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HomeAircraftHelicopterHelicopter Main Discussion › Glow engines, not Nitro engines...
08-18-2017 12:50 AM  15 months agoPost 1
PaulBowen

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Victoria, Australia.

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Hello to all

Just curious as to when our glow engines became known as nitro engines. We all know that these engines run on methanol and not nitromethane. The nitromethane content is an additive not the base fuel that reacts with the glow plug. This becomes particularly interesting if running 0% nitro fuel!

I personally find this annoying and wonder if it has possibly come from the RC car fraternity (we always need someone to blame).

I think we shoulp all make a pinky promise to revert back to calling them glow engines and glow powered helicopters.

Futaba T18SZ, JR Propo XG14, Hirobo fanatic!

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08-18-2017 12:54 AM  15 months agoPost 2
EEngineer

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TX

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I guess it's easier to call it "nitro" than methanol.

It did used to be called glow fuel....guess times have changed...

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08-18-2017 01:10 AM  15 months agoPost 3
Einzelganger

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Campbell, Texas

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Just my opinion, but I think Nitro seems to carry a bit more respect than just saying alcohol.
Mom was a science teacher and I cut my teeth on hydrochloric acid and phosphorous matches....no crap....that's what she turned a 7 year old loose with along with my rifle and a magnifying glass to start fires with.....
My point is that I am critically aware and mindful that our liquid fuel is primarily alcohol.

Still, I refer to my birds as Nitro powered. That differentiates them from Gasoline or Electric powered birds and most folks get it that Nitro is more powerful than gas..... I also make it clear to anyone curious that Electric can easily be far more powerful than Nitro. Gotta keep it real...

I'm not looking down my nose at Gassers in any way!! Just making sure that the difference is known.
Once again in bold print.......Gassers are cool and I wish I had one!!!!
I don't tell folks that my helicopters are methanol or alcohol powered.

Wayne

I love the smell of nitro in the morning.
RIP Roman

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08-18-2017 01:24 AM  15 months agoPost 4
EEngineer

rrProfessor

TX

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"liquid fuel is primarily alcohol"

Methanol....CH3OH....

Alcohol...or drinking alcohol....or ethanol....C2H5OH

The difference/similarity is easier shown with the chemical diagram....

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08-18-2017 01:58 AM  15 months agoPost 5
jbewley

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Fairfield, PA

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Yep, I remember glow engines and when 3D was called "stunt". Not to mention the good old "Jetec engines". :-)

Jim

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08-18-2017 02:15 AM  15 months agoPost 6
wjvail

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Meridian, Mississippi

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I personally find this annoying and wonder if it has possibly come from the RC car fraternity (we always need someone to blame).
Paul... It came from the car fraternity as you suggest and yes, it bugs me too. Great question.

Nitromethane has been part of this hobby for as long as I've been playing (50+ years) but calling these "nitro" engines didn't begin until cars and trucks took off. It was simple marketing. Boats have been running upwards of 65% nitromethane for decades but weren't called nitro engines. It took the marketing of R/C cars to invent NITRO NITRO NITRO!!!!

Almost certainly it is a carry over from the NHRA where Alcohol and Nitromethane cars both exist but Nitro cars are the biggest and baddest.

A reasonable number of people assume Nitro, as it applies to our hobby, has some affiliation with nitroglycerin. "Hubba Hubba Hubba! Hot hot hot! Explosive power!!!"

Over the years I've mixed thousands of gallons of fuel. If people want to call it nitro fuel, and they do, I am content to smile politely and let it go. The fact of the matter is that much of the fuel in the hobby has more oil in it than nitro, but calling these OIL motors just doesn't work. You can't get a kid to buy the newest R/C car with GLOW GLOW GLOW ENGINES!!! and METH METH METH!!! wouldn't go over well with mom and dad.

I've had numerous people announce that they have learned that our engine will run with NO nitro! You would think they had discovered the gold of El Dorado. They seem deflated when I explain that our engines are alcohol engines and nitromethane is simply an additive.

Anyway. Nitro seems to be here to stay even if it is less accurate or descriptive than glow. I suppose I'll have to adapt.

