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Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Old 12-05-2010, 03:36 AM
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profmb
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Default Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Hi,
I have been using the 12FG for a year, and prior to this I have had no experience with programming compuer radios. The terminlogy and assumptions that get made in the manuals I find confusing and somewhat inpenetrable. It s clear to me that some aspect of programming need to be carried out in certain order. Furthermore there are configurations that affect all set-ups. I cannot help but feel that something like a 'Dummies Guide' is required which goes from the basics up to the opportunities and clever ways of achieving certain results. I find the Futaba manual VERY difficult to understand because it makes so many assumptions about the users knolwledge and makes no attempt to explain any of the logic behimd the instructions. Yet others wax lyrically about the possibilities that the system offfers - between these two extremes there must be a better way of passing on knowledge, such as a 'Dummies Guide' followed by an 'Expert Guide'?

Does anyone else feel this way? Is there such a guide, or does one just have to muddle along picking up little bit sof knowledge over time?

Cheers
Matt
Old 12-05-2010, 12:09 PM
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rfk1381
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

I heartily agree. I have had computer radios for many years. The software settings of 8FG/12FG/12Z/14Z family of transmitters are incredibly flexible but incredibly complex and frustrating to folks new to this series of transmitters. Previously, AnnMarie Cross and Don Edberg had written in-depth user manuals for the 9C/10C and 8U transmitters which took new users "by the hand" through typical set-ups and were immensely helpful.
Old 12-05-2010, 12:46 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

You guys are going to be in trouble with Bax.........
Old 12-05-2010, 02:16 PM
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woodbender
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

I think more of us (I'll speak for myself here) VERY loyal Futaba fans ought to speak out about the "manual" for the 8 FG series of transmitters; ESPECIALLY if it ruffles the feathers of the Powers That Be.

I went as far as contacting Don Edberg. He's not inclined to write another manual... nor is anyone from Hobbico - I've contacted them also... nor is anyone from FUTABA apparently.

As for the various Futaba contributors who answer questions on this forum and elsewhere, please spare us the line you all seem to repeat over and over about "just playing around with the radio until you figure it out." That comment, IMHO, is the height of condescension and just goes to show the extent to which you don't get it that despite the endless threads and posts like this one.
Old 12-05-2010, 02:44 PM
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profmb
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Hmm, I think that Woodbender and rfk sum this up well. I design software and there are two approaches you either use familiar routes and menu's (like Microsoft) that are built up through time and you produce help files and manuals that take new entrants through a learning curve - or they produce 'wizards' which take the pain out of configurations. I cannot help but feel that Futaba have made the assumption that purchasers of high end systems MUST be experienced users, and if they are not then they would not need to own them. Perhaps there is an implicit assumption that one works though simple systems first before embarking on the more sophisticated? In software we employ writers who have the communication skills to look objectively at the software and write in terms that key user types can understand - - perhaps that is what these manufacturers need to do? We find that the designers are too vclose to it to write objectively.

All I can say is that I am not scared of technology because in my professional life at work at the leading edge of it. Because I wish to progress through the sport I reasoned why purchase a 'low end' radio when in a relatively short time I will want to work with a greater range of functions. When I explain to my clients some of the concepts that they need to understand I take trouble to explain why we need to do what we need to do. To build understanding the 'why to do' is as important as the 'what to do'.

Experimenting can only take you so far, and for people who are time constrained, spending hours trying to work all this out by 'trial and error' is unsustainable. Even today, reading this forum I learnt for the first time the significance of 'group' versus 'single' configurations. Yet when I have asked friends in my club they just shrug their shoulders!

So thanks for the empathy guys - but I wonder what Futaba's and other manufacturers view are?
Old 12-05-2010, 04:17 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Profmb, well put. I am an advanced degreed systems engineer who for decades designed and implemented immensely complex systems for non-technical users. I don't have the time to fiddle and experiment with my 12FG to figure out the intent of the compact information presented in the 12FG user manual ANDhave time to build and fly my aircraft - I have only 24 hours in my day. Unlike folks at the support center, I am not paid to tinker with the equipment to figure out how the nuances work. This is *NOT* a complaint, because Futaba is a great product, but just my sincere hope that SOMEONE will produce such an "idiot's guide" for idiots like me.
Old 12-05-2010, 07:19 PM
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woodbender
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

I have a pretty strong hunch this thread is going to disappear bright and early Monday morning. Before it does, I wanted to let you all know I've forwarded these posts to Annmarie Cross in one last attempt to get someone to write the "Futaba Computer Radio for Dummies" book. This is exactly what I've been beating the drum about for the past six months.

