FPVLAB

image
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Volantex Ranger G2 1200mm Wing Span PNP FPV plane - build log / mods (LiIon battery)

  1. #1
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    651

    Volantex Ranger G2 1200mm Wing Span PNP FPV plane - build log / mods (LiIon battery)

    Hey guys, it has been a while since I've reviewed a Volantex plane, but I have to say... the Ranger G2 was not a disappointment! If anything their planes are getting better and better with each new model! I remember that the Mini Ranger was quite controversial, with some people having a great flying model and lots of fun, like me, while others had quite a lot of problems with it for some reason! True, the G2 is 20cm smaller in wingspan, but that also makes it more compact and easy to transport, while not necessarily sacrificing space and usability for FPV! Add to that the fact that this is an outstanding flying model, which I have not been able to get to tip stall, or exhibit any other bad behaviour, no matter how hard I've tried, and you have a truly impressive FPV air frame, suitable for beginners in the hobby, as well as beginners in FPV planes. The plane flies really well and is quite stable, hence it should make a darn good FPV platform, and I am planning to also try that out pretty soon, as well as adding an autopilot to the mix, so I can send it further out without worrying about loosing it.


    The dual option landing gear is a treat as you get to choose which one would work best for you, but I think I will be sticking to the single wheel, as it saves the weight of a full LG, and creates less drag in flight, which results in higher efficiency and longer flight times. Assembly is very quick and does not require glue, just a good screwdriver and reading the manual, just in case you are complete noob! In case you are not, you should be done within 30-40 mins, and be ready for flight!


    You can also find the review, as well as a full parts list, in my blog: ArxangelRC.blogspot.com













    SPECIFICATIONS


    Wing span: 1200mm
    Wing area: to be determined
    Length: 880mm
    Flying weight: To be measured shortly...
    CG: middle of the CG markings on the wings


    ARRIVAL STATE


    Box arrived undamaged, and there was no damage on any of the plane's parts. All is good!


    WHAT I LIKE


    First and foremost I would like to express my gratitude at Volantex to actually sticking with the hinges thing and adding them to smaller models as well! The Ranger G2 comes with all control surfaces factory hinged with proper hinges, which greatly reduces the amount of work I have to do on a new model, by sparing me the effort of putting them myself! These are the same on the Ranger 2000 and as far as I can tell, they work quite well!











    Next thing that I really like on this model is the dual option landing gear. You can either mount a proper full size LG, or use the single built-in wheel. The latter requires throwing the plane on take offs, but if you have a smooth enough surface, you can do a rolling take off without much problem, and it creates less drag in flight. This is something that I really missed on the Ranger 2000, but at least the upcoming Ranger 2400 will have the same setup, so I wouldn't have to DIY it.








    Otherwise, the full size LG needs to just be pushed in place and you are good to go.








    It provides some nice ground clearance in case you need to mount something on the bottom of the plane.





    Another cool feature is the dual canopy option. First one is the black slick looking canopy, which definitely creates less drag while flying, and is probably more suited for when you don't have any FPV gear mounted on the plane, or you are using the lower camera bay. It also gives the plane a more complete look.





    This canopy locks with this clip.





    The second is the FPV canopy, which has some openings for wiring, as well as a hold for a servo, perhaps for a pan/tilt type of mount.





    And of course there is the lower camera bay, along with two cooling inlets on both sides.





    And that's the good thing here... this plane has a few air inlets and outlets to ensure sufficient airflow around the electronics, and in particular the FPV gear, to make sure nothing will overheat.








    Next on my list are the wing locking mechanisms. They are the same as on the Ranger 2000, and I have to say they work very well and get the job done! I have not had any issues with them yet, although I have no idea how they will handle a crash, and I hope I never have to find out! This system is very quick and easy to use, just push the wings in until you hear the "click" and you're done!








    Another cool feature is the built-in bubble lever, much like the one you get with the Ranger EX. Supposedly this thing should be on the same plane as the wings and the plywood plates in the plane, so should make installing and calibrating an autopilot a bit easier. Should help with CG balancing as well.





    The motor has the necessary up angle to counter the nose down issues these types of planes usually have, and in reality I do have to say that it is a lot less pronounced than other models I've had.





    Also, the way the motor is mounted is quite interesting, as it is on the inside of the fuselage, rather than the outside. Makes things look a lot more streamlined and clean, and would protect it better in the even of a crash... although the motor on a pusher plane rarely gets damaged in a crash... it is literally the last thing to get hit!





