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How adaptable are RC radios?

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Old 08-31-2005, 09:10 PM
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slo ride
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Default How adaptable are RC radios?

I'm an experienced geek experimenter that is jumping into RC for the first time so please forgive if some of my questions seen simplistic or obvious. Are any of the modern radio systems 2way? I see large displays on some of these units, it seems reasonable that they could display telemetry from the craft. With the nice screen on the 14MZ display of video from the craft should be possible if the 2nd processor is powerful enough. If not possible out of the box I'm sure someone is working on a hack. What is available or being worked on? I'm shopping for the most versatile, reconfigurable, capable radio system available. Is it the 14MZ or do modularized kit type systems exist that help you 'roll your own'? I'm waiting for a motor and VP prop for a Tensor 4D. I have a T Maxx and intend to build battle boats, seaplanes, submarines, and airships. The radio I buy should work with all of these. Possible? Any special limitations transmitting under water to the sub? Except for the Tensor they will all carry cameras and other fun gadgets. One feature I would like is the ability to fly using both sticks until I reach stable flight, then throw a switch which allows limited control of the aircraft with 1 stick and autopilot which would free the other stick's channels to be temporarily reassigned to camera pan, tilt, zoom. Possible? In a related question, do the sticks on most transmitters twist? That would make a handy zoom control. I would also like to use the Tx as an input device for my computer. I have seen interfaces that use the trainer port, but that seems a shame since you are holding a radio Tx in your hands. Any receiver based computer HID interfaces? Should be easy enough to build one. But it would be nice to have a way to dial down your Tx power to extend battery life during those marathon Half Life sessions. Speaking of battery power, I've got a great lightweight alternative, but thats a post for another forum. Sorry for so many questions in my first post. I hope to be offering answers soon instead.
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Old 08-31-2005, 09:42 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

[X(] Sorry about the format I'm responding in, but it's the only way I can manage a response to the questions you asked!

-No modern radio is 2 way, only the 14mz, and that's just to set the frequency on the reciever
-I haven't seen telemetry displayed on any radio yet, the only option now is Eagle Tree systems, picolario, and a few others, some being more exotic than the other
-Noone has worked on a hack yet for the 14mz, too much $$$$ to screw around with and go "oops"
-hacking radios is against FCC rules as you may damage the radio and cause unwanted interference...
-the few most capable radios are the Profi 4000, 14MZ, Graupner MC24 (not available stateside), and none of them are modular like you mention
14MZ is only for air use, as well as the Profi 4000, and MC24. T9CAPS is capable of surface/air, as well as RD8000, RD6000, and a few others with modules to change the channel.
-You're buying a tensor 4D... do you have any flight experience? This hobby isn't a walk in the park for most people until their second year of flying. If that is you're first plane, I can't think of a much worse match for a beginner other than a heli or a turbine jet.
-most setups that would allow for pan/zoom control of a camera use two radios, and if they don't, cost a fortune. It's not easy to set up, I've seen it, and it's not as integrated as you would wish.
-Most of the mixes you mention could be done with a Profi 4000, 10X, 14MZ, etc would be more difficult.
-sticks don't twist, but a few have switches on them (but not in the US)
-to make a computer fly the plane, you'd need the transmitter set to trainer mode... and as for the programming, you've lost me.
-HID?
-Noone has used an R/C radio to control the video game half life, and it's not recommended as you could shoot down a model with your radio
-noone has made anything to reduce the transmission power of a transmitter, nor would they. It's a very weak signal to begin with, and most pilots don't fly long enough to need more than 3 hours of transmission time.

If you're interested in joining the hobby, you're best finding a local club first. I know it doesn't normally happen that way, and most of the time these hobbies start with a mail order catalogue or a local hobby shop. You absolutely have to find a local club, there is a lot of knowledge out there I can sense you might "think" you know, but trust me, you really don't. I don't mean it in a derogatory way, just, believe me, there's a lot more to this hobby than you may think, and most of it isn't oriented in the direction you aimed your questions. [] I will say this, you're well on your way to landing a job in a software hardware business like microsoft by the direction of your questions! I can't see someone spending $2200 on their first radio, the highest grade radio most people would ever get to start off with is an Optic 6. For your first plane, I recommend an Easystar, or sailplane, then maybe 6 years later (at the earliest) you can get a 14MZ. And, you may be an experienced geek experimenter , but trust me, it didn't help me get experience in the hobby. Start of small. And, last but not least, welcome to R/C Universe!

To get more help where you need it, go to the beginners section of RCU (r/c uni....), and there should be a sticky there (a stuck post) all about how to get started. Also, go to the other forum, http://www.rcgroups.com/ for other information regarding R/C. Their beginner's forum has an EXCELLENT sticky to help you learn the ropes of flying.

