I'm done with electric starters! Did you know this??? - RCCanada - Canada Radio Controlled Hobby Forum
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Old 10-06-2004, 10:39 AM   #1
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I'm done with electric starters! Did you know this???

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I've been flying for a few years now and I've always used an old Hobbico electric starter on all my engines. But, as you all know, power cords are a pain an they can be a hazzard around spinning props.
Recently I saw a guy at the field with an OS61 starting the engine by hand. I was amazed that it was possible until I saw his fingers. He was missing the tips of a few and had broken finger nails too. Ugly! Nonetheless I was intrigued so I tried a few things.
The real difficulty it getting the engine through compression is by pushing on the sharp trailing edge of the prop. But, I found that I don't need to do that. If I bounce the engine off of the first compression in the wrong direction (with enough speed), the engine will fire and then start in the right direction. This worked well on my 91FX so I do it all the time.
Here is the fantastic part! I just bought a new 46AX. I used the electric started on the first day to break it in and then it occurred to me to try it by hand. Of course, it works perfectly. I've now made about 5 trips to the field with various planes and I have not once used the electric starter. Yes, you can start a cold engine this way. The other evening it was down around 5C (40F) and I had no problems.

Here's the procedure:

If your fingers touch the prop at any point, you are doing it wrong!

-Fuel the plane and secure the tail.
-Leave the glow heater off! Open the carb 100%. Put your finger over the carb and rotate the prop through compression a few times until the fuel lines are primed and some fuel has entered the base.
-Set throttle to high idle.
-Put the glow heater on.
-Hold the fuselase with one hand (as usual) and grab the spinner with your thumb and two or three fingers with your opposite hand.
-Slowly turn the prop ccw until it comes up against compression and then quickly (with a quick snap) spin the prop clockwise (the wrong way). You may need to do this a few times and it has to be a sharp snap. Be sure to move your hand in a smooth motion away from the prop at the end of each snap. (This will happen naturally I hope!)

This is the method of engine starting that has made me feel the safest (hard to believe, but you'll agree if you try it) and it has made life at the flying field easier because I can leave the flight box in my car.

So, was I just the last to know about all of this? I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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Old 10-06-2004, 10:55 AM   #2
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Get your self a "chicken stick" A one inch piece of dowel approximiatly 6 inches long. Cover one end with a piece of rubber tube, something like an air-line hose or garden hose. When the engine fires the prop will hit the rubber hose and not your fingers. Control line flyers never use a starter. They wrap hose around their fingers or use "chicken sticks". G'luck
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Old 10-06-2004, 11:36 AM   #3
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I seldom use an electric starter (except when I'm flying helis), too hard on the engine, and unnecessary as well.

I use a light modification to your priming method as well. A couple flips after closing the throttle to idle (with thumb off carb) will result in fuel getting to the plug faster....

A safer method than the one you're describing is to install a decent spinner, and use that for your finger grip to give a flip backwards against compression. Your finger never need enter the arc of the prop.
MAAC# 12719
Si fractum non sit, noli id reficere - (If it ain't broke, don't fix it).
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Old 10-06-2004, 12:25 PM   #4
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Or if power cords are the issue, consider a Kavan planetary gear starter. Mine works on a 14 volt power supply and turns over a Saito 1.80 in Jan. No power cord.

Most of my 4-strokes I use prime and chicken stick but there are a few stubborn times

Bob D.
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Member of MAAC since I joined

Lighten Up, Life is waaaaaayyyy too short
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Old 10-06-2004, 05:43 PM   #5
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Personally, I use a starter nearly every time. At least for the first start of the day. I see no reason for doing it the "old" way. IMHO starters make it a lot easier and safer.

channel38 ( on FM anyway ) lol

"Keep your stick on the ice, I'm pullin' fer ya", R.Green
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Old 10-06-2004, 06:20 PM   #6
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There was a thread on this several months back. Gary Maker was giving similar input on how to use this starting method.

It it pretty cool. I like that you don't get the nose cone damaged from the starter which is a pet peeve of mine as you have a great looking plane, with a scratched up nose cone.

I have to try this starting method more. My attempts have resulted in the engine running backwards (trying it with my OS 91 fourstroke). Maybe just more practice or something.

I definetely don't use my finger on the prop anymore after I got bit in the spring and gave myself a good cut. I now use the starter for saftey but plan to continue to try this trick.
Adam Woodhouse
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Old 10-06-2004, 06:57 PM   #7
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I don't even own an electric starter! Any engine I've had starts just fine with a chicken stick. For warm starts, electric starters are very handy though, and there's almost always people at the field to borrow one from Mike G
Eat. Sleep. Fly. Life's that simple.
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Old 10-06-2004, 07:34 PM   #8
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Maybe it's just poor engine tuning, or perhaps I'm impatient, but I was ever so grateful when one of our club members took pity on me and gave me his old starter. He flies giant scale gassers and had no use for it any more, but I am thankful for his generousity never the less.

That said, it makes so much sense to do it the manual way, no need to lug a heavy battery and starter, less to get tangled up in, and less to pick up afterwards

Dave Holmes

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Old 10-06-2004, 07:39 PM   #9
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Electric Starters

I've been using an electric starter to start my R/C engines, up to .60 size, for more than twenty-five years. I wouldn't be without one and I've never ruined an engine because of the starter. You do have to be careful of excess fuel in the cylinder, because as we all know you can't compress a liquid and the starter is powerful enough to snap a crank - I've seen it happen.


Peter Merkel
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Old 10-06-2004, 07:52 PM   #10
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Some engines are amiable to the reverse snap, and some just refuse to fire unless it is running at a fair rpm under starter power.. I've had both...

The sooner you fall behind, the more time you will have to catch up.
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