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Old Oct 18, 2007, 10:06 PM
Lee is offline
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USA, UT, Orem
Joined Jul 2004
9,917 Posts
*** Beginner's Shopping List ***


For the latest update of this shopping list go to:

Everyone asks the same questions when they are getting started in radio control. I write the questions down and started a blog to bring enough information together to get started. you can to my blog by clicking on Wylie Coyote anywhere you see him in my posts on RCGroups or click here:

Here is a link to our website with more information about our kits and combat:

This post contains suggestions of equipment I like enough I design the planes we sell at to use it.

My goal is to keep the cost at the lowest level possible to keep a smile on the wife and wallet while maintaining a level of performance that will keep a smile on your face.

It is risky to endorse motors and other electronics. I have been embarrassed several times when I endorse a product I haven't extensively tested. When I endorse a product often dozens of people will buy the product then start to come back to me with problems they are having wanting me to provide their customer service. Customers assume I know everything about the hobby and I don't. I'm just like they are in many cases. For this reason I don't endorse a product I don't use and know well. This doesn't mean that there aren't comparable products or even better products on the market, it is only a statement of I have tried this and it works.

You are welcome to try new electronic products and post the comparative data on our threads. We are always open to suggestions. Do a double study and build one with what we recommend then try to beat it in performance and cost with the other motors and electronics you can find then let us know what you find out. That is what we do. We are happy to share the information and even update our shopping list to include new products after they are proven by a group of flyers under realistic flying conditions.

Customer suggestions have been taken very seriously and many of the features on our plane were developed from a customer idea.

We have seen so many changes in the last 4 years when Spektrum radios first came out and when the new lipo batteries, chargers, speed controls and servos have become available. Right now I am getting many questions about the new chargers, radios and receivers available. The electronics change so fast it is hard to keep up with the latest and most popular items. Many retailers are getting caught with merchandise a few months old they can't sell because it is out of date before they get it in stock which is one of the reasons we don't get in that market.

Another problem is that there are some products with a limited availability. We have endorsed several great products that our customers want to order but they are out of stock most of the time so they come to me asking for help. I don't like to endorse a product and then find it is not always in stock for the customers to buy.

Don't forget your local hobby shops. They appreciate your business. Support them when you can. If we don't support them there won't be anyone around when you need them.

The mail order RC supply companies have really grown. They have great pricing and a wider range of products available if you are willing to wait. I am posting links to products at Hobby King which is one of the main mail order catalogs to show you what you need to get to get started in RC.

If you are ordering from Hobby King do not order anything that is back ordered if you don't want to wait. They won't ship any of your order until all of it is in stock. Some people have waited for weeks for the things that were in stock while the order waited for a single item. Hobby King is the cheapest place to buy motors, speed controls, prop adapters and props I have found.

I prefer Paypal to pay for any overseas orders. I'm hesitant to give out credit card information to anyone overseas. There are many potential problems if you are not careful.

I have so many requests for help with a first order I am posting a sample shopping order we did for a new flyer who already has a Spektrum DX6i radio and a couple of receivers.

The number in the () tell how many of each he ordered. I realize that most flyers don't start with this many motors, batteries and speed controls but this flyer already had done his homework and knew what he wanted.

FC2812 FC 28-12 Brushless Outrunner 1534 (4)
R1350-30-3 Rhino 1350mAh 3S1P 30C Lipoly (6)
SUP30A SuperSimple 30A ESC (3) imple_30A_ESC_(card_programmable)TGY-3
Turnigy 3S Balance Charger (1)
Power Supply (1) v_DC_Power_Supply_for_Chargers_%28350W%29
This 30 Amp power supply is what I have. Banana plugs plug in the front or wires can be clamped. It is quiet and we got free shipping.
Extension wire for charging (optional)

APC7x6-E APC style propeller 7x6-E (20)
3mm Prop Saver w/ Band (5)
(Older Optional)Deans connectors
Servos (3) (see below) The most trouble free servos we know of are the HS82MGs.


