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Messages - Deerslayer

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General Discussion / Re: Field Charging Station
« on: Today at 05:07:27 AM »
I get what you are saying.

The 12 volt idea is simple and efficient (if the main goal is to provide power suitable for LiPo charging), as there is no up and down conversion to/from different voltages and ac/dc involved. Right now, folks are either carrying lead acid batteries around, charging under the hood (remember why it is called a "firewall"?), inside the car (remember Dave's van fire?) or lugging generators to the field. We could still have basically the current setup whereby the weather station is powered by the big battery, topped up by the solar cell and by generator whenever one is
available, with some simple changes:
1. Add additional solar cells to boost up capacity, as you suggest
2. Add the simple "plug board" to access 12 vdc for chargers. We could even set up a small panel with, say, Power Pole connectors and/or other commonly used ones.

This would be simple, cheap, easy and quick to do, wouldn't it?

General Discussion / Field Charging Station
« on: August 13, 2018, 12:40:57 PM »
Wouldn't it be nice to have charging station at our field?

Well, here is a nifty setup that the Cornwall club has. It was created by a former member (recently deceased). Pictures are attached.

The solar panel is mounted on the roof of the clubhouse. The charging station holds one or more large lead acid batteries. Like some other organizations or individuals have done, they acquired these from Bell as that company replaced them with Li-Ion technology. So, they are really heavy duty batteries. The appropriate electronics then feed 12 volts to a rather innovative arrangement up top. Two bare wires run behind the vertical backboard, one is positive, the other is ground. The drilled holes allow you to simply clip onto the pair at any available opening. Note the ceramic floor tiles in place as a fire protection.

This is a very nice setup. They operate year round and have not had any need to supply generator power to supplant the solar plus battery combination.

Something for us to consider?

General Discussion / Remote Weather and Video Stations
« on: August 13, 2018, 07:17:08 AM »
We are fortunate to have a Member, Dave Fasken, a Ham operator and electronics hobbyist in our club, who took it upon himself to fabricate our weather station at the field. This is based upon an amateur radio link to a server system on the Internet; an licensed amateur radio operator is required to be its owner/sponsor. Dave, Wilf, Herman and perhaps some other Members are such.

Over several years, some of us have wished for, and discussed, the possibility of obtaining something similar for still or video coverage of part of our field. Apart from the anticipated expense, there is the issue of how it could be done.

Here is a bit of information which I picked up at the Cornwall Fun Fly this past weekend.

A fellow flyer brought out one of his weather stations to demonstrate. There are a couple of clubs in the Ottawa area that have installed them. The system consists of the measuring instruments, a small solar panel, a small lead acid battery and the associated Arduino-based electronics. This was mounted on a piece of conduit - very compact!

The communications method is via the cellular network. You dial up the number and you get a test message with weather details. Pretty slick! He monitors his remote stations over the cellular network. The cost of this setup is $520 per year, which is affordable to some RC clubs, especially where their membership may have long driving distances. He retains ownership, looks after replacing the battery, if needed, and handles any technical issues. The predominant cost is for the cellular account.
So, "What about video?". The answer is forthcoming, but first you may find his information to be of interest:


He has done that as an experiment. The issue is cost of the "smartphone" connection, as opposed to the bare-bones texting capability of his weather station. Even if you only do still shots, perhaps updated once or twice per minute, you still need this level of service. He priced out his complete package at approximately $1700 per year - well above what would be practical for an organization such as KRCM.

Now, there may be other approaches, such as through the amateur radio community. Or, if a site put in an Internet link, along with associated support equipment (battery, inverted, solar panel, etc.), something could be set up. It could still be something worth investigating, of someone has the inclination.

A few years ago, Mike Lucas of Zycom Technology here in Kingston offered to look into this, but it was never followed up on. Mike's son was a KRCM Member and I have known and dealt with Mike professionally beginning some 20+ years ago. He is the co-founder of that company.

General Discussion / Tariffs
« on: August 07, 2018, 05:08:39 PM »
The Trump tariffs on Chinese imported products are showing up in a lot of products we buy from the US. RMRC is a well known supplier of r/c gear. As a customer of theirs, I received the following notification. Others may be hearing from companies with whom they deal. Please post any notifications you may receive.


RMRC Statement Regarding Chinese Tariff Surcharge
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Beginning on July 6, 2018, the US Government started imposing a 25% duty on a small subset of items and components that we import from China. These duties replace the existing duties on products, which previously already ranged between 0% and in excess of 12% depending on the item being imported.

