Old Timer- new to electrics & Radio systems - RC Groups
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Sep 10, 2011, 04:27 PM
deanz406's Avatar

Old Timer- new to electrics & Radio systems

I'm an old time flyer, 1970's-90 and have recently got back into flying RC again. I'm not up on all the new radio systems, and needed some basic info on upgrading to the newer systems. I have all of my planes from then, all nitro's, and am now into the electrics. I started with the little Champ parkflyer, just to re-hone my flying skills, and am having a ball with the simplicity and ease of the electrics, as well as not having to lug around a huge field box w/ fuel, and all the other stuff I carried with me. I still have all of my antique 27MHZ radio systems, but see that they are no longer used here in the U.S.A.
I would like some guidance for buying new radio systems, and from most of the reading I've been doing here on the forums, the 2GHZ systems seem to be the ticket. What I am curious about is what the limitations on range is. The little champ w/2ghz is about 800 ft or so-- seems like I lose control beyond that range. What radio systems have an extended range, say 1/2 mile or so?? I do remember that my 27mhz stuff was good out to 1/2-3/4 mi, and I never have any glitches or problems when we did our cross country excursions.
Are there any particular radios that have the power output to fly safely 3000-4000 ft away?? I do have quite a few 1/4 & 1/3 scale planes and don't want to lose them because of low powered radio systems. I am in an excellent open country area, and am finessing a part of my property for a couple nice grass runways.
Any help, suggestions, and personal experiences with these radio systems would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks-- Dean
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Sep 10, 2011, 05:26 PM
gluemaster's Avatar
Dean, did you mean 72 Mhz systems. If so I still use them as it would cost me an arm and a leg to switch to 2.4. It seems that almost everybody is converting to 2.4 and eventually I will. I think there are some clubs that will no longer allow the use of 72 Mhz. As far as range goes from what I see and hear the range on the new stuff is just as good or better than it used to be. The power output of the Champ is probably pretty weak. The real 2.4 stuff like Spectrum, JR and Futaba has normal range. You might look up the brands I listed and they might have the range listed. Just my $.02.
Sep 10, 2011, 07:42 PM
Still circling in sink...
Back before 72 MHz, R/C radios operated on 27 MHz. It hung on - an Aero Ace bought in 2008 still came with a 27 MHz radio - but they are very vulnerable to interference from CB radios, kids with Aero Aces, etc. You'd never want to use those radios now. If I were getting started today the only radios to consider would be 2.4GHz.

The 2.4 GHz transmitters from the big brands - JR, Spektrum, Hitec, Futaba and Airtronics - are all full range I think. Some of the receivers, though, are meant for small planes and have shorter ranges. Luckily the manufacturers are pretty good about describing the receivers as either full range or something less ("parkflyer range", short range, or whatever) so you can know what you're getting.
Sep 10, 2011, 11:54 PM
deanz406's Avatar
gluemaster-- No, not 72mhz, I never operated on that frequency. All my stuff is 27mhz, I think just above the CB band, back then. I am going to start all over with completely new radio systems, and probably will stay with the new 2.4 ghz equipment.
Tom-- I didn't realize that 27mhz was on that late-- I'm surprised. I don't think I'm going to trash all the radios that I have on 27mhz. I have heard that there are people putting in new TX modules in their older stuff. When I look at the old Kraft, and some of the others, they were really built well, with metal cases, and the gimbals were absolutely top notch, smooth and stable. I'll see if it's worth using the older cases, and updating, or just selling them, maybe to someone overseas that still uses 27mhz. I'll figure that out later.
Thank you both for ur input and suggestions, and I have just purchased my 1st new radio system-- a Spektrum DX5, and I'll be upgrading systems for more channels, as i dig out the planes that have more features, like flaps, retracts, etc. I did see somewhere here on the forums, someone mentioned "long range receivers", and wondered if there was any truth to that, by definition of long range. What would make the difference ??
I'll definitely do some more homework, and look carefully at every spec where these systems are concerned.
I would still like to hear from any and all members who would like to add some interesting input about ur experiences with these new systems, and have had personal goods, and bads with any of them. Maybe someone can tell me what to stay away from, and what is a good investment. I have always preferred to buy a high quality item, so that I get the most out of the investment. I do love the small fleet of planes I have, and i will add that I never experienced a crash due to radio malfunction when I was flying on 27mhz. I hope that with newer systems, I can retain them all. Many thanks for ur valuable info-- Dean
Sep 11, 2011, 12:44 AM
That guy who's flying.
IlikeF4Fs's Avatar
I too recently got back into RC. I only ever used the 72mhz radios, but wouldn't try to reuse them even if I had them still. The 2.4Ghz systems ( I use the Spektrum) is so much more user friendly. At least as much range but gone are the days of frequency pegs and the like. Turn it on, bind it, fly it, lovely. Even the control granularity is better with the resolutions available now (1024bits and up specifically). Honestly, you'd be hard pressed to find 27Mhz stuff to use anymore, and that's for the better IMHO.

