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Experiment 04 - Design of a remote controlled EHD Thruster

Engineer Xavier Borg - Blaze Labs Research 04/04/02

Following various unsuccessful attempts with radio controls readily available on the market, I decided to convert one of the cheap radio controls into an infra red system. Infra red transmission eliminated all transient problems which were entering the RC receiver unit via its antenna. The infra red receiver unit (below picture on lower right) is enclosed in a foil coated plastic cover to reduce interference reaching the board.

The photo below shows a demo version showing the basic components required to acheive a battery operated, isolated (no ground connections) remote controlled EHD thruster. This unit is capable of powering my dielectic coated thruster at full payload for about 30 minutes continuous operation, starting with a set of fully charged batteries. Note the strong bowing up effect on the aluminium elements.

flying rc lifter
RC EHD Thruster floating in air

Exp 04 Video
Click here to view video of this experiment - Isolated Remote Controlled EHD Thruster

(File size 314Kb DivX)

This experiment is very important as it shows that it is possible for an EHD thruster to work with no ground reference (not earthed). Most important is that it can thrust within the ambient dielectric using ITS OWN potential difference, supplied by a balanced generator across its electrodes.

Phase II: First flying EHD controlled machine

Involves directional control & helium balloon, to balance out the battery+electronics weight, to achieve a real EHD controlled flying machine. Each balloon lifts approximately 300g, and six were necessary to completely balance out the whole machine. Small steel nuts were then loaded onboard to exactly neutralise the uplift when the thruster is off.

Weight of power supply is 300g
Weight for 100v battery pack is 480g
Weight for 12v Ni-Cd battery pack is 360g
Weight for infrared receiver battery is 48g
Weight for infrared receiver is 10g
Weight of flat panel EHD thruster is 20g
Weight for servo motor and gears is 16g
Weight for wooden structure is 550g

RC thruster with cruise controls

RC thruster panel mounted on balsa structure. Centre shaft is motorised and can turn 360° to provide control in any direction in one vertical plane. Shown in the photo are my infra red remote control (top shelf right), battery pack (top shelf centre), RC controlled positioning motor (lower shelf right) and lightweight HV converter (lower shelf left) of the structure. All equipment is positioned in a way as to obtain a perfectly balanced structure, when hung up from the strings.

Phase III - EHD-LTA Thruster


Balloon lifter ready to fly.

This experiment shows that even with the relatively low power efficiencies of the asymmetric electric field lifters, practical applications in both small and large scales are possible using hybrid LTA (lighter than air) technologies. A variety of applications such as EHD powered sailing boats, EHD powered zepellin, EHD powered space positioning panels and a lot more can be achieved with these devices.

EHD-LTA Thruster remote controlled flights

The following video files show the above thruster, exactly balanced by 6 helium 3 foot balloons doing some manouvers. All tests have been done indoor with just 1 metre clearance from the balloon to the ceiling, so it was quite tight to control.

Balloon1 Video
Click here to view video of this experiment - RC EHD Thruster vertical take off

(File size 264kb DivX)

Balloon2 Video
Click here to view video of this experiment - RC EHD Thruster vertical landing

(File size 254Kb DivX)

Balloon3 Video
Click here to view video of this experiment - Motorised panel controlled flight

(File size 302Kb)

Balloon4 Video
Click here to view video of this experiment - Some playing around

(File size 264Kb)

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