Graupner USA & Open Hobby's mz-12 Transmitter Review - RC Groups

Graupner USA & Open Hobby's mz-12 Transmitter Review

Before doing this review I didn't realize just how many features the mz-12 offered. I was blown away by all that it does! This is not your dad's 6 channel transmitter.

Splash

Introduction


Operating Voltage: 3.3-6V
Channels: 6
Current Consumption: About 250mAh
Radio Frequency Band: 2.4000-2.4835 GHz
Radio Modulation: FHSS
Temperature Range: -50 to +131 degrees F
Antenna: Dipole Antenna
Display: 128x64 Mono LCD
Telemetry function: Internal LCD, External Smart Box
Telemetry Announce: Earphone output (Voice Function)
Included Receiver: GR-16L 6ch
Battery: 4 AA Alkaline Batteries
Toggle Switches: 5
Volume Knob: 1
Model Memory: 20
UI Interface: Tact s/w
Quicklink: 2
Firmware Upgrade: By optional external USB device
Trainer Function: Wired/wireless
Charger: Available option Charger Jack built-in, no charger
Rechargeable Batteries: Optional
Dimensions: 7.22" x 10.18" x 3.76"
Weight: 20.12 oz
Manufacturer: Graupner
Available From: Open Hobby & Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere
Price: $149.00

In February 2014 fellow RC Groups author, Mike Llewellyn, wrote an excellent and detailed review of the Graupner/SJ mz-24 2.4GHz HoTT 12 channel transmitter which is an excellent transmitter. To read Mike's review just click here: Llewellyn's Review. The mz-24 has a lot of great features but those features come at a cost of $500.00. While the transmitter is, in my opinion, worth the $500, not everyone can afford to invest that much in their transmitter. Many people new to the hobby want to see if they like radio control before investing too much money. Those people should give a good look at the mz-12 which sells for just under$150. What surprised me while reviewing the mz-12 is how many of the function features of the mz-24 can be found in the mz-12. Now admittedly some convenience and features found in the mz-24 are not found in the mz-12 but those that are found in the mz-12 are excellent. What is also nice is that we modelers get to make the choice if we want all the bells and whistles in the 12-channel mz-24 for $500.00 or we can buy the 6-channel mz-12 with its many features for only $150.00? The purpose of this article is to review and discuss the features available on the mz-12 and let you know about them. I think that the mz-12 stacks up very well with the competition out there in this general price range. Another important consideration is the cost of receivers and other accessories when shopping for a new transmitter. Since this transmitter is telemetry capable I will briefly go into the very affordable sensors available for the Graupner radio systems as part of this review because for me the total cost is an important consideration as well as all the functions available.

In considering a transmitter I recommend that a pilot review it for the functions they need now and what they think they will need in the foreseeable future. The mz-12 is programmed for controlling airplanes and helicopters. I know from experience it will also control most of my smaller and simpler electric sailplanes as well as pure sailplanes. However it would not be my choice for my full house sailplanes. It allows me to well control most of my aircraft. It is especially attractive to use it with my aircraft for which I am interested in having information via telemetry. The information of the charge on a battery is often very important to me with my sailplanes. I need buy no sensors to get this information as every Graupner receiver supplies it to the transmitter.

This is my second Graupner Transmitter review as I have finished reviewing the mz-10 that came with their V-Venture electric sailplane which I reviewed. I have learned that when you think Graupner, think telemetry, as it is available with every receiver and transmitter. Telemetry will be covered in this review. I also want to admit to borrowing from my mz-10 review on those items where I found the information and performance to be the same on those items.

