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Single servo glitch with engine running

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Old 08-23-2006, 10:20 PM
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Default Single servo glitch with engine running

I am trying to solve a servo glitching problem with a wire braced biplane that occurs only when the engine is running. All connections have been made nylon to metal as far as I can tell--several things were done by a previous owner to minimize interference, but without success. The radio has always been rock solid when the engine is off, but then the servos jump when the engine runs.

The receiver was an old Airtronics, probably at least 15 years old. I tried a more recent Hitec, and the glitching was less. Then I tried a new JR 700. That ALMOST solved the problem, but the problem that remains is very strange.

With the JR, all servos are steady with the engine running except for the throttle servo. It occasionally blips and causes the engine to rev momentarily. It is not the engine--I can see the throttle servo twitch. Not all the time, just every now and then.

Two days ago, in a final ground test without the engine running, the Airtronics throttle servo suddenly failed. I substituted another servo which worked. The servo that failed will also not work with another receiver so it is damaged somehow. The new servo, a JR, functions completely normally with the engine off.

But with the engine running, the new throttle servo also glitches occasionally. I made one flight this way, and it happened in the air too. So I have a glitching problem affecting ONLY the throttle servo, no matter what servo or receiver I use, and one perfectly good throttle servo suddenly self-destructed. I doubt that it is just a coincidence. Any idea of what is going on?

Jim
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:07 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Is the engine Gas or Glow? Sometimes the ignition on a gas engine will product Radio frequency interference- especially if the spark plug wire is not pushed down properly onto the spark plug.

Is the linkage to the throttle servo metal or plastic? You don't want metal if it's a gas engine w/ ignition. Not sure what to suggest if you're running glow. Hope that helps.
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:55 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

I just had s similuar problem with the ailerons last week. It turned out that the extension cable's black wire wasn't latched into the housing well and when it pluged into the receiver, the wire would push out of the housing. With out the viberation of the engine, every thing worked OK. Even with the engine running, the servo woud work, then it wouldn't, and it would sometimes flutter inbetween. I had even replaced the servo and it still failed, but that was because it was the extension cable that was at fault. I was about ready to send the receiver in for repair when I found the wire.

May have nothing to do with your problem, but it is something to check out.


Don
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Old 08-24-2006, 10:27 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

It's a glow engine and the clevis is nylon, as are all clevises on the plane. There is no extension cable to the throttle servo. Still looking for explanations. I will borrow a friend's FMA M5v2 Rx which is supposed to have exceptionally good interference rejection.

It's a truly baffling problem.

Thanks anyway,
Jim
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Old 08-25-2006, 11:58 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim, from over 30 years of computer repair (yes, pre PC), when you got into one of these head scratchers, the best approach is to start eliminating things. You have perty much eliminated the receiver as a problem, and it would seem that the replacement of the throtle servo would have eliminated it as a problem also. Doesn't leave much, the battery, switch, and the other servos.

What I would do is to unplug all the servos except the throtle. How does it work now? In fact, I would put the orginal receiver in as it seems to show the problem best. If the problem is still there, there isn't much left but the battery and switch harness. If it is gone, then plug in one servo at a time until it comes back. That one should be your problem.

Once you find the problem, I would then go back to the receiver that worked best. The others have proven themself to be noise sensitive.

Keep us informed of your progress.

Don

PS, one last thought, if I get my transmitter to close to the plane with the antena down, the servos will somethimes glitch, I discovered this when adjusting the idle needle valve. Just touching the screwdriver to the muffler would start a chatter. If I had the transmitter under the plane when it was on the stand, the chatter would start. If I pull the transmitter back to at least 5 foot, the chatter goes away, or if I pull up the antenna it goes away. I think what is happening is that you get a dirty signal with the antenna down and if the transmitter is to close to the receiver, the noise is strong enough to cause the glitching. Just a guess. My Transmitter is a Futaba 9c supper and all futaba receiver and servos, S3151's
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:25 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Don, good troubleshooting technique! Now that you mention it, I have servo glitching when my radio is too close to the receiver. The glitching occurs on PPM mode only. When I'm in QPCM mode (Hitec Eclipse 7 Radio), I don't get any glitching. As you say, when my radio is very close to the receiver (PPM mode only), the smallest amount of metal to metal movement (like moving my glow igniter on my plane stand), causes glitching. The glitching happens when the engine is both running and stopped, but is worse when the engine is running. The glitching seems to affect all of the servos and isn't limited to any specific servo. I wanted to add that my field stand is aluminum. Not a very good choice, however I'm am getting a wooden field stand in the next few days.