Rather than imposing a fee on all FPV and RC products we sell, we are taking a more accurate and responsible approach. We feel charging a blanket fee is unfair to the customers who may be purchasing items made in other countries including the USA, purchasing the many items that are not covered by the 25% duty, or purchasing items that were imported and on the store shelves before the additional tariffs were added. We, therefore, are taking measures to make sure the prices of items are only increased if absolutely necessary.

Instead of charging our customers an additional fee on all items, we are taking the following measures:    Closely inspecting and researching every single incoming shipment to verify that the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (HTS) codes used by the brokers are 100% accurate. Often, if it isn’t clearly stated on the shipping invoice, brokers will pick HTS codes with mildly similar descriptions just because it is easier, but that often isn’t accurate. Examples of common errors for products that should not receive the additional 25% tariffs are lithium batteries, some sizes of brushless motors, cameras, antennas for video systems, video goggles, props, hand tools, and more. Some items that do receive the additional tariffs are ESC’s, RC transmitters and receivers, antennas for RC use, and more. Many of these items already had tariffs up to around 10%. Although some of our suppliers and manufacturers import items into the US themselves and then ship to us, we are verifying every single shipment that we ourselves are importing is filed with the correct HTS codes and the correct full values of the items.    
   We will only raise prices on the items that received the additional 25% duty, and even then only when absolutely necessary and as little as possible. As previously stated, we believe it is unethical and against the intent of the duties to charge a fee on all products, which may include products manufactured in the USA and other countries. Also, we will make every effort to absorb as much of these hopefully temporary fees as possible rather than pass them on to customers, even if it means that our profits will be temporarily reduced on some small number of products. It is inevitable that we will have to increase the prices on some items, but we will make every effort to avoid that rather than increasing the price.
It has always been our goal to have the best products at the fairest prices for our customers, and we are always looking for opportunities to keep our retail prices as low as possible so more people can enjoy this wonderful hobby we all love. Going forward we will continue to do all we can during this hopefully temporary time of increased duties to maintain our low prices.

Tim Stanfield
Ready Made RC, LLC, The Best in FPV Since 2009


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Plans, Projects, Building and Flying Tips / Snipping Tool - Windows 10
« on: August 03, 2018, 08:08:07 AM »
There may be a time when you would like to save a portion of your PC screen for later reference. This could be for documentation purposes, to save an interesting full or partial view of an application or a computer's screen to assist in resolving a technical issue or, as in a particular situation that I currently have, to pick up the settings of an attached piece of hardware (Vector flight controller, with its several screenfuls of parameters), before and after certain changes may have been made, in order to figure out what differences may exist.

I recently became aware of the Snipping Tool that exists on W10. Just click the little Windows icon (the Start Menu) and type into the box: Snipping Tool. You will be presented with the tool and can decide what/how you wish to save something that is presented on your screen, in one of several forms.


Related (sort of):

But, you say, I have a tablet or phone and would like to save a screenshot. How? Well, just press the Volume Down and Power buttons at the same time, hold them for a second, and your phone will take a screenshot. It'll show up in your Gallery app for you to share with whomever you wish!

For those of us who use Spektrum systems, there is a built in function which will capturethe transmitter's screen and store it as a BMP on the SD card. From there, you can pop the card into your PC, save the file or perhaps change it into a JPG for storage as documentation or to post or send as part of a troubleshooting effort.

I have done all of the above.

"A picture is worth a thousand words".
This technique can come in handy when you are trying to help someone else set up one of more functions on their radio. For instance, you show someone how to set up something that is new to them. As you proceed, you can grab a screenshot on the transmitter. Later, they can review it and use those settings as the starting point in setting something similar on a new model - or to set things back to the way they were before you messed around with it!

Buy, Sell, Trade or Give Away / Giant Scale Custom Plane for Sale
« on: August 02, 2018, 09:00:14 AM »
This would be a good way for someone to move up to a large plane, in the Giant Scale class, at minimal cost.

The Aero 120 is large sport plane of my own design, scaled up from a series of smaller, 40-sized ones. It has a Saito 120 4-stroke and high quality metal gear servos. Standard 5 channel radio and regular flight pack are all that is required.