Kit Contents

Kit Contents

  • mz-12 Transmitter on Mode 2
  • GR-16L 8 Channel Receiver
  • 4 AA Alkaline batteries
  • Graupner neck strap with clip for Transmitter to attach
  • 2 Instruction Manuals: Both in English Vol 1 & 2

Graupner Promoted Key Features

Key Features

  • HoTT (HOPPING TELEMETRY TRANSMISSION) bi-directional 2.4GHz technology
  • The use of up to 75 frequency hopping channels ensures operating reliability and immunity to external interference
  • Integrated telemetry display with 128x64 Mono LCD
  • Smart voice announcement system (earphone and buzzer) for warnings and alarms in real time
  • Real-time telemetry analysis for optional brushless control telemetry ESC such as RPM, voltage, current consumption, temperature and warnings
  • SUMD, SUMO Functions ensures the convenient use of the peripherals by gyro and control board
  • Selectable 10ms or 20ms of the signal repetition time for analogue and digital servos
  • Advanced HoTT wired/wireless trainer system
  • High-precision quad ball bearing gimbals (Total 8 each) lead the smooth and comfortable stick feeling
  • Graupner Firmware update through GR Studio PC software
  • Supporting additional 2 digital channels when using Graupner/SJ 8CH receiver

Programming Options

Programming Options

  • 20 Model memory
  • 2 Quick Link functions
  • 2 Model Types (Airplane & Helicopter)

What is HoTT?

HoTT stands for Hopping Sequence Telemetric Technology. It is unique telemetry technology for Graupner/SJ in the 2.4GHz signal protocol. It supports Bi-directional data transmission between the transmitter and the receiver and can give the user real time information using accessories such as RPM, Voltage, temperature and more. In this review I did test the telemetry capability of this system as will be discussed later. HoTT uses up to 75 channels to ensure operating reliability and they claim immunity to external interference hopping broad channel sequence. As to that I can confirm that I experienced no interference or signal loss during this review and ground testing. However, at a maximum, I only operated with about ten other transmitters on at the same time as my mz-12.

Works with Graupner's Bind and Fly Aircraft (AKA Transmitter Ready Aircraft)

Other companies have been selling Bind and Fly aircraft that are also known as Transmitter Ready Aircraft. These aircraft come with receivers already installed and just need to be linked to a transmitter from that company that will bind with the included receiver in the aircraft. Graupner is offering a number of such selections currently and I suspect that more are coming in the future. There are three electric fighter planes that come with the GR-12 3XG receiver and the mz-12 transmitter is perfect for controlling them. They are their T-28, their P-47 and their FW-190. A friend has the P-47 and loves it but we don't live near each other so I have not flown it or seen it in the air yet. The GR-12 3XG gyro receiver features advance stabilization as well as Telemetry.

Key Features Supports the preset GR-12 3XG Gyro receiver for the excellent flight Needs only binding with GR-12 3XG Gyro receiver to make flight possible Ensures the reliable operation of Roll axis, Yaw axis, and Pitch axis

The Graupner micro 3D Heim helicopter sells for $99.90 and is designed to be flown only with a Graupner HoTT transmitter and again the mz-12 is perfect for it. I will be reviewing this little Heim helicopter with my mz-12 transmitter in the near future. From the videos of it that I have seen it is an amazing 3D helicopter.

A friend who lives near Toledo e-mailed me that Open Hobby revealed a new Alpha Race Copter quadcopter at this year's Toledo show. It will be sold with the mz-12 transmitter or for those of us with a Graupner HoTT transmitter it will be sold by itself. As more and more Transmitter Ready aircraft become available from Graupner I will appreciate and enjoy having the mz-12 transmitter more and more.

Airplane, Glider Functions

Airplane/Glider Functions

  • 4 Wing types
  • 4 Tail types: Normal, V-tail, Delta, 2 elevator servos
  • Quick link function x 2
  • Quick link trim function x 3
  • Wing Mix Function (diff aileron, aileron>>rudder, elevator>>flap, flap>>elevator, elevator>>aileron, flap>>aileron)
  • Program mixing x 5

Helicopter Functions

Helicopter Functions

  • 6 swash plate types (1 servo, 2 servo 180, 3 servo 120, 3 servo 140, 3 servo (elevator), 4 servo 90)
  • Pitch curves (5-point)
  • Heli-mix function (pitch-throttle, pitch-rudder, aileron-throttle, elevator-throttle, gyro, swash limit, govenor, govenor rate)
  • Swash mix function
  • Program mixing x 5
  • Quick link function x 1

This review will be focusing on the aircraft aspects of this transmitter. For more on the Helicopter capabilities go to the Open Hobby Website and down load the instruction manual for the mz-12. Since there is overlap in how many of the features work in planes and helicopters there should still be some good information in this review for helicopter only pilots.

