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Old Oct 04, 2012, 10:39 AM
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Engine / Generating electricity

Hi Guys

I'm new here and in the RC world. So, if this question has already been asked here, please point to the thread that search did not find

If you've got a gas powered plane, how do you guys produce electricity to power on-board equipment?

Having lipo's on-board would be a bit unpractical and jerry-rigging an alternator to the engine would be a bit unsafe. Are there any "out of the box" solutions on the market?

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated

-alex
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 10:56 AM
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Batteries are used to power the ignition and radio. LiPo is very common today for both applications. Models do not use generators, but they are used in UAV applications where missions last many hours.

Greg
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 10:57 AM
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More often than not , the electrical power is sourced from on board batteries . That said, there is nothing at all wrong with an engine driven generator . In fact there are a few options out there . A brushless RC motor may be adapted and pressed into service . The great company "Sullivan Products" offers a few different generator (AC) systems that work well . In fact, Sullivan makes generator systems for various military UAV systems .
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 11:30 AM
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Wohoo, thanks for a quick response.

@greg I agree, but it's a bit more equipment then that (arduino board, beagleboard-xM running WinCE, SD, ...), which works fine, but can be a bit of a power hog for . That's why it would be preferable to have a "steady" power supply.

@gary this looks great! Thanks http://www.sullivanuav.com/products/alpa_225watt.html
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 12:35 PM
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I have the small Sullivan generator on a Saito .62 4S (Senior Kadet, modified) and it works well .
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 12:46 PM
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Out of curiosity, what is the planned duration of your flight?

Greg
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 01:14 PM
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@gary how is the power output at full rpm? did you also buy their voltage regulators?

@greg it is expected to be a little bit over two hours. Largely depends on how the construct will perform in real flying conditions. Design for the fuselage is based on Stal-5 with alterations: angle of the main chassis (to accommodate payload and new engine placement), engine placement (single, placed on the rear / pusher configuration - Marvelette) and re-designed tail fins. Edit: ...or it might crash after 1 minute of flight we'll see I guess
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 01:49 PM
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Putilov Stal-5? And the Marvelette tail for yaw and pitch? Interesting.

A couple hours, I think I would still use batteries unless the logistics in charging batteries is that much of a problem. How many watt-hours will it use?

Greg
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Old Oct 04, 2012, 02:22 PM
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Correct

Flying wing concept is superb aerodynamically, but suffers from directional control (Putilov was abandoned for that reason ...and of course, their building materials sucked ).
For that reason I'm taking the concept from marvellete for the "tail" section which should mitigate some issues, gives me better yaw and pitch control. Of course it raises secondary issue, drag.

I agree, (there is always a but) but having a power source on board which spews enough energy to run all modules without the hassle of recharging (wait time) or shutting down systems when you need them for the sake of engine power and of course ease-of-use (just fill it up) is plus.

So far I'm up to 150W. It adds up quickly :/
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Old Oct 05, 2012, 04:17 AM
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I found having an on board charging system is quite convenient . The Kadet that I set up is a loaner/trainer . Having on board charging virtually eliminated any concerns about someone "forgetting" to charge or wrecking the battery by overcharging . The plane has on board glow and that too is always up and able . We use the plane at public events where, with the buddy box we allow off the street folks to fly . We can put hours on the plane with no worry about battery charging .
This is the only plane I have done this with , but it certainly works great .
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