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Homing Beacons

Old 01-11-2002, 02:33 PM
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Default Homing Beacons

I've read of several variations of a "plane finder" - basically a board plugged into the receiver that emits a loud tone after a period of no inputs. The field I fly at is surrounded by corn that makes finding downed planes an extended safari. Has anyone used a "plane finder"? Do they work? Is there one that is recommended more than another? I remember one offered by Tower Hobbies and several others in various places. Thanks.
Old 01-11-2002, 04:22 PM
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Default Homing Beacons

DO IT CHEEP!!! get an old servo that the gears are stripped on, or motor burnt out, strip it down, now.. you can either get the little twidly pot in netral and glue it, or replace it with two 2.7k resistiors, middle wire of pot to both resistors, other two wires to the each end of a resistor, got that?, now rip out the motor and replace with a 6V buzzer of your choice, then wrap it all up, plug into your retract channel, and when you go down, you flick the switch and she buzzes. this idea was originaly for lights, but the idea is the same, a better description is at www.mugi.co.uk then nightflying link.. or was it the forums, some where like that, but it is really easy.

P.S i hear that a pulse on and off, is easier to locate than a constant buzz
Old 01-11-2002, 05:57 PM
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In at least 90% of the crashes I have witnessed (at least twenty) the battery has always been disconnected from the reciever. You are far better off to have the alarm or beacon be a self contained power supply and audio alarm that is constructed to alarm only when the self contained switch is on and the signal from the reciever is missing. You can build one up fairly simply by using an LM555, a 9 volt battery and a Radio Shack buzzer. Just hook up the LM555 as a Pulse Emission Detector that is continously reset by a valid signal from the reciever (it plugs in like a servo would in a spare channel or on a Y to any other channel). Now, when you switch it on and are getting good signals, the audio stays off, but if you loose the radio signal for a second or two, the alarm starts going until you get another good radio signal.
Old 01-11-2002, 06:52 PM
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Default Homing Beacons

Fortunately/unfortunately a majority of my unplanned landings have resulted from misjudging my altitude versus the top of the corn on final. In all cases, I haven't lost a battery connection - yet. Several other crashes I've witnessed (even the more spectacular ones) haven't resulted in disconnected batteries. Unfortunately, given this scenario, it doesn't seem that a loss of voltage alarm would work.

I'm also a first year flyer with only a four channel radio (Santa must have been watching me too closely - no 6+ channel in my stocking!) - so the extra servo/aileron channel suggested earlier won't work for me.

However, I do appreciate the suggestions.

Has anyone tested the plug in boards similar to the Tower Hobbies example and do they work?
Old 01-11-2002, 07:40 PM
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Default Homing Beacons

In that case, leave the servo pot on, and adust it so the alarm only comes on when you put your throttle in the cut posistion, then use a Y lead.
I did get a propper one for gliders before i found this set up, turns on as soon as the tranny is turned off and works in any channel. was only 6 pounds, going to put it in my glider when i re-tape it.
A hint i learnt from gliding is to keep my eyes on the glider as it went down in the dunes, then take a bearing from the horizon and walk in a straight line untill i found the glider, you get better at this after a while.
Old 01-13-2002, 03:26 AM
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Default Homing Beacons

One of the fields where I fly also has corn. Very nasty stuff. I don't know if it's because it's feed corn (as opposed to human corn), but the rows are not very straight and there are tons of weeds. Basically, when you're in it, you have no idea where you are and you can only see about 6 feet in any direction. It once took me and three others more than 1/2 an hour to find my plane. The other side of the corn field is a swamp. So, all my planes have plane finders.

One nice thing about plane finders is some also double as battery checkers. If you ever hear the plane finder cheep-cheep as you fly by, you can bring the plane down because the battery is low.

I've used both the Hobbico "Air Alert", and another called "Sound Security (http://www.jchobbies.com/hotstuf.htm). Both are fine. I think the Air Alert is a little less expensive, but I like the Sound Security because it just plugs into a spare receiver channel, whereas the AirAlert plugs in between the receiver and the throttle servo. Either one is well worth the cost if you fly at a field where it can be hard to find your plane.

By the way, in all of my crashes, the battery has stayed connected.
Old 01-13-2002, 11:31 AM
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Default Homing Beacons

I was flying a Zigi copy ( all white poly, flew better than normal one! ) but i didnt stick the lid down propperly and all the gear fell out on a high speed bunt, i watched it go down, ( the glider would be esay to find ) this hill was all thick heather but i knew which area, we searched for the RX, batt, and mixer for a hour and a half. all the others gave up, and i carried on, 15 mins later i fell over, and as i looked down the whole lot was wrapped around my foot.

My mate crashed last week and lost his batt on the same hill.

P.S my batt has come out on every plane crash that did dammage, but we fly from a field with short grass, not a cornfield that slows the plane down some first and has plowed softer soil.

Lots of our crashes at www.rcflyers.fsnet.co.uk
Old 01-14-2002, 01:45 PM
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Default Homing Beacons

I've found that the beeper/buzzer type locators don't work very well in a swamp or cornfield. The plants redirect the sound (if you can hear it at all). There is a company that sells a self powered location device. Walston Retrieval Systems is the company name and their email is [email protected]

I was looking into having our local club buy the receiver and have each pilot buy their own transmitter.

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