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Sig Seniorita: Conversion to Electric/Taildragger

Old 10-21-2008, 04:04 AM
  #1  
dar
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Default Sig Seniorita: Conversion to Electric/Taildragger

My first post!
After a 20yrs absence from the hobby, I decided to finally get back at it and build the SIG Seniorita (SIGRC60) that my wife bought me almost 10 years ago. I had that plane before in the 80's with a 2-stroke OS 20 max... I just did not want the fuel/gunk/noise hassle and figured I'd go electric after my brother bought a small ParkZone cub that he enjoyed kicking about the schoolyard, baggage-free.

This kit seemed like a good start to get back in the game of both building and flying, and maybe give my kids a go a flying as well. The project went very well and the model flies great. It's a bit like riding a bike; 2 or 3 minutes of early jitters were replaced by glee and thoughts of "why did I stop doing this for 20years ???". Thanks to being electric, no one at the neighborhood park minded and I could hear dad's from afar point out to their kids "hey guys, look at the plane!".

I know, I know... it's only a dopey trainer, but at least I'm back into R/C and now hooked on electrics.

Mods/gear:
-The trike gear was replaced by Great Planes 0.40 sized aluminum mains and tail-wheel
-Battery tray/hatch built-up from balsa and ply, plus some other tweaks here and there.
-E-Flite POWER 25 Brushless Motor
-11x7 prop
-Castle Creations Thunderbird 54 ESC
-Parker Models 4000mAh, 3S Li-po
-JR XF622 6channel radio
-2 standard JR servos (for now...)

Some specs:
-fully complete weight: 3.7lbs (it's just under the original suggested build-weight with no fuel, but could be MUCH less. I tend to over-do things for robustness)
-static thrust, max: 3.2lbs
-approx 30min flying time

There are easier ways to start off with, but it was a great experience to build one up old-school and make some unplanned mods on a kit designed before e-flying technology was ever dreamed to be this good. Next project will be something a little hotter: I have a Fuji Originals (never heard of them before or since...) Pitts Special sitting in the basement, maybe too much airplane for me yet.

The project was fairly well documented by photos (some attached)... hope it inspires someone else to get into (or back into) R/C, and go electric.

Comments, questions, & friendly suggestions welcomed!
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Old 10-21-2008, 04:15 AM
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max2112
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Default That's great!!

dar,
First of all: WELCOME to WattFlyer!!

It's always great to see new faces.

Congratulations on a super looking build. Your covering looks downright professional.

... and 30 minutes! Yowzers, I think my neck would get tired. I guess that's when you break out the lounge chairs, huh?

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Old 10-21-2008, 04:49 AM
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Rolling Thunder
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WOW, that looks pretty awesome!

You gotta love electrics.so quiet& clean.You just kick back on a lazy weekend & go have some fun
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:06 AM
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thnx max2112, That covering job did in a lot of razor blades, some of them from actually cutting covering! My cruddy camera helps to make it look good too
I packed it in after close to 30min of flying... next good day I might push it to see how long it'll actually go for (1/4 throttle will keep it up there)!
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Old 10-21-2008, 05:15 AM
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Very cool Dar! Glad to see you here. I've thought about doing that to the seniorita. Sig manufacturing is not to far from where I live, so thanks for keeping the economy going here

How is that plane in the wind?

is the 30 min with cutting the throttle and trying to thermal?
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Old 10-21-2008, 07:15 AM
  #6  
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I hear ya RT... all those lazy weekends missed to make up for.

Aviatordave: This was the first flight on this one! Just finished it! It was pretty much 1/4 to 1/3 throttle and no thermals to ride that evening. I'm going to keep better tabs on the flight duration and wind performance as I get in more stick time. We are well into Fall weather up here so hopefully I can still get more flying in this season. I can say though it has power to spare... very fast opened up and will do tight-loops forever. Out flies the old 0.20 powered one I had years back.

Sig has done well from me in my past: Kadet Jr. (in paper and dope!), Riser, Senoritia (2 stroke, 'til my dad did a pile-driver with it), Cub, Astro-Hog... come to think of it, I've ONLY flew Sig!
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Old 10-29-2008, 04:27 PM
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Hi Dar
You're right there - Sig sell the best electric power models around - shame they only include the plans with the glow conversion in the kit.

Once you get the hang of things again, I'd suggest a Four Star 40 as your next project, especially as winter's coming on. My 4* is now around ten years old, has hardly a thing on it besides the wing section that hasn't been messed with, and has to be one of the best aerobatic rides I've flown in my RC spell. Even when it was 'stock' - it was originally built for a magazine review / conversion feature article - it was a great aerobatic ride. I'm proud to say that I took it all over the DC metro area and used her to point out the error of their ways to the many who thought 'electrics can't fly' .

Your 25 would work if you kept the weight down, but in modern terms, E-flite's 32 on 4S, or an AXI 2826 of some sort on 4S would be close. Mine has a geared Hacker B50, spinning a 15 x 10 at around 7000 RPM with 700W behind it - real fun , if a little excessive...

If that interests you, go scrat around the e-power forums, there's probably been more done to, and written about, the Four Star than any other kit of similar size.

A little off track - but you're one of many, many aeromodellers who've taken a 'sabatical'. 20 years is a long one, but I doubt it's a record! Mine was a mere 7 or 8 years, to go cycle racing and join the Royal Air Force for a change of pace.

Welcome back

Dereck
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Old 10-30-2008, 03:56 AM
  #8  
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Dereck.... nice suggestion on the 4*40... I was thinking about the Astro Hog, but seems like that would be a better conversion to electric. Sounds like you've got power up to ying-yang in yours.

