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Waterproofing controller

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Old 03-14-2019, 10:25 PM
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Question Waterproofing controller

Hi!

I just wanted to check what others do to 'waterproof' their controllers or how water resistant they find that their controllers are?

We have a Futaba T6k V2 controller and after taking it apart a few times to make adjustments I can see that there is no water resistance at all. How water resistant can we rely on the controller being? What ways to protect the controller from rain do you all use? I'm afraid of a situation where we are out using our boat and it starts to rain, the controller dies and we then have a boat sitting out in the water with no way to get it home.

Many thanks for any and all input!
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Old 03-15-2019, 02:27 AM
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Google for "radio control transmitter glove". Cunningly arranged so that the transmitter sits inside with the aerial snugly fitting through the hole at the top, but with a hole for each hand to work the transmitter which is visible through the clear panel. Also keeps your hands warm.
If desperate, you can always put the transmitter (for goodness' sake NOT a "controller") inside your jacket.
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Old 03-18-2019, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by mfr02 View Post
Google for "radio control transmitter glove". Cunningly arranged so that the transmitter sits inside with the aerial snugly fitting through the hole at the top, but with a hole for each hand to work the transmitter which is visible through the clear panel. Also keeps your hands warm.
If desperate, you can always put the transmitter (for goodness' sake NOT a "controller") inside your jacket.
Thanks mfr02!!

Sorry for the rookyness of my post. A transmitter it is!
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Old 03-18-2019, 08:47 AM
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Maybe being pedantic, but the first thing that springs to mind when "controller" gets a mention is an electronic speed controller. Drifting away from normal usage tends to gather answers that are based on a different subject.
The other advantage of a trsnsmitter mitten is that when you drop it, the transmitter is padded, and still works when you pick it up.
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Old 03-18-2019, 10:16 AM
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We've had to do that when it unexpectedly rains during a race. We've used plastic grocery bags and poked a hole in them for the antennas.
At a race, one of the racers knocked his transmitter off the drivers stand into the water. It was submerged for maybe 20 minutes until it was found. He did nothing, let the water drain out and it still worked! I don't advise trying that stunt though.
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Old 03-18-2019, 09:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mfr02 View Post
Maybe being pedantic, but the first thing that springs to mind when "controller" gets a mention is an electronic speed controller. Drifting away from normal usage tends to gather answers that are based on a different subject.
The other advantage of a trsnsmitter mitten is that when you drop it, the transmitter is padded, and still works when you pick it up.
Dropping the transmitter is actually something we've talked about and thus the discussion of having a 'backup' transmitter in case our main one is lost, dropped, run over, etc. Is there any transmitter you would recommend (disregarding price) if we're looking for something more robust and maybe even water resistant?
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Old 03-19-2019, 01:47 AM
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It needs to be one that will work with your receiver.
In the days of AM and FM sets, this was fairly simple, but modern 2G4 sets tend to run on software protocols that are unique to their own company at the low cost end. At the pricier end, there are multi protocol sets. Swapping a transmitter might well involve a receiver swap as well.
I don't think anybody makes a waterproof transmitter. They tend to need too many mechanical devices poking through the case, (sticks, switches) and things like access hatches for the batteries. Prevention is the answer - a cover, either a shop-bought padded glove or the emergency plastic bag or a jacket with enough room for both you and the transmitter, and a neck strap.
Ron's experience with the immersed transmitter was probably in fresh water, it would probably not have survived even a brief dunk in the salt water lake that I sail without very fast recovery and attention.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:38 PM
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Originally Posted by mfr02 View Post
It needs to be one that will work with your receiver.
In the days of AM and FM sets, this was fairly simple, but modern 2G4 sets tend to run on software protocols that are unique to their own company at the low cost end. At the pricier end, there are multi protocol sets. Swapping a transmitter might well involve a receiver swap as well.
I don't think anybody makes a waterproof transmitter. They tend to need too many mechanical devices poking through the case, (sticks, switches) and things like access hatches for the batteries. Prevention is the answer - a cover, either a shop-bought padded glove or the emergency plastic bag or a jacket with enough room for both you and the transmitter, and a neck strap.
Ron's experience with the immersed transmitter was probably in fresh water, it would probably not have survived even a brief dunk in the salt water lake that I sail without very fast recovery and attention.
Changing the receiver is not a problem. We have already discussed this. I talked to a guy at a hobby shop and he said that the receiver that is paired to the Futaba T6k V2 is not actually one of the strongest ones. Something about the FASST(?) models being the best. We work mostly around saltwater so dunking the transmitter is a definite no-no.
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Old 03-20-2019, 04:01 AM
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Okay, let me throw a little icewater on that salesman's pitch. There is really no difference, other than having a slightly different programming protocol, between FASST and FHSS systems. Granted, there are a few whistles to make it seem better but all the guy is after is to sell a higher dollar unit. If you talk to Mike "Grimracer" Zaborowski, someone that has worked for Hobbico/Horizon, he runs all FHSS systems in his boats. He would tell you to run an Futaba FHSS receiver that has "Diversity" on the front of it. Trust me, I've butted heads with many R/C boaters and those that run FASST systems usually only run them because they have the money to spend or want the latest and greatest. I could be running a 7PX with FASST receivers but don't since my 4PLS will do the same thing for less than a third the price. The 7PX is a $700 radio while my 4PLS costs only $190, both of which are available on the Futaba website.
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Old 03-20-2019, 03:30 PM
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DAMN!!!!
No one has flamed me yet? I figured my post would have been jumped all over within an hour or so.
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Old 03-20-2019, 11:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Okay, let me throw a little icewater on that salesman's pitch. There is really no difference, other than having a slightly different programming protocol, between FASST and FHSS systems. Granted, there are a few whistles to make it seem better but all the guy is after is to sell a higher dollar unit. If you talk to Mike "Grimracer" Zaborowski, someone that has worked for Hobbico/Horizon, he runs all FHSS systems in his boats. He would tell you to run an Futaba FHSS receiver that has "Diversity" on the front of it. Trust me, I've butted heads with many R/C boaters and those that run FASST systems usually only run them because they have the money to spend or want the latest and greatest. I could be running a 7PX with FASST receivers but don't since my 4PLS will do the same thing for less than a third the price. The 7PX is a $700 radio while my 4PLS costs only $190, both of which are available on the Futaba website.
Thanks Hydro Junkie. My boss was more than pleased when I forwarded your message to him. We would of course like to invest our money in other upgrades when and if possible.

