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Your Reviewer

My Credentials
So who's doing this reviewing then?

Well I've been building and flying or driving radio controlled models for over 40 years and during that time I like to think I've built up a reasonable amount of knowledge.

I'm also a qualified electronics engineer who has worked in radio frequency, analog, digital systems and software for more than three decades. In fact I designed and built my first RC set back in 1969.

For the past nine years I've also been involved in the design and manufacture of some rather sophisticated engine technology and UAV flight control systems.

So, chances are I've been there, done that and have a huge pile of tee shirts to prove it.

Right now I'm heavily into 3D flying and enjoy all aspects of the RC hobby. I may be old but I don't feel it.

In the Pipeline

Here's just a little bit of what's to come on this site...

RC explained: Demystifying terms such as PCM, PPM dual conversion, single conversion, full-range etc., this feature will explain it all.

Cheap Chinese Engines: Just how good are those cheap Chinese glow and gas engines that sell for half the price of their "brand-name" equivalent? I put several to the test.

Build your own radio gear?: Back in the old days, building your own RC gear was not uncommon and now the arrival of 2.4GHz has made it practical again.

 

Problems for Futaba FASST owners

RECALL IN EUROPE BUT NOT THE USA

Futaba made a very bold statement when they launched their much-awaited 2.4GHz spread spectrum radio control system.

Futaba transmitter

"Futaba gets it right the first time" was the proud claim made on the FASST website.

The site went on to say "Futaba takes great pride in making sure that every new product performs flawlessly before it's offered to our customers".

Now if you're going to make claims like that you'd better be 100 percent sure that you do get it right first time and unfortunately, in the case of some FASST products, they didn't.

It seems that the GUID (a magic number that uniquely identifies each transmitter) programmed into the 6EX, 7C and TM7 FASST modules was either shipped with a zero value or is able to be accidentally zero'd in the field.

Futaba has acknowledged that there is a problem but the way it's being handled varies dramatically from one country to another.

In Europe, the Futaba distributor has taken the bold and praiseworthy step of issuing a general recall that applies to all 6EX, 7C and TM7 units. Once returned to base, those units either have a new circuit board or new software installed.

In the USA however, Hobbico has declined to follow the European lead and is simply telling customers they can return their systems for an "upgrade" if they want to.

Whereas the European distributor was very pro-active in ensuring that this problem doesn't cause people to lose planes or suffer injury, Hobbico has taken a far more laid-back approach, initially discounting reports of problems and then claiming they were unable to reproduce the problem (therefore it wasn't a problem).

From a technical perspective, FASST remains probably the most sophisticated and robust 2.4GHz spread spectrum system on the market. From a marketing and support perspective it depends very much on which part of the world you live in as to the quality of service you receive.

If you have a Futaba FASST 6EX, 7C or TM7 sytem it is strongly recommended that you check the website for the distributor in your country and make sure you have returned your set so it can be checked, upgraded or repaired.

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The Blog

Updated: 20 Sep 2012
Here's a blog that will keep you informed just what's going on behind the scenes at RC Model Reviews and also tells you a little more about myself.

How compatible are 2.4GHz RC systems?

23 Mar 2010
How come there's no compatibility between different brands of transmitters and receivers? Why can't you use a cheap Chinese receiver with your Futaba FASST radio?

How to get a product reviewed here

4 Mar 2010
Since this has become a very frequently asked question, I've posted this simple guide to getting your product, or a product you're thinking of buying reviewed here at RCModelReviews

How servos work

Useful information on what's inside your servos and how they work.

The Good Oil

Important facts you should know about the oils that are used in our model engine fuels.

Heads-Up: 2.4GHz RC systems tested

How well do five different 2.4GHz systems stack up when hit by interference? The answers are here, with more to come.

Review: Bushnell's $80 Speed Gun

Yes it does work on model airplanes but there are some limitations involved with this bargain-basement radar speed gun.

Review: TowerPro MG995 servo

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Review: SK90

2.4GHz

It's cheap but can it really stack up against other glow engines in the .90 market? Find out in this review.

Review: iMax 9X 2.4GHz radio

How does this cheap 9-channel 2.4GHz radio system perform when compared to big-name systems that can cost two or three times as much? Have the Chinese finally developed a real contender with the iMax 9X?

2.4GHz Explained

Does all this 2.4GHz stuff have your head spinning? 2.4GHz

I've done my best to demystify the whole subject so if you feel like a bit of learning, this is the stuff for you!

Fix That Engine!

How can you tell when your engine needs new bearings? Who has the best prices and service on replacements? Just how do you change them? Get all that information and watch a great video tutorial anyone can follow.

Chinese Servos - How do they stack up?

Servos

The Chinese are now churning out a huge number of very reasonably priced no-name servos. But are they any good?

Baffled by batteries?

Batteries Nicad, NiMH, Li-Ion, LiPoly, LiFePO4, A123... the range of different battery types has never been greater. So how do they differ and what type should you be using?

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