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Nov 26, 2020, 11:03 AM
v/r "Sub" Ed
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Originally Posted by redboat219
What is your major malfunction?

Didn't Mommy and Daddy show you enough attention when you were a child? GET me lol!!
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Nov 26, 2020, 10:31 PM
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For those not familiar with the qoutes Ed and I were exchanging watch FULL METAL JACKET.

Joker meets Sgt. Hartman from Full Metal Jacket (0 min 27 sec)

Full Metal Jacket: After Gunnery Sgt. Hartman's Death (3 min 5 sec)
Nov 28, 2020, 05:54 PM
v/r "Sub" Ed
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Hull (HUL)

Now that the majority of systems have been developed and tested, I could turn my attention to prepping the hull and final assembly. As you may remember in the original post, the GRANT is a 25+ year old RC Submarine and this is her 2nd major refit.

She’s a 1:96 Scale JAMES MADISON 627 Class Boomer that began life as a Scale Shipyard BENJAMIN FRANKLIN 640 Class hull. Fairly identical save the higher location of the Fairwater Planes, 2 piece articulated upper rudder, BQR-15 Towed array reel hump located starboard side outboard Capsule Loading Hatch in AMR#1 (an addition in later years). I also had to add the towed array housing and starboard side exit tube on the stern planes.

As the boat I served 6 FBM Deterrent Patrols aboard, among the best crew ever under CDR D. E. Watkins, I just had to model her.

She depicts her 1981 paint scheme from the famed Wilhelmshaven Germany and La Spezia Italy "Port-of Call" Patrols. Rare for a "Boomer", but showed the Soviet Union the US Silent Service sailed with impunity in ANY body of water. I am lucky enough to have seen her a few times in drydock and make no mistake that's how she looked below the waterline. Many photos to prove it.

This RC Submarine first hit the water at the 1997 SubRegatta at the North Lake on the US Naval Submarine Base Groton CT (Time Stamp 38:45)

She first employed a D&E Miniatures 3.5” MOD 1 WTC with adjustable hand crank and operated this way for 15 years. In my not so humble opinion, this WTC was among the best Dave put out, roomy and adjustable. It served on 3 different models, 1:96 GRANT, 1:48 SHARK, 1:80 PATRICK HENRY. Again in my not so humble opinion, the only advantage of a WTC is in its ability to be quickly removed from one boat saving you on $$.

Her second refit employed a 3” SubDriver, which died of spider cracks. The downside of the Lexan (Polycarb) tube is this and it’s poor internal ID Tolerance.

Let me be clear: EACH and EVERY RC Submarine system out there has its PRO’s and CON’s. Even what I’m building in this thread. NOT one system is best. What IS best is what works for you in your application. I wish the adjustable Ballast Tank WTC would make a comeback, but I guess people out there just like fitting one to each boat they own, and that’s what the market drove for Dave. Kinda like NASA and disposable rockets.

In Photo HUL01, you can make out the original WTC-3.5” Saddles which were nothing more than 3” PVC Pipe fittings as Sch 40 pipe is 3.5” OD, perfect! Looking closer at the saddles I had to subsequently add Ľ” spacers to use the 3” SubDriver, fortunately its still worked out to having the top of the SubDriver right at the surface waterline. These spacers were no longer needed and eventually removed.

Photo HUL02 shows me filling the 3/16” rails which is the “backbone” of the “Skeletal Dive System” allowing me to easily mount or relocate the Modules of the system. The are held to the old saddles with the 3D Printed clamps (grey).

This was actually used as well, at least for the Ballast Tank, on my 1:48 SHARK SSN-591. That of course employed the “Modular” Diver Box
system that I introduced Bob Martin to and appears to be taking hold in our community as an alternative for larger boats (1:72 and bigger)

With the excess saddle material(s) removed, 4-40 Brass inserts installed, and a fresh coat of “hull red” paint to hide the scars, she’s ready to have the rails installed, photo HUL03. Below to the right you can see I was test fitting the Command-n-Control (CNC) and Propulsion (PRP) modules test fitted to the backbone.

HUL04 shows the ventral aft side of the CNC module, you can see the bracket and two holes that slide onto the backbone. I just use 3/16” wheel collars fore and aft to keep it in place. You can also see 4 electrical connections for 2mm Banana jacks for ECS PWR Supply and Switch. 3 servo leads for ESC, Rudder and Stern Planes The white goo? Very tenacious 3M 5200!

HUL05 forward ventral view of the CNC. Another the bracket and two holes for the CNC. Power feed 2mm connectors from the PWR compartment. Fairwater Planes and Ballast Tank servo leads. You can also see the inlet/outlet tubes for the Micro-Pump.

