To Switch or not to Switch - RC Groups
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Aug 09, 2017, 12:02 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar

To Switch or not to Switch

When I first got into DLG's several years ago I bought used planes because I didn't really know how to assemble a DLG properly. They came with these cool little things called "switch jacks". I liked them. You could turn the plane on and off and charge it without ever having to remove the canopy. Over time, I saw that other people were getting away from using these because the space inside the pod was tight, they added weight, they added drag and some said they added a point of failure. I took those as valid reasons for discontinuing their use.... and heck, they cost $30 too.

But I've always disliked using the battery connectors to turn my planes on an off. It's not always easy to dig the wire out to unplug. I have to be careful when I put them back that they don't end up interfering with the servos. If my fingers are a bit sweaty, they can be hard to pull apart. When they are hard to pull apart, I have to be careful that I don't unplug the wire from the RX. What a PITA!

So at this last NATS contest, I see Oleg using switches in his planes and I'm thinking to myself, if they are good enough for him, they certainly must be good enough for me. What do you guys that are still using switches like best, charge jacks, small slider switches, magnetic switches? The only hesitation I have to magnetic switch use is forgetting and leaving the plane on... or losing the magnet. Just looking for opinions.


Last edited by Mr. Wiz; Aug 09, 2017 at 12:41 PM.
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Aug 09, 2017, 12:22 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
I love mag switches. Just glue a small magnet inside the battery compartment on your radio. Drawback: have to open the plane to charge.

I used switchjacks for years and only ever had one failure, but others reported difficulty.
Aug 09, 2017, 12:33 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
So Tom, are you saying the magnet inside your TX can turn on and off your plane just by bringing the TX up to the pod? It sounds convenient but aren't you worried about an accidental shut-off?
Latest blog entry: Something old is new again
Aug 09, 2017, 12:36 PM
Father of Fr3aK, DLG Pilot
tom43004's Avatar
yes... and I have never had an accidental switch off. They're not that "easy" to turn on/off.
Aug 09, 2017, 12:41 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
Latest blog entry: Something old is new again
Aug 09, 2017, 12:42 PM
I'm not as bad as they say.
Zepsus. Reliable, keep the canopy closed, no external protuberances.
Open the hatch to charge, a reasonable compromise since you have to have a quick hatch opening for swapping ballast anyway.
Latest blog entry: AIrcraft I've built.
Aug 09, 2017, 12:44 PM
Wayne Wimbish
wdwimbish's Avatar
I have been using Pico mag switches for about a year. I just couldn't bear the thought of drilling a hole in my Streams to put in a switchjack.

I have mine hard wired to the battery for one less connector. They are tiny and convenient to turn on but are somewhat cranky to get to turn off. I am thinking that next round I will switch (pun) to the nano Zepsus. I use the 7amp models on all my big planes and they are flawless to operate.

Yes, it means I have to open the hatch to charge, but a Kapton sleeve makes that pretty painless. Still better I think than opening every time to pull a plug.

Latest blog entry: New Stream Lites
Aug 09, 2017, 12:47 PM
Registered User
To me switches of any sort are like servos. Some pilots have all the "bad luck", some never have an issue. Whether a switch issue is actually a faulty component or a suspect install/usage it still kills airplanes. I've seen atleast half a dozen planes go in that the most likely cause was a switch of some kind. I've seen more go in because they weren't turned on regardless of the power supply used.

Choose what you like for convenience and function and test your gear. Then use it the same every time so if something goes wrong you can identify and fix it.

I do not use a switch but I build my planes so that batteries are easily removed every round.
Aug 09, 2017, 12:51 PM
hot air rises...
jfinch's Avatar
In planes with canopies I prefer switch jacks. Never had an issue with a switch jack... used them for years. But if you are not flying on grass or hand catching your plane, you'll get dirt in the switch and will likely have a problem. On planes with canopies (i.e. Snipe and others with nosecones) I just plug the battery in and out.
Aug 09, 2017, 01:54 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
OK... You guys have convinced me to try a couple mag switches.

Latest blog entry: Something old is new again
Aug 09, 2017, 02:29 PM
In F3J size does matter!
roydor's Avatar
I have never understood people who tape canopies...
I have canopies that slide off using a rod to retain it in place. I just slide them on and off the fuse. I have a mechanical switch mounted inside the fuse under the canopy with a charge lead. I just slide the canopy off to turn on or off and to charge, then slip it back on.
I make my switches myself, just 5 min and their done. Been doing so for years.
Aug 09, 2017, 02:31 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
I have never liked the rod retainer for a canopy. It tends to slide around too much for my liking.
Latest blog entry: Something old is new again
Aug 09, 2017, 02:45 PM
xStatiCa's Avatar
Mickey showed where he put some tube material of some kind that the canopy rod slides into so that it doesn't slide around. I have always wanted to do that but I still use packaging tape. I am getting tired of the glue mess from the tape that ends up collecting on the fuse. I replace the tape about once or twice a month. When it is wet out, it can cause problems and not want to stick too. I really need to do something different.
Aug 09, 2017, 04:24 PM
Registered User
Battery shrink tube. It's more rigid, not rubbery at all. Makes a nice contoured plastic retention ring. Perfectly formed to the fuse. Tape one side of the canopy and slide a piece of the shrink tube over the top. I make a notch on the bottom for orientation.
Quick, easy, cheap. Slides on and off easily.
Latest blog entry: Snipe
Aug 09, 2017, 05:41 PM
Time for me to Fly...
Mr. Wiz's Avatar
I just use a pair of pieces of black electrical tape. Then I open and close it on one side like a hatch that's hinged by the tape. The nature of the electrical tape is such that it holds well and opens well. It's not pretty but it works great.
Last edited by Mr. Wiz; Aug 09, 2017 at 08:23 PM.

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