Surprising test results from these two identical looking propellers.
Here I am holding two 12×6 electric propellers. One of them is a real APC, the other is an APC-style propeller from Hobby King. Can you tell them apart? I can’t.
The APC-style propeller is a little bit lighter in color. But otherwise, by just looking at them, they look identical to me. They have exactly the same shape.
Once you start digging a little bit deeper there are more differences than that. The clone one is about five grams lighter in weight. It’s 23 grams versus 28 grams for the real one. But the real difference is that the clone propeller is a lot more flexible. It’s just a more flexible plastic. The real APC is very stiff. That’s a nice quality that it has.
I did a bench test. At 20 amps the clone one turned at 6400 RPM. This is using a Park 480 clone motor from my Kilo3D model airplane design. The real APC (also drawing 20 amps) did 7000 RPM.. That’s a big difference!
Then I went to full throttle. With the clone one I was drawing 27 amps. With the real APC I was drawing 22 amps. That’s five amps difference. The motor is rated for 22 amps continuous. So if I had just put in the clone and assumed they were the same, I would have probably burned up the motor. I’m really glad I did some bench testing!
Then I actually flew them and things were interesting again. I had to fly the clone propeller about two clicks lower on the throttle stick to get about the same thrust as the real APC propeller. I got about the same flight time with both of them.
So my conclusion is that, since the clone one is more flexible, it is bending in flight and it has a slightly higher effective pitch than the real APC. So instead of being a 12×6, maybe it is effectively more like a 12×7. But I’m not ready to say that it is less efficient. In fact, given that it is more flexible, it is probably going to survive a crash better. I see the real APC snapping or breaking a lot more easily, just because it is stiffer.
Of course, the clone propeller was a dollar and the real APC was four. That’s huge. If I take into account the differences in the pitch, they are really just as good. I think the clone propeller is a great value and I plan on buying more in the future.
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