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Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Old 09-17-2006, 11:05 PM
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les40
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Default Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

A little background on me before I go on. I'm an electrical engineer working for a major defense contractor and my flying skills are good enough to compete in IMAC competitions. My Hitec Eclipse 7 has served me well for over 4 yrs. now.

A few months ago I lost an airplane due to loss of radio control. It was an intermittent problem with the system. I sent everything back to Hitec and they said I had a bad RF module in my TX, replaced it and sent it back to me. I believed Hitec had fixed my TX, thanked them and went ahead and purchased two QPCM RXs. I got about 2 hrs of flight time on the radio before losing another airplane today. It went out of control shortly after takeoff while flying straight and level. After the crash I moved nothing and did an antenna up and down range check on the airplane. It passed (just as with the previous airplane). All flight controls were intact and working in their proper directions. I have to attribute this once again to some intermittent problem in my TX.

Now, I understand and agree that electronics can and do go bad but something's not right here. I seriously have my doubts about Hitec's repair quality. Maybe my TX going bad two times wiithing a couple of hours of operation is a coincidence but it is highly unlikely. Is there anything you can do for me to restore confidence in your equipment and repair facilities? Would it have been better for Hitec to advise me that my TX has 4 yrs. on it and maybe it is time for a new one rather than guess at what was wrong with my TX and have me crash another airplane due to an intermittent failure?
Old 09-18-2006, 12:04 AM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

I had similar ( mysterious) problems a few years ago and I traced them to an insufficient quality/gauge receiver battery cable extension (3"). Seems under certain and rare servo loads I lost voltage resulting in the ole' "I don't have it" syndrome. Always worked fine on the bench! Are you using any of the same or similar servo/battery extensions or switches that were installed in the previous ship?
Old 09-18-2006, 08:56 AM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

No Sir. The battery and switch harness are new.
Old 09-18-2006, 10:46 AM
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les40
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

I spoke with Hitec customer service today. The first thing the guy said was, "And you're sure it was the TX?" Obviously I'm not sure but everything is pointing to it. All he could say was send it in. My response was, "So if you guys "fix" this thing again do you really think I will trust it again? My answer is no. I'm going out and buying a Futaba today. And at the IMAC SW regionals in Vegas coming up in 2 weeks I will have the following in big letters on my shirt, "Hitec TX SUCK!" I will wear that shirt at the Shootout in Tucson too.
Old 09-18-2006, 12:12 PM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

It's unfortunate but sometimes intermittent electronic faults just can't be reproduced on the testbench and in such cases, the *only* way to be sure you've eliminated the problem is to replace the entire item concerned. As someone who's chased intermittent faults in very complex electronic gear far to often for my sanity, I'd be a little reluctant to blame Hitec's service people or the gear itself -- sometimes this just happens, regardless of the brand.

The E7 is a good transmitter but four years is a long time in the RC world and you might be well advised to consider replacing it -- although I'd be tempted to wait for Hitec's new offering which is coming "Real Soon Now" (right?) rather than just get another E7.

But back to the crash... did you have failsafe set in your QPCM receiver? Did the servos go to the failsafe positions you'd set -- thus indicating a loss of RF or valid data from the transmitter? If not then a previous poster's suggestion regarding your battery/switch/extensions would be worth investigating. Some modern servos can draw a snot-load of current for short periods -- but long enough to cause a reset of the processors involved and thus a total lock-out for a second or two. This won't show up until you get flight loads on them.

(Reminds himself that these forums are not for general discussions and *are* for the purpose of Hitec representatives to answer the specific questions of users ;-)
Old 09-18-2006, 01:06 PM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

XJet,

You bring up some good points. I've done quite a bit of electronic troubleshooting of intermittent faults myself as well as designed hardware and written software to catch faults on digital and analog circuit boards. I've designed vibration and temperature test systems to find faults as well. And you are right, sometimes you just can't find what it is. And in that case I tell the customer that I can't find it and toss the board. And the case where I can't find the fault after vibe and temp cycling is very very rare. Hitec told me they are able to vibe my equipment.

