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Everything posted by OzFlyer

  1. What a fabulous model. I saw a similar one once at a fly in that was powered by two 5 cylinder radials. The sound was possibly the second best I'd ever heard (after a Rolls Royce Merlin!).
  2. All fair points @Erfolg. My local hobby shop is a 7 minute drive from my house, most of it on a highway, and has an undercover parking area that is never more than half full and is free. Needless to say there are no road tolls or anything, not even any traffic lights. Getting to the shop is very easy for me, so I can go there, get what I want and go home. I could probably complete the whole expedition in under half an hour if I didn't stop to browse. I generally don't go to any other shops or need to use the trip to do other things as well to make it worth while. Lucky me, I guess. Having said that, my next closest hobby shop is a two hour drive away, and in a capital city. I've done the trip once (to attend a seminar, not to visit the hobby shop) and yes, it was a nightmare. Also cost me a tank of petrol, about $70, and parking ($20). $90 all up or nearly 50 quid. So no, I won't be patronising that hobby shop. @Nigel_R agree with your view. For me though the main differentiator is service level. No waiting to get the part (if it's in stock) and functional return policy would be the main ones for me. Quality of items is also a factor, as retailers will soon abandon items that keep getting returned or complained about, so only the good stuff gets reordered.
  3. @Michael_Barclay I hope you are wrong but I fear you are right. But the fact that HK finds itself in the position of having to execute a major restructure of their business must send a negative message to its millions of customers. But of course the hobby business is not the only one hurting, all small retailers are feeling the pain. I know clothing and shoe shops are. I was talking to a friend a while back about buying shoes online. I couldn't understand how anybody could buy shoes online, it made no sense to me. He said what people do is go into their local shoe shop, find something they like, try them on to get the right size, then go home and order them online. The shoe shop was basically a free storefront and fitting service for the online retailer. He told me he'd heard of a couple of shoe shops that now charge $10 to try on shoes. You get it back if you buy something, but otherwise, no. Good idea I thought, and fair enough. I don't think that ever happened to me, but it might have. I carried a good range of product, usually around forty grand's worth, so its entirely possible. I think there is still room in the business for the local hobby shop though. @Cuban8 asks what the specialy area should be, if any. May I suggest it should be what my erstwhile predecessor used to call "shit and glitter". Basically anything costing less than about $10. Is it worth buying it online to save a couple of dollars? For me, no. For big ticket items, yes. It's very hard to say no to saving a hundred dollars buying it online. My local hobby shop (in a small country town in Northern New South Wales) carries a good range of S&G, but also a lot of car stuff which apparently sells well, though much of it falls into the S&G category. Multirotors are big. They have a few lipos, electric motors, (no IC), two radios and maybe six kits (RTF that is). No helis, no boats, some plastic kits which apparently sell quite well too. The shop seems to be doing okay. DIversifying is useful too. There used to be a hobby shop here that was part of a toy shop. Closed down now though, but the owner told me the only part of the business making a (thin) profit was the modelling section. Toys were a disaster. My local shop shares space with an electronics hobby shop (Jaycar, very useful) and a car parts (Autobarn) shop, which also has some interesting stuff in it. Spray paint, adhesives, all sorts of stuff. Those symbioses seem to work well. 3D printing may be another possible area to get into. So I think there are strategies for the survival of hobby shops, and imho that is a *good thing*.
  4. Perhaps a slight silver lining to all this is we may see a return of bricks and mortar hobby shops. I ran a hobby shop in Melbourne (Australia) for a few years, but had to close the doors as I just could not compete with Hobbyking. A kit on my shelf for $350 you could get at HK for $120. I was selling the FrSky Taranis when they were first released for $329, HK - $217. Two dollars less than the wholesale price to me from FrSky. But... they bought two thousand, I bought two. One of my suppliers, also a one man band who had been in the business for decades, told me once he had seen over 400 hobby shops close in Australia in the previous ten years, but very few new ones opening up (this was in 2016). But, maybe HK's woes are the hobby shop business' gain. They still exist, hanging on by their fingernails. Hopefully they will start getting a few more customers through the door who are fed up with HK's website, fed up with out of stock items, fed up of waiting weeks for their purchases to arrive, fed up with ordering quick links and fuel tubing online, and are now willing to pay a bit extra for the privilege of getting the item now, not having to deal with customs and import duty, and experiencing genuine after sales service that actually works. Am I dreaming? I hope not.
