A while back, I received a Graupner mz-32 radio system. I was part of the beta test program to work out the bugs and get the firmware correct before releasing the transmitter to the public. I also wrote a review on this flagship transmitter, which you can read by clicking on this link: RCU reviews the Graupner mz-32.
Well, the mz-32 has been available for a few months, and it appears to be selling very well – a 32 channel radio system with a color touch screen, telemetry, voice announcements, and a battery big enough to last ALL DAY at the field for less than a thousand bucks?!?! Yeah, that’s probably why….
Now, to make a great radio just a little better, you can customize your transmitter to your personality with a little ‘bling’ – Graupner has introduced five new colored face plates, dial trim rings, and control stick sets to make your mz-32 all your own. Does someone else have the same transmitter at the field? No problem! for less than $20.00 (plus a little shipping) you can change the colors on your mz-32! Have I got your attention? Read on!
Price: $19.90 (Price at time of review publication)
Where to Purchase: www.graupnerusa.com
I received my face plate and gimbal extensions (aluminum stick extensions) with an new airplane review that I will be working on next – the HoTTrigger 1400 V2. Mannie Garmy, from Graupner USA, just added them inside the box when the HoTTrigger was shipped, so they were more than protected during shipping. These face plates and gimbal extensions are very lightweight, and will ship easily for just a few dollars in shipping costs. When I pulled the parts out of their plastic bag, I noticed there was no smell. It seems that most painted products like this end up in a bag before the paint has completely cured, which results in a gnarly small when opening the bag, and usually some scratches in the paint. My face plates and dial trim rings were in perfect condition!
Now you may be thinking, wait a minute… Red wasn’t one of the choices – you’re right – that’s how the mz-32 arrives from Graupner USA. But, I decided to add a photo of the red trim, so you can see how the other five colors look in close proximity. In the top row, we have: Red (standard), Blue (I’m going to call it Pearl Blue), and Black. The second row features Gold, Silver, and Carbon Fiber. The carbon Fiber option includes only the face plates, as the carbon fiber goes well with the red dial trim rings and gimbal extensions.
I figured I give you all one last look at my standard red mz-32. Once I get the red off, there’s no turning back. I removed the red gimbal extensions and the six outer screws (three per right and left side) for the face plates. Now, if you have a later version of the mz-32, you can remove the faceplates once these screws are removed. If you have these screws out, and the face plates will not easily come off the transmitter case, you’ll have to dig in a little deeper. This was the situation for my mz-32, so I figured I’d walk you all through internal screw removal process. We’ll start by flipping the transmitter over so we’re looking at the back of the case.
The right and left side rubber grips are removed by simply pulling on them gently. They are held to the rear case by small plugs in the rubber that ‘snap’ into holes in the case. The battery cover and 1S 9000 mAh LiPo battery are removed as well.
With the grips, battery, and battery cover off, the transmitter will look a little bare – just like the left photo above. There are ten (10) screws that hold the rear cover in place, as pointed out by the red arrows in the above right photo. Six of these are a #1 Philips head screw, and the other four are a #0 Philips head. Use the correct screwdriver, and it’s an easy job! With these screw removed, the rear half of the case can be pulled away from the transmitter.
Don’t freak out – Sure there’s a lot of componants inside the mz-32, but if you really think about the fact that this is a 32 channel transmitter with nearly every feature you could ever want, the case starts to look a lot less daunting! It’s pretty amazing, when you think about how far our hobby has come in a relatively short period of time. It wasn’t all that long ago that we were still using AM and FM radio systems, and using NiCd batteries for power!
As a side note…. Back in 1993, I was using a Futaba Conquest 4 channel radio system, and I thought that was the coolest thing I had ever seen! Of course, I was only 16 years old, learning to fly my Tower Hobbies Tower Trainer .40 ARF. With the help of my good friend Scott Anderson, I quickly became a proficient RC pilot, and have been flying for many, many years now!
OK, back on track again! IF you’re at this point, it’s safe to say that your face plates did not come off after removing the external screws. Some of the early production run mz-32 transmitters had an internal screw on each face plate that must also be removed. These two screws are accessed via a notch in the left and right upper blue PC boards as shown by the screwdriver. Once they are removed, DO NOT PUT THEM BACK IN! That way, if you decide to change to another set of face plates, you don’t have to open the transmitter again.
When reassembling the transmitter, there are four items to watch: 1) the patch antenna hinge point. make sure that the flat side stays as shown in the photo above. 2) the hinge point bearing needs to stay in place or it will bind. 3 and 4) the dual antennas need to stay in the slots so they do not get damaged when reassembling the transmitter. If 1-4 are followed, the rest of the reassembly is easy!
So now that the case is back together, we can start installing the new ‘bling’. The mz-32 looks a little naked without its trim rings and face plates, so let’s get some color added to this transmitter!
Well, I’m glad to say that this is the easiest part of the whole process! The dial trim rings are friction fit, and simply press into a groove in the face of the dials. I set the face plates in place, and started all six screws, leaving them just finger tight for now. The two piece gimbal extensions were added next, and I like to leave them as long as possible – I’m a thumb and index finger ‘pinch’ style pilot, so I like the sticks as long as possible. Graupner has a set of extensions that are even longer that the standard length shown above – I’m looking into getting them as well. The two pieces are secured by tightening them against each other, like a double nut, and they look really nice with the face plates!
Lastly, I tightened the six face plate screws with a 2mm ball wrench. The set I use came from DuBro, and they are great! The five piece metric set (five wrenches and a holder – SKU: 706) can be purchased for $24.95, and the six piece (six wrenches and a holder – SKU: 705) costs $27.50. They are available at www.dubro.com.
That’s it! I really like the blue – it has a pearlescent look to it that shows a lot of depth to the paint. I think it really pops, and it will definitely get some looks at the field!
Now, I know what some of you are thinking…. Why would I want to spend my airplane money on something like this? I get it – sure, it’s twenty bucks plus shipping, and it may not be for everyone. But it makes your transmitter YOUR transmitter! There are FIVE different colors to chose from, which allows you to customize your transmitter to your liking. If you like red, you’re already done – but there’s plenty of pilots that like blue, black, silver, and yes, even gold! Graupner now has the ‘bling’ to let you have the transmitter YOU want!
A word of warning, though – When I removed the red trim rings from the dials, they did break. They are a tight fit from the factory. The only way I was able to remove them was by slipping a single-edge razor blade under the edge and prying the ring upward. This did split the plastic – but since you’re removing them, I’m guessing that you’re going to like the new color you purchased! I really love my mz-32 transmitter, and now that it’s got a pretty sweet custom look to it, I love it even more! Thanks Graupner, for giving me a choice in how my mz-32 looks.
One suggestion, though – How about a pearl green? It’s just a thought….
From my shop to yours, that’s all for now – Happy Flying! – GB
Graupner USA: www.graupnerusa.com