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Some early digital proportional history

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Some early digital proportional history

Old 09-15-2007, 10:47 PM
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jaymen
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Default Some early digital proportional history

In doing some extensive research and interviews with surviving vanguards of the first modern digital radios of the early sixties, I have some interesting notes:

After the Spreng/Mathis Digicon debacle, Frank Hoover introduced his F&M Digital 5. Frank had reversed the modulation scheme to keep the RF carrier on during the sync pause, providing a more continouse RF link from Tx to Rx, and more importantly this stabilized the output of the receiver's AGC circuit which improved glitch resistance significantly.

In the meantime, established names like Space Control, Bee Dee, and Sampey were still considered more reliable. Even though Hoover had the digital market to himself, he was still attempting to perfect the servo feedback system and this led to several different servos of different manufacture being offered.

Around this time, Zel handed over Space Control to the Dunhams and went to work for them. It seems his accountant had swindled his bank accounts dry while he was away on a trip to Chicago! Zel tried to continue on for a while after a move to Sylmar(cheaper rent) but the death blow had already been dealt, so he became an Orbit employee.


Bill Cannon though his association with Doug Spreng subsequently came out with the Digicon II, which incorperated all the updates to the original Digicon, including the afore mentioned revised modulation scheme.

At this time everyone jumped in at once, but proportional was very expensive due to the high count of germanium and silicon diode and transistor semiconductors required, and the 2 axis joystick assemblies. Howard Bonner, Phill Kraft, the Dunhamms(Orbit), WS Deans, Min-X, EK, and Citizen-Ship all came out with digital radios within a year of each other. There were many changes in versions of each make. For a while, open gimbals were popular, but then almost everyone used the Bonner stick as it was cheap. Finally everyone came up with there own closed gimbal, and here the Kraft became an industry standard used by many other later on.

Digressing to Howard Bonner. How did an escapement and multi servo manufacturer leap frog the whole single channel, then multi-tone reed, and later analog proportional radios and suddenly release the Digimite with no previouse radio system manufacturing experience?
Well, Howy hired a couple characters named Bob Eliot and Gerry Krause to design the Digimite. The system is interesting in that it still used an analog voltage feedback servo, thus it was slow and lacked torque coming off neutral when compared to a pulse comparitor type servo. Almost instantly, E&K left Bonner to form EK Logictrol, where they perfected a true pulse comparitor type servo amplifier.

By 1966 everyone was in the market, as nobody made any effort to protect their intelectual knowledge, but rather they freely shared it. As such, only a few came out on top in the end, and Phil Kraft was the one guy who really made it into a money maker. He got Cliffy from Bonner, Jerry Pullen from JPL, Chuck Hayes( Dick Railing's right hand man at Orbit), Joe Martin from Micro Avionics, and many others together under one roof, thus assembling a huge talent pool that specialized in R/C, it truely was a golden age. Ironically the radios produced by that group where the Gold Medal Series, so named for the numerouse national and world championships Kraft radios had won.

Howard Bonner sold out early to Gordon Larson, having been sued by Sperry over the harmonic drive he used in the later 4RS servos, he wanted out. The Dunhams also sold out to Datatron, and Micro was pulled back in house after that because the they had reliabilty issues. This left Novak, Spreng, and Mathis free to find other persuits. Novak wound up with Larson and RS Systems, which he eventually inherited form Gordon. Doug went off to England and developed some propo radios there. Mathis and Dunham continued to drink at the bar over in Garden Grove! Hoover was trying to recover from his Magnavac servo fiasco and in the meantime Kraft had created PCS, and was selling radios to HeathKit. Joe Fossgate left EK, and went on to form Pro-line, but that was a bit later. EK had moved to Texas and was contemplating making radios in Mexico, which they ultimately did, remember the LRBs?

