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Returning to hobby questions……

Old 01-25-2023, 11:17 PM
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1Deerwhacker
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Default Returning to hobby questions……

Hi folks. I am brand new here, and hope I am posting this in the right section. If not, I’ll take the 40 lashes and learn.
I am returning to the airplane hobby after a few decades. Where I left off was in the late 80’s 😱, and I am finding myself dumbfounded over the changes. I knew they would be substantial, but I underestimated just how much.
When I left the hobby, it was FM radios, and nearly all nitro. Electric was just beginning to appear at my club, but really hadn’t taken off yet. (Pun intended)
I still have all of my old equipment in pretty good shape (minus good nicads) and want to get back to the hobby.
What spurred this was two things:
1.) The fact that I have both time (retirement) and financial resources (kids are up and out) due to mortgage being gone and zero debt.
2.) I stumbled upon an old friend from school whose husband passed away, and she was parting with all of his R/C stuff……and boy, what a treasure trove !
A dozen planes, several boats, cars, 2 LARGE HELIS, (Schluter/Robbe GAS choppers…..one is 2-stroke-pull start) and boxes and boxes of new and used engines, 7 or 8 radios, receivers, servos and engines installed on everything, 5 cases of fuel…..20 gallons (not sure if it is still good ??)and that’s just scratching the surface of what I bought.
I gave her considerably more than she was asking for this stuff because she was clueless as to the value of it and I didn’t want to be a vulture. She was going to practically GIVE it away.
Still, in the end, I paid pennies on the dollar for all of it.

Now……here’s where I need advice. So much of the hobby is electric now, radios digital, and I don’t know where to begin. Some of this stuff I acquired is obsolete, and I knew that when I bought it, but the aircraft frames are all still good. The helis probably too, but I think parts for these large 80’s choppers are likely impossible to find. If so, they will likely be conversation pieces.

I have been to the local club, and am joining this year, but I will have some VERY “stupid” questions for those that are up to speed with everything……particularly digital radios, and BATTERIES in general. (The whole battery world has changed !)
I plan to buy a Specktrum digital radio or 2 with several model memories, and hopefully can fly all of this stuff with digital receivers ? Will the servos all plug in to a digital receiver ? See…….stupid question that I’m sure has a few of you laughing.

Is there a source (website, book, YouTube channel, etc.) that could possibly bring me up to speed a little bit before I am the “new” club member that seems like he’s been under a rock for 35 years ?
I would just prefer not to make an ass of myself.

Any advice would be appreciated !
Old 01-26-2023, 10:33 AM
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Okay, time for some "Q & A"
  1. What brand of radios did you get in the purchase? Some older FM radios are still viable, that is IF you can still get battery packs for them
  2. Digital radios work just like the old AM and FM did, at least as far as how the controls work. The real difference is the way they transmit the signal. Digital signals now include a transmitter ID pulse that will tell the receiver to accept or ignore the signal. This ID pulse must be programmed into the receiver by a process referred to as "binding". If you buy a new radio system, the instruction book will tell you how to do this
  3. As far as the "will my servos work with a new radio, the answer is NORMALLY YES. It really depends on if the connector on the servo is compatible with the connector on the receiver. I know the first radio I bought, a Futaba two channel, isn't compatible with the new servos due to the connector configuration being opposite of the newer servos.
  4. BATTERIES!!!!! Here is where I have issues in that I don't know nearly as much as I should. When I started in R/C(the fall of 1982), Nicads were the only game in town. I still use Nicad packs for my receivers today. Battery tech has been continually changing over the years so we now have(off the top of my head and I know I'm missing some) Nicad, NIMH, LiFe, LiPo, etc. Each type has it's own unique properties AND ISSUES!!!!! As I said, I still use the tried and true 4.8 volt receiver packs in my models. One of my transmitters, however, is equipped with a LiFe pack. LiFe type batteries have a more flat power curve than Nicads but, unlike Nicads, they have a point where they will just drop off and, in some cases, be ruined. They have a very long usage time, when compared to Nicads but, and this is an issue, you have to keep track of the voltage on the LiFe pack. If you go to low, the voltage will drop like walking off a cliff.
I'm sure others will be able to fill in more of the blanks for you and, if we're lucky, update information that I may be out of date on
In the meantime, WELCOME BACK
Old 01-26-2023, 06:56 PM
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speedracerntrixie
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The best thing to do is post pictures of what you have. If the radio equipment is FM band and has a gold AMA sticker on the back then it could be used. As Hydro pointed out you will need to replace batteries. For the transmitter it most likely used a 9.6V nicad pack. It may be a search to get the same nicad pack. Options could be a 11.1V Lipo or a 9.6 LiFe battery. I personally would go with the LiFe. Same would hold true for the receiver and servo battery, a Life 6.6 battery. 95% of the old servos can handle the 6.6V just fine but to be certain a google search of the brand and model number will confirm. If the specifications state 4.8 to 6V you will be fine. All battery chargers available these days will handle all battery chemistries. Servos, most are compatible. If you have Futaba which there were 2 connector styles made. Pre 1983 they had a G connector which has 2 visible pins. The J connector is a rectangular plastic connector with the pins internal. The wire color coding is the same, red positive, black negative and white signal. If you have JR radio then you have a J connector. Red positive, brown negative and orange signal. The JR and Futaba J connectors are compatible. If by chance it’s an Airtronics radio, I suggest a new radio. If by chance you decide on a new radio the JR and Futaba, as well as any servo with a J connector will be compatible with new equipment. Spektrum has the market share right now and is reliable and good customer support. Being a popular brand means help is as close as your local club.

