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My New Futaba 18 MZ

Old 12-22-2011, 09:35 PM
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pattratt
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Default My New Futaba 18 MZ

Hi All
Just got notified my Futaba 18 MZ will be delivered tomorrow.
I down loaded the new manual and it's a huge improvement over the 14 MZ manual.
So far my only disappointment is that models set up on the 18 MZ will not be compatiable with the 14 MZ! That's huge as it will make it virtually impossible to keep the 14 MZ as a backup TX. If any of you guys are trying to justify the cost as having your current 14 MZ being a backup to your 18 MZ it's not going to happen unless you initally program a new aircraft on the 14 MZ first and then convert the file to a 18 MZ compatiable format. Any change made on the 18 MZ model will then have to be manually changed on the 14 MZ. IMHO this is going to be a major downer to a lot of potential buyers.
There are lots of new goodies in the 18MZ so will try and keep things up to date as I learn them.
Anyone else getting there hands on one of these new radios please please chime in on what you learn that's new.
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 12:03 AM
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aussiesteve
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Yep - just had an impulse buy on the way home today. Below is the official handover ceremony.

One of the first here to get to hold one

a LOT of features and a LOT faster to do stuff than the 14MZ. I still have a lot to learn on it though
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Old 12-23-2011, 04:14 AM
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apereira
 
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ


Futaba announced on their Facebook page you can connect a card reader to the 18MZ and transfer the data from the 14MZ directly to the 18MZ, or PC or any other USB based device.

Regards

Alejandro P.
Old 12-23-2011, 07:23 AM
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pattratt
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Yes, you can do that but you canot go from the 18MZ back to your 14 MZ which means it's useless as a backup TX!!
They really need to do something about that as I don't know anyone willing to invest another $3000 for a backup TX!
This is going to cost Futaba some sales!
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 07:50 AM
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nonstoprc
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Or test fly the plane with 14MZ and do the transfer to 18MZ when test is done.
Old 12-23-2011, 08:08 AM
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apereira
 
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Oh, I see what you say, i honestly do not think is going to cost Futaba anything at all, as not many people buy spare radios, and Futaba knows for sure the kind of customers who will buy the radio same as Mercedez Benz and Ferrari does, there is no gamble on the market of a $3000 radio.

Anyway, Futaba will deliver on their web site the software which converts the program from one model to another, so you woll still be able to convert from 18MZ to 14MZ, you can also transfer the program manually, or what nonstoprc said, there are many ways to accomplish that.

The only bad thing is my 18MZ has not shipped yet[]
Best regards.

Alejandro P.
Old 12-23-2011, 08:42 AM
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pattratt
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

nonstop
Read my original post. You can do that but everytime you make a change to anything in the 18MZ TX you will have to manually make the same change to the 14 MZ to make it a viable backup TX and that is not practical.
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 09:25 AM
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pattratt
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ


ORIGINAL: apereira

Anyway, Futaba will deliver on their web site the software which converts the program from one model to another, so you woll still be able to convert from 18MZ to 14MZ, you can also transfer the program manually, or what nonstoprc said, there are many ways to accomplish that.

Best regards.

Alejandro P.
Alejandro

The manually clearly states that you cannot go from 18MZ model File to a 14MZ model file and to my knowledge no program exists on Futaba's website to accomplish this. I hope I am wrong about that!

Over the years since owning the 14 MZ I have had to "Borrow" a 14 MZ TX as I had to send mine to Hobbico for service at very inopportune times! Part of my justification for purchasing the 18MZ was to prevent this type of occurence! It was important enough to me that I confirmed through Hobbico that the model files between the two radios would be compatiable. Maybe I did not ask the question in the correct manner. Maybe if enough people complain about the issue they will come up with an application that will accomplish this task. I am not a programmer but I don't think it would be that difficult for their software engineers to accomplish this goal! I still have the option on sending the unit back to Tower if I choose to do so. There are a number of questions I have reguarding a lot of issues that cannot be answered until I actually get my hands on the unit and start programming it.

The reason I started this thread was to get info out to other pattern flyers and learn as much as I can about all the new features of the 18MZ. This is a pretty major expense for most of us on this forum so the more informed we can all be the better decisions we can make. I will say this, we are flying $3000 to $5000 aircraft and it makes absolutely no sense to me to not have the best TX available that I can afford. I see the results of not adhering to this principal all the time!