As one can see, everyone in the industry moved around quite a bit before the dust really settled, so prolific where those days of the early transistor era. It was a time when technology made great leaps in terms of miniaturization due to the post war introduction of the transistor, and other semi-conductors such as the IC. The designs exsisted, but where large and crude because they used tube and relay technology. The rage was to take and create a solid state versions of these designs, which made them much smaller, more reliable, and simpler....but not cheaper, well not at first!

The biggest problem beyond the servo, which was licked first, was the decoder in the receiver. Many of the SCS(silicon controlled switches) type decoders tended to latch up and quit working, or shift channels. JK flip flops had issues as well. When the first good TTL counter chips came out like the 74SN174, decoders became reliable. The introduction of ICs to R/C propo came in the Bonner Digimite receiver, they were flat pack surface mount and years ahead of their time, but suffered the problems mentioned above. Thus, the Bonner was quickly surpassed as everyone was making improvemnts to their systems as newer devices became availlable.

So digital had several false starts at the beginning of the sixties, and it took about four years for it to become a mature technology. In ten short years, many companies came and went, many of the key players being the same behind the scenes.
Old 09-15-2007, 11:11 PM
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3dd
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

growing up in santa ana and learning to fly at mile square with howard bonner and phil kraft and owning the orbit 3+1 prop radio were some great years.i remember going to the orbit factory and being able to pick my new radio right off the assembly line.i still have some of my old reed radios and servos and receiver.there are some fond memories from a time gone by.thanks for the thoughts lost in time
Old 09-16-2007, 12:47 AM
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maxpower1954
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Absolutely fascinating, Jaymen - as your Galloping Gost thread showed, you have a wealth of knowledge, both technical and historical.

Now that you're established as an expert I have a few questions for you.

As near as I can figure, one of the early battles concerned fail-safe ( a popular 60s term, like the movie.) Bonner Digimite and F & M made it part of their first digital systems, I can't remember what others. I know Kraft, Micro Avionics and PCS didn't. Seems by 1967 or so, fail-safe was gone. Can you shed any light on some of the tech issues and history of this?

Also, can you list all of the U.S. digital systems you are aware of from the beginning, I guess 1963-64 to about 1970? Hope that's not too big an order! I could probably come up with 90% of them, but I'm sure I might miss a few.

As a sub-interest, I fly a couple of vintage transmitters, with modern AM recievers and servos on 27MHZ for the VRCS event in NC. This year the combo was a Citizen-Ship DPT five channel from 1966 in a Goldberg Shoestring. After a few flights to make my point (a flight with that thing is fatiguing after five minutes; big heavy box and plastic stick tips with no serrations to keep your thumbs from slipping off) I switched to my "modern" TX; a 1970 MRC/Futaba F-700! Like night and day...

I'd like to add to my flying antique transmitter collection, but a fail-safe system won't work, too bad cause I love the look of the F & M 5! I stick with 27
for simplicity. The Holy Grail would be a metal case Kraft with open sticks, like HighPlains owns (but I think his is on 72.)

I do have a mint original Pro-Line from 1969 on 26.995 working with the Pro-line RX and KPS-10s that will be flying at some point, probably in a vintage Lanier. And thanks to Ron Ellis in Florida for his service work keeping these pieces of R/C history flying! Russ Farris


Old 09-16-2007, 01:19 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

OK, now that I've asked Jaymen to list available digital systems in the U.S. from 1964 to about 1970, let's see what I can come up with from memory.

F & M Digital 5 (claimed to be first commercial digital system, according to 1965 RCM review)
C & S (originally Digi-Con)
Bonner Digimite
Micro-Avionics
Kraft
PCS (Kraft design)
E-K Logictrol
Orbit
Deans
Min-X
Digitrio (scratch build or World Engines kits, RCM articles)
Controlaire (World Engines)
Citizen-Ship
Heathkit (Kraft design, kit)
M.A.N. 2-3-4 (MAN articles, World Engines kit)
RCM Classic (RCM articles, did this become Royal systems?)
Pro-Line
O.S.
MRC-Futaba

The only one extant today is Futaba...kinda sad, really. Well, except Deans makes electric stuff - I only use the Deans Ultra-plug on my ESCs and batteries.

