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Old Mar 30, 2014, 06:59 PM
Rem Fodder is offline
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Build Log
Great Planes WACO electric conversion

This is my first attempt at converting a model designed for internal combustion to electric power and my first feeble attempt at a build log. First off I would like to acknowledge and thank the guys on the first GP WACO conversion thread for their help, without which I would not be doing this.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=1456945

I kicked off this job about three weeks ago after having the model now for over a year. I basically collected the gear necessary to do the assembly and conversion over the course of the past year. That and also reading up on other successful conversions brought me to the jump off point.

First things first, the kit needed a lot of attention on the covering. I picked the kit up on a clearance sale and who knows how long it had been sitting on the shelf. The covering was in dire need of shrinking so over the course of several evenings covering tightness was achieved.

My planned propulsion system is for the model to be powered by an E-Flite Power 110 out-runner, with throttle management provided by a Castle Creations Phoenix Edge 100 amp ESC. Battery power will be provided with 8 cells series together, final size of the packs to be determined, however to get the ball rolling I do have some 4000 mah 4 cell packs ready to go.

A CC 10 amp BEC with 2 cell 1500 mah batteries will handle the radio gear. Radio is a Spektrum DX7s using the AR8000 RX. Servos are a collection of HiTecs.

My thoughts were to assemble the model, get it on the C of G jig and figure out the best battery location by test before actually doing any cutting and chopping.

That's it for now.
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Old Mar 30, 2014, 07:38 PM
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Nice!!! Just today, I was contemplating this plane for my next project. Good luck on the build. I will definitely be following along.

Reno
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Old Mar 31, 2014, 07:55 AM
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Well, I will try to do my best to keep it interesting. However, projects in my shop usually move at a pace just slight faster than the glaciers.

Been mulling around the idea of motor mounting and remembered an article in Model Airplane News a few months ago. The subject was electric conversion for large scale aircraft. Had a look again and the light came on over my head. Easy enough to do so will have a go at it today when I get a minute. I have seen where some have used wooden dowels with holes bored through the centre of the dowel for standoffs. I like the simplicity of that design and it would be great if I had a way of ensuring squareness on the ends of the cuts and concentricity of the bored holes. It is at this point I will admit to being overly picky about such matters. I spent nearly 30 years in a trade where accuracy counts, learned habits die hard!

The MAN article feature a very simple "H" pattern standoff utilizing common hardwoods for the stand off and a 5mm (1/4") ply plate to mount the motor to on front of the "H" stand off. Should be very easy to ensure square and parallel ends with a table saw and cross cut blade. The measurement for the drive face to firewall according to the instructions requires a 4 3/16" to 4 1/4" stand off to accommodate the P-110. Drilling the #10 stud holes accurately for the "X" mount will be the tricky bit as as my brad point drill for the job can only hit 3" deep. I will have to come up with a method to guarantee accuracy, should not be too difficult to do on the drill press.
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Old Apr 05, 2014, 04:57 PM
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Hey Rem...........how you doing old buddy?

I am almost finished with a GP 56 inch F4U electric conversion. Debating decals while the Witch from the North fights it out with the Queen from the South. My field should be open in two weeks. Actually that is about the same time as last year. The light sand soil thaws and dries fast down here on Erie.

I have been eyeballing the GP Super Stearman and Waco as larger bipes for my stable. At the risk of having a lightning bolt descend from the heavens and smoke my work bench, they will probably be gassers, DLE or NGH.

But it always pays to watch someone else`s work on a model. Can always learn something. Will be watching and waiting for your maiden.

Bill
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Old Apr 05, 2014, 05:42 PM
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I use nylon tube standoffs from most larger home improvement stores. They come in a variety of lengths and diameters. They are usually found in the big harware section with all the drawers full of stuff.
Most of these are large scale models, but works on smaller models as well.
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Old Apr 05, 2014, 09:54 PM
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Hey there Bill, yes good to hear from you. Spring is certainly dragging her feet around here. Lots of snow in the bush and even out in the open. The rain that howled through here yesterday knocked it back a fair bit, but there is still a lot go yet!

tlh101, yes thank for the tips on the spacers. Back in the days when I had full access to a machine shop, coming up with a suitable set of standoffs would have been a cinch. A few minutes on a lathe and there would have been a beautiful set of sturdy cylindrical aluminum spacers done, all square and within .001" length of each other............ I miss those days! As it stands, I have my wood working shop at hand so like to play with the toys when I can.

Anyway, I came up with the stand off required to do the job. Spent an evening making it on Thursday and glued it up tonight.

Rather than just show a couple of pictures with the stand off done and installed, I though I would share a few little tricks I have learned over the years to accurately make up an object with a table saw and drill press. This mount was made from red meranti, a specie of tropical hardwood that I had left over from a boat building project. It is lightweight and strong, a good match for this job.

