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Aug 26, 2013, 05:28 PM
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Highfly!'s Avatar
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New Product

Graupner-SJ MZ-24 Unboxing and First Flight

Having switched a while back to the Graupner MC-20 radio I had the early hands-on experience with the Graupner RC systems and with the way they are designed and work. The capabilities of the MC-20, especially telemetry, radio range and the many safety, programmability and ergonomic features I knew I had a winner especially when flying my larger sailplanes and high power setups which required special programming. For my 3D and pattern planes I found the MC-20 at times a bit too bulky so when the MZ-24 was announced with features such as color display, real-time voice telemetry, 12 channels and the looks indicating that Batman may have had a hand in the design, I could not resist but get myself one.

The MC-24 has been recently released in Korea and a good friend of mine made sure that he got one as they were flying out of the door almost instantly sold out. I bought the radio with a bunch of telemetry sensor such as the Electronic Air Module, Vario Meter and a 70A Graupner Hott ESC which has a lot of telemetry features already build in. Each module can monitor a variety of inflight data which is broadcasted back to the transmitter and communicated to the RC pilot using plain voice over the build in speaker. With a flick of a user selectable switch you can cycle between all the pre-selected telemetry data without the need to look down on your radio display. Also, each telemetry data function can be programmed to initiate an alarm when a certain value has been reached such as main battery voltage, used battery capacity, temperatures, altitude and many other parameters. The list is long...

The packaging looks attractive but the real looker is the all metal box the radio is stored in which may have come straight out of a James Bond movie or more likely out of the bat cave. When I brought it to the field the radio case was a real attention grabber!

Inside the box I was surprised to see how complete the MZ-24 was in terms of supplied accessories which I normally used to buy separately. The included neck strap balancer, neck strap, 4Gb SD card, charger, USB cable, stylus and a universal programmer circuit for most of the Graupner products makes the MZ-24 the most complete out of the box experience I ever had compared to other radio products. The 107 page English manual while a bit cryptic compared to the MC-20 manual shows a lot of illustrations as to how the operation and programming works and should be sufficient to get started.

The finish of the radio is really nice combining various finishing techniques that shows a professional eye for detail and attention. Holding the radio is a real treat. It feels very solid and sits well in the hand supported by rubber hand grips on the sides and bottom where you can lock in your hands. The switches and two bottom left/right sliders are well positioned for easy access during flight. I found the spacing between the switches on top of the radio a bit too narrow as I do like my fingers to sit in between the switches during flight to toggle flight modes. Could be the size of my fingers though. The stick length are a bit too short to my taste and I am planning to replace them with longer ones probably with the same ones I have on my MC-20. The sticks feel rock solid and to my feel better than my other radio's.

Having had a touch screen radio before I was curious to see how this radio will match up as I was always very pleased working with a touch screen for easy and fast navigation. Turning on the radio produces a melodic sound with a dialog that asks if you would like to turn the radio RF on and in case you have your throttle or certain flight condition active an alarm will sound for you to correct the problem which is a nice safety feature. The color screen is very bright and attractive to the eye. Touching the display to select the wide range of options requires a slight touch and the stylus was in my case not needed. During flight you can lock/unlock the screen by pressing ESC and ENT.

While the various standard menu items and way of programming have some similarities with my MC-20 I decided that I will setup my first model using the wizard menu which takes you all the way from specifying model type, wing type, tail type and power type using easy to understand icons which you select the same way you do on your smartphone using your finger tip. The wizard also takes you through all the basic functions such as control throws, reverse, sub-trim, dual rates, fail-safe, and motor control leaving you with a fully configured model when the wizard is done. Setting up my Yak 55 took me about 20 minutes and I was good to go and all of this without touching the manual! I noticed on the FUNCTION menu a Snap Roll icon which I used to have two snap rolls programmed. Since I always program flight conditions even when not used I decided to add my standard takeoff/flight and landing modes which are called QuickLink on the MZ-24 and Phase Link on my MC-20. I wonder why they changed the naming conventions as it was a bit confusing to figure this one out.

For the first flight I decided not to bother too much with the telemetry features and I only configured the timer which is activated by my throttle stick after moving it 20% forward. At the field a quick range test was done using the build in radio range test function. After walking about 250 feet away from the model all the control functions were fully functional so it was time to take her up. I could have also done this test using the radio's telemetry functions where you can view the signal strength or activate the telemetry voice which tells you what the signal quality is in percentage. This feature is extremely useful during flight as it will tell you ahead of time if your model is getting out of range. No special telemetry sensors are needed to monitor your receiver voltage, temperature and signal strength since each Hott receiver has it standard build in!