Tonight I was flipping through a 1953 M.A.N., and was amazed to find a Sullivan Products ad for a plastic 1/2A canopy! They are still with us...Russ Farris
Old 09-16-2007, 02:36 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Very interesting thread, great to see so much of the history. Still so many questions about that era go unanswered, and the those with first hand knowledge are thinning.

Did the company CG later become F&M? Was Frank Hoover the owner/designer of both?
How did Ted White and the Quasar fit into the picture? (That's one you missed Russ.)

The Digicon was developed and sold by Mathis and Spreng as I understand it. The remaining sets were sold by C&S before the Digicon II was introduced. C&S later evolved into Cannon Systems around 1968 or so. I still have one of his 3 channel systems with KPS-9 servos on 27 MHz. (Hey Russ, another company)

Besides the '67 Kraft (yes, on 72), I've got a F&M Digital 5 with Bonner Sticks and KPS-7 servo mechanics from around '65 or '66. It's in good shape except for the painted on marking that were "cleaned" by someone before I got it. Anybody know how the artwork was painted on these old sets? I've got the transmitter artwork done, but need the technique (silkscreen???)

Another radio aquired recently is a PCS (50 MHz) with the Bonner sticks and KPS-7 servos. Same metal transmitter case as the '67 Kraft, but receiver electronics are different.

A EK Logitrol II seven channel with the Orbit PS-2 servos rounds out the early digital systems. I had it working about 35 years ago. Since then, I found a large quanty of spare servos and another 5 channel receiver. Wish I'd just sent it in for service way back when, but it was just so much bigger than my 70 Kraft single stick (also still in the box with KPS-12 servos). The EK servo responce was pretty slow with a lot of overshoot and bounce at the end of the travel.

The progress from 1964 to 1970 was stunning in terms of size and performance. It did seem like Kraft put together the "A" team of engineers and designers. He was also king of marketing with the Kraft, PCS, and Heathkit lines. Each were priced in $100 increments with less features and/or older designs. Eliminating the "Fail-Safe" from digital radios made a lot of sense, which Kraft did. It cut the component count in the receiver by about half.
Old 09-16-2007, 05:58 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Jaymen, very nicely done.

I don't know if you want to add regional products to your histiry or not. However, I am familiar with two systems that did not get wide aclaim. One is ACL (Airborne Control Labs). I purchased one used in 1963 in Endicott NY. ACL was developed by guys in either Poughkepsie (SP?) NY or Endicott. The first system was analog and a latter one was digital/analog. (I still fly the analog system today).

The second one is Westport. I have two of these, both are 4 channel single stick digital transmitters. There are very well made.

I do not know very much about these but I can put you in contact with a fellow that remembers a lot of the history as he lived all of it.
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:25 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

good info,I was flying controline during this time ,did not start researching r/c till about 1969 and had settled on a pcs system but in 1970 when I was ready to purchase it,found out they were no longer avaiable and got a series 70 kraft instead.
Old 09-16-2007, 10:30 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Doug went off to England and developed some propo radios there
Interesting stuff jaymen.

Doug arrived in England in August 1967 and stayed for about two years. He and Harry Brooks set up Sprengbrook Precision and then he worked for Staveley Control developing their digital system.
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Old 09-16-2007, 10:54 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

