Thursday, January 10, 2013

Beginner RC Airplane Setup - Person 1 - Response 1


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Here’s my response to the below info (my responses are in bold).

This is what I figure would work:
Bixler 2 ARF: $69.99  #9310000060 – some design improvement over Bixler V1.1 but not complete system. –
True. that's why I'd just stick with the Bixler 1.1 unless you'd like to do a radio upgrade.  It's got everything you need and is an excellent plane as well.  

Turnigy 4x FHSS 2.4 ghz TX and RX: $27.04 #9255000013 – more compatible with other receivers than HobbyKing and low-price?
Great price, yes, but not more compatible with receivers that I can tell.  Looks like a fine radio; receivers cost $9 each for more.  The Tx/Rx that the Bixler 1.1 comes with is this one for only $23 and also has $9 receivers, but does not have mixing.  If you choose to go with the Bixler 1.1, it's radio is fine for starting, but the Turnigy one you found above is *definitely* an upgrade from it as it has delta mixing too, which the other does not.  
1) However, for $27 this radio is even better, since its got 2 extra channels (6 instead of 4), servo mixing, and servo reversing: Fun fact: this $27 radio in many ways is better than my $180 I bought as a kid in 1996.  PS. Considering 3~4% annual inflation, that puts my $180 at something like $300+ today.  Sad huh?
If you do want to look at other radios I'd recommend, check out these too:
2) <--yet another upgrade still, as it is a computer radio! This $65 radio is also "Spektrum" receiver compatible, which means basically it's compatible with stuff from local hobby shops even! Spektrum receivers are the most popular in the world, and this is a radio I've had my eye on for a while. An excellent value.  Note: hobby-king Spektrum-compatible (ie: not genuine Spektrum brand) receivers are only $6!!!:
3) An alternative to the one above would be this for $50:  plus this Spektrum-compatible module for $30:  This system is great because it's the *only* completely-open-source-code radio that I know of, and is fully customizable.  However, that also means it's got the potential to be more complicated to get to work for you.  When I buy my next radio (which in some ways will be an upgrade from my $280 radio here), I am thinking I will for sure buy one of the last 2 radios (option 2 or 3) above.  

IMAX B6-AC Charger/Discharger 1-6 Cells (GENUINE): $39.99 #B6AC  - with just 2 batteries, I figure I don’t need the parallel adapter yet.  Is there a cheaper way to charge batteries before investing in this.  Or is this critical?
From everything I can tell in my research, the charger I have in the main document (, item 2), is still a better charger than the one above, and will come cheaper than HobbyKing's IMAX once you add in shipping.  Therefore, if you're going to go with a nicer charger and don't want to spend more than $45 or so, I still recommend the one from my main document.  To answer your question though, YES, there is a cheaper way to charge batteries than this.  It consists of using the supplied, cheap $5 charger that comes with the Bixler V1.1 (or Dynam Hawk Sky).  See for example this one:  However, as chargers usually do *not* come with power supplies, you'll have to either use your car battery to charge using the cheap Bixler charger, or you'll have to buy a power supply with the following specs:  12V 1.5A or more, 5.5x2.1mm plug (positive on the inside).  Here is a good power supply with those specs from ebay. So, why use a better charger?  1) the cheap charger can ONLY charge 2 or 3 cell LiPo batteries.  If you decide you want rechargeable batteries for your radio, for example, the Lithium-iron [LiFe] pack in item 12 of my main document, or NiMh AA rechargeable batteries from your local store, you're out of luck--in that case, you really should get the $45 charger.  2) the cheap charger will take between  2.5~3.5 hrs to charge a *single* one of your 2200 mAh 3S batteries, listed above.  The nicer 50W charger alone can charge 1 battery in as little as 40 min (but I still recommend doing the standard 60~70 min charge to prolong battery life), or with the parallel board, can charge two in ~45~50 min, or even up to six in ~3.5 hrs.  3) sometimes cheaper chargers have a tendency to slightly overcharge a Lithium-Polymer battery.  A LiPo battery should be charged to 4.20 V/cell.  Some cheap $5 chargers have been known to charge up to 4.25 V/cell or so.  This will cut the longevity of your battery down to something like 1/2 of its normal lifespan.  4) The nicer charger, with the right adapter, can charge nearly *any* rechargeable battery in your entire house, including NiCad, NiMH, LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion, and Pb chemistries.  
-ok, so having said all that, the $5 chargers usually work just fine and can oftentimes be used for months or years without a problem.  Now you know a little bit more about the tradeoffs though.  

