View Full Version : Noobie Rant - starting from scratch

11-23-2005, 07:48 PM
Please allow me to gripe for a moment:

I'm fully excited about this hobby, have been soaking up every scrap of information I can for 6 months now. I've flown and crashed to death a HobbyZone Aerobird Challenger and been working on my next step. Well I have on a christmas list a GWS SlowStick so I've left that alone for the moment but in the mean time I've taken on building a Fomie STC trainer (that's it's name).

For all of you MUCH more experienced folks that don't understand the draw of a RTF airplane or at least a comprehensive kit here it is. It's sensory overload to try and put together a power package by yourself and try to not spend thousands of $$$ just "trying out" what works.

I.E. there are ENDLESS motor choices, combined with gearbox (or not) choices, combined with prop choices out the wazoo. Ok lets assume you just say the heck with it, I'm trying *this* motor combo, well now hmm, what battery should I use, NiMh or Lipo, try to compare the voltage/mah/watt's......nothing seems to talk the same language.

End result, what seemed like a fun, simple endeavor has turned into a mind numbing quest for "how to get this home brew bird in the air". I'm putting forth that Noobs (like myself) might be better off sticking with a proven package, then taking that system and modify a piece here and there for higher performance. Actually....I'm not giving up at all, I'll conquer this delima but I think I just wanted to gripe about it to let go of my frustration, thanks for allowing that.

.....If anyone has any solid suggestions I would be thrilled. I have made this foamie STC, mounted GWS Naro servos and have a 4ch reciever. I do have a 15amp brushless outrunner and matching esc (ebay special) coming but I'm not sure if it's too much and/or what battery I need to put with it.

Thanks, Travis

11-23-2005, 08:07 PM
I'd have to agree with most everything you wrote! Its very hard to get going once you get past RTF's. I just started this summer and I am still confused as anything about certain aspects. All I can say is ask as much as you can and research as much as you can. The great thing about this forum and the web in general is all the available info out there. Chances are great that somebody has tried what you are thinking of and he/she can help guide you along. I couldnt believe how much I could learn from people on these forums. Since most of my LHS are manned by kids who know the least amount possible to get by, I had to rely on websites and forums. Now just a few months later, I own 1 slow flyer and 3 wings, one of which was a home brew experiment that flies great! I like to let the people with 15 dozen different combos to try out work through all the bugs and then pick what combo would work best for me (the many Stryker/SS/EZ*/Formosa/Unicorn/ and on and on - threads are fantastic for that!).

11-23-2005, 08:19 PM
The best advise I can give is don't try and reinvent the wheel. There is tons of information out there on web sites and forums such as this one from modelers that have already been there and done that. Just imitate their already proven setups for the plane or a similar plane your interested in. Most of the testing has already been done for you. Google is your friend.

11-23-2005, 08:27 PM
I highly recommend you get with your club members and see what they are doing. There is a wealth of free information and help right there. Then find your local hobby shop, ask the questions. Of course you local hobby shop will appreciate your business as well. You may find you'll get better prices on some things. Or again a wealth of information instead of a cold non communicative box with things in it that will give you absolutely no help. Those little parts are at your mercy:)

There is a wealth of knowlege in these and other newsgroups.

We take great pains and work with each customer to ensure they are getting the right stuff for the setup they are wanting. In the long run they are out less money and are much happier. That's a feather in our hat:)

Just my 2 cents worth.

11-23-2005, 08:33 PM

11-23-2005, 08:37 PM
Thanks Y'all, actually part of what prompted my venting session was a visit to my LHS. They are very nice and really do stock a ton of stuff at a great price but they seem typically as confused as me. The answers I got after going in w/ my plane seemed to contradict setups I had read about here and on the other boards.

