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Glow Sticks

For starting glow engines

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Geoff S27/11/2018 21:40:50
3669 forum posts
26 photos
Posted by Tom Sharp 2 on 27/11/2018 18:21:08:

I'm still using a 2 volt accumulator, it's in a square glass case with acid swirling around and has a long lead to reduce the voltage, with crocodile clips to connect it to the engine.

Hmm I think we probably abandoned our accumulator round back in about 1950, Before that we had about 100 charging every night for customer's battery radios (or wirelesses). There were lots of houses with no electricity in our town

When I first left school my father gave me the job of smashing surplus accumulators to salvage the lead - worst job I ever had! If you're still using one then it's probably collectible laugh

I confess that when Dad sold the shop in the late 80s in desperation I tipped a half full carboy of sulphuric acid down the drain and flushed it with a lot of water blush. I'm not proud of it.


Tim Flyer27/11/2018 22:03:53
1290 forum posts
236 photos

Interesting and useful thread 😊. I currently use glow sticks with rechargeable c cells in them. They are a bit bulky and not as easy or as safe to remove from a running engine as a simple clip without battery. The glow stick advantage is only really their simplicity. I very much like Rons Li glow start but as mentioned it’s a bit pricey. It would be nice if there was a commercial Dcell and ammeter box available now that Maplin has closed . Many years ago I remember using a “Varley accumulator” and long clip lead to start my boat engines which was quite good . They don’t seem to be used much these days.

Ron Gray27/11/2018 22:18:16
2186 forum posts
942 photos

@Tim - I really thought long and hard about the purchase but in the end decided that I wanted a totally reliable, easy to use system that could also be used on twins. I spoke to the guys who make it about powering a twin and they said that they hadn't really tested it for that sort of use but I went ahead with it anyway! The bottom line is that I am glad I bought it, asI said in my post above, I've only charged it once this year and that was because I thought that I should (it wasn't running out of power!). For the twins I have them wired in parallel, not in series, and in that configuration I never have a problem with the glow and as I have a remote plug it's dead easy clipping and unclipping away from the prop. It has also been used by other fellow flyers when their glow sticks either run out or are too underpowered to glow a severely wet plug plus being so small / light I can quickly take it out to the runway if an engine dies!

For me is it's the dogs do dahs!

Merco 6128/11/2018 00:01:43
54 forum posts
19 photos

Very interesting thread,I thought post by Peter Christie was the definitive answer to a perrenial problem but......still not quite clear.A single cell nicad or nimh delivers 1.2 nominal(1.3 ish fresh off charge) reducing a bit dependant on length and thickness of plug lead.Plugs are sold usually for 1.5 to 2 volts,so,from the beginning,voltage is barely enough,from single cell.In my experience the degree of visible glowing varies a great deal depending on make and age ,from the same power source,2 stroke or 4.I,ve tried a number of glow sticks too,and do not trust them.Similar variations when using 12 volts through a power panel.Tom Sharp 2 talks about a 2 volt lead acid accumulator,ideal apart from risk of spills.In my impoverished youth,it was common to take Dad,s wood saw and cut a cell off the end of a car battery,with self tappers for terminals.Worked fine and never needed charging..My favourite at the moment,is a Ripmax 2v 4ah No.0PRP0204 sealed lead acid,about the size of a cigarette packet,fromSussex Models,I think about £7 plus a little charger and ammeter from the bits box.With this elementary rig,I no longer find it necessary to remove the plug for visible check on brightness,which was a regular annoying chore with the more sophisticated systems tried,especially in a cowled engine situation.I think I will stay with it from now on.

Fatscoleymo28/11/2018 07:32:35
253 forum posts
86 photos
Posted by supertigrefan on 27/11/2018 21:30:52:
Posted by Fatscoleymo on 27/11/2018 16:59:29:

Sorry Don.....

What are you apologising for? Daring to post your opinion on a public forum?

No...of course not.....crook apologising to Don for 'making public' that he destroyed his Cub after taking off with the wrong model selected....while my glow stick was still attached....he's over it now....

Steve Hargreaves - Moderator28/11/2018 19:57:39
6764 forum posts
197 photos

Still a big fan of 2V SLA cells for glow plug duties....

This is what currently lurks in the bottom of my toolbox....though I think the 5Ah version is a better bet....

Former Member28/11/2018 20:03:56
724 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Peter Christy28/11/2018 22:11:35
1823 forum posts

Merco 61: Its not just about voltage, but also the internal resistance of the cell - ie: the maximum current a cell can provide. This needs to be significantly more than the plug draws.

Trust me - a single C or D NiMh cell will light either 1.5v or 2V more than adequately. The plug should glow cherry red, not bright orange!

Running on a single C or D NiMh will guarantee that the plug will never be over driven, and they will last a very long time when used this way!



extra slim29/11/2018 14:09:23
490 forum posts
49 photos

I use one of these with a 3s lipo.. variable, lipo, swapped crocs for connectors, relatively cheap.. really no complaints



Edited By extra slim on 29/11/2018 14:10:24

robert chamberlain04/12/2018 03:10:40
142 forum posts

as I understand it, power panels are powered by a 12 V battery which drop it down to something that can be used to light a glow plug. If I were to make up a cable that was connected to my 12V sealed battery and run it to my glow plug,-----what size/type resister would I wire into one lead of said cable to drop the voltage????

