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electric vs glow for planes

Old 09-29-2005, 03:13 PM
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Default electric vs glow for planes

i'm just trying to decide whether it's a good idea to go electric. I've been flying planes (glow) for a while now, but the cleanup and .... well cleanup has been getting to me lately.I'm been looking online and the electric planes look just as fun, especially some of the EDP planes. I was just wondering that the pluses and minuses are (neglecting getting new gear). One thing i have notices is that electric ones are quite a bit lighter, which is good and bad. Bad being they're more prone to gusts and maybe even overly sensitive... what else is there, on both sides...
Old 09-29-2005, 03:36 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

this question has been asked many times before. Do a search on the forums. Do a little research. My point of view, glow power all the way.
Old 09-29-2005, 04:21 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

and my point of view, go electric and you will never go glow again.
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Old 09-29-2005, 06:41 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

there are pros and cons to electric and glow and i'll give you what i can think of off the top of my head

glow- cons

1. messy
2. having to buy fuel
3. lugging around a field box
4. learning how to tune an engine

glow- pros

1. the sound of a real engine kicks butt compared to a motor
2. refueling is quick
3. RX batteries can last many flights with the right pack so you're good for a bunch of flights in the day
4. initial cost is cheaper than electric

electric- cons

1. initial cost is more expensive when you are flying the .40 size planes and up
2. having to wait for batteries to charge
3. cost of lipo batteries
4. lipo batteries can easily be damaged in a crash

electric- pros

1. no clean up
2. in the long run electric most likely is cheaper when considering the amount of flights with battery and how much fuel would be bought
3. no field box to lug around

there are more pros and cons to each but i can't think of them right now...but you just have to factor what interests you most and go with it...either way you'll be flying and that's where the fun is : )
Old 09-29-2005, 06:41 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

glow can be much less expensive then electric ironically. With the cost of BURCHLESS Motors and SPEED CONTROLLERS, its like 2 glow engines for the price of one electric setup. One bad fault of glow power is that you can only it in a club, unless you have a wide open space with no one.
Old 09-30-2005, 07:14 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

Tukus, your lists are good but you omitted the most important "pro" for glo engines --- POWER at a reasonable price. No electric setup can match glo power for anything near the same price.
Old 09-30-2005, 07:38 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

ORIGINAL: britbrat

Tukus, your lists are good but you omitted the most important "pro" for glo engines --- POWER at a reasonable price. No electric setup can match glo power for anything near the same price.
Well that depends upon the size model you are flying. I fly both electric and glow and believe me, I have some electric models that will eat glow powered models for breakfast when it comes to outright speed and vertical climb. However they are small, hand launched models.

The one pictured below is an example and it handles wind speeds that many of my glow models cannot handle safely. It is a 3 channel model (the design is based on an 1/2A Texaco Pylon Racer) with 2 mini servo's and the 3rd channel an ESC. The motor, like the ESC, is an Asian made brushless outrunner and the battery pack is a 3 cell Lithium Polymer.

The total cost of the model and the neccessary gear to get it flying, was a lot cheaper than a reasonable quality, 4 channel, .46 sized ARF sport model.

One just has to shop around.

So basically you can fly electric quite cheaply, but the model will be small. Get used to that fact.

If you want to electrify a .46 sized glow model, yes, it will cost you quite a bit of money and personally I would not consider it. For models that size, britbat is right.

But as more and more excellent brushless electric motors and ESC's appear on the scene from Asia, prices are steadily falling and within the next 5 or so years, well, it may become an economical proposition.

There is one area though that electrics are cheaper than glow and that is in Ducted Fans. There are some great scale Electric Ducted Fan models around that are quite reasonably priced, especially when compared to their glow powered counterparts.
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Old 09-30-2005, 08:11 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

Woody, I said power, not speed. I agree that the little electric buzzbombs can go like hell -- they also weigh next to nothing & don't need (or make) much power. They also flit in the wind like all of their kind. They can also cost $1k, although they can also cost much less.

As you agreed with me -- there just isn't an electric equivalent to a 40-size glow plane (even a trainer) that has the size, weight, strength & power of the glo-bird for anything close to the same price.
Old 09-30-2005, 04:15 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I think the key word every one is looking for is consistent power when it comes to glow engines. I use to fly all size ,except scale, electric planes. I never got into lipo's , to this day I feel they are to dangerous and can cause allot of damage to you your plane or even your house if you don't WATCH what you are doing.

As far as cleaning up goes , a wipe here and a wipe there normally does the trick for me. If your engine exhaust is pointed in the right way you can get away with allot of mess being left on your plane.

I'm been looking on-line and the electric planes look just as fun,
This is interesting , because I can have fun with a radio controlled robot if I had one, so IMHO this does't come into the equation. Radio Control anything is fun and will never stop being fun.