Actually, here's the direct link you want for all the information. Take the couple of hours over a couple of days you need in order to soak up everything you need to know.

http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=357623
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Old 08-31-2005, 11:57 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

great advice e-sailpilot86!! The one thing I would like to add is that telemetry systems aren't very useful for rc... A beginner should NEVER, NEVER let his eyes wander from the plane, at least any further then needed to check for other planes and such. it only takes a split second for it to be screaming full throttle inverted at the ground. And that fact never changes, as you gain more experience you fly planes that are more difficult, and again end up in a situation where you never look away.
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Old 09-01-2005, 09:32 AM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

Teh Futaba 14 MZ is not 2-way. The transmitter commands the receiver to change channels, and the receiver acknowledges it by twitching a servo. You get visual confirmation from the airborne system.
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:22 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

Actually, I'm having trouble seeing where flying fits into your hobby desires.

The other posts were great, assuming you want to fly. Flying involves eye/hand coordination, developing an attention span that allows you to never take your eye off a plane for 10 minutes or more, and blink sparingly. Secondary skills include building aircraft and setting up power systems & control system.

I see a lot of reference in your post to control systems. That sounds like a separate, HAM radio type ambition.

Flying with other flyers usually entails a social setting, procedures for ensuring your radio is not interfering with another flyer's plane, and other activity oriented procedures. There are also safety considerations, and flightline etiquette, and other things not well understood until you've embraced the rest of it and participated.

Good luck with whatever you choose.
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Old 09-01-2005, 12:26 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

if you want to play around with building your own radio equipment consider becoming a licensed ham. once you've got that you can use 50-53mhz for air and surface no problem and tinker to your heart's content.

at www.mstar2k.com you'll find a VERY capable DIY radio encoder (except for channel count it kicks the snot out of the 14mz IMO) and synthesized RF deck. kits for both of these are around $50 each. lots of people including myself are flying with this system.



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Old 09-01-2005, 01:54 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems there is no good 'universal' radio set. If I want standard surface frequencies 27MHz/75MHz I'm limited to Rx with few channels. If I want lots of control channels I need a 72MHz set but I cant (shouldn't) use that on the surface. 50MHz is a good compromise, the HAM license is no problem for me, but it doesn't appear that any of the really light 1/3Oz Rx are available in 50MHz, neither are the most advanced synthesized Tx. So it looks like I need a Tx with 50 and 72MHz frequency modules but I haven't seen any synthesized or otherwise 50MHz modules. Do they exist? I can't be sending my Tx back to the factory every time I want to switch models from my airplane to the sub and at $2K per I am NOT buying 2 Tx. This complication makes it very tempting to just get a good PCM synthesized 72MHz radio and use it and the better Rx it alows for all my purposes. I know this is frowned on because it "might shoot down someone else's aircraft" but is it actually illegal? I mean, I would have gone to the trouble of getting the most well behaved 72MHz radio that in theory should not interfere with anyone else. And when I'm using it for the sub, I'll be on a peninsula with a seaplane airport at its point which forbids the use of RC aircraft anyway. I assume they are concerned about airspace interference of the physical plane as opposed to RF interference but I'll check with them tomorrow to be sure.
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Old 09-01-2005, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

In the U.S., the Federal Communicastions Commission dictates which frequencies may be used for R/C purposes and how they may be used. Please see: CFR 47 Part 95 for the applicable R/C regulations:

http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/w...7cfr95_03.html
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Old 09-02-2005, 01:30 AM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

And when I'm using it for the sub, I'll be on a peninsula with a seaplane airport at its point which forbids the use of RC aircraft anyway.
3 miles is the generally agreed upon standard for which you can interfere with someone, and even if there is no one flying at the airport, 3 miles can be a LONG ways!
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Old 09-02-2005, 03:10 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

