weight/size is a real issue.)

ESC - GWS makes some very decent and not expensive ESCs. I would buy one with a little more current capacity then my current plane requires( for the next plane ) In your case I would recommend a GWS ICS 300 (8 amps)

Servos - weight/size is the enemy. Hitec 55, Gws Pico/Naro will work. Some places offer a "flight pack" that saves a couple of dollars.

Battery - tends to be more plane/motor specific. I would use the battery size HL recommends... but shop around, I find HL battery packs to be $$$. You will probably want 2 packs.

Plane - the wing you have may be a handful for new fliers. I've never seen it fly so... give it a whirl. I can say that the GWS Slow Stick (alum. fuse stick and 46" wing span) is an excellent trainer. It assembles easily and costs $35 including the motor.

Battery charger - many opinions on this. Most of the $35-$75 chargers will do a good job on 1-8 cell battery packs. That will keep you going until you go brushless or large motor then you need more then 8 cells... I wouldn't concern myself with that right now. I started out with an MRC Super Brain 959 and it has served me well - about $50. Just recently "grew" to the need for 10 cell and bought a Triton for $130. I use both, so the first purchase wasn't a total loss.

Any other questions?

Have fun!
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Old 07-21-2003, 08:04 PM
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

Thanks Sierra Gold, more good stuff.

I am sure I will have a few more questions. I have some stuff comming in the mail - maybe some day it will get here - seems to be worse then watching water boil....

As soon as I have more questions, I'll let you know.

Thanks again for the specifics....
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Old 08-02-2003, 02:26 PM
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

Slow stick is a great little plane. I toss is off my back poarch and fly around the yard. It will handle a little wind but is really fun to fly when it is calm for those slow weed clipping flights. Told my dad about it and he bought one on ebay for around $120 with the flight pack. We both went to a 7cell 1100 nimh pack and found it to have much better power and around 18min flight. I do have a new bat. pack if interested. Fly this plane has really perked my interest in electrics so be careful. have fun Aaron
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Old 08-03-2003, 10:49 PM
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Default New to electric - Direct 280 Info

iflych52

Thanks for the input. I have been doing a ton of reading on forums, reviews, eBay, every electronic Hobby seller site, etc. I am learning quite a bit. It is all starting to make a little more sense. I am still confused a little on the battery issue, but it is not quite so big a mystery now.

I looked into the Slow stick (actually bought a Pico Stick confusing the two - but it was a good buy, so it is all good....) and just found a good deal on a flight pack and a Tiger Moth. I like the idea of the Bipe - always have - and have read as good of reviews about the Tiger Moth as the Slow Stick. This one will actually be a second plane for my son. It will be a "team" project. I also ordered a Firebird Outlaw for his first plane. I figured this will teach him the basics of radio controls (reversed when flying at you) while still inspiring enough confidence and "wow" factor of controlling an actual R/C plane in the air on his own. The Slow Stick will somehow probably find it's way into our hangar as a third plane - or maybe a "dad" plane.

There are a few negatives about the Outlaw (i.e. the throttle controls pitch/altitude - while although the basic concept is good, the application is a little flawed (wrong thumb for the next plane) and not quite as applicable for primary training). But I figure after he tires of the Tiger Moth - we still have the Pico Stick for calm days (a little too fragile in my mind for a primary trainer) - then I was thinking of progressing to true ROG - Wingo or something similar (I really am eyeing up the Eagle EPP - another "dad" plane). After that, I think we'll tackle some SPAD's - anyone have any good electric SPAD plans/Sites????

Hopefully by that point, I'll understand enough of everything to feel confident enough in "bringing it all together" to be able to tackle most any problem that arises that my son can think of.

Thanks to everyone - including the moderators. This site sort of inspired me to get back into the hobby, and really showed me the reality of tackling park flyers and teaching my son on my own.
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