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Electronics Help

#1
Hi guys, I'm pretty new to the hobby and have not yet flown. I have a plane and a half (in the process of building) but I want to start flying with small and inexpensive trainers like the FT Delta, Nutball, and Flyer as a confidence boost. I plan on building the swappable models so that I can also fly other models like the Bloody Baron, but as of right now I do not know what electronics to use as the page for the 3 pack of swappables is outdated (https://www.flitetest.com/articles/swappable-fuselage-speed-build-kit). I tried looking it up but there are so many configurations I am lost. I would like to get an ESC that is future proof and a motor that is pretty versatile for builds of this nature. Any recommended parts would be appreciated. Also, if I were to eventually move the electronics meant for these larger planes over to the tiny trainer (and other mighty minis) would there be any negative impacts or would it still fly fine?

I am also looking to buy voltage checkers and alarms (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H3269F7/?tag=lstir-20) and a simple battery capacity checker and servo tester (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B073W4MDHC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?smid=A1EGCWMH51R7JD&psc=) how do these ones look? Also because the planes are so small can I use any cheap servos or should I pay for a quality brand? I plan on just leaving them attached to the planes and swapping out the power pod.

Thank you all!
 

Jimun

Well-known member
#2
Welcome to the forum. I am fairly new to so I know other more seasoned members will be able to answer your questions. I am just learning to and read the post in this forum to grow in my understanding of rc flying. Just hang on, they will be responding soon.
 

FDS

Well-known member
#3
Cheap servos are fine, go light especially on smaller designs.
You will be unlikely to hear a battery alarm on the plane, you can keep your batteries safe by ensuring the ESC has a low voltage throttle cut, plus when you start fly for 5 mins then land and check the voltage. The cell meter you linked is fine, I have that one, it works.
Parts wise I too fly all my smaller planes off the same motor combo.
Motor
Esc
Prop
Servos
Lipo

That set up works great on the Tiny Trainer, you will get 5 mins flight off that pack with a 3.6v per cell final voltage. You can run an 850 2s for 7 min flights.
You will find it’s simpler to just leave everything on the planes, the powerpods get smashed so often you will need to make spares, moving them from plane to plane is a hassle. The motors are so cheap it’s easier to have a few on the go at once.
The “high Alpha” designs like the Nutball will be fun but won’t necessarily teach you much about flying beyond throttle control, I would build the TT first. The Flyer is OK but the TT is more forgiving and can be built in lots more ways.
Swappables are OK to learn on, the Scout is pretty docile but they are big, the wings are fixed and they need larger, more expensive packs to balance them. You can’t really use the larger packs on the TT and I prefer a lighter motor set up too. On your first plane low build weight will help you a lot.
The FT power packs from the store are still a good starting point if you are unsure, I would also recommend buying a speedbuild kit for the first full plane you make.
 

basslord1124

Well-known member
#4
I'm with @FDS . Man I've been agreeing with him a lot...don't know if that's a good or bad thing lol.

Some of the content in the articles (especially the older ones) are outdated. Take a look at the power pack selection to get a good idea or just pick up a power pack. Usually I will take either the power pack components or look at the build plans to get a basis for what motor/ESC is needed. Then I shop around to find motors that are comparable in KV and battery cell count (2S-3S, etc)...and if it's a small plane I look at the motor weight too to make sure it won't be too heavy for the model. I tend to stick with 30A ESCs for most FT planes...to some (especially the minis) it might be a little overkill but it doesn't hurt a thing to have extra headroom in your ESC.

What you picked out for testers looks good. You oughta look into a wattmeter too...they usually run $15-$20. It will give you a digital readout of just how much power, amps, etc you are running. I don't know if the one battery tester you linked can also center a servo (I know it said it tests them), but a servo centering tool is nice to have too.

Cheap servos are fine to start with. In fact, I still use them. Once you start venturing down into more aerobatic planes (FT Edge), then you might need to consider different servos.

As for moving electronics from a larger plane to a smaller one, it can be done. I wouldn't recommend it for starting out or anything. With doing that you have to consider a lot of different things...weight of the model, making everything fit, making sure it balances fine, etc. Sometimes it's not worth the hassle to do it and it may not always yield good results. It'll just take some experimenting to get it right. I've put 9g servos in a plane that is recommended to have 5g servos b/c it's all I had...it didn't affect it that much IMO. So sometimes you can get away with stuff like that.

