How long do radios generally last? - RC Groups
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Sep 11, 2017, 06:23 AM
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Discussion

How long do radios generally last?


I've had my trusty Hitec Aurora 9 for 3 years, bought it off my friend who had it for 4-5 years before and used it fairly regularly. Its still in good nick but has a few issues, like sometimes it will not turn on and one of the switches doesn't work properly (not really important, don't use it). Other than that its been a solid radio and i have 15 planes and a few helis bound to it. just starting to think it might be time for a upgrade? Do the gimbals start to lose their 'spring' and other things like the wiring solders might start wearing. A few guys at my club still use vintage FM JR and Futuba radios with no problems and a mate has a old Turnigy 9 channel radio that's been dropped a dozen times and is held together with duct tape...

Is 8 years getting a bit long in the tooth? If I was to upgrade I'd just buy another Hitec anyway as the radio is excellent and I could just keep the the receivers.
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Sep 11, 2017, 07:26 AM
Registered User
I have radios from the sixties and seventies that are still working today given a little up keep. There are things that can be done like stick calibrations, maybe tx calibration. Back up battery replacement if it has one, primary battery. Unless there are functions you need the radio doesnt have, no reason to stop using it.
Sep 11, 2017, 07:52 AM
Registered User
G'day GroundRocket,
With normal care there is no reason that a transmitter can not last twenty years or longer.
It is very important to store and transport them in a dust proof case and I have a camera case with a form fit lining to suit the transmitter.
I also have an unused make up brush to give the transmitter a dusting before I use it for the day and before I pack it back in the case.
You will notice pilots who religiously clean their planes after a days flying and simply chuck their transmitter in the back seat to go home.
If your transmitter goes out through to neglect, no matter how clean the model is, the result is not what you want.
My club has a pilot who crushed the aerial of his 2.4 in a car door and you could actually see the internal wires had been crimped. I do not know how many models he crashed before he listened to other club members and purchased a new transmitter.
He is a person who simply chucks his gear in the back of his car and cares little about his gear. It shows in the air.
Regards and respect
Daryl
Sep 11, 2017, 11:50 AM
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yorkiepap's Avatar
Hey G-R,
All the great "older" radios were made with quality. Quality components, quality assembly, & quality testing to assure a long-lasting product. Not like today....a "throw-away", cheap plastic, poor quality/assembly society who simply replaces short-lived items. All my radios are classics that stood the test of time with continued solid performance & longevity & I believe all have done so because they were made with METAL. All my radios are metal framed/cased that have the "feel" of ruggedness that gives confidence using them. My newest radio is a 20 y.o. JR10X & the other 10X's are older along with (2) perfectly working JR Galaxy Computer8's, one of JR's 1st touchpanel computer radios that are both PCM & PPM switchable. I use a Spektrum DM-9 2.4Ghz module in it for a couple gliders because it has a 750mw output that helps with range connectivity. Attached are pics of my user "oldies-but-goodies"......

Denny

Addendum: I forgot to mention that I agree with Daryls' post(#3) 100% as all my radios are in protective aluminum cases that have kept them in perfect condition.
Last edited by yorkiepap; Sep 11, 2017 at 12:01 PM.
Sep 11, 2017, 12:10 PM
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richard hanson's Avatar
Transmitters and Rx and batteries and servos , have all changed in the past few years
The plastic bits and solid state electronics are far, far more capable than the systems of only ten years ago.
It is part of the evolution in electronics.
The old metal case stuff worked well but the capabilities were only a fraction of what the new systems will do.
I started Rx in the 1960s so I have built radios and used many brands over the years.
How long will they last?
Really, the question is, how long before they are out date ,as compared with current stuff.
As of ten years ago , the systems existing at that time became outmoded ,almost overnight
They still worked but the new 2.4 systems simply made them technically, obsolete.
The cheap plastic tx are as accurate as the old metal mechanics
But, if you are into nostalgia, the old stuff is more fun.
You can take em apart, look at the innards and often replace parts as needed
Just like cars
You won't see anyone restoring a Prius
plastic simply can't be refurbished .
Sep 11, 2017, 02:01 PM
Julian T
Quote:
Originally Posted by richard hanson
...The old metal case stuff worked well but the capabilities were only a fraction of what the new systems will do.
...
Really? Apart from telemetry (which can be added independently and arguably better anyway) what can a modern tx do that a good tx from 10 years ago not do?

Quote:
Originally Posted by richard hanson
How long will they last?
Really, the question is, how long before they are out date ,as compared with current stuff.
As of ten years ago , the systems existing at that time became outmoded ,almost overnight
They still worked but the new 2.4 systems simply made them technically, obsolete.
'Technically' is a loaded word. The 'old' MHz systems function perfectly well for the capabilities of most model pilots today. Helis and drones have their capabilities internally these days - the tx is almost superfluous. If you can tell the difference between response on GHz and an MHz system you are an exceptionally capable pilot flying some exotic heli/3D/racing quad machinery. Some love telemetry. In some limited cases that is useful. Some even like their tx to talk to them. They should probably get out more. If you are not sure when you flip a switch what you have done you are probably better off not flipping the switch!

