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Post  Kim Thu Mar 24, 2022 2:02 pm

So, I gave in.  A larger than expected tax refund finally shoved me off the cliff I'd been teetering on for the past year.  Draco Flys.

This crazy-modified Wilga stol/utility plane possessed me from the first time I watched this video:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EmegEtzFxFA

But, I couldn't just get the plane.  I ALSO had to learn the ways of programing transmitters (no, this is NOT easy for an old mind that's content just to have servos dependably react in unison with stick movements).  But, since I didn't want to try converting it to glow power, I ALSO had to learn the ways of the dreaded, high capacity Lipo Batteries:  Little plastic-wrapped fire bombs just WAITING to burn down a guy's shop.  

There's just something about having to charge a battery in an ammo can or explosive-proof bag in order to stay safe.  Not to mention the electronic speed control, which can suddenly cause the prop to dice up a wayward hand as if it had reached into an industrial blender.  Say what you want, but my castor-slingers typically won't light up and attack me without provocation.

So, I got myself a kevlar bag and emptied an ammo box for charging these mini-Chernobyls.  I'm also investing in a second 20lb fire extinguisher just as a back-up to the first 20lb fire extinguisher.  I've read the manual through (seriously) three and maybe four times, made notes, and watched BUNCHES of You Tube Tutorials on everything about this stuff.  Luckily, our club president keeps up with all this tech, so I'm counting heavily on his guidance.

There may be some who would smile at my admitted cowardice, but the accounts and photos of flame-gutted shops have imprinted me, so this paranoia ain't going away any time soon.

Draco...remember Draco?---the reason for all this?...is ready to go, and I'll be flying it this weekend if the weather cooperates.  I've never had a project where the prep and education so HIGHLY eclipsed the fun of flying a model airplane.  I want to emulate its namesake as closely as possible, preferably without having to order replacement parts, but we'll see.

So, stand by for a First Flight Report, I'm hoping for a good one!

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
First full assembly...silver leading edge slats about to be glued in place:
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 2_firs10

Assigning flap travel and speed:
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 3_flap10

Setting up lighting controls:
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 4_ligh10

I got to learn what all these things do without looking at them:
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 5_knob10


And lastly...I just HAD to recommend this You Tube channel.  They're pretty much exclusively electric RTF flyers, but have a TON of fun with their toys, and are obviously great friends:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3B77iyFgHxk&t=21s


Last edited by Kim on Thu Jul 21, 2022 3:19 pm; edited 9 times in total
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Post  rsv1cox Thu Mar 24, 2022 2:53 pm

Rev it up, off the brakes and away we go. Love the twilight footage.

Me thinks a new saga is about to begin.
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Post  Kim Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:43 pm

rsv1cox wrote: 

Me thinks a new saga is about to begin.  

Thank you Bob!!!  I hope a successful one.

I've flown a lot of little electrics, planes and helicopters...powered by batteries the size of pieces of Dentine gum.

For now, this monster is a "Stand Alone" project...gonna have it's own separate support equipment, that may branch out to future RTF's offered by this company (they've got a tail-dragger Cessna !50 that also bothers me).

Time will tell.
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Post  cstatman Thu Mar 24, 2022 3:54 pm

you are 100% correct to be cautious when charging those small bombs.

Ceramic cheese croc seems to be one of the containment devices

few years back, pal was travelling by motorcycle, stopped off at my house... pulled the battery, charged it in my front driveway. I insisted, I would NOT let him charge it in my garage. it let go, caught fire, and burned the freaking concrete. Your instincts are good. be cautious, monitor it, learn how they charge and what to watch for.
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Post  Kim Thu Mar 24, 2022 4:28 pm

cstatman wrote:you are 100% correct to be cautious when charging those small bombs.

Ceramic cheese croc seems to be one of the containment devices

few years back, pal was travelling by motorcycle, stopped off at my house... pulled the battery, charged it in my front driveway.  I insisted, I would NOT let him charge it in my garage.   it let go, caught fire, and burned the freaking concrete.  Your instincts are good.   be cautious, monitor it,  learn how they charge and what to watch for.

THANK YOU!!!!  I DO appreciate your thoughts and encouragement!

I'm staying "middle of the road" on ALL of this---same brand for charger, voltmeter, radio, and batteries...which are all labeled "Smart" and are supposed to like each other.  Got all my manuals on quick-grab PDF's and photos, so I think I got the deck stacked in my favor as far as I can.

The guy who works on my bike has suggested I keep a battery maintainer on it to extend the battery's life, but I just CAN'T walk away from it with the thing still hooked up.  When I leave my shop, I throw the main breaker so EVERYTHING is dead...I wish I had a switch where it hooks up to the pole.

Sounds a little nutty, but like most of the guys here, my shop isn't flammable---it's VOLATILE, so I got to stop stuff before it ever gets a start.

