HOW TO ADD SOUND TO YOUR ELECTRIC PLANE

 

12/20/2014 - It doesn’t take Einstein to recognize the difference in sound at CRCS the past two years. Probably 80% to 90% of the time the only sound heard aside from air whistling is the sound of electric motors whining. We’ll leave the peanut gallery's bellowing sound out of this article and focus on the sound of our planes. 

I’m not saying that a screaming 2 stroke glow or 30-60cc gasser sounds real either. Glow four strokes and twin 100cc gassers are the only thing we have flown that sounds anything like a real plane. For a while there it seemed like everybody was moving toward the quieter and better sounding 4 stroke glow engines. Suddenly glow power fell off a cliff and the electric revolution took the lead.

With the switch to electric power we lost a measure of excitement though. The sound of engines running is missing. Imagine going to a full scale auto race track where the only sound is the whine of electric motors. Its like the smell of burnt glow fuel. Not something thats particulaly good in large doses, but in moderation adds a special ambiance to the experience.

Warbird foamies are looking very realistic and are getting a little bigger every year. Most these days come with lights, retracts, flaps and miscellaneous operating goodies. They look very good until you hit the throttle. That is a real shame. 

All is not lost. How many of us used clothes pins to attach playing cards on our bicycles to use the spokes to make an engine sound when we were kids? A similar option is available for our planes. No I am not saying lets glue playing cards to our cowling! Our resident airplane hacker, Wayne Coons once brought an electric plane to a club meeting for show and tell equipped with a sound system. It was impressive and plenty loud. Those of you that were not there missed out on something very interesting.

There are sources for sound systems for electric planes available, but one big consideration and limitation for sound systems has been weight. The electronics weigh next to nothing, but to get decent sound you needed good speakers mounted in the plane. Additionally the sound is directional. If the speaker is on a side away from you the sound level is greatly reduced. You were also required to cut holes in the airframe for the sound to get out. Not very appealing and in a lot of cases not possible due to weight.

How about if I told you that you can buy a loud sound system (up to 108db!) for virtually any plane and without the weight of speakers? MrRCSound provides a system that uses transducers that  actually make the foam airframe a speaker. No need to cut holes and only one transducer is needed in most cases. Weight for the whole system is under 4oz.

 

You can order direct from the manufacturer MrRCSound or from one of his US dealers such as MotionRC.com. One significant consideration is price. The MrRCSound system costs $149.99 plus $13 shipping. Thats about 2/3 the price of the airplane itself in many cases. The transducer uses doublesided tape to stick to the side of the airframe, so you may need to buy a new transducer to move the system to another plane since removing the tape may damage the transducer. Still it is very appealing.

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