What would be your suggestion if we wanted to receive greater range in this case? How far can one expect range wise when using a FHSS transmitter?
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Old 03-21-2019, 12:21 AM
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Range is limited by two things:
1) The height of the receiver antenna
2) The FCC
Obviously, if the receiver's antenna is higher up, it won't have as much issue with signal reflection, an issue with the early Spectrum 2.4 systems. This is also why, before we could bounce communications signals off satellites, ships had their radio antennas as high as possible, for longer range. They didn't know, back in those days, that the low frequency signals they were sending could reach beyond the horizon, unlike the high frequency signals we use today.
The FCC is the real limiting factor in radio ranges. The law, as presently written, only allows an R/C transmitter to broadcast using .5 watt. This effectively limits your range to around 750-1000 yards, at best. While aircraft systems can reach a bit further, it's only due to the fact that the transmitted signal isn't attenuated by the ground or water. I would consider it more likely to reach ranges of not much more than 500 yards, with reliable reception
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:41 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
Range is limited by two things:
1) The height of the receiver antenna
2) The FCC
Obviously, if the receiver's antenna is higher up, it won't have as much issue with signal reflection, an issue with the early Spectrum 2.4 systems. This is also why, before we could bounce communications signals off satellites, ships had their radio antennas as high as possible, for longer range. They didn't know, back in those days, that the low frequency signals they were sending could reach beyond the horizon, unlike the high frequency signals we use today.
The FCC is the real limiting factor in radio ranges. The law, as presently written, only allows an R/C transmitter to broadcast using .5 watt. This effectively limits your range to around 750-1000 yards, at best. While aircraft systems can reach a bit further, it's only due to the fact that the transmitted signal isn't attenuated by the ground or water. I would consider it more likely to reach ranges of not much more than 500 yards, with reliable reception
What are our options for mounting our receiver antenna higher up? When talking to said 'hobby guy' I was told that there wasnt a different type of receiver/antenna that we could use together with our controller. Being that the antennas from our receiver are so short and dont seem to be easily replacable, I then gave up with the idea. Any and all tips are appreciated.

Out boat is 1.6m long and about 70cm wide, just for reference.
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:48 AM
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You can order longer antennas but I don't know how long you can get. That would be my choice, either that or add some sort of water tight box higher up and install the receiver and at least one battery pack there
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie View Post
You can order longer antennas but I don't know how long you can get. That would be my choice, either that or add some sort of water tight box higher up and install the receiver and at least one battery pack there
So longer antennas can be attached or do I have to buy a new Futaba FHSS receiver?
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Old 03-21-2019, 01:27 PM
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You probably wouldn't need a new receiver, just contact Futaba through their website and ask them directly The contact info you will need is listed on this page:
https://futabausa.com/repairs/
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Old 03-22-2019, 08:14 AM
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Range is limited by two things:
1) The height of the receiver antenna
2) The FCC
3 things - the height of the transmitter.
Generally, the higher the transmitter above the water, the better. Surface interference is reduced.
You are still stuck with line of sight.
While the power of the transmiter is limited legally in most parts of the world, range can be improved by introducing the right kind of second receiver to improve sensitivity without compromising selectivity. Does that count as 4 things?. Just something I read about, but the extension receiver cuts the error rate at low power (i.e. long range). Liked by the flyboys. As range increases, the received power reduces and drops down into the background noise level, the extra receiver gathers more signal and between them they sort out a valid signal at greater range. Since this is high-end magic, I expect it will be in Futaba's book.
My bottom end radios work very well at ranges beyond where I can easily see what if happening ith the boat - 250 yards plus - so extreme range is not a problem for me.

