Edge 540 arrives in two large custom boxes
Hangar 9 Edge 540 comes in two big boxes, one for
the wing halves and control surfaces and one for the
fuselage and fiberglass parts. Everything is individually
wrapped in plastic and held in place to eliminate
damage from shipping. The quality is excellent and
the finished 4-color look is simply fantastic!
the fiberglass parts are finished and painted. Shown
here for a size comparison is the Edge 540 cowl and
pant next to my .60-size Graupner Extra 300S.
wing half stands about 4' high. The covering is top-notch
and the construction superb!
firewall has a built-in motor mount box that I can
mount the Actro motor on using the rubber damper shock
mounts. Note the built-in right thrust angle.
fuselage reveals a great deal of space inside for
components and battery packs. Note that the 2.1AH
Kokam cells fit inside the motor mount box forward
of the firewall. This looks like and ideal spot for
maintaining a proper CG with heavy batteries.
the Hangar 9 Edge 540, the recommended servos are the
JR 8411 and 8611 digital servos. These are top of the
line hi-torque servos for 3D. I'll be using the JR 8411
servos with Matchboxes for ailerons and elevator, and,
a single 8611 servo for the rudder. I will also be using
a JR PCM computer radio system.
JR MatchBoxes are needed when using multiple digital
servos on a single control surface since tremendous
current draw can result if they are not perfectly
balanced. The JR MatchBox synchronizes neutral, direction,
and end-points for up to 4 servos in parallel. Additionally,
the matchbox servos can be powered through the receiver
or a separate battery pack providing flexibility in
designing redundancy. I will use a single JRPA900
MatchBox for both wing halves and a second one on
the two elevator halves. Using the JR MatchBox, the
elevator servo on one side can be reversed in direction
to match the other side so it uses only one channel
on the receiver.
supply current to these hi power servos, I will use
a new product from FMA Direct. It is called the VRL12
"Power Force" regulator. It works on a 2s,
3s, or 4s Lithium pack as well as 5-12 NiCd cells.
The 6v output can run up to 12 high-torque servos
at once and is meant for giant scale applications.
Finally, the regulator unit is equipped with an externally
mounted ON/OFF switch that is failsafe, meaning, if
it fails, the unit comes ON, not OFF.
are some features of the VRLI2:
Designed for high current servos and receiver in
for aircraft using dual radio systems
input from 2s to 4s LiPo or 5-12 cell NiCd/NiMH
selectable 5v/6v output at 10amps continuous
0.15v dropout when voltage goes below 5v/6v setting
Status LEDs provide battery condition information
On/Off switch - fails to ON mode
not drain battery when switch is Off
9 provides the needed hardware for the 33% Edge 540
in a convenient 1/3 Scale Hardware Package at Horizon
1/2 Servo Arm 4-40: JR (8) HAN3574
3D XL 1/2 Servo Arm 4-40: JR (1) HAN3578
8-32 Swivel Clevis Horn (4) HAN3614
4-40 x 4-40 HD Ball Link (5) HAN3616
Tailwheel, Lg Haigh 12-22 lb (1) OHI160
Super Hinge Points (4) ROB309
Dura-Collars, 3/16" (1) DUB141
Shafts, 3/16 x 2" (1) DUB249
Fuel Tank, 32oz (1) DUB690
Pro-Lite Wheels, 3-1/2" (1) HAN308
Titanium Pro-Links 4-40 x 2-1/2" (1) HAN3552
Titanium Pro-Links 4-40 x 3-1/2" (1) HAN3554
Titanium Pro-Links 4-40 x 4-1/2" (1) HAN3556
manual for the Edge 540 is well written. It really
harps on issues that are important for building and
setting up giant scale models so I'll promote them
along the way as well. At the back of the manual,
there is a very informative "Setup and Flying"
section written by Mike McConville. He reveals important
information on pre-flight setup, performance tips,
mixing, and maneuver instructions. I have everything
I need now so I can get started building. I expect
a fast build as all the tough, time-consuming tasks
are already done in the ARF design.
JR 8411 servos were used for each wing half
Edge 540 assembly begins with installing the aileron servos
in the wing. I added 12" and 24" extensions to
two sets of DS8411 servos; one set for each wing.
two ailerons were then glued in place. I used Robart (309)
Super Hinge Points since the Edge was pre-drilled to accept
these hinges. The hinges were glued with Elmers ProBond
since it is easy to use, easy to clean, and, expands as
it dries for a solid joint. The manual recommends using
Hangar 9 hardware for giant scale planes was used for the
linkage. I had a problem with the fit of the JR HD 1/2 Servo
Arm on the DS8411 servo. It seemed a bit small but I forced
it onto the servo gear and screwed it in place. For a precision
metal servo arm, the JR HD 1/2 servo arm did not fit the
JR 8411 servo gear well.
