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Old May 09, 2007, 06:32 PM
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Build Log
WingDragon 4 upgrade to Brushless

As some of you may already know, I use my WingDragon 4 for Aerial Video. About two weeks ago, it was very noticable that the original Speed 400 brushed motor had reached the end of its lifetime. As a matter of fact, I could bearly take off. Hence I decided to replace the brushed motor with a burshless.

I kept the components pretty tight towards the front of the plane. I also added a small plywood firewall for the motor to give it more stability. I am using a TowerPro 2408-21T-3A brushless motor with an Hi-Model Professional 18A ESC.

In terms of battery, I am using a Thunder Power 3 cell 11.1V 1320 mAH LiPo battery. It fits nicely in the nose cone. For the prop I am using a GWS EP 7060 which is a 7x6 prop.

I also noticed that my elevator servo was damaged. Initially I thought the elevator was having problems. I replaced both the ruder and elevator with two HiTec HS-85BB Mighty Micro servos.

With my CG at the leading edge of the spar (7.1 cm from the leading edge of the wing) the plane was tail heavy. Since there were no alternatives to move the ESC more towards the nose of the plane, I opted to add 1oz of weight in the nose cone. The weight impact is miminum since it is still below the weight with the brushed and NimH battery pack.

The Dragon balanced beautifully. I ran some static thrust test, and Man, this bird is going to boggy. We should start new Realty TV show: “Pimp my WingDragon”.

After the conversion my AUW is 686g (24.86oz). With my three 5-in-1 eDVRs (20g each) mounted on the WingDragon, the AUW comes to 746g (26.31oz).

I am about ready to drive out to the field to take the plane for a spin. (It's is nice to have a couple of days off ) I’ll report back on my test flights later today.

Tom
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Old May 09, 2007, 06:46 PM
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The Test Flight

Man the Dragon has got some power now!

It was a little wind, 12-14 mph winds gusting to about 20 mph. I started with my usual pre-flight and radio check. Everything checked out fine.

The upgraded WingDragon4 took less than 10 feet to take off from a grass runway. With a hand launch I almost went into a vertical climb and got to about 300 ft in no-time. Then I had a blast doing loops, rools and inverted flight at 33% throttle.

After a while I decide to climb to about 1000ft. I brought the throttle up to about 60% and went into a 70 degree climb. With the wind I had to circle around a few time. It was great once I reached the same altitude of a Hawk that was minding his own business up there.

I cut the power, to test the balance and gliding capabilities. A few times I had to engage the motor to regain some altitude. I could not be happier; I spent a good 20 minutes gliding. Some kids who were getting ready for their Lacross practice, asked when I was going to land.

Anyway, I decided to play it safe and bring the plane in for a landing since it was the first time of extended use of the batteries. I brought the Dragon down to about 50 ft and circled the field at slow speed. I could tell the battery didn't have much left. However I still had enough to come around and end the test flight with a perferct landing.

In all I flew a good 25 minutes. As a matter of fact, I outlasted a piston engine RC plane that was flying nearby. I am very happy with the upgrade and the results. The next test is to strap on my three 5-in-1 eDVRs and get some high altitude footage.

Tom
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Old May 09, 2007, 07:07 PM
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Great to hear. So the Busy Bee didn't work out then...
How did you get the motor out. I don't understand how to get the motor back into the fuselage. I know you mounted it on the outside, but I have alway wondered how that worked

1000 feet. WOW!! thats crazy, I maybe go half that at the most, but you must need that altitude to get a good video.
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Old May 09, 2007, 08:31 PM
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I put the same motor into my WD4 and can ROG in 10-15ft now. I am using a couple of inexpensive 2200 3S LiPo's. I had to add weight to the tail to get it to balance but I am also very happy 25+ minutes of flying. I still don't have the clime that you speak of and may change the setup on the elevator to get more throw.

I have had to replace the elevator servo twice. Can't see anything that is causing it.
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Old May 09, 2007, 09:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyin C
Great to hear. So the Busy Bee didn't work out then...
I am using both the WingDragon and the Busy Bee. I flew both planes today in 12-14 mph winds gusting to 20 mph. The WingDragon handles the wind many times better than the Busy Bee. I will post a small write up on the Busy Bee link.

Quote:
Originally Posted by flyin C
How did you get the motor out. I don't understand how to get the motor back into the fuselage. I know you mounted it on the outside, but I have alway wondered how that worked
Let's say I retrieved the ESC and the entire brushed motor assembly. What I had left was the fuselage. It is also important to point out that I am using a Brushless Outrunner - So there is no motor inside the fuselage.

I first added the firewall. I took a 1/4in piece of aircraft plywood and sanded it down so that it would perfectly fit inside and against the original plastic firewall. Once I was satisfied that I had a tight fit, I used 12 min Epoxy to glue my new firewall against the plastic. I let it sit overnight to ensure a very strong bond.