Seems if I don't go into MY lhs knowing exactly what I want I leave more confused than when I went in (most of that from doubting that they know what they are talking about)

I do need to heed the suggestions though of finding a set someone has posted and try that, I know I've seen them listed on a few of the more notable threads involving what I'm building

Aeropal: believe me I was NOT trying to be cool, I finished that stage of my life MANY years ago, I was under the impression from LOTS of time on these boards that everyone here knew the acronyms for HobbyZone's Aerobird and the Slow Stick as well as they knew what LHS meant?! :D but, just in case I've fixed my grammar slighting

11-23-2005, 09:11 PM
For me, the hunt is the thrill....The search for this n' that, reading, looking at hundreds of ESCs or motors or receivers, all of it, is just so much fun for me. I really enjoy the journey. When I get to the end of the trail, I'll fly and have fun doing it, but for now the quest for knowledge's the thing! Slow down, relax, lay back, enjoy yourself, have fun...(Dang, sounds like somethin' else, don't it...) Bil

11-23-2005, 09:46 PM
Start by kit bashing. Get something cheap (anything, really) and try out whatever zany idea comes to mind. The Slow Stick, for example, just begs for all kinds of screwy mods.

There's no substitute for doing. After a few do-dos, you'll start to home in on it, and it's great fun in the meantime.

My first scratch build was a design horror and took one million years. Now I'm to the point where they just kinda stink and only take about a week.

Dave North

11-23-2005, 10:06 PM
I have been buildint the stc myself and had the same issues. For now i go with GWS 350 D 9070 prop. should give me some vertical, atleast it tries to get off my hand vertically :P Later on, when i get a decent radio i will go brushless. got an esc and selfmade cd-r motor waiting. just dont have the radio yet :p
BTW i use lipos :D

Jeremy Z
11-24-2005, 12:49 AM
You know what I think helps? Ask for some advice from someone who seems experienced on a forum. Check out all the responses. Make note of whose responses seem to make the most sense to you. Then, send private messages to that person asking for advise. Most of the time, that person will be happy to help you out.

Don't undervalue what the guy at the local hobby shop says. That might be the perfect place to find one person who will help you out.

When I was choosing the power system & electronics for my Corsair, I picked one person from this forum who was always helpful and asked what he thought. He was happy to give advice. I searched around the web, and could not find one retailer that had everything I wanted in one order. So I figured I owed it to myself to check out my largest local shop anyhow. To my delight, they were VERY well-stocked. I found an older guy there; he was a retired RC airplane hobbyist. He was just working there for fun, and to fund his habit. He was happy to answer my every question and help me make informed decisions. In the end, I spent a bit more than I would have online (because of tax) but I didn't make any mistakes. I was happy to pay the extra to support these local guys. He advised me which types of glues to get, which servos I should consider, the difference between positive & negative shift, and a ton of other things. It would've taken a while to get these questions answered online. Instead, I had them answered and had made my purchase that day.

But when you ask here in the forums, and you get a lot of conflicting advise, it can be pretty daunting.

If it helps at all, my favorite online RC retailers are www.allerc.com (http://www.allerc.com) and www.cheapbatterypacks.com (http://www.cheapbatterypacks.com). They were good at filling in the gaps that my LHS had.

Good luck!


12-01-2005, 05:05 PM
Thanks all, I have tried to take your sage advice and store it.

The end of the story, I got my little bird to fly, I went ahead and added a small lipo to my battery arsenal and I'm currently testing out different battery/prop combinations as I think I'm getting odd results.

I guess I've given into "try it and see what works" so again thank you all for letting me vent for a moment. It's the most thrilling thing to see these flying object soar all around over your head under control.

And I officially put my vote in that Sim time DEFINATELY helps learn orientation and anti-dumbthumbs. It's probably been a month or more since I've had a "real" plane to fly so I've been trying to get my fix on the Sim and the first outing w/ my new plane was WORLDS better than my last attempts (this was all done on the free FMS by the way)


Matt Kirsch
12-01-2005, 05:46 PM
I agree that it all can seem pretty overwhelming at first. The key is in not letting it overwhelm you, in realizing that you can digest it in small pieces, as small as you want them to be. There are many choices, yes, but there are also many ways to achieve the same result. There is a science to choosing the components; it's not all "try it and see what works," but you also don't have to be a total math geek to succeed, either.

Don't be ashamed to ask for help, whether it be here or your local LHS. Don't be too critical of your local LHS if they're not electric experts; compared to decades of glow knowledge, modern electric is still barely out of the womb, and it's quite a bit more complicated.

Rather than just randomly trying things, and potentially making very expensive mistakes, rely on others for your information. Ask questions, copy the setups of other people who have powered planes of similar size/weight and flying style... All the while, you'll be gaining knowledge and eventually, you'll become dangerous enough to make a go of it on your own :)

It doesn't have to be frustrating if you don't let it.