Graupner mz-32 2.4gHz Radio System with Telemetry

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Introduction

Graupner has been in the RC market for longer than I can remember, and I’ve been around for quite a while now. It seems as if they are always on the leading edge of technology, adding new items that have an ‘off-the-charts’ cool factor! Their latest release, the mz-32 hand held transmitter, has now taken its place as the most advanced radio system I have ever used. What makes it so advanced? Read on to find out!

Something a Little Different for Me…..

Back in January of this year, I was given a different type of opportunity. I received an email from one of the Graupner representatives here in the US. He said that he and one of Graupner’s airplane designers liked my reviews, and they were wondering if I’d be interested in helping them beta-test a new transmitter. Of course, I jumped at the chance to have one of the first of its kind transmitters in the US! In late February, I received this new transmitter – the Graupner mz-32. After receiving the mz-32, I became part of a six-man testing unit that put the transmitter through its paces. We spent a few months going through and checking every screen and function for errors. When we found items that needed to be fixed, we emailed Graupner and  added our concerns to a group spreadsheet. As the items were fixed by Graupner, new firmware was released, and we started checking the next  version. After several ‘beta’ versions, we got the first ‘final’ version, and testing resumed. A few versions later, and we ended up with solid programming that was ready for the release of this state-of-the-art transmitter! I would have to say that being a part of this team was definitely a ‘Top 5’ moment in my 30 plus years flying model aircraft!

Specifications

Price:   $989.00 (Price at time of review publication)

Available at:   www.graupnerusa.com

Product Page:   Graupner mz-32

INCLUDES:

  • mz-32 transmitter
  • GR-24 12CH Receiver
  • USB charging cable
  • USB update adapter
  • LiHV battery 9000mAh
  • Transmitter stand
  • Neck strap
  • Neck Strap Balancer
  • Aluminum radio case
  • Manual Part 1 in German, English, French and Italian

HARDWARE:

  • Hall Sensor quad bearing gimbals with 4096 resolutions for smooth and precise control
  • Outdoor friendly 4.3-inch TFT color and touch screen
  • Redundant dual 2.4GHz RF modules
  • Circular polarized patch antenna with adjustable beam angle
  • 9000 mAh LiHV rechargeable battery for up to 10 hours of operation
  • Micro-USB port for charging, data communication, joystick function or mass storage
  • Externally adjustable stick tension and mode selection
  • Internal Micro SD 16 Gb memory card
  • Built in Wireless and Bluetooth communication
  • DSC socket for external communications (wired buddy box, flight simulators, other)
  • Wireless student teacher operation
  • Wireless firmware update
  • Integrated speaker for voice output and telemetry notifications
  • User configurable DSC and data ports (SUMD, CROSSFIRE and others)
  • User assignable haptic feedback
  • 5 x 3 position switches, 2 x 3 position/toggle switches, 1 x 2 position switch, 4 proportional knobs, 2 x lever controls, 8 assignable digital buttons
  • 6 shortcut control and navigation keys

SOFTWARE:

  • 32 proportional channels
  • 999 Model memory
  • 4 Receiver binding 10ms or 20ms frame rate
  • Model, group or global binding modes
  • Model types: Airplane, Helicopter, Multirotor, Vehicle, Boat
  • 12 selectable flight modes
  • 8 wing types, 6 delta wing types, 3 tail types
  • Multi engine control (4)
  • 6 user designable widgets dashboards (model specific or global)
  • Context sensitive help text
  • Airplane auto trim mode
  • Text to speech with VDF editor
  • Servo balancer & synchronization
  • 8 phase dependent assignable trim settings and 5 trim types
  • 6 phase dependent configurable timers (Start/Stop, Lap, Lap Trigger, Lap Toggle)
  • 8 phase dependent quad rate and expo settings
  • 16 phase dependent multi point user mixers
  • 8 dual differential mixers
  • 3 channel sequencers
  • 3 channel ring limiters
  • 64 user assignable digital switches
  • 12 assignable combination switches
  • 12 assignable logical switches
  • 12 assignable control switches
  • 4 snap roll mixes
  • 8 wing and tail mixers and crow/butterfly function
  • 9 user assignable and configurable system voice notifications
  • 8 user assignable and configurable user voice notifications
  • 24 user assignable and configurable control voice notifications
  • 8 user assignable and configurable voice notifications
  • Dedicated vario and control menu with dead zone control
  • Wireless setup of receivers, telemetry and flight controllers
  • User configurable MP3 player
  • Integrated file manager
Specifications
Operating Voltage 3.3 ~ 4.35V
Battery LiHv 4.35V 9000mAh
Radio Frequency Band 2.4000 ~ 2.4835 GHz
Radio Modulation FHSS
Temperature Range -10 ~ +55 C
Antenna Circular Polarized Patch Antenna
RF System Dual 2.4GHz Radios
Control Channels 32
Display 4.3 inch TFT Color and Touch Screen
Communication WLAN – Bluetooth
User Memory 16Gb Internal SD Card
MP3 Player Yes
Battery Charge Micro USB Port
Trainer Function Wireless or Wired
Firmware Upgrade WLAN, USB Terminal
Weight 1110 gr – 39 oz
Dimensions 19.5 x 6.5 x 21 cm – 7.68 x 2.56 x 8.27 in

