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Servo Torque guide - Sport Flying (electric)

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Richard Ashworth28/07/2019 18:30:17
102 forum posts
70 photos

Hi all.

A colleagues plane recently hit the ground at the end of an ‘unable to stop it’ spin.

All components work independently afterwards but the fuz and battery were total write offs. The motor was still running when it hit which seems to rule out Signal loss, as a failsafe check had been done pre flight. The flying control positions on recovery were left aileron up, right down, rudder hard left, elevator full up. We cannot say how much of this was movement on impact.

The aircraft was a 7lb low wing sport aircraft 5S powered and being thrown about in a brisk sport mode, in no way 3D. Both ailerons, elevator and rudder had Hitec HS322 servos on the powered through the receiver at 5v via a SBEC.

My questions (at last) are, at 3kg/cm were the servos, mainly the rudder servo, man enough for the job? Could an ‘overload’ on a servo (rudder) have occurred in the spin and prevented an exit by overpowering it , but not be apparent afterwards? Is there a general rule of thumb re flying mode, model weight, servo power?

I have not been in rc long but have used HS325s in 4lb planes and HS5485s in 6lb planes.

Advice welcome.

Martin Harris28/07/2019 18:44:40
9328 forum posts
249 photos

First off, the full up elevator might be a clue to why it failed to recover! Counter-intuitively, the aileron input may also have been adding to the problem as out-spin aileron (especially with inset rather than strip ailerons) can effectively stall the dropped wing tip.  Which direction was it spinning in?

Correct spin recovery is normally: centralise ailerons and reduce throttle to idle if appropriate, full opposite rudder, short pause, stick forward until the spin stops, centralise rudder and ease out of the dive. In practice, most models will stop spinning as soon as you remove the spin inputs.

It is possible to get some models into flat spins which are difficult - maybe even impossible - to recover from.  One such was a pattern ship I mentioned in the lost model thread yesterday and the cure was to enlarge the rudder - the servo remained unchanged...

While in a spin, there are fairly light forces on the control surfaces - the model is largely stalled - so underpowered servos are unlikely to be at fault.  Rudder servos do often need to be the most powerful but this shows up most in knife edge flight at higher airspeeds. To be frank, most models have far more servo capability than they actually need.

Edited By Martin Harris on 28/07/2019 18:58:16

Richard Ashworth28/07/2019 18:58:57
102 forum posts
70 photos

Thanks Martin.

My colleague is an ex light plane CFI and 737 captain and his first actions were as suggested. The problem is that nothing he did worked and we are working through why he couldn’t get a recovery. We are aware that the surfaces were more or less as he put them to, intentionally, at a safe height, to put the plane into the spin, left hand direction.

I was trying to get discussion focussed on were the servos man enough without a discussion on the plane he was flying but for information it was a Ripmax ARTF Acro Wot, rip!

Edited By Richard Ashworth on 28/07/2019 19:08:34

Edited By Richard Ashworth on 28/07/2019 19:09:24

Denis Watkins28/07/2019 19:14:10
4418 forum posts
111 photos

You do reach a point where gravity exceeds any servo Richard

Standard servos are man enough for a 7lb airframe am certain

7lb deadweight, pointing at the ground, without " Lift " can become unrecoverable

Even with an inch or two of rudder surface

Martin Harris28/07/2019 19:15:17
9328 forum posts
249 photos

I've not heard of similar problems with the ARTF AcroWot but the design is pretty well proven. Was it being flown with a rearward C of G perhaps?

Countless Acrowots have been flown on Futaba S148s which are only a little more powerful so I wouldn't have thought those Hitecs would cause such behaviour.

Perhaps it's worth reiterating that the angle of attack of the inner wing (and in some cases, both wings) is above the stall if the model remains in autorotation so airspeed remains low - therefore forces are unlikely to build up to the point where the servos were overloaded.  Was the spin noticeably nose down or did it flatten out somewhat? Pulsing the throttle can sometimes help to break out of autorotation in this case but doesn't always work...

My errant pattern ship was always a handful to recover from spins but when one went flat (for whatever reason) I was unable to stop it before its rather fortuitous encounter with a thick maize crop.

Edited By Martin Harris on 28/07/2019 19:32:27

Nigel R28/07/2019 19:19:59
3880 forum posts
664 photos

More than man enough for a sport model of that size. As already said the forces in the controls are not that great.

Even assuming the rudder servo was stalled the current demand on a 322 is around 1.5a (I believe - worth checking in hitec website). N kit enough to challenge a functioning SBEC.

As you say if the SBEC failed the signal to the motor would have been lost and it would not have been running.

Without further info I would have to guess at pilot error...

John Lee28/07/2019 19:29:39
743 forum posts
72 photos

If the servos held in the pro-spin controls they must by definition have been be powerful enough. If they were not the control surfaces would have blown back.

Richard Ashworth28/07/2019 19:53:56
102 forum posts
70 photos

I think its ‘There goes another theory!” From comments, the 322 on the rudder seems to have friends who vouch for its good character.

I didn’t see the start of the spin, but am told it was a standard low speed, nose up entry at 200ft.

I saw just the last 75ft when it was pointing down at about 60deg going fairly fast in what I would call more of a power on spiral dive. At that stage I would say the ailerons were as found left up, right down but there was nothing to suggest the full up elevator or full left rudder as found on recovery.