"Well, nothing bad can happen now."

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08-18-2017 02:25 AM  15 months agoPost 7
PaulBowen

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Victoria, Australia.

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Thanks for the glowing response wjvail!

Glow is all the go for me at the moment.

Futaba T18SZ, JR Propo XG14, Hirobo fanatic!

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08-18-2017 02:52 AM  15 months agoPost 8
Pistol Pete

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Seffner, FL

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How about engine vs motors?
All engines are motor but not all motors are engines.

There are those that insist if it uses wet fuel, it must be called an engine.

I say tell that to the motorist riding in his motorcar with the motorcade on the motorway escorted by motorcylist on motorcycles who got upset when they exited the motorway and got stuck behind a General Motor motorhome towing a motorboat on a one lane uphill and curvy road and who was on his way to the DMV for a registration renewal.

You go ahead and replace all those motors with engines and get back to me on that.

~~Enjoying the hobby one flight at a time~~

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08-18-2017 03:08 AM  15 months agoPost 9
spaceman spiff

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Tucson

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"Glow" doesn't sound very manly.

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08-18-2017 03:14 AM  15 months agoPost 10
EEngineer

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TX

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A "meth" engine.....LMAO

That'll really "glow" over with the parents....

Somebody might end up "glowing" to jail.....

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08-18-2017 04:34 AM  15 months agoPost 11
Gearhead

rrMaster

Vt

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I have 2 Meth engines, they are strung out, you add more than 2 or 3% Nitro they don't run well

(Super Tartan 44cc Twin & a never started Super Tartan 22cc) you can buy the 22cc

Jim
Buzz Buzz Buzz

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08-18-2017 04:38 AM  15 months agoPost 12
EEngineer

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TX

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Yeah?....but it's strung out...who would want to buy it?....

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08-18-2017 04:56 AM  15 months agoPost 13
Steve Graham

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Denver, CO

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I have a friend at my club who knows more about glow engines than anyone I've met. He's been playing with them for nearly 50 years. He never misses an opportunity to correct me when I call them Nitro engines. Not a car thing. An OG thing. They are not wrong. Since he is a friend I take his corrections in stride and still occasionally call them nitro in his presence just to irritate him LOL.

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08-18-2017 06:12 AM  15 months agoPost 14
ticedoff8

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Morgan Hill, CA. USA

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There are Internal Combustion (IC) engines and Electric (E).
IC covers engines that are power by gasoline, alcohol, propane, kerosene, natural gas (CNG) and diesel or other liquid / gaseous combustible fuel.

IC also refers to reciprocating pistons and rotating turbines.

In reciprocating piston engines, you have glow, spark and heat ignition sources.

E refers to electric driven motors.

Why "Nitro" is a good question and has already been answered: It sounds cool.

I prefer IC - and I get blank stares from those around me. But, I am used to that.

The truth is that no nitro is required for a reciprocating IC glow ignited alcohol fueled motor to run with enough power to fly a helicopter well.
Alcohol and oil are all that is needed.

Low percentages of nitro will make starting and idling easier and more reliable.
It will also help mask a worn out piston ring, piston sleeve or just "generally" low compression in an older / abused IC engine.

The catalytic reaction between the alcohol and the hot platinum wire coiled in the glow plug keeps the coil hot enough to ignite the fuel on the next compression stroke.

If you are familiar with how a "Diesel" compression-ignition engine works, our 2 cycle IC model aircraft engines work in a very similar manner.
The heat of the platinum wire will ignite the alcohol fuel when the pressure in the cylinder raises to the right point.

The "nitro" in the fuel release its oxygen molecules when burned to accelerate the alcohol's burning more efficiently and produce more power on the power-stroke.

Believe 1/2 of what you see and none of what you hear.
Fake News will be the downfall of our Republic!

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08-18-2017 06:22 AM  15 months agoPost 15
grimthenoble

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Viroqua, WI

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Do you call a car engine a sparkplug engine? Are diesel engines known as glow engines? Some do have glow plug, but some use induction heat to warm air but let's not get that complicated. 30% nitro methane(which most people use in helis) is to me more than just an additive. Yes methanal is most of the fuel so meth engine would sound a bit illegal haha. Let's just call them Nitro Engines and leave it at that

Never go Full Retard!

