Tuesday, March 31, 2009

RV-4 Build Update

For all of you that keep sending me emails, and late-nite tweets asking about the RV-4, rest assured, progress is being made. I have gotten beyond my aversion for CA-stained fingers and made some solid progress.

In this case, a picture is worth 1000 words.


Build hours to date: who cares?
Amount of Glue spilled on Kitchen table eating through the finish: Who noticed?

Zippy Flight Max 2200 mAh LiPo Review

When I started flying the Super Cub I soon stumbled upon Internet tipsters proclaiming the merits of the LiPo battery for increased flight times and performance in the SC. Before long I yearned for the extra boost and stick time per charge.

It took me a while to figure out what battery to choose. So, I want to make this process easier for others. It is this simple. Order the FlightMax 2200, 20C Zippy battery from HobbyKing. This battery costs ~18 Usd. It works will with the SC and my Spektrum electronics. It also works perfectly in the T-28 Trojan. If you want to know more read on. If you just want to fly, go order a few.

In both of these planes with the stock motor I am getting about 20-22 minutes of flight time. I try not to push it so far that the ending voltage is less than about 3.2V per cell. When I charge the batteries I usually put about 1900-2000 mAh Back in so there is probably a little more juice to wring out if I wanted to- I really don't want to since my hand are numb by 20 mintues in this cold MN “spring” weather and my 5 year old has, by 11 minutes, asked 25 times if we can go home now.

To use this battery in the T-28, the only modification you will need is to replace the battery receptacle to a deans pug on the plane- it comes with the e flight plug.

To use this battery on the SuperCub you will need to modify the battery box so that the battery can ride vertical. If you are using stock electronics, you will need to change a jumper on the ESC and move the ESC to a slightly different location to make it work. It is my understanding that this jumper changes the voltage cut-off – it raises the voltage cut off. Note: You can damage the LiPo by running it down much below 3.0 volts per cell on a 3S battery. NiMH can go lower- hence you need to change the jumper with the stock ESC.

Here is how the battery fits in my Modified Supercub:


I've not used other LiPos, but for this price and performance to date, I am planning to order a few more soon. I probably should before all you regulars run out and buy a few dozen!

If you are looking for a changer consider the Turnigy Accucell 6. BTW, I am not affiliated in any way with HobbyKing but so far my experience is that these 2 poducts offer a lot of value.

Back to the Hanger

Flight Date: 28March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Parkzone T-28 Trojan)
WX: ~5mph, Temp ~40 F
Ground Conditions: Almost all snow melted- wet field
Field: (#1,2 )

Flight Summary

Flight 1 (~20 minutes) and Flight 2 (~20 min)

Great first flight in the early afternoon. The whole family came to watch. It was a little cold however, and the Kids had a hard time staying entertained by the plan. I was able to make a 1 ok and 1 nice landing.

Flight number 2 was solo. I had a great flight, but the last landing was hard and I had a minor breakage on the nose landing gear. I have inspected it and it will be easy to fix- but the plane is currently in the hanger until I find 5-10 minutes.

I continue to love flying this plane!


Flight Dates: 29March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 2.1 – Ailerons – LiPo Battery)
WX: ~5 mph, Temp ~35 F
Ground Conditions: grass
Field: (#1 )

Flight Summary

Flight 1 (~16 minutes)

The wind was fairly low. I was practicing gentle turns and things where going well. About 16 minutes into the flight I lost perspective of the plant- thought it was flying towards me and it was flying away. The end result was a nose-dive landing. I broke a prob and the front fuselage is a little more cracked than it was. SC 2.0 is also grounded until I can find about 15 minutes to do the fixes.

