Retrofit Electric System on Air Conception Frame

Hi, I’m an experienced PPG pilot and I’ve been curious about electric paramotors in part because my flights are often short, my flying site is noise sensitive, and I have experience with electric RC planes. I haven’t had much need to get serious about researching the options until today, when my Nitro 200 engine destroyed itself. The frame and harness are still in good shape so I’m leaning towards a powerplant swap. Is it worth considering an electric propulsion system on that existing frame? Is anyone doing that sort of thing?

Hey and welcome!
Sorry to hear about the nitro 200. That was my last ICE PPG before I switched to electric.

The short answer is it doesn’t make much sense to use your existing frame.

Here’s why -
The frame on the OpenPPG is one of the least expensive components. You won’t end up saving much percentage wise because most of the cost is in the motor and battery.

The frame for the nitro 200 is designed for a gasoline engine. The mounting points are all different, and it may be tricky to get the right balance especially when considering how to secure the battery.

You may be better off seeing how much it is to repair the nitro 200 and then sell it once it’s fixed and put that towards an electric PPG. That’s just my 2 cents but hopefully it helps.

Thank you, that is helpful.

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purely from the technical side of a craftsman who builds it himself: it doesn’t matter what the frame for an electro ppg project looks like. as with various gasoline engine ppg, only one adapter has to be made, usually in the form of an aluminum or carbon plate that positions the motor. many years ago, simplyfy even made it so that 5 different motors can be used with one adapter. the tank is then the battery and is usually brought into position with 2 oder 3 guide profiles. held with velcor, secured. the esc is also positioned with an adapter plate or small mostly aluminum brackets. otherwise an eppg has no components. for a craftsman with equipment in the workshop as well as for working on mopeds, rc model making, etc., it can all be easy. If you want perfection, you can also have parts lasered online or go to friends who have a water jet machine, for example. Basically, the installation of a complete e ppg drive set in a frame, no matter what type, takes around 1 day or 10 hours. If you want covers and a lot of carbon etc., it can sometimes take up to 30 hours. in europe it has been the standard for around a decade for eppg drives to be built on base plates so that they can replace a petrol engine 1:1. usually with a grid size of 21 cm by 21 cm. U-turn, FTR, some private Hercules, Geiger, Hacker, Paracell, Air Conception projects are built that way. Converting from petrol to electric takes around 1 hour. If you build the battery there in the same position as the tank with the petrol engine, then there are no difficulties with the suspension for light pilots to adjust the balance of the carabiner. you have to do everything yourself, therefore, as described above, the point of view of a craftsman. if you bring the engine very close to the pilot’s back and use a spacer for the required distance of the prop to the cage, you automatically have a system that is very easy to carry and take off, land because the mass does not pull backwards like with the petrol engine or some e ppg on the market.

Thanks bratwurst, I feel good about the fabrication aspects, but where I fall short is in the supply chain for the motor, ESC, and battery. I have light airplane construction experience and feel like making the parts physically attach to the frame is well within my skills, but is there a place to buy the electric powertrain components?

it’s like this… in the usa, openppg sells complete eppg aircraft. That makes sense and is logical since most people want a plug and play system, as is usual with petrol ppg. buy, refuel (charge) fly. very easily.

in europe there are many manufacturers of technical products, sellers who prefer to sell the motor+esc+hand throttle+battery and the customer or the company then assembles everything themselves. the last person to hand it over to the end customer or the diy eppg owner is then liable for it.
in europe there are of course also complete systems.

the individual products of the producers are very appropriate and fair in terms of price and performance. Unfortunately, import duties and extremely high international transport costs are responsible for the fact that the single pilot, if he does not live in the country or near the country of manufacture, is very high.

I can’t say for sure, but it will be a few more years before several manufacturers have distribution networks worldwide. I’ve sold motors and accessories all over the world myself. it is currently impossible to operate profitably and also impossible to offer a service option. the market is far too small for that at the moment.

so i currently recommend you to buy a ready-made system if you live in the usa.or openppg will sell you an eppg diy kit without a frame.

Thank you, I have been leaning towards the option of just repowering my existing frame with a Moster for now, with plans for an eppg in the future. My wife is also qualified to fly paramotors, though when she does fly we attach the foot-launch nitro to a lightweight trike. One advantage to keeping our existing frame is not needing to re-engineer the trike mount, which wouldn’t be the end of the world. She doesn’t fly all that often though. Another option is to source a replacement Nitro engine and rebuild the existing Nitro, sell it complete, then buy a complete eppg. We have room in the fleet for two units and have had two in the past, though at the moment I should probably only spend the money on having one.

Bratwurst, are the Europeans typically sourcing their drive parts from European manufacturers vs Asia etc?

in europe, eppg has been used for around 15 years. all developments come primarily from germany and the czech republic. asia then started to replicate many products about 5 years ago. Since manufacturer liability is very strict in Europe, almost all manufacturers actually only use European products that are approved for man-carrying aviation. i would like to say explicitly: there are certainly some eppg components from china that can be used. But legally very difficult if you want to do everything legally and 100% legally as a company. as an example: the high voltage of an openppg motor,esc. batt. would be absolutely forbidden in my country. I wasn’t even allowed to plug in the charger in the garage.

for large agricultural or man-carrying copters, highly professional asia products are also used. here, however, not comparable to the products that hobby users can usually buy in china. the professional ones are from china in the same price range as european ones. usually even a bit more expensive because of the long transport route and customs duties.