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Old Jul 27, 2006, 07:57 PM
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wattsup_kz's Avatar
Kalamazoo, MI USA
Joined Aug 2003
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Lost my AP plane - got it back

I was flying the T-52 and taking pictures Tuesday evening when my TX shut off without warning. There was a good breeze out of the south, and the plane was more than 500 feet north. I watched it as long as I could, and when I last saw it, it was more than 1000 feet away and spinning down.

There is a thick forest directly north, and a factory parking lot east of that. It appeared to be over the parking lot when I last saw it. I searched the lot, and scanned the nearby trees to no avail. Assuming that It must be on the roof of the factory, I went to their security office, and explained what had happened. They were very nice. They took my number and said that the maintenance people would be on the roof in the next few days.

Wednesday we had a serious downpour in the afternoon.

Last night I examined the Hitec Laser 4, and discovered broken solder joints where the battery jack mounts to the circuit board. That was an easy fix. I added hot glue to provide more stability so it won't happen again.

Today (Thursday) they retrieved the plane and camera and called me. It had crashed into an air conditioning unit on thier roof. No damage to that.

There is no damage to the airframe. (the T-52 is tough!) One servo stripped.
The 2 year old lipos are dead. The camera (Finepix 360) broke off the mount upon impact but isn't even scratched. It did get soaked, and is probably a writeoff. I am waiting a few days to test the RX, ESC and Motor to make sure they have dried. The RX and ESC were enclosed in the fuselage, so I think they stayed dry. Everything had dried in the sun on the roof for a day after the rain.

I had progressed to where I thought my planes (and my surroundings) were quite safe while I was flying. This was quite a wake up call.

Brian
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Old Jul 27, 2006, 08:03 PM
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willhaney's Avatar
Fountain Valley, California
Joined Feb 2004
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That's great news, congrats on the recovery.

I once left a Nikon Coolpix 3700 outside on a tripod taking a time-lapse movie of the clouds. I forgot about it and it rained. I put it in the oven (dry heat) on the lowest setting with the door open for about 8 hours. Worked like a charm. Still using it.

Good luck with yours.

Will
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Old Jul 27, 2006, 09:40 PM
Oops get the hot glue gun
FoamingInMI's Avatar
Lansing, Michigan, USA
Joined Sep 2004
1,240 Posts
Brian - Glad that you got you plane back, too bad about the expensive gear being damaged. It must have been hard to watch that plane fly away!

Do you have any "Reward If Found" Stickers on it with your phone number?

Hope that your are back in the air soon!

Gary D.
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Old Jul 27, 2006, 09:48 PM
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Kalamazoo, MI USA
Joined Aug 2003
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I don't have reward stickers on it, but that's a great idea. I have my name, phone # and AMA # on a sticker under the wing.

I'm very thankful that it didn't come down in the forest. About 10 acres of mature hardwoods. In most places I can't see the treetops!

Brian
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Old Aug 04, 2006, 07:27 PM
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Hoofddorp, Netherlands
Joined Sep 2004
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Always nice to get a plane back, even if some of the gear is damaged. My nightmare was loosing a slowflyer with a lipo and thinking about the battery overheating on discharge and causing a fire. I would have been perfectly happy if that plane had been returned damaged or not. Of course it's so long ago now, that there is no risk of it doing any damage.

Give the camera time to dry thoroughly. With fresh water it should have survived. It may need cleaning though as the water may have carried some dust into the lenses, etc.
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Old Aug 04, 2006, 09:48 PM
Not THAT Ira
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Coupeville, Wa
Joined Jan 2006
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Hey Brian,
What got my interest is the TX shutting down
Did you determine the cause?
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Old Aug 04, 2006, 10:11 PM
WHOHH..You See That??
qualcity's Avatar
Aurora, Colorado
Joined Jan 2005
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Real Ira
Hey Brian,
What got my interest is the TX shutting down
Did you determine the cause?
Ira,

Re-read post #1, Paragraph #4.
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Old Aug 04, 2006, 10:14 PM
Not THAT Ira
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Coupeville, Wa
Joined Jan 2006
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Thanks I'm awake now.
Shucks and I'm not even drunk
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Old Aug 05, 2006, 12:36 AM
JettPilot's Avatar
Miami
Joined Apr 2005
10,666 Posts
As I have said many times before, if you use cheap radio equipment, you will have problems. Hitec equipment is cheap and has substandard construction. I would not trust my expensive plane to Hitec even if they gave me the radio for free.