The advent of foamies is also a boon in my eyes. Sure the building is circumvented, but it makes it really easy to jump back in and get flying. You mention you still have your old planes, just grab a new Tx/Rx, an ESC, and maybe a UBEC (depending on the size), and go to town. This hobby has never been more accessible then it is now. The motors and batteries will be easily transferable to multiple air frames. They even do a good job of labeling the electric motors to correspond to their equivalent IC motors.

Welcome back and have fun.
Sep 11, 2011, 01:57 AM
Xpress..'s Avatar
2.4Ghz equipment is more than capable of safely flying your large airplanes up to distances beyond what most people can see.
Sep 11, 2011, 03:21 AM
Registered User
You've already bought the 2.4GHz stuff, so I don't need to convince you any more. But one big advantage of 2.4GHz over the lower frequencies (27, 35, 72MHz) is that it's almost immune to electrical "noise" from motor and ESC, so is ideal for electric powered models.
Sep 12, 2011, 02:55 AM
deanz406's Avatar
Thank you all for ur responses and suggestions-- I guess 2.4Ghz is the way to fly. I.m really excited about firing up some of the "Old Girls" and cleaning out the cobwebs. I may do a couple gas to electric conversions on a couple of them. Once again, my deepest thanks and appreciation-- Dean
Sep 12, 2011, 05:16 AM
Will fly for food
One issue with 27 MHz and 72 MHz equipment is there are a number of one box Ready To Fly toys out there, that are sold in toy stores as well as hobby shops. The people who buy these have NO idea about frequency control, so could cause fatal interference with your large scale aircraft. Is is the big reason I switched to 2.4 GHz. That and the smaller antennas.

As for range, any of the major brand products (except for RTF indoor Txs) have line of sight range out of sight. Some (such as JR/Spektrum) do have Park Flyer Rxs, but that is an issue with antenna diversity, they actual range capability is still out of sight. Someone here on RCG tested a ground to ground range of around 2 miles for Spekturm gear.
Sep 12, 2011, 06:07 AM
An itch?. Scratch build.
eflightray's Avatar
Long live us 'old timers', (at least I hope so)
Sep 13, 2011, 12:44 AM
deanz406's Avatar
Pinecone- I just purchased an ARF, the Thunder Tiger "Mr Mulligan" and it came with the 27MHZ TX & Rx, and I'm going to remove it, and put in a Spektrum system on 2.4GHZ. It's an ok model, and i did a lot of research on members who have assembled and flown these models. i have some significant improvements that I'm going to incorporate in the "Refresh" of the original factory build. I see a lot of room for improvement, and I guess one cannot complain about an ARF, complete for under a $100.00. I did buy the kit only one too, and will redesign the weaker areas of this model. I do love the high wing monoplanes, and have ordered the E Flite version of Mr Mulligan, so i'll practice with this one first. I am also ordering the Taylorcraft 450, and the reviews on this model have been pretty positive. I did take notes from other owners of the T Craft, who added improvements to theirs to make it more durable.
eflightray-- YUP-- we "Oldtimers" have seen a lot of changes in the hobby, and for the most part, everything is getting better. The ARF industry has helped a lot of the youngsters, and newcomers get an easy and affordable way to start flying. I'm glad the hobby has endured, and grows stronger by the day. Many thanks again-- Dean
Sep 13, 2011, 12:25 PM
Registered User

Arm & leg?

