Go Back  RCU Forums > Electric Aircraft Universe > Electric General Discussion
Reload this Page >

I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Notices
Electric General Discussion General Discussion forum about rc electric related aircraft, accessories, flight, tips, etc.

I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Old 08-04-2008, 12:02 PM
  #1  
Cambo
Senior Member
Thread Starter
My Feedback: (2)
 
Cambo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 1,589
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Well, not the dark side. I would say the light side in reality.

Here is the deal, i have basically 4 airplanes. All are gas/glow powered. Ever since i started seeing electrics show up at the field i fell in love with it. The noise and reliablilty was just awesome but i was so deep into glow/gas that i couldn't imagen crossing over. However, i have goten pretty deep into 3d aeroatics and honestly am starting to see the limitations of IC engines. My biggest problem is getting them reliable in all orientations. I have had my "very reliable" or as so they say gasoline 50cc engine quit in really bad spots. My heli has been having problems with bearings going bad every 4 gallons and the ring wearing after 8 gallons. I am just really sick of everything. However, the tipping factor is the sreaming cost of glow. It is going up at a dramatic rate and I am worried that it is going to cost 25-50% more to fly. Recently, I began looking into battery prices and was really disapointed. Not only do lipos cost a ton but they are dangerous to work with and may be destroyed in the unlikely event of a cash. However, i have herd more and more about these a123 setups that poeple are using from dewalt 36v battery packs. Well, today I actually spent more than 5 minutes looking into this and wow these batteries seem to be perfect for what i want. Looking on e-bay it seems you can get 30cells for 420 dollars. That is ALOT of packs that you can make. I am seriously considering selling of all of my glow and gas planes and downsizing to smaller 40-60 size electirc planes and 30 size heli. I love the idea of tinckering with battery setups (that is all i do in realflight). First off, are the power of these batteries realistic for 3d flight. I don't need above and beyond power to weight. I just like the idea of flying for 5-8 minutes and taking a 15 minute break to recharge. Also, it doesn't seem there are many chargers out there that support a123. I looks as if you have to mod them to accept a123 cells. Lastly, has anyone ever done what i am thinking of doing. I mean selling of basically everything you own in the hobby, except for your transmitter and recievers and just starting from scratch?

Old 08-04-2008, 04:46 PM
  #2  
DaveFlynn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Arcadia, CA
Posts: 450
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Why not put LiPos and brushless motors in the planes you have? LiPos have gotten safer and better in the last year or two and there are new ones coming soon.
Old 08-04-2008, 06:47 PM
  #3  
Red Scholefield
Banned
My Feedback: (9)
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Newberry, FL
Posts: 5,925
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

ORIGINAL: DaveFlynn

Why not put LiPos and brushless motors in the planes you have? LiPos have gotten safer and better in the last year or two and there are new ones coming soon.
I have converted all of my 40 size glo powered models to electric. These are flying on A123 packs as well. Some over two years old since conversion and the A123s have logged over 400 cycles and are still going strong.
Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

Name:	Om34298.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	27.6 KB
ID:	1004604   Click image for larger version

Name:	Hc91914.jpg
Views:	6
Size:	76.2 KB
ID:	1004605   Click image for larger version

Name:	Uz70132.jpg
Views:	10
Size:	59.0 KB
ID:	1004606   Click image for larger version

Name:	Oh13328.jpg
Views:	9
Size:	74.7 KB
ID:	1004607  
Old 08-06-2008, 05:57 AM
  #4  
whitecrest
Senior Member
 
whitecrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Orleans, MA
Posts: 316
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side


