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  1. #1

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    LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    The Aero-Modeler traditionally had two choices for their models if they needed retractable landing gear. Pneumatic air and servo assisted mechanical retracts. Now our third choice is electric.
    LADO Technologies has developed an extensive line of electric retracts. For this review, I will be critiquing the 60 sized, 85 degree drop in replacements for Hanger 9 planes.

    First impressions:

    When I opened the box of my first 2 LADO retracts, my first thought was that of incredible craftsmanship. The outside casing is machined from two blocks of aluminum that fit together with pin point precision. The control circuit board is integrated into the bottom of each retract. The lead wire has a universal connector of high quality with a custom rubber seal to hold them in place. Located on the inside of the brass pivot stud, are stainless steel setscrews for fastening the strut. On the top side of the retract units is an adequately thick mounting plate with countersunk holes for screwing your retract to your wing mounts. The casings and circuit board are held together with high quality socket head cap screws. As the units come shipped with the mechanism set at a 45 degree angle for testing before they leave the factory, the brass jackscrew can be seen from the opening. This model retract can be ordered with 5/32 or 3/16 opening for your struts. In my opinion, a well built piece of equipment.

    Installation:
    Installing the LADO retracts are very straight forward. Fit them to your wing with your strut trimmed and aligned and screw them down. Join the lead wires with a Y adaptor and plug the end into your channel 5 pins on your receiver. Turn on your transmitter and receiver and flip the switch. The units are powered by the receiver. The LADO’s come to life with a sweet motor sound, then a forceful locking sound can be heard as the built in motors labor slightly. Current draw is .3 Amps during movement and .5 Amps for about 1/4 second during locking. Movement is slow compared to mechanical or air retracts. Using a regulator set to 6 volts, it took about 6 seconds for them to fully deploy. Great for modelers that want realistic retract speed. You can even purchase an accessory board to replace your Y adaptor that will stagger the retracts for even more realism.

    Practical operation:
    I installed my LADO’s in a 9 pound War Bird with 3/16 spring struts. Simply put, they work flawlessly. I start to retract the gear right after the first turn after liftoff so I can watch the gear slowly tuck under the wing as the plane is flying level above the runway. What a joy to watch! I do the same for landing as well. Special attention should be paid for landing. It is going to take around 6 or 7 seconds for the retract gear to lock down so plan ahead to avoid any mishaps. On landing, the retracts are solid. Not a single budge.

    Durability:
    I can not say I have had hundreds of flights using these retracts. I will however share an experience. On my maiden flight of my War Bird, one of the struts got a tad bent on landing. Since I had blocked my gear mount bay with bass and plywood I figured it would be alright to try to bend the strut back without taking out the retract or causing any damage to the wing. I retracted the gear till the strut was about at 10 degrees to the wing and turned off the receiver to stop the retracts from further travel. I then grabbed the wheel and tugged till the strut was strait again. After that I cycled the retracts several times to be sure they would be fine. Not a single problem then, or ever since. From that experience, I am convinced the durability of these units is far more than need be.

    Maintenance:
    According to the manufacturer this model may need a little light machine oil after 2 years.

    Overall conclusion:
    If you want worry free retracts this is the way to go. Imagine not having to worry about a stalled servo, bent rods, having to pump air into your system or concern yourself about a loose air line. LADO retracts are built with the highest quality standards for years of service.

    Company history:
    Lado Technologies is owned by Doug Pientak. Located in Orville California. Like many great company’s it all started in a big garage.
    The idea for electric retracts was a result of a conversation with Kalvin of Keleo Creations. He wanted some trouble free retracts for a plane he was working on. Doug, an Aero-Modeler himself thought it was an awesome idea as he was not happy with mechanical or air retracts either. Early in the 1 Β½ year development, Doug realized that a Jack Screw design was the best way to design the new equipment.
    Doug is an Electrical Engineer with a background in Product Development. With that experience it still was not a smooth beginning. β€œI am not a machinist by trade”, as a result he had to learn how to work a milling machine. β€œIt was very frustrating in the beginning because I started with an old machine”. In retrospect, the end product was worth the frustration.
    Much has happened in the last three years for LADO Technologies. Just after 8 months of development his Father, Larry partnered with Doug. In September of 2007 the company moved to its current facility. Shortly after the move a new lathe was purchased to help with production. The beginning of 2008 Doug’s wife, Lanae joined the team to help with electronics assembly, bookkeeping and to answer the phone. A HAAS Vertical Mill was purchased with high volume capabilities. β€œThe HAAS is a joy to run. Simply input the parameters and push the button” Doug told me with obvious excitement in his voice. The latest change was made on 8/5/08 which is LADO’s web site. It has a new look and is much more user friendly than the original. β€œAn account must be setup and has many advantages for the customer with this feature”. The improvement to the web site lets the customer get actual shipping costs, lets the customer check the status of their order and if an order is shipped that has a tracking or delivery confirmation number, the buyer can get that as well. If an item is not in stock the web site will not let you place an order. This eliminates any backorder problems. Another one of the site’s great improvements is the β€˜Gear Finder’. This feature lets you match your plane or gear with the appropriate LADO equipment. Doug informed me that the only thing missing from the web site is the LADO Guarantee. He will Guarantee LADO Retracts for a one year period, including parts and labor.
    During my phone interview with Doug, he also told me: β€œBusiness is booming, the economy has had no effect on the volume of orders”. Building LADO retracts are his only source of income. The LADO facility also has a company mascot, an African Gray Parrot. Doug, how about a picture of your mascot on your site? Aero-Modelers, as you know have great senses of humor.