This is a very interesting thread to me as I was involved with the early days of proportional over here in the UK. After a lot of fun with galloping ghost I was looking for a move to full house systems. I did not get on well with the on/off control with reeds and a few people had imported Space Control systems with mixed results. The UK manufacturer RCS introduced an all transistor analog system working on the same principals as Space Control/Orbit Analog. I got hold of one of these systems called Tetraplex, it worked fairly well but had the usual analog problems of slow servos and drifting neutrals. I only ever used this gear in one model then got hold of and F&M Digital 5. I was told that it was a good idea to disable the fail safe to avoid lock outs and was shown how. After doing this I had a lot of flights but it was a bit glitchy, the word going around then was to angle the TX antenna up at 45 degrees to reduce the amount of nulls seen by the Rx from the end of the TX antenna. After this mod I had hundreds of good flights including a demo over in Jersey (Channel Islands) arranged by Stuart Uwins the F&M agent. After this I went back to RCS who had started with a Digital system similar to F&M but then got the RX size down by using SCS's. I had trouble with this receiver especially at low temperatures. As soon as 74 series IC's became available RCS used them and the RX was much improved. I wish I had kept this early gear, especially the F&M Digital 5.
Old 09-17-2007, 01:25 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

OK, I see RS Systems, Microtrol, Hobby Lobby, Galatron, ACL Digilog, MAN 1-2-3 system, Royal, Ace Digital Commander, and Siver Seven, World Digit-Migit and Blue Max series, H&B Flight Director System, RCS Digifive, Logicon, and I know there are more....just can't remember them all!

CG was Charlie Hoover, Frank's son, he named the company after him, and later changed it to F&M (Frank and Mary).

Ted White was Frank's test pilot. There was a break-off company that was formed by poeple who had worked at F&M, they were also in Albuquerque. They named themselves Galatron and sold the Galaxy 5. Ted White went with them and they advertized that he test flew each radio personally. Just like F&M, they also advertized 72 hour turn around time on repairs.

The fail-safe systems ate up alot of battery power, but they could be defeated by dissconnecting them, which alot of savvy guys did. By the time the fail safe system kicked in, and then re-set after the receiver re-aquired a good signal, you had already augered in! In the early days, there were alot of fly-aways, especially with single channel and multi- tone equipement, but those early planes were basically high wing jobs that were relatively slow and stable, so they had half a change of being recovered it the controls held neutral(fai-safe) in the event of interferance/signal loss. But a ship like an Orion, or Taurus, Kwik-Fly was a goner if you lost control.

Early Digital Proportional Radios were still unreliable, thus the Digimite Dance and the F&M Shuffle were performed by many a modeler at the local flying field. For those who were not around, imagine a guy running after his plane with the transmitter held high over his head screaming: "I ain't got it!"

With multi reeds, single channel tone, or pulse proportional, you rarely noticed a glitch, especially with the superegen receivers. You either had it, or you lost it completely. Remember the Kraft Single channel tone Tx? It had a switch for high/low power in case you got hit. CBer's back then used to amuse themselves by pulling up off the road alongside of a flying field and whistling into their keyed up microphone, and laugh when the poor modeler lost control. They would also hook up a linear power amp to get up to 50 watts, and use a VFO, or frequency slider as it was called, and shift over onto the r/c channels, much to our chagrin. That was the biggest problem we had other than the guy who turned on transmitter in the back of his car to check out his plane and shot you down. Funny enough, when we got superhets, we could all fly, but they were more sensitive to noises and glitching.
Old 09-17-2007, 03:17 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Some other stuff I left out:

Micro was a subsidiary of Orbit, it was a seperate facility run by Mathis, Speng, Joe Martin, and later, Novak was there too. They sold only factory direct at about $100.00 cheaper than the suggested list price of an equivalent Orbit. They at first had all green anodized cases, and the stick assembly was the same as an Orbit. This was a closely guarded secret at first, as it was a way for Orbit to sell radios direct at a cheaper cost to the customer/flyer, and they made more money on them because it cut out the distributor and dealer's disscounts. Orbit did not want their distributors to get mad by selling Orbit radios factory direct, so they created a second brand. With Mathis on a drunk most of the time, and Spreng off flying alot of contests, Bob Novak had alot of time to update the Micro Avionics systems with 1st generation Motorola logic IC chips. Unfortunately, they had bugs in them, especially the receiver, which tended to glitch and latch up at the most inopportune times. This was the ill fated XL and XL-IC series, remember the wood grained cases on the transmitter? Everyone had problems with the first generation of ICs, it was another learning curve for the R/C industry.

