Graupner transmitters have been around for what seems like forever. In an ever-changing market, they have kept up with every upgrade along the way. Be it 2.4gHz or telemetry systems, Graupner has been 'keeping up with the Jones'' to say the least. Their HoTT (Hopping Telemetry Transmission) radio system is at the foreground of rock solid two-way communication between the transmitter and the receiver. One of the great features is that a separate telemetry system is not needed to run one telemetry funtion - it's built into most of their receivers!
Openhobby.com has been distributing Graupner products for quite a while now. They are an international seller, and have made a commitment to bring the best prices to us through factory-direct links.
Recently, I was given the opportunity to review three of Graupner's newer products - the V-Venture ARF, the Polaron EX Combo charging system, and the subject of this review, the mz-18 HoTT radio system.
30 Model Memories - More with Optional Micro SD Card
Easy Programming by Using the 3.5" Full color LCD TFT Touch Screen/Display
Quick link: 10 Model memory: 30 SD-card: Optional Micro SD Card (Not Included) Battery charge: DC Jack Firmware upgrade: USB Terminal
Trainer Function: Wired/ wireless Dimensions: 194.0 x 286.1 x 111.6 mm (7.64 x 11.26 x 4.39 in)
Weight: 838.8g (29.59 oz)
The mz-18 arrived in a nicely adorned cardboard box - but there was an exception to this box - there was a handle sticking out of it. I opened the top, and I found what looked like a pair of latches. Grabbing the handle, I pulled another container out of the cardboard box - it was only then that I realized that the mz-18 comes with a VERY nice hard-sided carrying case! I popped open the latches and opened the case - there are limiters on the case lid to prevent it from flipping back when opened.
With the cover open, I found a large piece of foam on top - a spacer to keep the transmitter from shifting during transport. I pulled the foam out and got my first look at the face of my new transmitter. I was immediately impressed!
Every part had a place, and every part was in its place - nothing had moved during shipping, and all parts were accounted for and in perfect shape.
With the transmitter laid on my work bench I took a few minutes to look it over. There are a lot of assignable switches, dials, and sliders, but the main star of this show is the 3.5" TFT LCD touch-screen COLOR display! As part of this review, I have made a four-part video series - you'll see lots more of the screen in the videos, and they'll do a much better job showing the screen than I ever could with pictures.
The mz-18 is a very complete system, and even includes a very nice transmitter neck strap with a heavy-duty clasp for attaching to the transmitter.
As I said before this is a very complete radio system - so complete that Graupner has included two - yes, two - receivers! The GR-24L 12 channel receiver and the GR-12L 6 channel receiver are both tucked into the sturdy carrying case. Also included are several USB interface cables for keeping the transmitter and receiver up to date with firmware updates - a nice feature I might add.
Check out the video below for a nice overview of the transmitter.
Graupner mz-18 Transmitter
The manual included is top notch, and goes over every step and option in intricate detail - with illustrations too! Along with firmware updates for the transmitter, some updates were done to the manual as well. For the latest PDF version of the manual, Click Here. You will find the latest manual under the download tab.
Installing the Receiver and Telemetry Units
I chose to install my graupner electronics in my SIG Mfg. Kadet Senior Sport - besides it being a great flying plane, it has tons of room in which to install the electronics. The receiver was held in place with a single Zip-tie, and padded with a piece of 1/4" DuBro protective foam rubber. I love this stuff! It's easy to work with and has a great vibration-dampening effect.
The Graupner 70Amp ESC and GPS module arrived in their own nicely adorned boxes protected by foam as well!
The ESC came out of the box with a battery connector and 3mm bullet connectors pre-installed. Also included were an instruction manual for programming the ESC, a warranty card, and a plug-in capacitor to alleviate voltage drops - I found this to be unnecessary for my installation and usage, but it's there if you need it! Since the motor I planned to use had 4mm bullet connectors already installed, and the battery I had planned to use had a T-connector on it, I fabricated some adapters to allow for easy installation of the new ESC - they are explained in the third video. I used a piece of Hook n Loop tape to secure the ESC to the inside wall of the fuselage.
The GPS unit is quite intriguing - the small case with mounting lugs makes it easy to install, but it must be kept out of airflow for the altimeter to operate properly. I chose to install it behind the windshield of my Kadet - I also taped the windshield to the fuselage to keep the airflow away from the GPS unit.
Installation details of both the GPS unit and ESC are included in the third video - the second video in my series is a walk-through of the different screens and programming on the mz-18, and will definitely give you a first-hand look at the large, color touch-screen display.
Graupner mz-18 Programming Overview
Graupner mz-18 ESC and GPS Installation
The operation report is going to be short and to the point - I'll just start by saying that the system worked, and it worked flawlessly! The touch screen made navigating the mz-18's programming easy and took just a little time to learn.
When it came to setting up the ESC and GPS unit for telemetry, it couldn't have been easier - a quick re-read of the manual and they were quickly completed! I really liked that the mz-18 will speak out the telemetry data while I'm flying - don't get me wrong, the displays are great if you have a second set of eyes looking at them too!
Graupner mz-18 Transmitter
There's not much left to say - I was impressed by the mz-18 from start to finish. From opening the box and finding a nice case to easy programming and telemetry setup. The transmitter was easy to use and felt comfortable in-hand. I wanted to point out one more thing - the transmitter is heavier than most I've owned. I'm not sure what to attribute that to, but I don't mind it one bit - it feels good! At $389.00, its not the cheapest 9-channel system on the market, but it is in the same ballpark with the 'other' brands - and some of those don't even have telemetry!
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The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.