Newbie Basic RC Setup Question - RC Groups
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Feb 08, 2013, 12:38 PM
Registered User

Newbie Basic RC Setup Question

Hi All,

I've been lurking here for awhile and I'm interested in trying a square-rigger.

I come from the freeflight airplane world so the boat building looks pretty familiar to me. However, I'm a complete newbie to RC.

After browsing through numerous threads and sites on the net, I have a general idea of what I need- transmitter/ receiver combo, a few servos, batteries.

Looking at getting something on the budget end (would love to keep the whole system under $150 if possible- might be fooling myself...) since I really don't plan on doing any other RC- I just want a simple system for a beginner square-rigger. I was thinking of something along the lines of the FlySky 6 or 9X cheapo type tx/rx combos just to mess around with.

Thought I had a basic system figured out but then I realized I need a battery pack for the receiver. Wow, that opened up dozens and dozens of more questions...

I could do something like the 4 x AA battery pack that's used in one of the plastic bottle boat threads I saw. I think that would be the cheapest upfront cost. I'm wondering though, is there a reasonable budget solution that you guys would recommend other than that to power the receiver? Looking at the myriad of options for lipos and chargers, it looks like I could easily spend more on the receiver battery and charger than the rest of my system combined, accidentally catch the receiver on fire and/or accidentally burn my house down in the process of charging the battery.



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Feb 08, 2013, 07:33 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
My experience with Pamir (3' hull, 4 masted barque) is that AA alkaline cells are not powerful enough. After experiencing problems on the water, and after talking with RC guys, I went with lipos and a lipo transformer (to get 6 volts out of a 11-12volt 3 cell lipo). Receivers and regular servos can't reliably handle more than 6 volts, thus the need for a transformer. It's possible that NiCd or NiMH AA's might have worked, but I did not try them.

4, AA's would probably work with a bottle-boat-sized model. The bottles I use are sort of small, though (2qt). I've not yet figured out how to rc my bottle brig - how to cram everything in that I want. I am sure it can be done, but will require some ingenuity. So, power will be easy (4, AA's) but design may be a little tricky.

Any radio, receiver, and standard airplane servos (even the micro servos) will work for a small squarerigger model. Not sure how much you've read, but my experience is that you need 3 servos to reliably sail: 1 for the rudder, and 2 for the sails. It's finding deck space for 3 servos and their arms that's causing me problems. Almost any size battery would probably fit in the hull. The juice bottles have plenty of spare buoyancy.

Read Meatbomber's Scale Sail threads, he is the master of small squareriggers. His early boat threads work with small models. All his models, plane and sail, look great and perform great, too :-)

Welcome to the world of rc squareriggers, they are a lot of fun :-)
Last edited by Brooks; Feb 10, 2013 at 02:54 PM.
Feb 10, 2013, 02:34 PM
Registered User
Thanks, Brooks. I definitely have alot more reading to do! Should have specified- I was thinking rechargeable AA nimhs, not alkaline. Think I might give the nimhs a try while I keep researching my best budget option for a lipo setup.
Feb 10, 2013, 03:04 PM
Damp and Dizzy member
Brooks's Avatar
Some of MeatBomber's small squarerigger threads (he's also building bigger ones):

1/110 scale HMS Bounty from Constructo wooden kit:

30" scratch brig USS Somers:

Constructo 1/85 scale St. Helena Brigantine kit:
I forgot, I used 4 AA NiMh's on my topsail schooner bottle boat. They worked, but run time was lower than expected. The batteries were old, that may have been the problem. I would also get a smell from the batteries after a voyage, so, in the end, went with lipos for that boat, too (I had them on hand from my rc planes, and could afford the SportBEC transformer from Dimension Engineering).

My bottle topsail schooner:
Last edited by Brooks; Feb 10, 2013 at 03:14 PM.

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