SOLAR Powered RC FPV Plane Build and Maiden – RCTESTFLIGHT –

a couple weeks ago I got the idea to start building a solar-powered airplane the biggest challenge here is mounting the polycrystalline solar cells in the wing because they are not flexible and extremely fragile well I designed wing ribs with holes for carbon tubes spaced out perfectly so that the solar cells could rest on top of them after receiving the CNC cut ribs I started assembling the wing skeleton the main spar is made from 1 meter square carbon tube segments that bolt together with these angled brackets this gives the wing some polyhedral my original plan was to make a 2 meter wing with dihedral but I had enough parts and materials to add a middle section this puts the total span at 114 point 5 inches or 9.5 feet or 2.9 meters the wings carbon skeleton alone weighs 19 ounces or 538 grams not bad for a 9 point 5 foot span the spars are connected with bolts going through holes in them but drilling the holes in the ends of the carbon made them crack so I had to add some reinforcement if I ever use this method again in the future I'll design the spar connection mechanism much better installing and soldering the solar cells is tedious work but I got it done here you can see the wing is powering a 50 watt halogen bulb with no problem I then realized that there could be short circuits between the solar cells because they are mounted directly to the carbon and carbon is very conductive even though the wing seems to be putting out enough power I decided to remove all the solar cells and insulate the carbon this took a very long time I used liquid electrical tape for the ribs and spar and paper held on with CA for the thin tubes because it offers more strength than liquid electrical tape once the cells are glued back on to attach the cells I used hot glue to tack them in place I purchased pre tabbed solar cells so I only had to solder to the bottom not the top this made it easier but it was still a really time-consuming process all the panels on each half of the wing are connected in series then each half is connected in parallel to each other mounting and soldering the cells without cracking them is no easy task because they are about as durable as a thin sheet of glass once everything was put back together I glued the cells in with canopy glue and began covering the wing I used clear so light covering film it weighs about 20 grams per square meter and is almost totally transparent however when I held the wing up to the Sun I could tell from the shadow on the ground that some light is being blocked it also has some glare to it so I'm really hoping it doesn't make the solar panels too much less efficient I haven't used covering film much so it was difficult to work with at first but I eventually got the hang of it I was really pleased with how the covering film turned out it's really smooth I built the ailerons out of three millimeter depron and put a three millimeter carbon rod in them they are controlled with nine gram servers that are glued to the ribs the whole wing finished and ready to fly weighs two point six pounds or 1.19 kilograms the fuselage is made from six millimeter depron square balsa tubes and carbon tubes to hold the tail I'm using a five zero one zero 360 kV motor with an RC mannchild 30 amp ESC I was trying to keep the tail as light as possible because there won't be much weight in the front as large batteries are not needed the horizontal stabilizer is made from three millimeter depron reinforced with carbon and the vertical stabilizer is six millimeter depron I ended up covering the carbon tubes in the back with foam to increase stiffness and decrease drag with a park flyer receiver and no battery or fpv the fuselage weighs one pound or 467 grams it is 70 inches or 1.8 meters long to get the center of gravity right I added a 3000 milliamp hour three cell lipo and a 500 milliamp hour three cell lipo to power the receiver in servos these added 9 ounces or 255 grams this puts the total weight of the fuselage at one point six pounds or 725 grams for the maiden flight I used the 3000 milliamp hour 3 cell to power the motor and the solar cells were not connected to anything the total combined weight is 4.2 pounds or 1.9 kilograms it flies pretty slow and is very docile the five zero one zero motor and 17-inch prop offered just enough power I'll be upgrading to an 18-inch prop soon now that we know it flies the real question is whether or not the solar panels will supply enough power to sustain flight if they do I'll use them to run the motor directly if not I'll have to figure out a way to have them charge the batteries in flight stay tuned for the next video on this project coming soon thanks for watching bye

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