Meanwhile, there is some really good information and very knowledgable contributors on RC Groups also. http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showt...092861&page=62
Old 12-05-2010, 10:45 PM
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profmb
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Hi both,
I think we all agree (and your July contribution to the other thread that you pointed out to us Woodbender expresses much the same sentiment too) that help is required. Thanks for forwarding the thread too. Perhaps there is knowledge out on the Internet, maybe even in RC Universe - but it takes a lot of searching. I did receive a very helpful PM and this adds to my understanding. Yesterday I wrote to a guy here in the UK who runs a model flying school and he also teaches computer radio set up's. I have asked him for help (paid) and this is my last resort.

If I do go down this route and learn something I may well try to write it in such a way that others can benefit. Perhaps we could use this thread/ forum to all contribute with Dummies and Expert guides a bit like Wikiepedia, and so build a body of knowledge that all can benefit from? If a moderator is following this - what do you think?

Cheers
Old 12-06-2010, 06:45 AM
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woodbender
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Profmb, that's the best idea I've heard in a long time, the Wikipedia model, but personally, I'm much more inclined to sit and learn from a manual written on paper.

I'd like to see information clearly presented in some sort of rational order, in step by step form, with useful examples, and as you say, "written in terms that key user types can understand." An index would be nice as would a glossary; in other words, an INSTRUCTION MANUAL.

What I see as the root of the problem is not the distributors. The Japanese write the "manuals" (that's pretty obvious.) The distributors profess to have no control over the content; something I don't doubt, by the way. It would obviously make their (Hobbico's) lives easier if they didn't have to staff the help lines and operate forums like this simply to answer basic questions which would otherwise be addressed in the manual.

So bottom line ...... SOMEONE, IMHO, needs to get their (the Japanese) attention on this issue; namely that the quality of the manual is not even close to the quality of the equipment.

What the collective 'THEY' don't seem to realize is the extent to which this deficient "manual" may be costing them sales.
Old 12-06-2010, 07:09 AM
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profmb
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Woodbender, good to hear from you. I agree with your sentiments and what you suggest makes much sense. However, I cannot help but think that if this forum were to establish a simple template of the step by step form - with template examples as you suggest - then those in the know (Wikipedia style) could populate the form in a standard way such thus us mere mortals could understand. In trye Wiki style the entries could then all be moderated!

Perhaps Futaba engineers could post sample - downloadable configurations that would enable us users to understand the interactions between different functions? You know how some software does this, to show users what a well documented configuration should like?

Ulitmately of course getting this matter sorted at source would be the best approach as you suggest. Interestingly my club mates say that they prefer this or that system because it easier to programme - most use JR, Multiplex and some now Hitech. I am alone with my Futaba. Even the guy who runs the model shop where I brought it from is still struggling with his! So maybe this is an angle that Futaba could explore - you either go adding more and more functionality and features (like S-Bus) or you say: 'wait a minute we are in danger of leaving our user base behind'...the same old addage with software: 20-30% of the features are ever used by most users - so why go adding more compexity which perhaps only a minority really appreciate?

Perhaps Futaba ought to run a customer survey to get some good quality data in order to understand how big an issue this is?
Old 12-06-2010, 07:23 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Hi all
This link has been pointed out to me. I understand that it was produced by Hobbico...this is more like it! Let's hope that we get more of this kind of stuff...

http://www.futabarc.com/gallery/classroom.html
Old 12-06-2010, 08:20 AM
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woodbender
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Regarding the video, I agree, profmb, it's a step. Yes, I saw this when it first came out several months ago. Like other sources on the web, it offers good information. That 's the good news.

The bad news is this information, like that scattered throughout threads like this one is just that; scattered, unorganized, difficult to find, even more difficult to follow and in the end, only marginally useful IMHO.

Moreover, ask any instructor. Video teaching is just about the least effective way to teach something; especially something technical and complicated. One cannot both watch the video and duplicate the operations. That's one of the reasons a written (on paper) book/manual works so well.

Ideally, a book AND DVD, IMHO, the ideal instructional format these days, taking into account people's different learning styles, is the best of both worlds. (In the How-To publishing world, this is the latest thing.)

Hobbico, if you're listening, all you would have to do to make this video series useful is first, keep your promise to make this a video SERIES (That means more than one or two episodes.)

Second put the information in written form easily downloadable with the step by step instruction on how to duplicate what viewers see in the video.

Maybe eventually there could be a written complication of the series.. . I could see the episodes listed in a table of contents! And while you're translating the various convoluted "English" terms into.... er.. English, perhaps you could list these terms in a.... you guessed it! A Glossary!

I apologize for the sarcasm, but this just seems so obvious.
Old 12-06-2010, 09:23 AM
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profmb
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Fully agree with you.

I have just had another 'off the wall' idea. I reckon it would not be that difficult to for someone to create a software programme that is wizard based and takes you though the various configurations that you need, and then on completion you can download the configuration into the radio through the SD card interface. This means that the configuration screens in the radio would then be used for tweaks and final trimming of the aircraft. What do you reckon?
Old 12-06-2010, 09:39 AM
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woodbender
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Pretty amusing if you ask me that our comments have been removed from the Futaba area as predicted.