Don Fry04/12/2018 07:27:43
4557 forum posts
54 photos

Power panels put 12 volts onto the plug, but in very short switched bursts. I.e. A high speed on off switch.

If you do try a resister, Ohms law goes, volts = resistance * amps, so as plugs need between 2 and three amps to get them cherry red, you will need between 4 and 6 ohms.

That, watts = volts *amps, suggests your resististance needs to handle 36 watts.

A bit of restistance wire from a room heater would do, but it's all a bit Heath Robinson, and burnt fingers.

Nigel R04/12/2018 09:27:13
3934 forum posts
687 photos

"If I were to make up a cable that was connected to my 12V sealed battery and run it to my glow plug"

Really, don't bother, you'd want a physically massive resistor to cope which would end up rushing you as much as a better solution.

This is already a well solved problem, sub C in a glow stick.

Or use the fastttrax drive linked by extra slim.

Or a power panel £15 here or a mini version £7 here.

Peter Christy04/12/2018 10:11:55
1823 forum posts

My personal opinion, but I do NOT like power panels in any shape or form! I'm a great believer in keeping things as simple as possible, and by far the simplest solution is a single C or D cell. Putting an ammeter in series will provide useful information.

Power panels make it far too easy to crank up the current to clear a flooded plug. The problem then is that as the fuel boils off, there is a real danger of over-driving the plug - however briefly - which will shorten its life!

The plugs in some of my engines have been in there for years, still giving good service. I only ever use a single C or D cell to drive them.



Denis Watkins04/12/2018 11:53:30
4462 forum posts
113 photos
Posted by Nigel R on 27/11/2018 16:44:44:

I am not a control line flyer. But I do remember reading the article that was published along with the DIY glow driver schematic in question. I did think about doing one for a project at home. But I'd need a PCB etched and I don't have facility for it.

Apologies for this delay Nigel, but I have some input.

PCB etching is within our scope Barring one obstacle, the Ferric Chloride.

This etches away the copper, and is nasty nasty stuff to have around, and really you should not even flush it down the drain, as it eats through most things.

VeroBoard, is copper clad, predrilled, prototyping Board, and will serve your purpose.

It is fairly simple to reschedule your schematic diagram to your board as

A Schematic Diagram has a top, bottom and middle

And so does VeroBoard, so just place your components tidyley within the tracks

SR 7104/12/2018 12:10:49
452 forum posts
140 photos

Im in the process of building 4 onboard glow drivers fo my 134"TN Lancaster, but having a little trouble with it, i can only get 2v batteries in the 1600 size and with the wiring involved im wondering if they are big enough to o the job

I have one on each engine

Nigel R04/12/2018 12:32:44
3934 forum posts
687 photos

Thanks Denis, many moons ago I have used ferric chloride, but not something I wanted to get involved in again. The PCB in question, I did make a start translating to stripboard but it started getting complex and large. I might dig the project out again one day and sort a vero layout.

Martin Harris04/12/2018 17:23:38
9351 forum posts
252 photos
Posted by Denis Watkins on 04/12/2018 11:53:30:

PCB etching is within our scope Barring one obstacle, the Ferric Chloride.

This etches away the copper, and is nasty nasty stuff to have around, and really you should not even flush it down the drain, as it eats through most things.

It might not be the end of the world:

When dissolved in water, iron(III) chloride undergoes hydrolysis and gives off heat in an exothermic reaction. The resulting brown, acidic, and corrosive solution is used as a flocculant in sewage treatment and drinking water production,

Somewhere in my loft is a bottle of Ferric Chloride bought in the late 70s/early 80s and last used the best part of 20 years ago - one day I'll probably have to decide how to dispose of it!

Tim Flyer12/12/2018 22:46:18
1290 forum posts
236 photos

7853c5f3-416a-4944-9e89-7c9984b9533e.jpeg0354f2ab-44d3-4e1d-abce-da978cfe10cb.jpegThis thread inspired me to build a twin NIMH D Cell glow box . The left hand pair of terminals are linked to the ammeter to check plugs etc in use. The right terminals are for charging but can be used along with left hand ones for twin cylinder engines. I like glow sticks but they are not very good on some of my models where s lighter and more nimble glow lead is easier and safer to remove from a running engine. Here are pics. 00b1207b-9928-4e74-9eec-faa61928bd7b.jpeg

Edited By Tim Flyer on 12/12/2018 22:47:08

Tim Flyer12/12/2018 22:48:43
1290 forum posts
236 photos

The total cost of ammeter and batteries etc was about £10.00 in all

Peter Christy13/12/2018 08:05:33
1823 forum posts

Nice work, but just be wary of wiring NiMhs in parallel. Unlike LiPos, they are not self regulating, and any mismatch in the cells can make the "good" one pull the "bad" one down.

Should be OK when new, but keep an eye on them as they get older.



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