First Look

The mz-32 arrived in a really nice full-color box with a lot of information and nice images on it. I opened the top and found a nice plastic handle and two sturdy latches attached to a case.

I pulled the case from the box and found it had been made specifically for the mz-32. I really like that Graupner sends these nice transmitter cases with all of their high-end radio systems. Opening the case revealed a large piece of foam sitting on top of the transmitter – presumably there to keep the mz-32 from bouncing around in the case during transport, Though the case is lined with foam, it’s always a good thing to be over-cautious!

With the foam removed, I got my first look at the mz-32. All I can say is WOW! This is one good looking transmitter!!!  Before removing the mz-32, I took a look at the accessories. The first item I removed was an odd looking white stick. I pulled it apart, and it didn’t take long to determine that it was a folding transmitter stand! I have often thought that this would be a cool accessory to have, and now I’ve got one!

The transmitter is charged via the included USB charging cord – you can use a USB port on your computer or a cell phone charging brick to provide power, but the power source must be able to provide 2 Amps minimum to properly charge the mz-32. Also included is a two-piece USB adapter for updating receiver firmware. It’s pretty cool that Graupner includes this as a standard item, rather than an optional purchase!

The mz-32 has a unique, folding antenna system. Inside the case is a dual 2.4GHz redundant RF system driving a polarized patch antenna. Graupner claims that this provides an unmatched signal quality and an extended range. One thing’s for sure – it looks a lot tougher than the standard antenna I’ve seen on most 2.4 gHz transmitters.

There’s so many switches and dials!!!  Seriously, they’re everywhere! With eight switches on the front and top, and four dials, there’s a lot going on!  The best part is that each and every switch and dial is assignable to any channel or function! It’s all completely customizable!!!

I was a little intrigued by the sticks and their odd looking gimbals, until I worked them a little – they were so smooooooth! That’s because they are a quad-bearing design and use hall sensors! An aluminum neck strap balancer is pre-installed, and looks to be quite robust – it’ll do well with the included neck strap, but I’ll be using my shoulder harness transmitter strap system! Personally, I don’t like the weight of a transmitter on my neck while I’m trying to fly…

There are three buttons on each side of the touch screen that will help you scroll through the menus (left side), a ‘main menu’ button (lower right), and two buttons for direct recall of ‘servo display’ and ‘setting and data view’. Depending on what you’re trying to do, these buttons will make getting there quicker than the touch screen.

The back side of the mz-32 has a lot going on as well! The large, soft, rubber hand grips are a nice touch, and make hanging on to the transmitter easy. Nestled in and out of the grips are rubber plugs for making stick tension adjustment and changing stick modes. I did find that two of the stic tension screws were too long, and rubbed on the inside of the plugs, but this was fixed at the factory by using shorter screws. A pair of slider switches flank the top left and right sides, adding to the total number of available switches – these are also customizable and can be assigned to nearly any task you’d like!