This plane performs just like its 40-size little brothers, it can do all aerobatics and yet is gentle and trainer-like when desired. It has been flown at the Giant Scale events several times. It has a unique aileron/flaperon configuration which, when mixed to elevator, will yield extremely short takeoffs (more like a hop into the air!) and puddle-sized landings, as well as quick roll rate. You can fling it around like a much smaller airplane, or use it as a trainer. It flies beautifully with skis. This would be an excellent float plane, as well. It could easily tow a large banner.

It has never been bruised.

Asking $300, reasonable offers will be considered.

VIDEOS and PICTURES from KRCM Events and Activities / Dormoy Bathtub
« on: July 30, 2018, 10:59:24 AM »
Check this out!

Ken Gilmour has one; however, it's just a bit smaller, more suitable for one of his giant house cats - if he can teach them to fly. A fellow near Kingston had a full size one and Ken has a picture somewhere of the two planes together on the ground. Ken's has flown a couple of times many years ago and he is now refitting it for modern radio, etc. We hope to see it within the next month.

Sunday, September 2 will be the next great Float Fly and Swap Meet at Deseronto.

There will be food available!

If you have stuff to sell, bring it out. There is no charge and unlimited space to set up.

Bring some cash, as there will some good stuff for sale. Some of us will have floats, planes, engines, etc. on display!

There will be a  50/50 draw!

The large field is quite suitable to fly small foamies only (so hand launching is likely essential).

Club Memberships will be available, of course. Fees go toward the retrieve boat, other miscellaneous operating supplies. The site is available to Club Members at any time, year round.

Float Flying at Deseronto / Re: Float Flying Basics
« on: July 26, 2018, 09:24:15 AM »
Are you sure that stuff is rigid enough? The EPP foam in ARF's is more rigid, and is stronger in 'tear-away" resistance. I suppose you could use a thin coat of fibreglass.
It is quite strong. Sands very nicely. Put one layer of Tough tape on the bottom, from tip to the step, for abrasion resistance. Fibreglas, with its epoxy, adds unnecessary weight for little gain over using either Tough tape or just packing tape. A spine of, perhaps 1/4" square balsa along the top centerline, full length, to attach blocks or pads for mounting hardware.

For what the hobby industry charges for floats, it is worth a try to make your own.   Make at least one spare pair, then if yours get broken and hot-glued enough to exceed the Flypaper Golden Ratio, you won't be grounded (or should we say, "watered"?).

Float Flying at Deseronto / Floats Material - Any interest?
« on: July 26, 2018, 06:45:28 AM »

I located a source for 3" thick styrofoam sheets, the kind used in basement insulation. This stuff is ideal for making floats, wings, fuselages, etc. They are rather pricey and come in a much larger size than I would likely ever need.
Cost is $52 + tax for a 2 foot by 8 foot sheet. This is larger than I will be able to transport in my car, so I would end up cutting a sheet, anyway, probably into two 4 foot sections.

Would anyone else be interested in a shared purchase of a sheet?

My immediate need is for a set of 28 inch floats, for which I have already made  the required template for hotwire cutting the blanks. I may make one or more additional template sets for smaller floats. Another alternative is to bandsaw out floats, as this works very well with the pink or blue styrofoam.

Here are a couple of things which you may wish to consider:

1. Always use the same switch for Throttle Cut, regardless of the model. It should/will become part of your mental checklist for any time you handle a model and will be foremost in your mind if you need to quickly kill a motor.

2. On Spektrum radios, I use the A switch, which some folks think of as the "Gear switch" - it may even be labelled as such on some radios. It is easily reachable with my Throttle hand and it is fairly clear of other switches. To set Throttle Cut, this switch is pulled toward me. That way, if the radio gets bumped or I brush against the switch, it will not be released such that the motor can start.

3. But, what if you actually use the "Gear switch", either for retracts or, as is sometimes the case, the so-called Gear or 5 Channel is dedicated to being the Mode switch on a stabilizer or other device? Well, the H switch, over on the other side may be a good second choice. A better solution, I think, is to do a Channel Assign and move that channel's controlling switch over to another switch.

Float Flying at Deseronto / Float Flying Basics
« on: July 24, 2018, 08:21:43 AM »
Perhaps this is a good place to store some floats information, as some of us may be adding floats to existing land-based planes, or upgrading existing setup.

Atttached is the original RCM article by Mr. Cunningham, from several decades ago.

Even with the normal Throttle Cut set up properly (refer to previous posting), some folks are concerned about having  additional protection to ensure that when perhaps their Throttle Cut switch gets bumped while the Throttle stick is partially advanced, the motor will not activate. Not a bad idea for those times when you may be working around the plane on the bench yet it is not convenient or feasible to remove the prop, tie down the aircraft, disconnect power to one of the motor leads, etc.

