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Converting PZ Spitfire to brushless

Old 07-25-2008, 01:13 AM
  #1  
joeted
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Default Converting PZ Spitfire to brushless

Hello all
Im desperate to convert my pz spitfire into a brushless set up and am really looking forward to getting my teeth into it so I was wondering if you could help please?
Ive been flying for quite a while now and want to get alot more speed from the spitfire for more fun but im not 100% certain of the exact parts I need.I know i need new ESC,motor,battery etc so I was wondering can any of you recomend and name the exact parts i need from the motor right down to the battery charger so i can go ahead and order them ? Im looking for speed and longer flight time which = big fun
Also ive heard i need servos can you tell me why i need these and again what ones ? Ive also heard its good to put carbon fibre rods into the wing so it doesnt snap with the new power ?
Loooking forward to reading your replies and thank you very much in advance.
Joe
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Old 07-25-2008, 02:52 AM
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You will need to replace the radio system as well to run the new speed controller. The stock servos are fine, and will work with your new receiver.

If you dont want to go all out, you might try a lipo battery in the stock setup first, and if your not satisfied with the performance gain you can upgrade the rest and still use the lipo and charger you bought.

I bought these batteries and I like them;

http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/s..._18-23C_Lipoly

Out of stock right now.

This charger has been working fine for me as well;

http://www.hobbycity.com/hobbycity/s...rger_1-6_Cells

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Old 07-25-2008, 01:35 PM
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http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/show...light=PKZ+mods

make it go ZOOM!
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Old 07-25-2008, 05:53 PM
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Originally Posted by DetroitHawk View Post
Ahh the famous detroithawk ive looked at all your pictures of your set up and u are definately very talented in this field.If you have the time I could really do with you giving me an idiots guide for the exact parts that i should use and changes i should make to the plane pleeeeease . thanks buddy.
Also thanks to Larry G for your input much appreciated
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:54 PM
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Joeted, as you are based in the UK I can only suggest you go to BRCHobbies they sell motor esc combinations at fantastic prices like 9-99 for a 130watt motor and esc. If you phone them they will advise you on the best set up for your plane and cheap. Baz
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Old 07-25-2008, 06:56 PM
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Originally Posted by baz49exe View Post
Joeted, as you are based in the UK I can only suggest you go to BRCHobbies they sell motor esc combinations at fantastic prices like 9-99 for a 130watt motor and esc. If you phone them they will advise you on the best set up for your plane and cheap. Baz
Oh right ok Baz thanks very much for that i will most probably do that then ,sounds a good idea.Thnaks alot.
Any suggestions are still very welcome on here too
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Old 07-25-2008, 07:55 PM
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Joeted, I have just converted to electric with a GWS Zero. Their Towerpro BM2408-21T with 20amp esc just drops straight in and with a 1050 3c lipo it flys really well. They also give you important thrust and amps drawn info for various props and batteries used with each motor. Very useful. Baz
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Old 07-26-2008, 06:57 AM
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You have to ask youself what is your goal. Do you want amazing speed, or perhaps great prop thrust to making climbing as easy as level flight.

What i did was spend a little more $$ on ESC and the motor knowing that it could be used in other planes at a later time. Going cheep isn't a bad idea but you should think of where you might take your hobby in the future.


I will help you the best i can.
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Old 07-26-2008, 11:53 AM
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Originally Posted by DetroitHawk View Post
You have to ask youself what is your goal. Do you want amazing speed, or perhaps great prop thrust to making climbing as easy as level flight.

What i did was spend a little more $$ on ESC and the motor knowing that it could be used in other planes at a later time. Going cheep isn't a bad idea but you should think of where you might take your hobby in the future.


I will help you the best i can.
Ok thanks alot detroithawk, I suppose What i really want is the amazing speed coz i dont think i'd get bored with alot of speed.I really want the satisfaction of converting it to brushless and then flying it and thinking "this is great and I done it" . Looking at your pictures i would imagine you get great satisfaction out of thinking youve converted your spitfire into a really fun plane and thats what i want.I just need the help on the best parts to use and all the parts i need.
Thanks alot look forward to your reply
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Old 07-27-2008, 06:41 AM
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Ok from what i gathered when looking into this hobby is when it comes to ESC go bigger then what you need. I use the eFlight 40amp ESC it had performed flawlessly. At max i must around 30amps so i never have to fear overheating to the ESC cutting out. IMO i am not sure why people cut it so close or buy just enough, if some is good then more is better. Remember the objective: speed.