 Absolutely!  As a matter of fact, if you want to build a NutBall (my round plane) or any other scratchbuilt plane anytime soon, get at least 3 of these (2 for the Nutball + 1 spare).  

This looks like a good speed controller, and it has good reviews, but for only a couple bucks more you can get a much better one.  The Turnigy Plush 30A ESC is slightly higher quality and has a higher current rating to keep your system running cooler:  I really like the Turnigy Plush series, and as a bonus, you can make your Turnigy Plush play music, like mine, when you plug in the battery!

TGS Sport 7x5E Precision propeller: $1.64 #TGS7x5E –a spare.
Great choice, but will only work for the Bixler 2.  The Bixler 1.1 requires a smaller prop or you could burn something up due to too much heat.  (if you decide on the Bixler 1.1, get a 6x4 prop, like this: or this:

You suggested a bunch of different XT60 & JST adapters and such but I didn’t see where they would be needed.  Aren’t the battery/charger/receiver all plug-compatible?
 ...Sort-of.....If you get the Dynam Hawk Sky, last I checked you will need to buy the XT60's for sure, *and* the JST connectors (to build adapters).  My buddy's Hawk Sky came with JST connectors, but your spare Turnigy batteries are XT60.  If you get the Bixler 1.1 RTF ["Ready to Fly"] you should be good as-is, and (I think) not need any extra connectors. If you get the Bixler 2 ARF ["Almost Ready To Fly"], however, you will need the XT60's to solder onto your new ESC you have to buy separate.  

Don't forget this important item:
-Velcro (click directly on the link in Item 5 in my updated version [13 Jan 2013] of the Beginner Airplane Setup document):  Note that I have made substantial changes (basically just additions and comments) to that document, so after doing your order feel free to browse through it again.

-Also, you mentioned you wanted to try that foam glue.  Here it is:

-Lastly, I have added a link above to a spare $9 receiver for the radio that comes with the Bixler v1.1 RTF.  Here is that link again:  At the moment, they are backordered, I recommend that you put backordered items in a separate order if you don't want to potentially have to wait months.  

I'm glad to see you're doing your research. :)  Lastly, looking at your prices below, I want you to know how good of a deal this is.  Even if HobbyKing were to charge you $150 for shipping, you'd *still* be getting a better deal than buying at many other shops, so no complaining when they charge a pretty penny for shipping :).  The stuff you just listed would cost closer to $400 at many other places, and could have cost you the equivalent of $800~$1000 back in 1996 when I started RC (assuming, of course, that this type of technology even existed--which it didn't by the way).  ---this electric stuff and other technologies used in your equipment above, from the foam to the radio, the battery and the motor, have come around recently, since 2000~2008 or so.  (read my brief RC history portion of the document here for a little more info if you want to know:











$165.85 +S&H


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  1. Nice site and very informative. I am new at flying rc and would like to build a 24" nut ball. How is the part of the second dollar tree foam board attached to make a full 24"?

    Also when I tried to print off the plans for the 24" there was lines that did not match. What have I not got right?
    Thanks for all your time and effort.
    call sign Lazair 2

  2. Hey thanks for the question. There is a picture of the plans laid out on a piece of Dollar Tree foamboard here:

    As you can see, part of it just hangs off of the foam. That is where I make my elevator hinge. I just make the excess (minus the little tips) the elevator. I hot glue the little tips on to the main part of the plane. As for the lines not matching; I'm not sure. Make sure to print it "Actual Size," and you'll need to cut off an edge or two of each sheet of paper in order to overlay it onto the edge of the next piece of paper in the plans, and carefully tape it all together to make one large plan. Could take an hr. or so, and you just have to be very careful.

  3. Thanks for taking time for sharing this article, its very informative especially for a newbie, I just bought my first Rc plane and this information is really useful for me, Thanks, you didn't wander to un-important subjects and kept the interest up.

    Barry Martin


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