The first flight went very smoothly and I felt instantly comfortable to try out some aerobatic maneuvers while getting used to the radio. Accessing the dual rate switches as well as the single telemetry switch I configured was very easy during flights. I loved the way the radio sits in my hand. It has a very solid feel and the sticks move very smoothly and have the right tension for my style of flying. During flight I took my Yak as high as I could see and toggled the telemetry switch to hear what the signal strength was. At about 1000 feet the signal strength was 70% which is twice as much if not more as I can get on my MC-20! Precision flying with this radio should not be a problem having a signal resolution of 4096 and a 10ms response with digital servos. The real-time data recording on the SD card provides you detailed information of your flight for later analysis if you like. Graupner has some impressive software to assist you with programming your RC equipment and analyze your flight data by simulating the whole flight on your PC!!

I will post separately my experiences with the telemetry modules especially the ESC which basically requires a single wire connection to your receiver to get access to a wealth of telemetry information the ESC produces. Itís worthwhile mentioning that all the sensors that I bought do not need a separate programming module as each can be programmed directly on the MZ-24 using the wireless connection between the transmitter and receiver!

For less than 500 bucks I got myself a radio with a color screen, real time voice telemetry, 12 high resolution channels, 12 channel receiver, 4000 mAh LiPo battery, proven software which has already seen several updates and a carrying case that screams high-tech! Oh, yeah, did I mention the build in MP3 player and wireless buddy box features?

I will use the MZ-24 for all of my aerobatic and sport flying and the MC-20 is for my sailplanes where I can rest my hands during longer flights when hunting for thermals or sloping. That being said the MZ-24 has all the programming features to setup any kind of sailplane up to 4 ailerons and 4 flaps all using the fast wizard to get started. I have not looked at the helicopter programming features but when a helicopter is selected as model you will see a whole bunch of new menu icons specifically for programming your heli. It's a keeper!

If this radio finds its way to the US market it should give us RC pilots a radio with features that some vendors are charging way over 1000 dollars for less than halve the price!!

For more information about the Graupner/SJ Electric Air Telemetry Module;
Last edited by Highfly!; Sep 02, 2013 at 10:09 PM.
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Aug 27, 2013, 04:09 AM
Registered User
How does the whole thing look outside in the sun where we fly?
I've seen some of the Devo radios and the screens were more or less useless in the sun.
Aug 27, 2013, 01:52 PM
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Highfly!'s Avatar
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It works actually very well. If you have the sun pointing straight at the screen you may have some difficulties in seeing the screen at certain angles but I think that applies for any LCD screen. I tested it again moving at different angles and had always a clear view of the screens content.

That being said, the MZ-24 allows you to have various transmitter functions such as timers and clocks tied into the telemetry voice which means you can have the flight time announced to you without looking at the screen during flight.
Aug 27, 2013, 01:56 PM
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I was asked via PM if this radio is also suitable for the US market. In the TX control menu you can set the RF Type properties to America, France and Normal which I think indicates that it is a radio that can be adapted to any territory.
Aug 27, 2013, 03:35 PM
Registered User
Originally Posted by Highfly!
... If you have the sun pointing straight at the screen you may have some difficulties in seeing the screen at certain angles but I think that applies for any LCD screen. I tested it again moving at different angles and had always a clear view of the screens content..
I see. Thanks.

The standard monochrome screen do the job at any angle. It's why we have them. Because of practicability.

In the dark basement, thinks might be different. But I do not know anyone who would fly in his dark basement.
Aug 27, 2013, 04:05 PM
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Last edited by seagate; Aug 28, 2013 at 02:24 PM.
Aug 27, 2013, 10:56 PM
mithrandir's Avatar
is this an 18MZ in a different box?
Aug 28, 2013, 12:16 AM
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Highfly!'s Avatar
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No, this is a radio made by Graupner-SJ. They are both different.

Originally Posted by mithrandir
is this an 18MZ in a different box?
Aug 28, 2013, 12:26 AM
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Unboxing Graupner SJ mz24 (8 min 46 sec)
Aug 28, 2013, 02:34 AM
Full Scale Piper Cub Driver
Piper J3's Avatar
What is cost?
Aug 28, 2013, 11:10 AM
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Highfly!'s Avatar
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I have seen them in Korea for less than $500 including the case and all the accessories. Insane good deal compared to similar brand radios where you still need to buy a lot of stuff to get it going.
Aug 28, 2013, 02:32 PM
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FCC docs here

Aug 29, 2013, 04:05 AM
Registered User
Here is a link to the manual:

Graupner SJ MZ-24 (Kor)

From looking at the many pictures in the manual, my felling is that Graupner/SJ have put effort into providing a user friendly interface where most programming could be done without referring to the manual at all.

Presently it seems that the MZ-24 is only available for domestic orders within South Korea and that the supplies are very limited. I hope that this situation will change really soon. This thing looks like a winner.
Aug 29, 2013, 03:07 PM
Registered User
"The standard monochrome screen do the job at any angle. It's why we have them. Because of practicability."

That's why I bought the 12Z instead of the 14MZ. Touch screens are a pain as well.
Aug 29, 2013, 04:00 PM
Registered User
Just an Odd thought:
Read last Month(?) that Graupner was out of business / gone/ bankruprt /.kaput.
Was the News Media wrong?
Or are they seriptitiously still selling off old stock or is this another Asian 'midnight' production run ?

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