Thanks for the input.

Dick

Old 12-23-2011, 09:33 AM
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woodie
 
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Futaba currently has a software solution that converts 14MZ/12Z models to the 12FG format and vice versa. Hopefully they will expand that software to include the 18MZ TX. The software executes well tho the interface is not very user friendly. I have a 12FG that I use for my heli/foamy models and use the 14MZ for primary pattern. I use the 12FG for back up on the 14MZ and so far the transferred models performed exactly the same.

Happy Holidays
Woodie
Old 12-23-2011, 09:50 AM
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JCINTEXAS
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

For this kind of money, the radio should come with an instructional CD with audio/video. The CD should have step-by-step instructions on how to program the transmitter. Older fliers like me who did not grow-up in the computer age would really appreciate this. I bought my first Futaba radio (5-channel 27 MHz) back in 1970. I now fly a 12FGA which I've had for 2 years...and I still have trouble trying to figure out how to use many of its features. I've read the Owner's Manual until I was seeing double. These new radios have fantastic capabilities....but it makes no difference if I can't figure out how to access and program it. Just like my new "Android" cellphone. I'm probably using only one-tenth of it's capabilities. If I purchased an 18MZ, I'd have to hire a savvy young RC pilot to program the transmitter and teach me how to use it. Today's top radio brands are excellent in terms of quality and reliability. I suggest that the most important thing for sales and capturing "Market Share" is "user friendliness". FUTABA....are you listening?
Best Regards
JC (FASSTFLIER)
Old 12-23-2011, 10:19 AM
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apereira
 
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Like Woodie said, there is software to conver 12Z to 14MZ, and any more, I am assuming they are working on a mod to add the 18MZ.

Why doesn't they use the same kind of files between all the radios? I wonder that mayself, can't understand why, as an ex-software and hardware developer, you can add software sub-routines to detect and do that automatically even if the software code is different, simply, can not understand that.

And mist of all I agree with JC, Futaba manuals are terrible!! simply suck, if it wasn't for CHip Hyde and Wolfgang Matt who showed me how to do certaind things... for guet it, impossible, it is not in the manual anyway, and the help you get online is not the best, but the radio is

I currently have the JR12X and it is not different manual wise, then I HAD to change to Futaba and got the 12Z(I knew something was comming from Futaba), so it is realle like the manufacturers assume you will find your way around the radio, and I am very good programming radios, but I do not got so far to realizae what can really be done at the higher level.

Dick, did you get yours from Tower?

Regards
Old 12-23-2011, 10:28 AM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Just curious, what programming features does it offer that will make life easier for the pattern flier?

Certainly don't need 18 channels for pattern (who uses more than 6??), so there must be something substantively better, beyond the simple cachet of owning the latest and greatest!
Old 12-23-2011, 10:42 AM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Why am I not surprised. Back in the day, Futaba announced the 9C Super and, believe it or not, you could not transfer files from the Super to the old 9C (via the Compac) which caused me the same back-up problems you discussed.

Futaba must have separate engineering/software/marketing teams for each product that are forbidden to talk to each other - and tech writers from Mars.

And their, apparenly atrophied, management must still be in place.
Old 12-23-2011, 12:51 PM
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pattratt
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Hey JC
It's taken almost five years but I have really learned that there is not much the 14 MZ won't do. If you can think of it I'll bet there is a way to get the radio to do it!
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 12:59 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

cmoulder
The "Sun light" readable screen and much longer battery life are two very big issues with me. The telemetry for me is a saftey issue as it will audio alarm if there is a problem in reception and on board battery issue or heat issue. If your setup requires four servos in the tail you can set it up with a single cable from the receiver instead of four heavey servo extension leads. The list goes on and on. I am sure there are functions that I don't even know about!
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 03:04 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Hey, guys! Sorry - haven't even touched anything but Futaba 9C and the Super version (that's what I'm using now), but I think a radio in this price range should have anything to make the user as comfortable as possible. Well, for example, why not have both transmitters (Dick's 18MZ primary and 14MZ backup) communicate with each other so the primary updates the model features and settings in the backup TX? They are both on 2.4GHz, they both would have the ability to transmit and receive radio signals, so why should the user bother with manually converting model types and transferring them from radio to the other? Something like the cloud computing... on one machine a file is modified and saved and instantly it gets transferred to all other machines. Well, here we should have to have both transmitters powered on and communicating on command
With today's level of intelligence in these systems I do think it's not that hard to achieve this level of comfortability. Or, if it is, it would be revolutionary and will attract a few more customers

