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Beginners New to e-power flying? Get the low down in here from experienced e-power RC pilots!

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Old 02-16-2014, 03:34 AM   #1
NomaFlyer
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Default My new E-Flite Apprentice s 15e

Hi All,

First off, let me introduce myself and give full disclosure that I am very new to the hobby! I am very excited to get into RC flying and looking forward to the insights you all may offer to assist me in becoming a better pilot. I have flown a hand full of times before, but it's been about 10 years so I still consider myself to be starting from square 1.

Forgive me if I am not posting in the right place but I figured I would just throw this out there and start from scratch. I just bought an E-Flite Apprentice S 15e. After a lot of research I figured this would be the best plane for me to learn on and develop my flying skills. Assembly went well and everything seems to be ready for flight. I plan on making the maiden flight on Monday. HOWEVER, I blew the fuse on the battery charger on my first charging attempt. I understand how dangerous li-po charging can be and I'd like to nail this down now to eliminate any potential problems in the future.

I have the stock e-flite charger and battery that came with the plane. I'm fairly certain I followed the directions accurately (except for one stupid mistake which I'll explain). I attached the charger to my car battery (car off) and the green light came on and the charger beeped like the directions indicated it would. Here's when things went wrong, as soon I touched the battery lead to the charging port, POP! A big spark came out near the fuse and made a loud snap. Then I realized that I had done something really dumb, I had the battery lead upside down when I attempted to plug it in. (I know, rookie move). Any way, I righted the orientation of the lead and still plugged it in because I didnt know at the time that the fuse had blown. Once I pushed the start button the green and red lights were flashing and the charger was beeping so I could tell something wasn't right so I disconnected everything. That's when I pulled the fuse out and could tell it had blown.

So, did I just make a stupid mistake attempting to plug the battery lead in upside down or is there more to it than that? I'm hoping it was just a simple mistake so I can just replace the fuse and be more careful next time. However, I'm worried that maybe that didn't have anything to do with it and I have bigger issues with the equipment I'm using (i.e. car battery, charger etc.).

Any information or suggestions you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:13 AM   #2
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Hi Nomaflyer and welcome to WF. By saying you plugged the battery in upside down, you mean with reverse polarity? (+ to - and - to+?) Good there was a fuse there! I think there's nothing to lose in replacing the fuse and trying again, taking the normal precautions you should with any lipo. Sounds like the fuse did its job. Just don't leave it unattended while charging. And you shouldn't leave any lipo fully charged for long. I've accidentally shorted a battery or 2 very briefly when soldering connectors and they survived. I imagine that's worse than what you did.

The Apprentice should take good care of you. Do you have simulator time or someone to buddy box with? Those will be a huge help. If you want any other help or advice just ask. You've come to the best rc forum I think when it comes to people being friendly and helpful.

Good luck!
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Old 02-16-2014, 04:26 AM   #3
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Thanks xmech!

Definitely excited to get into and glad I found a resource like this to help along the way.

I didn't reverse the cables connecting the charger to the car battery, but the balancing lead from the li-po battery to the charger was upside down when I first tried to plug it in. I'm hoping, like you said, that it was just a reversed polarity and easy fix. I'll try again tomorrow and report back!

As for simulator time. Not really, I looked into the phoenix program, from what I hear it would be a wise investment that should potential save me in repairs costs, not to mention the improved skills. My only reservation is that I only have a laptop that's about 3 years old and I'm not sure how well the program will run on it.

I contacted the local flying club and they have been very courteous, invited me to come out to the field and fly with them. I haven't specifically asked if someone would buddy up with me but I bet there's someone there who would be willing to lend a hand. I don't suppose anyone on here is close to the SF Bay Area in California? I live in Livermore specifically.

Thanks again!
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Old 02-16-2014, 06:31 AM   #4
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(Slaps forehead) Oh yeah, I forgot that charger uses the balance lead, but yeah, same thing. The - and + got mixed up. I still have my non-S Apprentice after I think 7 years of flying now. So I forgot about that charger.

By all means, take advantage of the offer from that club. I'm sure there'll be someone there who can help you out. The first flight is the toughest. The Apprentice S is amazing, but any plane can use an experienced inspection and pilot on its maiden. I'd be happy to help, but California is a TALL state! To me, hanging with other rc people is more than half the fun. And I've learned so much from them.
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Old 02-16-2014, 11:34 PM   #5
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Default Problem Solved!

