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Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

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Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Old 03-09-2007, 06:33 AM
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Default Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

I'm still wondering about the overwelming coverage of electric power in the R/C press. In my club there are maybe 5-6 people involved in electric, out of 15-20 active flyers. These people are only flying park flyer type aircraft and no one is involved in the large, expensive, high energy equipment. In my club, the overwelming source of power is still glow power and those I speak to about this question seem to have a firm attachment to glow power. When my buddies express further interest in electric, it is the park flyer or flat foam type aircraft.

Is my club not typical? Is the electric movement, as portrayed in the R/C press, coming on as strong as it is presented?

I can't get past the high price of these systems. I (and most of my R/C buddies) can't justify the higher price of electric power, simply for the smoothness of the power and no clean-up attributes!

So, what gives: Is the R/C press really reflecting what is happening in R/C? Is a majority (or a well-healed minority) of R/Cers throwing big money at Electric Power, or is the R/C press attempting to make this paradigm shift a reality?
Old 03-09-2007, 07:07 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

G'day Mate,
We have 2 guys in our club, 35 members, that use electric, & they are only small, 1 has a coverted plane that used to have a Cox 049, he changed the motor & transformed the plane into a great plane, the other is a 3D of his own design, that flys very well, but it's only for fun, he uses glow or gas most of the time.
Over here in Australia, It seems that most of the large electric converting is done because of noise problems, in the city, rather than anything else.
I fly in the country & we have no such problems.
Old 03-09-2007, 07:19 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Alan0899, You bring up another attribute of electric power, which I overlooked, that is the quietness of the system! This certainly has appeal for many R/C flying field locations.
Old 03-09-2007, 10:27 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

I think they are trying to assist the industry in electric sales. In our club other than a couple of foamies everyone is glow and/or gas power. I appreciate the electric planes and those that want to fly them. Unfortunately they only hold my interest for about 10 or 20 minutes, then they bore me to death. If this hobby went all electric I would probably find another hobby.

All three of the locations that I fly at are in areas where noise is not an issue. I agree there are some clubs in cities that may have a noise issue but I think the majority do not, at least none that I have visited.
Old 03-09-2007, 10:57 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

I was always under the impression that the noise, smell and mess were all part of the experience. To me, changing over to electric (excluding sailplanes/slope/gliders) is like seeing young, clean shaven business men out on the weekends riding Harleys. It just ain't right... But then again, that's just me.
Old 03-09-2007, 12:58 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

The RC press writes articles to please their advertisers, the hobby industry is pushing electric because the profit margins are so good. We have a 50 member club and maybe 25 % do both glow and electric. We do electric mostly indoors in the winter or late in the evenings outdoors. A few of us have upgraded from the cheap foamies, which are a waste of time and $ in the opinion of most of us, to the better lipo and brushless set-ups for the mini ultra sticks and funtana's, flight times are still about 8 to 10 minutes and costs high. It is easy to get $ 600 or $700 inveseted in a small electric that gives you limited flight times and then you charge batteries. So we fly gas and glow during the day and those who come back to the field after dinner or after work bring 1 or two electrics and a couple batteries for each. Winds are calmer then and when you get home at dusk no clean up to do. The electric stuff is here to stay but I beleive it has already peaked, ESC and motors are comparable in price to glow but the batteries for bigger planes are expensive. The electric guys say what about the cost of glow fuel but a batteries life span is also limited, 2 to 3 years max for a good lipo. I don't see electric as a replacement for gas and glow ever, both will always be around, and there is room for both. They all have advantages and disadvantages like most things in life.
Old 03-09-2007, 03:49 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

My club is like that too, mostly glow/gas. I don't know of anyone who does just electric in my club but a lot of us have our small electrics to fly. I have a little electric chopper and people have park flyers. I think a big part of it is that electric is so expensive on the larger scale. Once you buy a big motor, ESC and a couple of batteries, your in the range of a gas engine. Once the prices go down, we'll probably see more people doing bigger electrics. The magazines always want to be ontop of the next big thing which probably will be electric. I think that the industry is probably motivating some of it behind the scenes.

Rob
Old 03-09-2007, 05:32 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Most of you seem to have the same opinion about what is going on here, as I do! It's the media generating it's own news, in the name of sales!
Old 03-09-2007, 05:36 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

I think K3 valley flyer hit the nail. If you do a cost analysis you'll find that the sales cost of three equally powered planes, one glow, one gas, and one electric, is heavily weighted on the electric side. From motors to batteries everything cost proportionally more that the fossil fuel versions. It has to be profit margins, the production costs can't be higher than the fuel products. Worse, the proportional cost of powering with electricity goes up as the size of the model increases. Unless you have some very deep pockets you don't want to think about electric power for a 35% and up plane. Tossing in all the additional "accessories" like chargers, balancers, meters, prop adaptors, and speed controls makes it even worse.

