GWS Top Electric Flight FAQ
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◆ Beginner Topics
Why we choose GWS electric aircrafts?
1. The electric aircraft is the clean, quiet operation of the equipment. It’s different from a noisy internal combustion engine. The electric aircraft can often be flown at small parks or football fields without disturbing a community.
2. An electric power system is also a very versatile portion of equipment. A single high quality electric motor can be used to power a wide variety of aircraft simply by choosing different battery pack / gearing / propeller combinations.
In other words, why people enjoy electric aircrafts include:
· an appreciation of the unique challenges presented
· a desire to do something different
· a feeling that one is a "pioneer"
What kind of equipment do I need before flying?
Generally speaking, you need equipment that is very similar to what other RC flyer’s require. There are only a few primary components: the radio, the battery, the charger, the aircraft, the speed control, and the motor. The amount of accessories you purchase are up to you, but most people typically buy things like a soldering iron, flight box, volt/amp meter, etc.
The electric RC specific components as below:
The battery pack is what provides power to the motor. Typical packs are composed of 500 to 2000 mAh cells. ("milli-amp hour")
The weight of the pack is proportional to its capacity.
The charger is used to charge the battery packs. There are three primary charging ways providing you: trickle, fast, and peak.
1. Trickle charging is a low-current charge that takes several hours to perform but is guaranteed to not hurt the battery.
2. Fast charging involves stuffing energy into the pack at a high rate so it is charged in as little as 15 minutes, with some danger that the pack will be damaged if it is not monitored. Most low-end chargers provide both fast and trickle charging. GWS chargers use a type of fast charging called peak charging.
3. GWS chargers simply monitor the charge automatically so the pack cannot be hurt by fast charging. If you are going to be at all serious about electric flight, buy a GWS charger.
As the most part, the aircraft is the same as ones powered by internal combustion. But the electric systems are heavier than their equivalent IC counterparts, so electric aircraft are usually built much lighter than IC aircraft. Most IC planes are overbuilt anyway and can be easily lightened.
The GWS speed controller provides aircrafts proportional throttle control by varying the amount of power that is transferred from the battery to the motor.
GWS has a vast supply of different motors to experiment with ferrite motors are much more expensive. These are very expensive, but provide an even wider range of output possibilities at high efficiency. The motors in GWS that are supplied in beginner’s kits are a type of ferrite motor. The motors provided by GWS will enable to fly excellent with your first plane.
Can you suggest a beginner setup to get started?
Well, we’ll happy to give you an idea of what it takes to get started.
1.High wing electric trainer of GWS products.
Try the BN-2, E-STARTER, BEAVER, SLOW-STICK, etc.
2. Building materials
3. Battery packs (2 7-cell 1400 mAh packs)
4. Speed controller
5. GWS peak charger
6. 4 channel radio above
This list will bring you a nice flying airplane with plenty of room to grow. You could do with somewhat less expensive components; in this way, you will be able to use the same radio, charger, speed control, and batteries on your next plane. You don’t need two battery packs, but having two packs is better just because one can charge while you are flying with the other.
This is the way to go if you can afford the equipment.
How do I get started?
You may go to a local hobby store and find out the clubs in your area. Clubs provide training, flying fields, auctions, competitions, fun-fly events, newsletters, and, best of all, lots of advice for beginners. R/C clubs are the best resource you can have. Most clubs require you to become an AMA (Academy of Model Aeronautics) membership which costs $48(1999) and provides you with a free magazine subscription and insurance coverage.
What kind of planes can fly with GWS electric power systems?
Any plane can fly with electric power will be good. This includes helicopters and ducted fan jets. There are also an increasing number of planes that are only practical with electric power, for example GWS indoor models and park fliers.
However, there are tradeoffs that must be considered with your electric power systems. For example, in order to increase duration, you must be willing to accept increased weight (wing loading) and/or decreased power. The three characteristics are interdependent. For a particular cell technology (NiCad, NiMH etc), the weight per cell is proportional to capacity, the relationships can be shown as GWS R/C plane’s instructions.
We’ll have a breakthrough in battery technology that allows us to store 4 or 5 times more energy in a cell, these tradeoffs will be the central issue of electric aircraft design.
What special tools will be useful?
There are many normal modeling tools like knives, wrenches, abrasive paper etc that are as useful to you as to any other modelers. You can get started in electrics with very few specialized tools. But there a few that will make life so much easier that you will soon wonder how you did without them.
The few tools you really should have are :
1. Soldering Iron
(NOT a soldering gun). Essential for general wiring. If you only have one it should be around 25W. If you are going to make your own battery packs a larger iron will help, preferably at least 40W (I use a 100W Weller iron, carefully).
It is not worth buying an analog meter. You can get a simple digital multi-meter for very little from stores like Radio Shack. If you can get one that will read DC current up to at least 20A that will be helpful (or see Whattmeter below). But even the simplest will let you measure voltages accurately so you know what is going on in your power system and will also provide a way of checking continuity so you can make sure all your wiring is intact.
Other potentially useful tools include:
A device which simultaneously measures and displays voltage and current and will also show the total energy used. It is very much like the displays on most good chargers but with the great advantage that you can put it anywhere in the circuit and so measure EXACTLY what is happening. It is unbeatable for finding out (rather than guessing) what current you are using and how the battery voltage goes down as the current increases. It will also allow you to measure your own motor constants which is very useful if you want to experiment with odd (perhaps cheap surplus) motors.
4. Crimp Tool
Depending on what type of connectors you decide to standardise on you may find it worth getting a crimping tool. The one I use for Powerpoles is quite expensive but makes it so much easier to fit the connectors and makes a much better joint than a soldered joint.
A good tachometer is very useful if you want to do some investigating of electric power sources. Even the most basic of motor parameters involves knowing the speed at which the motor is rotating.
6. Digital Scales
All planes fly better if the airframes are light and this is especially true of electrics where the power package makes up such a high proportion of the overall weight. It is probably most important to get scales that can weigh small amounts fairly accurately (down to 1/10 oz) since you will be saving weight wherever you can. Some of the best value to be found is the used postal scales that are sometimes available.
These will be fine unless your ambitions lie in the direction of very small and light indoor models. Since the lightest of these have a total flying weight of well under 1 oz you will need jewellers scales.