I use a Hacker A30-22S motor because they are well built and haven't failed me yet, i have pushed this motor far past what it is rated and it just screams. The lighter you keep the plane the more fun it is to fly, so getting max performance for little weight is key.

Look at the KV rating, you NEED to get the prop pitch speed ATLEAST as high as you want to go. Look at the prop pitch speed your top end. Once the plane reaches the speed of the prop pitch speed (+/- wind speed) the prop acts as a break. This is something most people don't worry about because the plane's drag will keep you from reaching those speeds. Our objective is: speed.

I also have heard good reports about axi motors.

Another thing about props, the smaller the prop the faster the pitch speed = faster the plane will do. You do need enough thrust to combat the drag the plane will have but that doesn't seem to be too big of an issue in our case. The plane we chose is going to have a style being a warbird, it's like the hot rod that is more motor then car design. Is this the best way to make a parkzone plane rocket IMO it is enough to push this plane close to it's breaking point. Because when speed is the objective you must keep in mind; while at high speed you need to maneuver in a manner that doesn't rip the plane in two.
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Old 07-27-2008, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by DetroitHawk View Post
Ok from what i gathered when looking into this hobby is when it comes to ESC go bigger then what you need. I use the eFlight 40amp ESC it had performed flawlessly. At max i must around 30amps so i never have to fear overheating to the ESC cutting out. IMO i am not sure why people cut it so close or buy just enough, if some is good then more is better. Remember the objective: speed.

I use a Hacker A30-22S motor because they are well built and haven't failed me yet, i have pushed this motor far past what it is rated and it just screams. The lighter you keep the plane the more fun it is to fly, so getting max performance for little weight is key.

Look at the KV rating, you NEED to get the prop pitch speed ATLEAST as high as you want to go. Look at the prop pitch speed your top end. Once the plane reaches the speed of the prop pitch speed (+/- wind speed) the prop acts as a break. This is something most people don't worry about because the plane's drag will keep you from reaching those speeds. Our objective is: speed.

I also have heard good reports about axi motors.

Another thing about props, the smaller the prop the faster the pitch speed = faster the plane will do. You do need enough thrust to combat the drag the plane will have but that doesn't seem to be too big of an issue in our case. The plane we chose is going to have a style being a warbird, it's like the hot rod that is more motor then car design. Is this the best way to make a parkzone plane rocket IMO it is enough to push this plane close to it's breaking point. Because when speed is the objective you must keep in mind; while at high speed you need to maneuver in a manner that doesn't rip the plane in two.
Ok thanks buddy im well and truly taking all this in and embedding it in my head
Just a couple questions , what is KV and whats it all about ? and also would i need new servos and if so then why ? I dont quite understand the servo bit yet and why i would need new ones.
Oh and would i need a new radio controller,im imagining that i would ?
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Old 07-27-2008, 07:14 PM
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KV = thousand revolutions per volt. So my hacker is a 1440 Kv so say i am running a 3cell lipo and average around 10volts the prop turns 14,400 rpms.

As far as servos i would go with what works, i use Hitec HS-81 servos for the wing, they aren't too expencive but are very hearty.

I use a DX6 which is a good park flying radio, i am sure you would find them on eBay for a good price as most people moved on to a more expencive DX but in reality i have never had an issue in the two years i have used my DX6, it has more then enough options for my taste, some of these radios have a text book for their functions and i find most of them useless. My only complaint about the DX6 is the battery, but that can be changed.

The DX6 makes sure you don't get shot down by interference from another radio or other source. This makes be feel safe about flying without the outside factors and resulting in a crash. With this radio it's all on you (no one else to blame) the newer DX6i is a nice controller but it might be wise to look for value too.
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Old 07-27-2008, 08:15 PM
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Originally Posted by DetroitHawk View Post
KV = thousand revolutions per volt. So my hacker is a 1440 Kv so say i am running a 3cell lipo and average around 10volts the prop turns 14,400 rpms.

As far as servos i would go with what works, i use Hitec HS-81 servos for the wing, they aren't too expencive but are very hearty.