Things I learned from these flights
Wind above 15 mph really makes the SC difficult to fly. Both aileron and non-aileron wings where impacted severely by the gusts. Not really a new learning- rather a re-learning. (I didn't realize the gusts where at greater than 20mph until I checked weatherbug)

Damage
SC 2.0- Broken Prop- $3.50
T-28- Front landing gear plastic broken

Stats
SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights:
18
Total: 33
Cumulative Hrs: 7.6
successful Landings: 68
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$54.50

Stats
T-28 Cumulative flights 9
Cumulative Hrs: 2.6
successful Landings: 16
T-28 Trojan
Maintenance / Repairs* ~$0

*Cost to replace items broken in flight

Thursday, March 26, 2009

1 step forward, 2 steps back.... 1 step forward


Flight Dates: 18, 19 March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 2.1 – Ailerons – LiPo Battery)
WX: ~10 mph, Temp ~50 F
Ground Conditions: grass
Field: (#3 )

Flight Summary

Flight 1 (~6 minutes) and Flight 2 (~4 min)

I found a new field near a very large soccer complex, however the exact spot I chose was sub-optimal. I was fling the SC fairly low to the ground and there was a tree that I needed to stay away from in the line of flight. Unfortunately, I had some kind of stall / nose dive at about 7 minutes into the first flight. The plane “landed” hard on its nose. Remarkably, the only thing damaged was actually the tail. Just like SC1.0 the tail snapped clean off. It was a disappointing error even knowing that I would be able to fix the damage with epoxy.

The following day I returned again with the re-conditioned SC and flew a short flight in a better spot. However, it was too cold and windy to make the flight last longer than 4 min. so I called it good.

This first flight felt like 2 steps back compared to the recent flying I had been doing with no major events. It primarily came as a result of poor field positioning / selection and the need to avoid the tree.

Flight Date: 20, March2009

Flight Summary

Conditions
Equipment: (Parkzone T-28 Trojan)
WX: ~5 mph Temp ~50 F
Ground Conditions: grass
Field: (#2 )

Flight 1, 2, 3 (20, 20, 21 Min)

I lucked out with some great weather last weekend. Saturday was 50 degrees, sunny with minimal wind- perfect!

I took the T-28 out again and had a great set of flights. I am really impressed with how this plane flies. It is easy to fly it very smoothly and it looks great in the air. I am having some problems getting the landings down because the plane does float. I am finding I almost need a throttle off approach to get it down. It makes for some fun low and long approaches. I am getting the hang up the no-touch, touch and go, but not quite ready to consistently make a touch. I had a number of decent landings and a few rough ones as well. The plane is holding up and so far I have not abused it too badly.

I did have a couple of landings where the plane essentially dropped straight down from about 1 foot in the air. The was brought on by either too much flair or inability to get it down and It just ran out of lift...

Damage
SC 2.0- Broken tail- fixed with epoxy

Stats
SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights:
17
Total: 32
Cumulative Hrs: 7.3
successful Landings: 68
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

Stats
T-28 Cumulative flights 5
Cumulative Hrs: 1.9
successful Landings: 12
T-28 Trojan
Maintenance / Repairs* ~$0

*Cost to replace items broken in flight


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grounded By Gusts

Flight Date: 15March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 2.0 and 2.1 – Ailerons – LiPo Battery)
WX: ~11 mph with 23MPG gusts, Temp ~50 F
Ground Conditions: Wet Field
Field: (#1 )

Flight Summary

Flight 1 (~6 minutes) and Flight 2 (~4 min)

The winds where once again too strong for the SC to handle. It does OK up to about 15mph even 20 if it is consistent wind. The condition for these flights about 15mph with additional 10 to 20mph gusts. The aileron wing was picking up the wind like a sail and it was very difficult to control the SC.

For the 2nd flight I switched back to the stock wing thinking it might help- it didn't!

3 Landings

Things I learned from these flights
Wind above 15 mph really makes the SC difficult to fly. Both aileron and non-aileron wings where impacted severely by the gusts. Not really a new learning- rather a re-learning. (I didn't realize the gusts where at greater than 20mph until I checked weatherbug)

Damage
None

Stats
SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights:
15
Total: 30
Cumulative Hrs: 6.8
successful Landings: 66
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

*Cost to replace items broken in flight

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Maiden Flight ParkZone T-28 Trojan

Flight Date: 15March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Parkzone T-28 Trojan)
WX: ~11 mph, Temp ~50 F
Ground Conditions: Almost all snow melted- wet field
Field: (#1 )

Flight Summary

Flight 1 (10Min)

Wow! I took my new T-28 Trojan (StarCode as named by my daughter) out for it's maiden today it it is a fantastic flier. The first 2 flights were early in the morning before the wind picked up and the plane handled superbly. There was no trimming required!