Now if I had only finished my first model in 20 years in the spring (darn this weather!)
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Old 10-30-2008, 05:19 AM
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But now you have a winter building season stretching out ahead of you

The Astro Hog is a really cool looking model, but it's structure is akin to an external family residence convenience building made using a traditional sturdy structure FIne if you have a 60 up front, or a desire to buy lots of LiPos... A buddy of mine part-kitted what he called 'Pollutionless Pig', in deference to the Sig original. It looks the part, but has a vastly different structure. The kit was only sold locally - I've got the last one someplace in the basement, maybe this winter?

OTOH, the most basic electrocution of a 4* I ever saw was a clubmate's, Built straight out of the BIY kit, he lashed an Astro Cobalt 25G into the kit's engine mount with a hose clamp and stuffed a 16 cell NiMh pack into the fuselage, using foam to hold it in place. Everything else was straight out the box - durned thing flew pretty good too, despite the weight and crudity.

More 4* trivia. The lowest powered ever mentioned in print had 8 700mA Nicad cells and a geared ferrite motor. The heftiest admitted to had 24 sub-C sized - can't recall if nicad or nimh, but that's around 50 ounces of battery in either!

I've flown mine, with that Hacker, on 16 NiMh (Weeee!!!), 6S A123 - not bad, had to drop the prop size to compensate for the higher volts and 4S 3700mA LiPo - a little lower on volts and amps, but also on weight, thus not too shabby.

Have also never heard of anyone who didn't like their 4*40 - now that is saying something.

Regards
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Old 10-31-2008, 01:11 AM
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Just back from the park! Now I find myself ripping around full throttle for kicks... hmmm, need ailerons to step it up a level.

Think I will look into getting a 4*, yes... a loooooong winter coming indeed.

Must... build... just one more... plane.
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Old 11-03-2008, 04:03 AM
  #11  
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New pic of my Seniorita....
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Old 11-03-2008, 01:47 PM
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Default Electric Planes

Originally Posted by dar View Post
Dereck.... nice suggestion on the 4*40... I was thinking about the Astro Hog, but seems like that would be a better conversion to electric. Sounds like you've got power up to ying-yang in yours.

Now if I had only finished my first model in 20 years in the spring (darn this weather!)
Great to see you came back to such a great hobby. I too have been flying for over 25 years and recently started adding electrics to my hangar.

I have an old Astro Hog that I have not flown for over 6 years. It would be a candidate for electric conversion but it has a .60 size glow engine. That would require a rather large electric motor and battery. I have found that a .40 size plane is the most economical size for electric flight. The 40+ planes require a much more expensive battery to get good flight times (8-10 minutes).

Good luck with your renewed hobby.
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Old 11-05-2008, 02:25 AM
  #13  
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Hi dar
That's one neat 'Rita indeed.

I've been keeping an eye out for some pics of one I took some years ago, down near Raleigh, NC, but I suspect they were taken pre-digital camera says. I arrived at the event, an electrics only funfly, to see this 'Rita knife-edging the length of the runway with very little daylight under the bottom wing. Turns out the model was a scratchbuilt off the plan and though the same shape as a kitbuild, it weighed 38 ounces RTF and was doing all these party pieces on a 2S LiPo feeding a geared outrunner - bit of a rare bird, but it allowed him to fly around an 11" or 12" prop.

There wasn't much left of the original structure up close - either it was made using much lighter / smaller wood sizes or pieces had kind of wandered off. The amazing part was not only the weight, but that with a trike gear! Though when I saw it fly, it only had the nosegear - he'd lightened the main gear mount a little too enthusiastically and it had falled off one grass area landing. So he hand-launched it, then landed on the nosegear and tailplane tips!

It didn't seem to mind much either. He'd also fitted two servos driving ailerons, which made the weight even more staggering.

Now, if you did that to a clipwing Four Star 40? Food for thought?

Regards

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Old 11-05-2008, 02:56 AM
  #14  
dar
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Dereck,

That's where my old habits die hard... always over-building.
When doing this build I, (get ready for this) ADDED material not in the original kit. Mostly gussets here n' there.
Bad me, bad me!
Still, it's under original build weight and I figure I could have taken off 16oz for sure... But that ship RTF at 32oz? That's pretty wild.

If I have a go at a 4*40... I'll rethink my ways.

-dar
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:20 AM
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Call me crazy but if planes like the You-Can-Do 46 and the Harrier 46 can last @ 5 lbs with .70 4-strokes and just 3 wing bays outside of the fuse there is a lot of wood that can be removed safely from the Seniorita. For one you don't have the heavy "thumping" of the I/C engine rattling everything apart. Look at some of these I/C powered 3D models and you'll see a lot of places that Electric powered plane can go on a diet and not sacrifice durability.

Charlie
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Old 11-06-2008, 12:22 AM
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By the way, THAT"S ONE FINE LOOKING PLANE YOU BUILT!!! I have one of the Kadet Jr.'s and have always loved the way it flies.

Charlie
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Old 11-06-2008, 04:25 AM
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Thanks Charlie, I had the Kadet Jr as well (damn near indestructible, a real tank).

I'd say you're right, 2-stokes are gentle by no means and BLDC motors are unbelievably smooth... so features spruce framed turtle-decks and doubled hardwood-ply firewalls, with everything slobbered in epoxy, are a bit much for most electrics. And today's light coverings do a lot to take the stress of flying... beats the heck out of the tissue and dope I started with!

Now I just have to stop building them like chainsaws!
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Old 11-06-2008, 11:10 PM
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Overbuilding is a hard habit to break. As for the Kadet Jr., mine is about 23 years old has had three engines, two covering jobs and countless repairs. When first built AUW was 2 3/4 lbs and now hits the scales at 4 1/4 lbs. Little boy still flies well and does things others say a 3 channel plane can not do.

Charlie
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