Sunday, July 27, 2014

First Blog, after a long break from the hobby...

The title says it all. I've been out of the RC airplane hobby since the end of 2011. A huge downturn in business, requiring a crazy amount of work just to try and "keep my nose above water", had killed my ability and interest in anything that wasn't related to work. I sold my airplane trailer and my bigger aircraft, but did keep some of my old and smaller items. So, things have settled down a little, and I'm itching to get back in the air.

So, here we go. First, have a look at my website at to see some of my RC History, dating back to about 1975. That'll kinda bring you up to now, not that it's really important. I'm just a regular guy who likes RC and tries not to crash... too often :-) 

I've been working on the first stage of getting back in the air: getting my batteries sorted out. Throwing away the bad ones, replacing them with good ones, and cycling/testing those left to see how much life still may be in them. I have a pair of Hobbico Accucyle's, a Hobbico Field Charge, an Ace RC Flight Box battery charge, a home brew pulse charger from the mid-80's, and a couple of ESV's. On my workbench I also have a Fluke DVM and a dual output metered variable DC supply. First things, first...getting things charged to measure their capacity. 

Testing my NiMH batteries wasn't too difficult. After a few days, and had a pretty good pile of bad batteries to dispose of. Most of my LiPo's were OK. I had NiMH batteries that had never been charged, so they were OK and ready to be used in place of the bad stuff. Thankfully, I didn't have to buy any batteries, I had enough to fit up everything in the hangar with good stuff. 

I did run into a problem when load testing my LiPo's on the Hobbico would overheat and drop into current limiting. I solved that issue by setting up a small blower to force cool the unit in discharge mode, and all was well. Thankfully, Hobbico designed the circuit with a thermal detector and would limit the current to protect the charger, bringing my attention to the issue.

OK, phase 1 of my "return to RC" is to get my support gear checked out and repaired...