Not sure how many have seen this method of using shims to make fine positive adjustments to a table saw fence, but if you do not have a digital fence readout to use, this method is pretty foolproof. I always have a test piece to sacrifice as I dial in my cuts. I chose a non standard thickness for the stock of .510" so if I was off center on my initial pass over the dado blade I could bring the cut back to centre easily. My dado stack when set for .500" actually cuts slightly undersize, so a fence move is inevitable for this set up whether I like it or not.

The mount dimensions are 3" high x 4" long x 2.5" wide. The slot was cut full length down a piece of stock 14" long, the subsequent 4" long side pieces were cut to length after the slot was cut to keep everything in line for assembly. The fence was set for the test cut and after the first pass I had to shim the fence closer to the blade to bring the cut to spec. It is a simple method, the fence is left locked in place after the initial pass, a stop piece is lightly clamped to the saws fence rail and adjusted up to the fence with the desired shim caught between the stop and fence. Once the stop clamp is tightened up the shims are pulled out, the fence unlocked and moved over to hit the stop and re tightened. See the pictures below. Works very well, can even be used to push the fence away from the blade just by clamping the stop against the fence first, unlock the fence put shims in place and pull fence back to the stop with the shims in place. Lock fence and cut. It is really very simple to do, takes longer to explain than actually do. I have made adjustments for the thickness of a piece of paper using this method, and it works every time.

Neil
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Old Apr 05, 2014, 10:45 PM
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Next up is the set up to drill repeatable accurate holes with my drill press. The trick with this mount is that I needed to drill holes down through the standoff, a full 4" deep. Hard to do when the drill bit only goes 3" full depth. This means I have to turn the piece over to drill from the back side and hope the holes meet somewhere in the middle of the block. The 14" long stock was cut into 3 pieces 4" long. The third was the sacrificial and also spare if something went wrong with one of the other two.

First task was to mark off the centre lines of the mount to align with the cross on the firewall of the WACO so the mount will located in the centre. I simply used a marking gauge set cut a a line down each of the sides and in the centre of the "H" brace. Next was to use a marking gauge to locate the centers of the "X" mounts bolt holes on one end of the mount. I used my vernier calipers to set the marking gauge as accurately as possible. Placing the "X" mount over the marked centers confirmed the trueness of the lay out. Then it was off to the drill press.

The drill press fence needed a bit of shimming (blue painters tape) to bring the workpiece into vertical alignment with the bit, can't have any wandering holes here! Once shimmed I used a brad point drill to pick up the centers. A stop was clamped to the fence on the right side of the work piece once the left hole was located under the drill bit. The hole was drilled to max depth then the work piece was moved to the left to pick up the right center and a stop was clamped against the left side of the piece once the right hole was located. Because the stock was accurately cut, all three pieces could use this set up for the entire drilling process. Each of the work pieces was placed against the fence with the slot facing out serving as the reference point to start the drilling operation. Once the first pass was drilled the piece was flipped over end for end and butted against the stops to drill from the bottom of the blocks and seeing as fortune was smiling down on me that evening the holes lined up! The initial pilot hole diameter was with a 3/16" brad point drill, as that was only size brad point I had close to the diameter of the #10 threaded stainless steel threaded rod I am going to use to tie all of this together. I wanted a bit more clearance for the rod so chased the hole with a larger 7/32" standard twist drill bit using the set up. This method works very well and offers great repeatability.

So I hope some may have learned a bit here, for others this may be old hat. All in all it took me about 3 hours total time to dress the piece of stock from rough cut state to finished dimensions to being ready for assembly. Including the 1/4" plywood plate to be glued to the "H" mount standoff. Next photo hopefully will be one the mount and motor mounted to the WACO
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Old Apr 07, 2014, 09:01 PM
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After glue up of the "H" mount, the next step was to mount it to the firewall. So with the aid of some two sided tape and a transfer punch the new mount was placed on the centering cross of the firewall and the holes of the "H" mount transferred to the firewall. Weight of the wood "H" mount comes in at 5 1/2 ounces, studs weigh 1/2 ounce each with nuts and washers.

10-24 stainless threaded rod was used for the studs to tie the motor, and mount to the firewall. The studs were cut at 5" length. Attachment to the firewall is by the use of 10-24 "T" nuts from the backside of the firewall. I used 10-24 nylock nuts for the motor end of the studs.

Before permanently bonding the "H" mount to the firewall I need to add some ventilation holes to the firewall first.

Next on the agenda will be mounting the ESC.
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Old Apr 13, 2014, 07:34 AM
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Work has ground to a standstill on the conversion. Spring thaw while welcome, has brought about the usual yearly ritual of work around our hobby farm. Plus throw in the opening of the trout season in two weeks and suddenly my spare time has vanished. Hope to get back to the WACO before the snow flies again!
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Old Apr 20, 2014, 07:30 AM
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I finished mine just before SEFF It flies great on 6 s 5000 battery with a Hacker A-50/12lL motor and a CC 100 amp ESC. Pulling about 60 amps and mellowing out at around 55 amps when run up. It's swinging a 18x10 nitro Zoar prop. Take offs were nice and straight and the CG on the plans were right on.