    Having it in there sort of explains why there are so many cooling inlets leading right to it. I doubt it will overheat either way, but at least I am glad Volantex have thought about this.





    Continues in next post...

  2. #2
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    651
    ...continued from previous post!


    The motor is actually 2212 1400Kv, not 2812 as stated in the specs on the BG website, although it depends on how you measure it! Indeed the outer width is 28mm, but I am guessing the stator is 22mm... sooo... its confusing, I know! If you are looking for a replacement to fit inside the fuselage, make sure it is no larger than 28mm in width on the outside!





    The prop is a 7x5E one, which is nice as it is a step up from the usual 3" or 4" pitch props that tend to arrive with such planes. This one definitely will give more speed in the air, so may not need to be replaced out of the box.





    The wiring for the motor is also easily accessible, which is a relief as on some other models it has been a pain to get to if needed. I would also like to see some quick power connectors for the wings, much like the Believer and MFD Nimbus have, so you wouldn't have to fiddle with these cables, but then again this is a budget model, and besides... these servo leads will fare much better in a crash, especially for beginners, when they wouldn't have repair some highly customised connectors.








    On the inside you get a standard two-level layout - bottom plate is for the battery, top plate is for receiver / AP gear.





    The velcro straps for the battery are provided and pre-installed.





    All of the servo wires reach to the top plate, to make it easy to connect to the receiver without any excess wiring that would need tidying up.





    The ESC is some 18Amp Ares unit... which I've never heard of before, but it is probably some rebrand. Good news is it didn't burn out during the first flight, which in my experience is a plus when it concerns stock gear in a Volantex plane! Originally it comes with a T-connector.





    This opening, which is right above the top plate might be used for additional cooling air to pass through to the motor, but it could also serve for wiring, to keep things nice and tidy. Will try to make good use of it when I start adding the FPV gear.








    Turning our attention to the tail now you can see that the tail servos are installed there, which has a few benefits - it brings more weight to the back of the plane, which means it will be easier to balance once you install all the FPV gear up front, and also shortens the push rods, which reduces control slop and improves precision. You also get a steerable tail wheel, which is very nice when using the full size LG for taxing around the airstrip.





    Tail is held together by two screws and the whole thing is very quick to assemble and disassemble if needed.





    Wings come assembled as well, with the servo pre-installed, only thing you have to do is install the push rods and control horns. Also, notice how all control surfaces, except for the rudder, have carbon rods in them for added rigidity! Didn't use to be like that on such budget models, and also I remember a time when even with the carbon rods these planes arrived with warped control surfaces, so I am glad to see improvement here as well!





    And last, there are CG markings on the wings, so you can balance it more easily without having to measure manually and scribble on the wing, and they seem to be pretty accurate having flown the plane while balanced at these points.







    WHAT I DON'T LIKE


    First and foremost... this is a PNP package, which I understand it to be - plug wings, plug tail, plug receiver, plug battery and go flying! In reality you do have to also install push rods and control horns, etc., which is a bit more work, especially if you are a complete beginner... so I think it would be more accurate if is called an APNP - Assemble and Plug-n-Play!


    Second, the prop was seriously out of balance and I had to add quite a bit of tape for such a light prop to balance it out! Balancing doesn't really take a lot of time or effort for me, but again... this plane is targeted at beginners mainly... and they might have a hard time doing stuff like this!





    One other area of some concern is the spar opening in the wings and in the fuselage. Basically it is just a hole in the foam, and as we all know foam is soft and tends to flex and squish, which doesn't speak well about the longevity and "tightness" of that opening. Will see if I can figure something out... but this could have been addressed in the factory, I will bring it up with Volantex for sure!








    And I just have to mention this... it came with a T-connector on the ESC stock, so I had to change it to an XT60 to make it compatible with my batteries! I mean seriously... who uses T-connectors anymore for flying??? I know they are cheaper, but come on!! Forcing somebody to use adapters just so you can save a few cents is ridiculous!




    THE BUILD


    Well... the photos here were actually taken after the plane was built, because I did that at the field right before maiden, and filmed it for the review, so really couldn't take photos at the time, but you will be able to see the process in the video at the start of this thread.