Eventually, word reached Dunham, and they ordered several Micro-Avionics radios from Cal Model Supply and put them in several planes. Big John took them out and test flew them...it was pretty hairy as he had to keep them very close to avoid loosing control. One actually was fair, the rest were marginal, and one locked up and augered in, John just could not save it. This was after Dataron had bought Orbit, and the decision was made to close up Micro-Avionics's seperate facility and move them into the Orbit plant under one roof. The XL -IC design was dropped and Orbit PC boards put in orange vinyl clad receiver and transmitter cases, they were really just Orbits, so they had come full circle to where they had started. Rememeber the Micro 71 series? Some of the last Micros were sold retail at the very end, in fact Micros were still being made for a short time after the famouse black box radio production ceased. Datatron had other financial problems, they lost their contracts for time code generation equipement used for film and tape editing, and also over-extended themselves. They never lowered the prices of their radios to compete with Kraft and others, relying instead on the Orbit reputation for sales. Additionally, they did not introduce any really new features and as such in a fast paced industry, they lost their edge. By this time the Dunhams had moved on and lost interest, having made their money on the sale to Datatron several years prior. Ironically, their Cobra and Hawk series pistol grip car radios were years ahead of their time, and the final swan song of Orbit, but it was too late, and the electric car craze was 8 years in the future. Dunham also had plans for a full LCD readout on a programmable radio, stuff like sevo reversing, adjustable rates, exponential throw, the works, but it was only a prototype that never made it into production. Dick Dunham was buisy selling plastic servo mechanics to everyone, and doing other precision injectition moulding projects.


PCS was much the same as Micro-Avionics, but run by Cliff Weirick, and for the same reasons of factory direct marketing to increase profits without causing conflicts with distributors and retailers. Just like Micro-Avionics, you never could buy a PCS retail at a hobby shop unless it was used. By 1969, the new plant in Vista was in full production, and it was not long after that PCS went bye-bye. This happened right about the time that Cliffy got real pissed off about the relaibility of the KPS-9 capacitance feedback servos and stormed out of Kraft, never to return! The capacitive feedback servos were a problem , and Kraft did eventually dump them, on Heathkit!!! PCS never had the problems that Micro did because they were the same design as Krafts. I sure loved Charlene Weirick in those adds, she was a Honey! They nick named her Charlie Brown I'm told, and she didn't stay married to Cliffy all that long either, too bad. Cliffy wound up working for my old boss Lee Renaud, at Airtronics, flying round the country in his plane giving lectures to modeling clubs everywhere. People really liked Cliffy.
Old 09-17-2007, 04:00 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

more please.
Old 09-17-2007, 06:22 PM
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Joe Nagy
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Great Thread, many thanx.

