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HomeAircraftHelicopterMain Discussion › Why no clutch on electrics?
09-07-2013 04:35 PM  4 years agoPost 1
Flys4Fun

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new mexico

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Was wondering why there are no clutches used on the electric mainstream like nitro models? Just seems like it would be safer and smooth out the power delivery better.

edit: thanks for talking to me like i am a child when obviously i know that nitro motors need to idle and electrics dont, wow! amazing revelation!

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09-07-2013 04:45 PM  4 years agoPost 2
niyot

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Baltimore, Maryland

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An electric motor does not have to idle like a liquid powered motor- nitro or gas. If the gas motors did not have a clutch the blades would engage as soon as the engine starts and would not stop until fuel to the engine has been cut off

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09-07-2013 04:46 PM  4 years agoPost 3
TMoore

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Cookeville, TN

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Seriously? You can slow start almost any ESC in the ESC itself or the radio.

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09-07-2013 05:01 PM  4 years agoPost 4
elmobad

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chicago IL

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I have seen a few mechanical clutch set ups on electric Scale helicopters. It helped with the "turbine like" scale sound and scale spool up.
On a pod and boom heli it would be silly as stated with the abliity to slow start almost any ESC there is no benefit to have a mechanical activating clutch.

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09-07-2013 05:01 PM  4 years agoPost 5
altima1779

rrKey Veteran

Toledo, oh u.s

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A few nitro to electric conversions use the clutch system, not sure if there is an advantage over direct drive.

I would think one reason they are not used are cost and weight when adding something that is really not needed with today's advanced electronics.

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09-07-2013 05:22 PM  4 years agoPost 6
Flys4Fun

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new mexico

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im not talking about for startup reasons, I know about soft start obviously, but for safety reasons both on the bench and possibly reduced impact and damage when crashing or striking something.

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09-07-2013 05:47 PM  4 years agoPost 7
Gamb

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Belle Mead, NJ USA

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Electric vs. Nitro, why no Clutch?
The lack of a clutch, has nothing to do with "safety" or "smoothness", but has to do with torque.

Electric motors are fundamentally different from all internal combustion engines (gasoline, diesel, nitro, etc.). Internal combustion engines produce very low torque (and low horsepower) at low RPM. Most internal combustion engines produce their maximum horsepower near their "red line" RPM, and the maximum torque somewhere in the middle of the RPM range. An electric motor produces almost all of its torque right from "0" RPM.

If an internal combustion engine did not have a clutch, you would never be able to get it started. If it had the full load connected to the crankshaft, there would not be enough torque to get the load (rotor head, wheels, etc.) moving and the motor would stall. So to run any machine with an internal combustion engine, you would have to start the motor with the load disconnected (by means of the clutch) and once you get the RPM up to the ideal speed, to maximize the torque, you slowly engage the clutch (which will allow some slippage, so the engine does not bog down to a sub-optimal RPM) until all the power is transferred to the load (rotor head in RC helicopters).

An electric motor has no such issues. Since all the torque is available up front, right from the lowest RPM, it can start spinning the head even at low RPM, and continue to run it up to the necessary RPM without breaking a sweat.

On another note, that is why cars with internal combustion engines have gears. If the car only had one gear ratio, as the car sped up or slowed down, the engine would be all over its torque range, and therefore would not be in the optimum RPM range to maximize engine efficiency. When we change gears manually, or via an automatic gear box, the aim is to keep the engine RPM at the best range for maximum torque and efficiency, while allowing the car to travel at whatever the desired speed.

Here is a link to a graph or what all this means. http://www.evme.com.au/performance/power/

Internal combustion motors are better when you need to run them at a constant speed (near their optimum RPM) with a constant load; ex. Diesel generators, etc.

External combustion engines, such as steam engines are like electric motors, in that all their torque is available up front, right from "0" RPM. That is why old locomotives used steam engines. Even so called "diesel trains" use the diesel engine, running at a constant speed, to run a generator, which provides electricity to electric motors that actually move the train! To move something that heavy, you need all the torque up front.

Here is a modern "steam engine":
See the information in the little box at the bottom: http://www.cyclonepower.com/better3.html
http://www.cyclonepower.com/faq.html

Bottom line: Electric motors don't NEED a clutch, and all internal combustion motors do.