If I where you being I got into glow by accident , when I went onto a Hobby Shop and bought a trainer for dirt cheap, see if you can find a used electric of any caliper and find out if you can deal with those 15-20 minute flights before you have to swap out the battery. I hated switching and charging it grew on me fast.

GL

RCF esq.
Old 09-30-2005, 06:25 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I've tried electrics several times, and have always gone back to glow. The things I didn't like about electrics were 1) the loss of power as the flight progressed, and 2) the necessity to shave grams off the airframe wherever you can, just so you can drop in a heavy battery. I built a GP RV-40 park flyer a few months ago, another go at electrics, and never got past framing it up. It seems so flimsy with its 1/32" sheeting and 1/16" stringers. And you can't even cover it with Monokote--too heavy. I may yet finish it and fly it, but it'll never replace my glow planes.
Old 09-30-2005, 07:49 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I've flown several planes that have been converted to electric and it just didn't do anything for me. And it all came down to one thing, and one thing only, the sound. The sounds of an electric plane just don't sound like a plane to me. I like to hear the engine, especially the rumble of a good 4-stroke. But it's more than than, sometimes my flying is based on the sound coming from the engine, especially when I'm landing. I'll stick to glow/gas planes

That's my 2ΒΆ worth

Ken
Old 09-30-2005, 09:03 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

Well if you like the smaller 1/2 A models (as I do) the answer is simple ... electric.
I also have a few .40 to .91 2-C size glow powered planes and have seen many more glow (all kinds) at our club.
The bottom line seems to be that nothing outperforms these little 1/2 A electrics in any catagory. (I'm not saying it's impossible)
With a few lipos (3-4) and the efficiency of a brushless motor, I am satisfied with the amount of flying time I get in any one session ..............and the lipos are always ready to go.
Charging them is something that I do at my convienience ... not when I want to fly. But that's just me ... and I could change my mind tomorrow or the next day. Keep smilin' and flyin' !!!
Old 10-01-2005, 07:11 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I think electrics are at their best in the small "park flyer" sizes. There is no longer a good reason to build a glow plane .15 cubic inches or smaller other than the novelty of a gas engine.

As you go to bigger and bigger airplanes, electrics lose a lot of their practicality. They even stop being quiet! You are not going to be able to fly a .60 glow plane converted to electric in the public park or schoolyard either.

When comparing costs, a .40 doesn't burn that much fuel and batteries don't last forever. You also don't need a huge fieldbox for glow engines. A way to refuel the plane and a battery to light the glow plug are the only things you really have to bring along. I have been flying for years and still don't own a electric starter.
Old 10-01-2005, 12:20 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

If I did not have boxes of glow and diesel engines, I would be very interested in electric. If I were just getting into model aviation, I would go electric without question. There are big bucks being put into development of small powerful electric motors, and small, light, cheap, safe, sources of electricity. At some point in the future electric will out preform IC in all sizes. Ten years from now, you are going to have a very limited selection of IC engines, if any. And the IC engines available 10 years from now will be very similar to those available today.

Your Model Aviation editor, Bob Hunt, made it onto the USA CL Precision Aerobatics Team to compete at the World Champs next year. He did so with a 40-size airplane converted to electric, flying against up to 75 size glow engines. I understand that competitive RC pattern fliers are going over to electric. Costs, I think, are still high, but that will change.
Old 10-27-2005, 11:16 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

There are pros and cons to both sides of the issue, as so aptly stated above, and the real decision that has to be made is a personal one. For myself, glow planes were all I flew for several years and I really enjoy them. It took me a long time to warm up to the idea of having to invest the bucks in to getting started with electrics. As all of us know, they are a different animal than glow and the only thing (gear wise) that they all share in common is possibly the Rx. I'm not giving up my dual conversion Rx's!!!

The motors are different.........the servos.......the batteries, even the linkage & hardware sizes are all different than what is commonly used in glow aircraft. And then there's the ESC's that are used on electrics that aren't needed with glow planes. So, when you're talking getting in to electrics versus glow, you are talking about a whole new ball game when it comes to gear. That's not mentioning that the airframes are entirely different as well. It's a whole new mindset.

I finally made the plunge in to electrics, after much kicking and screaming about the costs. All of my club buds were gradually going that way so I jumped in as well. I was able to learn quite a bit from those who had gone before me and before I actually invested too much $$$ in gearing up. This was probably the most important step of all - obtaining good information sources before spending money.