Joe Nagy. [Still have my Kraft Series 70, packed away in mothballs].
Old 09-17-2007, 06:33 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Hey don't forget the switch from center tapped batteries +2.4 neutral -2,4 volts, to 4.8...THAT was a giant leap forward in reliability as a LOT of planes went in when ALL of the servos went to one side and there was NOTHING you could do about it IF you didn't properly care for your batteries!
Old 09-17-2007, 07:06 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Great reading!
As someone that was "out of the loop" living here in the midwest and "just" a customer buying some of these radios in the 60's, that was very interesting reading. I remember reading these names in the model mags...but didn't know the real story behind them.
Still have a Orbit 7-14 outfit and my still new gold with blue strip Kraft coat that a person got when they spent big bucks for a Signature Series Kraft radio.
Jim
Old 09-17-2007, 09:32 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Reading about the pioneers from the 60's and 70's has been fabulous ! I started flying RC when I was about 13 or 14 in Lebanon, Indiana. I bought a used Citizen-Ship four channel proportional radio that had the thick metal transmitter with the red anodized case. I paid $275.00 for it. That radio worked perfectly. Never a glitch that I noticed. I acquired and identical Citizen-Ship about a year ago. Once I became a proficient pilot, I had to have a Kraft radio. All of the great pilots flew Kraft radios in 1968 & 1969. I would read and re-read every issue of RC Modeler and Model Airplane News looking to see which pilots were using Kraft. In 1970 I went to the Toledo show and met Larry Leonard of pylon racing fame. He was one of several people working the Kraft booth. I told him I was saving for a Kraft six channel. I held a Kraft transmitter for the first time at that Toledo show. Months later, I picked up my Series Seventy six channel set with the tiny KPS-12 servos. The radio cost $449.95 There weren't any discount places in those days and I paid for the radio with paper route money. Last week I acquired a Kraft Series Seventy six channel of of Ebay that is identical to my first one. The Ebay radio has the KPS-11 servos instead of the KPS-12's. The last Toledo show I attended was 1978 or 1979. I had a fraternity bother living in Toledo so I decided to drive up for a visit and take in the show on Sunday. Saturday night, me and my fraternity brother were out boozing at a hotel bar. Up walks Phil Kraft and I introduced myseld. He was congenial but I could tell he didn't want to talk about model airplanes. He was busy dancing with different women !
I have since been collecting old radios. I have about eighty radios in my collection. Everything from old Orbit and Citizen-Ship reeds to most of the brands sold in the 1970's. I have every Kraft from the Seventies except for a Series Seventy Four. In addition to the Kraft sets, I also own the following brand radios: S&O, Orbit, MicroAvionics, RS, Min X, World Engines, Blue Max, RC Manufacturing, Ace, Bonner, Controlaire, Pro Line, CG Hercules, EK, Cannon, KGL, Heathkit, Royal and PCS. I would like to own one of the old Kraft proportional transmitters that had the thick gold metal case and open gimbals.
Old 09-17-2007, 11:10 PM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Pro-Line was highly respected in the '70's.

I still have a like new Canon Tini-twin 4 channel radio system with an extra 2-channel receiver for boat use. My tranmitter was a two stick and I wanted to be able to shift the rudder function from one stick to the other, depending on use in an airplane or boat, so Bill Cannon provided a reversable plug on the receiver so I could easily switch sticks.
The batteries died a long time ago.

Also have a 7-channel FM ACE R/C system with a bunch of Bantam Servos.

Bob Dunham did the plastic parts in the Bantam Servos and Bill Canon provided the electronics.

Bill's wife Charlie, sold economy Canon radio systems under the Charlie's Goodies brand name.

Remember the RS radios? They were orange and looked a lot like the Canon systems. I still have a RS jacket patch.

RS was headquartered in Beltsville, MD and got involved with US government contracts so they left the hobby field.

Here's a shot I took of Bill and Charlie holding my boat that was named "Canonitis" because it had a Canon R/C system. It was in Aug'77 RCM.
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:09 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

I think that the RS system was a rebadged Bonner after Bonner closed shop.

On the Bonner system design, Bob Elliot was also the designer of the Bonner Transmite servo Amplifier.


Where Doug Spreng conceived and developed the basic concept for a digital servo (ie, a 1-2 mS pulse to represent control position).

And Frank Hoover devised the narrow off pulses to define each pulse width for surface position and pulse train reset.

It would really seem that Don Mathis was the driving force toward modern digital proportional systems, with his DIGICON and later development of the Kraft, and Micro-Avionics/Orbit designs. Prior to his design at Kraft (in conjunction with Jerry Pullen, Spreng and Phil Kraft) all the early radio used either 7 cell packs for the airborne (like the F&M, EK Logitrol, and Pullen designed Kraft radio (which had about 10 or 11 nicads for the airborne)). He also did several radio designs that were published in RCM and was their tech editor for a year or so until the launch of Micro-Avionics.
Old 09-18-2007, 01:16 AM
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

In meeting Jerry Pullen, Doug got a job over with him at JPL, mainly to get access to those new NPN transistors they had at the time. Inspired by Pullen's analog proportional rig, Speng got the digital pulse width figured, he set it to 1-2 msec, 1.5 being neutral, it "just worked out" to quote Doug. I remember bugging him with those stupid questions when I worked with him at World Of Robots in Laguna Hill with some of the old Orbit gang. He was the one engineer who could hand you a hand drawn schematic, you could prototype it, and it would work perfectly, amazing that guy!