Basic Programming

There are a lot of features in this six channel transmitter yet the information screen helped make the programming process fairly easy to follow. They were not all intuitive but as I got into the review I caught on quickly. It was a short learning curve for me to get the hang of everything, but once I learned the basic process, subsequent steps became more intuitive and easier to perform. I am still using the manual to program in new planes but only as a fall back. The process has progressed and I need the manual less and less. I will need to keep it handy for awhile longer.

Everything you need to know to program the mz-12 to control an aircraft is contained in the first of the two instruction manuals. The buttons on both sides of the screen are four way buttons and the instruction manual supplied a lot of pictures to take me through programming step by step. For example the process for Binding the transmitter to a receiver is shown using eight pictures. The control button circles are made up of four pie shaped buttons. One circle is:Enter-ENT, Escape-ESC, Telemetry-TEL and View-VIEW.

Binding

  • With the transmitter on and the home screen displayed press the top edge of the right button, the ENT Button.
  • The model memory is highlighted so press the left directional button until the RF sett option is highlighted.
  • Press the ENT button and the cursor is on the "stick mode" line on the new screen.
  • Press the direction button down to highlight the "rx bind" line. Turn on the receiver and press the ENT button the receiver for over 3 seconds and then press the ENT button on the transmitter. The system should be connected with in a few seconds and the model name of the receiver is displayed on the screen.
  • With the bind complete press the ESC button (bottom edge of right button) and return to the home screen.

Model Memory Contains 4 Sections

The Model Memory area contains four sections: Select model, Model name, Clear model and Copy model. The instructions take you step by step through these processes. I followed the steps allowing me to select my first model and then program in the model name. I found the contents page on page 2 of the manual to be very helpful and the instructions and pictures very easy to follow.

M.Type + Quick (Airplane)

This is the second option in programming the transmitter. The first option is: Motor at C1. This is used to set the direction of the throttle channel in the aircraft and program to use the throttle channel as the brake in the glider. (This later function is usually done by programming the ESC to have the brake on or off and I will continue to do that.

The tail section selection here is the Tail Type and four options are available: 1) normal 2) V-tail 3) Delta/flw 4) elevator servo. Just pick the one that matches the airplane you are setting up the plane for.

I tested three of the four Tail Types programming. My first test plane was the V-Venture which used normal programming as the tail is elevator only and the wings were ailerons. I also used a standard four channel fighter plane and both were controlled very nicely with the normal programming. I tested the V-tail with a true V-tail sailplane with both rudder and elevator control at the tail as well as ailerons and again the programming worked well. I was also able to trim the flaps on the plane with two different Quick Functions described below. Finally, I tested the Delta programming during my review of the new Alula-Trek. It gave proper elevon control of the Alula with the GR-12 3XG . Because I needed the receiver for additional testing with this transmitter I switched radios in that review but the Graupner was used in part in my Alula-Trek review.

The third option is: Quick Link Set, and it is described in the manual as follows: "The quick link sett function allows to adjust the D/R expo value and assign the corresponding switch to cope with the unexpected situation such as the flight with the strong wind. Since the adjusted value is activated by moving the switch, you can cope with the crisis with just one switch. It makes you operating the flight much easier. You can select take off, thermal, distance, speed, acro, landing, air-tor, test at quick2 and quick3." I wasn't initially sure what this was really about as dual rate and expo have there own programming section area in the transmitter. When looking at the fourth section: Quick Link Trim. The user can program the trim in advance to cope with the unexpected situation such as flight with strong wind and match the flight situation of the takeoff, thermal and speed of the glider. If the switch is activated so the user do not need to set these trims every time."