As it turns out, and to make a long story short, I still have and fly my glow planes - just not as much as I used to. Going over to electrics has proven to be a very good decision for me for several reasons:
1.) Because I do not have to "plan" to go to the field (which is about 30 miles away) to fly my glow stuff, I can now be at the city park in about 5 minutes and in the air in 8. Electrics have provided me with more opportunity to fly than ever before when I was flying only glow.
2.) Because I fly both foam and balsa build electrics, I am able to fly whether it's windy or not. The little foamys (6mm foam) can take some pretty good winds but when it's too windy they are a little flitty and you risk cracking them up. So when that's the case, I just grab the balsa build electrics and let 'er rip. Mine fly just as well as any glow plane in windier conditions. So winds are not an issue when flying electric versus glow.
3.) The gear that I wind up taking for electric flying is waaay minimal when comparing it to glow. I don't have to worry that my ignitor or starter is charged nor the battery that I use on my electric fuel pump. I don't have to haul around a 20 or 25 pound field box with all the tools, glow fuel, volt meter or tach. Besides my Tx, the only thing I carry when flying my electrics is a small fishing box filled with tools, extra gear, etc., in case something is needed.
4.) I can fit more electric planes in my car than I ever could with any of my glow. The longest windspan in glow that I can carry is 36" and so that reduces me to carrying only one plane when going to fly glow. So the electrics allow me to carry multiple planes at a time which means more verstility in flying. I can now fly all of my favorite birds in one outing.
5.) I like being able to disconnect the battery on my electrics and then just put them in the car and heading home instead of spending 10 to 15 minutes cleaning glow fuel off of my planes and gear before loading up.
6.) Because I am a builder, the foamys are very quick and cheap to build. A little foam, hot glue, carbon fiber rod, packing tape, X-acto knife & vinyl or Sharpies and I'm good for a couple of days of fun and eager anticipation. I have never been able to build a glow plane complete, ready to fly in under a week. With electrics, it is possible to be back in the air within minutes if you do manage to crack something up. A little tape, foam safe CA & kicker and you're generally good to go again.

As I said, going electric is a personal decision. And for me, going electric has been allot of fun and also very rewarding. It allows me to do what I love more often and with greater ease. Let's face it, if you are going to be very involved in this hobby you are going to spend money. There's no way around it. You just have to decide whether you want to spend it on glow stuff or electric stuff. Or you can be like allot of us - you wind up spending it on both! Either way you just can't go wrong.

Here's a few photos of some of my electrics - maybe this will inspire some of you to git 'er done!

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Old 10-27-2005, 12:52 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

glow it.........................dont fuc) it.
Old 10-27-2005, 03:48 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

It's a personally preference thing. The cost to convert a glow plane to gas is sometimes expensive. Just take a look at electrocuting a Funtana90. The motor alone is as expensive as most big glow 4 strokes, let alone the 10s battery packs it requires at about $400.00 each time two.

But for grins last year I did 2 SIG Something extra (SSE) kits.

One was glow the other was electric. The price intially for electric was about $300.00 more but with the right setup it flew as well as the glow did. RCU did a review of the Hangar9 Twist in both versions. That review can be seen at the following link:

http://www.rcuniverse.com/magazine/a...article_id=408

I have long since removed both SSE's from my hangar but I found the glow to be better for me. I could fly without stopping until my flight pack went dead. But having more than 2 batteries was expensive for the electric version so I could get about 30 minutes total from both batteries, then wait another 30 minute for one to charge.

Now I do have 3 electric planes, one OMP{ Edge (balsa), one Mini-Funtana (balsa) and one E-Flight Ultimate. These are nice to have for days when I know I cannot get to the field after work. I take one or two to work with me and go out into the parking lot and have a blast. All three planes use the same battery and I have 4 of them. I have been know to take thses to the field on very windy days (especially the Ultimate) and have a blast. It's hard to be careful with a plane that cost 30 bucks. I really do not care if I kill it as I can assemble another in about 3 hours.

We have a guy that has gotten into building his own from plans. He spent 25 bucks the other week on several sheets of foam and built a ton of planes. The other cost for the build was C/F rods for reinforcement. I( have seen the Yaks he built and they are nice
Old 10-27-2005, 06:57 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

So far my electrics are doing good, but I do want to get into glow power since there are just too many things that electrics lack that keep me from being satisfied. Mainly, what i'm looking at now in electrics is moving up in size, and with that it certainly does go up in cost. For example, I compared the prices of a Great Planes Gee Bee 91-1.20 size. When I looked at the prices in electric it came to about 1200 dollars, since the speed control, motor and large Li-Po really added up quickly. When I checked on the typical price it was just about cut in half! The battery itself cost something like $180, which is quite a few gallons of fuel. Of course if you are talking about a small plane it is almost hands down cheaper, but sometimes that just isn't satisfying enough. I think that it is best to start out with an electric then move on to a glow plane.
Old 10-27-2005, 10:46 PM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I am a glow diehard but now am into EP, both are fun. I think EP planes are best kept to about 35"-40" w/span and 20 oz if its about 3D. If its for sport flying then about 40"+ at 24 oz. That means you will be in the 400 sized motor range, it is most affordable. You then only need a decent brushless (prices are dropping like flies as you get more generic brands from China), ESC will need not be more than 30A (I used some El Cheapo esc that are NOT programmable, you only get to program BRAKE ON/OFF and 2S or 3S cut off is chosen by using a jumper switch, they work fine by me and only cost USD35), also batteries need not be more than 3S @ about 1,700 mAh. ANything more than this and you will feel the pinch of the lipoly cost.

