Do all RC planes have power switches? Or can I do without? - RC Groups
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Apr 20, 2012, 09:53 PM
Registered User

Do all RC planes have power switches? Or can I do without?

Sorry for another admittedly newbish question. (I AM learning, I promise!)

I was wondering if all planes have power switches on them to turn them on / off, even with the battery connected, or if some simply turn on when the battery is connected to the plane. It seems like such a simple answer, and I am just confusing myself!

My Wild Hawk has a power switch to turn it on and off, and even includes a motor reset push button, that sometimes you need to press to enable the motor to spin. However, I've seen videos from FliteTest where it appears that a lot of their planes don't have power switches, and that it simply turns on the minute that the battery is connected to the system! Where I'm confused, is that I burned out the ESC on my plane awhile back when the battery became dislodged while the motor was running (in a crash), and it smoked the ESC. So to me, it seems that the power switch is crucial to the safety and longevity of the ESC. But yet on FliteTest, it appears that most of them don't have a power switch!

The problem I'm having right now is that the power switch on my plane is starting to flake out on me. I crashed it upon hand launching twice today, when right after tossing it the power switch failed, and everything stopped, and it nosed into the dirt. I messed with it for awhile, had it going, launched it again, and right after launching it, it crashed again. I know that it's the power switch, as I can push on it and get it to stop working with a light pressure in one direction.

So I am contemplating getting rid of the switch altogether, and simply soldering the two wires together, and using the connection of the battery to turn on the plane. However, I am afraid of smoking the ESC again by doing so, and then disengaging the battery without turning the plane off.

Can someone please clarify my confusion? Thanks!
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Apr 20, 2012, 10:09 PM
Bone Breaker
Lammergier's Avatar
most planes don't. It is not needed. On/off is plugging in the battery. extra weight not needed.
Apr 20, 2012, 10:24 PM
Wake up, feel pulse, be happy!
Piece's Avatar
Ditch the switch if it's being a... female canine...

The vast majority of models just rely on the battery being plugged in. Nothing else is really needed.
Apr 20, 2012, 10:37 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by C₄H₁₀
Ditch the switch if it's being a... female canine...

The vast majority of models just rely on the battery being plugged in. Nothing else is really needed.
So even something as cheap as the Wild Hawk ESC shouldn't need a switch? Maybe I just ended up smoking the ESC because I had the motor running when the battery ejected itself?
Apr 20, 2012, 10:52 PM
characters welcome!
Mark Wood's Avatar
I don't have switches in any of my power planes. Just another thing to go wrong in a hobby that Murphy loves in the first place.

Apr 20, 2012, 10:53 PM
Registered User
Haha! Then maybe I'll chance it and solder those together and just use the battery to control the on/off.
Apr 21, 2012, 03:44 AM
Registered User
Most models don't use a switch for the very reason that you've discovered -- a switch is simply something else that can go wrong, and there's not many switches that can reliably handle the kind of amps that we use.

The only time I would suggest using a switch is if the battery connection is difficult to get at without putting your hand in the way of the propellor. In that case, instead of a switch, most people use an arming plug mounted externally. It's simply a standard battery socket (Deans Ultra, Power Pole, or similar) wired into the positive supply to the ESC to make a break in the circuit, with a matching plug with it's two pins shorted out, which you plug into the socket when you're ready to go. It's light weight, and it can handle the amps. There's a good picture of one in post #2 here

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