I use a DX6 which is a good park flying radio, i am sure you would find them on eBay for a good price as most people moved on to a more expencive DX but in reality i have never had an issue in the two years i have used my DX6, it has more then enough options for my taste, some of these radios have a text book for their functions and i find most of them useless. My only complaint about the DX6 is the battery, but that can be changed.

The DX6 makes sure you don't get shot down by interference from another radio or other source. This makes be feel safe about flying without the outside factors and resulting in a crash. With this radio it's all on you (no one else to blame) the newer DX6i is a nice controller but it might be wise to look for value too.
oh right i see, thanks for explaining the kv bit, whats the difference with differnet servos then ? is it that some move quicker than others etc ? and if thats the case why would u need some that move quicker than others ?
if i get a dx6 radio am i right when i say i'd need a esc that is compatible with that radio ?
I must say thanks very much for your help and patience so far buddy
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Old 07-27-2008, 09:45 PM
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Not to jump in on the Hawk, but I have some info to share on Spektum radios.

My buddy has a DX6 and it works fine. After a LOT of use ( he also uses it on his computer flight sim), he had a plastic part break on a stick, lost control and it resulted in a crash. He was able to take it apart and glue the pin back on and it has been working fine. These failures may be rare, but you have no idea how much mileage a used radio off Ebay has.

The new DX6i had a few new features that made it worth the extra money for me to buy new. One thing I really like is it uses 4 AA batteries. It comes with some 1500mA rechargeable nimh cells and a slow charger, but I use Wal-Mart 2500mA cells and a fast charger. And I carry a new set of standard alkaline AA's in my flight bag just in case. It is impossible for me to miss out on flying because I forgot to charge my transmitter or left it on by accident and it ran down.

I beleive the DX6 can use the AR6000 receivers only. I heard this is a good park flyer receiver, but may be out of production now? Does not have model match? I'd do some research.

The DX6i uses DSM2 receivers, and has model match so you can't take off with the wrong model program. The AR6100 receivers are for park flyers, but if you ever get into bigger stuff you can use the radio with AR6200 full range receiver. There have been some issues with the new AR6100s, you need to make sure they have the latest V1.6 firmware sticker on it. If you have an older version, you can send them to Horizon and they will re-program them for free. The AR6100s are tiny and very light!

If money is really tight, go with the used DX6. If you can swing it, go with the new DX6i.

Last edited by Larry G; 07-27-2008 at 09:46 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 07-27-2008, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by joeted View Post
if i get a dx6 radio am i right when i say i'd need a esc that is compatible with that radio ?
Nope, any ESC will work with the Spektrum receiver. Aparently there have been issues with ESCs with a weak battery eliminator circut (BEC) causing voltage drop to the receiver (RX) and a "brownout". This causes the RX to "reboot" which results in a loss of control until it resets. The old version of the AR6100 firmware took like 6 seconds (what were they thinking?), but the new V1.6 firmware resets quickly.

I have been using Turnigy Plush ESCs that have a 2 amp linear BEC and have not had a problem, but I am told that linear is not the way to go and to be totally bulletproof you should run a seperate BEC module like Castle Creations make. Since I have been ok, I'm going to stick with the Turnigy for now.
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Old 07-27-2008, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
Nope, any ESC will work with the Spektrum receiver. Aparently there have been issues with ESCs with a weak battery eliminator circut (BEC) causing voltage drop to the receiver (RX) and a "brownout". This causes the RX to "reboot" which results in a loss of control until it resets. The old version of the AR6100 firmware took like 6 seconds (what were they thinking?), but the new V1.6 firmware resets quickly.

I have been using Turnigy Plush ESCs that have a 2 amp linear BEC and have not had a problem, but I am told that linear is not the way to go and to be totally bulletproof you should run a seperate BEC module like Castle Creations make. Since I have been ok, I'm going to stick with the Turnigy for now.
ok thanks Larry thats a quality bit of info on radios.
do i actually need a esc ? cant i just have a new reciever and new motor ? coz ive just taken my spitfire apart and theres no esc in there,just a reciever .
Oh also do u need a gearbox for a brushless motor as all the pics ive seen of brushless upgrades dont seem to have gear boxes,just the motor and then prop on the end of it.