No doubt you think reliability is better now. Yet I have lost count of the number of times you have expressed the opinion all the problems experienced (I assume you agree there are many) are due to user naivety/inexperience. They aren't but the causes are actually irrelevant. The effect isn't.

Julian
Sep 11, 2017, 02:18 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by juliant
...
Really? Apart from telemetry (which can be added independently and arguably better anyway) what can a modern tx do that a good tx from 10 years ago not do?
Let you put on an event with 1000+ pilots and no impound.

Andy
Sep 11, 2017, 02:43 PM
Registered User
richard hanson's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKunz
Let you put on an event with 1000+ pilots and no impound.

Andy
That's one-------
I was flying the latest equipment till the advent of 2.4 spread spectrum, by Spektrum.
I immediately noticed the same model setup the same way , needed more expo to deliver the same feedback I was used to having . The response improvement was obvious.
Also The exasperating problem of response delay on mixed channels was now gone .
Both of these issues now fixed due to the spread spectrum channel sequencing. Completely different arrangement. .
I sold and or gave away all my old equipment even tho friends felt I was jumping the gun.
Never regretted doing so - not for a second.
sure the old setups did the basic controls pretty well but the disadvantages far outweighed staying with em.
Last edited by richard hanson; Sep 11, 2017 at 02:49 PM.
Sep 11, 2017, 03:28 PM
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rgburrill's Avatar
I've got a Futaba Attack 4 channel AM radio that is over 20 years old. It's for sale if you want it. And it has a receiver and I think 1 servo.
Sep 11, 2017, 03:30 PM
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rgburrill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKunz
Let you put on an event with 1000+ pilots and no impound.

Andy
Yep. And with no impound there is a loss of control of pilots such that all 1000 of them want to fly at the same time.

Progress isn't always helpful when people do what ever they want.
Sep 11, 2017, 03:52 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Having been CD for events, I have no desire to return to impounds. Limited flight stations/flightlines are sufficient control.

Andy
Sep 11, 2017, 04:29 PM
most exalted one
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKunz
Having been CD for events, I have no desire to return to impounds. Limited flight stations/flightlines are sufficient control.

Andy
+1000

The radios are miles ahead of the old radios. As far as how long a radio lasts I think a valid point was made earlier. Some people treat the tx as an important piece of equipment and even use q-tips to clean the dust. Others toss them around, leave them lying on the beach during float flys, covered in oil, etc. etc. Some bang around the sticks with no finesse. No one can state how long a radio will last but the treatment of one has a huge bearing typically, I would think.
I have seen them treated very poorly and then see the owner very unhappy when the cracked, dirty, etc..... gear acts up!!

BTW ..new can fail also.
Sep 11, 2017, 06:42 PM
Registered User
I'm currently using a DX9, I'm amazed by the level of features in radios these days, however personally every time I pick up one of the retired radios from the 90s, you can just tell they were built with quality. That said with the DX9, there's no turning back for me. Easy to program and for the average sports flyer like myself, I'd be surprised if I used even half of the features it can offer.
I'm also a sucker for nostalgia...
Last edited by RC Techguy; Sep 11, 2017 at 06:55 PM.
Sep 11, 2017, 11:49 PM
Sir Tim Rowledge
rowledge's Avatar
My old mix p4000 is what, 18 years old now and although I sold it last year it is apparently still going strong.

For those that don't know the p4000 is all plastics except for the harness hangers which are simply bent 5mm wire. The mounting brackets are small plastic parts held on with two rather small self tapping screws each. That 'obviously inadequate' design had no problems in surviving my literal heavy-handed usage.
The gimbals are simple plastic designs with plain brass pin bearings- not a ball-race in sight. I couldn't see any play in the sticks when I sold it. The case top & bottom are held together by several tabs that sit in matching slots along the top edge and two sprung catches at the bottom - makes opening it so much simpler.
This very high quality transmitter was not a big lump of metal. Quality does come with mass. It comes from good design and appropriate use of materials.
Sep 12, 2017, 01:27 AM
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HIR/Cer's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by GroundRocket
I've had my trusty Hitec Aurora 9 for 3 years, bought it off my friend who had it for 4-5 years before and used it fairly regularly. Its still in good nick but has a few issues, like sometimes it will not turn on....
Have been using an Ace Micropro TX (one of the first computer radios) on 6 meters fairly regularly, purchased used years ago. Recently it developed a problem in which the TX voltage would suddenly drop, rendering the TX unable to transmit. Fortunately I first noticed it just before launching my sailplane and discovered later that its power switch had oxidized switch contacts. Yep, I take good care of my equipment and the TX is stored in a case when not in use.

Would be a good idea to have your Aurora 9 checked out.

With the exception of a couple of inexpensive coaxial helis with their dedicated 2.4 TXs, got into 2.4 gHz just last year when I built a Micro Wanderer kit available from one of the RCG members and needed a micro brick receiver/servos (and a TX) for it.


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