Note: These brackets hold the very top of the CNC right at the design surface waterline.

Now we begin final assembly, of course functionally testing along the way! HUL06 shows the backbone with the CNC and PRP units about to be married. Now the power connections are of course 2mm Banana jacks, easy enough to connect or disconnect. But what about the servo leads?

One could argue the use of IP67 or 68 3 lead waterproof LED connectors readily available at Amazon. In fact I would also, but due to their size and quantity, they wouldn't be practical in this application, That’s 10 connectors in this small space! I fully plan to use them on my 1:48 scale boats!

HUL07 is another view as they are about to come together? Why do I think of mating squids here?? Note the O-rings, silicone oil and wheel collars.

Like Crew Dragon and the ISS we have hard docking! HUL08 shows the mating of the 2mm Jacks. I’ve been doing this for years. It’s simple, reliable...and works for me. I do not expose energized metal to water, period. Feel free to do so.

Here in Photo HUL09, I’m dealing with the servo connectors. I merely pulled the connector housing off the servo leads exposing the female pins, I crimped male pins on the supply leads, added appropriately sized rigid moisture seal heat shrink tubing, connected the leads (mind the color!), heat shrink, and done. PLENTY of lead length for repair or swapping out for years to come. Again I wish I could use 3 Conductor waterproof LED connectors, but this WILL work, will fit in this space, is easy enough, and is 100% reliable.

Having installed the backbone into the boat, now the real fun begins! Photo HUL10 shows the start of the assembly with PWR, CNC and PRP units in place. A closer look with photo HUL11 at CNC and PRP units. While the wiring may look messy and confusing, it’s actually easier than stuffing into a tight enclosure. But truth be told, it kinda reminded me of a line in a Pink Floyd song, “I'm wearing the inside out.”

Man I dig me some Floyd.

Photo HUL12 shows the drivetrain and Rudder/Stern Plane linkage assembly. The wiring between the PRP and CNC is harnessed properly to the rails using nothing more than cable ties. In fact that’s what holds on the PRP, BST and PWR modules while 3/16” collars keeps them moving longitudinally.

Photo HUL 13 the BST unit is wired up and going in. Just need to run the air pump hoses for the “Low Pressure Blower” surfacing.

Well, assembly is complete in Photo HUL14. All that’s left to do is add foam, trim her out, and go on patrol!

As I’m about two weeks behind in writing this from actual events, I can say we had a successful ALPHA Trial. But I’ll cover that next week.

Stay Safe-Build boats.
Dec 06, 2020, 12:36 PM
v/r "Sub" Ed
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Flotation, ALPHA Trials, Final thoughts.

Now that all was said and done, time to get real. Rubber hits the road, or in our case , the boat gets her bottom wet.

At just over 53” in length, she just about fits in a standard bathtub when completely full, at least the one I have. So when I dunked her in, her stern immediately dropped to the bottom. I knew she was heavy back there, I just didn’t realize how much. That modified bilge pump is a lot heavier than it looks. On the plus side, the buoyancy vs weight of the 5200mAh LIPO gave me no headache fwd.

You can see in photo HUL_A, the amount of foam I had to stuff in the stern to achieve the proper buoyancy back there. All of that is BELOW the design surface waterline. In retrospect I realize I should have located the servos as far aft as possible, but this was a refit and not a new construction so that kinda dedicated putting them where they are (I was too lazy to really shorten the pushrods). This would have given me more room around the motor to consolidate that foam.

So here it was on a cold November day the Sunday before Thanksgiving, we headed over to Lake Ronkonkoma which is midway out on Long Island to conduct ALPHA Trials. A bit brisk wearing shorts this time of year, but I wasn’t planning on running deeper than I was willing to go in, so don’t mind the fashion choice in Photos 631_01 & 631_02 (ESMM UWG Kraken Division pride!).

The battery is ready for connection in 631_03. Fairwater servo is tested, gas is loaded and tested in 631_04 including a LOS condition (failsafe), CnC Dry space checked-seal inspected, and pressure tested in 631_05, Motor tested in Ahead/Astern bells along with A-STOP on a LOS condition (failsafe) along with Rudder /Stern plane servo and pitch control in 631_06. The “Rig-for-Dive” checklist was completed and ready to go after the final seal of the CnC compartment in 631_07.

