RCU Review: Polks Hobby Tracker 3 8ch w/Seeker 6


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    Contributed by: Lynn Bowerman | Published: December 2005 | Views: 26078 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon

    Review by: Lynn Bowerman


    Dealer Info

    Polk's Hobby
    698 S. 21ST Street
    Irvington, NJ 07111 USA
    www.polkshobby.com



    Hits
    • Easy to use manual
    • Very safe to operate


    Misses
    • Only comes with one servo


    Introduction

    The Tracker III radio systems are available in 6 or 8 channel versions. These radio systems are revolutionary because they do not use crystals for channel selection. It's a fully synthesized system; with the ability to allow the user to select there channel manually or automatically on all 50 aircraft channels. The Automatic channel selection only works with the Seeker series receivers.

    The six channel version has the capacity to store 10 models in its memory, where the 8 channel version will store 99 models in its memory.



    Specifications


    Radio Name: Tracker III
    Price: $200.00 retail
    Reviewed: Tracker III 8 channel

    Package Includes:

    • One Tracker III 8 channel computer radio system
    • Seeker II receiver with press button harness
    • One PLK 12003 servo
    • One bag of servo mounting hardware
    • PLK33012 4.8 volt 900 mah receiver battery
    • One 900 mah transmitter battery
    • Switch Harness for receiver
    • Dual battery charger for both transmitter and receiver
    • 26 page instruction manual


     

     


    Features

    • No Crystals needed unless using another brand of receiver, Crystal needed for receiver only
    • 8 channels with 99 model memory
    • Built in scanner in the transmitter for checking busy channels
    • Automatic channel selection when using Seeker Receivers
    • Manual channel selection when using other brand receivers
    • Transmitter will work with an other brand FM only Receiver
    • Automatic safety scan every time the transmitter is turned on before modulation
    • Low Battery warning on Transmitter
    • Adjustable Control sticks, (Length and tensions)
    • Trainer function using Futaba trainer Cord
    • Programming features, 3 to 7 Programmable Mixes, Dual Rates, End Point Adjustments, Exponential on channels 1-4, Aileron Differential, Trim and Rates memory, Model Selection, Model Naming, Flaperons , elevons and V-tail mixing, Model copying, Count down timer 1 to 60 minutes, Stick Modes 1 or 2 depending on preference, Servo Reversing, Sub Trims, Landing gear and Elevator mixing.

    Radio Safety

    The tracker III radio system has built in safety features, meaning that if the transmitter were accidentally turned on it will not interfere with another system already in use, on the same channel. How this work is when the transmitter is turned on it will not modulate until it has scanned the frequency that is being used. After the transmitter is turned on, the RED LED in the upper center of will be on, that's when the scanning process is under way. If the frequency is already in use you will see a flashing warning on the display saying BUSY and hear an audible beeping sound.

    If the frequency is open the GREEN LED will come on and the transmitter will be modulating.

    Another nice built in feature is when you're in the TRACK ONE mode, this mode is for selecting which model or frequency that you plan to use. The transmitter will not be modulating. These features will greatly improve flying field and aircraft safety.


    Tracker III Radio Package
     
    The radio for this review is the Tracker III 8 channel version with the Seeker II receiver. This radio system has been designed with versatility in mind. When using the Tracker III transmitter and the Seeker series receivers you can use any available channel, by using the automatic scanning function on the transmitter to find an open channel. The transmitter will let you know what channels are being used and only allow you to use the available channels. Another feature of this system is you can use any other FM receiver, on any channel, made by any other manufacture, by programming the transmitter. The Seeker series receivers can be used by any other manufactured transmitter on FM.

    Programming the Transmitter
    I found the programming of the Tracker III transmitter to be very similar to other brands. The only real difference in programming is you have to save your changes they won't be automatic.

    Track One Programming


    During track one programming the transmitter will not be out putting any signals of any kind, making it completely safe to make changes in this mode, even while others fly on your channel.
    Set up features in Track one:

    • Frequency Scanning
    • Frequency Selecting
    • Model # Selection
    • Model Naming
    • Model copy
    • Select PPM mode, Positive or negative shift
    • Model Data Clear
    • Stick Mode 1 or 2
    • Wing Mix Choice
    • Model Data Clearing
    • Flight Time Count Down Timer
    • Data save / Exit
    To enter the TRACK ONE mode hold down the "Mode Up" key and turn the transmitter on. To scroll between the windows press either Mode Up or Mode down. Remember to save the changes. The instruction manual covers changing and saving data. It's well explained and easy to follow.