HAN3574 HD 1/2 Servo Arm 4-40 JR
8-32 Swivel Clevis Horn
4-40 HD Ball Links
JRPA900 Matchbox was used to super fine tune the servo offset
after first aligning it physically. The programming was
simple using a tiny screwdriver and pushbuttons. The manual
recommends using one MatchBox per wing half but I choose
to use a single MatchBox for all 4 aileron servos.
The sequence of the ball link assembly in the manual didn't
match the diagram or the picture so I followed the diagram
that came with the ball link.
The wing hinge gaps must be sealed on giant scale planes.
I used thick clear shipping tape on both sides instead of
the recommended clear UltraCote.
decided to jump from the manual's sequence of tail assembly
to my favorite
part of mounting the motor
Jeti 77-amp Opto ESC comes with mating connectors that I
soldered onto my Actro 40 motor. I will keep the leads as
short as possible since I intend to have peak currents from
70-80amps. This means that my Kokam 10s2p 4.2AH pack will
be re-wired a bit to reduce lead length and connector count.
measured the distance from the front of the motor mount
box to the front of the installed cowl to be 8". My
first attempt to mount the motor used an AXI mount. I quickly
abandoned this approach since it was not sufficiently strong.
I was planning to use the 3.75" AXI motor mount and
a piece of 1/4" plywood to act as a go-between since
the AXI face plate was too small for the Actro motor. Although
the parts are simple to obtain and the distance measured
8", the concern was with the strength of the AXI mount.
Perhaps it would work if reinforced with cross bar supports.
meet my strength goal, each section of the mount from the
motor to the firewall must be a larger diameter than the
previous section. My next attempt to create a mount would
require a visit my local home improvement store.
AXI Motor Mount was replaced with a stronger and less
expensive PVC adapter
of my ideas are inspired by a lack of craftsmanship
and the desire to give readers a simple plan to follow.
I learned about the benefits of PVC from a long-time
R/Cer in Buffalo, NY. I used a 3" to 4"
PVC adapter instead of the box AXI mount. This is
much stronger and only costs about $2 at your local
home improvement store. The assembly is held in place
by three 1/4"x5" hex carriage bolts from
plywood wall to plywood wall.
thrust angles are already built into the Edge 540
motor mount box. The photo may not clearly show the
thrust angle but Hangar 9 did a great job on this
plane design. The spinner opening is centered on the
motor mount box but not the stock hole opening for
the gas engine. I simply used the hole to pass my
ESC through to the battery pack.
be drilling holes in the motor mount box next for air cooling
the ESC and batteries. The cowl will not need any cutting
or drilling since even the mounting holes are pre-drilled
with t-nuts on the fuselage ears.
a 10s Lithium configuration, the voltage is around 36 volts
with a light load. My Actro 40 motor at 36v x 70amps produces
about 2500 watts. This power level should provide good aerobatic
3/4" thick block was used to extend the motor adapter
to a perfect length for the spinner backplate
needed 8" from the motor box to the cowl opening so
I cut a 3/4" thick block of hardwood to mount just
behind the plywood and extend my motor. I also changed to
1/4-20 t-nuts to fasten my three 1/4"x5" hex head
bolts. Each bolts weighs 1.1oz for a total of 3.3oz. Perhaps
a thinner bolt could be used here but I needed the length
and there is no need to save weight this far forward.
drilled holes in 5 sides of the mount box on the firewall
for air flow into the battery and ESC area. My PVC adapter
and wood blocks follow the angle of the built-in right thrust
on the motor box.
the perfect covering pattern match from the cowl to the
fuselage. This is why I am a Hangar 9 fan!
always maintained that clean electric planes can be built
right on the kitchen table. I also found my kitchen chairs
very useful in the rudder and gear assembly stages. They
swivel in either direction, have wheels to move the plane
around, and have padded arms to securely hold the plane.
10s2p Kokam 4.2AH pack is split into two sets; one 4s and
one 6s sub-pack
10s2p Kokam 4.2AH pack is split into two sets; one 4s and
one 6s sub-pack. The sub packs are plugging into Kokam Parallel
Connector boards that I split in two using a Dremel tool.
Note that the white shrink wrap allows a probe to be stuck
inside for measuring individual cell voltage. It also allows
me to re-balance the cells, if needed.
removed most of the wire and connectors from stock Kokam
2-cell 2100 packs to create 4s and 6s packs with short connections.