I did a quick pre-flight servo check to make sure the servo's where set up correctly. Quick tip- A pilot friend of mine mentioned during his pre-flight check of his “real” planes he turns the control wheel towards the direction he wants to turn with his thumb extended- hand on the top of the wheel. He looks in the direction his thumb is pointed and ensures that the aileron is up on that side. I have been using this concept with my planes before taking off- whatever way the stick is pointed (from behind the model) the aileron should be up.


video

The first take off was rolling from the ground in some packed dirt. With WOT the plane assertively rolled down the “runway” and took to the skies. I was careful to apply small inputs to the sticks and found the T-28 handled predictably and was very stable.

With a little less than half throttle the T-28 will cruise at SuperCub speeds making a relatively easy step up from the Super Cub equipped with ailerons. At full throttle the plane climbs aggressively and gains speed quickly.

I was able to make some slow passes relatively easily and the T-28 is a pleasure to see in the air.

After getting used to the flight characteristics I made a number of low passes- as if to land. What I found was the T-28 is a real floater. It was almost hard to bring it down. The good news is that this makes it fairly easy to land once you get the hang of how it handles

I ended up making 4 good landings. 2 where very nice. 2 where decent. On the last landing- which wasn't particularly hard- the whole left landing assembly popped out. Nothing broke it just came loose. I fixed it easily with some 5-minute epoxy. It was held in with some silicone glue.

My setup consists of the following:

  • Stock Airframe / Motor / Esc (plug and play model)

  • Spektrum AR6200 Receiver

  • Flight Max 2200 mAH LiPo

  • TX is a Spektrum DX7

The only modification I made to the stock plane was to cut off the stock batter connector and solder on a Deans plug. I really can't imagine changing anything on this plane- what a winner! I am very happy I made this choice as a 2nd plane.

Flight 2 (20 Minutes)

I have had the T-28 in the hanger for about 1 month. I had been trying to hold off until I had my planned 15 hours on the Super Cub. To date, I have almost 7 hours on the Super Cub. I will say that had I not spent this time on the SC, I am certain these flights would not have gone so well.

This 2nd flight was very good as well. I think I flew it a little faster than the first flight. What I did notice is that it is a lot easier to gain speed on the T-28 vs. the Super cub. I had situations that where 1 to 2 wrong moves away from a major catastrophe. Such as flying within about 20 feet of a pole and having a few awkward turns too low to the ground. The point I am making is that you do have to be more thoughtful with this plane than with the SC.

I had 3 good landings- one beautiful rolling landing with flair- I love landing with the tricycle gear!

Things I learned from these flights

  • The Parkzone T-28 Trojan is a great 2nd plane after having experience with the Hobbyzone Super Cub

  • Need to watch throttle / speed and think ahead of your moves with this plane as it has more potential to get into a bad situation quicker than a slower model like the SC

Damage
Not really damage- Left landing gear came loose on a decent landing- epoxied back in place

Stats
T-28 Cumulative flights 2
Cumulative Hrs: 0.5
successful Landings: 7
T-28 Trojan
Maintenance / Repairs* ~$0

*Cost to replace items broken in flight




I love the smell of Burnt Balsa in the Morning


I received a Stevens AeroModel balsa kit of an RV-4 for my birthday. I have put in about 6 hours on the kit and have made much more progress than I would have expected. I wanted to document some of my observations so far.

The kit and the balsa building process has been extremely satisfying so far. With this kit, you start with the rear stabilizer / tail feathers. I can't describe how satisfying it was to snap out the laser cut parts and fit them together directly over the full-sized plan that came with the model.