Last edited by mfr02; 03-22-2019 at 08:17 AM.
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Old 03-25-2019, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by mfr02 View Post
3 things - the height of the transmitter.
Generally, the higher the transmitter above the water, the better. Surface interference is reduced.
You are still stuck with line of sight.
While the power of the transmiter is limited legally in most parts of the world, range can be improved by introducing the right kind of second receiver to improve sensitivity without compromising selectivity. Does that count as 4 things?. Just something I read about, but the extension receiver cuts the error rate at low power (i.e. long range). Liked by the flyboys. As range increases, the received power reduces and drops down into the background noise level, the extra receiver gathers more signal and between them they sort out a valid signal at greater range. Since this is high-end magic, I expect it will be in Futaba's book.
My bottom end radios work very well at ranges beyond where I can easily see what if happening ith the boat - 250 yards plus - so extreme range is not a problem for me.
Great. Thanks Hydro Junkie and mfr02. I've now sent an e-mail to Futaba to ask what parts I need. We arent looking for anything extreme but would like to still have a strong signal up to 1km if possible.

So I should be able to add a second receiver that works together with the primary? In which case I could leave the original receiver installed where it is and install a second higher up outside the boat so that it has free line of sight to the transmitter. Am I thinking right?
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Old 03-26-2019, 02:36 AM
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Originally Posted by SoundSearcher View Post
Great. Thanks Hydro Junkie and mfr02. I've now sent an e-mail to Futaba to ask what parts I need. We arent looking for anything extreme but would like to still have a strong signal up to 1km if possible.

So I should be able to add a second receiver that works together with the primary? In which case I could leave the original receiver installed where it is and install a second higher up outside the boat so that it has free line of sight to the transmitter. Am I thinking right?
Like I said, I haven't got one, I've only read about it, and that just in passing while looking for something else. My electroncs background tells me that the orginal and extra receiver should both work to get a better guess at what is supposed to happen by reducing the error rate. Probably something to do with averaging checksums. There should be something in Futabas catalogue to help direct your query, knowing that something is there should help.
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Old 03-26-2019, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by SoundSearcher View Post
Great. Thanks Hydro Junkie and mfr02. I've now sent an e-mail to Futaba to ask what parts I need. We arent looking for anything extreme but would like to still have a strong signal up to 1km if possible.

So I should be able to add a second receiver that works together with the primary? In which case I could leave the original receiver installed where it is and install a second higher up outside the boat so that it has free line of sight to the transmitter. Am I thinking right?
Yes, you are correct. For 2.4 you basically add a second, remote receiver (correct term) connected to the 'main' or primary one. The remote receivers are made for that purpose. A remote will NOT run a boat (fly a plane) without being connected to a primary receiver. Some of the airplane guys will have 2 remote receivers. usually stuck out in the wing on either side. Keep in mind too, a remote receiver typically draws power from the primary receiver. However, with some, many maybe all by now can be powered by their own battery. The airplane guys will often put another battery in the wing to power the remote.

I do sailboats so my desire would be to put one as high up the mast as possible. But for best performance it would limit me to wood masts. Hence I'm hanging on to my 72, 75 MHz systems as long as possible. That 3 foot receiver antenna can be a real blessing sometimes.
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Old 04-02-2019, 11:20 PM
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I was put Monday with our survey vessel and was able to get to around 300m before I started to lose signal/connection. Things went intermittent and I was luckily able to get back close enough that I regained control. We are now even more keen to have a longer range.

I have ave been in contact with Futaba who said they don’t have extension antennas for our receiver but later found some that work with the FASST system. Maybe those could be soldered?

We are also a bit worried what happens when we lose connection completely. We’ve heard about a RTH function used in Mission Planner but we are fairly unfamiliar with the Mission Planner software. Tips?
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Old 04-03-2019, 01:29 AM
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The problem with RTH is that so far, it isn't clever enough to cope with a return path that has obstructions. A drone "might" be clever enough to spot and climb over a tree or building, or fly at a pre-determined altitude to avoid such things, but that is not an option for a boat and I doubt that there is anything on the market at the moment that will steer it round a surface obstruction.
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Old 04-03-2019, 07:13 AM
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1KM is asking a lot for any RC transmitter as they're usually only good for 1/4-mile.
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Old 04-03-2019, 05:24 PM
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I have to agree with Ron. A surface radio, due to ground clutter for the most part, is only good for .25 to maybe .375 mile. You're looking at .62 mile, almost twice as far. You may need to see about getting an FCC exception and a signal booster to at least double the power to over a watt, not the .5 watt the FCC allows for R/C usage
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