Air Hogs Hydro Foam Storm Launcher
I was asked to shut down part 1 and start part 2.
Part 1 is here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=535884
Ernest Butler suggests the following mods can be tried, but are not really necessary.
1. Even though thats a really good battery, and it comes with it's own protective case and is self plugging, you can run larger capacity battery's or save some weight by using your own battery with a few easy mod's.
I have run a three cell battery on those motors that come with it once on one that had hobby gear in it,(the gear it comes with probably won't support three cells) but like I said , once. It melted the motor supports.
2. It comes with prop guards, unless you plan to stick your fingers in the props , I would remove them, before even trying to fly it. It even shows how in the instructions, very easy to do, and gives the most dramatic improvement in flight performance. They also cause some drag , so you do lose some flight time.
The rest will void the warranty , and is meant for hobby guys, from Ernest personally.
3. Do the common spring mod, like the aero ace, on the transmitter, then it will fly hands off.
4. Cut off the horizontal, yes , thats right, cut it off. Its much more maneuverable without it. Its just there for looks and helps strengthen the verticals. It also provides a little of the self recovery, but mostly it just kills the effectiveness of the elevator. I have tried running the upper as an elevator too, but it's just unnecessary weight really.
As for removing the horizontal. I wouldn't say it flys better so much as it is more maneuverable. The horizontal serves as the trim for level flight. This allows the elevator to trim level with the main deck, and act in some way, as more wing area.
Removing the Horizontal requires that you trim the elevator up about 3 degrees (which would be hard to put in the instruction). And it loses a little of the self recover in a dive. But the airflow with full up elevator is not blocked by the upper horizontal, making the elevator more responsive.
Experimenting with different size verticals and horizontal, And changing angles is always fun. Its a give and take in performance , function and can greatly change flight characteristics, good and bad
5. Strip the battery down to just the cells and install you own plug, like deans connectors. It will weigh less and then you can use your own battery's and charger if you already own some in that size range.
Lipo Battery Warning!
I feel I must say that i can't recommend that just anybody go prying apart the stock battery unless you feel like you know what your doing and are willing to take the risk in destroying the battery or worse . The few samples I had were relatively easy to take apart but that could change if they use more glue on the battery case seams.
Any 7.4 volt lipo will do as long as it around the same weight and can handle at least 10 amps continuous. The case and the connecting pins that the stock lipo comes and boat uses weighs about 14 grams alone, So if you do away with it you can save quit a bit of weight or run a larger capacity battery. I have run up to 1050's on mine.
I shouldn't say any lipo, cause some brands that I have just won't put out the power that other brands will. Especially compared to the cells that are made for the Hydro.
6. If you don't care about looks, and want pure flight time and performance, remove the intake and exhaust, then the decals. It won't look as cool but it will be lighter. I think it does just fine with them all on though, but if your looking for that last gram....
The empty weight (no battery) should be around 7.3 Oz's in stock configuration.
7. The equivalent hobby gear in weight and performance would be a receiver the weight of a GWS receiver and two striped down 5 amp GWS speed controls or similar. Also a 8 gram servo or less. Its easy to get into the radio compartment to change over. Of course you would need a computer radio with mixing to make it work.
8. Good way to save 4 or 5 grams by carefully removing the shrink wrap and using corrsion X.
9. Transmitter mod. I just Hot glued the top of some hobby sticks from a hobby transmitter, on top of the joy sticks. Use threaded rod for a more permanent solution.
I did this mod all the time with my game pads for computer flying games. Just felt better to me cause I fly RC so much I guess. Plus you almost have to, if you fly using two fingers on one stick. I don't but some do.
Just unscrew the tops off a old Hobby transmitter and mount them on.
10. The motors are real similar to these here http://www.bphobbies.com/view.asp?id...00&pid=V738321 but are a few grams heavier. The magnets in the BP 130 are stronger and lighter ( cost more) but the armature has a cold wind. If you take the armature out of the Hydro and insert into the BP 130, makes for a lighter motor with good power.