I really like how it flies. This is my first biplane in a very long time

Jeff
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Old Apr 20, 2014, 07:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Goinav8n View Post
I finished mine just before SEFF It flies great on 6 s 5000 battery with a Hacker A-50/12lL motor and a CC 100 amp ESC. Pulling about 60 amps and mellowing out at around 55 amps when run up. It's swinging a 18x10 nitro Zoar prop. Take offs were nice and straight and the CG on the plans were right on.

I really like how it flies. This is my first biplane in a very long time

Jeff
Jeff, she looks fantastic. I'm still stuck with other chores to do around here, but did manage to install the wing servos one evening last week. I will pick away at it until I get it done. What did you end up with for flying weight? I would like to at least get the motor and ESC hooked up to run some static ground tests for current draw. I'm curious to compare what my set up will draw with the 8 cells vs. your 6. BTW, did you install an arming switch in yours, and if so who manufactures or sells it?

Thanks for posting, hope you have many great flights out of it.

Neil
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Old May 01, 2014, 02:47 PM
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Hi Rem, Glad to see you finally got her on the bench. Looks like you are going to have her done right.

Answering a few of your questions, I think you'll find that E-Flite Power 110 is super strong, even on 8 cells. Mine is installed in the Great Planes P-6E Hawk, basically the same size and weight aircraft, and I fly it on 8 cells, 5000mah 20C, with an old Castle 85HV ESC. Spinning a Mezjlek 18x10x3 prop. It never sees full throttle, scared it will pull top wing off. It is that strong. 1/2 throttle except on vertical. Will climb vertical at 90% throttle. 15lbs. Thought I had the readings written down, but can't find them.

I use the MPI/MAAX Products arming switch for all my big ones. Power pole to Deans with 12 ga wires. They have a new series for 8+ cells for "no spark" attachment. See here, bottom of page. http://www.maxxprod.com/mpi/mpi-21.html#arming

I've only managed to have my Waco out once this year, so far. Got four flights on it. Love this plane.

Good luck, will try to keep watch here as you build.

Don
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Old May 04, 2014, 11:01 AM
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I haven't weighed my Waco but I would guess around 14 pounds. I don't use an arming switch as I use a separate receiver battery and leave the rec. off plug in the battery. The cc 100 ICE controller will not allow the motor to become hot until the rec. is turned on. I have the rec. switch is located in front cockpit out of site.

I have about 12 flights on it now. The CG might be a little forward but it's nice and stable. I tried to spin it but it's either the CG is to forward or I don't have enough rudder deflection programmed in.

It is very nice to fly. I don't see any tendency to tip stall. It will slow up very nice. There is lots of drag.

On 6s loops from level flight are easy. I fly around at a little less than 1/2 power. Loops at 3/4 power. It likes rudder and will slip very easily with the small amount of rudder I have in it. I am going to add more rudder to it.

On 8s it should perform very well. Get it done as it's fun to fly.

It does take 20-30 mins to put it together. This is the only draw back I can find

Jeff
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Old May 04, 2014, 07:03 PM
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Don, hey thanks for checking in. I owe you big time for all your help in the past. I was doing fine working on the WACO a few weeks ago but things have gotten busy around the homestead and with work. All that, and plus the added distraction of one of the best steelhead runs in a long time on my local river have just totally thwarted any efforts to build and or fly anything. I don't mind trading the flying thing for fly casting (see the pictures), but the work thing is just a necessary pain.

Thanks for both of you guys chipping in on the arming switch. AV8'n, it never occurred to me about the built in interruption through the ESC. Good point. As for disassembly for transport, I was hoping that I could fit it assembled into the back of my pick up. My 72" span Beaver will fit if I angle it in. Of course I will have to fabricate a transportation cradle for it irregardless if the wings are on or off.

Neil
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Old May 04, 2014, 10:46 PM
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RE arming switch. NO NO NO NO!!!! NEVER leave the battery plugged into the ESC!!! Separate flight pack or not!! The ESC still receives power from the battery, and will drain it. This will damage the battery and the ESC. I use arming switches on everything, including those with their own receiver packs. Why? Because I HAVE been bitten by the inadvertent throttle/motor start. Even when I THOUGHT my
receiver switch was off. Electric motors have full 100% torque immediately, and will do BAD things to you. If you do not have access to the plug, use an arming switch, please. I ALSO have my throttle cut switch programmed in. Just another safety point.


Av8tor, yours flies just like mine. Will not snap with the CG at recommended point. Stall just mushes. I have to carry power down to just before touchdown. 5cells on a Rimfire 120, swinging an APC 17x8. almost never sees full throttle, Will perform huge open loop from level at about 3/4 throttle. Take-offs are done at 1/2 throttle.


Nice fish there, REM. I'm sure it's fun. Fishing just not my thing, anymore. Work really does get in the way, as well as those other things. Biggest problem here right now is wind. Won't drop below 20mph for more than 10 minutes. Been blowing for last 3-4 weeks, in every direction!


Have fun.
Don
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