Here is a very simple solution that will take you about 2 minutes to set up. This is specific to Spektrum but may be similar for other brands:

Choose a switch that you wish to be your secondary means of disarming the Throttle channel. Set up a Mix:

Rate: -100% -100%
Offset: -100%
Trim: Inh
Switch: Switch D ( for example)
In the next line, darken whatever box(s) representing the switch position(s) where you want this safety cut-off to take effect.

Refer to the attached screenshot.

As long as (Switch D here) is in one of the positions (1 or 2 in this example) where this Mix is active, you have disabled the Throttle stick from control of the Throttle Channel. You should have already set the Throttle Trim = 0, via the Trims Menu, so there is no way to move the Throttle Channel away from its -100% or lowest position. Even if you bump your normal Throttle Cut switch. In order to power up the motor, both switches will have to be set in the correct position (0 in this example).

This secondary disarming switch can be either 2-position or 3-position. Just set the position(s) where you want it to disable the Throttle stick.

However, none of this matters if you fail to use it!

Please, folks, do something about this on your electric models before someone gets seriously injured!

Before instructing or helping anyone, why not take a minute to ensure that your client has a proper Throttle Cut set up, or help them to set it up. Prove it before flight!

 Wouldn't this be a good time to ensure that your power failsafe works properly, as well?

 Here is the proper way to set up Throttle Cut on Spektrum radios.  If you do not understand, or if you disagree with this, please contact me and we will upgrade it.  Taranis, Graupner, Futaba are also in common use at our field; perhaps others will add appropriate procedures.

 First, decide which common switch you plan to use for ALL of your models.

Set the Throttle Cut value to -100%. Spektrum has a default of -130%, but this is a very bad idea for electrics. Why? Some ESC's "auto-learn" the Throttle channel endpoints. They are not very consistent across brands; if your ESC "learns" -130% as the new zero point, as soon as you disengage the Throttle Cut, the motor may start! This has happened to me and to countless others that I know of.

Disable the Trim (set = 0) for Throttle. That will ensure that you cannot leave the throttle Trim advanced, release the Throttle Cut and have the motor come to life. Or, have inadvertently programmed your ESC to an undesired range.

Glow and Gas:
 Set things up such that activating Throttle Cut will drive the channel to your kill point. The -130% may be OK, with leaving the Throttle Trim enabled. With our IC engines, we tend to use Throttle Trim at least on some occasions, so you may want to leave its sensitivity at the default (setting = 5?) or somewhat less.

If someone wants help with this, PLEASE ask one of the Instructors or experienced pilots. This is a serious issue and everyone is responsible to ensure that injuries do not occur due to misunderstood technology or lack of attention.

Restraining aircraft is not just for starting!

How many time have you seen someone leave a model, particularly a foamie, sitting on a bench or table outside and then get blown off, possibly getting damaged? Or, worse yet, damaging someone else's property!

If you do have to leave a plane on a table, consider lying it upside down. That way, it is less likely to take off or blow off.

Another thing that many are unaware of is the sudden, severe gust caused by a thermal kicking off, usually from the parking lot. A couple of years ago, as I was taking my glider back to the truck, THREE of my aircraft which were on the ground - 2 foamies and a 40-size balsa were suddenly picked up, lifted over our vehicles and flown around the parking lot about 20 feet in the air, then plunked down upside down. Only minor damage to the 2 foamies, none to the bigger plane. The neighbours Fun Cub was carried around a bit on the ground. It was all I could do to hold onto my glider for a few seconds, on the tailgate, until things settled down. No damage was done to any vehicle.

This has happened many times. On another occasion, a large beach umbrella took off, flailed around in the air and broke my windshield. If that thing had hit someone, there would have been blood!

PLEASE, think about this and take some precautions.

Someone remarked that they thought you would only get this kind of thing on a hot summer day. Incorrect! In both of the incidents mentioned above, it was a cool day, light wind, but the low level atmosphere was moderately unstable. When the parking lot warmed the air, a thermal formed, reached the trigger temperature and a "bubble" or "column" of air suddenly rose. Surrounding air rushed in to take its place, its speed increased by flowing between the vehicles. That's how it happens, folks!   

I have seen full sized sailplanes, weighing upwards of 600 lbs, easily lifted from the ground by this - usually because they were not properly restrained and without having their dive brakes locked open.

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