ORIGINAL: Cambo
...First off, are the power of these batteries realistic for 3d flight. I don't need above and beyond power to weight. I just like the idea of flying for 5-8 minutes and taking a 15 minute break to recharge...
I think 2:1 power ratios are pretty easy to attain today. Because electric airframes don't need to withstand a lot of vibration and combustion-engine impulse stresses, they can be built a lot lighter thus enhancing potential power/weight. I thought you made some interesting points about the importance of reliability in all orientations. A123s have gotten excellent reviews for power, robustness and safety.
Old 08-08-2008, 10:22 AM
  #5  
[email protected]
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: spokane, WA
Posts: 67
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

i would get a123 out of your mind first of all, they are too heavy for flying. lipos are the way to go! the can give you that burst speed you are looking for and they will probably last longer than your gas planes also.
Old 08-09-2008, 05:08 PM
  #6  
dhusher
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Siloam Springs, AR
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I was out of the hobby for 25 years and got back in after reading about the advantages of electric flight and the advances in batteries (lipos) and motors. (outrunners) I am a Senior, (read old f__t) and my experience tells me the only advantage to glow or gas (greasers) is the noise...if you can't live without it and your neighbors can.
'lectric Dave
Old 08-10-2008, 04:35 AM
  #7  
whitecrest
Senior Member
 
whitecrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Orleans, MA
Posts: 316
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side


ORIGINAL: Cambo

Well, not the dark side. I would say the light side in reality.

...However, the tipping factor is the sreaming cost of glow. It is going up at a dramatic rate and I am worried that it is going to cost 25-50% more to fly. Recently, I began looking into battery prices and was really disapointed. Not only do lipos cost a ton but they are dangerous to work with and may be destroyed in the unlikely event of a cash...
Yes. I used to fly smaller glow planes that required high nitromethane formulations. I couldn't believe how expensive the fuel was then. Yes, larger lipos are still pricey. However, smaller sizes can be pretty inexpensive if you do some careful shopping. I think electric power has really opened up flying for a new category of smaller-sized planes by providing precision throttle control and tremendous power in small, light-weight, flexible power systems.

I think the dangers of lipos have been a bit overblown. They must be respected and handled carefully, but so must gasoline and nitromethane. If you avoid shorting, and over-charging or discharging you will be OK, and their weight advantages over A123s are compelling.
Old 08-14-2008, 07:57 PM
  #8  
onewasp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 2,035
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side


ORIGINAL: dhusher

I was out of the hobby for 25 years and got back in after reading about the advantages of electric flight and the advances in batteries (lipos) and motors. (outrunners) I am a Senior, (read old f__t) and my experience tells me the only advantage to glow or gas (greasers) is the noise...if you can't live without it and your neighbors can.
'lectric Dave
I wish that were the ONLY advantage. Unfortunately it is not.
Old 08-16-2008, 11:46 PM
  #9  
starcad
My Feedback: (7)
 
starcad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Tucson, AZ
Posts: 260
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I went all electric around 5 years ago and haven't looked back. I don't miss the noise, smell, and above all the cleanup. Just dust off a few electrons and put it in the car. No more carrying that big heavy flight box around just a few lipo's in my hand. I can fly at the local park a block away and at the middle school with it's 400'X40' paved track with out the neighbors bringing out shotguns. Like I say, I haven't looked back.
Old 08-17-2008, 11:28 AM
  #10  
onewasp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 2,035
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

While I agree that that is all very nice____it is a l-o-n-g way from the flexibility and complete control of flight times allowed by IC powered A/C.
An average aerobatic sequence is 8 minutes. Many are 10 minutes in length with long verticals. Unless you can get to the $700 per battery class (minimum requirement = 3 packs) and the motor, esc to match (F3A) you are flying a much more abbreviated pattern at less than optimal speed choices.

Coming from many years of flying precision I have found this to be very limiting.
I enjoy the quiet; the lack of field equipment required; and the ease of clean up (there isn't any) but the lack of flight time (except for the very top end in $$$) is disquieting for me.

Like most everything else in this world it is a compromise with LOTS of trade offs.
So far I find electric flying a nice diversion from what I have done for so long.
However it is far, far from an adequate replacement in the overall.

For me electric has its place as a diversion but the limited flight times make it far from an adequate alternative to IC flight, noise mess and all.

To date I haven't found the "contained" Park Flyer aspect at all enjoyable.
Simply too many years with whatever flight time I choose and framing maneuvers in the most visually appealing distances.
I'm all for electric.
At the moment it simply has too many constraints to be a "replacement" for the power setups I use.
I feel certain time will cure much of that. For me the 'time' is simply somewhere in the future.

