Electric Powered Control Line

One mans approach

Aug 2005

At the 2005 UK Nat's I spent some time talking to Jan Odeyn about his use of electric power for C/L. His approach seems quite different from the usual R/C, and C/L attempts, and more in keeping with what I would term real aeromodelling, namely, keep things simple and improvise.

discussion

Left, Myself:  Right front, Jan Odeyn:  and interested third party.


Anyone that has seen Jan fly the model named 'Watts More' (Ghost of Peterborough) in the picture above, will know that it is quite capable of flying the full F2B aerobatic schedule, which requires at least a six minute run with good power output for the last few high manoeuvres.

To put things into perpective Jan has been involved with electric controlline for quite a few years. The following picture was taken six years prieviously at Peterborough. To quote Jan, "You can see that the tiger-cat needed a strong arm to get into the air. Powered by 2 speed 500 and 7-cell Nicd. For the slow speed the outer engine was cut, that was the only way of throttling."


tiger-cat


Here are a couple of short vid clips. they are not good quality, but should at least give some idea of what the models are capable of. The engine noise on the clips second clip can be a little confusing, it certainly is not coming from Jan's electric model.

vid icon  Vid-Clip 1  1.9MB 0m 43s .wmv   vid icon   Vid-Clip 2   2.9MB 1m 48s .wmv


watts-more

Watts-More (Ghost of Peterborough

watts-more

The model is quite conventional and light, the NiMH cell pack fits into a hatch on the underside of the wing, span-wise behind the leading edge, across the fuselage. Of course whilst taking the these pictures I completely forgot to take picture if the this arrangement. Duh!

WATTS-MORE specification:

Motor: AXI 2820/10, 7.2v
Battery: 8 cells GP 3300 or 3700 NiMH
Prop: 11x7
Line length: 18 metres 0.3mm
Flight duration: 5 - 8 minutes
Wing Span: 120cm

A speed controller is operated by an old R/C 2 channel TX and RX bought at a swap meet. Only one channel is used, with RX, servo, and battery mounted in the model. The Jan operates the TX in his left hand.

Jan informs me that the NiMH batteries like to be hot or the performance suffers, the opposite applies to NiCd. In the front view, the leading edge battery compartment vent holes can be seen partially blanked off with a piece tape. to help cope with a reduction in the air temperature.




trio

The compliment of electric models Jan had with him.

The two other models are of interest because of their relative simplicity and low cost. The power is switched on and of with an ordinary car type switch and all connectors are standard auto electrical connectors. All stuff that can be obtained from any motor accessory shop. Both have second hand geared motors. The batteries are stored spanwise in the outboard leading edge of the wing giving plenty of line tension I suspect, and doing away with the need for tip weight and engine/rudder offset.

watts-on III

Watts-on Mk.III

watts-on III

WATTS-ON specification:

Motor:  Speed 500 7.2v geared
Battery:  7 cells 2400 NiCd
Prop:  10x8 wood
Line length: 
Flight duration: 



The next model is fascinating because of it's small size. I can see it making a good introduction for anyone wanting to dip their toe into the electric waters.

wattsy

Wattsy

wattsy

WATTSY Specification:

Motor:  Speed 400 4.8v geared
Battery: 6 cells 500ma/h NiCd
Prop:  8x4 APC
Line length:  10m 30cm, diameter 0.25mm
Flight duration: 3 min
Wing span: 76cm

The plans for all the above models are copyright of and are available for a modest fee from Jan Odeyn, in Belgium.

jan.odeyn@skynet.be

Jan speaks and writes very good English, so don't be shy about contacting him about any of the above.


The two other models are of interest because of their relative simplicity and low cost. The power is switched on and of with an ordinary car type switch and all connectors are standard auto electrical connectors. All stuff that can be obtained from any motor accessory shop. Both have second hand geared motors. The batteries are stored spanwise in the outboard leading edge of the wing giving plenty of line tension I suspect, and doing away with the need for tip weight and engine/rudder offset.



What I have just described is probably the way the future lies, or at least one of the forks in the road that C/L will take. It may appeal to younger potential modellers as it has none of the oily smelly mess or frightening noise internal combustion engines can make.

The only disadvantage that I can see (there is always one), unless you have transport to carry a dirty great big lead acid battery with you to recharge the batteries, trotting down to the local park on for a couple of flights is not really on. Not so with an IC engine, especially diesel; a few cc of fuel is all you need and no waiting for things to charge up.

However, that said, electric controline is with us now, whether you are interested or not. Peronally I am not quite ready to give up on chemical explosive propulsion yet. I can see a few competitive events that could certainly accommodate electric power, but on the other hand, there are some that I can see no way of using it without altering the nature of the event completely, team race would be a bit of a nonsense....! Unless it's run as a battery speed changing comp, which would not have quite the same cachet as the present races.


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