Better still, none of the manufacturers have a uniform motor size chart for possible uses. It's up to the buyer to determine if what they select and purchase will be suitable for the application, making for a lot of additional sales due to to mis-matched product purchases. This has been a problem since day one of the electric flyers and still has not been resolved. Wonder why.
Old 03-09-2007, 05:50 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Back in the Astro Flight days, with Bob Boucher, their motors were simply called .05, .25, ect..., so the match to glow engines was simple to do. Now between Glow, Gas and Electric, engine size determination is a Voo Doo science!
Old 03-10-2007, 03:38 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

ORIGINAL: Silversurfer
Better still, none of the manufacturers have a uniform motor size chart for possible uses. It's up to the buyer to determine if what they select and purchase will be suitable for the application, making for a lot of additional sales due to to mis-matched product purchases. This has been a problem since day one of the electric flyers and still has not been resolved. Wonder why.
Thats EXACTLY why I haven't bought an electric plane. It's overpriced, there's no consistancy or documented method for sizing and if it doesn't work, your stuck with it. Buy more stuff and try again.

Old 03-10-2007, 12:31 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Planes have ENGINES, not motors. I run 2 and four strokes and will not change. Fuel and the realated oil clean up is part of the game. And yes, I think the feeding frenzy for electrics is driven by the media and advertizing $$$.
bhady
Old 03-10-2007, 01:52 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

For the past twenty years I have been competing in the higher levels of Pylon Racing. I know how to spend money. My high speed days are winding down. I have decided to start in electric models. I can learn something new and stay in the hobby. I recently purchased a motor and speed control for the size of airplane I was building. An electric motor and speed control is the equivalent of an RC engine. I paid $125.00. The airplane could also be powered by a .15 size glow engine. The purchase price of either top quality power units would be about the same. The top quality charger required for the LiPo batteries is no more expensive than a top quality charger/cycler for nicad or NiMh batteries.

That leaves just the battery/fuel comparison. At the moment I cannot tell which is cheaper. The lithium battery I purchased cost three times as much as a gallon of fuel. I am told that batteries last a long time. As soon as I get three times as much flying time as I would from a gallon of fuel then I am ahead of the game. Time will tell.

I am not waving a flag for electric aircraft. But approach the question with knowledge and reason. I have as much equipment as anybody could possibly want to fly with glow engines. I now have to add to that all that is required to fly electric airplanes. The perception is that it is expensive because, why do I have to buy all this new stuff when I already have everything I need?

Of course I have done a quick check. My finding is that if I was starting from scratch in either discipline the start up cost would not be that much different

Ed S
Old 03-10-2007, 06:37 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Ed not to disagree but if you think electric is comparable in cost have you looked at prices at Hobby Lobby for 60 sized eletric planes? Good brushless motors for even small electrics like a mini ultra stick or funtana (20 to 24 oz planes) run $60 to $80, a 30 amp ESC $50 , and 2100 mah lipo around $80. So a motor, ESC, and 2 Lipo packs can run almost $300. For the cost of 2 lipo's I can buy a lot of glow and the lipo's last about 2 to 3 years. I have about a dozen glow and 8 electrics but my experience is bang for the buck glow is cheaper.
Old 03-10-2007, 09:13 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

A good question for which I have not seen a hard-cold facts answer for is; how long will a Li Po battery pack last? Ed is saying a long time. So, what is considered a long time? Certainly, if you are going to get some flying done, you will need at least two battery packs. Now you've doubled the battery costs. I've also heard the ESC is the week link in the chain and will likely need replacement during a normal lifetime of the system and I have heard no information on motor life, either.
Old 03-11-2007, 06:05 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

As said in my post, am just starting in Electric. I am not giving up on Pylon Racing either. So far I have not been horrified by the start up cost.

As for batteries versus fuel I said time will tell. I have just purchased three Lithium batteries, expensive, yes. But then I always purchased three or four cases of fuel each year. That is cases, not gallons.

If anybody really wants to split hairs try this. Gasoline in this part of Canada is $3.80/US gallon. I can fly electric in my back yard. Think of the money I save by not having to drive to the field.

Ed S
Old 03-11-2007, 07:25 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Ed, I am not singling you out. Obviously, the park flyer type models might be considered comparible in operating costs to glow, for the sizes of these models. If we consider, however, the average size of a glow airplane is probably in the .40 to .60 size, the costs of comparible electric power systems is dramatically (startlingly) higher.

My original statements for this thread were questioning the overwelming coverage of electric in the R/C flying press, when we out here in the flying clubs are not involved to the degree represented by the R/C press, and why is this?
Old 03-13-2007, 05:50 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

An application where I could see electric as being a sound choice is with multi-engine set-ups. Most of the twins I've seen suffer with an engine out, ended in disaster. There is no doubt for me over the reliability of an electric motor, you just turn it on and go! So now I'm talking about double the cost, which was exceedingly high for one engine and this being O.K., for some reason. Possibly it's O.K. with me, as I have no real interest in building a twin or any other multi-engine airplane. So, it's not an expense I can see myself undertaking; but, could see those interested in multi-engined aircraft feeling worthwhile.
Old 03-13-2007, 11:13 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Glow vs Electric

I am just getting back into RC planes and I am going fully electric. I have purchased an electric trainer (48” wing span) and look forward to favorable weather so I can fly it. I also built a .10 P-51 Mustang about 10 years ago (and never could get the damn engine to run right, so I never flew it) that I have converted to electric and intend to fly this summer as well - we’ll see how my converting skills turn out.