This is a good set. I have it, & fly it in a Bixler motor-glider, from the same outfit. http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/s...x_Mode_2_.html

Not much money, for a lot of fun flying!
Last edited by Lancer31; Sep 13, 2011 at 04:59 PM.
Sep 13, 2011, 03:04 PM
Watt Waster
Tsavah's Avatar

Old Guys and Their Toys ...

Hey, I know what you old timers are thinking since I am one. Back in the mid 70's I started my adventure with a Falcon Trainer (Goldberg), and since I was having trouble getting one of the tiny local RC club guys to go to the field when I could, it wasn't long before I crashed it. I was using an old Kraft radio that came in a metal box. When I crashed my first RC airplane after spending near $200 and at least 20 hours building the Falcon, I decided I had enough fun already. My newer career change to the US Air Force was making it harder to stay in the hobby anyway, so the stuff got packed up. The only part of the Falcon I kept was the rudder since the rest of it didn't seem worth the trouble to fix. Many, many years later I decide to give it another go, but all electric seemed like a better choice after watching a few video on Youtube. A few years later I am still convinced electric is the better choice.

Anyone still flying with nitro (a gasser) and using the older radio gear knows the FAA and other government agencies are determined to find a way to make more money from "frequency space". If any of them get wind of another way to make more money (rent) from users of radio signals, you can bet there will be another round of discussions and changes. Off hand I don't remember what frequency the old Kraft was on, but I do remember it used a crystal and the receiver needed a match. In the digital age that is no longer a necessity and the 2.4 GHz gear can store upto three different frequencies to "hop" to if the current one is getting weak due to interference. The frequency "hopping" idea is one of the really nice features of the newer 2.4 GHz gear and is suppose to make it nearly impossible for any other user to get on your band(s). Of course there are reports from the indoor flyers there are limits to how many can fly at the same time with specific brand name radio gear. A very few outdoor flyers have said the same, but in their cases so far, it has been about the receiver "blanked, or blacked" out, meaning lost connection with the transmitter and didn't recover. Some call it a brown out and specific brands of receivers indicate a loss of signal with a blinking light.

Of course when the signal "bind" is lost, it normally means the model aircraft has crashed and will need repairs or replacement. If the flyer was a balsa and thin plywood electric plane, it may mean starting over with a new build, but if foam, it may only mean gluing some foam back in place, or cutting and gluing on some new foam. Foam repair is more like "chunk and board" repair, where you cut out or trim up a bad spot and glue in a new chunk. Once the glue has cured, you cut and sand on the new chunk until it has been shaped to fill the void in a pleasing manner. If the electronics seem ok after a few ground checks, it is off into the wind once again. I have had such minor repairs on an all foam trainer I only needed to apply a short piece of packing tape to get airborne again. Of course the secret is the foam plane and gear weights less than 2 pounds and is more likely to bounce than to break like balsa and plywood. The compromise is light foam does best in very calm winds, where as a heavier version of the same model flies fine in a bit more wind, but landings can be a challenge.

The bottom line to all of this is there are more then a few folks with building threads in RC Groups that use all sorts of different commonly available foam boards to shape into an RC Flyer of just about any size one might want. Even better is the fact the newer radio gear of the better brand names will use upto three different frequency bands in the 2.4 GHz range to "hop" to and from as needed. I have read some radios and receivers even compare the signals in all three frequencies and accept the commands from any two in agreement. The scheme is to make it nearly impossible for another user to "bind" and control your bird. Not sure how much better a scheme could be used to prevent interference, but since someone is probably thinking of a new, and better scheme, no doubt it will be offered sooner or later in the new radios. The one thing that is harder to predict is what the FAA and other government agencies might decide is a better way to make more money from the frequencies available and used by new RC gear and other users. I am sure that is their job, so I suppose that is a good thing.
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