The whole experience of unrolling the plan and setting up my work area was like planning for the construction of something monumental. It sparked the builders-spirit that I have not felt in quite some time, which is to create and to engineer something from nothing. On top of that the way the parts practically fall out of the balsa sheet and practically pull themselves together on the plan make it feel like you are constructing a well engineered product.

I did make a few mistakes. Despite the warning on the manual that clearly states you need to install the firewall in a certain direction- I noticed a day afterwards that I had installed in the wrong way. I debated trying to remove it but was, instead, able to take on some minor changes that fixed the issue. I also broke a few of the small pieces while putting the fuselage together. These were easily fixed with CA glue- probably stronger than before.

So far, I have found the only issues with the build is my own laziness. Because most of the parts fit like an old pair of jeans, when I come across one that does not I tend to force it in anyway. This can result in the aforementioned breakages. If you take just a little time to do some minor trimming with a razor knife on those stubborn pieces they will fit just fine without the damage.

If you are wondering about the title- burnt balsa- the laser cutting seems to leave a slight burnt smell on the balsa. It is a little like the smell of a lit match. There is something earthy and satisfying about this that doesn't come from the RTF Styrofoam from China!

Don't forget to include those around you in on the fun....

My 5 year old has been helping me. She told me while helping me glue the first pieces on the kit that “even though mommy thinks planes are silly, I think they are important”.

She said a number of things but the most profound for me was that they are good because “you get to spend time with your daddy.” She also helped me build the yellow wing with Aileron's for SuperCub 2.0. Despite certain parts being “boring” I think she enjoys helping!

Here is a shot of the progress so far....

By the way. If you decide want to try building a real RV-4 check out the rivetbangers forum.


HobbyZone Super Cub Interim Review


Background

About a month ago I decided to use the Super Cub as a means to learn how to fly R.C. Airplanes on my own- after much deliberation.

At that time I set out the following goals to obtain before moving on to another plane with the assumption that achieving these goals would make me a proficient pilot:

# of Flights: 100
# of Flight Hours: 16hours (each flight is ~ 10 minutes with stock Battery)
# of Landings: 100

Before I get into the update, I want to make a few comments for those on the fence about what plane to start with. My single most important advice is just get one. Reading about them and practicing on the SIM is good but no substitute for real flight. For those that are still trying to convince themselves that they should start with a “4 channel plane” instead of the too-basic “3-channel” plane, just go out and get something and fly it! Through my experience, I happen to believe that the SuberCub is a great plane to begin with. The muscles and brain connections you build with a 3-channel plane (with ruder on right stick), will translate directly to using a 4-channel with ailerons. The 3-channel rudder controlled plane, however will be more stable and forgiving to over-controlling of the novice pilot.

I was one that fit the characteristics above, before I heard the speech. What is the speech your are asking? Well, about a month ago I was still in research mode, but I had pretty much ruled out any 3-channel plane and in particular the SuperCub. Some 40 hours of web research on “what's the best first plane” and “can I skip the 3-channel” threads and 3 hobby store visits later I was just about to walk out the door of my last store when a very passionate sales clerk gave me the speech. Frankly, I was only half-listening. I don't really remember exactly what he said but at one point he mentioned the inventor of the SC receiving a standing ovation at some yearly R.C. conference and the SC being the single most important advancement in the R.C. airplane hobby as it allowed individuals to learn to fly instead of just crashing and moving on to the next hobby. Did I really want to “build” a plane anyway. There is no doubt this person believes everything he said

Well I made one last swing by the SC isle and I noticed the price was $129. I thought, hey I could be flying this weekend instead of researching, and the rest is history. By they way, another woman also bought a Super Cub right after me- the speech was that good!

Here are the stats to date

SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights: 13
Total: 28
Cumulative Hrs: 6.6
successful Landings: 63
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

*Cost to replace items broken in flight


The Pluses- there are many

  • The HobyZone Super Cub is a cost effective trainer

    • Cost effective to fix and parts are readily available

  • You can go from in the box to in the air in about 1 hour

  • The Plane is almost completely assembled

  • Receiving the plane almost assembled lets you know how things are supposed to look from the start

  • It is easy to fix- buy some Devron 5 minute epoxy (or similar product)

  • There are lots of options / modifications that can be considered and you will still be with in the cost range of other RTF trainers

  • This is a great platform to learn how to build and modify RC planes!