Marl
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Old 08-26-2006, 01:56 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Don, thank you very much for your helpful response. I also replaced the switch, by the way. I will try the things you suggest and post my results here.

At first I thought it was swamping because on a ground check at home the throttle servo only glitched when I was close to the plane, but at the field and in the one flight I made I continued to get glitches averaging, I would say, about two a minute.

I'm also thinking of replacing the music wire throttle pushrod with cable. Finally, I have borrowed an FMA M5v2 from a friend to try--it is supposed to have exceptional intererence rejection.

Jim
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Old 08-26-2006, 03:57 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

I just went outside and tested the plane somemore with the engine running. In at least 10 minutes it happened only three times. Sometimes I would give up waiting for something to happen. Then I would go away with the TX and suddenly a glitch, but I wasn't there to see it. It is very brief.

Here are two things I noticed: 1) The flying wires between the wings are double, which is a scale detail. At high speed their vibrations have a very fine amplitude and they probably are not contacting each other. But when I throttle down there is a range where the amplitude of the wire vibrations is much greater and there is absolutely no question that the wires are vibrating against each other. Their connections to the fuselage are epoxied, so please tell me if this could be significant. 2) Even though the servos are properly mounted in grommets, I can feel an awful lot of vibration through them. The servo tray is bolted to the bearers without grommets, so I might be able to reduce vibration to the servos. Also, there is a lot of vibration going to the throttle servo through the stiff wire pushrod. Maybe cable would help.

I couldn't really do a systematic break down of the components as Don suggested because the problem is so erratic. The engine can go several minutes with no trouble at all. Makes it very hard to pin down.

What do you think of these observations? Could two vibrating wires, isolated from the radio, cause interference?

Thanks again,
Jim
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Old 08-27-2006, 12:29 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Two wires vibrating against each other would certainly cause radio interference IMO. Since the wires tend to resonate at a particular throttle setting that would seem to explain why the glitching occurs intermittently. Why only the throttle servo is affected is puzzling, though. With the plane on the ground, can you slowly advance the throttle and observe the flying wires? Can you get them to vibrate against each other at a certain RPM, and does the glitching start when you see the wires vibrating against each other? Also, would it be possible to put a non-metallic spacer between the doubled flying wires to see if the problem goes away?

Perhaps trying another frequency might eliminate the problem. Might be worth a try to see if you get the same glitching on another frequency. If you have a frequency scanner, you might want to see if anything shows up on your channel. Could there be another radio source intermittently spiking on your receiver's frequency- Just a thought.

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Old 08-27-2006, 02:23 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

I'm no longer so certain it is only the throttle servo. In flight, I did not see any response of the plane other than the throttle response, but on the ground this last time I did notice some elevator and rudder movement.

I played the with throttle in the range that cause the wires to vibrate the most, but did not get the glitching. However, there is no question that on the occasions when I do get a glitch it is running in the same high idle region that causes the most wire vibration.

I'm going to use some 1/8 inch dowel to make up a couple of those sticks that you often see right at the criss-cross of the flying wires, suspended between the wings and tying the wires together. I'll use some thread and glue to attach them, and that will certainly cut down on the vibration.

I have tried two different frequencies, and I've gotten the problem both at home and at the field, several miles apart.

At this point I'd like to see if restraining the flying wire vibration works. I will post results, but it may be a week or so because it's raining and windy here now. Thanks again for the responses.

Jim
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Old 08-27-2006, 02:40 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim, try pluging a different battery straight into the receiver and see how it goes. I know that makes it difficult to fly with, but It will eliminate a bunch of wiring issues as well as the battery.

Any chance of posting a photo of your equipment?

Why don't you just use some electrical tape to eliminate the wing wire contact. It's quick and easy to remove if not needed. If it proves out that the wires are the source, then you can make a more attractive final fix.

Don




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Old 08-27-2006, 03:00 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim, try pluging a different battery straight into the receiver and see how it goes. I know that makes it difficult to fly with, but It will eliminate a bunch of wiring issues as well as the battery.

Any chance of posting a photo of your equipment?

Why don't you just use some electrical tape to eliminate the wing wire contact. It's quick and easy to remove if not needed. If it proves out that the wires are the source, then you can make a more attractive final fix. Another thing would be to use some bare wire and wrap the junction of the two wires. This will provide a semi permanate contact for testing. If it is the wires, it is the make and break of the contact between them. Either insulation or shorting will eliminate the make and break.

Another trouble shooting technique would be to induce viberation to the individual components. This is a bench test, with the motor not running. Use a wood pencil with a good ereaser on it and firmly tap each component while both the plane and transmitter are on and the servos locked. tap in as many directions as posible, X,Y,Z axis. Firm taps and several of them. Hit each servo, the receiver and the battery, watching for glitches. Now try wiggling wires at each servo and at each plug, as well as the battery and switch wiring. You may also try using a small screwdriver and shorting between the wing wires on the bench.