Thank You Again! Thumbs Up
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Post  Ken Cook Thu Mar 24, 2022 7:26 pm

Kim, I have 3 bikes on my Battery Tender which I've had on for over 20 years. I bought a new one 3 years ago because of the newer AGM batteries. The old Tender wouldn't charge those. I will say I feel the same but I never had a issue. In addition, the newer version came with inline fuses from the battery terminals to the charger. I had a issue years back when I unplugged the charger and let the pigtail hang which is what I do when riding it. The pigtail has a offset pin, one exposed which is your neutral and the other pin recessed. Somehow a cotterpin on the bike found it's way into the recess and shorted it. I closed the door and within less than 5 minutes my wife was yelling that smoke was coming from the garage. I opened the door only to watch the entire wire harness a molten mess running down the frame.
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Post  andrew Thu Mar 24, 2022 7:35 pm

One of the guys in my club has a Draco and has had the Devil of a time trying to get all the functions and accessories programmed.  The lights have been the biggest problem and his Tx is short a couple of channels. It's a great plane -- good luck on the maiden.  

A few years back, another of our members ejected a lipo while flying (dirt napped the plane and lost the battery).  In the spring of the following year, I was out with another member cleaning up while  he was mowing.  He hit the lost battery with the mower and saw where it landed and pointed it out to me.  When I went out to pick it up, it was too hot to handle after a winter in the grass.  The little buggers can be dangerous if not well cared for and watched.

Here's the demise of the original Draco for those who may not have seen it.

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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 4:33 am

By some weird coincidence (or Cosmic Direction), this just showed up in an email update from AMA.  It's pretty lengthy, and I wish I could say it cleared up a lot of the confusion I had about caring for lipos, but I guess I got to read through it again after a good dose of coffee, 'cause I'm still fairly confused... Shocked

Still seems as much Voo Doo as science...


https://www.modelaviation.com/content/lipo-batteries


Last edited by Kim on Fri Mar 25, 2022 5:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 5:07 am

andrew wrote:One of the guys in my club has a Draco and has had the Devil of a time trying to get all the functions and accessories programmed.  The lights have been the biggest problem and his Tx is short a couple of channels.  It's a great plane -- good luck on the maiden.  

Thanks Andrew!

We got to hit some lunch sometime...it's been a crazy number of years since that great time at the Western Kentucky Stunt Champs!!!

Yes, I've got the same problem with the lights, even though I downloaded the recommended set-up file from the Spektrum site, and managed to get it loaded into this freaky-fancy transmitter.  People reading this have to actually know me to appreciate the miracle of that last statement!

I can't get the lights assigned to the dial knob that everybody seems to be using, but figure this is just a matter of more fiddling around with the programing.  Not a big deal by any means, but it still irritates my Model Airplane Nurd OCD.

Everything else seems correctly set up, though I DID have to program the flaps to move in a slower, smoother fashion, rather than slamming down like they were swatting flies.

So now, and right before I fly this thing, more Hangar Flying is in order to help me memorize the function and position of the various switches...and, of course...figuring out an efficient method for attaching the now-mandatory GoPro cameras...
         
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 5:43 am

Ken Cook wrote: I had a issue years back when I unplugged the charger and let the pigtail hang which is what I do when riding it. The pigtail has a offset pin, one exposed which is your neutral and the other pin recessed. Somehow a cotterpin on the bike found it's way into the recess and shorted it. I closed the door and within less than 5 minutes my wife was yelling that smoke was coming from the garage. I opened the door only to watch the entire wire harness a molten mess running down the frame.

Yep...this is my nightmare.  I've got a "Genius Brand" battery maintainer, which my motorcycle bud assures me can be left hooked up to the Night Train's battery, and I WILL hook it up when I'm in the shop or nearby, but that sucker is getting unhooked when I shut down the shop or head into town.

I'll just shell out the bucks for an early battery retirement and keep my shop.
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Post  getback Fri Mar 25, 2022 8:34 am

Good Luck with the new project and stay Safe .. Sending positive Vibes !! Small Cox Logo RC Plane Small Cox Logo
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Post  gkamysz Fri Mar 25, 2022 9:03 am

Yet, nobody thinks twice while charging their phone(probably bedside while sleeping). That's because the properties of these batteries are well known. There are mistakes that cause battery fires like improper charger settings or physical damage, and there are equipment failures which even the most care will not prevent. Eh, being alive carries the absolute guarantee of death.

Years ago I had one of those George Foreman grills try to kill us. Overheated and you know those teflon coating burning up are very bad for you. Took it apart after the fact and it was poorly assembled resulting in wire insulation melting, shorting the heating element to input, bypassing the control.

That Draco looks nice. We had one in the club last summer. Seems like it devours battery, or maybe it was the pilots flying.
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:07 am

Yes, the "demons" are everywhere.  

A decade or two ago, it was laptop computers...bursting into flame while sitting on their owners' laps Damn! Damn! Damn! !  Seems they couldn't get adequate ventilation on cushy surfaces that blocked their cooling vents.