  • No one part is so expensive that you have to worry too much if you destroy it

  • Good size for starter park flier- not to big / not too small

  • Could legitimately be the one plane a pilot has for quite a while (however, see LiPo note in Minuses)

  • I can see flying the SC for years to come. It flies slow and stable and that makes it fun!

The Minuses

  • I found the stock electronics to be effective but not great- primary complaint is the glitching motor- likely the ESC

  • In bone stock configuration, I believe I would have gotten bored with the power-curve fairly soon- needs the extra boost of LiPos-

Wrap up
I don't have any regrets taking the plunge with the SC. I don't believe that there is another platform out there that would have allowed me to learn what I have as quickly or cost effective as I have with this plane.

I have learned a great deal about flying, building and repairing model R.C. planes in just one short month. The only challenge I may have is sticking to my plan to complete my flying goals before I try a new plane. My skills have improved enough that I think I can handle the next step up. In fact you will soon read my Maiden Flight review of the Parkzone T-28 Trojan!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

22 Landings in 22 Minutes

Flight Date: 08March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 2.1 – Ailerons – LiPo Battery)
WX: ~5-10 mph, Temp ~30 F
Ground Conditions: 1-2 inches hard snow
Field: (#1 / #2 Field)

Flight Summary

Flight 1 (19 minutes)

I had made some trim adjustments on the Ailerons. The plane is now flying straight with minimal trim from the TX.

3 Landings


Flight 2 (22 minutes)

I flew SC 2.1 at field number 2. This field seems to get a

lot less foot traffic this time of year. The snow has hard packed and smooth making a good surface to practice landings. I made 22 good landings. A couple ended in nose down but they where all low impact landings. This was good practice with the new ailerons.

I am really enjoying the control with ailerons. SC2.1 is slig

htly more challenging to than the 2.0 configuration (stock wing) and more dynamic control. Its possible to turn around in much less space now!

22 Landings


Things I learned from these flights
If you have to choose, trim the wing tip side of the aileron to the wing so that it is flush with the wing. The Left Ailerons' on the SC2.1 is a little warped- not possible to trim both sides flush with the wing. In the below picture it is a little difficult to see but the right side of the aileron is a little above the top of the wing surface- not ideal but working. Previously, the side closer to the wing tip was below the bottom of the wing at center stick.



Damage
None

Stats
SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights:
13
Total: 28
Cumulative Hrs: 6.6
successful Landings: 63
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

*Cost to replace items broken in flight

Saturday, March 7, 2009

SC 2.0 Gets Ailerons


Flight Date: 07March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 2.1 – Ailerons – LiPo Battery)
WX: ~5-10 mph, Temp ~30 F
Ground Conditions: 1-2 inches hard snow
Field: (#1 Field)

Flight Summary

My maiden flight with Ailerons.

Flight 1 (22 minutes)

Pretty good for a first flight with ailerons. It was a little rough at first because the SC2.1 was pulling to the right with the sticks centered. I adjusted on the first flight with the sticks. It took me a while to get the control down as smooth as with the stock wing. Flights 2 and 3 improved significantly.

2 rough landings- ouch!


Flight 2 (18 minutes)

Much better than the maiden. I realized I needed to trim the ailerons all the way to the left to keep the plane from banking right. My aileron implementation is not the best, and I can tell from sighting the plane- the left aileron is a little warped whereas one side is aligned well with the wing the other side is slightly out of alignment. I think it is part of the cause.

2 Landings- 1 nice landing

Flight 3 (19.5 minutes)

Great flight.