The 4s and 6s packs are then paralleled into Kokam Parallel
Connector modules that I additionally beefed-up with soldered
12# wire. I wired the two Parallel Connector boards in series
for the 6s + 4s = 10s configuration. Note that one of the
Parallel boards has 3 plugs. The third plug is for the Yellow
connector to feed a 4s voltage to the FMA Power Force regulator.
packs sit on a 6"x4" foam pad cut left over from
my trailer floor padding purchased at a home improvement
store. The foam is very light but high impact meant to walk
on for covering a shop floor.
entire 20 cell configuration can easily fit inside the motor
mount box. I'll hold them in place with more foam upon final
assembly. I also added extra wires to the Parallel Connector
Modules to ensure a safe 70amp draw. The modules were then
wrapped in electric tape so nothing is exposed to short
switch from my current 10s2p configuration to a 10s3p configuration,
I simply create Parallel Connector Modules with additional
plugs. The Kokam Parallel Connector modules come with 5
plugs and you just cut off what you don't need with a Dremel
that I discovered if I leave one extra plug unused, it makes
for a convenient charging connection on each part of the
10s configuration. One charger can be easily plugged in
to charge the 6s section and another charger for the 4s
section without the need to pull any cables off. This is
very convenient during a full day of flying.
used the Red 4" CBA Spinner from Tower Hobbies along
with the Actro-Hub ACT266 adaptor from Hobby Lobby. The
CBA Spinner adapter is very close to the 8mm threaded Actro
prop shaft so a little touch-up with an 8mm tap was all
that was needed for a great fit.
FMA "Power Force" regulator feeds all the
servos, matchboxes, and receiver
close-up of my component layout reveals the FMA Power
Force regulator, JR receiver, and two JR Matchboxes
are mounted with Velcro straps. The Power Force regulator
also has the heatsink fins wedged in place against
the plywood opening and the 10-amp Dean's input connector
is tywrapped to the fiberglass wing bar holder.
fired up the Actro 40-4 on the 10s2p Lithium pack (33 cells
NiCd) and found that it spins impressively without a prop
at only 1/4 throttle! I didn't want to over-RPM the motor
so I kept the throttle between 1/3 and off. The FMA PF regulator
supplied 6v to the JR receiver, Matchbox, and Jeti 77-amp
that the antenna wire was fed into a plastic tube that I
taped to the bottom of the inside of the fuselage. The single
Matchbox shown in the photo will control and balance all
4 aileron servos. My tail section used a second Matchbox
for the elevator halves.
concern that I had was what the actual cell voltage will
be at full throttle. Will I be able to get 2000 watts from
my 10s2p configuration? The 4.2AH total is a bit low for
drawing 30-50amps. The new 3.2AH cells will become available
from Kokam USA this Winter in configurations up to 6s3p.
A 10s3p configuration of these cells will provide a 10AH
total capacity at current draws up to 180amps! The other
nice thing about the new packs will be the built-in cell
balancing plug that taps into each individual cell to work
with the new chargers...also due out in early 2005.
APC 20x11 e-prop and 4" red CBA spinner installed without
issue. The elevator servos fit right inside each elevator
finished the elevator servos and then decided it was time
to put the tail and wing together for the first time. I
haven't fired-up my power system with a prop yet but have
already decided to be proactive by ordering 10 more Kokam
2.1AH cells to make a 10s3p, 6AH configuration. Even if
I don't need the current delivery, the extra 2AH capacity
and nose weight will be welcome. I also ordered additional
APC e-props in case the 20"x11" prop doesn't work
out. I have plenty of ground clearance for larger props,
replaced the stock nylon 1/4-20 bolts with some Hillman
1/4-20 furniture bolts that have built-in washers and a
hex socket head for easy, no-slip assembly.
replaced the stock nylon 1/4-20 bolts with some Hillman
1/4-20 furniture bolts. The Hillman bolts have a built-in
washer and a hex socket head for easy assembly. These are
available at most home improvement stores.
tested the ailerons and elevator control without powering
the motor. Everything worked great! The JR Matchboxes made
it easy to route all 4 aileron servos to one box. I could
conveniently fine tune the servo position with just a tiny
screwdriver to select the channel and then use the pushbuttons
to vary the offset. The MatchBox on my two elevator servos
also let me easily reverse the direction of one so they
both work together for up and down movement.
big 100" span plane takes up a good portion of my living
I finished up my tail assembly by installing the "monster"
rudder. I used the single servo method with a DS8611. The
Hangar 9 Edge 540 is designed to use either one or two servos
for rudder control. The other side is already covered if
you don't use it.