    Putting this together is quite simple actually, so I will try to explain with a few photos taken after the maiden when it was already assembled, but it should be clear.


    First, you could start by mounting the prop adater and prop on the motor! You would need some pliers or a wrench of the right size for the nut. This model comes with a collet type adapter, which means that you sleeve it on the motor shaft, and then you have to tighten down the nut, after mounting the prop, which will press on the collet, and make it squeeze the motor shaft. Also, not the direction of the prop - the side with the label on it should be facing in the direction of flight, i.e. forward.











    Continues in next post...

  3. #3
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    651
    ...continued from previous post!


    As I already mentioned, the prop was seriously out of balance so I had to balance mine before the maiden. Just in case yours is too, here is the process: connect the ESC to a receiver or a servo tester and power up the system. Give it some throttle and verify that the prop is vibrating, then throttle down, and put a piece of tape, I like to use electrical tape, on one of the blades, and throttle up again - if the vibrations have lessened try to move the piece of tape along that blade and see if you can find a spot where the vibrations lessen even more; if the vibrations increase, move the piece of tape to the other blade and repeat above procedure. This is not absolute perfect balance, but it should give you nice enough results not to notice it and to be able to fly the plane without it falling to piece from all the vibrations!





    Once this is done, you have to install all of the push rods, servo horns and control horns. This is not as daunting as it sounds, everything you need is provided, although I would suggest using your own screwdriver, which would hopefully be better than the provided one.


    The servos and all the wiring has already been provided and installed, so all you have to do is install the servo horns, but for that you need to have them connected to the radio receiver or a servo tester, and centred. Then install the servo horns at 90 degrees relative to the servo, as shown in the photo below, and tighten the screw, but don't over-tighten it. Next, install the control horns on each control surface. The side with the holes needs to be facing the servo, then use 4 of the provided screws for each control horn, and again don't overdo it, just enough for it to be tight on the foam, but not to dig into it.


    You can keep the servos connected and powered throughout this whole process, because now you will need to screw in or out the clevises in order to make the push rods the correct size, so that when you mount them, the control surfaces will be neutral. The clevis should go to the control horn, and the other side of the rod, where the bend is, should go into the servo horn. Then clip the clevises and sleeve the rubber bands that are provided with them over the clevis. This will make sure it will not come loose during flight.








    The tail wheel was actually a bit tricky, but it should be doable. When you mount the control horn on the rudder, you do so on top of a plastic bit - the tail wheel wire needs to go into that plastic bit. You will need to insert the wire of the tail wheel into the holder in the fuselage all the way past the first two bends, then you will be able to insert the tip of the wire into the plastic bit in the rudder, and then you can move it back past one of the bends into the position you see in the photo below.








    Also note that for the tail, when looking at the plane from the back, the right servo is for the elevator, and the left is for the rudder, just to make sure you don't install the control horns wrong. You would need to use two of the screws provided to hold the tail in place once it has been assembled, and that is actually pretty easy. As for the screws, they should be the only two of this size, so you would know which ones to use.





    Once the control horns and push rods are all installed and setup, you can proceed to mount the receiver in there and to connect everything, if you haven't already. One other thing that I changed here was the ESC connector. Since the ESC came with a T-connector and most of my batteries have an XT60 one, I had to replace the one on the ESC. In addition, I also added a second cable with a red JST connector on it to power a separate BEC, and not to have to use the one in the ESC for safety reasons. The ESC one I disconnected and connected the external SBEC to an empty connector on the receiver - it will power the servos and receiver and not shut down should the ESC die for some reason! This is for safety since I've had a situation before when the ESC would shut down, and I was left with no control of the plane. With an external SBEC, whatever happens to the ESC I will still have control of the plane.





    Recently I decided to try out the 4S LiIon battery from my Nano Talon on the G2, and so I replaced the whole ESC with one that is capable of 4S, the stock one wasn't, and does not have a low voltage cutoff, because a LiIon battery's low end voltage is much lower than on a LiPo and regular ESCs just cutoff way too early! The new ESC was an Afro 20A copter ESC with SimonK copter firmware on it, which doesn't have low voltage cutoff. I added an XT30 connector to it, since that was the one I had on the LiIon battery. Funny thing is, this 4S 3120mAh LiIon battery pack is actually just 25 grams heavier than the 3S 2200mAh LiPo I used for the maiden and the first endurance run, but it is at a higher voltage and has more capacity! Should be interesting.