Just thinking out loud

Nickolay
Old 12-23-2011, 04:21 PM
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pattratt
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Nickloay

I agree but over the years it seems Futaba has always been slow in terms of compatability issues.

Here is a few of my early observations in no particular order:
TX is definitely lighter
Stick tension is lighter. Have not adjusted yet.
You will have to update your 14 MZ to be able to convert 14MZ model files to 18MZ model files!

Won't be able to actually turn unit on until Christmas as this is my Christmas gift from my "Bride" so all I got to do is touch it and pull the manual out! Will post more Christmas day!

Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 04:30 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

The 14MZ is a nice radio but it always feels a little strange in my hands (I had JR for years before I bought the 14MZ and they are a different feel).

The real benefits to me on the 18 over the 14 are:
Much faster to boot up (after the first boot up of the day)
A MUCH longer lasting battery - I ran mine last night for over 2 hours, (about 1 of which was setting up a plane just to get my head around the menus) and it only had lost about 15% of its charge in that time.
The programing response time is very fast and the menus are a little easier to understand for dummies like me.
It contains a built in programmer for the S-Bus servos etc
It can have a keyboard, screen and mouse plugged directly into it.
No need to find a dark shady spot to be able to read the screen.
It has a much nicer feel in my hand (could be psycological too)

but more importantly to me - it has telemetry. Coming very soon are some sensors that include temps, altitude, GPS, RPM, voltages and a few others. That information can be shown on the screen in real time (which is pretty useless really as watching the screen instead of th eplane will usually end in tears) but it can also be recorded during the flight (along with stick movements!!). Now I will know EXACTLY where I crashed, why I crashed, and how I crashed - add an on board camera and I will be able to even SEE all that.
Come to think of it - that might not be such a good thing - now I will have to blame something new for my crashes.

Old 12-23-2011, 04:31 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

I like Futaba products; however, they have the worst technical supporting documentation out of all the major brands available. They need to really address how they approach their technical documentation. More often that not, it's too difficult to understand and they don't throughly explain the functionality of the programming.

Their upper end radios are fantastic once you learn how to use them but don't depend on the documentation....just my humble two cents.

Merry Christmast to all.

Old 12-23-2011, 04:47 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

ORIGINAL: pattratt

nonstop
Read my original post. You can do that but everytime you make a change to anything in the 18MZ TX you will have to manually make the same change to the 14 MZ to make it a viable backup TX and that is not practical.
Dick
Dick,

Your point is well taken.

To realize a back-up radio that has the 100% the feel of the primary, I would think it probably will take more than just copying the conditions and settings. For one thing, the springs and their tensions have to be same. Secondly, the primary and the backup have to cause the same servo responses for any combination of stick inputs. I am not sure if 18 MZ (18 channels), and 14 MZ (less than 18) could reach that kind of synchronization.

So I feel setting up the identical baseline on both radios first and then fine tune each should be doable.

Old 12-23-2011, 05:47 PM
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pattratt
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Hey Chuck
Can't argue with that. I will say that I have flown Futaba all my life since there inception and as a result you learn over time how they tend to look at and do certain things and that helps some in trying to figure out the manual.
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 05:53 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Nonstoprc
Yes, I agree it could be done but I doubt many people would take that path as it would be very time consumning.
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 06:39 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Why in the world would anyone who buys a $3000 radio need a backup ? Unless you are Chip Hyde and have your transmitter ran over at the Worlds... Other that that I really see no reason for it. Just my opinion.
Old 12-23-2011, 07:38 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Neil
You answered your own question!!
Dick
Old 12-23-2011, 08:15 PM
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Default RE: My New Futaba 18 MZ

Lol...

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