Issue 2: Winter 2018!

Welcome to our second edition of the Southeast Attack Squadron radio-controlled warship combat club newsletter! We hope you are finding our stab at revitalizing a club periodical interesting? informative? a good laugh?

The editors are both delighted to have our first member-submitted article ("Don't Sink Yourself" by Chris Kessler) and we hope this involvement grows in the future to make this truly a newsletter for and by our club members (any members with ideas or articles for Fleet Ops 144 may contact one of the editors listed at the bottom for assistance).



by Chris Kessler
Pump Screens are a rarely discussed, yet critically important part of our ships' damage control systems.  Why use one? The goal of a pump screen is to prevent solid matter from entering the pump which could damage the pump or clog the outlet nozzle.  Both of those outcomes will result in a sink no matter how strong the pump, and a damaged pump might end your battle if you aren’t able to replace or fix it.

A well-constructed pump screen is effective at keeping debris (mainly broken balsa) and pond gunk out of the pump without restricting the flow of water into the pump so-as to not reduce the pump's capacity.  Whatever volume of water that is pumping out first flows through the pump screen and pump inlet so it’s important to prevent those from becoming the narrowest point of restriction instead of the restrictor on the nozzle outlet (BBs must also be kept out of a pump - a few strong magnets glued in the water channeling are very effective at that).  The pump screen can become a restriction if it has too little screening area and is quickly clogged by debris or if the path of the water through it is too inhibited and the water simply can’t flow through it fast enough to keep up with the pump.

There are too many possible variations on pump screens to make an exhaustive list, but here are some of the more common ones:
  • A soft mesh like window screen or bug netting can be wrapped around the entire pump body or cut and glued over the pump inlet.  Wrapping screen around the entire pump body works pretty well but can be unsightly if you care about aesthetics.  Just gluing a small patch over the opening to the pump (as shown in the middle picture below) isn’t very good since it can clog very easily.
  • Rigid metal mesh is my preferred screen, available online as perforated metal or locally-sourced from speaker grills. (Speaker grills are coated steel so they rust but that takes a while and it’s cheap enough as to not be a big deal).  If you look at the picture below you might notice that there is a set of nuts holding the speaker grill on as well as a set of nuts which acts as a standoff from the pump body.  This standoff increases the effective flow area of the screen so even if some of the holes get clogged it can still flow more water than the pump needs.
  • Scouring pad material is another fairly common choice as it is cheap and readily available. This provides a thicker screen with multiple passages for water flow once the screen starts collecting debris.  Personally, I’m not a big fan of this as water doesn’t flow through it as well as the two types above and it’s harder to clean since gunk can get into it versus just collecting on the surface. 
There are other types of screening material but these seem to be the most common ones. One of the IMPORTANT things to remember is your screen should be cleaned regularly to prevent debris/scum from clogging it to the point it reduces your pumping capacity. Building a pump mount that makes it easy to lift the pump and swipe the crud off of the screen quickly and easily between sorties/battles/events goes a long way to keeping your pump running at peak output.

New 6v Solenoids (from Battler's Connection)

by Brian Koehler
A growing majority of captains in our hobby are adopting use of R/C switches that trigger gas solenoids. While there are a great many choices of 12v solenoids to choose from, it is hard to find 6v options that will work at 150 psi (the safety limit set by IRCWCC policy).  Battler's Connection began selling 6v, 150psi solenoids recently, so I purchased some to replace aging ones in my Queen Elizabeth. I also installed them in a new captain's Prinz Eugen. In both installations I initially had some problems, but I believe I have now figured those out and will review and offer tips below.

Overall I love how the new solenoids look and their solid feel. They are all-metal in construction but have an anodized aluminum base (to reduce some weight). They come with an extension of bare-end wire for hooking up to.  I also choose to buy mine with the the 1/8" npt input and outputs as I like to screw in quick-push fittings for 1/4" hose.  Another thing I loved about these is that on either the 1/8" npt OR the 10-32 tapped solenoids, the OUTPUT is marked with a stamped indentation making it easy to note which side the cannon connects to.

The issues I originally found, and their solutions were two-fold:

 1. Use LITHIUM batteries!  I still operate my ships on 12 AHr SLA's. The solenoids would work fine on the bench, and would fire the first "test shot" while floating on the pond before battle, but in combat they repeatedly failed to operate as I pulled alongside a target. However, turning the pump off they would fire reliably as fast as I could push the buttons, and cease again as soon as I flipped on the pump or pushed ahead hard on the throttle. The voltage drop from the Titan pump and/or drive would apparently lower voltage too much for the solenoids. However, installation of a 5000 Zippy High Discharge LiPo (borrowed from a friends cruiser) onto just the solenoid lines allowed them to operate reliably in heavy combat (it was a new experience for me to be firing like Don or Charley!). Those who already switched to lithiums should not have any problems, but for those still using the lead SLA's, the 5Ahr zippy packs are pretty cheap and one will fire your solenoids all day or weekend (so you don't have to upgrade everything if you prefer not to).