I'll do a quick write up on the ailerons. Overall I think this was a good modification for training purposes. SC2.1 turns quicker with the ailerons than with just rudder control / stock wing. Rudder control does not work well on the new wing as it has less dihedral- closer to flat. This is also good to get experience with. I don't think the ailerons are as good as they could be because I could not get SC2.1 to roll without a steep dive. It will not roll at constant elevation even if I combine with rudder. SC2.1 does not find its way back to center with this flatter wing. I have to move it there. This is yet another good aspect to get used to for the next Plane.

2 good Landings

Things I learned from these flights
With the ailerons it is possible to over-turn and end up in an inverted dive. Luckily every time I have done that I had the altitude to recover. I can see how a few aileron-equipped SCs may have meet an untimely demise at the hands of a novice this way.

If I was to re-do the build, I would be more precise with the cuts and construction of the Ailerons. While the are working as expected I had to add a lot of trim to get the SC 2.1 to fly in a straight line.

Again, re-trimming was critical and I needed some down elevator trim to make the plane fly smooth. I didn't figure this out until flight number 2

Damage
Fuselage cracking near landing gear caused by multiple hard landings. Fixed with a little CA glue and kicker to speed the process.

Stats

SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights: 11
Total: 26
Cumulative Hrs: 5.9
Successful Landings: 38
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

*Cost to replace items broken in flight


Stevens AeroModel RV-4


I received a very nice birthday gift today in the mail! It is a balsa kit of an RV-4 by Stevens AeroModel. I feel a little like I am turning 13 not 36 in a few days, but I appreciate it very much nonetheless. Thanks Mom and Dad!

I will document some of my building process on the Blog. With this interesting video of what it takes to complete I have a feeling it may be a while- the plan is it will be my 3rd or 4th flying platform as and RC pilot.

So far I am impressed with the Kit. It came very well packaged with a nice set of plans and instructions printed in the box. It was satisfying to open the box and see all the wooden pieces neatly packaged. I am excited to get started!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Turnigy Accucel-6 Review

Being a relative novice to the R.C. Airplanes, most everything that I am doing is new to me and requires some trial, error and research. Based upon all of the positive information that I had read on using the Super Cub with LiPo's – and a secret project that is underway that requires the use of them- I decided to give them a try on SC 2.0.

Given the inherent risk in messing around with electronics and battery technology, what I have here is not an expert's opinion and anything I mention here must be taken in this light and at your own risk!

I did a lot of web-research on LiPo Chargers. As with anything in this hobby, I found the WattFlyer discussion group to have a wealth of information on the topic. I wanted a solid and safe LiPo charger that would charge 2-3s LiPos and NiMH if possible. I also wanted one that does balancing and charging all in one package. Discharging would be nice as well.

Those are the requirements that I started with and then based upon my experience of charging and flying I added one more. I also wanted a charger that was priced to allow me to economically purchase at least 2 of them! This was, based upon the simple fact that it takes a long time to charge batteries and since I was going to increase the battery capacity from ~1000 mAh to ~2000 mAh logic held that it would take up to twice as long as the 30-40minutes it was taking for the stock batteries- give or take.

I had been primarily looking at the Bantam and FMA chargers. I am sure these are great chargers. However, a few positive reviews and the attractive price of the Turnigy Accucel-6 prompted me to give it a look.

Here is the product description:

The Turnigy Accucel 6 is a NICE balancing charger and discharger that can handle up to a whopping 6 cells and 5A!
The Accucel-6 will also handle NiMH/NiCd up to 15S!
The unit shows individual cell voltage during charge with REAL-TIME updates throughout the charge cycle!
Bundled with the Accucel-6 is a GENEROUS selecti
on of input and output wires which should satisfy any charging need!

This charger has a JST-XH charge plug, which makes it compatible with Zippy, HXT, Loong Max and any pack with a JST adapter.”

I ordered 2 of these chargers along with some LiPo batteries from Hobby King in Hong Kong. In less than 5 days they where delivered to my door!

First impressions:

While the packaging could be described as “basic”, the unit's themselves appear to be well put together. They have a solid black metal case and they have a very nice, and bright, LCD display. The Design in simple and attractive. A good variety of cords come with the unit and deans plugs are attached to the charging leads. A manual does not come in the box, but can be easily downloaded on line.