I had my A HA! moment reading about that fourth section I realized the Quick Links, Set and Trim are simply ways to have the plane set up for a specific type of flying. It can be done to have the plane best to handle windy conditions or to be set up for a specific style of flying such as relaxed or extreme aerobatics or something in between. With the flick of a switch the plane can go from a relaxed Sunday Flyer set-up to its best aerobatic set-up. The ability to adjust the trims on say the flaps lets one set up a sailplane for thermal with flaps down a few degrees or penetration through sink with the flaps up a few degrees. This is a capability I have used for years with my sailplanes but I had never seen this available in a radio in this price range.

Programming the Servos

On page 22 of the first manual they have the Servo Set Section. Here I learned how to reverse servos, center servos and adjust the travel of the servos in the transmitter. The programming of channels 5 and 6 was explained on page 24, the Cont Sett Section. They go step by step for landing gear and flaps and then for helicopter uses for the 5th and 6th channels.

Dual Rate & Expo

This is the normal ability to program dual rate but it lets you select the switches you want to use for these controls for high and low rates. You can also program in the Expo you want. Normal functions that need no more explanation.

RF Set

This program section handles a variety of areas: stick mode, timer, receiver out, receiver bind, range test and RF transmit.

There are four mode types available with modes 1 and 3 having the throttle on the right stick and mode 2 and 4 having throttle on the left stick. I won't be using this function as my mz-12 came on mode 2 and I am keeping it there. You can convert it to mode 1 or 3 but some mechanical adjustment will be necessary inside the transmitter and that is covered in the manual.

The mz-12 has a a programmable count down timer and the length of time can be programmed. This is displayed on the transmitter's screen with the word "stop." Beneath that on the screen are the initials "flt" and this is the flight timer.

Receiver out allows for the programming of receiver channel assignments 1-6 and you can select for how you want them.

Receiver binding is found here and was described in detail above.

The Range Test function is covered here and goes through the steps to perform a proper range test.

RF Transmit: This allows for the pilot to turn off the RF power output. This can be help when one is setting up the transmitter for a new plane and there is no need to transmit while doing the initial programming.

Wing Mix

The manual goes step by step for the existing mixing programs and while initially I found some of the function titles a bit different I soon got used to the language. There are multiple options and this discussion starts on page 30 of the manual. For more information you can download the manual from Open Hobby. I will be very carefully to keep the manual in a safe place but after programming two planes I was actually feeling pretty confident about what I was doing. This old dog can learn to do new tricks with these step by step instructions.

Free Mixer

The Free Mixer allows the selecting of a master channel that is the controlling channel and it will be mixed with the slave channel. The slave channel will follow the master channels input based on the rate that is programmed. Three Free Mixers are available per model memory.

Ergonomics

The shape of the transmitter gave me a good and comfortable hold on the transmitter. The main sticks were comfortably positioned and worked smoothly and the switches were positioned where I could easily reach and operate them. Nothing extraordinary, just a good comfortable feel. The sticks are adjustable for both length and tension but I liked them just the way they came so no adjustment was necessary for me. The feel of the sticks is very comfortable. If you get a chance to pick one up and feel it I strongly encourage it. The gimbals are very smooth with quad ball bearings. The smoothness of the sticks is noticeable and compares well with high end transmitters. It is something best experienced first hand. Shape and feel gets very high ratings from me, especially in this price range.

Range Test

As discussed above Range Test is found in the RF Sett programming section. I bound the mz-12 to the receiver in my V-Venture and performed "Bench Range Testing" at the flying site. In range testing mode I had 99 seconds to test and I found I had complete control at a distance of over 1/2 a football field. She passed the Bench test and it was time to test the range in the air. I flew the V-Venture and took her up as high and as far away as I could and yet still keep her barely in sight. I did this into the wind in hopes that If I momentarily lost sight or control of her, she would be drifting back to me. I maintained full control of the V-Venture through out the test flight and all subsequent flights to date. Test Passed!

Telemetry

Telemetry is a major part of the Graupner system. It is not an afterthought addition. The first T in HoTT stands for telemetry! Hopping TELEMETRY Transmission. ALL of their RECEIVERS are designed to include telemetry. All receivers report voltage and signal strength back to the transmitter and/or the optional available Smart Box. If more then the basic information is desired than sensors to supply the specific information desired can be purchased and a number of these sensors cost less then $10.00 as posted below.

Optional Telemetry Offerings include:

  • Vario Module (Altitude) $29.90
  • GPS/Vario Module $69.90
  • Temperature & Module $4.90
  • Temperature Module 120 C $9.90
  • Temperature Module 200 C $9.90
  • Electric Air Module 2-14S Vario $64.90
  • General Engine Module 2-6S $39.90
  • General Air Module 2-6S 49.90
  • ESC's with Telemetry (Cost varies by size)
  • RPM Optic Module $9.90
  • RPM Magnet Module $9.90

The mz-12's display screen shows the battery voltage of the receiver. This information is received by the transmitter from the receiver and this information is sent by all Graupner Hott receivers. No external sensor is needed to obtain this information.

The back of the mz-12 also has an earphone plug. The transmitter can be programmed to give a voice rendering of TX Voltage, Battery Time, Stop-Watch, Run Time. Telemetry information sent via the receiver can also be heard via earphone/headphone. Here the voice rendering can provide: Temperature, Strength, RX Voltage and Low-Voltage. If optional sensors are purchased the transmitter can also be programmed to give a voice rendering for their information as well. You will need to purchase your own earphone or headphones to make use of this feature if you don't already have them. This feature allows us to focus our attention on our aircraft and hear the telemetry information we desire to know. For more information and how to program start at page 70 in the second half of the instruction manual that deals with Telemetry.

The second instruction manual included with the transmitter is all about the use and programming for Telemetry. This second instruction manual starts with page 54 and goes through page 74.

ESC Telemetry

The series of Brushless +T ESCs in different Voltage sizes with BEC shows commitment to providing telemetry. The "+T" ESC's are simple to setup to supply telemetry data. I have not had a chance to personally test and evaluate a +T ESC. The ESC in my V-Venture is not a +T ESC. I am only able to share basic information about this aspect of the system's capabilities.

+T ESC information

  • Current Consumption
  • Voltage
  • Motor RPM
  • ESC Temperature
  • Warnings and voice alerts

Some Graupner ESC's, the +T ESCs, can also provide expected functionality including over-temp shutoff, low-voltage cut off and over-current protection.

Review of Telemetry and Limited Testing

As discussed above the receiver and the transmitter communicate with each other and even without any additional sensors the receiver sends information to the transmitter on voltage and signal strength. To keep the cost down the mz-12 transmitter receives data it cannot visually display as sold but it has an audio system that can be heard on plug in headphones or ear buds described above in detail. If more visual Telemetry Data is desired when using this transmitter then Graupner's Smart Box can be purchased and installed onto the mz-12 and connected to it via an included external wire. It not only is used to display the telemetry information it can be used to help program functions in the mz-12.

Shared Telemetry Testing

I previously reviewed the Graupner mz-10 transmitter as mentioned above with the V-Venture Electric Sailplane at the same time I was reviewing this transmitter. Since both have telemetry and many points in common I am sharing much of the information from that review here in this review. If applications differ between the two transmitters I have covered those different aspects here as relates to the mz-12.

Smart Box

Smart Box Accessory 33700 Features

Telemetry Data Display

  • Signal Quality
  • Range Test
  • Receiver voltage with adjustable warning threshold
  • Transmitter voltage display with adjustable warning thresholds
  • Receiver temperature with adjustable warning thresholds
  • Additional Information depending on sensors being used

Programming Data Display

  • Country Settings
  • Servo Direction normal/reverse
  • Servo path
  • Servo cycle time
  • Channel assignment
  • Fail/Safe settings
  • Mixer settings
  • Servo test

The Transmitter programming functions will not be covered in this review.

To test the telemetry system I was supplied with the Graupner Smart Box as well as the Graupner/SJ Vario Module. The Smart Box can be used for programming the radio system as well as Displaying Telemetry. It is therefore a display and programming device all in one. The Smart Box displays up to 8 lines of information with 21 characters per line. There are four buttons on top of the Smart Box that control the programming and operation of the Smart Box and depending on the sensor accessories purchased and installed in the plane a wide array of information can be available. The first step in using the Smart Box is installing it on the transmitter.

Mounting the HOTT Smart Box onto the mz-12 Transmitter

There were two mounting screws in the mounting bar on the base of the Smart-Box. I removed the two screws and slid the mount over the handle at the top of the mz-12 transmitter. I secured it in place by reinstalling those two screws I had just removed from the mounting base. Using the included 3-pin connecting wire I plugged one end into the Data jack connector at the bottom center back of the transmitter and the other end into the right side edge bottom of the Smart-Box.

With the Smart Box now connected it powered up when I turned on my mz-12 transmitter. By using the buttons on the top I could display the programming data of the transmitter or see a variety of screens. Below are screens that can provide information with the use of accessory sensors.

Basic Receiver Telemetry Information

I was easily able to see Voltage and Signal strength information on the Smart Box with just the receiver. Note the different readings in the pictures below taken from the V-Venture while it was flying. These pictures were taken as the plane was flying at different distances from me in a period of just a half minute. Note especially the change in the signal strength on line two in the three pictures below.

The Vario Module

Promoted features of the Vario Module: accessory part 33601

  • Vario with altitude signals and 5 climb/drop signals each
  • Additional warnings for minimum and maximum altitudes and climb drop speed in two stages
  • Altitude display and storage of minimum and maximum altitude
  • Programmable warning time Off, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, or 30 seconds
  • Warning repeat time can be set by minutes
  • Altitude measurement from -500 to +3000 meters
  • Resolution 0.1 meter
  • Sensitivity of Vario is programmable
  • Module can be programmed for from 4-20 measurements

The Vario Module and all of the Telemetry modules listed above, in the first part of this review, will only work with the Graupner 2.4 GHz system. The Vario Module enables the wireless monitoring of the altitude and the graphical and acoustic indication of climbing or descent of the model in real time. In combination with the Smart-Box all settings can be made to the Vario Module. A detailed but outdated instruction manual came with both the Smart-Box and the Vario Module but I only learned about that at this point in my review. I learned that on the Internet there were newer instruction manuals and firmware updates to be downloaded. To be fair the instructional manuals I had mentioned this possibility but it wasn't until now that I went Internet exploring.

Updated Instruction Manuals and Firmware

In reviewing the Telemetry component I learned that there are updated instruction manuals for the Smart Box and the Vario Module discussed here. There have been firmware updates for them as well as for the Graupner receivers. Improvements to the firmware are apparently being made more quickly than the updates to the manuals. I printed the most up to date manuals I could find and I updated the firmware for the various components and will be discussing how I did those updates below. I also contacted Open Hobby about this situation and was informed Graupner is making a push to get upgraded manuals in all languages currently published and to continue to update those manuals as firmware is improved. I personally think it is great they they are upgrading the firmware but it is equally important that they supply notice and update the manuals promptly. I look forward to when they are better communicating those updates. I was told the target date for improved information on the various Graupner Websites is sometime in 2015. I hope they hit their informational update goal.

How I updated the firmware in the Vario Module.

I found both instructional and firmware updates available for the Vario Module at:www.graupner.de I downloaded the latest firmware update to my computer. Next certain hardware sold separately was required to transfer the downloaded firmware update from my computer and into the Smart Box. Per my instruction manual the required Hardware is a USB interface (which I already had), part 7168.6, the adapter lead, part 7168.6A and a Y-cable part 396.11. I did not need to update my receiver. Withe firmware update down loaded I just followed the instructions included on the website for doing the firmware update. My Vario sensor was then updated and ready to use.

Next I went to update the firmware in my Receiver and the Smart Box. I found both instructional and firmware updates available for the Smart Box at:www.graupner.de I downloaded the latest firmware update to my computer. Next I connected Graupner hardware to my USB cable to my computer and to the Smart Box. I updated its programming following the supplied instructions. I discovered my receiver did not need an update at this time.

The important thing is I found that with the hardware the process to update the receiver and the Smart Box was not hard to do. Once I have a system in a plane that is working successfully I don't know if I will bother with further updates but that will depend on their information about the updates catching up with the updates so I can make an informed decision. I do like the ability to perform updates and the ease with which I have done it so far. I look forward to improved communications on the updates.

Mounting the Vario Sensor in the Plane

The Vario sensor measures air pressure and calculates the resulting actual altitude. The module needs to be in a wind protected area inside the model and not directly in the flow of the propeller. I mounted mine in the cockpit area of the V-Venture using double sided tape. I noted from the instructions that weather changes can make changes in the readings and the calculation of the altitude so that is something for me to watch for in testing on different days.

Conclusion

This is an outstanding feature rich 6 channel system for a very reasonable price ($150) that includes a telemetry equipped receiver. Even if there was no telemetry included with this system it would be an excellent system for the price considering all the other features and the feel of the gimbals and the transmitter in general. Programmable switches, programmable receiver channels. Programmable plane complete setups changed with the flick of one switch available for $150! I somewhat think that the need for the more advanced Graupner transmitters is for the extra switches more than for additional programmed features. (OK my tongue was a little in my cheek on that one ... but only a little for most of my planes.)

Telemetry is included with two pieces of information sent back by every receiver and additional sensors available at an affordable price or as part of an advance ESC. With Graupner including a receiver option with a number of the planes they are now selling it is an even greater bargain if you like their planes as I do. If I didn't know the price I would definitely have guessed it to be 1/3 more at minimum then the actual price. I would definitely have gone over on the Price Is Right before I did this review if I just read the list of features! When you get a chance to pick one up I recommend you do so and feel the gimbals for yourself. They feel great. It feels great! I am looking forward to flying their micro helicopter with mine in the near future. This has all the features and more that I need to control most of my planes.

You may not have much interest in telemetry when initially buying the mz-12. I think it is still a heck of a transmitter even ignoring the telemetry capability. If later you want that telemetry information you do not have to go buy a new transmitter. Use ear buds or a headset and hear the information or buy the Smart Box and see it visually. I personally think that is a fantastic option to have available as I can remember when I didn't much care about telemetry and when I was interested I had to buy a whole new radio.

For a pilot who already has a high end radio the mz-12 makes a good addition if they want to start getting some of Graupner's Transmitter ready airplanes and other aircraft.

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses

  • 20 model memory
  • Telemetry is included
  • Full range system
  • Quad-ball bearing gimbals with high end feel (TRY THEM!)
  • Receivers supply voltage and signal strength information to transmitter during flight
  • Many of the telemetry sensors are very affordable
  • Head phone jack to get telemetry information with voice function to the pilot
  • More Graupner aircraft: planes, helicopters and quad-copters coming out with receivers or built in receiver boards.
  • Smart Box supplies information and programming expected only in high end radios

Minuses

  • You need Graupner manufactured Telemetry sensors as sensors only work for the company that designed them.
  • Information about updates is lagging behind the updates at this time!

Thanks

My thanks to Graupner and Open Hobby for supplying the mz-12 with receiver as well as the vario telemetry module and the Smart-Box for review. My thanks to our editor for her assistance with this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; Apr 22, 2015 at 03:26 PM..
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Apr 29, 2015, 02:59 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Saved by author for possible future comments. Mike H

8/31/15: Firmware update for the mz-12 is being added today at Open Hobby website: Changes listed in Report # 14 below.
Last edited by Michael Heer; Aug 31, 2015 at 12:33 PM.
Apr 30, 2015, 03:05 PM
Proud member of LISF and ESL
Thanks for the review.

As a glider pilot I am interested in your comment that this would not be your choice for a full house glider. Can you expand on that?

I think most full house glider pilots would prefer a 7+ channel radio so they can handle 6 servos + a motor or tow release. But what was your reason? What is channel count of some limitation on the mixing?

Not looking to bash the radio as the MX12 looks like a great sailplane radio. Just looking for the limitations besides channel count.
Apr 30, 2015, 07:09 PM
Registered User
tailskid2's Avatar
An EXCELLENT review Mike...and I love your pictures - clear and concise....and a very detailed review.
May 01, 2015, 03:36 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
Sailplane setups

With my larger transmitter I can program five different setups with the trailing edges set for launch, penetration, normal, thermal and landing. With most six channels I have one option. With the mz-12 I can get three thanks to two quick links. Very special for a six channel radio. Of course there aren't enough switches for more so I will stick with a bigger radio for my full house sailplanes. But about 80% plus of my sailplanes or electric sailplanes can be controlled with the mz-12. Mike H
May 04, 2015, 03:50 AM
Calm before the storm
Flyboy81's Avatar
Very Nice Radio it seems!
Quote:
I know from experience it will also control most of my smaller and simpler electric sailplanes as well as pure sailplanes. However it would not be my choice for my full house sailplanes. It allows me to well control most of my aircraft.
May 04, 2015, 10:03 PM
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I have an mz 24. The Graupner system, especially telemetry, is truly amazing. More often than not, the instructions are, at best, confusing.
May 07, 2015, 11:07 PM
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rockyboy2's Avatar
will this tx work with spectrum receivers ? thanks jeff
May 08, 2015, 06:54 AM
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No!
May 09, 2015, 01:40 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Graupner works with Graupner! c300 is correct as it won't work with Spektrum, or Futaba, or Tactic or Hitec ... Mike H
May 11, 2015, 12:32 PM
semper mitis
gentle ben's Avatar
I'm a little bum-fuzzeled by Graupner's nomenclature..if I understand the mz12 is 6channels; mz24 is 12 channels; mz10 is 5 and so if they had a 3ch it would mz6?
May 11, 2015, 02:05 PM
RC Warjet
Correct
Aug 17, 2015, 12:30 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
I am using my mz-12 to control my new Graupner Alpha 250Q Race Copter. The Graupner controller gives very precise control to the quadcopter and the transmitter works well with it. No firmware update needed for the 250Q. They have updated firmware for the receiver to give even greater control and options with tri, quad and hexacopter control.
I will be updating the firmware to fly their little Heim helicopter with my mz-12.
Aug 31, 2015, 12:32 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
They are adding a firmware upgrade for the mz-12 transmitter at the Open Hobby site this week.

Here are the listed changes in the latest firmware update for the mz-12.

Changes in v1.062

- Vario is now audible when activated.
- Sensors with altimeters can now be selected to provide altimeter/vario telemetry;
- To enable go to telemetry/voice trigger
- On the altimeter field select the preferred active altimeter sensor
- When AUTO is selected the sensor priorities are as follows, VARIO, GAM, EAM, GPS
- Binding with 16ch, 2ch and 4ch receivers is now possible
- Autorotation changed from -90% to -100%
- When reverting back to heli model the throttle limiter on the DV control is restored.
Sep 17, 2015, 03:25 PM
Registered User
Michael Heer's Avatar
I picked up a used plane recently and found a 6-channel Graupner receiver in the plane. I sold the plane later after making some minor repairs for a profit and I kept the receiver. Mike H


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