I used to be all about trying to "swap power pods" but after weighing the pros and cons, I just don't think it's worth it. Disconnecting/reconnecting wires, making sure the skewer holes line up on each, etc. Components are cheap. Give each plane its own soul. ;) Make it to where you just plug your battery up and go. I originally thought the swappable thing was awesome, but in the order of FT planes that I progressed through, it didn't make sense. I started with the Storch which is a pretty standard power pod, then to the Super Bee which is a high speed mini twin, then to the Seaduck which is different. So my journey didn't start me with a standard power pod to use for all of them.

I don't know much about those minis but I'm sure they'd be all right to start with. You oughta really consider the Tiny Trainer too.

Hope this helps, any other questions just ask!
 

bracesport

Well-known member
#5
I'm with @FDS and @basslord1124 - I have gravitated to fixed gear in each plane (mostly) - although lately I have accumulated too many planes and am recycling some gear by decommissioning some birds - RC gear has become very affordable which is wonderful for the hobby! Although I also have an old-school FM Tx which is pretty fancy, I find myself using a very thrifty ($60) FSi6s most of the time with these FB designs.
 
#6
I'm with @FDS . Man I've been agreeing with him a lot...don't know if that's a good or bad thing lol.

Some of the content in the articles (especially the older ones) are outdated. Take a look at the power pack selection to get a good idea or just pick up a power pack. Usually I will take either the power pack components or look at the build plans to get a basis for what motor/ESC is needed. Then I shop around to find motors that are comparable in KV and battery cell count (2S-3S, etc)...and if it's a small plane I look at the motor weight too to make sure it won't be too heavy for the model. I tend to stick with 30A ESCs for most FT planes...to some (especially the minis) it might be a little overkill but it doesn't hurt a thing to have extra headroom in your ESC.

What you picked out for testers looks good. You oughta look into a wattmeter too...they usually run $15-$20. It will give you a digital readout of just how much power, amps, etc you are running. I don't know if the one battery tester you linked can also center a servo (I know it said it tests them), but a servo centering tool is nice to have too.

Cheap servos are fine to start with. In fact, I still use them. Once you start venturing down into more aerobatic planes (FT Edge), then you might need to consider different servos.

As for moving electronics from a larger plane to a smaller one, it can be done. I wouldn't recommend it for starting out or anything. With doing that you have to consider a lot of different things...weight of the model, making everything fit, making sure it balances fine, etc. Sometimes it's not worth the hassle to do it and it may not always yield good results. It'll just take some experimenting to get it right. I've put 9g servos in a plane that is recommended to have 5g servos b/c it's all I had...it didn't affect it that much IMO. So sometimes you can get away with stuff like that.

I used to be all about trying to "swap power pods" but after weighing the pros and cons, I just don't think it's worth it. Disconnecting/reconnecting wires, making sure the skewer holes line up on each, etc. Components are cheap. Give each plane its own soul. ;) Make it to where you just plug your battery up and go. I originally thought the swappable thing was awesome, but in the order of FT planes that I progressed through, it didn't make sense. I started with the Storch which is a pretty standard power pod, then to the Super Bee which is a high speed mini twin, then to the Seaduck which is different. So my journey didn't start me with a standard power pod to use for all of them.

I don't know much about those minis but I'm sure they'd be all right to start with. You oughta really consider the Tiny Trainer too.

Hope this helps, any other questions just ask!
Thank you for the info! Do you have a recommendation on what wattmeter to purchase? There are a few different styles and I don't know what one to choose. would something like this hobbyking wattmeter work well?
 

PsyBorg

Wake up! Time to fly!
#7
Forget on board battery alarms. All they do is suck an already low pack down faster.

When you do a build or read instructions for arf's look at the stated avg flight times. Start at maybe 2 minutes and set a throttle% timer. Then every time you fly check your packs when they come down and again after resting before recharge. Then adjust the timer longer or shorter until the packs come down where you like. 15 seconds is a long time for single motor not running wide open

I use that method on my quads and it doesnt matter how I fly they always come down and go back on charge between 3.7 and 3.8v per cell.

For instance my new quad is set to 1 minute 14 seconds. I can fly hard and drain a pack in just over a minute actual time or cruise around for close to 8 mins actual time.

If you want you can set a second timer to get actual air time.
 

bracesport

Well-known member
#9
My Tx has a rough estimate of the batteries both Tx and Rx, I just keep an eye on that and hope I can survive the crashes longer than the battery!
 