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08-18-2017 06:40 AM  15 months agoPost 16
ticedoff8

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Morgan Hill, CA. USA

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"a car engine" is typically a 4 cycle, timed spark ignition, gasoline fueled IC engine

A Diesel "compression-ignition" IC engine is not a "glow" engine.
Some do have glow plugs to help with starting. But after the cylinder warms up enough, the glow plugs shuts off and it auto-ignites due to heat of compression.

You can call them what you want.

Nitromethane has no relationship to Methamphetamine.
But, you know that.

But it will sound funny to everyone around you when you use the word "meth" in talking about motors and helicopters.
I used to call the airplanes I worked on "Beechnut Bonanzas" when I work on that Beechcraft model in the hanger.
I thought it was hilarious.
The owners didn't appreciate it too much.

I prefer 22.5% nitromethane in my YS 120SR-X with 1 shim.
But I use 30% in my YS 60SR with no shims.

Believe 1/2 of what you see and none of what you hear.
Fake News will be the downfall of our Republic!

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08-18-2017 10:17 AM  15 months agoPost 17
grimthenoble

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Viroqua, WI

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Not relating engines as 2 cycle or four cycle. When Paul wants to label and engine by its ignition source well then that would mean otherwise for other types of engines.. was just trying to state a point. Because we are getting technical on something that doesn't really matter.

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08-18-2017 11:43 AM  15 months agoPost 18
PaulBowen

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Victoria, Australia.

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I guess they were always called glow engines in the past. As the ultra extreme 3d fraternity started growing they started being called nitro engines, for no other reason but ego and marketing.

Basically to not put too fine a point on it this hobby has been hijacked by far to much wank factor in recent years. At the end of the day we all play with toy helicopters! I'm sure our wives are more than happy to remind us of this fact.

End of rant

Futaba T18SZ, JR Propo XG14, Hirobo fanatic!

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08-18-2017 01:17 PM  15 months agoPost 19
wjvail

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Meridian, Mississippi

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A "meth" engine.....LMAO
That'll really "glow" over with the parents....
If you're going to shorten a "Nitromethane engine" to a "Nitro engine", and if I'm going correct you and point out they are more accurately powered by methanol, wouldn't methanol engine then be shortened to "meth engine"?

Moving on. The question has come up that if they are not nitro engines and it's not nitro fuel, why label them by their ignition source? Why are they glow engines? I believe the answer is historic. Going back, almost all engines were spark ignition and burned premix pump gasoline. It wasn't until 1947 that Ray Arden invented the glow plug we use today. Modelers after WW II had access to methanol and noticed their engines would continue to run after the ignition was removed. Mr Arden, along with access to methanol, resulted in the engines we have today. Looking at those engines from the perspective of 1947 it is easy to see why modelers would call them glow engine. It was an easy way to distinguish them from the spark engines that came before. "Is that a sparky? No it's glow."

A little more clarification. Our engines are glow engines and ignition is typically the result of a catalytic reaction be between the platinum alloy of the glow plug and methanol. I say "typically" because it doesn't have to be methanol. Many different hydrocarbons will suffice. To that point, OS has developed "glow" engines that run on Ethanol and also on gasoline premix. OS developed glow plugs specific to both of these applications.

Our engines typically and historically have run on methanol but will run with very little methanol. Our engines will run on up to 70% nitromethane, 20% oil and just enough methanol to get the two to mix. At that point nitro is not an additive. It is the fuel. These are very specific applications and not common. Again, looking at it historically, we have methanol, glow ignition, engines.

http://www.os-engines.co.jp/english/bio_eng/

http://www.towerhobbies.com/product...s/osmg1513.html

"Well, nothing bad can happen now."

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08-18-2017 03:04 PM  15 months agoPost 20
EEngineer

rrProfessor

TX

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"Beechnut Bonanzas"

LOL....

Or, "Forked Tail Doctor Killers".....

Logo 600SXs, 800XX, TDR IIs

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