Power had been applied during the descent when a power off recovery wasn’t happening. Everything in front of the wing was unrecognisable except the undercarriage which was still attached to a bit of the mounting plate but pristine!

Don Fry28/07/2019 19:58:21
4557 forum posts
54 photos

In fairness, a light plane CFI and 737 pilot is no qualification here. How many hours on a model.

As others have said, a spin is not a high stress manoeuvre on the servos. But, it can get high stress on the stick twiddler.

john stones 128/07/2019 20:10:24
11504 forum posts
1516 photos

Wasn't there, so can't comment on the cause, anything I've owned, stops spinning when sticks get centered, flown with numerous full size pilots, most ain't much cop, there are exceptions though.A fair few have gone from models to obtain pilots licenses. Servos sound good enough to me.

Chris Walby28/07/2019 20:30:56
1232 forum posts
303 photos

A bit left field, but do try moving all servos to their extremes at once. I was bench testing some servos, RX and SBEC when I found if you moved all at once it would brown the RX out.

The RX would auto recover but it took it a few seconds, of course notice by it flashing (but you would not have seen that as your battery was u/s).

Best bit was the servos were under no physical load, just trying to go from end stop to end stop and it would only do it if all three were moved at once. So it would not be picked up pre-flight (unless you bang all three at once) and even worse most of the time it would not happen, just when you do some thing with all three controls at once.

Of course if he's done loads of spins with that model it could be something else.

Martin Harris28/07/2019 20:32:55
9328 forum posts
249 photos

A spiral dive is a different animal altogether and if performed with noticeable power can easily overstress an airframe. How rigid are the wings? The originals were veneered foam - are the ARTFs built up? There's the possibility of aileron reversal for example at high speed/large deflection caused by wing flexing where aileron inputs twist the wing such that it exerts more rolling force in the opposite direction.

I certainly wouldn't advocate continuous power to recover from a spin - this normally serves to flatten it making the recovery more difficult. The power application to recover from a flat spin needs to be a pulse, to kick air over the control surfaces.

John - you're certainly right that most models recover with relaxing the spin inputs but not all do - however, to my knowledge, the Acrowot isn't one of them and usually behave impeccably although I don't remember ever flying an ARTF example.

Edited By Martin Harris on 28/07/2019 20:37:00

Don Fry28/07/2019 20:34:17
4557 forum posts
54 photos

I'm struggling here. Are you describing a power on spiral dive, because I am surprised to see there is much left if it was, and I would not expect to see the servos still mounted to provide control positions pre impact.

And if you saw it 75 foot up, a slow spiral dive would give you no more that 2 seconds before impact. Power off. Power on, less time. That's short time to see much.

I reckon, if it was good enough for brisk aerobatics, it was fit for purpose, or a failure occurred, or the stick twiddler failed.

Richard Wills 228/07/2019 22:23:55
197 forum posts
7 photos

I have an ARTF Acrowot, it recovers from a spin by just by releasing the controls pretty much instantly

Martin Harris28/07/2019 23:16:58
9328 forum posts
249 photos

Any chance that the 5S lump could have shifted backwards during the enthusiastic flying prior to the spin?

Richard Ashworth29/07/2019 09:57:32
102 forum posts
70 photos

Thanks for all suggestions.

Don - My colleague retired from professional flying 8 years ago and has flown fixed wing radio control regularity since. Currently working towards a Fixed wing B. As a CFI he demonstrated and taught spinning so fully understands recovery method, power was a last resort and the running motor eliminates signal loss.

The earth it went into was still fairly soft and covered in long ‘rough, sheep pasture grass’. It needed a bit of work to get the spinner and motor out and there was some damage to one wing tip but otherwise ‘shaken but not stirred’.

The area I was investigating was more “was were a basic under specification of the servos, especially rudder?”

Chris - All the components seem to work individual so a bench 4 servo, simultaneous end stop to end stop test is viable.

Martin - the battery was still in the right place on the tray used to locate it and the tray, although damaged, was firmly attached to the structural support so I don’t think it moved in flight.

Thanks again to all.

GrahamC29/07/2019 10:02:48
1240 forum posts
196 photos

How many amps was the SBEC? And how many servos was it driving?

John Muir29/07/2019 10:07:59
380 forum posts
1 photos

Just because the prop was turning doesn't mean the motor was running. The throttle would have been closed to enter the spin and assuming the cause of the failure was the sbec overheating and cutting out, then the throttle would have remained closed. The prop would now freewheel and would speed up as the airspeed increased in the spiral dive. The fact that everything worked fine later points to the sbec as it would work as normal once it had cooled down.

Workable theory?

Peter Miller29/07/2019 10:31:48
11067 forum posts
1296 photos
10 articles

None of my models will continue spinning on e the sticks are released. The spin stops instantly. And some of my models will spin incredibly fast.

Of course I always locate the CG at 25% chord.

Don Fry29/07/2019 10:41:42
4557 forum posts
54 photos

To answer the question, I reckon the 322 servo is fine for the rudder of that aircraft. I was working from an assumption it's the same as a Futaba 3001, but having looked it up, the 322 has more torque,( IRO 20%), and I would be happy with a 3001.

Now this basic airframe design goes back into the mists of time, a standard hack for hooligans, and always with standard servos. The 322 is an analogue servo. One of their merits is they are not good at overloading power systems.

Still a bit puzzled about what you saw. If it looked like a spiral dive, that's a different thing to recover from. Nothing is stalled.

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