After lowering her in the water and seeing that she simply didn’t roll over, I moored her up to the mooring buoy to let her acclimate for a bit to the current conditions. This will also let all the trapped air “bubbles” work their way out. The new “Sierra Mike” Buoy worked just fine as evidenced in photo’s 631_08 & 631_09. All my boats have remote switches and can hang ALL day on a mooring buoy in “standby mode”. Ready for use at a moment's notice. Each boat has a rare earth magnet against the inner side of the hull in the bow that makes this possible. “SM” can accommodate 3 boats, those boats can be daisy chained as well. Easy!!

BTW, for those of you who might worry about the holding strength, other than a collision from an idiot not paying attention, the conditions generated to have the boat slip off far exceed what one would be willing to run in. The rare earth magnet on the end of the buoy’s chain has 1/16” neoprene rubber adhered to the contact side so it won’t mar the boat's paint and provide added friction for shear loads.

Underway, making way on ElectroChemically stored power. All Ahead 1/3rd!! ….. answers A/A 1/3rd as she gets underway from the mooring. Photo 631_10

Sitting on the mooring showed me she’s light in the bow. Getting underway showed me she’s WAY overpowered! I was really surprised at how much oomph that Rule 800GPH Bilge pump had on a 2C, 7.4V LIPO. The fact that this sub became overpowered at 3 notches above neutral kinda set me back. Look, I’m not one of those submarine throttle jockeys, ghosting along with barely a wake at Periscope Depth is my wheelhouse. I definitely prefer scale speed. This session required keeping it at 2 clicks on the surface.

Despite that, she did run nice on the surface in 1 to 1-1/2” waves exhibited in photo 631-11. Equivalent to 8-12 waves at this scale, or Sea State 5. Steady, kindly and true. Fairly well ballasted despite being light in the bow, she did have a slight list to port. She had no torque roll even with gunning her to see if I could induce it. Keeping the heavy items low from the start contributed to that. Very pleased here. She doesn’t “bob” like a toy. Though this is the max I’d care to sail her in, not 6” waves like my 1:48” DeBoer SKIPJACK, the USS SHARK!! FWIW, GRANT has a phenomenal turning radius on the surface for a high length to width aspect ratio boat, onlookers commented on how well she turned!

Photo 631_12 is the ‘money shot”. Love this photo, makes me think of photo 631_12A. Thank you VERY much Ray Mason for taking these. It helps to have a professional take photos! Photo 631_13 shows detail of the sail, and since she has “no way on” at a calm moment, you can see she’s light overall.

Photo 631_14 and 15 show’s exactly how light because she’s in the dive trim with the Ballast Tank fully vented. Again, light in the bow, light overall. As this was ALPHA trials, and my feet and legs were getting cold I decided to do submerged trimming in the spring at BETA trials. Turkey day I usually decommission the fleet for the off season anyway.

What’s the BEST part of a running session? Photo 631_16 show’s it! Going home and still having the boat.

Mission accomplished!!

Afterthoughts and general comments:

If you read the thread in its entirety to this point, I thank you. I realize a lot of it may be drawn out and boring, but I often think there is value in not only showing what you do, but the why as well. As an Engineer, I find myself always asking the why. When you do something, what motivated you to take the time to do it?

See, to me an RC Submarine can mean many things to many people. Some on these forums (and other forums) are quite passionate about their answer, as I can be. But in the end the point I always stress, there is NO right way to make an RC Submarine, or how to run one either. It’s what the owner chooses to do. You get a lot of opinions, a few from armchair readers, that are worth it, and most are just speculation. You have an idea? Build it, prove it, Blog it. That impresses me. If you are new to the hobby, make that your mantra...There is no right way...there is no right way…. Providing of course your surfacings always equal your dives.

The entire point of this exercise was to try something new. Something outside of the box, and see HOW it works. I did this at my own expense and risk (if it even would work) to share with you all that you can be creative in what you do. Some may see the value, most will not. A select few will run with it, hopefully one will not only run with it, but expand on it.

Ideas to?? Comment below

Two things I discovered was:

A; The battery leads were too short, making it difficult to load the battery. I did add an extension, but I now had to stuff that along with the wire. There's’ got to be an easier way. Anyway, I have subsequently pulled the original harness, and used the opportunity to develop a better “Wire through hull” connector while lengthening the connector. 3D Printed ABS, gave it an acetone vapor bath, and sealed it with 3M 5200. Rock sold CyberDyne Terminator quality. You be the judge, see photo’s PWR_A through PWR_D.