But the encoder/decoder/ modulation scheme was the missing link back then. Even though the Digicon was good in theory, test, and initial flight testing, it wasn't bullet proof. Hoover ironed out that part of it, but the servo was his nemisis, each guy had his own row to hoe. That break allowed Eliot and Krause enough time to do the Digimite. Nobody could really make any money at this point due to cost, and the novelty factors involved. Bonner had a cheap stick, which it was, but he sold alot of them to everyone, that was more profitable than the Digimite systems.

The later Larson/Novak RS systems had several generations, the first using the orange 4-RS SY servos and Cannon connectors. Later units had D&R servos, and the famouse "gum pack" receiver. Hobie Hawks came with a special RS Systems 2-Channel single stick radio with a dual servo brick to unitize the airborne installation. Novak sold to a guy whose name escapes me now, but they finally closed up and then it was sold to someone back east. They were in Orange and Santa Ana Ca. proir to that.
Old 09-19-2007, 02:11 PM
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HIr/cer
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Been in and out of the hobby more than a couple of times and appreciate this thread. Remember the R/C Buyers Guide whose front cover had pictures of the various (about a dozen) digital transmitters offered at the time?
Am curious as to what digital kits were available. A flying buddy had the Digitrio, another built the first Heathkit with the large brick receiver and I chose the Cannon 5 channel kit which had the smaller receiver (same size as the Kraft Gold Medal). A good friend rekindled my interest (he built a couple of Heathkits) but I decided on the Ace Silver Seven and eventually got a second set, both with the red vinyl TX case. The first kit had a bad TX IC which Ace promptly replaced but they wanted the defective IC returned. I recall the M. A. N. magazine construction articles, World Engines offered the Blue Max kits later, but am not sure about the Royal kits. Any others?
Old 09-19-2007, 07:52 PM
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Frank Schwartz
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

All this is fascinating. Having started in R/C back in 1947..and my first digital was a F&M which was just great...also had a Space Control
that was just awful....tore up a bunch of planes and took them six months to get it back to me after repairs...and lots of begging on my part. Name Joe Fosgate is incorrect..it is Jim Fosgate and I knew him when he had Pro-Line..and it was a fine system with great sticks.
Thos of you who have written up the history as I have read it above, need to combine it and have it published in the AMA magazine.
I took an old 12 channel reed home made superregen receiver I made to the club meeting last night. Many of the ARF flyers were not born when I made that receiver....and most of the newer flyers have no conception of what the early days of R/C were like...
Regards to all,
Frank Schwartz soon to be 82, building model airplanes (and still building) for 72 years and loving it!!!!!
Old 09-19-2007, 08:21 PM
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HighPlains
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Is this the issue you are thinking of? The 1966 RCM Annual cover.
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Old 09-19-2007, 08:46 PM
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Dan Vincent
 
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

I wonder how many radio companies made "Jacket Patches."

Here is a RS jacket patch. I also have a Cannon patch around here someplace. Back in the late '70's I tried to get Bill Cannon to offer jacket patches and had two made up by a patch company. Bill has one, I have the other.

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Old 09-19-2007, 09:12 PM
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HIr/cer
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HighPlains, Thanks, that's it. Bought my copy new (1966, time flies!).
Old 09-19-2007, 10:00 PM
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SGibson
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Default RE: Some early digital proportional history

Highplanes,
Does the 1966 RC Modeler annual give details inside the magazine of the radio systems on the cover? I have the Micro Avionics, MinX and Bonner systems shown on the cover in my radio collection.
Thanks,
S Gibson

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