7 or 8 cells for my Soarstar? - RC Groups
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May 20, 2002, 05:09 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar

7 or 8 cells for my Soarstar?

Hi all

The instructions for my Soarstar say to use an 8 cell 600mah Nicad pack. I got one made up and it certainly powers along.

I have a few 7 cell packs from the old SkyScooter. How will the Soarstar fly with this smaller battery? At the risk of sounding dim, does the extra cell add power or duration (or both)? I'm guessing power, so will the smaller battery be enough for the Soarstar?



p.s. I e-mailed the manufacturers of the Soarstar to ask them about the camera mount accessory shown in the instruction booklet. Their reply follows. I wonder if this part ever existed, or did they just use a Wingo camera mount:

Dear Peter,

Tks for your e-mail of May 20.
Refer to the mount for camera,we don't supply it.You can use a flat balsa which making a stand for sticking the camera.

Best regards,
Zoe Wang
Last edited by Peter Young; May 20, 2002 at 05:13 PM.
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May 20, 2002, 09:22 PM
Registered User
I fly my Soarstar with

1. 8-cell 600AE - climbs like a balloon and great performance, flies for 3-4 minutes

2. 7-cell 600AE - flies but very unstable because too tail heavy and I do not want to add weight to the nose - flies for 4 minutes

3. 8-cell 1700AU (zagi 1700 pack) flies for 13 minutes with loops and rolls and inverted; or up to 17 miunutes of gentle flying

4. 7-cell CP1700 - similar performance to the zagi pack, 0.5 oz heavier.

I also have a camera platform made out of a restaurant cardboard coaster that I velcro to the top opening of the Soarstar. Works good for me.

Hope this helps.
May 21, 2002, 04:06 AM
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Peter Young's Avatar
Thanks - that's just what I was after. I'm also wanting to mount a camera. Does your "coaster mount" sit flush on the top of the cockpit area? Is the camera and servo held on with rubber bands?
May 21, 2002, 06:33 PM
Registered User
My coaster mount is oval shape (from Outback Restaurant - Australian style) that almost exactly match the oval top of the Soarstar. I ca harden the edge and tape both sides with thin clear packing tape to strengthen.

I mount my video cam/transmitter unit and 9V cell on it with velcro. When needed I mount the whole thing on the plane, other times I just leave it out -- lets lots of air in to cool the battery.
May 21, 2002, 07:45 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar
Great stuff - I don't surpose you have a pic of this setup you could post on this newsgroup?

I was planning on mounting a disposable still camera, by putting a foam block in the front of the plane, sitting the camera on top, rubber band this in place, then use another band to hold the servo in position. I'd prefer something more stable like you have developed, but can't think how with a disposable. Maybe I need to go to a cheap 35mm viewfinder or digital?
May 22, 2002, 12:54 PM
Registered User
I'll try to get some digital pictures of it when I come back from a 2 week trip leaving tonight.
May 22, 2002, 01:59 PM
Registered User
Mr.RC-CAM's Avatar

CamPod Project

I recently built a Soarstar Wireless Camera Mount. Just go to http://www.rc-cam.com/projects.htm and click on the "CamPod" link. The photos tell the story.

An undercarriage mounted disposable camera might not work out for you, but the construction details should still apply to your project.
Last edited by Mr.RC-CAM; May 22, 2002 at 02:03 PM.
May 27, 2002, 10:50 PM
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freq's Avatar
8 cells are your best bet, though I haven't personally tried 7. Here's what I've tried, in order of preference:

1) 8x1100AAU - best all around (duration, power, weight)
2) 8x1650 HR-AAU Sanyo NiMH - excellent duration at a slight weight penalty, slightly less punch
3) 8x1700AU & 8x1400AE Zagi packs - flaster & heavier

All of the above work with floats. Funny, I haven't yet flown the Soarstar with the stock 8xN600AAL pack that came with it.

As a general rule, adding a cell will increase power, but decrease duration, as current & weight go up. In the Soarstar, that can be compensated for by using a larger capacity pack, as above. It can take the extra weight without batting an eye.