#10
I'm with @FDS . Man I've been agreeing with him a lot...don't know if that's a good or bad thing lol.

Some of the content in the articles (especially the older ones) are outdated. Take a look at the power pack selection to get a good idea or just pick up a power pack. Usually I will take either the power pack components or look at the build plans to get a basis for what motor/ESC is needed. Then I shop around to find motors that are comparable in KV and battery cell count (2S-3S, etc)...and if it's a small plane I look at the motor weight too to make sure it won't be too heavy for the model. I tend to stick with 30A ESCs for most FT planes...to some (especially the minis) it might be a little overkill but it doesn't hurt a thing to have extra headroom in your ESC.

What you picked out for testers looks good. You oughta look into a wattmeter too...they usually run $15-$20. It will give you a digital readout of just how much power, amps, etc you are running. I don't know if the one battery tester you linked can also center a servo (I know it said it tests them), but a servo centering tool is nice to have too.

Cheap servos are fine to start with. In fact, I still use them. Once you start venturing down into more aerobatic planes (FT Edge), then you might need to consider different servos.

As for moving electronics from a larger plane to a smaller one, it can be done. I wouldn't recommend it for starting out or anything. With doing that you have to consider a lot of different things...weight of the model, making everything fit, making sure it balances fine, etc. Sometimes it's not worth the hassle to do it and it may not always yield good results. It'll just take some experimenting to get it right. I've put 9g servos in a plane that is recommended to have 5g servos b/c it's all I had...it didn't affect it that much IMO. So sometimes you can get away with stuff like that.

I used to be all about trying to "swap power pods" but after weighing the pros and cons, I just don't think it's worth it. Disconnecting/reconnecting wires, making sure the skewer holes line up on each, etc. Components are cheap. Give each plane its own soul. ;) Make it to where you just plug your battery up and go. I originally thought the swappable thing was awesome, but in the order of FT planes that I progressed through, it didn't make sense. I started with the Storch which is a pretty standard power pod, then to the Super Bee which is a high speed mini twin, then to the Seaduck which is different. So my journey didn't start me with a standard power pod to use for all of them.

I don't know much about those minis but I'm sure they'd be all right to start with. You oughta really consider the Tiny Trainer too.

Hope this helps, any other questions just ask!
Another question, this time for an ESC. There are not very many options for ESC that I'm finding that are in stock. There is this one (https://hobbyking.com/en_us/blheli-s-30a.html) but it seems as though people use it for their quads, should it still be compatible? I ended up buying power pack b just for peace of mind but I'm looking for two extra ESC's one for the Tiny Trainer and one for either the flyer or the Delta (whichever one I do not use the power pack on). I would like these to be future proof and safe so that's why I'm leaning towards 30A. Thank you for your help so far!
 
#11
Cheap servos are fine, go light especially on smaller designs.
You will be unlikely to hear a battery alarm on the plane, you can keep your batteries safe by ensuring the ESC has a low voltage throttle cut, plus when you start fly for 5 mins then land and check the voltage. The cell meter you linked is fine, I have that one, it works.
Parts wise I too fly all my smaller planes off the same motor combo.
Motor
Esc
Prop
Servos
Lipo

That set up works great on the Tiny Trainer, you will get 5 mins flight off that pack with a 3.6v per cell final voltage. You can run an 850 2s for 7 min flights.
You will find it’s simpler to just leave everything on the planes, the powerpods get smashed so often you will need to make spares, moving them from plane to plane is a hassle. The motors are so cheap it’s easier to have a few on the go at once.
The “high Alpha” designs like the Nutball will be fun but won’t necessarily teach you much about flying beyond throttle control, I would build the TT first. The Flyer is OK but the TT is more forgiving and can be built in lots more ways.
Swappables are OK to learn on, the Scout is pretty docile but they are big, the wings are fixed and they need larger, more expensive packs to balance them. You can’t really use the larger packs on the TT and I prefer a lighter motor set up too. On your first plane low build weight will help you a lot.
The FT power packs from the store are still a good starting point if you are unsure, I would also recommend buying a speedbuild kit for the first full plane you make.
That motor looks great, I'm going to try and pick it up for my tiny trainer build, might even get an extra to save on shipping costs in the future. I have two more questions, first with servos how cheap is too cheap? Because there are these (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072V529YD/?tag=lstir-20) from Amazon which are a little big for the TT but are super cheap and I may use them on other builds. Also, how do I tell if an ESC has a low voltage throttle cut? I can't seem to find that info on product pages like this one https://hobbyking.com/en_us/blheli-s-30a.html. Also, what do you think of that ESC? it's high for the projects I'm making but I want to be safe. Does it appear as though it would be a good purchase?
 