If the problem is related to a narrow range if throtle, it would indicat that there is a contact area that is in symphtectic viberation with the engine speed. This could be a broken wire, a bad crip on a wire, a cold solder joint in the electronics, etc. As all, or most of the servos seem to be glitching, and you have replaced receivers and changed frequencies, I would guess at this point that the problem is power related.

Keep us informed.

Don

PS, one more though, do you have a servo wiper that is going out due to vibration? Can you replace servos one at a time?





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Old 08-28-2006, 09:06 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Don is spot on in the trouble shooting techniques.

Stop speculating and eliminating the flying wires by taking the wings off and perform the tests again. And yes it is a lot of trouble. However it is not nearly as much trouble as taking the wings off and repairing the damage that is about to occur. In addition the crash will destroy the evidence.

Consider yourself extremely fortunate that the airplane gave you advance warning on the ground before it self-destructed in the air. Very few get advance warning.

Bill
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Old 08-28-2006, 07:49 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Don, thanks for all those suggestions. Yes, taping the wires will be quick and easy--I will do that and run it on the ground for awhile. If it still glitches, then on to the other tests. I did try some tapping in various directions with no glitching, but I'm sure I wasn't a thorough as you described. Replacing servos one-by-one is difficult because of the pull-pull connections, but possible. I can't do pics right now, but will try to get set up this weekend to do that. The battery is an easy test.

Bill, I can't remove the wings--one of the things the previous owner did was to epoxy all the places where the wires meet the wing or fuse. It's a one-piece airplane now. I hope I can keep it that way.

The plane, by the way, was scratchbuilt from Model Aviation plans. A search on Thomas Morse Anderson in the MA archive will quickly get you the construction article if anyone is interested. On it's one flight it made a beautiful takeoff, looked magnificent in the air, and made a smooth, lovely landing.

Thanks again for the responses.

Jim
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Old 08-29-2006, 07:14 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim,

I would give serious consideration to modifying the flying wires (cut them off) and replacing them. There has never been an airplane that didn’t need occasional repair. This one is warning you early that something is very wrong.

Bill
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Old 09-02-2006, 08:30 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

I'd change the title on the thread now if I could--it's definitely NOT just the throttle servo.

I taped all flying wires and ran up the engine. The wires were no longer vibrating against each other. Then I spent a good 15 minutes just taxiing the plane all over the field. It's fairly large and I went out to the far corners over and over. Everything was absolutely steady the entire time--not even a hint of a glitch. Of course, I couldn't hit maximum throttle for any length of time, but going uphill I would come close to that--I was using most of the range of throttle.

So I finally decided to take-off. The plane climbed out nicely, I made a turn and then it felt odd, and then it lurched up suddenly. I got control back and made a hasty landing.

Then I tried another collapsed antenna range check, but instead of just going my usual 50 yards or so, I kept going till I lost control. That happened at a very great distance. A very experienced electrical engineer and meticulous model pilot was amazed that I got that much range on the ground with a collapsed antenna in view of what the plane did in the air with an extended antenna. Like Don, he suggested the possibility of a bad servo or battery connection.

I'll see what more I can do. Man, this is a frustrating and time consuming problem! Thanks again for the advise; I'll give another update later.

Jim
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Old 09-02-2006, 11:44 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

I had a very similar problem a couple of years ago it took me a month to get fixed.
how is your antenna routed out of the plane?
does it wrap around any servo leads or push rods.
mine was ran under the fuse and held tight with a rubber band attached to the tail wheel mount ( plastic) moving the anntena out the top of the fuse and mounting it to the vertical stab fixed the problem.
you might also try twisting your servo lead about 3 twist per inch sometimes helps.
Is your tail wheel hub metal or plastic I have seen that cause problems as well.
Good luck.
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Old 09-03-2006, 08:30 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

So I finally decided to take-off. The plane climbed out nicely, I made a turn and then it felt odd, and then it lurched up suddenly. I got control back and made a hasty landing.
Maybe someday I will figure out why it is better to fly an airplane with a known problem until it destroys itself rather than take it apart and fix it.

Bill
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Old 09-03-2006, 11:25 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim, your problem must be catching

Wed, I was out to the field trying out a new motor in my trainer, a Magnum 70 four stroke. It was running rough and the airframe was shaking quite a bit. I happened to notice that all the servos were goinig nuts also, but not to the point you could see movement in the rudder and elevator, and with the motor running rough I couldn't tell from the motor that it was going bad. Then suddenly they all quit. A few seconds later they all started up again. I pulled up the antenna and moved the trasmitter back a bit and that had no effect. The movement was about three or four degrees in both directions and all servos started moving and stoped moving at the same time.