I got a Multiplex MicroJet with a 400 sized brushless and it will go like stink, not as fast as Woody's hotliner but still will give me a decent 90 mph in level flight. Here are pics of my planes. I still love my YS110 and the pungent scent it makes but I will not give up my EP planes for sure! My Fliton Prodigy gives me real unlimited vertical, I can do a KE loops with her.
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Old 10-28-2005, 07:31 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I have been reading with great interest the pros and cons of electric and glow. One thing that stands out to me is the mention that you dont have to travel to the club field to fly , any small space in a park will suffice. So my question is , does your AMA Insurance cover you when you are flying in car parks , school playgrounds , and like places? Because sure as hell it doesn't here in Australia, and lets face it , it will only take one slight amount of misjudgment and serious damage could occur. Even a model weighing only 20 ounces, can inflict serious damage. On a registered model flying field then insurance will cover you , NOT in a public park or carpark. As for my preferrence , i am glow through and through. I teach students with electrics and do enjoy the experience , then for my own flying enjoyment i fly my Excelleron 90.
Old 10-28-2005, 08:50 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

I was @ the IMAC competition a few months ago in Livermore, Ca. All but one contestant were flying 28%ers or better, all glow. That one guy was flying I'd guess to be about a .60 size plane with a brushless set-up. $600 of lipos in the plane, with $600 more on the charger. Too rich for my blood! I know because I played 30 questions with him. He told me he ran two $300 lipos at a time. I don't remember what he told me the motor & esc cost but they were up there too! I think he'd have to burn thru alot of gallons of fuel before that set-up payed for itself. Don't get me wrong I think we can enjoy both, & I have some of both. However the initial cost of a good brushless set-up is pretty expensive. About $150 for the power set-up with lipo for the Mini Edge 540. So I agree that it's not too bad for the little stuff, but way too expensive for anything of size.

By the way, @ the IMACs, in the Basics division a kid that just turned 15 and had been flying for 9 mos. now, smoked em! Winning 5 out of his last 6 competitions. Told me " yea I really sucked a couple weeks ago, I choked really bad, I only took second place". lol
and I'm still struggling with my Trainer!

Mark
Old 10-28-2005, 08:54 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

ORIGINAL: elenasgrumpy
By the way, @ the IMACs, in the Basics division a kid that just turned 15 and had been flying for 9 mos. now, smoked em! Winning 5 out of his last 6 competitions. Told me " yea I really sucked a couple weeks ago, I choked really bad, I only took second place". lol
and I'm still struggling with my Trainer!

Mark
Dang 15yr olds, just when ya want to tell them off, they go and make a fool out of ya

Some of them are just plain naturals. If he's thinking that way, we'll see him at Tucson or TOC or both very shortly
Old 10-28-2005, 09:17 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes

LOL Bill, I'm sure you will. Daddy is armed & dangerous with $$$. Been into it 9 months as I said, & has allready spent over $30,000 in planes & a new trailer to haul em around in. That's including the plane he's having set-up for him somewhere in Europe, I can't remember the name of the manufacturer, but they're going all out on this one it sounds like. I can't remember the kids name right now, but I do remeber that they are from Taft, Ca. Keep on an eye on the basics division when you go to Tucson, I'm sure they will be there. Both the youngster & his Dad seemed like great people. I'm sure you'll enjoy meeting them.


No dumb thumbs with the Nintendo Generation apparrently!


Mark
Old 10-28-2005, 09:25 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes


ORIGINAL: elenasgrumpy

Daddy is armed & dangerous with $$$.

No dumb thumbs with the Nintendo Generation apparrently!

Mark
---- and obviously no fear for the consequences of a big dump [&:]
Old 10-28-2005, 09:44 AM
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Default RE: electric vs glow for planes


ORIGINAL: britbrat


ORIGINAL: elenasgrumpy

Daddy is armed & dangerous with $$$.

No dumb thumbs with the Nintendo Generation apparrently!

Mark
---- and obviously no fear for the consequences of a big dump [&:]
Why should there be any fear when daddy is going to buy him another plane if he crashes this one? This kid needs a small lesson in the real world, IMHO

Ken

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