As far as replacements, I don't think that spinmasters will list the motors as a replaceable part. As they don't expect a kid to go after it with a soldering iron. What we as hobbyist can hope for is that there is enough sold that a company buys a bunch just to part them out like some do with the Aero Ace.
As far as brushless , You could always go with Feigao's or the Medusa's (see the STRONG RC brushless motor tips at the end of this post)
Of course, the cheap route would be to make your own little hot wound 20 mm CDrom's. Weigh about the same and your options are limitless.
The motors on the SL each put out about 110- 120 grams (4.2 oz's) thrust each or about 8.5 onces of thrust total with the stock props.
Ernest's flying tips.
1. It is easy to land on water, and at different speeds. Full speed touch and goes are easy in water also.
Only problem that I have seen in landing is that , especially in pro mode, it becomes more sensitive on the steering as you throttle back, so it becomes pretty easy to roll it over in the air, and go in nose first. Doesn't hurt it, but if it doesn't pop back out of the water up right, your swimming .
Driving on the water varies with the water and wind really. It handles best on choppy water and is easy to drive around at what ever speed with little fear of it flipping.
In smooth water you have to hold back on the elevator to keep the back of the sponson in the water. This keeps it from spinning out at mid speed, and brings it up on plane quicker. With practice, you can spin it on a dime right were you want it.
Ernest's elevator equalizer fix
Here is something you can try if your savvy with geometry and have some construction skills.
My stock SL will loop upright just fine even in beginner mode. But to fly inverted, it has to be in expert mode, I go into a loop, and at the top of the loop I push forward on the stick and I can get it to fly inverted for a extended period of time. I usually end up turning the wrong way after awhile and then roll out of it. But while I'm upside down I have never had enough elevator authority to fully push it into a outside loop because as stated before, it has much more up programed in it then down.
This can be remedied.
To fix this without having skill in reprogramming the stock transmitter, it can be done with geometry. Here are the steps one can try-
First, replace and reattach the elevator with a new one by using tape hinges. You can use the old elevator but I like using the upper horizontal as a elevator replacement. This will take out the slop that the stock elevator hinge has.
Next, re bend or replace the push rod from the elevator, so the the hinge point that it connects to the elevator (you will also need to replace the push rod horn on the elevator) is far behind the hinge point of the elevator itself ( just guessing about 1/4 inch). This will mechanically change the elevator geometry so that it will take less travel to deflect the elevator down more. You will have less up elevator than it originally has, but it already has more than enough.
Also , if you lower the point on the control horn where the push rod attach's , you will get more travel, this can make up for some loss in up elevator from the new geometry.
Ernest's first out of box flight report.
I will give you a full report, good and bad.
First off, out of the box, some of the fiber tape used to secure the motor support was not stuck down. The Tape did not seem sticky anymore (I guess from the heat in shipping) and wouldn't stay stuck. I just removed it (it was stuck real well in some areas), and replaced it with clear tape (looks better anyway).
Also my windshield sticker had the same problem. A little heat and some clear tape fixed it.
Mike's boat did not have that problem.
Seem to have very good power. Would barely pull vertical with a fresh charge AH lipo. Really strong battery for sure.
First off, this one was about 10 grams lighter than my last one, so thats good. ( 260 grams RTF, stock battery, no prop guards)
Straight out of the box, with the prop guards on, it flew, but not well. It was hard to tell because it was very windy. And the wind made me drive it straight into the asphalt, full throttle, from about 15 feet in the air.
It didn't do any damage, but the receiver board shifted forward and caused the elevator push rod to rub against it and stick. Easy fix. The bottom foam cover is just taped on , so I removed it , slide the receiver board back and secured it with a dab of hot glue.
I then waited for a calmer day.
It was finally calm so I went ahead and took the Prop Guards off (I hate those things), and went flying.
Very good power but one motor seemed stronger than the other. so I went ahead and landed , then run the motor in on the ground at a low throttle setting like it says in the instructions.
This seemed to fix it and I then had very good power on both motors.
