Topic: electric

Integral electric conversion

MY ZN line Integral has been converted to electric. It has been flown just a few times this year, and although I love the simplicity of the 170 CDI, I needed to strip the whole plane down and re-paint parts of the nose where the paint had been eaten away by Nitro, and the home-made soft mount needed replacing. It was not a small job – a new Hydemount would have required a hefty spacer from the original firewall, and would have added much weight. The engine itself needed lots of spare parts and servicing. After stripping everything, I weighed the lot – it came out at almost 1.9 kilos, including tank, throttle servo, linkage, CDI box and fuel tubing. A YS setup is heavy! ┬áIt didn’t take a lot of thinking to decide on going electric with this one. It’s a beautiful machine and deserves to fly. It pays to have two planes with a similar setup, so I set off converting it.

Before: YS 170 CDI and Hatori header. Since the picture was taken, it was refitted with a 9650 servo inside the fuse for the throttle.

I made a new firewall and bolted the Plettenberg 30/10 to it. The battery fit nicely above the undercarriage, and a test of the CG proved it would be no problem fitting the battery there. The bellypan has MK magic box snap lock fasteners, so I can change the battery very easily. The only practical difference is that changing batteries on a plane that lack plug-in wings, is that I need to bring the stand with me every time I fly. The underside of the plane where the pipe used to be is not very sturdy – only the area around the undercarriage is. I wanted to strengthen it without adding too much weight, so I drilled through the undercarriage former and the original firewall, all the way through to the new former and glued in two 6 mm hollow carbon rods. They add no strength to the structure of the plane, but when the battery straps are slung around them, the carbon tubes bear the weight of the battery across four sturdy formers, in the event of a hard landing. (Picture)

After: The battery tray is essentially a plate to raise the battery above the screws that hold the undercarriage. I couldn’t rest the battery on the screw head for fear of damage. To remove the undercarriage, the battery tray comes of with four small screws. As mentioned, the straps go through the floor where the pipe used to be, and are slung around the carbon rods. One rod also serves to hold the controller, along with a small nomex plate. The controller is offset from centre so that I can access the motor bolts if it needs to be uninstalled for some reason, alter the thrust line etc.

Other modifications include removal of the 2000 mAh Schulze battery in favour of a small 700 mAh LiFe battery. I haven’t weighed the finished plane, but calculations indicate it weighs the same or less, compared to it’s YS CDI former self. The nose has been sanded and the paint touched up, and it’s ready to fly. Stay tuned for a flight report in a week or so.

More before/after pictures

New plane: Kyosho Osmose EP

Update: It’s been flown, 5 flights total. The setup seems sound enough and the plane is extremely responsive. Low rates became high rates after some hefty tweaking on the radio. The rudder response is really out of this world. I cna’t belive the canalizer does all that but if it does, I don’t really see much point in having it, it’s just so responsive that I have to learn to fly all over again.

For winter practice and general fooling around: A new toy. The Kyosho Osmose is a wonderful little ARF and was just too tempting after I crashed my Mini Scalar last summer when the motor cable disconnected in flight and I had all that expensive equipment lying around. The Osmose is powered by a Kontronik Kora 20-14 outrunner and Jive 60LV ESC. Batteries are 5S 5000mah so that it can be powered by “half-packs” should I ever get around to going electric in my 2-meter models that would use 10S LiPos.

Servos are Futaba 9650 on ailerons and some Graupner DS8011’s I had lying around for elevator and rudder. A Fubata 6008 Fasst receiver and a small GP AAA 850mAh receiver battery is used as a BEC-backup.

Mini Scalar first flight

I finally got to fly the Mini Scalar that I spent the winter assembling and painting. The plane flew surprisingly well, requiring just two clicks of aileron trim. Surprising is putting it mildly, since I had to set up all incidences myself, my first time ever doing so. Nothing beats beginners luck. The plane is overpowered to say the least. I have never had a plane this powerful, ever. the 6s 4000mah battery was a good match and has enough power for two schedules pr. flight. I’m happy to have a new favourite practice plane for those quick out-to-the-field-before-wife-notices practice sessions. But I need more batteries, can’t stand waiting for them to charge at the field. And no, the props is not broken – it’s an Aeronaut folding 14×10 propeller, something that proved to be less than clever when used in combination with a motor brake on the ESC. A fixed prop is now on order, this plane really needs to slow down on the downlines and you can imagine how fast it is when the motor brakes – the prop folds and you have less, not more drag!