I am currently spending more (time included) on electric setups but to date it simply hasn't paid off.
Old 08-17-2008, 09:49 PM
  #11  
DaveFlynn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Arcadia, CA
Posts: 450
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I agree, batteries cost too much. However, if you compare the cost of a 3S1P 2100mAh 16C pack ($45-$50) to the cost of the fuel it will replace over 100 flights, the LiPo costs less but something more than 50%.

I try to parallel enough cells to get the C requirement at full throttle below 6C so that I know I'll get a solid 10 min.
Old 08-18-2008, 09:37 AM
  #12  
whitecrest
Senior Member
 
whitecrest's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Orleans, MA
Posts: 316
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side


ORIGINAL: DaveFlynn

I agree, batteries cost too much. However, if you compare the cost of a 3S1P 2100mAh 16C pack ($45-$50) to the cost of the fuel it will replace over 100 flights, the LiPo costs less but something more than 50%.

I try to parallel enough cells to get the C requirement at full throttle below 6C so that I know I'll get a solid 10 min.
Going to 4S is another way to lower the C requirement while increasing performance and endurance. With proper matching of the power train to the plane, it shouldn't be difficult to maintain a 1.5:1 thrust/weight
ratio for around 10 minutes in something around the size of a .30-size glow ship using many fairly inexpensive lipos available today. That seems like a pretty high level of performance for a reasonable up front cost, and as stated above, that gets better when the cost of fuel is factored in.

I guess it hinges on an individual's definition of "good performance" and optimal plane size. For me, once your motor can more than lift the entire weight of the plane and run for 10-15 minutes, thats pretty good.
Old 08-18-2008, 11:20 AM
  #13  
Xpress
 
Xpress's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: El Cajon, CA
Posts: 638
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 1 Post
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Hobby City is your fiend if you're wanting to do glow to electric conversions. They have relatively cheap everything, that works great. You could get a .40 glow 3D plane flying for under $250, and use equipment that is good quality.
Old 08-18-2008, 02:48 PM
  #14  
onewasp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 2,035
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side


ORIGINAL: DaveFlynn

I agree, batteries cost too much. However, if you compare the cost of a 3S1P 2100mAh 16C pack ($45-$50) to the cost of the fuel it will replace over 100 flights, the LiPo costs less but something more than 50%.

I try to parallel enough cells to get the C requirement at full throttle below 6C so that I know I'll get a solid 10 min.
That can be a good point, but what are you going to fly with that pack and for how long?
Old 08-18-2008, 04:39 PM
  #15  
DaveFlynn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Arcadia, CA
Posts: 450
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I now have 9 of those 3 cell 2100 packs and combine them however I need to for the plane/motor/prop. How about a 64" Extra 300 on a 9S2P (40 amps max) 4130 and a 13x6 for 12 min. Or a 57" Long-EZ on a 12S1P (18 amps max), A50-14L, 11x7 3-blade, for 15 mins of nice and easy. I'm planning to fly a 94" P-38 on a 12S3P or 12S4P (80 amps max) and 2x 5331 250Kv motors, if I ever get the thing built.

Volts are your friends. Amps, not so much...

Dave
Old 08-19-2008, 10:28 AM
  #16  
onewasp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 2,035
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

DaveFlynn

Check you PM's.
Old 08-19-2008, 04:18 PM
  #17  
TallDoode
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Las Vegas, NV
Posts: 75
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I know that I am hearing stories all across the nation of clubs losing fields due to noise. One here in Vegas is currently in jeopardy of losing thier field as building has encroached on their field. Same old story - idiot buys a home that is close to a field that has been there for years and years then complains about the noise. We had a pig farm that was the same way. Guy had raised pigs out in the middle of nowhere for years and all the sudden his neighbors who knew they were buying near a pig farm got him evicted.

In general electric may be the better choice but as mentioned there are tradeoffs, mostly in flight time.