Success! I replaced the fuse and gave it another try. Everything seems to be working just fine. Hoping to make the maiden tomorrow if the weather holds up. I'll let you know how it goes!
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:26 AM   #6
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Glad to read that everything worked out fine. You are on your way to the most fun, biggest addiction ever. Good luck with the maiden and am looking forward to reading how it went. Don't feel bad about the mistakes your going to make a lot of them but from each mistake you will learn something new. Don't feel bad about asking "dumb" questions because believe me, XM can tell you I have asked some whoppers. Truthfully there are no dumb questions. Again welcome to WF and go have fun

Happy flying may your crashes be limited and if they are not limited let them be cool.
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Old 02-17-2014, 01:01 PM   #7
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Great plane.....good luck with it.I fly mine first all the time.

Robin
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:07 PM   #8
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This video got me interested in the S 15e and persuaded me to return to RC flying:

http://www.horizonhobby.co.uk/aeroon.../e20-safe.html

I want to teach myself to fly and the S 15e will let me do that.

Originally Posted by NomaFlyer View Post
Success! I replaced the fuse and gave it another try. Everything seems to be working just fine.
Excellent! That's what fuses are for. A 20c fuse saving an expensive LiPo battery and charger.

Not the other way round where an expensive device saves a 20c fuse. At least you found out didn't do it this way.
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Old 02-18-2014, 02:13 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by NomaFlyer View Post
Thanks xmech!
As for simulator time. Not really, I looked into the phoenix program, from what I hear it would be a wise investment that should potential save me in repairs costs, not to mention the improved skills. My only reservation is that I only have a laptop that's about 3 years old and I'm not sure how well the program will run on it.
Thanks again!
I have a similar age laptop with an i7, 8GB of memory and running Win7.
There should not be an issue, I'm waiting until Horizon releases the latest V.5.0. without the transmitter as I already have one.
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:26 PM   #10
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If I may make a suggestion it would be to get a better charger, you don't need to spend much money to get one with a good display so you can see what is going on while charging.
I have a couple of those e-flite ones in the junk box, IMO they aren't really good enough to sell to somebody else.
A decent charger will tell you polarity reversed if anything is backwards, will also shut off if they detect any errors while charging.
Inexpensive route is a DC only charger that you will need to hook up to a car battery or 12v power supply.
For somewhere around 35$ from hobbyking or maybe hobbypartz you can get one that will run off AC or DC.
A couple buddies have the genuine Imaxb6 AC/DC charger and are quite happy with them.
Think you can get a clone for about half that. Never seen one so I can't comment on how good the clones are.
I also race electric boats, one of these wouldn't work for me, I charge lots of BIG batteries each outing, I run dual computer server power supplies off a generator to a pair of 20 amp chargers!
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Old 02-19-2014, 03:59 PM   #11
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Noma,

Watch out for all the windmills out there. They eat model airplanes for breakfast ! LOL

Welcome to WF. You're well on your way with a good first plane selection. The S version will keep you out of trouble. The addiction starts now.

Just hanging out at the club, observing and asking lots of questions will open your eyes to a lot of things.

The folks here on WF are a huge help. For me, no question has gone unanswered and there's truly a plethora of expertise here. all types of planes and all types of flying styles from high wing trainers, to warbirds, 3D, sailplanes, glider, edf's. You name it, it's all here.

Most clubs have a training day. Take them up on that. I still go for remedial training on Monday nights to sharpen the saw or get advice on certain maneuvers. Sims are an important tool but nothing beats the real thing.

Best of luck and have fun !

-Hawk

Wounded Warrior Fun Fly - Aug 16th ,2014 - Grapevine TX - Info link: https://support.woundedwarriorprojec...ising/RCPilots
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:12 PM   #12
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Thanks everyone! I'm really excited to get started. Unfortunately I wasn't able to make the first flight this weekend. I tried to go out to the field on Monday durin the holiday but just as I was pulling up, everyone was driving away and the gate was locked. Learned my lesson though, just going to have to make a set time for me to meet someone there this weekend.

I drove around a bit, trying to find an open area to give it a try but I didn't feel comfortable flying solo in some random area. Figured it's best to just wait and do it right the first time.

I definitely want to look into some better chargers/batteries. I did pick up an extra battery but I can't imagine just going out to the field for 1 or 2 short flights!

Thanks again everyone!
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Old 02-20-2014, 05:33 PM   #13
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Sounds like you have the right idea. Don't push it, do it when everything is right. Don't get 'go fever'!
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