    This is the stock ESC. It is rated only up to 3S, so I had to replace it. There is also the fact that I don't much thrust stock electronics, unless they are from a reputable manufacturer, like the HobbyWing ESCs that arrived with my X-UAV The One planes back in the day.





    This is the new ESC. I had to extend the wires a bit, then put on a new heat shrink and it was ready to go. I did not forget to add those extra wires for the external SBEC. Since this ESC also has a built-in BEC, you can see how I've removed the red wire from the servo connector and isolated it, effectively disconnecting the built-in BEC.








    I am so glad that when I was building this LiIon pack for the Nano Talon, I decided to make it flat, rather than the 4 cells next to each other in a cube configuration, because now it also fits this plane perfectly, as if it was made for it!





    And as usual, even if it doesn't have FPV gear on it yet, I did put my RunCam 2 on there so I can see what it looks like in flight, and I have to say I am quite pleasantly surprised, because this model turns out to be quite stable and a good flyer, with NO roll instability like one other model that we know of... (hint, hint)!!!







    THE VERDICT


    Well... if you've already watched the above videos you should get an idea of what my verdict on this plane is - it is simply very good for what it is! Strictly speaking it is not a PNP, but that is actually good... beginners will get to learn something useful, compared to just take it out of the box, fly, crash, throw in bin! Once you've invested some DIY time in it, you might not be so willing to throw it away at the first sign of trouble! Some assembly is required but no glue is needed, so it goes rather quickly, and after that you have an outstanding little plane, which can pack up quite compactly for its size.


    The dual option canopy is meant to suit both beginners and a more advanced transition to FPV flying, and same goes for the dual option landing gear - meant to suit a lot of needs and situations, and it is always nice to have options. Once in the air the plane is absolutely perfect - great flight stability, no noticeable bad tendencies, nose down effect from the pusher motor is minimal, it really doesn't want to tip stall no matter how hard I tried to get it to, flight efficiency is also great once you get comfortable with how it flies and push back the throttle a bit, and it actually seems to be able to keep a good speed throughout the flight! Flying with a 3S battery will not give you tons of thrust, but I didn't really expect it to, and it is actually more than enough for this plane and some FPV gear... and perhaps a small autopilot.


    Wing clips are pretty convenient and will keep those wings firmly attached to the plane even through some turbulent weather or mild aerobatics. As for landings... it can definitely float so you can easily overshoot the desired landing point, and it can glide comfortably without worrying that it will tip stall! Overall I am exceptionally impressed by the Ranger G2 and think it is a worthy addition to the Ranger line. It would suit most beginners perfectly and would help them transition to more advanced things like FPV for instance, with ease. In addition, its flight efficiency with the stock setup suggests that a minor motor and battery upgrade might bring on even longer flight times, which makes it an even more capable platform that it appears to be!


    The next step would be to replace the motor and perhaps add the autopilot from my Mini Ranger, and some FPV gear, and see how that goes, I would really like to push it out some and see how far it could get!

  4. #4
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    651
    Last edited by Arxangel; 27th July 2018 at 04:48 PM.

  5. #5
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    651
    Reserved.

  6. #6
    Forum Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2014
    Location
    Sofia, Bulgaria
    Posts
    651

    UPDATE 1 - full endurance and some aerial shots

    OK, so first update! Finally managed to do a full endurance run with the G2 and the LiIon battery, and it lasted 52 mins... which is a bit short of the 1 hour I was hoping for, but I guess it will do! I still have plans to put the AP from the Mini Ranger in this one, but since a recent test with a new Volantex stabilisation unit kinda busted its nose, I am putting those plans on hold until a replacement fuselage arrives! Until then, here is the video from the endurance run with the aerial shots, I hope you enjoy it!



Similar Threads

  1. Replies: 8
    Last Post: 19th April 2018, 07:01 PM
  2. Replies: 5
    Last Post: 28th July 2017, 07:11 PM
  3. Where to mount rx and video tx on a volantex ranger ex
    By gabsterino in forum FIXED WING
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 10th January 2016, 05:11 PM
  4. Volantex Ranger EX 757-3 at RMRC!
    By ReadyMadeRC in forum ReadyMadeRC
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 29th December 2014, 09:38 PM
  5. Replies: 0
    Last Post: 28th August 2014, 11:46 AM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •