Shop our Airplanes Products Drone Products Sales

RCG Reviews the Graupner mz-12 Copter Edition Radio

The Copter edition of the Graupner mz12 adds the exciting GR-18 HoTT RX for even more value!

Splash

Introduction


Voltage range: 3.3 to 6Vdc
Channels6
Modulation type:FHSS
Antenna:External, Dipole
Display:Monochrome 128x64
Battery:4, "AA"
Telemetry capable:Yes, displayed on the internal LCD, an external "Smart Box," and voice announce with earphones
Switches:5
Model Memory:20
Firmware upgrade capable:Yes, with optional USB device
Available From:OpenHobby.com
Price:$199.00

The OpenHobby.com/Graupner mz-12 Copter Edition is a great entry level radio, made even more capable with the inclusion of the GR-18 HoTT receiver. This receiver can act as a multirotor flight control system, a fixed wing stabilization system, and a helicopter FBL unit, simply by updating it, over-the-air, from you transmitter! Micheal Heer already did a very in-depth review of the mz-12 here, so I will try to focus more on the GR-18 Hott receiver, and my impressions of how the two units work together.

Box Contents

Upon opening the box, I found the mz-12, 4 "AA' batteries, a neck-strap (always appreciated), a GR-18 receiver, and some double sided mounting tape.

First Impressions

The radio felt good to hold, and trim tabs were easy to get to. Switches were easy to activate as well, I didn't feel awkward trying to use any of them. The display, while small, is clear and easy to read. The weight of the radio was hardly noticeable, and overall build quality is good. I did notice the stick tension is very light for my preferences, and the sticks are short. Also, there is a throttle ratchet present. While the stick length is good for "thumb" style flyers, they are a bit short for my "pinch" technique. I was able to lengthen them some, and that made a difference.

The GR-18 receiver is not much bigger than other hard case receivers, and that is surprising, considering that Graupner managed to pack a 3 axis gyro and a 3 axis accelerometer in there! They also included RX voltage monitoring, signal strength, and RX temperature telemetry.

GR-18 HoTT Receiver

A full featured 9 channel receiver, with an integrated multi platform flight controller, as well as in-built basic telemetry is the star of this package. This is a full range receiver that is capable of providing stabilization to any of your aircraft platforms.

Airplane mode features:

  • Three axis gyro stabilazation, with remote gain

Helicopter mode features:

  • Flybarless cotroller with remote gain

Multirotor mode features:

  • Quad X
  • Quad +
  • Hexa V
  • Hexa I
  • Tri L
  • Tri R

All modes feature over-the air adjustments of receiver functions, and make use of the built in telemetry sensors

Setup of each mode is done with the radio, and the receiver is tolerant of different installations. You can face it straight ahead, or turn it 90 degrees to suit the space available. Of course, you do need to "teach" the system what direction is what, but the radio has a very convenient menu for this.

My included GR-18 receiver was set up with multirotor firmware, so I decided to test it out on my trusty OPQ frame. I wanted something I was very familiar with, so I could easily give my impressions of how the GR-18 is when used as an all-in-one receiver and flight controller. Before the review, my OPQ was set up with a Flip 1.5, and the Castle Creations Quad Pack ESC's. The motors are RTFQ House "Reds" with 9x4.7 props. For an LOS quad, this setup has served me very well for quite a while, and I have a ton of flights on this setup, so I know how it responds.

Installation was very simple..I removed the existing flight controller and receiver, and used double sided tape to install the GR-18, per the manual. Radio setup was almost as easy..I selected a new model, and set it for airplane mode. After naming it, I went to the RF screen, and bound the units. That's all that was needed to get the radio ready to verify settings. The manual is very helpful and walks you through which ESC plugs into which port, and the basic checks you need to do to verify the model is ready for a test flight. Most of these are no different than when you set up a new FC, be it a Naze, F3, or any of the other controllers out there.

You want to verify the motors act accordingly when you deflect the quad (WITHOUT the props installed!) and verify they respond correctly to all control inputs. The whole process took me 30 minutes to complete, and was very simple.

The first couple of flights should be used to see if the multirotor responds properly in the air, so don't get all crazy yet! You just need to get it in the air a few inches to make sure things are working. If you followed the manual, and did a good preflight, then most likely, you wont have any issues.

The next step is tuning the PID's to suit your multirotor and flying style. Personally, I think this is where Graupner really comes into it's own. All you have to do is land, hit the throttle cut, and page over to the PID screen on the transmitter. Make your adjustments, a few points at a time, and start flying again to see the effect. The "P" and "D" terms are global, meaning they affect both rate and attitude mode. The "I" terms are independent for each mode. It only took me one battery to find settings that I was happy with for the OPQ.

At that point, I just flew around a bit, getting used to how everything felt, and I quickly found that I really liked it. The only thing I wished for was a little more yaw rate, but that's because I tend to run it high so I don't need to move the left stick much off center. Other than that minor complaint, I am very impressed with how well they system works as a whole. The Copter Edition is a fine radio set, and with everything in one box, it really cuts down on the wiring needed to get a multi in the air. This will be great for smaller acro or FPV frames.

Conclusion

The mz-12 Copter Edition is a great radio system for multirotor aircraft. It packs a ton of features into a very affordable package, and represents a great value. The ability to tune your multirotor right from the radio is a huge plus, and when you couple that with the reduced amount of wiring needed while building, you get a package that just can't be beat. When you factor in the available sensors and receiver configurations/firmwares, you have a radio that can easily grow with your needs.

Pluses and Minuses

Pluses

  • The switches are well placed and easy to operate
  • You can tune flight parameters of the GR-18 from the radio
  • The amount of features for the price
  • 20 model memory
  • Plenty of telemetry sensors available

Minuses

  • Sticks are a little short for "pinch" flyers
  • Firmware updates require the purchase of an optional adapter
  • Headphones are needed to use the voice telemetry feature. Some fields don't allow headphones on the flight line

Last edited by IFLYOS; Mar 27, 2016 at 07:39 PM..
Thread Tools
Old Mar 29, 2016, 11:31 PM
ABOVE_AND_BEYOND is offline
Find More Posts by ABOVE_AND_BEYOND
Registered User
ABOVE_AND_BEYOND's Avatar
Great write up thankyou !

I bought an MZ-18 to fly gliders for myself and I'm thinking of getting an MZ-12 for my son, he's pretty keen on copters or anything with spinning blades of death

Daz
Old Mar 30, 2016, 08:12 AM
IFLYOS is offline
Find More Posts by IFLYOS
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
Daz, with the GR-18, it's great for multirotors, and I would say heli's too. Graupner did a fine job with this one!
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Old Mar 31, 2016, 01:54 PM
TheMustangOne is offline
Find More Posts by TheMustangOne
Registered User
I find it interesting not least for the fact that it will get you away from being a slave to the 'flights'...baseflight/cleanflight/betaflight/raceflight.....and my own newly coined buttheadflight....the fork that emails you every 2 weeks to tell you that your FC and motors are now obsolete!

I also fly helis so would be great, but i checked the site and each of those 9ch rx's are not cheap!
Old Apr 09, 2016, 06:57 PM
alh86323 is offline
Find More Posts by alh86323
Crash-it
On your screen shots of your PID's you have your attitude I set at 1. Is this because you don't fly in attitude mode or because you just didn't need any or it didn't change anything? I'm currently tuning a zmr250 with a mz-12 multicopter edition radio. And it's flying but any knowledge from somebody that's tuned with one would help. There's a few different adjustments that are different from the normal PID's. Thanks
Old Apr 10, 2016, 03:44 PM
Graupner USA is offline
Find More Posts by Graupner USA
Graupner USA's Avatar
Thanks for a nice review.

A couple of changes were made to the product mostly controller that we would like to mention.

1. Added support for ONESHOT.
2. Added support for OCTO setups
3. Added support for ACRO 3D to allow in-flight change of motor direction
4. Added support for the new Graupner OSD (connects to the telemetry port and video TX)
5. Added support for dual antenna signal strength monitoring

The GR-18 model S1019 will not support any more HELI and AIRPLANE mode as we would like to dedicate the available memory to more multirotor functions in the near future. The GR-18 PRO model 33579 will continue to support all modes.
Site Sponsor
Old Apr 11, 2016, 08:24 AM
IFLYOS is offline
Find More Posts by IFLYOS
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
I flew a little in Attitude mode, and an "I" value of 1 worked well for the OPQ with the motors and ESC's I used.

I have spent more time in rate mode, however. I'll put a few more flights on in Attitude and play with the "I" value more and let you know what I come up with. Keep in mind the frame I am flying is an "X" frame, 320mm..


