Stop Twitching

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Electric aircraft are more susceptible to interference then your average IC powered aircraft due to electronic speed controllers and electric motors.
Here's a few tips for both IC and electric powered aircraft to help reduce, if not eliminate "glitches" altogether
  1.  Don't run your aerial down the fuselage next to closed loop wire.

  2.  Always run your aerial outside the fuselage if the model is covered in any form of silver covering or paint. Check the covering on those ARTF's, they may not be silver on the outside but may be backed in silver (as on the Ilsan Extra 300S).

  3.  Use plastic clevises on the engine end of the throttle connection. Click here for a more detailed description

  4.  Avoid "meta- on-metal" joints and connections. As these are a prime cause of interference.
    Turn the receiver on in an aircraft at home (with the transmitter off) grab a couple of metal tools and rub / knock them together near your plane and watch it twitch to see what I mean.

  5.  Separate the wires on all servo's, switch harnesses and batteries, twist them so that there is at least 2½ turns per inch. (Telephone wires are always twisted to reduce interference). To hold them in this position use your heat gun with attachment. Use just enough heat to hold them in positions, be careful as too much heat will melt either the wire or the connectors.

  6.  Clean your transmitter aerial regularly with methylated spirit, do NOT oil your aerial as oil will cause a high resistance joint and attract dirt, there are very few conductive oils about. A clean oil free aerial will slide easily. If you have a multimeter check the resistance it should be approx. 1 Ohm, if it is greater - then replace it. Would you rather spend £10 on a new aerial or £100+ and the inconvenience of building an new plane?

  7.  If flying electric powered aircraft, position the receiver and aerial as far away from the speed controller and electric motor(s) as possible. If you still getting interference try wrapping the speed controller and receiver in a couple of layers of tin foil.

  8.  On all electric motors, fit 3 suppression capacitors.

    •  1 capacitor between the +ve terminal and the motor casing
    •  1 capacitor between the -ve terminal and the motor casing
    •  The last one (the larger of the 3) should be connected between the -ve and the +ve terminals.

  9.  ALWAYS, ALWAYS, ALWAYS range check your model especially if it is new, has had a recent hard landing or crash or if it has not been flown for a few months, A couple of minutes taken range checking on the ground may save you hours work repairing or building a new plane.
A friends electric ducted fan Kyosho F16 suffered terribly on its first flight from glitches. It was taken apart and all the wires were twisted and put back together again and hey presto, no more glitches.
For those of you who have been in modelling for a few years, you may remember that radio gear used to come with twisted leads, why did they stop? What's the harm in belt "n" braces? Will man ever get to mars? Why all these questions? I really should stop sniffing Solarlac when writing these articles :o)

Happy glitch free flying!

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