B: I left the gas in from the ALPHA Trial thinking it would be safe at home on the shelf. This was the FIRST time I did not include a gas relief valve on my gas boats thinking the hose was short and easily replaceable. Well guess what? At 2AM my step daughter was startled by a loud pop and subsequent hiss from the next room. After I stopped laughing for 10 minutes I explained to her what it was. Shame on me for leaving a boat gassed lol. But then again who would think a hose would blow at night, when it’s cool? Yes, I heard that famous line “So what if the hose blows? The boat will surface with authority!” What does that even mean?? I NEVER had a Clippard hose blow in the water! For me they only blow when I don't have a brass hose clamp (like this oversight), or when she’s in the sun for any length of time. Since I started installing relief valves with ALL gas boats, I never had a hose burst much less form a bubble on one, and the gas remains between outings. See photo BCS_A for the newly reinstalled relief valve on the fwd bulkhead of the Ballast Tank. Brass Clamps at every fitting.

I can firmly state the “Skeletal Dive System” is not for every boat, or person. Also, neither is the ubiquitous WTC (and watertight cylinder commercial or not), nor the dry hull gas (old school), or dry hull Piston System, nor the Dynamic diver. Each has their place for a particular modeler. Each has value.

Skeletal Dive System:

Relatively inexpensive. Other than the RC gear you have to purchase anyway, I’d say I spent on the order of $50-$60USD. But I have experience, a 3D printer, tools, consumables and many doo-dads and leftovers. Probably the most expensive is the bilge pump. The S3 T1000 was ~$9USD. Of course the Hull was a refit, so that was “free” lol.

Scalable: Other than the Micro-Air Pump I use in conjunction with the gas blow as well as your Powerplant/Propulsion combo, this would work for medium to large size boats. In fact it’s what I’m rolling forward on the following: 1:48 DeBoer 688 (Refit), 1:48 DeBoer 571, 1:62 Scale DeBoer 80” SSRN SEAVIEW (refit), 1:48 Scale Shipyard Scale Shipyard BALAO Class, 1:48 NDS NAUTILUS (TBO), 1:96 NDS (Beck) VANGUARD (TBO)

Fairly Easy Assembly: With forethought, everything is right there and accessible.

Fairly Easy Troubleshooting: The modularity of the components limit's failure points.

Fairly easy: Maintenance and repair: Again...WIth forethought, everything is right there and accessible.

Fairly quick build: I'm NOT a speed demon when it comes to builds (I like to enjoy them), but soup to nuts excluding design time, and it was refitting an existing hull, maybe 4 weekends or so total. This first one was early October until late November in real time. Not bad.


Experience Needed: You should have at least one boat under your belt having experienced RC Submarine Design, Layout, construction, trimming and operations. However I have met a few RC prodigies out there who jump right in achieving “one boat wonder” status. Your call.

Smaller scales: Not sure how it would make out with the smaller 1:96 and even smaller scale boats like your 1:144 scale maniacs. I’m a fan for the WTC for the small diameter hulls. BUT THAT'S JUST ME.

One boat, one system: I’d say this system lies between a dedicated old school dry hull boat (admittedly a nostalgic fan here), and the ubiquitous WTC. So for those budget minded, or die hard 75Mhz fans in with a dwindling supply availability, this might not cut it. Then again quite a few own an individual WTC for each hull, so is this even a point? Also, I wanna see someone take this and make it easily swappable. Just leave the appropriately sized ballast tank in each hull.

So that’s it. I’ll be off to patrol ponds to deter 1:96 scale Soviet aggression. Hope to see you at the pond.

Stay safe-Build Submarines.
Last edited by Quartermaster; Dec 06, 2020 at 01:40 PM.
Dec 06, 2020, 02:40 PM
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Jan 03, 2021, 02:30 PM
I decided to check this forum out due to curiosity (RC planes and 1:10scale buggies) and really enjoyed your project.

You deserve to be very proud of your model and your submarine service. I’ve worked with many ELTs and machinist mates during my nuclear career and they are the the cream of the crop. All spoke highly of Hyman Rickover and his legacy. They all picked on the surface guys calling them “targets.”

Jan 04, 2021, 09:34 AM
v/r "Sub" Ed
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Originally Posted by valkrider
I decided to check this forum out due to curiosity (RC planes and 1:10scale buggies) and really enjoyed your project.

You deserve to be very proud of your model and your submarine service. I’ve worked with many ELTs and machinist mates during my nuclear career and they are the the cream of the crop. All spoke highly of Hyman Rickover and his legacy. They all picked on the surface guys calling them “targets.”

Thank You!

Running at depth, somewhere in the Norwegian Sea onboard a Continent Killer, was definitely a high point in my life!

Not many people can say they Navigated an 8000 ton sub before they had a drivers license! Or crossed the Atlantic 3 different ways, on-over-under!

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