Back to flying , I noticed that it did not seem to want to trim out in pitch, wanted to go up or down. I landed and looked at the horizontal. It looked like it had a small amount of negative incidents in it. That is a bad thing. It's suppose to have a slight amount of positive. I don't know what could have happened. If it was glued in incorrectly or if somebody changed something at the last minute by accident.
I readjusted it by re bending the crease and that helped quite a bit. But i guess I'm so use to flying with out the horizontal, I just didn't like the way it flew with it on , so I cut it off.
It flew really well then with excellent power. It would pull vertical with a fresh AH battery on take off. After the vertical would peter out, I could just let the nose drop and continue flying as normal.
Takes a little to get the elevator trimmed just right with the slide controls. I guess cause I'm use to push button trims or trims with clicks. This doesn't have that, and when your in the air, it's easy to move the trim to much. Best to trim it on smooth ground with short hops into the air and see how it flys.
I tend to just throw planes in the air and deal with the consequences afterward.
After that flight, i went ahead and removed the verticals and replaced them with some that were slightly taller made out of depron. The stock ones look to short to me, especially after you cut the horizontal off. For some reason , they are shorter than the earlier proto types. This helps it from weather veining into the wind as bad but I like looks that the taller verticals give me.
I also didn't have any problem performing nice tight rolls and loops.
Remember, to do a roll, you must be going full speed at altitude, pull the throttle back to half, then go full over. it will do a nice roll.
In short, It had very good power, But I would recommend to go ahead and remove the horizontal right away. This does just seem to make it fly much better. Especially if is not mounted properly.
Transmitter spring removal pictures are here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=102
Changing the SL battery connectors is here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...postcount=1256
Removing stock motors is here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=895
Ernest's conversion to STRONG RC Motors c-20 brushless motors is here: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...postcount=3506
Vertical replacement: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...postcount=1838
My first brushless conversion: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...&postcount=898
STRONG RC Motors c-20 motors brushless conversion tips: https://www.rcgroups.com/forums/show...postcount=5221
Joined Jan 2007
I started reading that thread. About 2 and a half hours in I was getting bug-eyed. Thanks for starting fresh. I am going to do my best to keep up with this one.
I just got my first SL about 3 days ago. I took it out for one spin, keeping it mostly on the ground to "condition" the motors (even that was fun :P). I was driving on rough cement and noticed that some of the plastic skids had already broken off! I read that some people have used Milk Jugs- is that recommended?
I think I am going to take it out for my first flight as soon as my batt's are done charging
The other question I had was- Are these things being discontinued? I had read a few people who thought that because of the Mini's release they would no longer make the full sized.
If that is the case, and after I realized how much fun this thing is, I am wondering if I should go snatch up a few more for backup?
The plastic on mike jugs does do well for replacement skids. Use 3m 77 spray to glue them on.
Some people have used the plastic strap that comes in the box to hold down the SL in its packaging., but there are two different packaging boxes and one doesn't have that strap
Also, c/f here on RC groups sells stuff called rhino skin that works real well. He also sells indestructible replacement verticals.
There are still plenty of SL left in the market for sell. Target is not carrying them any more, but we are not sure why. The product director from spinmasters was baffled by that move on Targets part. There still selling well and at full price at many locations.
Also , besides the Mini, there should be follow up versions of different medium and pro levels coming up in the near future from Spinmasters.
United States, FL, Naples
Joined Dec 2002
Obviously, you are Having Fun!
The MSL can take tons of crash abuse as it is much lighter than the SL. I have not broken anything on my SL's other than the props, but others have been holding thier's together with tape and glue after crashes.
IMHO I think the MSL flys better with the controller from the Yellow SL set to novice, so if you are going to buy both, get the yellow SL.
Joined Dec 2006
My son's skids are beat up so bad we can't use it until I put new skids on. I'll try these this weekend after I decide what to use to attach it. I'm thinking I don't want anything permanent since I'll probably have to replace them on a regular basis.
Any suggestions for securing the skids. I read the bit about 3m 77 spray...is that a permanent adhesive?
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