All-Electric MakerPlane

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jeff54il
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Location: Holon Israel

All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by jeff54il »

Great idea of John to post a new topic All-Electric MakerPlane

Some time has passed since the original idea of MakerPlane was presented. During that time electric propulsion technology has come a long way and is becoming (or already has become) available off-the-shelf at very reasonable prices. Combine that with the liberal "Experimental" and LSA rules and it's only a question of (a short) time before we'll be in the era of homebuilt all-electric aircraft. It is no longer a question of developing the technology, but choosing from already available technology.

personally, I feel that the all-electric MakerPlane should not be a derivative of existing aircraft design philosophy, but an out-of-the-box design from scratch - literally from the ground up.

The technology now exists, but here are some points that need addressing (not necessarily in order of importance):
1. Single engine or twin?
2. NiMh battery or Li-ion?
3. Fixed pitch or variable pitch propeller?
4. Flight training mission or hundred dollar hamburger?
5. Mechanical or electronic control linkages?

I'm sure other issues will come up as we move along, but the above are enough to keep us busy for a while.
Jeffrey
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They said "Cheer up, it could be worse", so I cheered up and sure enough it got worse.
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John Nicol
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Re: All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by John Nicol »

Discussion moved to a new subject under All Electric MakerPlane.
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John Nicol
Founder, MakerPlane
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jeff54il
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Re: All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by jeff54il »

After my own heart...
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Jeffrey
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They said "Cheer up, it could be worse", so I cheered up and sure enough it got worse.
magnus.bieneck
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Re: All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by magnus.bieneck »

Hi Jeff,

I really like the idea of the electric MakerPlane! Mount solar panels on your hangar roof, and you are literally paying nothing for your fuel ;)

One point I would like to challenge: Why should we use off-the-shelf battery packs? We could also think about creating custom batteries which are optimised for the MakerPlane in their capacity, size, shape etc. It would also safe us some money and thus reduce the TCO. There are some quite nice open source BMS (Battery Management Systems) [1-2], that would be easy to integrate with our EFIS.

Best,
Magnus

[1] https://github.com/Green-bms/SmartBMS
[2] https://github.com/foxBMS/foxbms-2
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jeff54il
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Re: All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by jeff54il »

Hi Magnus,

Thanks for your feedback - very encouraging :)

Commercial Off-the-shelf (COTS) battery packs: I absolutely agree with you on the issue of COTS battery packs - we could definitely develop an optimum configuration using one of the beautiful BMS chips available today. This is a project in its own right and would of course use a COTS BMS chip and COTS batteries :roll:.
By far the biggest problem with all-electric aviation is the low energy density battery itself and the safety issues associated with it, not to mention the prolonged charging times and associated infrastructure required.

I don't want to sound like the party pooper, but we can also develop at least 3 other similar sub-projects, each one being a project in its own right:
1. The MakerPlane Brushless Electric Motor.
2. The MakerPlane ESC (Electronic Speed Controller).
3. The MakerPlane Propeller that is optimised for the above.
I also have my own personal project - Triply redundant servo actuators required for the MakePlane FBW (Fly-By-Wire). I've done some substantial work on the mechanical side, but I have much too little experience with the electronics and embedded software. Maybe you can help?

Best regards,
Jeffrey
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They said "Cheer up, it could be worse", so I cheered up and sure enough it got worse.
magnus.bieneck
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Re: All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by magnus.bieneck »

Hi Jeff,
By far the biggest problem with all-electric aviation is the low energy density battery itself and the safety issues associated with it, not to mention the prolonged charging times and associated infrastructure required.
Agree. The Pipistrel Velis Electro uses both a liquid-cooled electric motor and liquid-cooled battery packs. So we might also think about adding a liquid cooling system.
I don't want to sound like the party pooper, but we can also develop at least 3 other similar sub-projects, each one being a project in its own right:
1. The MakerPlane Brushless Electric Motor.
2. The MakerPlane ESC (Electronic Speed Controller).
3. The MakerPlane Propeller that is optimised for the above.
Oh yes, that would be great! Would even save more money/reduce TCO, and we do not need to limit ourself by what the market provides. However, it would take even more time to develop :D
I also have my own personal project - Triply redundant servo actuators required for the MakePlane FBW (Fly-By-Wire). I've done some substantial work on the mechanical side, but I have much too little experience with the electronics and embedded software. Maybe you can help?
Regarding the software, I can have a look and try to provide basic help, though embedded is not really an area where I have a lot of experience... Would you like to send me a PM with more details?

Best,
Magnus
BruceMe
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Re: All-Electric MakerPlane

Post by BruceMe »

I'm picking up a project I dropped to convert a single-seat exp Silohette motorglider to an all-electric. I have all the components, the battery is where I'm stuck.
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