Helicopters, again post pictures. I am familiar with everything made 1975-1995.
Old 01-28-2023, 10:13 PM
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Since I am new to the forum, it will not let me post photos of anything until I have 10 posts. I will post photos when that happens. Thank you for the advice so far !
Old 01-29-2023, 01:07 PM
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Originally Posted by 1Deerwhacker
Since I am new to the forum, it will not let me post photos of anything until I have 10 posts. I will post photos when that happens. Thank you for the advice so far !
That is why I asked you to tell us what radios you received in the deal. Being able to post photos is great, once you get your ten posts but, for now, if you could tell us what radios you received, we may be able to help you with them. Same with the receivers and, to a lesser extent, the servos.
Old 02-09-2023, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie
That is why I asked you to tell us what radios you received in the deal. Being able to post photos is great, once you get your ten posts but, for now, if you could tell us what radios you received, we may be able to help you with them. Same with the receivers and, to a lesser extent, the servos.
The radios I acquired are FM/PCM 8 and 9 channel Futabas. Most of the servos are standard.
All still seem to work, but I will be replacing all batteries. it’s just not worth losing a model to old batteries, especially when replacing them is inevitable anyway.
Thank you to all of you that replied, and all of the advice !
Old 02-09-2023, 08:40 PM
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Okay, that is what I needed.
I have a 9CAP PCM and it is compatible with all FM and PCM(good luck finding one of these) receivers, as well as the servos that don't require individual programming. The hard part will be finding crystal sets for them since crystals are getting harder and harder to find. What you might be better off doing is seeing if you can find a DSM module for your transmitter(if it's compatible) and buy DSM receivers so that you can just buy a new transmitter when needed and still have all useable receivers. One other thing, you probably won't be able to use the "S Bus" servos. They have to be programmed for a specific application and are also very expensive. My surface radio is capable of using them but I just can't justify the cost at this point.
Old 02-10-2023, 06:22 AM
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Just about any servo with a J style connector will work. S Bus really isn’t worth mentioning as it’s mainly used when running multiple servos on a single function. Think 3 or 4 servos on a single aileron. It helps to get the servos synced and reduces the amount of wiring used. You can use digital servos as well as programmable servos, just won’t get full potential out of them. For most sport flying a typical 50oz output analog servo will work just fine. After replacing your batteries I see no reason why you can’t use what you have. In fact if you are interested in an additional FM receiver I have one I would be happy to send you.
Old 02-10-2023, 06:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie
I have a 9CAP PCM and it is compatible with all FM and PCM....
This module was once considered a nemesis to contend with at any flying field, the dial a crash module. Pops right into a 9C, 8U, 7U, even a 5U radio.
I like selling off the DSM8 2.4 modules out of the 9C so I can fly with a "free" radio afterwards. Now with the balsa and glow hobby setting on the horizon as I knew it,
it's not a problem knowing the value of what is remaining in the home, isn't extraordinary. I have a variety of receiver crystals if you get stuck...