2. LOOSEN THE NUT on top of the solenoids!
I don't exactly understand this one, but I've seen it on several solenoids now. On a solenoid that would stick open (and maybe one that was not opening), when I loosened the nut holding the coil down (they are on extremely tight) it would then operate flawlessly. I might recommend a drop of CA glue on one edge to keep it from vibrating too loose.

With those issues figured out, the solenoids have worked impressively (I even bought ten more for my and my son's new ship projects). These will be the solenoids I install in all my ship refits and builds.
(Click any photo for a larger image)

Sneak Peeks at SAS Winter Projects

BATTLE REPORT: February Fracas

by Brian Koehler
SAS officially got it's battle season started this month with the "February Fracas Build & Battle" held in Statesboro Saturday Feb 10th. The morning started off with veteran Pete Demetri and new captain Bill Bibeault arriving at Brian Koehler's shipyard (house) to look at the ship Bill is refurbishing and answer questions about the cannons and other systems (lots of photos were taken for Bill to take back and compare notes as he works on the ship. Wes Hawkins arrived next, who brought a number of new receivers and R/C cards from Battlers Connection which were sealed in epoxy so they would have time to cure.  Once veteran Stefan Minton arrived, the group decided a quick dash to Subway for lunch was necessary, before heading over to the pond for battle.

Once at the pond, Wes Hawkins brought out his recently finished DKM Prinz Eugen and Stefan Minton began loading his HMS Invincible.  They would face off against BrianK in his old SMS Baden. Wes gave his cruiser some test runs on the pond, and then Invincible and Baden were launched and battle began. All ships performed very well, but in a particularly unlucky (for Invincible) moment Baden nudged Invincible to tilt sideways and in a burst of sidemount blew a nickle-sized hole in Invincible that lowered below the water as Baden backed off and Invincible settled. Invincible's pump failed to hold a steady output and Invincible sank at the end of the sortie (note: repeated testing after the sortie finally located the issue behind Invincible's recurring pump problem, and a replacement R/C pump switch has since been ordered - a reason why even small battles are great for working and improving ships!).  

Second sortie saw Prinz Eugen and Baden continue their fight. The battle was more for fun and the two ships even traded some practice rounds on each other. Quite a number of distinctive paired holes were observed on Baden from Eugen's twin sterns, and Baden scored a fair number of hits on the faster Prinz Eugen (which Eugen took without sinking: fairly impressive for a cruiser on its maiden voyage).

Going into the third sortie Wes decided to bring out his USS DeHaven destroyer so it would have some testing as well. A few shots were traded, but before anything substantial could be done SMS Baden sank near shore (even though the pump had window screen folded up around it completely, without a rigid frame window screen wrapped like this will still pull upward from the force of the pump over the small inlet hole on the bottom, making it no better than taping a scrap over the pump inlet - a small mass of balsa chunks were found sucked up against the screen and blocking the inlet. So be sure to pay attention to Kessler's article above!). As balsa chunks are still the result of battle damage, Baden was declared fairly sunk and USS DeHaven left claiming it single-handedly sunk a dreadnought - Prinz Eugen might claim it had a hand in it, but I will let Wes argue with himself over that one, lol)

We then packed up the ships and headed back to the shipyard for some additional shipwork before calling it a day. It was a lot of fun and a great way to give these ships a shakedown before the larger battles start up in the coming months.


March 10-12, 2018
10th Annual Brouhaha on the Bayou 2018 (Texas Naval Brigade)
Wade’s Pond (962 Magnolia Ridge Rd Boutte, LA)
Contact host: Johnny Adams (

May 26-28, 2018
May MAYHEM 2018 (Southeast Attack Squadron)
Fred Fletcher Park (302 Lanier Rd Statesboro, GA)
Contact host: Brian Koehler (

May 26-27, 2018
Memorial Weekend Mauling (Great Lakes Attack Squadron)
(5151 Potters Rd Saranac, MI)
Contact host: Kas Gaigalas (

July 8-13, 2018
2018 Nationals Competition (IRCWCC)
(238 Island Ford Rd Lancing, TN)
Contact host: Charley Stephens (


YOU can be a CONTACT for new Captains!
SAS has a listing of contacts for someone interested in our hobby to find a member in their area:
If you would like to be listed (with your contact info) on that page you can do so simply by following the CAPTAINS link in the menu and clicking the "Update Info" link at the top (contact the webmaster if you do not know your personal access code). Make sure your contact information is up-to-date, click "yes" beside "Do you want to be a contact?" and then save by clicking the big "Update Captain Information" button.
That's it! (It's automated). When you go back to the Contacts Page you should now be listed along with any contact information (phone, email) you had listed when you updated your information.

THAT'S what it's all about!

Respectfully Submitted:
John Jones (co-editor)
Brian Koehler (co-editor)
Copyright © 2018 Southeast Attack Squadron, All rights reserved.

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