Then using a drill, I opened the large hole in the center using the old opening in the plastic as a guide. I then separated the brushless motor base from the motor and centered it from the outside over the large hole I just opened.

You want to make sure the base is porperly centered, otherwise your thrust vector will change. I then marked and drilled the three screw holes. I opted to have two screws on the top and one on the bottom.

The mounting screws that came with the motor were too small, so I went to Radio Schack and bought a set of 2-56 Round-head machine screws and nuts. I used the 1/2 in screws with the head on the outside and the nuts and washer on the inside. Once they were thightly fastened, I applied some epoxy over the nuts to ensure that they wont come lose do to vibration.

In order to minimize drag caused by the wiring going into the motor, I opted to bring them in at the 6 o'clock mark of the motor. I simply cut a small opening and fed the three wires into the fuselage.

Last, I decided to strengthen the area by the motor where the wing is fasatened. With some of the plywood I had left, I cut and shaped a rectangular piece and glued it in place from the inside of the fuselage.

The rest was connecting the ESC and re-arranging the other electronic components. Since the motor configuration has changed, it is very important to properly balance the plane by properly distributing all components.

Tom
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Old May 09, 2007, 10:30 PM
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Nice Job Bos Tom,

Your going to love it, Once you go Lipo/brushless there is no going back
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Old May 09, 2007, 10:41 PM
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I'd love to see some video from a Wing Dragon at 1000 feet! I'd estimate I've topped mine out at about 300.
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Old May 09, 2007, 11:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratb
I'd love to see some video from a Wing Dragon at 1000 feet! I'd estimate I've topped mine out at about 300.
Coming this weekend (Weather and wife permitting) - I'll try to follow some Hawks or some sail-planes up there.

Tom
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Old May 09, 2007, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.frankenjet
Nice Job Bos Tom,

Your going to love it, Once you go Lipo/brushless there is no going back
Yup - You've got that right!
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Old May 10, 2007, 12:22 AM
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BosTom,
I told you you would like it once you did the conversion My WD with the BP12 motor has worked great for well over 2 yrs now. I have run out of local places to photograph, so I am now seeking more remote spots to fly over. Besides the brushless/lipo change, the best upgrade I did to mine was adding the Tower Kote iron on film to the wing. This made the wing nearly indestructable...it's like iron, but still light. I did this so I could take this plane and land it in rough areas without a runway. I have plopped it down right into our desert scrub, cactus and not a scratch.
I'm glad your upgrade worked out and you are having fun. You realize that now, barring a fatal nose first dive into the ground, your plane can last forever. There is very little to actually wear out anymore.
I wondered what was taking you so long
Ken
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Old May 10, 2007, 07:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CSI
BosTom,
I wondered what was taking you so long
Ken
Making videos, spending time with my Cessna 182 & EasyGlider, and making my Busy Bee air worthy.

As some of you have said, there is no going back to brushed motors. For me, this is now a thing of the past. I can't wait to start assembling my Hotpoint-EP ARF that I won a my club's raffle last month. I can assure you that it will be powered by a brushless.

Tom
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Old May 10, 2007, 07:54 AM
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Tom'
I have a begin-air that I haven't flown for more than a year just
because of the lack of power the brush motor has. I have read about others who have up graded to the brushless motor who just loves them. I might have to copy your set up and get the
B A back into the air. Good luck with your W D.
Brad
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Old May 10, 2007, 10:39 AM
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I like your setup because you didn't have to get inside the motor-mount area of the fuselage. I've seen motor setups that involve a firewall installed a few inches fore of the old motor mount, and it always seems awkward to me. I might have to copy you on this one...
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Old May 10, 2007, 10:50 AM
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Brad,

It is worth it. Not only are WingDragons good planes for a beginners, they are great planes for aerial video and photography. It easily carries three 5-in-1 eDVRs. What better way to get footage from three angles during the same flight

On the field it is now common to see my WingDragon sneak up on some of the large gliders. From the ground it looks like a Hawk circling around trying to catch thermals

Then another big plus, is that you can fly the WingDragon in winds above 10 mph with no problem; well, it may get a little bumby

Let me know if you have any questions when you are ready to do the upgrade to brushless.

Tom
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Old May 10, 2007, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ratb
I like your setup because you didn't have to get inside the motor-mount area of the fuselage. I've seen motor setups that involve a firewall installed a few inches fore of the old motor mount, and it always seems awkward to me. I might have to copy you on this one...
It works. Let me know if you have any questions.

I am off today as well. So I am charging my LiPo batteries and eDVRs to get a couple of flights in with in the next hour. Winds are around 5 mph and I have a feeling there will be some good thermals out there.

If everything works out great I may have a video clip ready tonight or tomorrow.

Tom
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