Under the removable cover in the top center is several connection ports. The 3.5mm audio jack lets you connect a set of earbuds or headphones to the transmitter, while the DSC port can be used to connect the mz-32 to another Graupner transmitter via a cable for training purposes, and also to connect to a computer for simulator use. The COM port is a serial interface that will be used in the future. The Data port is suitable for connection of a smart box or an external module. Under the bottom rubber cover is the micro USB port for connecting the mz-32 to a computer for firmware updates and charging the transmitter.

Under the battery cover lies the behemoth 1S 9000 mAh LiPo battery pack used to power the mz-32. Graupner advertises that this battery is good for up to 10 hours of flying time, so you can fly all day on one transmitter. This is a good thing, due to the 999 model memory (YES, I said 999 model memory)!!! One transmitter can fly every plane you have now, and every plane you’ll have for the next twenty years!

Though I do NOT recommend this, I removed the  back of the case to pull the centering spring off the left stick (if you’ll remember, I said that the mz-32 is capable of multiple stick modes). Yes, there’s a friction screw and a ratchet screw that make it unecessary to remove the spring, but there was still just a little too much tension on the stick for my liking.

But… I figured that as long as I had the cover off, I’d show you all what the inside looked like! There’s a lot going on, and it’s all laid out well! The hall effect gimbals can be seen in the photos, and look much simpler than the potentiometer style gimbals. At the top of the last photo, you can just make out the pair of antenna wires going into the bearing supported antenna housing. This transmitter is really cool!

You may have noticed that I haven’t said much about one area of the transmitter yet – that’s because I’ve been saving the best for last.  The 4.3 inch touch screen is simply amazing! It’s your window to the mz-32’s soul. The screen is sunlight friendly, letting you see what’s on it even on the brightest of days. Like the switches and dials, it’s completely customizable! You have the power at your fingertips (literally) to control what you see on YOUR transmitter – nearly every bit of information on the screen can be customized to what you want! There are so many widgets available that will allow you to see exactly what you want, and nothing you don’t want! Removing an existing widget is as easy as a long touch, and pressing delete. Adding a new widget requires a quick tap to an empty spot on the screen. And you can literally put almost anything in the programming on the screen! Check out this video from Graupner – it’s a widget tutorial!

Getting Started

After charging the transmitter’s battery, you’ll want to power up the mz-32. To do so, you need to press and hold the power button until the screen lights up. After booting up, the mz-32 is going to ask you to set up a few things. Take a look at Graupner’s video below to see what you’ll have to do:

After completing the basic setup, take some time to get to know your new transmitter. A lot of the programming is very intuitive and simple to understand. When I received my mz-32 as a beta test unit, I didn’t get any manuals, and had to figure things out as I went. Graupner has made it pretty easy to move through the menus without any outside help, but here’s a couple more videos from Graupner to help you out:

This last video will go over how to set up an airplane – though it’s fairly simple, the video makes it even easier to understand!

Now let me ask you this…. When was the last time you heard of ANY transmitter company creating this many tutorials for a new release?!? None that I can recall!

My Videos

Aside from the Graupner videos that were made to help the end user, I decided to make a couple myself. Yes, they are long, but they cover a lot of great information! Grab a snack and a beverage, and settle in for a couple of videos made by someone who considers himself to be ‘just another modeler’…

The First video is a basic introduction to the transmitter…

Next, I’ll dive into some programming features!

 Summary

I have to hand it to Graupner on this one – the mz-32 is a high class, flagship style transmitter at an affordable price. Now, not everyone will agree with me when I say that spending nearly $1000.00 on a transmitter is affordable, but when you break it down to what you’re actually getting, it’s a great deal! 32 channels in a single transmitter, large capacity battery, 999 model memory, loads of telemetry options available, and a large touch screen in an attractive looking case makes this new Graupner transmitter a hard one to beat! FYI – The first production run available in the US sold out in just over 24 hours. This is one cool radio system, so get one before they’re sold out again! -GB

Contact Information

Graupner USA:   www.graupnerusa.com

 

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  1. Geoff. You always make the best reviews and instructional videos. Keep them coming. I have switched to Graupner for all my radio equipment and they are great . Missed the MZ-32 on the first run but just received my second run radio yesterday. Am reviewing your videos before I turn it on as I was told to make sure I set it up via my computer before doing anything else. After reviewing the start-up video I am glad I did. Anyway Geoff, keep the great videos coming.

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