Power System Value Choices - RC Groups
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Sep 14, 2011, 12:03 PM
Registered User

Power System Value Choices

I am re-introducing myself to RC after about 5 years on the sidelines. There's a lot of new, including:

2.4Ghz radios
Electric Power

I want to re-fit an old 40 size Cessna Ag Wagon to electric. I've spent a lot of hours researching this, and I think I have the outline of a motor/ESC/battery system sorted out.

When I start shopping for these components, I find a strange situation. My old hobby sources, brick and mortar and online, seem to have a limited product selection, poor information, and fairly high prices. Then there are lots of offshore online folks with pretty poor english skills, limited product information, long shipping times, and low prices. All of the product seems to be from offshore.

When I price my desired combo at, say, Tower, I come up with $300. Hobby King has what appears to be similar products for $135. But I have no confidence on support from either.

Please give me your advise and recommendations for other/better sources, especially if there is a US manufacturer that understands and supports their product(s).
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Sep 14, 2011, 08:08 PM
Soil Sampler
FlynFoam's Avatar
I have had good service from hobby-lobby.
I also have purchased from hk (china) and been fairly satisfied.
Sep 14, 2011, 09:45 PM
Innov8tive's Avatar

If you send us an Email I would be happy to recommend a proper power system for your model.


Sep 14, 2011, 09:57 PM
Registered User
flydiver's Avatar
Lucien absolutely knows his stuff. Scorpion make good products with good support.

Tower always recommends their particular product at a bit of a premium.

Hobby King has some comparable products, no support, no help, but cheap prices. You pretty much have to know what you are doing to go there or take your chances.

LHS can be anywhere from very good to pretty lousy. You have to know enough to be able to judge that yourself.

Give yourself at least 6 months to sort it out if you actually apply yourself a little. If you aren't willing to do that go with Lucien or similar service you can trust. In the long run for a good plane it will be worth it. For small cheap foam planes you can afford to experiment a lot more.
Sep 14, 2011, 11:29 PM
Registered User
While I don't know of any U.S. manufacturers (I'm sure there are some), here is a list of some of the U.S. dealers/distributors. The first batch might be considered higher quality and the second affordable, but serviceable. And, while there are certainly exceptions in both batches, generally speaking the better the quality, the better the service.



There are many others, likely some obvious ones that should have been included, but this should give you something to look over.

And, I would like to include myself among those who routinely buy from HobbyKing and others in Hong Kong, but you must understand what you're getting and that there will be little to no customer service. There are indeed some good deals to be had, especially in ancillary parts not exactly part of the power setup.

Hope this helps some.

Last edited by sgomes; Sep 14, 2011 at 11:36 PM.
Sep 15, 2011, 10:27 AM
Registered User

Many thanks to all -

This is great information for me to start with, so thanks very much.

I'm an electrical engineer by training so most of the concepts are not too difficult to understand. I want to avoid the frustration of dealing with bad service and poor product: your advice will take me a long way in that direction!
Sep 15, 2011, 11:54 AM
Idiot Savant
ptgarcia's Avatar
After reading the Cobra motor thread I'll be supporting Innov8tive Designs and R/C Dude Hobbies.
Sep 15, 2011, 12:22 PM
Registered User
fmw's Avatar
You can save a few bucks from Tower by going to Advantage Hobby. You get a day faster shipping as well. I've found them to be very reliable.

Almost all the motors and other drive components come from China. But there is a difference in qualtiy. If you buy motors branded E-Flite, Scorpion, Hacker etc. you are assured of a reliable and long lasting product. If you choose the Hobby King Turnigy or some of the off brand products, reliability isn't the same. The prices are different because the products are different, despite the country of origin.
Sep 15, 2011, 12:29 PM
Registered User
As dissenting opinion:
One CAN tolerate a bit less than an 'optimum' motor when it's $15 instead of $50 / $100. Lotsa room for knowledge building / experimentations within that price envelope.
IMO there are 2 choices: Dirt cheap or 'the Best'.. HK on one end, Neumotor at the other.
Stuff in the middle is just overpriced IMO :-)
Also don't forget that all motors crash the same.
Sep 15, 2011, 05:23 PM
Registered User
John, unfortunately you will sometimes get posts like this one from "Bare" . I don't understand what drives them to post, but I know its best to just ignore them.

Sep 15, 2011, 06:22 PM
Registered User
flydiver's Avatar
Yes, I almost wrote a dissenting-dissenting opinion. Some of the really cheap motors (TowerPro is a poster motor here), are wildly popular (they do work at a pittance price), have poor efficiency, noodle soft shafts, low end bearings, and fragile windings. I've got a couple (rewound and re-shafted) I still use. For a few more $$ you can do a lot better. From mid-grade on up you do have to throw a lot more $$ for incremental improvements in performance, but often substantial improvements in reliability and long-term satisfaction. For folks that spend a lot of time digging their motors out of the dirt long-term reliability is not a prime consideration.
Sep 16, 2011, 09:48 AM
Registered User

Thanks Gomes and Diver

My definition of "value" has evolved. It does not mean just the cheapest piece part for components.

I understand Bare's point. Buying a cheap component is exciting sometimes, but the glow fades when it lets you down. Sometimes cheap is great, but more often it's better to get a smart supplier involved who wants to help with the solution.

Money's tight and nothing's free, but I look in my engine box and I see the glow equipment that has stood the test of time. I'll try to buy wisely in the E power area too so that I'll build up a stock of "classic" performers.

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