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Life expectancy of transmitters?

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Old 10-03-2016, 10:14 PM
  #1
Jim Cattanach
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Default Life expectancy of transmitters?

How long do you keep a transmitter for?
Do you buy a new one every few years, even if it is working ok & do not need more features?
I have had a JR 11 DSMX since they came out & it is working perfectly.
I was thinking that after a few years, components, or circuit boards may start to fail.
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:21 AM
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Rodney
 
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In general,,most transmitters will last for years if not improperly treated. The most probable cause of failure is that one of the pots will wear out (become jumpy or intermittent) or a spring will break causing one of the sticks to not return to neutral. I have a couple of transmitters that are 20 years old and still working as designed.
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Old 10-04-2016, 05:36 AM
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I have 1970's era Kraft radios, Heathkit. 1980's Futaba, JR. 1990's Hitec. And Spektrum since 2007.

All in working order.

Andy
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Old 10-04-2016, 10:21 AM
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Send them in for checkup every 3-4 years and replace the batteries every 5-6 years and anything made in the last 25 years should still be working just fine. My oldest radio is a JR x-347, still works and was discontinued in 1993.
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Old 10-04-2016, 07:06 PM
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BelAirBob
 
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They will last 10 or more years but like everything else, more features are available we want. I got a new DX7 because of the solid antenna. No more worries about the hinge and breaking off as my Airtronics and DX7S. I have Airtronic Vangards from 20 some years ago, but I like multiple planes on one radio, expo, dual rates etc.
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Old 10-05-2016, 04:50 PM
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I had a JR PCM 9X that I sold in perfect working order. It was 10 years old. I replaced it with a 3 year old 2nd hand 11X and 1 month after I bought it there was a problem with a board that needed replacing. So I guess the answer is it can vary a bit but I would expect 10 years as a minimum.
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Old 10-05-2016, 06:39 PM
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I occasionally use my 15 year old transmitter that I bought when I first started in the hobby. Works great. I do a careful range test. My perception (others will disagree) is that the older FM transmitters lasted better than modern transmitters. Maybe it is just that they are simpler with less to go wrong.
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Old 10-06-2016, 12:45 AM
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Lawrdy, I have transmitters from the 1980s that are still working perfectly! I think a couple needed new Ni-Cad packs when they wouldn't hold a charge any longer but others are still on the original battery.
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Old 10-06-2016, 02:30 AM
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As is the case with most high-end electronics, the older they are the better they were made and the longer they will last. As others have stated it also depends on how the radios were treated,stored,maintained,etc... I have seen new radios owned by some folks and after a year or so they look like they were put through the mill !

I have some older Futaba 8U's that still work fine and my '76 Kraft I converted to 2.4 and it's working fine as well. I also have a Spektrum 9 and I hope it lasts as long too .....so far so good.
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Old 10-09-2016, 08:05 AM
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Jim Cattanach
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Thanks for the input guys. As my Tx is working fine, I will keep it for now.
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Old 02-04-2017, 05:08 PM
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I have a Futaba 9VAP that just stoped working It must weigh 5 lbs. Sometime it comes on and some times it wont Just cant bring myself to ditching it..
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Old 02-05-2017, 08:46 AM
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I had the power switch changed in my 9ZW2 and intermittent went away. I found it before crashing something.
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EB66USAF View Post
I have a Futaba 9VAP that just stoped working It must weigh 5 lbs. Sometime it comes on and some times it wont Just cant bring myself to ditching it..
Why not check with a place like "Radios South" or such to see if it's something simple ? It would be a shame to ditch a favorite transmitter only to have it end up being a dirty power switch that was causing the intermittent inoperable condition ....

Last edited by init4fun; 02-05-2017 at 10:49 AM. Reason: typos ....
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Old 02-05-2017, 10:47 AM
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It would take too long to describe all the ways electronics degrade over time and conditions, so for those with time, it's covered nicely here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Failur...nic_components Working in component manufacturing for a variety of electronics companies, some parts fail before others, some burn in procedures were to eliminate unreliable components, that today are now reduced to far fewer components on a PCB made in China that who knows what priority the put on PDA? Personally I'd stop using a radio after 10 years considering what the cost of a better ( feature packed ) new one costs and what I've invested that goes in the air. The downside, is learning a completely different programming layout and the the time to find what I need to make it do.
How things were made 20-30 years ago are nothing like today's technology. The article is excellent in giving you all the details.
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Old 02-14-2017, 03:35 PM
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I personally think 10yrs is the limit on my comfort zone when flying a $$ model. One thing that has been brought to my attention by a friend whom I consider to be VERY knowledgeable about this sort of thing is the fact that manufactures have been forced to use solder without LED! That apparently makes a difference over time...negatively. I think 2.4 has improved things a bit over the old crystal/filter setups we used to run on 72mhz, but 10 years is my limit.
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Old 02-16-2017, 02:12 PM
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The old saying "they don't make them like they used to" is not just nostalgia talking.
Modern electronics with smaller and more tightly packed components has presented some problems for making them long lasting. That in combination with lead free solder has it's challenges. There are plenty of technical articles around about this issues of lead free solder and very small pin pitch on integrated circuits.
So 25 years ago I would have had no hesitation saying a well looked after Tx can last for 20 years but now I would be turning over modern radios every 5 years. (The cost is so low now compared to 25 years ago.)
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Old 03-10-2017, 06:37 AM
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I have a stack of 30 year old Airtronics transmitters, receivers, and servos all of which still work perfectly.

I really need to upgrade to something modern, preferably with telemetry, but until then I'm bashing on AM.
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Old 03-12-2017, 02:09 PM
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I still fly glow, and I don't use telemetry. Guess I'm getting old.
I like a dead stick now and again as part of the variety in this hobby, always up for a challenge. I don't know why I'd need to abandon my pre-flight checks that have worked for 40 years, to now rely on a sensor to tell me what's going on in my plane. I just fly it, responsibly, and don't want to look down at the screen to read it, or have the radio talk to me. I want to hear the engine. I can tell when I'm low on fuel, and today's batteries last all day long, making refueling pit time an easy voltwatch check every time confirming it to be so.

I remember when people spent $425 for an Aurora 9 when it came out, http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXFKKU&P=ML is now $199 if it shows up in April or not, no one knows, and you don't get any sensors or servos at that price.
$200 here $400 there, that's a lot for a radio. You can get some ARF to go with a radio for that kind of money. Might want to stay in the old radio and wait for the Futaba 6S or 7T to come in next year that plays MP3 music and youtube videos on the display between battery charges.
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Old 04-26-2017, 05:27 AM
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My original Futaba 8UAF bought in '97' still works but after several years of use the display screen started getting dark partially obscuring the images, but lucky me was given a much younger and almost NIB 8UAF by a friend who had moved on to a 2.4 radio. With the use of a FrSky module it's been upgraded to 2.4 and for my peace of mind every 2 years or so I send it off to Tony at Radio South for servicing and evaluation.

Last edited by karolh; 04-26-2017 at 05:34 AM.
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Old 04-26-2017, 06:49 PM
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I am using a Hitec Aurora 9 that I purchased when that version was first introduced (8-10 years ago?). It still works as well as it did then, never a glitch.
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