Mini Scalar update

The tail is done, all hinges in place and everything seems to line up pretty good. The plugin assembly is all home made and sadly it also looks that way. Nylon screws hold the wing so that the model should be easy to assemble at the field. I have also completed the servo installation in the wing. The cutouts were already made for a flat servo installation. It’s a little more work than with upright servos but it proved to be well worth the effort. Many new pictures are uploaded to Flickr, you can take a look at them here

Blinky balancer

I came across this tiny balancer at the smallsize hobbystore in Oslo today. I’m a sucker for simple gadgets and this tiny thing was irresistable. It balances – and blinks – and is therefore called the Astroflight blinky balancer. Clever huh. But it seems to do the job fine: it balances, and blinks. Up to 6 cells too!

Mini Scalar wing fitting



It’s starting to look more and more like a plane now. Fitting wings without ANY guidance or markings whatsoever is a bastard job and one that makes me wonder why this fuse was moulded without holes for the wing tube or any other markings. I have an incidence meter but before we get to that, I have to drill my holes straight. Easier said than done.



Mini Scalar motor run

I’ve test-run the Kora motor on the workbench. Because this is very dangerous to do, please observe the following method which I’ve found to be quite safe:

1. Make sure prop and motor is firmly in place with motor, ESC and receiver connectors checked.
2. Read instructions, ignoring the warning about throttle channel reversing. After all, there is no servo.
3. Connect the battery
4. After confirming the fact that the motor does not run although it should, scare yourself to death when pulling the throttle all the way back while the motor revs up to full power.
5. Realizing that you’ve just had a near-death experience, disconnect the battery and change your underwear.
6. Re-read the part about throttle channel reversing and decide it might be a good idea to check it after all.
7. Set the throttle channel to normal direction (it WAS reversed)
8. Try again and hold on for dear life
9. Tell others about your experience so that they too may live to tell their grandchildren about it.

Autumn project: Mini Scalar

While the Lasers are stored away waiting for summer, my autumn project is finally underway. It’s an electric 50-size model called Mini Scalar from Peter Adolfs in Germany. It has a 164cm wingspan, glass fuse and bellypan and balsa sheeted foam surfaces. It is not so much a kit, you just get the glass and sheeted parts and off you go. No formers, templates or nothing. The wings are well made though, with plug in stuff ready made and tips, LE and TE are sanded perfectly. The plane has a removeable canopy and bellypan and is perfect for access to the internals. The goal is to have a user-friendly winter and F3A practice plane which can also serve as building practice. The fuselage will be spry painted and the wings covered, something I have not done in years.

It will be electric. (I may have said something about electrics in the past, words like “never” comes to mind but I belive in responding to change over following a plan) Power will come from a Hobby King 6S 4000mah LiPo, controlled by a Kontronik Jive 80 ESC. The can in front is a Kontronik KoraTop 20-14W as seen in the photo.

I chose the motor because it was recommended by my local pusher. I chose the version with the most RPM/v because I don’t want to swing the biggest props. The fuselage is not nearly as big as, say a Sebart Angel S 50, so I need more RPM on smaller props to avoid torque. I will enjoy experimenting with everything from 12×10 up to 14×10.

The Jive regulator is the best out there. But how can I say that, I have not tried it and I am no expert on electrics. Well, since it comes with an indestructo hard case which protects its extremely expensive innards, it’s the best regulator I can buy if you ask me! I can’t belive why other manufacturers does not do the same. The case is well designed and is even waterproof, although one can argue why when the rest of the setup (motor, battery, servos, receiver) most certainly is not. It has a very powerful BEC so I may not have to have a backup receiver battery, which saves weight. The Jive 80 is far more powerful than the 80 amps imply – sources say it outperforms regulators for F3A use with far higher advertised capacity. It’s just Kontronik being cautious. And you can add a heat sink to the metal surface of the regulator, increasing its potential so 10S use in 2-meter models is not a problem. And best of all? It has an F3A mode with adjustable motor braking for smooth downlines.

Based on experience from bigger models, Graupner servos will be used. DS8077 cheapies will control rudder and elevator, and C3041 minis go in the wings.

Build progress so far is u/c attached, battery compartment formers made and glued in, firewall under construction. Pictures will follow.

Electrics you say?

I may fly glow engines but when I’m in the workshop all I ever do is charge things! Not visible in the photo is the Laser being charged by a Schulze Lipo card. I’m also charging my DeWalt drill all the time too. I say, I’m as electric as the next man!

schulze’s next generation charger

Hot on the heels of the new Robbe Power Peak III charger follows Shulze Elektronik’s “Next generation” charger and promises according to Schulze to become the leading charging device against which all others are measured. Looking at the specifications which are impressive enough, they might be right but it also incorporates a built-in balancer for LiPo batteries up to 8 in series. The unit can be connected to a PC to access free language installations and software upgrades from Schulze.

I want one. Not that I need it but it’s just so cool don’t you think? And probably massively expensive too.

For more info go to Schulze Elektronik