Thoughts from the workbench of Radical RC. The online retailer of electronics and kits for radio control aircraft. Dave Thacker shares his thoughts and knowledge of electronics, batteries, kit design and overall enjoyment of the hobby.
Apparently a You Tube video producer Roman Pirozek has been involved in an accident where he partially decapitated himself with a T-Rex 700. I have no details and do not mean to infer how the accident happened. I have never viewed any of his video’s and have no idea of his flying skills or safety procedures. However, I will take this opportunity to mention there seems to be in the helicopter culture a notion that close in maneuvers are somehow more cool and exciting. For may pilots, it is as if they are attempting to punctuate their high skill level by showing you they are confident enough to fly within a few feet of death. I think it’s high time we recognize disciplined safe operations skillfully demonstrated without any risk to human life as the real “cool”.
This kind of flying where there are high energy componets to the fight aimed at the pilot in command is the issue. Notice the video is put up as a memorial (my condolences to the family).
I’m not trying to force anybody to do anything. I am pointing out risky habits. What happens if whomever re-insures the AMA decides they cannot any longer insure the AMA for heli pilots members who flying without helmets? I’ll tell you what happens, idiots will blame the AMA when in fact it’s the culture that causes the restriction. It’s time to decide what the cool is before somebody else sticks their nose into our hobby and forces restrictions on us we wouldn’t like.
I’m sure Roman was a fine modeler and an upstanding citizen in the RC community. I mean to cast no aspersions. Accidents are possible, even if you fly at a safe distance. Here is Roman Pirozek JR. Channel on YouTube.
A full week on the ticker. Remember the very important point presented in part 1. That point was Ford says to wait at least 1000miles before making any mileage calculations. This implies there may be some break in mixture settings that prevent it from reaching it’s potential for a while. That being said, here are my shots of the data thus far.
Over 20 miles of driving on engergy generated from braking. 200 miles exactly in pure electric driving. The brakes are interesting. When you lightly press on the peddle, you get a braking action, however it’s really the generator robbing your inertia for energy to charge the battery. As you move down on the peddle you can feel there are about 3 steps in this level of braking (or level of power generation) which each step increasing in rate of power generation and braking force. If you don’t move your foot at all, you’ll come to a complete stop. Obviously, when you are barely moving (moment before you stop) there can be no electronic braking (or little) yet it feels just like the brake pads are stopping you. Some super-brain programming must be managing this and it works perfectly!
Shown here are total miles, state of battery charge and what remains of our first tank of fuel given to us by the dealer. Not bad, close to 500 miles and we have about a 1/4 tank left. Notice, I have changed the mileage calculation. It was at first combined with with electric power. I wasn’t interested in that figure. I wanted to know what we were getting per gallon of gasoline. So, that is now represented. It’s continued to climb all week and as you can see, it’s over 40mpg at this time.
Overall my impression of this car is a “fine ride”. Really enjoying the gizmo factor of playing around with an electric car. It’s as fine a ride as any luxury automobile I’ve ever driven. Comfortable, handles nice, great on the highway. Can’t wait for an excuse to take a long trip in it.
I did run into a couple of irritations this past week. When it comes to any kind of product manual or help file, it seems not to include “my” answer. While switching it from MPGe to MPG I encountered a wrench icon. A retangular yellow light with a wrench in it. Going to the bible like (thin pages and thick!) manual to look over the two pages full of warning icons, I could not find a wrench. Going to the glossary and looking up words like “icon”, “wrench” and “symbol” produced a big fat zero. I’ve come to expect that when I look into any kind of help file or manual. Is a black cloud following me? Probably not. Once I got the setting to what I wanted, the wrench never appeared again. Not sure what it was trying to communicate to me.
The second item is the foot actuated lift gate. It seemed to work iratically, opening partially then stopping at times. I discovered we were using it wrong, wiggling your foot back and forth under the bumper can start it opening and also toggle it to stop. Just sticking your foot under the bumper and pulling it out gets a reliable full open every time.
More to learn: You’ll notice in one photo, a full battery stating it has 12 miles range. We had read this car has about 20-22 miles on battery alone. I’ve still to figure out if this is part of a break in or what the reality is on final full electric range.
C-Max Energi[/caption]It was time to purchase a new car. My wife and I are fans of Top Gear, a european auto show. On that show they don’t like many cars, however, they all love the Fiat 500 Abarth. We also liked the Ford C-Max. These cars do not have too much in common, however it was the two we were picking from. We finally decided on the C-Max Energi. (my Abarth dreams are still alive) Her previous car is a 2004 Honda Civic Hybrid. The Civic is 9 years old with a little over 100k on it. I currently drive a 2006 Dodge Mega Cab Cummins Diesel pickup. We have decided to keep the Honda as I have been averaging about $254 a month in fuel expense commuting to work each day. However, I need the truck to travel to trade shows and fly-ins so we’ll be keeping that. I just don’t need to be driving it so much. I am planning that by driving the Civic will save us about $127 a month in deisel fuel.
The C-Max comes in several varieties, we choose the “Energi” version. The Energi is a plug in Hybrid It has an EPA rating of 100 miles per gallon. The car contains a lithium ion battery and can go 10-20 miles on battery alone.
I plan to write in this forum about the C-Max and out experience with it.
When we picked up the car, the avergage fuel economy guage was reading 13.5mpg and it had 59 miles on it. (YIKES!)
One of the things that concerned us was the lack of people reporting fuel economy for the C-Max, both Hybrid and the Energi Plug In. The few that did report all reported less than EPA sticker mileage. Typical for the C-Max Hybrid (sticker 47mpg city, 47mpg highway and 47mph combined) was from 32 to 36mpg. That is alarming. However, these reports all seem to come from reviewers who have cars on loan for a day to film and make reports. Also, for photogenic reasons the driving almost always was in the hills and canyons of California or similar. Test speeds always seem to be 70mph plus. We don’t drive like that. Also, what does any reviewer or test driver do? They stand on that throttle to feel the power, they film passing, they film jack-rabbit starts, the test the handling. All things your likely to get tired of doing after owning a car for a 1000miles or so. What am I saying? You can’t trust the media here (like you can’t trust them anywhere). In this case, they don’t have an axe to grind, they have a report to finish. There is no axe to grind, just human nature. So, I’m anxious to see if I am correct or in error. Will the car do much better than previously reported?
Also, not reported by any report is the Ford’s manual which warns not to measure fuel economy during the first 1000 miles. The most accurate time will be between 2000-3000 miles. Having mechanical and racing experience (and a dose of healthy logic), I can assure you with todays computer controlled ignition and fuel delivery systems could easily be programmed to run a little richer for a better break in. The manual does not state it in that way and no research indicates they’ve done that. However, there is no research that indicates they did not either. So, we’ll follow the directions and give it the miles before we get too critical.
I wonder if any of the online reviewers of the C-Max Hybrid bothered to read the manual? Remember, these are humans.
We have the Energi version which is perported to get 108mpg in the city and 92 highway. Of course with an electric range limit of about 20 miles, I would presume most of your trips need to be very short with charging before each trip to acheive this mileage. My wife’s commute is 60 miles a day and most of that is Highway. I’ll be quite happy if she averages 60mpg. We are starting with the car in the winter which creates heating loads.
Here is our first set of guage photos. I’ll try to add these from time to time so you can see how the Energi is doing.