  5. Thanks Frank, that's interesting. Although I have acquired quite a collection of 3 axis sticks over the years. I have two of the Quanum sticks with Hall effect sensors, a JR Century 7 SS (currently in bits), a Kraft stick from my original Heathkit 8 channel, an unknown brand unit from Servo City (I think they still sell them, certainly robot shops still have them), a home made Chidgey stick (not made by me), and a Proline 6 channel with genuine all metal Chidgey stick. and I'm sure there are a couple of others lying around too that I've forgotten I have! The FrSky Horus sticks can also be modified to three axis, Aloft Hobbies in the US have a conversion kit. The knob also has a button, which is presumably intended for auto trim. Can't think of anything else I'd be likely to use it for off the top of my head. In the pictures the knob looks a bit long and thin to me, so I might have to print something a bit bigger to fit over the top! Ian
  6. Complete noob to this forum, but thought this project may be of some interest. I've been playing with the idea of building my own Tx for quite a while, but didn't really make any serious progress until I discovered the joy of 3d printing. I've always been a mad single stick fan, but nobody makes them any more. So a SS tranny build was the obvious project for me! The stick is from a Futaba 8SS-AP, the electronics from a Frsky Taranis. I've used the trim switches form the Taranis too, but the sliders are all 3d printed with a standard 5k pot fitted. Thought I'd post a couple of pics and a bit of history. This one was my first attempt to print a case. I had to redesign it a bit to fit everything in though. If you're wondering what that big patch on the screen is, I dropped the screen and it cracked, so all the LCD stuff leaked. This one was broken anyway, and I mainly used it to get all the measurements right, and to work out how I was going to fit the buttons. Getting the buttons to work properly has been, by far, the hardest part of this project. Here's another view. You can see the slots for the controls. On top at the back (and operated by the left thumb) are throttle and an aux channel (probably LS in Taranis-speak). In the middle, three holes for switches (SA, SB and SC), and the front are two slots for aileron trim and rudder trim. On the right hand side, from the top; elevator trim, RS (or throttle), switch SD intended for flaps (3 pos), switch SF (intended for retracts(2 pos), Throttle trim (or flight mode selector), then two more sliders, probably S1 and S2 in Taranis-speak. At the bottom is the momentary switch (SH). The remaining two switches are on the front. This is my latest effort but it still needs a few minor things fixed up, but you can see how the switches and sliders all fit. The on-off switch is now on the front (it was on the top near the aerial, but I couldn't get it to fit there), and there is a grill for the speaker. On the left hand side there is now a hole for the charge plug and led. I prefer to use NiMH batteries in my Txs, I can't see the point of using Lipos, so there is an 8 cell Eneloop pack in the back. In case you're wondering about the aerial... that's quite a saga. In the Taranis the aerial wire is soldered onto the Taranis backboard, so I couldn't get the board out without either desoldering the aerial or removing the aerial from its holder, which basically involved cutting the aerial in half lengthways, separating it and carefully removing the aerial wire. I decided on the latter course of action. With 20/20 hindsight I should have desoldered, but I don't know how hard it is to solder an aerial coax onto a board and I've never done it. So my problem was to find a suitable something to stick the aerial in. The military spec drinking straw was the lead contender. However I've now decided to bite the bullet and attempt to solder an aerial lead with an SMA plug that a standard 2.4G aerial can be screwed onto to the board (or ideally an SMA connector, but I don't have clue one how to do that). I've since printed two more cases, one in one piece and one in five pieces (front, top, bottom and two sides). There are pros and cons to both approaches, so I'm still experimenting. Ian
  7. Hi all. Decided I had to subscribe to RCM&E, and found this forum as a result. Some very interesting discussions. I ran a hobby shop in Melbourne (Australia) for a few years, but ended up closing the doors as I could not compete with online retailers. It was supposed to be my retirement income and something to do in my autumn years, but now I'm now properly retired, and have a boatload of aeromodelling gear (ex shop stock) in my garage, enough to keep me going for a few years yet. Anyway, I do a bit of flying, but my main passion more recently has been making my own transmitter. I have always been a mad single stick fan, and flew one for years back in the day ('70's and '80's). Nobody makes them any more of course. The last one I heard of was actually an Australian company called Silvertone. But their gear was very expensive, and proudly computer free, so not really competitive. I don't think they sell R/C gear any more, they are more involved with UAVs for commercial applications. I still have my old Heathkit 8 channel single stick, and attempted to fit a Microstar 2000 in it some years ago, without success. It just got too hard and I gave up on it. Now with Arduinos and other cheap microcontroller boards life is a lot easier. I have one SS tranny working, an Ace 5 channel of unknown vintage. I replaced the RF module with a Frsky Hack module and flew that successfully. Then I replaced the encoder board with an Arduino Nano that I programmed myself, and that now has many flights to its credit. Runs like a Swiss watch. I also have some other old SS Txs, including two of what I consider to be the Rolls Royce of SS Txs, one Futaba 8SS-AP (aero version) and one 8SS-HP (heli version). Both have stick units that are derived from the original Chidgey stick (Rolls Royce of sticks). Both in pristine condition. I have a third that I hacked mercilessly trying to shoehorn Taranis electronics into it. Again it all became too hard and it has been relegated to the unfinished projects box. The stick unit from it, however, is now part of my latest project. My plan though is to convert both the Futabas to 2.4G, but keep them as original as possible. So I will be hiding the screen in the back, under the existing cover. Maybe. I could never find an appropriate sized box for a transmitter, and my attempts to make one (from aluminium) usually ended in an unsatisfactory state (read complete cockup). Even with professional help. Then I discovered 3d printing. I've designed and printed several prototypes, and I now almost have a working SS Tx. Futaba stick, Taranis electronics, 3d printed sliders, and trim switches from the Taranis. I've got it to the point where everything fits in the box, but I have to extend the length of some of the connecting wires to the controls (sliders and switches). My soldering skills are hobby level at best, so I'm approaching that particular job with a bit of trepidation. Currently trying to make my own trim switches, as my next Tx will not have a donor Taranis. The nebulous plan living in the back of my head is to use a Quanum 3 axis stick from HK (regrettably discontinued now, luckily I bought two when they were available), 32 bit microcontroller board (probably ST or Arduino Due, I've got a few different ones), Nextion colour touch screen, FrSky 2.4G hack module, home brew sliders, toggle switches from local electronics shop, and 3d printed box. And, of course, home brew encoder firmware. And yes, I confess I do have a bit of a penchant for doing things the hard way! I'm also toying with the idea of using raw 2.4G tranceivers (available from Banggood for about $AUD4, or about GBP2.1). Tons of range, some experimenters have achieved 1.6Km with them. And straight digital, each frame can contain up to 32 bytes of payload data. Frame rates well in excess of 100 frames/sec are, in theory at least, easily achievable, so even if half the frames were dropped you still get the same frame rate as most modern transmitters have anyway. And not a PPM signal in sight. Well, this turned out to be a bit longer than I thought it was going to be. Apologies for the War and Peace. Cheers, Ian
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