The immediate cure?..."Don't use your laptop on your lap". Laughing

Phones actually DO bug me...both cell and the wireless on my landline...and my computers...and my weird vacuum cleaner that will turn itself on if a power surge happens while it's plugged in.  But, I guess there's an amount of "surrender" there, as I think I got to have these electronic widgets.

So, the Electron Threat continues....  lol!  
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Post  rsv1cox Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:22 am

Those little "Dentine" lipos are neat. Charge them in the field.

"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. P1012798
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. P1012797


I charge and keep all my lipos on a non-conductive, non-flammable surface and store them in a cool basement. Never had one explode or catch fire.
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:42 am

Yeah boy!!!  
Scared to brag much, but I've also had great success with those.  My battered, old Hobby Zone Champ still makes long, slow laps around the yard on calm evenings (vintage foam!), and my fairly new Horizon Cub has logged some time also.  
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Post  rsv1cox Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:48 am

Kim wrote:Yeah boy!!!  
Scared to brag much, but I've also had great success with those.  My battered, old Hobby Zone Champ still makes long, slow laps around the yard on calm evenings (vintage foam!), and my fairly new Horizon Cub has logged some time also.  

Yeah, it's so darn easy, just charge connect and go. No fuel, no glow clips, no drama.
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 10:52 am

gkamysz wrote:
That Draco looks nice. We had one in the club last summer. Seems like it devours battery, or maybe it was the pilots flying.

Yeah, the recommended time (yes, I got to use a timer now!) for the batteries I'm using is 5 minutes before a voltage check, which is actually a lot of flying for me in one set.  

I've got two 5000mah "Smart" batteries, and am not sure of their turn-around time, which depends on their internal temperatures.  These suckers are expensive, so besides the fire threat, I also want them to last a good while.
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Post  Levent Suberk Fri Mar 25, 2022 1:27 pm

Good model Very Happy
LiPo fire isn't easy unless the battery punctured or overcharged. Overcharge is impossible with modern chargers of todays.
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Post  Kim Fri Mar 25, 2022 1:39 pm

Levent Suberk wrote:Good model Very Happy
LiPo fire isn't easy unless the battery punctured or overcharged. Overcharge is impossible with modern chargers of todays.

I'm hoping so, and STILL want to stay way inside the zone of safety.  As I read about this charging system (specifically designed for these batteries) I'm feeling better about the whole deal.

I WAS surprised at the need for a timer...having assumed the ESC would shut down the motor as the battery neared its bottom end---like my little baby electrics...but I'm gonna do what I'm told.

I'm ready to get this sucker in the air and have actual fun.
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Post  gkamysz Fri Mar 25, 2022 1:51 pm

The ESC will cut off the motor. You don't want that to happen at the wrong time. I interpret the recommendation as poor glide ratio dead stick.
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Post  NEW222 Sat Mar 26, 2022 10:18 am

Well Kim. You definately got yourself a beautiful bird there. Cannot wait for the flight videos.
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Post  Kim Sun Apr 03, 2022 9:46 am

So, the wind finally stopped blowing, or at least got down to around 10mph, so my Draco got hauled out to the van, and prepped for it's first flights.

I had opened my big mouth and volunteered to help with a Pancake Breakfast Saturday morning in my hometown of Olmsted, Illinois, and so took a diversion to Cairo's airport along the way on Friday.

Packing along two fully charged batteries, I put Draco up for two flights with GoPro cameras on its wingtips.  This was a VERY basic set of flights, just to trim and control mixes in the ballpark.  

I didn't use the flaps other than dropping them to take-off settings while at altitude for a few seconds.  I still need to learn as much about electric-powered flying as much as setting up Draco's features, so things are gonna progress slowly.

Anyway, here are some photos and short video I gleaned from the GoPro footage.  More to follow.


"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 100_34
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 116_110
"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 118_110


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"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 720_10

"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. 820_10



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v5dfD5s0Ijg
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Post  rdw777 Sun Apr 03, 2022 10:06 am

The thing you’ll like best about electric is the spot on throttle, Especially when low and slow….You can always punch out of an iffy situation…. Draco looks to have plenty of horse power for that….. Very Storch like by the way….I’m really enjoying the nostalgia of gas and in many places it can’t be beat but electric fills a nich as well…. Best of both worlds in my case…..Enjoy Very Happy
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Post  rsv1cox Sun Apr 03, 2022 10:30 am

Enjoyable couple of minutes Kim. Ah, electrics no more finger slaps and that sound of the flaps? coming down at the end of the flight reminds me of the big fellers doing the same thing on approach to Dulles in DC.

And yes, it is like the German Storch widely used in WW2. Purpose built and a step up from the Piper Cub etc. that we used. Instrumental in the "rescue" of Mussolini near the end of the conflict.
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Post  NEW222 Sun Apr 03, 2022 10:47 am

Good job Kim. It seems to fly like a gentle pussycat. Like my Carbon Cub, the takeoff is nice and quick.
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"Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn"  Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard. Empty Re: "Forcing My Brain To Learn Things It Doesn't Want To Learn" Herding More Electrons in the Front Yard.

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