Indices / Hints and Tips
This is just a random collection of thoughts and questions that we have heard over the years from customers. They are in no particular order (sorry). One day they will be.
If you have a question you can submit it in the Contact Us form or simply call the store.
"Are quad copters (multi rotors) easy to fly?"
This all depends on which machine you buy and where you fly it. Usually the larger machines with more electronics (ie: GPS, compass, accelerometers and such) are easier to fly. Keep in mind that you should give yourself plenty of room for the first flight. Keep track of your flight time. Land with plenty of charge left in the battery. Use a stopwatch or smartphone or a timer in the radio, if your radio is so equiped.
"What should I buy to get started flying?"
This depends on where and how you are going to learn to fly.
If you are going to teach yourself how to fly, I would suggest buying a smaller, lighter plane. You will have to wait for near perfect days (little to no wind) but a smaller, lighter plane will survive a crash better than a larger heavier plane.
If you are going to join a club or have an experienced pilot teach you how to fly then a bigger plane is usually the better way to go. Larger planes will fly in more wind thereby giving you more potential flying days.
Concerning helicopters I think the best way to learn is with a good quality simulator.
"Should I get an electric or glow powered plane?"
This question is easy to answer if you plan on flying in a public park. Electric is the way to go in this case.
If you are going to fly at a club then the choice is yours really. When comparing smaller to mid sized aircraft, there really is no clear winner in my opinion. As the models get larger, I really think that gas or glow is the way to go. This, of course, is my opinion. I personally fly electric, glow and gas. All types have their advantages and disadvantages.
"How do I start my Gasoline motor?"
Make sure ignition is OFF. Close the choke on carb. Open throttle above half. Flip the engine over several times to prime. Close throttle to high idle. Turn ignition ON. Flip engine untill you hear it fire. Close choke. Flip engine over. The engine should start. Let it warm up and go flying!
Obviously, this short tutorial does not take all situations into account but it is a good starting point.
"My brushless motor turns the wrong way!"
I have heard this many times. The answer is to swap ANY TWO connections between the ESC and motor. Simple as that.
"My airplane has these connectors. Do you have an adapter to fit this connector?"
In my opinion, do not use adapters. Just change the connectors to something that is easily obtainable and good quality.
"I don't know how to solder."
If you are going to stay in the hobby, you should learn. I am more than happy to teach anyone how to solder a connector. Call the store to set up an appointment.
"What's all this about 90 degrees?"
What I am referring to is how to get equal movement on a given control surface. When the control rod connects to the servo horn there should be a 90 degree angle when the servo is at neutral. This will give equal movement in both directions. There are special circumstances where equal movement is not desirable (think ailerons) but doing that mechanically will be beyond the scope of text alone. And, if you have a computer radio, you can program different throw volumes thereby eliminating the need to do it mechanically.
This also brings up another issue about control surfaces. Control horns should be installed so that the connection point on the horn is in line with the hinge line. Failure to install control horns like this will result in more movement on one side than the other.
"What do I use to connect my control rods to the horns and servos?"
The bottom line best answer to this for the best in precision is ball links. Nothing is better.
That being said, many of my models do not use ball links (helis excluded!). I often rely on Z bends, L bends with EZ Links or a clevis. Remember that you must have some sort of adjustability either at the servo or surface. I usually put the adjustment at the surface. It is easier to get there than to open up the model to get to the servo.
The type of connection you use on the model will depend on how much precision you are looking for. Another consideration will be speed. If you are building a very fast model you do not want ANY slop in the control system.
"What is a glow driver?"
A glow driver is simply a battery used to heat the glow plug in a glow engine.
"I saw a cheap car/plane/boat online. Should I buy it?"
No! You should buy something from TED'S!
Ha! Ha! Seriously though, parts support is paramount. Make sure that parts are available at a reasonable cost. Many people have come into the store with a vehicle that they purchased online and now need a part that is worth $2 and must pay $10 shipping. Most hobby shops will carry or can get the major brands.
"What is a smart charger?"
A smart charger is any charger that is capable of charging serveral different types of batteries such as NiCd, NiMH, LiPo, LiFe, Li-Ion or Pb. If you are thinking about getting serious with electrics, get a smart charger. There are many on the market. Several will charge more than one battery at a time. Another thing to look for in a smart charger, with LiPo batteries in mind, is that it is capable of putting your LiPos in storage mode. This is especially important if you are a fair weather flyer like myself and do not fly in the winter. LiPos must be put into storage mode.
"What do all the numbers and letters mean on a LiPo battery?"
All the letters and numbers are used to describe the capacity, voltage, discharge and sometimes the maximum charge rate. For example: 11.1V 3S 1300mAh 20C. 11.1V refers to the nominal voltage of the pack. 3S refers to the number of cells. In this case 3 cells. 1300mAh refers to the capacity of the battery. In simple terms, a 1300mAh battery is capable of delivering 1300mA for one hour or 2600mA for 30 minutes etc. 20C refers to the maximum discharge rate of the pack. In this example it is 20x1.3A = 26A. Sometimes the label will show a continuous discharge rate and a burst rate. These are both calculated in the same manner.
"What does ARF, RTF, BNF, TX-R, etc stand for?"
ARF: Almost Ready to Fly. This is usually just the airframe 80% to 90% built up. The modeler must supply the electronics and engine and whatever else may be needed to complete the model.
RTF: Ready To Fly. This usually means that everything you need to fly the model is in the box. All electronics installed, radio, battery and charger included. The model may be completely assembled or in need of some final assembly.
BNF: Bind'N'Fly. Acronym used by Horizon Hobby to describe models that will come like a RTF but WITHOUT a transmitter. These models assume you have a compatible transmitter (DSM2 or DSMX).
BNF Basic: Bind'N'Fly Basic. Another Horizon Hobby term. These models are like the BNF versions but WITHOUT a battery or charger.
PNP: Plug'N'Play. Another Horizon Hobby term. Like BNF Basic but without a receiver.
TX-R: Transmitter Ready. Acronym used by Great Planes. These models will come like a RTF but without a transmitter. These models assume you are going to use a Tactic radio or a special add on device to make many different brands work with the included receiver.
Rx-R: Receiver Ready. Another Great Planes item. These models come like a TX-R but without a receiver, battery or charger.
KIT: You do not see many kits these days. Many people refer to ARFs as kits but this is not quite right. A kit is a box full of wood and die cut or laser cut wood parts. Kits take many hours to build. As a result of this, even the most minor of crashes with kit aircraft will result in almost complete catastrophic failures of the airframe. This is not my opinion. The Hobby Gods have deemed this so.