Thanks e-sailpilot86 and all for the welcome and good advice. For those worried about my flying skills, your concerns are noted and likely warranted. I have flown once before, a United pilot friend of mine spent a couple afternoons years ago teaching me to fly his glow R/C plane and heli. I got both up and down safely, I think I can build on that. Dave, you seem intuitive. For me, the social aspects and the pure flying skill exercise are significant but secondary reasons for getting into R/C. My goal is to use R/C to build proof of concept scale vehicles while getting some recreation at the same time. The Tensor reference may have been misleading. Most of the stuff I plan to build will be airships and other slow, redundant, stable, safe, easy to control craft. I will be buying an 8 or 9 channel 72MHz radio from either Futaba or JR so that I have a stock unit as a reference while I build my own and get my HAM license. I'd like to get my hands around one before I settle. Thanks for the good news Zagnut, if anyone knows of similar projects in the works I would appreciate a heads up. BAX, very relavent link. I discovered that many of the features I expected to find in R/C are missing because of the FCC. 2 way for example is expressly forbidden. Of course using other frequencies like 2.4GHz for a return channel is possible as shown by the popularity of aireal video, but even that is questionably legal. Anyway, I will be complying fully with the FCC but after reading the law it makes me wonder why more products aren't made for the 27MHz bands. It is the least regulated R/C frequency allowing more power, unlicensed operation, some user adjustment, requires no FCC certificate, air and surface operation. Maybe I just answered my own question. Little regulation= lots of interference. Worst case scenario, if I build something that needs to be tested but could cause interference, its a short trip to international waters where the FCC has no authority and its 3 miles from anything. How would you classify something like the Hydrofoam flying boat?
Is it "a model aircraft device (any small imitation of an aircraft) or a model surface craft device (any small imitation of a boat, car or vehicle for carrying people or objects, except aircraft)"
It doesn't appear to fit either definition ruling out either 72 or 75MHz operation. Or maybe it fits both categories?
One other weird observation, the FCC is not allowed to operate an R/C device.

Sec. 95.203 (R/C Rule 3) Am I eligible to operate an R/C station?

You are authorized to operate an R/C station unless:
(a) You are a foreign government, a representative of a foreign
government, or a federal government agency;
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Old 09-02-2005, 03:47 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?


ORIGINAL: slo ride
How would you classify something like the Hydrofoam flying boat?
Is it "a model aircraft device (any small imitation of an aircraft) or a model surface craft device (any small imitation of a boat, car or vehicle for carrying people or objects, except aircraft)"
It doesn't appear to fit either definition ruling out either 72 or 75MHz operation. Or maybe it fits both categories?
slo

That aircraft is simply that: an aircraft. It is totally irrelavent what the aircraft looks like or how much time it spends on the ground/water. It it flys under radio control it is an aircraft and is limited in the US to 27 or 72Mhz or if you are a liscensed ham then you may also use 50, or 53. Note 27, 50 and 53 are all shared bands for air or surface.

There are lots of flyin cars, boats, dog houses, witchs etc. They are Aircraft, no mystery. If your flying submarine works then that would be quite an accomplishment but it is still an aircraft if leaves the water and must use the approriate band.
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Old 09-02-2005, 06:00 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

inquiring minds are wondering slo-ride on the "I have a good battery alternative" part of our post... What are they???[&:]
I am all ears for the next advantage in battery power
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Old 09-03-2005, 03:13 AM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

Ok, you drug it out of me. Pretend like I resisted. Supercapacitors. or ultra capacitors or double layer capacitors or aerocapacitors or whatever they are being called by the place you get em. Digikey or other electronic parts suppliers carry them. A little expensive but they are still a cottage industry that is just finally starting mass production. They are made from carbon aerogel, an ion permeable membrane and an electrolyte. 7Farads in the size of your thumbnail, 350Farads in the size of a D cell. 2.7V and 2600F in 138mm x 57.7mm at 470 grams. Kind of large but 4 in series for 10.8V supplying 10A or 108W would discharge 95% in 140 minutes. 2.5 HOURS of flying! Or if you got a really big one draw 80Amps for 17.5minutes. All from a 4lb pack that costs about $216, lasts over a million charge/discharge cycles, holds its charge for weeks, recharges in a few minutes if you can supply enough current. A 5 cell pack can be plugged directly into your car battery with no charger needed. Heck, it will start your car, and its not bad for the environment. You might want to check my math, it was done pretty quickly but it sounds right. Like everything, there is a catch. It is a cap afterall so the voltage will drop steadilly as it discharges. You'll probably want to keep at least a small battery to prop up the voltage and/or run the receiver and servos. But the really cool thing that I want to do is build the aircraft itself out of the capacitors. The carbon aerogel is available in paper like sheets. Cut it to shape to fit between the ribs and spars of the wing, add the membrane, 5M KOH electrolyte, foil terminals, then wrap the whole business in mylar, apply vacuum, seal the wing, then apply forming voltage to the terminals. Wadda ya think?
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Old 09-03-2005, 10:07 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

That would be very ambitious, but reeeally cool.
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Old 03-14-2006, 01:04 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

Hi Slo Ride,
I am participating in a project you might be iterested in. Probably two. I have been thinking of using the 14MZ for telemetry display. Have several advances.
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Old 03-14-2006, 01:45 PM
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Default RE: How adaptable are RC radios?

I can't be sending my Tx back to the factory every time I want to switch models from my airplane to the sub and at $2K per I am NOT buying 2 Tx.
You do not have to send the TX back to the factory to switch transmit modules - changing crystals is illegal, changing modules is legal, thats why they are used on the better grade transmitters.
It does appear that the 14MZ has a synthesized 50MHz module, along with a synthesized 14-channel receiver.
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