Polks Hobby Tracker Radio Support, hosted by Lewis Polk

Done with my Tracker 3

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Old 06-06-2011, 04:07 AM
  #1  
Azzir325
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Default Done with my Tracker 3

I love the idea of the Polks tracker 3, and ordered one and have used it for many years. That being said, the 1st one I ordered had glitches in channel 1 thru 4 (you know, those unimportant channels that control the airplane) so bad I sent it back for repair. Service was quick, and the tx was better, but not perfect. It still had many uncommanded surface movements but I just lived with it and dealt with it in part by dialing in expo to soften the center positions.

But flying wasn't fun.

Yesterday, I took off with one of my nicer planes and it began uncommanded rolling and pitching. I was on the verge of a total loss when I managed to get it turned back upward and the glitching stopped long enough for me to return to the field. Never again!

I have done some researching including communication with radio south. They told me these radios ALL seem to have this problem and that they don't like them and won't work on them. I have to concur. After the excitment and my knees stopped knocking I flew my plane with an older 4 channel futaba and the smoothness that my flights had been lacking since I started using the Polks was back.

Before you ask "maybe it was the receiver?" or "were you getting hit?", the answer is NO. I have over 20 planes on my Polks with various rx's and have flown them all time and time again at many different locations and the problem has always been there, sometimes worse then others. The one constant in the equation was the Polks.

I wish it wasn't so, because I love(d) my Polks, but now I don't and I am getting a new tx.

The pic shows the plane I almost lost
Rick
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:26 AM
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Walt Thyng
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

Sorry to hear about your TIII problems. Mine is 10 years old and has been back once for an unexpected link between high rates and channels 1-4. Other than that it has worked perfectly for me in about 30 different aircraft using just about every brand of rx on several different channels. The frequency scan has saved me on several occasions ( before the 2.4 era) My big beef is the obtuseness of the programming.

This is all moot as it is now out of production. I'd be skeptical but willing to look at their 2.4 system, but doubt if it will ever get produced.
Walt
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Old 06-06-2011, 04:40 AM
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Azzir325
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

Well, I am glad your radio works well. Mine never did but I (foolishly) just kept right on using it. I think Polk's is gone now, and I believe I heard that John Gill has left us as well.
Good luck!
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Old 07-30-2011, 05:37 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I'm kinda with you. I loved this Tracker III for 3 years now andI have had to send it back for repair twice. The last time was for a bad left gimbal. The rudder would not center sometimes[:-]

Of course I found this out when flying my Twist, I did pancake it down and broke some ribs in the wing. easy fix and I tried to fly it again with my newly repaired Tracker III.

After about 1 minute in the air, I was twitching badly. snap rolls, rolls, dives, I just barely got the plane down on the ground without damage.

Thinking that I may have a receiver or loose connection issue I set it up on the bench, started the motor and tried different speeds and no twitching.

I then thought I would fly my Parkzone T-28, again the same thing happened. since the control surfaces were small than the twist it was not as wild in the air. I normally dead stick this plane on landing.

During the landing I noticed that the prop would spin up and down. After the plane was on the ground sitting still all control surfaces were twitching. Battery was good, RF was good, I could like you control each surface.

I also noticed that when they replaced the gimbal I could not move the trims for throttle and elevator.

I am looking at sending it back for repair and also buying a new one. I know that this may sound strange but I have about 25 planes with some Futaba, Hitec, JR receivers. No other transmitter on the market has the model memory or the mode shift options that the Tracker has.

I would need to buy several transmitters to work with my different receivers. For $99.00 I will give them another try.

Larry

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Old 08-02-2011, 08:59 AM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

ibarnes-

I have two TIII's I'll sell, plus a bunch of RXs if you are interested. One TIII is used and the other is brand new. I've programed some moldels into the new one and shortened the gimbel sticks but it's never been out to the field.

S

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Old 08-02-2011, 09:10 AM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I wish I would have gotten this email about 3 hrs ago.

I just placed a order with John Gills at Polks hobby for a new Tracker III without receiver.

Just for grins, what were you asking for it?

Maybe I'll still be interested. I am converting to 2.4Ghz

I fixed my Tracker glitching problem that I posted earlier.

When they sent the TX back to in the same box I shipped in to them, The box was just right for the TX without the antenna installed, they had installed that ant on the TX and shipped it back to me. . During shipping it must have gotten dropped on the antenna. The RF shield that the Antenna screws into was bent and it had broken 2 of the PCB mounting posts. This caused the PCB to move up and it was shorting the antenna to the osc cans on the RF module. It also was pushing against the 2 trim cams causing them to bind up.

A little plastic glue and some foam tape fixed the problem.

But I still wanted another TX for a spare.

Larry
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Old 08-02-2011, 09:20 AM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

AZZIR325,

There was a fix some time ago regarding glitching. The fix was to solder 3, .001uf caps, one on each of the buddy box outputs to ground.

I did this some time ago, cant really remember if it was glitching, using as a buddy box or simulator.

When I spoke to John Gill this morning He also mentioned adding a cap to the buddy box outputs. We were talking about 2.4Ghz conversions on the Tracker III.

I asked him what RF module he had used and he told me the Frsky module and the 8 channel receivers.