It now keeps a variety of frequencies going, and you'll be hard pressed to ever see someone on your frequency anymore.
They never brown out.
Old 02-10-2023, 06:58 AM
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Dial a crash!
Old 02-10-2023, 08:49 AM
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My 9CAP has a standard, single band, module on 75MHz at the moment. I have been looking for either a 72MHz or 2.4GHz version, may have to send my radio and receiver in and get them retuned for a 72MHz channel. I don't know of anyone that has used the variable frequency module, so I haven't heard anything firsthand about them.
Speed, I only mentioned the S Bus servos because I see them on various vender websites and felt giving a bit of basic info on them would be prudent. I really appreciated you giving an example on their use in this case
Old 02-10-2023, 09:11 AM
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Hydro, after a quick search it looks like a 2.4 conversation is pretty darned inexpensive. Looks like converting to 2.4 would be the way to go as if I’m not mistaken it’s legal for air and surface.
Old 02-10-2023, 09:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie
may have to send my radio and receiver in and get them retuned for a 72MHz channel.
I thought that was just a simple module change from 35, 50(Ham), surface 75, to 72 Mhz, or 2.4 Ghz on these radios? No tech tuning required?
72 Mhz receivers are about $5 these days. I have about two dozen, let me know if I can help.
Old 02-10-2023, 09:18 AM
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Originally Posted by J330
I thought that was just a simple module change from 35, 50(Ham), surface 75, to 72 Mhz, or 2.4 Ghz on these radios? No tech tuning required?
72 Mhz receivers are about $5 these days. I have about two dozen, let me know if I can help.
Transmitter is a simple module swap, receivers can’t go from 72 to 75 and vice versa. 2.4 is great because there are no crystals involved, but must me on the same protocol as the TX.
Old 02-10-2023, 09:22 AM
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Right, I meant the module and radio require no tuning and 72 Mhz receivers are so cheap, it doesn't pay to tune a 75 to do anything else.
Old 02-11-2023, 01:09 AM
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When I bought my 9CAP, I had planned on using it for both boats and planes. I quickly learned that a stick radio is not as easy to use as a wheel when I drove someone else's boat during a race one day. I ended up buying, over a few years, a pair of Futaba 4PLS wheel radios for my boats so I no longer need to have anything on 75MHz for the 9CAP. At this point, it just makes sense to send it in for a checkup and have the module and receivers retuned to 72MHz so I can still use them on aircraft. If I can find a 2.4 module, I'll be set for a long time since I can't see needing anything more than what I have now for aircraft.
Old 02-11-2023, 07:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Hydro Junkie
When I bought my 9CAP, I had planned on using it for both boats and planes. I quickly learned that a stick radio is not as easy to use as a wheel when I drove someone else's boat during a race one day. I ended up buying, over a few years, a pair of Futaba 4PLS wheel radios for my boats so I no longer need to have anything on 75MHz for the 9CAP. At this point, it just makes sense to send it in for a checkup and have the module and receivers retuned to 72MHz so I can still use them on aircraft. If I can find a 2.4 module, I'll be set for a long time since I can't see needing anything more than what I have now for aircraft.

I would be surprised if Futaba has any 72mhz modules and receivers to sell. The 2.4 modules seem pretty inexpensive though. Or if you are set on 72mhz, you can pick up a used TX very cheaply as well and Rob it’s module. Same offer, if you can use the 72mhz receiver I have I will be happy to send it to you.


https://www.aliexpress.us/item/22558...andl_shipto=US


Old 06-11-2023, 01:52 PM
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Default 2 receiver

Can 2 receivers be used in one model to get more channels for extra servos.
Old 06-11-2023, 04:12 PM
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Originally Posted by p51tom
Can 2 receivers be used in one model to get more channels for extra servos.
It depends....
For the old 72mHz systems, no.
Depending on the brand, modern 2.4 systems are a possibility. Many actually allow up to 16 servos (or more!), but how to do it may vary. The receiver may only have a limited set of pins for connecting, but may also have an "SBUS" type connection that can allow more. No real standard between brands, so some research needed to determine if the one you are interested in can do it, and what else is needed.
Some brands do allow for running 2 or 3 receivers at once for the same model, which also achieve your goal. The limit then becomes whatever the transmitter can actually send.
Of course, to do any of the above usually means moving up in price for the more top-of-the-line equipment.

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