Last edited by joeted; 07-27-2008 at 11:39 PM.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:35 AM
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Joeted,

The Spitfire's stock radio has the receiver and speed controller combined on the one circut board. The speed controller is for a brushed motor only, thats why you can't use it with the new brushless motor. Plus, it does not have the amperage to run a big motor.

Some people like to use gearboxes, some don't. There are models that don't have enough room for a big brushless outrunner, so you have to use a gearbox to fit it in the cowl.

The Spit has plenty of room for an outrunner. You need to build a mount (wood is very popular) and get the motor in the right spot to line up with the cowl. I recommend making it a little short and use long bolts with plastic spacers to adjust it out. I made mine too long, and now I'd like to move it back just a tad but I can't.

After you get it set up, it is critical to check your balance point. Put it all together like you are going to fly it, including battery. You can tape items like the ESC and receiver in place if you are trying to figure out where to place them. Make a mark on the top wing near the wing root 65mm back from the leading edge. turn the plane upside down and put your fingers on the marks. It needs to balance, plus or minus approx 5mm ( 60 to 70mm). Nose heavy is better than tail heavy. Tail heavy is very bad.

If it doesn't balance, move your esc and rx if possible, try to avoid adding extra dead weight. I build a cool balance stand if you want to see a picture let me know.
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:43 AM
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Question for DetroitHawk........

I have been using the 8x4 APC prop on my Spit (Turnigy 3530A 1700kv, 3 cell 18C lipo).

I have some 7x6 APC props, what would that do for me?
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Old 07-28-2008, 12:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
Joeted,

The Spitfire's stock radio has the receiver and speed controller combined on the one circut board. The speed controller is for a brushed motor only, thats why you can't use it with the new brushless motor. Plus, it does not have the amperage to run a big motor.

Some people like to use gearboxes, some don't. There are models that don't have enough room for a big brushless outrunner, so you have to use a gearbox to fit it in the cowl.

The Spit has plenty of room for an outrunner. You need to build a mount (wood is very popular) and get the motor in the right spot to line up with the cowl. I recommend making it a little short and use long bolts with plastic spacers to adjust it out. I made mine too long, and now I'd like to move it back just a tad but I can't.

After you get it set up, it is critical to check your balance point. Put it all together like you are going to fly it, including battery. You can tape items like the ESC and receiver in place if you are trying to figure out where to place them. Make a mark on the top wing near the wing root 65mm back from the leading edge. turn the plane upside down and put your fingers on the marks. It needs to balance, plus or minus approx 5mm ( 60 to 70mm). Nose heavy is better than tail heavy. Tail heavy is very bad.

If it doesn't balance, move your esc and rx if possible, try to avoid adding extra dead weight. I build a cool balance stand if you want to see a picture let me know.
Ok Larry thanks thats great info.I'd like to see the pic of the balance stand please if thats ok ? On your advice ive just made a couple of orders.heres the links just so i can get your approval so far http://www.brchobbies.com/?page=shop...ditem&item=585 and http://www.brchobbies.com/?page=shop...ditem&item=170 . im going to order the esc,prop,battery and charger next week i think when i get paid.Im definately going to struggle making a motor mount as ive never been good at making things from wood so cant i just order a motor mount like this http://www.jperkinsdistribution.co.u...ctric%20flight
Also is there any chance u can tell me about servos and why i would benefit from new better ones.
Thanks loads buddy.You lads are really helping me out
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:26 AM
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Can't go wrong with the DX6i, and the AR6200 RX that comes with it will work fine in the Spit, you just have to find a spot for the small remote receiver unit. Probably mount it on velcro under the cockpit area..

That park 480 motor should work as well, lets hear from D.Hawk if he thinks it is enough. That motor is stock in the Parkzone T-28 Trojan, my buddy has one and it seems decent on power.
I'd get at least a 30 amp ESC just for a safety factor. Do you have lipo batteries already?

I'm concerned that the motor mount may be too long and will hang your motor out too far to line up with the cowl. You would still have to make a wood piece to attach to your plastic frame to then screw or bolt the motor mount to.

The wood mount is not too hard to make. Trace your stock gearbox
on a piece of hobby plywood and drill the holes so it srews up to the stock location. Then glue on some blocks to space it forward a bit, then another piece of plywood to bolt the park 480 to. I'd make it a little short and use long bolts with plastic tube spacers so you can get the motor exactly where you want it. You need to design it so you can get to the firewall screws with a screw driver.