If he recommends it I will use it.

BTY, he also informed me that he will be a Polk's for a long time and has no desire to quit Polk's.

Larry

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Old 08-02-2011, 11:14 AM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

Darn it ....just 3 hours apart. LOL oh well.

Not sure of the price. I'll have to dig out all the RXs that go with them and go from there.

S
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:02 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I thought I had heard that John Gill had passed away, but apparently, and gladly, I was misinformed.

I also have two Polks T 3's, both of which do the glitching thing, and I have no desire to be doing any soldering on either. Anybody makes me a reasonable offer on one or both can have them.
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:24 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

LOL, now everyone want to sell a Tracker.

It's too late for me to cancel my order with Polk.

I will keep you in mind if someone wants a Tracker modified to 2.4Ghz.


Larry
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Old 08-02-2011, 03:31 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

Well, mine have been demoted from transmitter to paperweight, and I don't have that much paper.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:10 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I will just add my experiences with my Tracker III. First I love the way the radio works. I have had 3 big problems with mine over the past 5 years. I like the 5 year warranty they have and service has always been great. I have several thousand flights on my radio. I have used it for more than 100 planes currently I have 36 planes programmed into it.

I have heard a lot of positive and negative feed back on these radios. I believe that people have had bad units. So Maybe I have been lucky.

#1 the first time I had problems I crashed a couple of electrics and lost one plane. It was a small 30" electric high wing plane and it flew away our of sight. I had no control over it. I learned by chance that the trainer switch had loosened up and the switch put the transmitter into trainer mode. That was why I lost control. That was after 2 years of use, and over 1,000 flights, I think that could happen to any radio. Things do come loose after time.

#2 The following year I was having problems. The radio was doing strange things and just not working right. Polk fixed in on short order free of charge. They told me I had probable left the radio on until the battery ran down. They may have been right I did forget to turn the radio off. It has worked flawless until about 3 or 4 weeks ago.

#3 About 3 or 4 weeks ago I put the radio in the car after flying and for got to turn it off. I was checking out a new receiver and the servos were not working right, so I thought it was the receiver. Two days ago I went out to fly a plane and it didn’t work right. (Here we are having winter terrible weather most of the time). The bottom line is I was using a lipo battery; I had to throw it away. It was totally discharged from leaving the transmitter on. They told me a couple years ago, that leaving the radio on to unsafe discharge levels would damage the radio. (it also says in the manual not to allow the battery to total discharge with the radio on) That is what happened to my radio.

I will be calling them in a day or two, I’m not sure if the 5 years warranty over. They told me they had a new program that would keep this from happening. Well either it doesn’t work or they didn’t put it in. I won’t complain because I have flown over three thousand hours on the radio. I don’t think they are the best radio out there. But to be able to fly any 72 mhz receiver I’m more or less satisfied. I will be retiring the radio over the next few years because I own 3, 2.4 transmitter, and I will be going to all 2.4 receivers.

I do feel bad for the people that have had bad units. But the problems I have had have been my fault for forgetting to turn the transmitter off, except for the trainer switch.
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:25 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I have had my tracker III for several years now. I have also had 3 repairs for gimbal issues. I have just about 20 planes programed into it and every time I sent it in for repairs I was done flyiing until it came back. I solved the problem by buying another one for a back up.

Not that I expect problems but for me to convert to 2.4Ghz would be a major expense and now that everyone is converted to 2.4Ghz, I dont have a frequency problem at the field

I also ruined a Lipo battery, I forgot and plugged it int my 9.6V charger. after about 4 days on the charger the battery just swelled up and didnt blow up[:-]

I looked at several Tx's and tried to find one that had as many features as the Tracker. without spending $500.00 on a Tx and replace all my Rx's I'll stick it out on 72Mhz.

FYI, I did convert my old Tracker III to 2.4Ghz. With simple flick on the switches I can switch from 72Mhz to 2.4Ghz.

BYW, I do have a DX6i for my heli's

Just my $.02 worth

Larry
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Old 12-14-2011, 04:08 AM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I am happy to know many people have good luck with their Trackers. The one I bought new from Polk's and the one I bought used both are not trustworthy. Wish they were. If so, I would stay on 72 forever, but I had to buy a new radio so I went with 2.4, and bought a number of rx's at fair price on Ebay. I do still have a bunch of planes on 72 with an older Futaba transmitter and they work great. Flying is so much more enjoyable now that my planes have stopped doing uncommanded aerobatics.
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:55 AM
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Walt Thyng
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

Larry,
can you tell me more about your 2.4 conversion? Who makes it? What rxs do you use?
tia.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:54 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

I followed the below link to the installation of the TX module. I used the Frrsky 2.4Ghz Tx module and there 8 channel Rx. They are dirt cheap on Hobby King website. Installation went well however I did experience servo jerking when operating the servo.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...ghlight=polk+s

I discovered that if I put the module in RF range mode the jerkiness went away.

This module puts out 60mW of RF power. the other TX's are less than 60mW.

I am assuming that I am over loading the Rx at close range (1 to 3ft) when testing on the bench at full power.

Larry




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Old 12-14-2011, 03:29 PM
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Default RE: Done with my Tracker 3

Thanks Larry,
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