As for conversions - I know a lot of you have done them but a glow plane is set up to run with a heavier motor and fuel tank which changes (in many cases) the CG of the plane. When you put in a light motor and battery, you may need to add a LOT of weight to balance the plane so when you buy the motor and battery take that weight into consideration when scoping out the proper sizes. Maybe this has just been my experience but you know what they say - a nose heavy plane flies badly... a tail heavy plane flies once. I had to add almost two pounds of lead to the front of my plane to balance it after the conversion and then it was underpowered. This was a 64" high wing Traveler 60.

Just for comparison I also drive R/C trucks. I have a T-Maxx 2.5 Nitro and a Stampede VXL electric. I almost never run my T-Maxx because it takes me 30 minutes to clean it after running it. I can use the same LiPo batteries from my planes in my Stampede so it is a win/win.

Have fun.

dave
Old 08-20-2008, 08:31 AM
  #18  
onewasp
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: USA
Posts: 2,035
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Color one old time IC flyer a convert to electric! (old time = 48 years of Precision flying)

Yep, still battling flight times even though they have doubled to about 5 to six minutes with changes in flying style.

Fact is I'm having more fun than I did before. New challenge etc.

Oh, BTW the lack of noise (I met the DB requirements with the Precision stuff anyway) is a welcome relief for the pilot as well as the neighbors.
I LIKE this!

If I may, the "Dark Side" looks pretty bright at the moment.
Old 08-25-2008, 07:38 AM
  #19  
Flypaper 2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Kingston, ON, CANADA
Posts: 4,925
Likes: 0
Received 1 Like on 1 Post
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I bought 3 Ryobi 18 volt drill batt packs. These are li-ion E Moli batts of 5S2P 1500MA batts. Just under 100.00 bucks a pack. I cut them up to make 2 6S2P packs and 2 3S2P packs. The two big packs are in a .46 size Pulse XT and a Twist 3D 46 size. These come with the hardware for glow and electric. The little batts are used in helis and 16 oz. planes. So $300.00 dollars worth of batts will get you 246 sixe packs and 2 smaller ones. They charge with a standard lipo charger and they don't puff and catch fire lihe lipos possibly can.
Old 08-25-2008, 10:40 AM
  #20  
bdavison
Senior Member
My Feedback: (1)
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Warner Robins, GA
Posts: 3,360
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Ive been using lipos for years now. Dont let the "sky is falling" mis-information scare you away from lipos. Lipos can and are very safe to use. Lipo manufacturers have made tremendous leaps in preventing hazardous situations from happening.

Ive literally seen lipos just about folded in half at the field, with no flames or anything else. In one instance, the pack was suprisingly still holding a charge.

The key with lipos is to watch what your doing with them.

As long as you dont damage them, overcharge them, short them, or let them become unbalanced or overdischarged, you will likely never experience a incident.

I encourage you to try the lipos. Just remember you can blow up a NiCd too....
Old 08-30-2008, 02:33 PM
  #21  
E-Challenged
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Garden Grove, CA
Posts: 307
Likes: 0
Received 2 Likes on 2 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

Electric motors are a much more controllable solution for single and multi-engine scale
models. That said, getting into .40size and larger models requires quite an investment in motors, speed controls, lipo battery packs and charger(s). Large, high capacity lipo battery packs especially 4 cell (4S) packs can be well over $200. If you decide to go to A123 packs you will need a special A123 charger. You will need two or three battery packs for multiple 10+ minute flights. There is also a significant amount of information to learn about selecting correct motor/prop/battery pack combinations for a given model size weight and configuration. You will also need to learn safe battery pack charging, checking of motor amp draw, use of add-on swithching type Battery Eliminator Circuits (BEC) devices to operate more than four servos. You would be well advised to seek out veteran electric scale model builder/flyers to save you time, mistakes and expense.
Old 08-31-2008, 12:28 PM
  #22  
DaveFlynn
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Arcadia, CA
Posts: 450
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default RE: I am thinking of crossing over to the dark side

I think for the large scale planes, 30% Extras and the like, it is still better to stick with the 5 cell NiMH redundant packs for receiver(s) and servos. No regulator is needed and they will drive 5 or 6 of the high powered digital servos each.

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.