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 flat panel 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.
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 baloon, to balance out the battery+electronics weight, to achieve a real EHD controlled flying machine.
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 - Helium assisted LTA EHD Thruster
This experiment shows that even with the relatively low power efficiencies of single stage EHD thrusters, practical applications in both small and large scales are possible using hybrid LTA (lighter than air) thechnologies. 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.
Helium assisted EHD-LTA thruster controlled flights
The following video files show the above EHD thruster, exactly balanced by 6 helium 3 foot balloons doing some acrobatics. All tests have been done indoor with just 1 metre clearance from the balloon to the ceiling, so it was quite tight to manouver.