Easy tips for making a solid connection on multiple motor setups
THIS MONTH I’ll be explaining how to go about setting up planes that have more than one electric motor. It is no secret that I am a big fan of using E-power for planes with multiple motors. To me, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages when compared to glow power. First there is the clean factor; you never have to wipe oil off of your plane when using electric power, unless of course you flew too close to the overly rich glow plane or landed in an oil spill. The other thing is reliability; you never have to worry about getting both motors started and there is only a very rare chance of a motor quitting during the flight. Glow-power twins do have one great feature, though: that fantastic sound they make as they fly by. There is nothing else like it, but I would still give up great sound over reliability any day. So, let’s see what we need to do to properly set up a good running electric multi-motor plane.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A TWIN
The first thing you need to consider is having an easy-to-reach compartment for the battery pack(s). As with all electric planes, you want to be able to easily remove and install battery packs for changing. The plane just has to have an open area that would be able to fit the packs; you may or may not need to make some type of removable hatch for easy access to this area. It would be a good idea to have the battery compartment somewhere near the CG so the additional weight of the batteries will not need to be compensated by more weight to balance out the plane. Many twin planes will have a center fuselage that will be perfect for this. If the plane you are considering for E-conversion only has space for the batteries near the rear of the fuselage, you may want to consider using a different model.
The second thing to think about is easy access to the motor location or nacelles, especially for ESC placement, which should have some type of airflow going through it. There should also be some easy pathway through the wing for all the wiring you will need to run to the battery and receiver. Once your plane has met these requirements you are ready to install the E-power system.
FIGURING OUT WHAT TO USE
One of the hardest parts of doing an electric setup is just trying to figure out what motor combination to use for your plane. Fortunately for us modelers, many manufacturers are more than willing to help you out. A simple phone call is all you need to make to find just the right motor for your conversion. Many hobby shops and manufacturers can tell you what motor will be right for your plane if you let them know what size gas or glow motor the plane is made for. You will generally have a couple of equivalent motors that would work well for your application. For me, I like to use the stronger of the selections just to make sure the motors are never over-stressed, which could happen if you pick the weaker motors and rely on their maximum performance all the time just to fly the aircraft.
Once you have the motors selected the rest falls into place. The ESC needs to be the right type for the motor (brushed or brushless) and be able to handle the maximum about of current the motor will require. For example, let’s say you have a motor that normally runs at about 30 to 40 amps but has a maximum limit of 50 amps; you should get an ESC that can handle 50 amps.
West Coast senior editor About me: I’ve been involved with RC aircraft since high school and have flown just about everything. I started my RC career with scratch-building, but now like many pilots I rely on ARFs to get me in the air. My main focus is on pylon racing, aerobats, combat and scale warbirds.