sundown57

Well-known member
#12
Cheap servos are fine, go light especially on smaller designs.
You will be unlikely to hear a battery alarm on the plane, you can keep your batteries safe by ensuring the ESC has a low voltage throttle cut, plus when you start fly for 5 mins then land and check the voltage. The cell meter you linked is fine, I have that one, it works.
Parts wise I too fly all my smaller planes off the same motor combo.
Motor
Esc
Prop
Servos
Lipo

That set up works great on the Tiny Trainer, you will get 5 mins flight off that pack with a 3.6v per cell final voltage. You can run an 850 2s for 7 min flights.
You will find it’s simpler to just leave everything on the planes, the powerpods get smashed so often you will need to make spares, moving them from plane to plane is a hassle. The motors are so cheap it’s easier to have a few on the go at once.
The “high Alpha” designs like the Nutball will be fun but won’t necessarily teach you much about flying beyond throttle control, I would build the TT first. The Flyer is OK but the TT is more forgiving and can be built in lots more ways.
Swappables are OK to learn on, the Scout is pretty docile but they are big, the wings are fixed and they need larger, more expensive packs to balance them. You can’t really use the larger packs on the TT and I prefer a lighter motor set up too. On your first plane low build weight will help you a lot.
The FT power packs from the store are still a good starting point if you are unsure, I would also recommend buying a speedbuild kit for the first full plane you make.
the props on that page say CW can they be run as CCW do you know ?
 

sundown57

Well-known member
#14
its a lot harder to find CCW props then CW, if I turn that 3 degree angle on the power pod the other way could i then use a CW prop ?
 

FDS

Well-known member
#15
It’s down to the motor rotation, you can run a CW motor or change the direction on the wiring, as brushless motors are omni directional. Use a nylock prop nut or a bit of blue thread lock in case the nut comes loose if it’s a CCW motor. It’s only the thread direction on the prop shaft that’s different. Many modern motors are just the usual CW and ship with a nylock nut anyway. Lumeniere have a new system for quads with no prop nut at all, the props slide on and lock.
I have no idea wether you would have to change the thrust angle on the power pod, I have just run my TT whichever way made it fly, I don’t think I have even checked the direction!
 

moret

Active member
#16
That motor looks great, I'm going to try and pick it up for my tiny trainer build, might even get an extra to save on shipping costs in the future. I have two more questions, first with servos how cheap is too cheap? Because there are these (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B072V529YD/?tag=lstir-20) from Amazon which are a little big for the TT but are super cheap and I may use them on other builds. Also, how do I tell if an ESC has a low voltage throttle cut? I can't seem to find that info on product pages like this one https://hobbyking.com/en_us/blheli-s-30a.html. Also, what do you think of that ESC? it's high for the projects I'm making but I want to be safe. Does it appear as though it would be a good purchase?
If you look at the specs, The ESC does not have a BEC

1556485035556.png
You would need another way ( battery or second ESC on a twin ) to power your receiver / servos
 

basslord1124

Well-known member
#18
Another question, this time for an ESC. There are not very many options for ESC that I'm finding that are in stock. There is this one (https://hobbyking.com/en_us/blheli-s-30a.html) but it seems as though people use it for their quads, should it still be compatible? I ended up buying power pack b just for peace of mind but I'm looking for two extra ESC's one for the Tiny Trainer and one for either the flyer or the Delta (whichever one I do not use the power pack on). I would like these to be future proof and safe so that's why I'm leaning towards 30A. Thank you for your help so far!
As someone else pointed out, that is an OPTO ESC. Meaning there is no builtin BEC to power your Servos/receiver. So you would have to get a separate battery pack for that. I wouldn't recommend it for what you are doing. Some of your larger models (balsa ones) that would be a more preferred approach. That's how I'm gonna run my balsa trainer...with a separate battery pack for receiver/servos.

That's one of those new crazy terminology things that got thrown at you...(I went through that early on too). So you wanna avoid OPTO ESCs and get ones with built-in BECs. If you want to go Turnigy, you can check out the Turnigy Plush ESCs. I "think" they come pretty bare though, so you'll have to do soldering.