    Track Two Programming



    During track two programming the transmitter will be modulating and outputting a signal. Be sure you have the frequency pins and no one else is on your channel
    Set up features in track two
    " Exponential
    " Epa- End Point Adjustment
    " Dual rates
    " Servo Direction
    " Sub Trim Adjustment
    " Trim Rates
    " Trim Memory
    " Landing Switch- for flaps
    " Flap Rate Adjustments
    " Flaperon Differential Adj
    " Aileron Rudder Mix
    " P Mix-1 hannel Selection
    " P Mix-2 Channel Selection
    " P Mix-3 Channel Selection
    " Switch Assign
    " Data Save / Exit

    To Enter TRACK TWO mode, first extend antenna, turn on transmitter, wait for the transmitter to do the scan and start modulating. Now turn on the receiver, the receiver will need to be on so changes can be seen as they are being made. Then press Mode up and Mode down at the same time. This puts the transmitter in track two mode. Now you can scroll between windows by pushing either mode up or mode down. After selecting the window, then press CHN- Inc or Dec for selecting the channel to make the changes. Press Data + or Data - , to actually make value changes to that channel. The instruction manual shows all the windows in order as they will appear while scrolling. The windows are in a continues loop, meaning if scrolling in the same direction you will end back at the beginning. Remember all changes, have to saved, they are not saved automatically.

    All the set up features in the instruction are explained individually on there own pages. Showing the owner step by step procedures for programming, this is a very nice feature, making the programming very simple and understanding.

    Receiver  
    The Seeker II is the receiver that comes with the Tracker III radio system. Its dimensions are 2.125" long, 1.5" wide .75" thick and weighs 1.7 ounces. The Seeker II is an 8 channel receiver that can be used with any FM transmitter using the 72 MHz aircraft frequency on any of the 50 channels. Programming the receiver is very simple. Hold down the supplied red set button and turn on the receiver. The channel one servo will begin to move back and forth in small amounts, this is the receiver letting you know it's searching for the signal from a transmitter. Extend the transmitter antenna fully and turn on the transmitter with its antenna 2-6 inches from the receiver. When channel one servo stops moving the receiver is p[programmed. The receiver will remember this setting even if the battery is unplugged.
    Battery  
    The battery is a 4.8 volt 900 Milliamp square shaped pack. It comes standard with the Tracker III system.

    Servo
     
    This is the Polk Hobbies Ball Bearing Standard Servo, its dimensions are 1.6" long, .8" wide, and 1.4" tall, weighs 1.6 ounces and has 46 oz/in of torque. It will run on a voltage range of 3.5- 7.0 volts.

    Seeker 6 micro Receiver
    The Seeker 6 receiver is Polk's Hobbies own micro receiver. It has all the same features as the Seeker II, with one exception, when programming, the transmitter antenna does not need to be as close to the receiver antenna as the Seeker II. The transmitter antenna only needs to be 20-30 inches from the Seeker 6 antenna. Be careful when programming the Seeker 6 at the field, because other transmitters can be close and cause the receiver to identify there transmitter.

    Conclusion
     
    The Tracker III is truly revolutionary because it's fully synthesized, meaning there's no need for crystals in the transmitter or receiver. Another new feature for the tracker III is 1024 stick resolution and a new 40 MHz processor. This makes standard servos work as if they are digitals. If you have many radio systems and would like have only one transmitter. But does not want to spend a lot of money on crystals for there receivers. This radio system will be the one for you. You can use this transmitter with any other manufactured FM receiver and you can use the Seeker series receivers with any transmitter. The tracker III is not much for looks, but it makes up for it in function.



    Dealer and Distributor Info.

    Polk's Hobby
    698 S. 21ST Street
    Irvington, NJ 07111 USA
    www.polkshobby.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Polks Hobby Tracker 3 8ch w/Seeker 6

    Posted by: ronhollenbeck on 06/20/2008
    I have been tying to open the Polks hobby R/C Catalog page all day (June 20, 2008)with 2 different internet providers and all I get is "The website declined to show this webpage". Are they selling trains only now?
    Page: 1
    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.

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