Hope this helps clarify this mater.

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09-07-2013 06:32 PM  4 years agoPost 8
GyroFreak

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Orlando Florida ...28N 81W

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for safety reasons both on the bench and possibly reduced impact and damage when crashing or striking something.
For safety, remove blades or disconnect motor leads.
When crashing, 0 throttle, not sure how a clutch would help.

I think about the hereafter. I go somewhere to get something, then wonder what I'm here after ?

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09-07-2013 07:01 PM  4 years agoPost 9
JayL

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Leesburg GA

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Plus the added weight of adding parts that are not needed.

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09-07-2013 07:19 PM  4 years agoPost 10
eddiscus

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Dumont, NJ-USA

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Also because of the high torque available on an electric a clutch would be burnt up on an electric doing doing 3D. A scale scale Heli is a different story.

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09-07-2013 07:28 PM  4 years agoPost 11
jbdww

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Round Rock, Texas

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but for safety reasons both on the bench and possibly reduced impact and damage when crashing or striking something.
Once a clutch is engaged, it will not slip, so there is no extra safety. Throttle hold is your best friend for safety, or less damage in a crash. When you hit throttle hold, the motor turns off and the one way will disengage.

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09-07-2013 07:31 PM  4 years agoPost 12
Tbird

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Indiana

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electric motor would smoke a clutch quick...

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09-07-2013 07:44 PM  4 years agoPost 13
artimus

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Buckley WA

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Only reason i can see is to convert my Raptors to electric.....just for the ease of the conversion

Fly Hard......Team Viagra

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09-07-2013 10:54 PM  4 years agoPost 14
Mark C

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Houston, TX - USA

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If you knew how the power train system on a diesel locomotive worked and why it was designed that way you'd realize how silly the original question was.

Ever thought of how big the clutch in a locomotive would have to be if they'd designed it like a car?

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09-08-2013 12:15 AM  4 years agoPost 15
RappyTappy

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Traveling the USA

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....

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09-08-2013 02:00 AM  4 years agoPost 16
qraptor

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Illinois

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In all fairness to the OP, the question was a decent one from someone without the knowledge. We all had a similar lack of info at one time

When I converted my nitro Rappy to elctric, I got rid of the clutch to simplify things.

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09-08-2013 02:03 AM  4 years agoPost 17
shinysideUP

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USA NJ, NY

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There is no clutch on electrics because the Outrunner motors used have instantaneous torque which fuel engines do not.

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09-08-2013 02:21 AM  4 years agoPost 18
McKrackin

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Lucasville,Ohio

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It's a fair question.
Many early nitro to electric conversions used the existing clutch.

The instant torque and start up speed is adjustable...the ESC isn't just an ON/OFF switch.

As far as top speed,it would depend on the pinion used.
A nitro engine spins the clutch at 15,000 RPM.
An electric on 12S is only about 20,000 to 25,000 RPM and there would have to be a pinion gear/drive gear combination to drive the clutch that would actually end up turning slower than the nitro.

I can see safety aspects of it in the case of accidental spool ups and such.

With a clutch,you can hold the head and keep it from spooling up if it starts up accidentally.
Without it,like with electric,it just spools up and beats you to death until something breaks in the drive train.

It's not a stupid question at all.

I literally never use the word literally right.

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09-08-2013 02:33 AM  4 years agoPost 19
BobOD

rrElite Veteran

New York- USA

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Also because of the high torque available on an electric a clutch would be burnt up on an electric doing doing 3D. A scale scale Heli is a different story.
A clutch can be designed to handle any amount of torque, an electric motor can be made to produce any amount of torque and a Nitro engine can be designed to produce any amount of torque.

The answer is really much more simple, an electric motor has no need to idle...thus no clutch needed.

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09-08-2013 02:40 AM  4 years agoPost 20
McKrackin

rrProfessor

Lucasville,Ohio

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The answer is really much more simple, an electric motor has no need to idle...thus no clutch needed.
Exactly.

One more thing...Once they're spooled up,the clutch never slips.

If an electric motor did something crazy enough in flight to make a clutch fail...it would strip the main gear without the clutch.

That clutch is just as reliable in flight as a pinion gear/plastic main gear combo.

I literally never use the word literally right.

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