I own 2 of the Spektrum 6DXi transmitters and many 6110e receivers. This is new technology that is the future of RC. You will be disappointed with anything less. It doesn't use a specific frequency and can be used no matter who is flying on what radio. It is the only radio I know that only uses 4 rechargeable AA cells that can be replaced at the field with alkaline batteries if you are low on power. The 4 batteries used in this radio will last 10x longer on a charge than the 8 batteries in the DX7.

Our main servo is the HS82MG by Hitec. Servos come in a standard and metal gear version. Metal gear servos are obviously tougher for combat and heavier planes. I have broken so many servo gears over the years I recommend buying the servos that have the best record.


I am carefully balancing and monitoring each battery after each flight. I am also charging only after the battery is cool at 0.8-1.0 Amp. Make sure you buy a balancer and use it. Some of the new inexpensive chargers listed have balancers built in. Balancing will extend the life of your battery 5x. Please read my blog for more information on battery safety.

There are many changes happening in lipo batteries now. I am amazed at how many brands we used to see that aren't even available anymore. I've updated this product more than any other.

Most of the flyers are using Turnigy, Rhino or Zippy batteries. They are 1/3 the price of the ThunderPower 1320. Look at the "C" rating when you buy batteries. The Rino 1050 mA battery is a 30C battery that makes it mathematically close to the power of the T/P 1320 mA 17C battery.

Power Supply and Chargers

My new favorite charger/balancer and power supply. I learned that you need to have a 13.5volt to 18 volt power supply or the batteries won't charge with most chargers. I found a 14 volt power supply on Amazon but HK also sells one that is listed here

This charger/balancer will charge and balance 5 batteries at a time and is a great price. It is the most accurate charger I have seen. Be careful because if you leave your batteries plugged in to balance they will slowly drop their voltage below the minimum voltage but if you leave them plugged in with the power supply on they are fine.

These chargers balance the batteries while they are charging. The first one has it's own power supply built in the second needs an additional 12V DC power supply. I bought six of them to test. They show when each cell is charged. I did have a couple of these go bad. It is still good to get a balancer and check your batteries after charging so you know if you have problems. I had a less expensive charger go out and it was not charging one of the cells on any battery I used it on. I wouldn't have know if I hadn't been checking.

This is an extension so you can put your battery in a battery bunker for charging. Other sizes are available too.

For a more traditional charger set up

Power supply 12 Volt 4+Amps to power the lipo chargers see the one available at Lightflight in the accessories list. We have found them at Hobby king and on Ebay recently at a very good price. Make sure you get at least a 4 amp output. My power supplies have 10+ amp outputs.

I have been satisfied with the less expensive multi-battery chargers. I have not had any problems with batteries because of the chargers and I am able to charge all my batteries at once. Go to my blog and read about battery safety and charging.

Hobbico MK II battery charger (charges 2 lipos at once)
Electrifly Polycharge 4 *My favorite*(charges 4 lipos at once)

Battery balancer Type you get depends on brand of batteries you buy
This is my favorite balancer but I had to buy a converter plug to be able to balance Thunder power batteries.

If you use a battery charger and want just a quick checker to see the status of your battery you may want to get one of these also.

Watt meter I use mine to decide which props I can use with given motors, batteries and speed controls. The $5 Harbor freight meter will read to 20+A even though it is only rated to 10A.

Banana plugs. You will also need some light weight 2 strand wire for connecting batteries to charger. Medium speaker wire will do _Plugs_(10pairs/set)

Battery plugs

The new batteries from China are using the following plugs. .

Most of our club is still using these larger polarized plugs but I expect they will change as they buy more of the batteries from China. The red wire on the battery plugs into the red wire on the speed control.

Find out which plug they are using in your club and use the same set up so you can share batteries and not accidentally damage each others ESCs and radios.

Motor plugs

I use these 4 prong plugs for all of my motors. A single plug can plug all wires together. I only need 3 connections so I cut off the one plug that is spaced away from the other three which allows the motor direction to be reversed by flipping one of the plugs over.
**** 3-6 pk 4R for motor (1 per pk)

Servo 3 wire extension and "Y" connectors with JR plugs ervo_Lead_Extention_(JR)__26AWG

Construction supplies

Many of these supplies are available from the local hobby stores. I have given links so you can see what they look like.

