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Home ::  Articles ::  Related Articles ::  Getting to Know Nitro RC Engines

Getting to Know Nitro RC Engines

The generally called nitro RC engines are technically glow engines as they use glow plugs rather than spark plugs for electric engines. Nitro RC engines are suitable for powering a small sized RC airplane as large scale models are prefer to electric powered engines. Therefore, they are usually used in local flying filed.

Compared with gas engines, they are less expensive and lighter; even cause less radio interference from ignition systems. As for noise, they are definitely silent than gas engines, while the fuel cost by them are over 10 times than gas engines. These engines use a special type of fuel that not only provides the energy for combustion, but also serves as a coolant and lubricant. Other than the plug and fuel, glow engines work the much the same way as any other internal combustion engine, but there are some distinct differences that are important to know.

Nitro engines used for RC planes are usually 2-stroke or 4-stroke engines. A two-stroke RC engine fires every time the piston reaches the top of the cylinder while a four-stroke engine fires every other time. Four-stroke engines fire every other revolution which produces a very low pitched growl that sounds a lot like a full-scale airplane. That's why most large aerobatic and large scale aircrafts including warbirds use 4-stroke engines.

Four-stroke nitro RC engines are also easier on fuel consumption. They can be a bit harder to tune than 2-stroke engines. This can be easily solved if you invest in a good tachometer. Four-stroke nitro RC engines produce more torque at lower RPM's compared to a two-stroke RC engine. It means that four stroke will use a much larger diameter propeller than a two-stroke engine.

Model planes using nitro engines are usually in decent size. For example, the Hangar 9 Alpha would require at least a "40 size" nitro RC engine. The size of the engine corresponds to the displacement of the cylinder. The Evolution 40NT would be a good fit for the Hanger 9 Arrow 40 nitro RC airplane. An engine slightly larger than the number on the airplane will certainly give the airplane a little more spunk.

As a four-stroke RC engine has a lower power to weight ratio, modelers may always need a slightly larger 4-stroke engine than the actual size of the airplane. A 40 size airplane may require a 60 size four-stroke engine. One can ask recommendations of the professional airplane manufacturer when sizing the engine.