Stock servos are not bad. I'm using the stock elevator servo now. Maybe replace the wing servo with a higher torque unit as the cable set up and hinges create a lot of drag. but its not mandatory.

pics to follow of the balance stand...........

Last edited by Larry G; 07-28-2008 at 02:32 AM.
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Old 07-28-2008, 01:51 AM
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Stand is made from a scrap shelf board with 5/16" holes drilled. I cut 2 5/16" dowells exactly the same length, and topped them with rubber pencil erasers. (note the rare and highly collectable Planet of the Apes trash can!)



I'm glad you got me to do this - I just installed this new spinner which must be heavier than the stock one. my balance point moved forward 2mm.

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Old 07-28-2008, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
Question for DetroitHawk........

I have been using the 8x4 APC prop on my Spit (Turnigy 3530A 1700kv, 3 cell 18C lipo).

I have some 7x6 APC props, what would that do for me?

I don't have solid numbers for your motor, but i would have to say the 7x6 prop will give you slightly more thrust, but the top end will be much higher. Could push your plane in the 80mph range.

With a Kv rating that high it would be wise to test static the amount of power you are using. It seems like you should be over 30 amps at WOT with that setup but again i am not 100% sure
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Old 07-28-2008, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by joeted View Post
Ok Larry thanks thats great info.I'd like to see the pic of the balance stand please if thats ok ? On your advice ive just made a couple of orders.heres the links just so i can get your approval so far http://www.brchobbies.com/?page=shop...ditem&item=585 and http://www.brchobbies.com/?page=shop...ditem&item=170 . im going to order the esc,prop,battery and charger next week i think when i get paid.Im definately going to struggle making a motor mount as ive never been good at making things from wood so cant i just order a motor mount like this http://www.jperkinsdistribution.co.u...ctric%20flight
Also is there any chance u can tell me about servos and why i would benefit from new better ones.
Thanks loads buddy.You lads are really helping me out
Nice radio, but i can't say i am a fan of that motor, i am sure it works nice but it is not a hotrod by any means

that motor mount is rather slick
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Larry G View Post
Can't go wrong with the DX6i, and the AR6200 RX that comes with it will work fine in the Spit, you just have to find a spot for the small remote receiver unit. Probably mount it on velcro under the cockpit area..

That park 480 motor should work as well, lets hear from D.Hawk if he thinks it is enough. That motor is stock in the Parkzone T-28 Trojan, my buddy has one and it seems decent on power.
I'd get at least a 30 amp ESC just for a safety factor. Do you have lipo batteries already?

I'm concerned that the motor mount may be too long and will hang your motor out too far to line up with the cowl. You would still have to make a wood piece to attach to your plastic frame to then screw or bolt the motor mount to.

The wood mount is not too hard to make. Trace your stock gearbox
on a piece of hobby plywood and drill the holes so it srews up to the stock location. Then glue on some blocks to space it forward a bit, then another piece of plywood to bolt the park 480 to. I'd make it a little short and use long bolts with plastic tube spacers so you can get the motor exactly where you want it. You need to design it so you can get to the firewall screws with a screw driver.

Stock servos are not bad. I'm using the stock elevator servo now. Maybe replace the wing servo with a higher torque unit as the cable set up and hinges create a lot of drag. but its not mandatory.

pics to follow of the balance stand...........
Loving the balance stand mate ,might have to have a go at doing 1 of them.What do u do if the balancing is out then ? Im starting to have 2nd thoughts about the motor i chose now.Do u know what the 2nd little box is for with the dx6i ? I know one is the reciever but not sure bout the 1 that u mentioned putting under the cockpit.
Also i havnt got the lipos yet,i'll probably need help with them too .am i right in thinking u need a certain charger to go with what battery u buy ? and ive heard things about balancers too ?
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Old 07-28-2008, 07:44 PM
  #25  
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Originally Posted by DetroitHawk View Post
Nice radio, but i can't say i am a fan of that motor, i am sure it works nice but it is not a hotrod by any means

that motor mount is rather slick
I definately should have gone with a more powerful motor shouldnt i Detroit H ? Im a bit gutted about that ,i might send it back and get a different 1
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