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Grid Leaks

Old 03-25-2016, 11:54 AM
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jaymen
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Default Grid Leaks

Ever notice how Grid Leaks (Ace R/C newsletter by Paul Runge) basically did not give hardly any coverage on the first generation proportional equipment and continued to feature mostly single channel gear, including tube type stuff, all the way into the mid-1960s? One could assume that Runge was heavily invested with Kraft, Ecktronics, Inkman, Baisden, Phelps, and marketing their offerings through Ace R/C , long after they were essentially obsolete. It seem odd to me that so much effort was put into these DIY projects when you could buy much better equipment for a just a tiny bit more money.
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Old 03-25-2016, 06:03 PM
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Buying a early Bonner in 1965 would be like buying a 8 channel radio today for $4500, with no features. Not that many were sold. There would not be very many RC fliers today at that price.

Last edited by HighPlains; 03-25-2016 at 10:41 PM.
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Old 03-25-2016, 07:31 PM
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HighPlains,
Very realistic comment. I owned one of 2 Bonner Digimite 8Ch that were sold in Denver area. I earned mine by testing every single channel servo Royal Products sold at $.10ea. The retail was more than I made each month at that time.

Last edited by sidgates; 04-02-2016 at 05:41 AM.
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Old 03-27-2016, 03:03 PM
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I still have my 1966 Grid Leaks that I bought for the article "Rand GG Hints" !!

Mike
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:29 PM
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Ace found a niche market (single channel for the tinkerer) that obviously was profitable since they stayed in that business a pretty long time. Multi-channel radios were very expensive at that time. My first multi was a Kraft 12 Channel reed set which with only 3 servos cost me a full 2 month's wages. I built quite a few Ace kits in the day and had a lot of fun learning the basics of electronics, a skill that served me well later on.

Orv.
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:42 PM
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I still have the Ace R/C catalog from 1967. I had built a Mambo, and bought a Kraft KV3 receiver kit along with a Bonner SN escapement, but never got around to saving up for the Transmitter. But my Dad finally convinced me to just free flight the Mambo, since it was mostly free flight anyway. After two of the most terrifying flights I have ever made, I hung it up never to fly again. Damn, that was 49 years ago this summer. If I had a bigger paper route back then...
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Old 03-27-2016, 04:55 PM
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I think quite a few early RC attempts ended up being Free Flight airplanes. I know in my case, my home build radios were anything but reliable and my flying skills were non-existent. So when I stripped out the RC equipment, the planes flew much better on their own than they ever did with me trying to control them. I lived on a farm and flew over hay or bean fields which allowed plenty of open space to chase the planes. But having seen the planes respond to the controls at least a few times, I could brag a bit that I was an RC flyer! Some years later in the early 70's success came my way with more modern equipment though still home built but from a kit.
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Old 04-01-2016, 09:58 AM
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Truckracer, well, that way, in the event of a fly-away (OOS) , at least you didn't lose the radio!

The afore mentioned Digimite 8 was expensive for sure, but it was such a huge advancement in technology when compared to what else was available at the time. By todays standards, yeah, it had no feaures and is pretty bare bones (no servo reversing, no Duel rates, Expo, trainer switch, etc...) but at the time we did not have any of that stuff, so it was considered state of the art due to it being simultanious proportional, with trims, and a meter...wow-wee!
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Old 04-01-2016, 02:59 PM
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If I remember those days correctly, and it was well along into the 60's before I had much knowledge of RC development, the main and over riding consideration for most radio systems was simply reliability! They simply had to work and any other features were a bonus. With every new development, skepticism was foremost until the product proved its worth.
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Old 04-01-2016, 03:47 PM
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The radio gear of the mid 1960s that I could afford was over my head at the time because you had to wire it up, set up a toque rod and escapement, tune the radio before each flying session, and even if you got that stuff correct, it took a bit of luck and you had to hold your mouth just so........Plus, all you got was rudder only, which took skill to fly. Also, by the late 1960s, very few people here in California were flying single channel anymore, so there was nobody interested in taking the time to help me and explain a single channel system and hiow to set it up and fly it. The only advice and help I got was always the same: "Get rid of that bang-bang stuff and buy an Orbit, or Kraft kid!"
Proportional on the other hand was much simpler to comprehend, set-up and operate. The propo radios were sold as a complete system. Their operation was far less cryptic and straight forward, especially when compared to looking at multi reed set up with the same amount of servos! But, proportional was way too expensive, so I never had a chance to experience using one until about 1972, when a friend of mine lent me his Ace Pulse Commander. I took and ripped the Vari-Comp and Controlaire 5 out of my Jr. Falcon and installed the Ace and had my first propo rig. It was a real treat, let me tell you, especially compared to trying to blip the key just right on the old tone transmitter, plus now, I had trim! By the time I could afford a Bonner, of course, they had gone out of business.
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Old 04-01-2016, 05:04 PM
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Jayman, you and I seem to have very similar beginnings in the hobby. I had advanced from a pre teen, ham radio guy and C/L flier into RC so I had a pretty good working knowledge of how the systems worked .... but no pocketbook to match my wants and needs! My early radios were pretty much as you describe yours. As you know, in those days a propo radio system cost more than a good used car and in those days, that was a car that was just a few years old. But when I was 20 I decided to make the plunge into a 5 ch. Heath system and never looked back to the early single channel stuff that I could only make work part of the time. I wouldn't change those early days for anything though as the anticipation for every flight was so high. My RC planes converted to FF were so successful because they didn't have me messing up their ability to fly by themselves with my improper control inputs! It was only later when I had a reliable radio that I realized I probably couldn't have successfully flown a decent single channel setup (or anything else RC) with my very limited pilot abilities in those early attempts.

One of the things that prompted my interest in RC was my grandfather finding early RC planes on his farm that had flown away from their owner. As a small kid I remember looking those planes over from one end to the other in total amazement. They were either so big or I was so small at the time but I remember them as BIG. Considering the designs of the time my guess .... they were probably 65" - 72" wings. Sadness was when the owners came and picked them up.
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Old 04-01-2016, 10:57 PM
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Living in the middle of nowhere, the first full house proportional radio I saw firsthand was a Bonner 8 in a Taurus in the fall of 1967. We found a level spot in a pasture a few miles out of town, but after all the setup, the radio flaked out so it did not fly that day. The owner of the plane was fairly young in his twenties, but not the first owner of the radio.

It would appear that there were these early sets like F&M, as well as the Bonner that used a 7 cell technology in the airborne packs. But the real breakthrough was the 4 cell airborne systems, which I think Don Mathes was mostly responsible for. It seems like Orbit and Kraft both led the pack once that was developed, as well as eliminating the fail safe circuitry.
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Old 04-02-2016, 05:46 AM
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I mentioned earlier I owned a Bonner 8Ch. It only malfunctioned on time in the 4 years I flew it. One time it went into fail safe when I was about 400ft high and about 600ft out and headed right at me. I regained control about 100 ft away in low throttle and I landed straight ahead with not a scratch. I found one tuning coil had vibrated out of tune. I retuned and good to go till I sold it.
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Old 04-02-2016, 01:24 PM
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I had that problem with my 70 series Kraft, until I gave it a good tuning and added a drop of candle wax to each slug.
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