Putting it to work:
Again, I have very little experience from which to compare this unit. The first charging I did was on NiMH. I had been using the little car charger that cam
e with the Super Cub. Before I get to charging LiPo's I will say this. I feel this charger is worth the money even if you are just charging NiMH batteries given the available settings and information the charger provides. Instead of just seeing a blinking light turn solid you see battery voltage, total mAh put into the battery and charge time. With this charger and some additional reading at the Battery University, you can learn a lot.

One item of note on NiMH charging. In the manual there is information on Auto charging, yet it was not clear how you can get to it. You need to press and hold both “-” and “+” while in the NiMH menu after the rate of charge is flashing to access this feature.

To charge a NiMH I hooked it up to the charger using a deans plug adapter. Selected NiMH type charging, set the rate for 1.1 amps (same as recommended in SC manual) and pressed Start. That's it. I wasn't completely certain if I needed to do anything else and the answer ended up being no. As the battery completed its charge the charger beeped and stopped the charge There is a setting called “D.Peak” that you can change to set this shut down parameter, however I have kept it at the factory default.

For LiPo batteries it works as easy as with the NiMHs. You connect the deans connector into the “output” with supplied cables and then connect the JST connector to the slot on the same side. I have tried both the “charge” and “balance charge” modes with success. I have been charging at low rates. My batteries say not to exceed 1C during charge which would be about 2.2 amps. I have been using 1-1.5am settings. This does end up taking more time with the lower settings. Here is the data at the end of the last balance charging session of a 3s 2200 mAh battery:

Duration- 120min
mAh- 1978
Charge Rate 1.0 amps
Cell voltage- 4.2v, 4.2v, 4.2v
Overall Voltage at the end 12.6V


Hook ups:

Individual Cell Voltages:


Summary:

At the price of ~$40 this unit is highly recommended.

The positives-

  • Appears to be a well built unit

  • Incredible feature set for the cost- works as advertised

  • Cheap enough to buy 2 or 3

  • Nice case, Nice bright display

  • Quality appears sound- readings the same across 2 different units

The negatives-

  • The manual is so-so. However, with the available on-line resources and a little effort you will figure this unit out easily enough.

Go LiPo!


Flight Date: 01March2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 2.0 – LiPo Battery)
WX: ~6 mph, Temp ~6-15 F
Ground Conditions: 4-5 inches snow
Field: (#1 Field)

Flight Summary


Flight 1 (20 minutes)

Excellent flight cold but low wind ~6mph. SC 2.0 is handling fantastic with the new LiPo. This seems to yield about the perfect power with the stock motor. Whereas I used to always run the stock SC at wide open throttle, half throttle with the liPo is a good cruising speed and WOT throttle make the cub climb at about 45% with just a little down rudder. I think more power than this would actually be more than the SC can handle. Yesterday's flight in the wind stressed and broke the wing catastrophically. This new found power makes the SC more fun and easy to gain altitude or get out of trouble spots. In the low wind conditions for this flight, I would say it is perfect.

2 landings- 1 nice touch and go and a near perfect belly land in the snow. With a good 15 feet of glide on the snow surface- almost like a water landing!

Last point. The 2200 mAh 20C Flightmax 3s LiPo is yielding over 20mintues of flight time at mixed throttle. I concluded the flight at 20minutes as my fingers where going numb at that time in the cold wx even while wearing thick gloves.


Flight 2 (22 minutes)

Another great flight. The wind was holding at 5mph. I did have one rough landing and after that the ruder control seemed a little off. I'll check and adjust the trim. Had one close call when the plane ended up to my back.

4 nice belly landings in the snow. I expended the flight time another couple of minutes and the plane was sill pulling strong!

Flight 3 (22minutes)

I made a few pre-flight adjustments to the rudder control rod and SC2.0 is now trimmed out great.

Almost no wind- flight at dusk. Had a number of slow passes and 4 nice landings. The last landing was perfect! I learned from my previous flights to call it good.

Things I learned from these flights
Not a good idea to have the plane behind you. Too easy to loose perspective!