Quote:
Originally Posted by alh86323 View Post
On your screen shots of your PID's you have your attitude I set at 1. Is this because you don't fly in attitude mode or because you just didn't need any or it didn't change anything? I'm currently tuning a zmr250 with a mz-12 multicopter edition radio. And it's flying but any knowledge from somebody that's tuned with one would help. There's a few different adjustments that are different from the normal PID's. Thanks
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Old Apr 11, 2016, 08:24 AM
IFLYOS is offline
Find More Posts by IFLYOS
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
Thanks for the heads up! I'll have to look into getting the cables to update the RX!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Graupner USA View Post
Thanks for a nice review.

A couple of changes were made to the product mostly controller that we would like to mention.

1. Added support for ONESHOT.
2. Added support for OCTO setups
3. Added support for ACRO 3D to allow in-flight change of motor direction
4. Added support for the new Graupner OSD (connects to the telemetry port and video TX)
5. Added support for dual antenna signal strength monitoring

The GR-18 model S1019 will not support any more HELI and AIRPLANE mode as we would like to dedicate the available memory to more multirotor functions in the near future. The GR-18 PRO model 33579 will continue to support all modes.
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Old Apr 11, 2016, 10:58 AM
alh86323 is offline
Find More Posts by alh86323
Crash-it
You have an X frame so you get to set your roll factor to 100% and not have to worry about that. My zmr250 is flying pretty good but not great yet. One thing is knowing what roll factor to set it at to get the best out of it. Currently set at 65% but I'm still getting a little pitch wobble after fast 180 turn. Work in progress right.
Old Apr 11, 2016, 11:11 AM
IFLYOS is offline
Find More Posts by IFLYOS
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
You make a good point about Roll Factor. I'll have to see what 250 frame I have I can build out and play with..

Quote:
Originally Posted by alh86323 View Post
You have an X frame so you get to set your roll factor to 100% and not have to worry about that. My zmr250 is flying pretty good but not great yet. One thing is knowing what roll factor to set it at to get the best out of it. Currently set at 65% but I'm still getting a little pitch wobble after fast 180 turn. Work in progress right.
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Old Apr 11, 2016, 11:17 AM
alh86323 is offline
Find More Posts by alh86323
Crash-it
Do you happen to know the frame dimensions of the alpha 250? There recommending 65% for the alpha 250. If I know the dimensions I could compare it to my zmr250 dimensions.
Old Apr 11, 2016, 12:13 PM
IFLYOS is offline
Find More Posts by IFLYOS
14s 180mah should be enough...
IFLYOS's Avatar
I don't. I have the Alpha 300 3D, but not the Alpha 250Q
RCG Plus Member
Latest blog entry: Intro..a few years to late!
Old Apr 12, 2016, 02:16 AM
alh86323 is offline
Find More Posts by alh86323
Crash-it
I have emax 12amp blheli esc with oneshot supported. So can I just go into my mz-12 menu and select oneshot and it will work? Or do I have to flash my ESC with oneshot? Little confused by all this, but there is a selection in my menu on my mz-12 menu for oneshot. Any info would be appreciated thanks.
Old Apr 12, 2016, 11:35 AM
Graupner USA is offline
Find More Posts by Graupner USA
Graupner USA's Avatar
Your ESC needs to have oneshot preferably the latest version. All you have to do to enable the GR-18 to use oneshot is to change it in the controller settings to on.
Site Sponsor
Old Apr 12, 2016, 11:50 AM
alh86323 is offline
Find More Posts by alh86323
Crash-it
Thanks


Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Discussion rechargeable battery for mz 12 graupner radio phil alvirez Radios 0 Dec 05, 2015 09:59 AM
Sold Graupner mz-24 12 chnannel radio + 3 receivers labr23 Aircraft - General - Radio Equipment (FS/W) 0 Sep 10, 2015 09:57 PM
Sold Graupner mz-24 12 chnannel radio + 3 receivers labr23 Aircraft - General - Radio Equipment (FS/W) 2 Sep 09, 2015 05:18 PM
Sold Graupner mz-24 12 chnannel radio + 3 receivers labr23 Aircraft - General - Radio Equipment (FS/W) 0 Sep 08, 2015 01:18 PM
Sold Graupner mz-24 12 chnannel radio + 3 receivers flysti06 Aircraft - General - Radio Equipment (FS/W) 3 Jun 20, 2015 12:20 PM