Carbon tubes 5x 5/32" or 4mm or 0.156

3M77 or the improved 3M90 adhesive spray available from Lowes. The 3M90 dries completely while the 3M77 stays tacky. I think the 3M90 is worth the extra cost.
Ultracoat -
Control Horns, Control rods, Clevis

Formica get scraps from a cabinet shop
Motor mount purchased or made depends on motor type.
Cloraplast to make elevons. It is a sign material that tapes well and is stronger than balsa. Try XPEDX paper supply at the top of Columbia Lane in Orem or get "For Sale" signs at Lowes or Home Depo XPEDX is cheaper.
Balsa wood 3/16" x 4" x36" to make elevons. Check your local hobby store or craft store.
Stiff plastic for fins and hatch covers. I use the stiffer plastic covers off the 3 ring binders you get at Walmart. You can also use cloraplast.
Reinforced packing tape 2" Clear heavy to attach the fins and elevons and to hold radio in place also at Walmart
Linear or check at your shipping departments at the local Staples and Rite Aid stores
Machine Screws to attach motor to mounting plate. I buy Harbor Freight bulk screws. They are cheaper even if you get sizes you don't use.
Plywood multi-ply 1/8" for motor mounting. I get mine at the local Hobby store. Some flyers are using Formica. I like plywood better.
Iron to cover planes
Soldering iron. I like the Radio Shack pistol style 30-35W. I usually buy 2. One for cutting foam and soldering and one that I put a wheel collar on and grind the tip off of to cut slots for the carbon tubes.
Hot glue gun with low temperature option and low temperature glue sticks.
Holographic tape to make it look cool. and
LEDS for night flying


All of the motors listed were chosen because they can run on 3 lipo cell batteries with the $1 prop listed below.
It saves time and money and keeps you flying to only have to have one prop size for several different sizes of planes.

These motors need batteries and ESCs capable of up to 20A.

For lightweight planes - BW 1300 7x6 prop

Options for the Assassin/Titan with 7x6 prop

CF28-12 (Best Deal)
Turnigy 28-26 (more power)
The old favorite BP21
The motor for the Scythe

This motor needs a larger battery and ESC capable of 30A+ for 48"-60" flying wing with 7x6 prop TR 35-30A-1700kv

Speed controls

This "Super Simple" ESC works well and is the best price I've seen. It sometimes won't arm the motor unless the motor trim on the transmitter is turned down. It is programmable. Check the buyer reviews before buying speed controls. imple_30A_ESC_(card_programmable)

Servo saver can help protect cheaper servos. My advice is buy metal gear servos not servo savers.

Prop saver adapter

The size of prop adapter is based on the motor shaft. Make sure you get the right size. Here are some examples. Locally these have been as much as $4.95 each. No wonder we order from China when they are les than $0.60. The kind I prefer have been hard to get lately in China but should be listed again soon. aver_w/_Band__3mm_(10pcs)
4MM for bigger motor


Every motor can run with a variety of propellers. You need to know your propellers and motor and make sure you aren't exceeding the power limits set on the motor, ESC and battery. You adjust how many amps you draw by the size of propeller.

I have liked that the BW1300, Emax 28-12 and the HXT 35-30A-1700KV and the BP21 can use the APC 7x6 with the 1300 lipo 3s.

Scythe Beta Testing with the following:

Battery - or
Motor -
Motor mount -
Servos -
Push rods and plastic clevis' stock Parkzone ultralight.
Standard horns pushed through elevon from bottom.

More news: I cut a 7X6 prop down to 4.75" and left the blunt ends. I did it by putting a nail in board and clamping it to my disc sander and rotating the prop on the nail and sanding the prop blades to make both sides the same. It is very quick and easy to do. I have been breaking a couple of props a day with the thin props on the Scythe. I won't break them any more and the plane only makes half the noise but will still go straight up. I'm sure it isn't as efficient as the stock props but it works so well I took my whole box of chipped 7X6 props and cut them down. This makes it so I use the same prop on the Scythe as I do on the Assassin, Titan, Reaper and Roswell!

Happy flying


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Last edited by Lee; Jan 10, 2011 at 11:12 AM.
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