I think all of your ideas are spectacular, profmb. It might take someone with your talents to get this going.
Old 12-06-2010, 11:52 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

There is no discussion allowed at all on the support thread. I'm glad this thread was moved here so that some things can be discussed. I have a new 12fg and it's taken me a little bit to get some of the things figured out, but for the most part it's been pretty easy. The biggest thing that had me confused at the start was the travel/limit settings. I have that one figured out though.
Old 12-06-2010, 12:41 PM
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profmb
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Flatspinjim, your comments more or less confirm why we need a Dummies Guide and an Expert Guide. I would guess that you would probably fall into the latter (unless you have an IQ of 500 or both!)

Isn't it strange what challenges us most...I think I could see the conceptual logic of travel and limits fairly early on, but what others find 'straightforward', I get really challenged by..... mind you I destroyed a throttle servo in the process! Therein lies the issue - it is all very well for people to say - 'well just experiment' but for those of us with little time that is not practicable and anyway who wants to be burning out servos in the process??
Old 12-06-2010, 01:19 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Lol, I'm not an expert or genius by any means! I've been using Futaba radios for longer than I want to admit so I think that helps. That and I did a whole lot of experimenting.
Old 12-06-2010, 09:10 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Heard back from Annmarie this evening. Cross your fingers (no pun intended) and stay tuned. I'm busy twisting her arm.. er.. I mean 'encouraging' her to consider writing another book.
Old 12-06-2010, 10:47 PM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Thanks Woodbender, maybe with her help in explaining the programme logic, and with support from Futaba I could design a Wizard based system as outlined above. This could then be included as a CD insert to Anne -Marie's book? That would be an exciting project to work on. Have you any idea how we would get this in front of Futaba for their support? It could certainly provide Futaba with a USP over the competition...

I guess with finger crossed and arms bended you might want to go a bit easy on her
Old 12-07-2010, 04:03 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Woodbender and Profmb, let me add my vote in support of your proposals. Annemarie's book sure made a difference for me getting to know my 9C. I agree that Futaba is missing a bet not following up on the concepts.
Old 12-07-2010, 07:58 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Nice to see this!!!!! I Gave up on my 12FG and put it on the shelf and EVERY time I walk by it I get MAD. I know I am not smartest but I am self-employed and a full scale pilot. and have done ok .But man FUTABA YOUR MANUAL STINKS!!!!!!!!![:@]THIS IS SUPPOSE TO BE FUN.
Old 12-07-2010, 08:31 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Our next Futaba Video Classroom, Programming 102 posted yesterday. I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMF-sQ20_bw

Steve
Old 12-07-2010, 09:33 AM
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readyturn
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide


ORIGINAL: Skaluf

Our next Futaba Video Classroom, Programming 102 posted yesterday. I hope you enjoy it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMF-sQ20_bw

Steve
Steve,

The video classroom is a step; but, what you are hearing from a large group of customers is that the basic users manual just does not work. [&o]
There were a couple of posts from profmb and woodbender that had some great ideas that should be done to enhance the usability. Like add an index, glossery and go into
depth on the functions and their use, add art work or screen shots so that the reader can see the results of his/her actions.

You guys have a great product (I have the 14MZ), but it needs to go to the next level with a good users manual.

Rick
Old 12-07-2010, 09:37 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Steve,

Great video... A suggestion for Programming 103.... In addition to covering "Conditions", could you please consider covering how one programs "Flaperons"? Since many people getting the 12FG/Z series radios are coming from radios that supported flaperons at the menu level, I've found that telling someone to:

1) Set the Camber Mix to ACT (huh?)
2) Go to the Camber/Ail screen and set both the 50% (double huh?)
3) Go to the FUNCTION screen and set Camber to a switch - or slider - depending on the operation...
4) Set the Speed In/Out to 23 (speed? what the hey?)

in the 12FG can be rather confusing.

Then, maybe in Programming 104, you can go over what "Virtual Channels" are, and why you'd want to use them....

And finally, you can show them how to create pre-programmed manuvers with the timed offset capabilties. Flip a switch and the plane's ailerons, elevator, and rudder all move in a sync'd manner to execute a nice 3 second roll ... too cool! (BTW, for the 12FG, you'd need at least rev 1.6).
Old 12-07-2010, 09:54 AM
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Default RE: Futaba 12 FG Dummies Guide

Aside from the videos there is a wealth of information to be had in the FAQs:

http://www.2.4gigahertz.com/faq/faq-8fg-2_4ghz.html

http://www.futaba-rc.com/faq/faq-12fg.html

http://www.futaba-rc.com/faq/faq-12z.html

http://www.14mz.com/faq/faq-14mz.html

Flaperons from the 12Z FAQ:http://www.futaba-rc.com/faq/faq-12z-q808.html

I suggest bookmarking all of the above since so much of the programming is similar. A lot of what people are looking for is in there.

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