I had a fuel tank split it's seam about a month back and the receiver got some fuel in it. Thrusday, a new receiver came that I had ordered for another plane that I'm building, so I put it in my trainer, and also put the 52 engine back in. The problem seems to have gone away, I got in a couple 12 minute flights without any problems and I noticed nothing on the ground.

So, was it the receiver or do I have a problem in hiding that is brought out by vibration??

Curious, what receiver and servos are you using. Mine is Futabe, a R127DF for the receiver that failed and the servos are S3152's.

Don
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Old 09-03-2006, 12:27 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim, I just ran across this today. http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/fb.asp?m=4704467

Though you may find it interesting.

Don
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Old 09-03-2006, 01:20 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

I'm currently working through a similar problem. I have a twitching rudder servo that jumps through any range of motion either fast or slow, engine running or not. This was also causing my left aileron servo to twitch as well. Why only the left and not the right, I'm not sure, but it also caused the dual elevator servos to twitch, not as much as the left aileron servo though. I tried another Rx that I know is good and same thing. I disconnected the rudder servo and no twitching. I then hooked up a spare servo I had lying around on the rudder channel and it was operable through all range of motion and caused no twitching. So, I believe I have a bad $110 servo right out of the box. [:@]
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Old 09-03-2006, 07:37 PM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

"Maybe someday I will figure out why it is better to fly an airplane with a known problem until it destroys itself rather than take it apart and fix it.

Bill"

Bill, if after fixing a potential problem (the flying wires vibrating against each other) there is no glitching with range checks and extended taxiing out to substantial distances running the engine up and down, just when is it that you know that you've "fixed it"? If you cannot get any glitching on the ground, how does this constitute a "known problem"? You can take a plane apart and do all the things you want to it and still not know if you got the culprit because if it doesn't glitch on the ground, that is all you can know until it is in the air. Did you actually read my post? Or did you glance at it and see an opportunity for a sarcastic remark? Jim
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Old 09-04-2006, 08:59 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

An interesting new "glitch" experience for me. Been flying RC for 20 years, this is a first. I decided to change the NiCad airborn battery pack, it was three years old and well used. Put in a brand new Sanyo, NIMH, 1700mah pack. Cycled the new pack four times and am getting good capacity. Immediately started getting glitches, both with engine off and running. Checked all of the battery connections, all good. Checked for anything else that it might be, all to no avail. Decided to put the old NiCad's back in and see if it made any difference. Guess what, no glitches. Cycled the NIMH pack three more times, still very good capacity, still glitches. Bought a new set of NiCad's, they work great. What's this got in common with your problem? I'm also using an old Airtronics radio system. ???
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Old 09-04-2006, 09:32 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Antique, I've replaced all the servos, but the battery is inaccessible. I think I'll bypass it and just put in another battery. It's total guesswork at this point.

Don, once you've had the problem it is pretty unsettling, isn't it? Because you can think you've solved it and then suddenly it pops up again. But yours sounds much better than mine because you've got a logical source of the problem. I have had three different receivers in the plane--Airtronics, Hitec and JR. The JR700 does the best. The Tx is a Hitec Optic6 which I have used successfully on other airplanes. The servos are old Airtronics, but I just replaced them with a mix of JR and Hitec, and that hasn't helped. Thanks for the link.

A friend noticed that the Pitts muffler can vibrate against the aluminum motor mount. Could that be it? I can try a spacer between them. He also tried diagnosing with an AM radio with a headset, but no luck.

The scarey thing is that the plane can do so well on the ground for very substantial periods of time, and even with a very rigorous range check, and then have a problem in the air. No matter what I do, I'm not sure I'll ever fly this plane again. How can I really be sure the problem is gone?

After doing so many things to the plane without any clear improvement I'm really convinced there is one problem somewhere that I just haven't hit on yet.

Jim
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Old 09-04-2006, 10:54 AM
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Default RE: Single servo glitch with engine running

Jim, what is left that you haven't replaced? If memory serves correctly, it is the battery and switch harness. Bypassing both those with a new battery and switch has to fix the problem. Just load them at the CG and you you should still be in good balance, even if slightly heaver.

One question on your replacing the servos. Did you replace them all at once, or one at a time??

By the way, did you check out the other forum thread I sent? The problem sounds a lot like yours.

I'm curious as to the trouble shooting with an AM radio, how does that work? It's the first I've heard of it.


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