Damage
None

Stats
SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights: 8
Total: 23
Cumulative Hrs: 4.9
Successful Landings: 34
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

*Cost to replace items broken in flight

A Clean Break

Flight Date: 28Feb2009

Conditions
Equipment: (Super Cub 1.0 and 2.0)
WX: ~0 / 11mph, Temp ~6-20F
Ground Conditions: 4-5 inches snow
Field: (#1 Field)

Flight Summary


Fight 1 (7min)

Although cold, the conditions are otherwise great for flying on the last day of February. The first flight was with SC1.0. Everything was great- no mishaps. I had 1 flight that lasted about 6 minutes. 1 very nice float-in landing on the fresh snow. I did take off the landing gear as It would just get caught in the snow. The battery I used had a several day old charge and did not last as long as usual.

Clean Break #1:

Flight 2,3 (19min)

Flights 2 and 3 occurred with SC2.0. (Spektrum Electronics). I was once again amazed at how much better SC2.0 handles vs SC1.0 with the stock electronics. I had a direct comparison from flight 1. It is so much better, and enjoyable, that I must say it might be worth upgrading SC1. Alternatively, I may just use 2.0 and keep SC1.0 for backup / spare parts. The Electrifly ESC provides very proportional throttle control with zero glitches. The stock SC esc was glitching as bad as ever today during flight 1. Mid flight, I thought the battery was spent, but it was just the glitching doing its thing.

Both of the flights went well. I did a few loops and once 2 consecutive loops. I took SC2.0 up higher than I ever have given the low wind today.

I'm planning to make a clean break from the stock SC electronics.....

One other item I will note is that I had purchased a 3rd party NiMH battery about 2 weeks ago that is supposed to have more life- being a 1400 mAh. However, I am finding that it does not maintain the thrust throughout the flight and seems to have a slightly less flight duration than the stock battery. So, I probably wouldn't pay the extra $5 next time. The Stock batteries seem to hold just as well and provide superior thrust throughout the flight. The 3rd party battery is a Tenergy 8.4v, 1400mAh battery. It may be that I just obtained a bad one.

Clean Break #2

Flight 4 (5min)

On this flight my 5 year old joined again. It took the last 2 weeks of convincing her, again how cool R.C. Flight is. She joined me, I think, mostly to play in the fresh snow.

Well, In addition to using SC2.0 on the flight, I was also a maiden of sorts- a maiden with LiPo's. Yesterday I received all the way from Hong Kong 3 2200mAh Flightmax 3s Lipos. I was excited to try the new fuel cell.

Well I'll make this fairly brief and comment more about the new fuel cell on the next flight. The winds had picked up considerably since the morning calmness. The winds where gusty and about 11mph according to weather bug. About 5 minutes into the flight I was doing a power on dive and as I made my turn out and around into the wind the wing snapped in half bringing me to the 2nd clean break in this flight series....

SC2.0 literally fell out of the sky! Luckily the 4-6 inches of new snow provided some cushion for the impact. In the end, the damage was a snapped wing and a damaged front cowl.

The Spektrum electronics and the Electrifly esc held up! I was very happy about that. Additionally the new fuel cell is in good shape with now visible damage.

To the hanger for some quick repairs.... 20 minutes of work and the wing was as good as new!



Clean Break #3


Flight 5 (15min)

With the new and improved wing, I had to get out there again one last time. It was a great flight although still a little gusty. I will keep this short and just say. The LiPos was fantastic. The 3rd clean break for this flight series is a break from the NiMH on this SC!

Things I learned from these flights
Confirmed- The Spektrum electronics are a significant step up from SC Stock
The increased power of the LiPos can not be handled by the SC airframe in all situations

Damage
Wing -$1.00 (epoxy)
Front Cowl -$3.00

Stats

SC 1.0 Cumulative Flights: 15
SC 2.0 Cumulative Flights: 5
Cumulative Hrs: 3.8
Successful Landings: 28
SC Maintenance / Repairs* ~$51

*Cost to replace items broken in flight