gear mains installed fairly easily. It helped to have some
long fingers to start the nylock nuts and then you could
fit a socket wrench inside the fuselage while tightening
it with an Allen wrench underneath. Note that the gear cowl
that fits on the fuselage bottom is sheeted foam. Everything
seemed to fit perfectly! The fiberglass gear mains were
very light! The pants installed without any issues. The
wheels are held on both sides with collars. The tailwheel
is a large Ohio Superstar assembly that firmly mounts an
assembly to the hardwood tail bottom. The wheel is on a
tiller bar that is then connected to the rudder via springs
to absorb any shock.
Actro 40-4 power system was tested outside for safety
had an opportunity to test my Edge 540 power system outside
when the weather was nice. I did the testing outside for
safety and essentially got another lesson in giant scale
projects. The power level was incredibly strong and it surprised
me! I could barely hold the plane while working the throttle.
It pulled like no other plane I have ever tested. Although
I got three good test runs in for measurements, I won't
be doing it again by myself unless I have an anchor on the
was surprised to measure 2500 watts at 85amps on only 3/4
throttle! I wouldn't even try full throttle since this was
more power than I was expecting on my 10s2p Kokam 4.2AH
pack. The Kokam 2.1AH (20C) cell really held its voltage
under a heavy load. I will either try things as they are
now and use good throttle management or perhaps reduce my
prop size or pitch. The plane should fly well at only 30-40
still plan on switching to a 3p configuration for increased
capacity and weight but I may consider also switching to
an 8s or 9s voltage since I like how my APC 20x10 e-prop
performed. The prop had been balanced before I mounted it
and the vibration was very light at 3/4 throttle. I was
now curious to see where the plane balanced.
with Lithium and failsafe switch mounted, I was ready for
my first ground test
was ready for my ground test at lunchtime during the work
week. The Edge 540 just fit into my Ford Explorer. I converted
my Lithium pack to a 10s3p configuration of Kokam 2.1AH
(20C) cells for a total capacity of 6.3AH that can deliver
over 120amps continuous. I will not be stressing the pack
and will have a reasonable flight time as well as some added
nose weight. My initial CG testing without the wings installed
told me that I needed the extra weight up front from my
additional Lithium cells.
are some weight measurements I made before the ground test:
10s2p Kokam 4.2AH (20C) pack = 59oz (3.7lbs)
Kokam 6.3AH (20C) pack = 88.5oz (5.5lbs)
half RTF = 37.5oz
540 RTF less wings and batteries = 160oz (10lbs)
up with the 10s3p Lithium pack, my Edge 540 is RTF at 20.2lbs.
It would have been 18.4lbs with my original 10s2p pack which
was very close to my original target goal. I mounted the
failsafe On/Off switch per the manual.
Edge 540 is submitted to a complete ground test for the
first ground test on my Edge 540 gave us some good information
and I discovered that there is still some work to be done.
The vertical stabilizer looks like it was damaged in shipping
so I need to remove a portion of the covering and see if
any gluing is needed. I had noticed that the rudder fit
was not as perfect as any of the other sections but ignored
it at the time.
slightly tail-heavy yet so I'll try moving the 1.2lb Lithium
6s pack that currently sits outside the motor box into the
cowl area. I also need to open up an air exit on the bottom
of my cowl. My spinner spacer is slightly warped causing
a minor wobble so we'll replace the 5 washers with a single
I could taxi around the field without issue and throttle
up to 3/4 while holding the tail, at full throttle, the
ESC shut off after we had throttled off for a few seconds
before resetting. I may try cutting 1/4" off of each
prop tip or order some APC 20x8 props to reduce the current
draw by using a lower pitch.
took a ground test video for the Edge 540. It was
very windy out so we kept the speed to a minimum.
The lot behind our parking area is a bit rough to
taxi on, but, it worked well and showed me that the
plane was rugged.
Edge 540 Ground
Test Video 3MB
making changes, I felt that I was ready for a test flight
and scheduled it for the weekend although it looked to be
marginal weather. I replaced my 20x11 prop with a 20x8 and
moved two of the 6s3p packs up front next to the PVC adapter.
The packs are held in place with both Velcro and duct tape.
The last thing I did was to tape the seal between the rudder
and vertical stabilizer. I'll get some current and RPM measurements
before the flight. I discovered that if I have an extra
Dean's plug free on each half of my Lithium configuration
that I can easily plug the charger into it for convenient
re-charging at the field. I need only unplug the main connector
to the ESC.