The list of problems with cheap Hitec stuff are endless, be it servos, recievers, or now the TX...

Everyone should learn something from this incident.

JettPilot
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Old Aug 05, 2006, 12:57 AM
Not THAT Ira
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Coupeville, Wa
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Post removed with my appoligies to the gracious and undoubtedly sobor gentelman known as JettPilot
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Last edited by Real Ira; Aug 07, 2006 at 09:15 AM.
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Old Aug 06, 2006, 12:16 PM
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wattsup_kz's Avatar
Kalamazoo, MI USA
Joined Aug 2003
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After a week, the only loss is the lipos. The RC electronics and the camera all appear to be fine. I am thankful that the damage was as limited as it is.

Quote:
Everyone should learn something from this incident.
So true! Shake that TX!
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 01:15 PM
JettPilot's Avatar
Miami
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Real Ira
Post removed with my appoligies to the gracious and undoubtedly sobor gentelman known as JettPilot
It appears that you have some agenda to promote Hitec... When someone has such an agenda that they ignor facts, then they are not even worth listening to.

I told you people this kind of thing would happen with Hitec, and here is a perfect example of what I was talking about. A cheaply made substandard brand having another failure, of a TX no less...

JettPilot
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Old Aug 12, 2006, 10:43 PM
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Joined Dec 2002
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Hey Wattsup

This isn't directly AP-related, but i had _exactly_ the same failure in my Hitec Flash 5 Tx. The two solder joints where the battery jack solders into the circuit board had gone wonky, causing the low-battery signal to sound intermittently. But fortunately i was able to land the plane safely. The problem was easy to spot and fix.

HOWEVER i do not blame the equipment, but rather the fact that the Tx has been transported in a harsh vibration environment on the back of a bike for 2 years. The wonky solder joints were directly vibration related. Was your Tx subject to a lot of bouncing around?

In my experience, Hitec gear has been bulletproof and trouble free with the one other exception: HS-55 servos get 'jittery' due to dirty pots after a little while. Now I preemptively disassemble the servos and lube the pots, and have had no problem with them since. Other folks report that Hitec's customer support is extraordinary, even to replacing out-of-warranty crash damaged receivers FREE.

Lest i be accused of "promoting" Hitec, it is simply the brand i started out with when i first got into RC six years ago. RC gear is after all, consumer-grade electronics, not mil spec or NASA grade. And it's amazing it works as reliably as it does.

Bill(oldcoot)
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Old Aug 13, 2006, 06:25 AM
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wattsup_kz's Avatar
Kalamazoo, MI USA
Joined Aug 2003
2,892 Posts
That TX has not been exposed to vibration like yours, but I have done a lot of battery swapping, and I am sure that the problem was caused by pushing a little to hard on the plug as I connected it.

In my circle of acquaintances, I have not seen that the products from any one RC radio manufacturer are more or less reliable than another.

Brian
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Old Aug 13, 2006, 10:51 PM
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ham2405's Avatar
Arlington, Texas
Joined Aug 2002
678 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by JettPilot
As I have said many times before, if you use cheap radio equipment, you will have problems. Hitec equipment is cheap and has substandard construction. I would not trust my expensive plane to Hitec even if they gave me the radio for free.

The list of problems with cheap Hitec stuff are endless, be it servos, recievers, or now the TX...

Everyone should learn something from this incident.

JettPilot
Hmmmmm. I wonder why then that Hitec receivers are the most glitch free at our field. Considerably better than Futaba and if you fly one of the JR abc&w singles at our field, you are a crash waiting to happen.

Also wonder why most everyone flies Hitec servos at our field, especially the guys with 25% and bigger planes.

David
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