    My overall conclusion:
    LADO Retracts are well designed and durable equipment well worth the price. The owner of this small business is dedicated to Aero-Modeling as well as producing a quality product.

    But wait, there’s more!
    LADO Technologies produces a wide variety of retract products. Products like; Actuators that transform your air retracts into electric and controller Actuators. Check them out today.
    LADO Retracts

    Till the next time.
    Paul
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  2. #2

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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    I still have Kraft electric retracts that I used in a TopFlite P-47 some 25 years ago. They worked off the 4.8 v receiver pack, and were totally reliable. I think they were the only electrics available at the time.

  3. #3

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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    John:
    What you are telling me is that Kraft thought electric retracts were a good idea 25 years ago. I do not know much about Kraft equipment but from what I have heard from the long time fliers that I have talked to, it was the equipment to own.
    Just to satisfy my curiosity, could you take some pictures of your retracts and post them here? Could you also include a little information like weight and how they operate?

    Thank you for your reply.
    Paul

  4. #4
    kingair41's Avatar
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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    Guys,
    Geisendanners (I know I screwed up the spelling) made electric retracts back in the late 70's early 80's. Don't know much about them as they were the cream of the crop and I couldn't afford them back then. I beleive they were out of Germany if memory serves me.[sm=72_72.gif]
    FB L-39, FB Hawk, FEJ Large Hawk.......

  5. #5

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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    Sorry, but if the owner of a company was truly dedicated to growing the company they would answer emails asking questions about the product. After more than four weeks waiting for answers to questions posed via email, I have significant reservations about doing business with this company!

  6. #6

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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    RAMflyer:

    Are you on Yahoo as a net provider??? There have been a number of verified sent, but not received circumstances lately. Suggest you give them another shot. Buddy bought a set of these last year, and installed in a 60 size P-51. Don't know how, but they are still working just fine after many many bad landings. He was on the phone to them almost every day for a good while with no problems. He's not the best builder around either, but a great guy. Hope you get things going as it should be. ENJOY

  7. #7

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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    Nope, not on Yahoo. Sent a couple of more emails asking a simple question as to fit of the Lado's in a particular airframe. No answer...

  8. #8
    jhudak's Avatar
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    RE: LADO 60-1 Electric Retract 85' Review

    Sorry, but if the owner of a company was truly dedicated to growing the company they would answer emails asking questions about the product. After more than four weeks waiting for answers to questions posed via email, I have significant reservations about doing business with this company!


    Read more: http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_79...#ixzz0teR30bof
    Do you have a phone ? He has probably been busy making parts to fill orders instead of answering e-mails. Prob easier to get them on the phone. Give them a break. I can talk on the phone and work at the same time.while I am sitting in front of the computer answering e-mails I can't get any work done. Beside that, these gear are very high quality American-made gear. Having been a machinist/CNC programmer for over 25 years and a production process engineer for 6 years I pay very close attention to detail, fit, finish and proper operation. to achieve that in a complex mechanism such as these takes countless hours, dedication, and most of all good ole American pride in your work, something that is being lost in todays generation. I do not own a set of these yet, but have seen them operating in models and have held them in my hands and have closely inspected them. So from my perspective to heck with e-mail this guy is a true and talented craftsman,I can't speak for him but I would assume, being that, he is totally dedicated to his work. Keeping up with a high demand for a product and maintaining high-quality can be exhausting. I suppose he could hire someone to sit and answer e-mails all day but what would that really accomplish ? Higher prices for the retracts ! He probably has his phone with him in the shop and can answer it while the machines are running. Thats what I used to do,I never trusted leaving those machines alone. So when I get ready to get my own set of gear I will be calling, placing my order and happily waiting for it to arrive knowing I will get the best quality product I can buy, made with AMERICAN PRIDE AND CRAFTSMANSHIP IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA ! If those are not good enough reasons for lack of e-mail replies, Try China.[sm=wink_smile.gif]
    Radial engines dont leak oil, they are just marking their territory.


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