This airplane didn't have a PCM RX in it.

I feel right now that Hitec's repair dept. took a guess at what was wrong with my radio and sent it back to me. I may be wrong but that is how I feel. I would only fly with a new Hitec TX and they didn't offer a new one to me. The problem is now, I've invested $200 in two of their PCM RXs. I heard another guy at the field had a similiar problem with a Futaba radio. He ended up smashing it in front of everyone with a sledge hammer.
Old 09-18-2006, 01:55 PM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Les- I'm sorry to hear about the problem. Hitec prides ourselves on offering the highest level of service within our industry. You say the radio is 4 years old so it is clearly out of warranty; I'm just curious...did we charge you for this repair?

Unfortunately, we are not perfect. We do our best to make sure that all the items we receive for service are repaired properly; if we can't find the solution we never just "guess" at the repair and "hope" that it works! Your radio functioned properly when it left here so we felt we had solved the problem. We appologize if the radio experienced a problem again.

How do you suggest we handle your situation?

Mike.
Old 09-18-2006, 04:48 PM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Mike,

When Hitec first received my TX after an intermittent problem that resulted in the loss of an airplane, I would have expected that they run it through vibration as well as thermal cycling to try to recreate the problem. Was that done? I was told that I had a bad RF module and it was replaced for free. That was very nice of Hitec and I do appreciate it as replacing it for free was more than I expected. Hitec maybe should have said, "We found a bad RF module and your TX is working right now. There may be other intermittent faults that we didn't find and your radio is more than 4 yrs. old. Consider a new one."

After a 2nd airplane was lost, after only a few hours of operation, and if it was again determined to be due to the TX I would expect Hitec to give me a new TX. Otherwise I have no option other than to go out and buy a new TX myself. I would be a fool to use that TX again. I realize this is asking a lot of Hitec but the bottom line is that the TX should have worked more than a few hours after I received it from your repair facility.
Old 09-19-2006, 12:23 AM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Les, I recommend that you go buy a really cheap foamy electric and fly this for a few weeks with that transmitter.

Not only are these little planes a lot of fun but they make a *great* testbed for checking out gear that you think may be flakey.

Whether it's a receiver or transmitter, racking up a few hours on a plane that owes you next to nothing means you can develop a little peace of mind -- and if something does go wrong it's not a hit in the wallet. Just about any damage can be fixed with a bit of foam-safe CA.

Just a thought.
Old 09-19-2006, 10:31 AM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Good thought XJet. I have 40 size Stik that I burn in any new equipment with before I put that gear into a nice airplane. Since my problem seems to be intermittent I don't think that process is going to restore confidence in my radio gear. I purchased a new radio yesterday. I'll send this one back to Hitec and let them do their thing and then see if I can sell it, giving full disclosure as to its history. I wouldn't sell it without letting the potential buyer know that I have no confidence in it.
Old 09-19-2006, 01:08 PM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Les- I can appreciate your concern and don't blame you for being apprehensive; I would too.

All we can do is go through the radio and try to re-create any stated problems which we did. We found the RF module to be the problem and replaced it at no charge. The radio was then tested again and it worked as it should. It is entirely possible that radio developed a new problem several hours after; how long should we be expected to check out a radio after the repair?

Again, we appologize if the radio developed a problem again. You say you are an experienced electronic technition so you know it is the nature of the beast and no radio manufacturer is immune to this. Most likely what should be done now is to replace the entire mother board which typically costs about $40 if out of warranty. Replacing the radio with new unit is only an option if within the two year warranty period.

We'll be happy to help you to our best ability and I please ask you to contact our service manager Tony at (858)748-6948 x 308 to move forward.

Mike.
Old 09-19-2006, 08:12 PM
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Default RE: Ready to throw my Hitec Eclipse 7 out

Thanks Mike. I appreciate your help.

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