Engine VS Motor

I wish to have this article covered up the issues for both beginner and some experience flyer.


Though we have almost trainer plane equipped with motor but it is not bad idea to know what should be the best choice between electric motor and nitro engine.  Time and innovation brings in the best motor and more efficient battery we are using nowadays and it seems that nitro engine has less development added in when comparing to the motor’s.


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Basic differences between electric motor and nitro engine.


Nitro engine uses fuel to power the system whereas electric motor uses the current from battery to move the rotor. In term of the efficiency the nitro engine is much more powerful than electric motor. But that was in the past, we are living in the new age of technology which makes the electric motor stands side by side to the nitro engine in term of power generated factor.  There are a lot more criterions that will be considered and thus brings to an understandable conclusion.



With the good set up of the electric motor system concerning horse power, propeller, battery and speed control it is no wonder that the acceleration of the motor is better and more impressive than the nitro engine.  The key factor for this is owing to the efficiency of Electronic Speed Control and high discharge rate battery that comfort the increase of motor revolution whereas the nitro engine can increases the speed by fully opens the ventury port and let the vacuum from the cylinder sucks in the fuel and air for faster combustion.  The acceleration also depends on the amount of nitro added to the fuel and the fine tuning of the needle valve and mixture control valve which have its own limitation over decades.




If you want to feel this comparison in the real life just remember the feeling of acceleration from the subway train that starts and sprint to its cruising speed.  Compare this to the diesel engine locomotive, if you got the ride on it lately, you will be sure of the imagination how electric motor is so powerful in all aspect.  Furthermore it seems to be clear that all of the fastest trains around the world such as bullet train, TGV for instance are all powered by electric motor, not by the fuel engine.



Now I would like to go over a few more areas that electric motor scores up.


  1. Electric motor is quiet. It can be using during day or night without disturbing anyone.
  2. Electric motor is cleaner and is easy to maintain than nitro engine.
  3. Run time is limited on battery capacity but the range of battery is huge therefore the higher ampere such as 5000mah can let you fly for longer time or equal to nitro engine depending on how you fly.
  4. No routine maintenance, cleaning is done with ease without smear from burning oil emitted from the muffler usually found in the nitro engine.



How about the running cost of these two products in comparison?


One depends on battery and another depends on nitro fuel.  I am writing this article in the year 2015 which is pretty much different from a couple of the passing years in term of pricing which seems to be in the crossing direction between the nitro fuel price and Li-Po battery price.  As nitro fuel increase the battery seems to be cheaper at time, no doubt running the nitro engine is sucking more money from your pocket than running the motor.  The battery can be recharged over and over for more than one year – from my experience and this depends on how you set up the electrical system that is not much overloaded your battery.  See how can you match electrical gadget.


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Let the nitro engine speaks out its essential point that keeps so many followers happy and worship this legendary machine.


First one that comes to the nitro folk is the addict to those great fumes, including me, and this is a smoke of nitro engines that with a little imagination you can tell yourself you are flying a real plane.


Secondly the way those nitro flyer fiddles around the plane is resemble to the real mechanical worker carried out their job in the hangar. Adding fuel into your tank is pretty much pleasurable than waiting for the battery charging to get full. However the way to tune up engine, messing around with the mixture control valve and needle pin can be tough to get your hands on at first comparing to the motor.


Thirdly nitro engine is more like a real engine, so you get to be an engine mechanic in your hobby time.  This is hard to say good thing or no.  I don’t assume any answer on the passion we subject to have.


Lastly the nitro flyer loves the roar of the nitro engines and especially four stroke engine. I confirm this through my connection with many nitro flyers from many clubs, they admit that they love nitro engine sound and power in it.  Electric motor is Yes in power but No fascination on sound which is very crucial point for the imagination of real flight – I guess.


So Electric or Nitro is up to your passion….


Last but not least I am going to gossip to any of you that every nitro flyer has owned at least one or more electric rc plane in the trunk of their car. Better have both I confirm.







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