My main reasons for going electric are:
1) In an Electrical Engineer, so it’s something I am more confident with.
2) I like the ‘plug in a battery and go” ease of electric
3) Electrics should be more reliable (for me at least) than glow.
4) No mess.

In addition, I have done quite a bit of research for my next plane, and I’ve settled on the .60 P-40 Warhawk kit from Top Flight. I’ve got all summer to built it as I learn to fly with a simulator, trainer, and then the Mustang. In my preliminary research, I figured it would cost nearly $650 to get everything I need to fly the thing electric if I got it all from the same vendor. At first I was put off by this, as I figured I could fly it glow for about $400. Then I started doing more research, and found that the prices for motors, ESCs and LiPo batteries change DRASTICALLY between vendors. I figure using less expensive parts from different vendors I could get the electric version down to about $450-500 range. While this is $50 – 100 more than glow, for me, it makes more sense.

Perhaps I’ll learn that the ‘less expensive’ parts from other vendors are less expensive for a reason, or perhaps not – a bit of ‘trial and error’.

In my research (lots of information came from these forums), I’ve found electric motors and ESCs for some awfully big planes (20 lbs+), so I don’t think plane size is a big concern any more. Also, I am betting on prices for electrics/batteries will continue to decrease as more and more people make them and improve the processes (plus the competition) – similar to the way computer costs have decreased.

I’ve talked to a few of the guys from the local clubs and think I’ll probably be one of the first at the field with a .60 size all electric warbird.
Old 03-13-2007, 11:37 AM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Well at present it would appear that electric is the power source of choice when the airplane is small, say .15 sized or smaller. At those sizes, battery costs are manageable, and the ability to turn a larger diameter prop really helps a model compared to wet power.

In the medium sized models, where glow is traditional, the battery costs really do add up. However, it is a really big pain is the arse to buy fuel if you live in remote areas, or prefer a particular brand of fuel (Powermaster) that many shops do not carry. But the rate of change of the electric power systems and the cost reductions in the near term make it likely that a decade from now, electrics will power much of what is now glow powered. Nano-technology is about to be applied to commercial battery design, and it will blow your mind with the size and weight reduction over what is available today.

The really big model airplane stuff will continue to run gasoline. However, there are already some experimental full size airplanes that have started work toward electric power. Much depends upon building light fuel cells that will most likely be alcohol powered.
Old 03-13-2007, 04:44 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

I guess I don't see how you can say going glow power would cost anywheres near $400.00. However, I think your right electric certainly will cost this much.

I can't fault you for being interested in electric power. However, I think you might be using skewed logic to justify the cost to yourself! This is certainly o.k, also, as I do it everytime I buy something I want, as opposed to need!
Old 03-13-2007, 06:33 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Nobody at my field flys electrics, out of 20 to 25 flyers. But what I do see is the handful of guys scattered across the town, at parks and schools flying electrics. I think most clubs are going to be primarily glow/gas powered while the electrics remain in the local parks. So, a poll of how many guys at your club fly electric may not be fair.

I agree that the R/C Press is driven by sales and the temptation of the electric future ,and I get upset when the new issue of MAN has almost nothing that interests me. Electrics are a part of this hobby, how much and how long will only be answered with time.

On a side note: Does it scare you when you pass a group of flyers at the local school on your way to the club? I wonder if they are on my channel? hmmm

Edit for grammer clarity
Old 03-14-2007, 01:40 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

On a side note: Does it scare you when you pass a group of flyers at the local school on your way to the club? I wonder if they are on my channel? hmmm
Once you switch to the 2.4ghz band of the Spread Spectrum type radios, such as the Spektrum DX6 and the Spektrum DX7, this concern is gone forever!

I have both the 72mhz stuff and a Spektrum DX7. I will not be buying any more receivers on 72mhz so when the last one goes belly up, that is it for 72mhz as far as I am concerned.
Old 03-14-2007, 05:27 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

Places where people fly are supposed to be a minimum of 3 miles apart. This is to everyones advantage; but, does take some communication.

We're getting off subject now, can I ask that we stay on the electric vs gas/glow subject? The spread spectrum subject is being discussed many places elsewhere on R/CU.

Since I started the subject, I think I should be able to ask this of contributors to this topic.
Old 03-14-2007, 06:52 PM
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Default RE: Electric vs Glow & Gasoline power and the R/C press?

I think there are a lot more electric fliers than belong to clubs. I have seen kids flying park fliers and foamies in ball fields and other places and I'll bet none of them belong to AMA. Since kids grow up to buy giant acro planes and turbines and other high dollar things, the press is more than likely glad to cater to what they fly and try to nudge them along.


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