Here's what I did with a $29 Intel digital camera. Twenty minutes with a power sander and a Dremel router turned a scrap foam block into a very snug camera platform.

May 27, 2002, 10:52 PM
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freq's Avatar
Here's what the foam block looks like.
May 28, 2002, 04:47 AM
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Peter Young's Avatar
Thanks - this is very helpful.

I had a look at digital cameras but was a bit worried about the resolution. I'm now looking at cheap fixed focus, autowind 35mm cameras (eg. a Nikon EF 400SV for $35 your money).

It seems the mounting options are a flat plate on top of the cockpit (eg. light balsa ply), foam inside as you've done, or I've seen a sponge inside also used.

The foam looks neat. How's the camera resolution?

Thanks again for the info.

May 28, 2002, 11:02 AM
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freq's Avatar
I like the idea of using a spongy foam, Peter. Might be tricky to get a consistant alignment, but would allow for adjustment.

Yup, a 35mm camera will likely give the best results, by far. Keep in mind that a fair number of your shots will be garbage, so you're likely to waste a bunch of film. The beauty of digital is that I get 160 shots per clip and never worry about wasting a shot, with instant results. I was so excited the first day I took this up, the anticipation of waiting for the film to develop might have killed me.

To give credit where credit is due, joemi tipped me off on the Intel deal. Here's a link to the rebate (offer expires May 31):

It's 640x480 resolution. Nothing to write home about, but at $29 after rebate, a great deal that also doubles as a webcam.

An even better bet would be the Aiptek Mini PenCam 1.3 megapixel for $99. Very small & light for true 1248x960 resolution, and its form factor is perfect for our use.
Be careful when evaluating Aiptek's other cameras, as a few of them are listed at 1024x768, but this is interpolated. Actual resolution is 640x480.

Pic below is from first day test shots with the Intel Camera.

May 28, 2002, 05:45 PM
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Peter Young's Avatar
Wow - that's sharper than I was expecting from a cheap digital. I take your point about the strike rate - I guess that's the big downside to using a film camera (paying for lots of misses). I'll go back and have a look at these again.

The sponge looks good also in terms of vibration - I suspect this would help to dampen bumps (both in flight when photographing, and on landing).
May 28, 2002, 07:45 PM
Registered User

Nice thread.

Have a Wingo myself, now with the 2.33:1 gear drive. Was wondering what kind of duration you're getting from your 1650 8 cell NiHM pack Chris? I'm looking at getting 2 from Batteries America.

I got a 1100 mAh 8 cell NiCad pack with my Wingo, and it seems quite good. I've been using direct drive so far, so I've only risked 10 minutes.

Hoping to set up a camera for lake aerial photos as well. Don't think I'll go digital until I get some experience. Floats, water & digital doesn't sound good...

Happy flying!

May 29, 2002, 12:31 AM
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freq's Avatar
Good call on the gear-drive, Mike. Perfect for floats & hauling a camera.

Some great deals on batteries can be found at
Radical R/C has terrific service and good prices at www.radicalrc.com

On my Soarstar, which has a 1.85:1 (I believe) and an 8x4 prop, I got exactly 20 mins of mixed flight on the 1650's the other night. Keep in mind that this was with a new pack that hadn't yet been broken in (NiMH get better after a few uses) and I was carrying the extra weight of GloWire. I'll have to time it again with the pack broken in, as I only did it that one time.

On the same night, I got about 14-15 mins on the 1100AAU NiCd's.

I haven't yet had the spherical glands to try the digicam on water. I hope to do it with wireless video soon, though, as it should be easier to waterproof if the lens is designed right.

May 29, 2002, 12:41 AM
Registered User


20 minutes of flight is pretty nice - the thought of even more after break-in is even better... Do you notice a big drop in power from the 1100 8 cell NiCad to the 1650 8 cell NiMH?

What do you charge your 1650 NiMH pack at? 1.5C? About 45 minutes? Any break-in tips?

I'll have to compare prices at the other places. I thought Batteries America was supposed to be the place to go. I know they won't charge me an arm and a leg to ship to Canada. 10.50. Best I've seen yet!

What is this glowire of which you speak? Sounds interesting...

Thanks again!


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