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Converting old kit to save buying new

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Peter Yates12/02/2019 11:08:14
7 forum posts
Morning all.

I'm a newcomer around here, I last flew some 20 years ago as young kid.

Dad and I still have all our radio gear, half-finished models, at least 1 brand new TX up in the loft.

Is it still possible to use the old gear?
Is it possible to convert it to modern specs? (A plug in of some sort?)
Or am I best off binning it and starting over again?

I'm just testing the water at the moment, to see what sort of options are around. There's no point buying new stuff if it's simple to use or update the old!

Many thanks,
Chris Walby12/02/2019 12:20:33
943 forum posts
226 photos

Welcome aboard Peter.

I would say test and use your old equipment as not many people use 35Mhz anymore and see how you get on. If you get back into the hobby then there are lots of ways to either upgrade or buy new.

Best search out a local club if you can, pop down the flying field and I am sure you'll get lots od useful advice.

Geoff Sleath12/02/2019 12:21:40
3272 forum posts
251 photos

Obviously the models will be OK (I've recently been building an ancient kit and old unstarted kits are popular s/h buys - at least to me). The servos will be also be OK (the connectors will be identical to new ones unless they're old Sanwas which were different - ie the positive connection wasn't in the middle. Multiplex also had servos with a different connector.

That leaves you with the transmitter and receivers which have changed a lot in the last 5/10 years. There's no reason why you can't use 35Mhz which is still an exclusive model aircraft band. There are fewer users of 35Mhz so there'll be less chance of needing to wait for the peg but OTOH users may have lost the habit of checking the peg board.

Depending on your transmitter you could convert it to 2.4gHz if it has a plug-in RF module on the back like my very old Futaba FF7 Super. Certainly Frsky make modules to convert bot JR and Futaba transmitters. However you would need to buy new receivers as they are not possible to convert from 35Mhz to 2.4 gHz.


kc12/02/2019 12:43:30
5926 forum posts
168 photos

Beware old nicads which may seem to charge up but won't be reliable in flight. Buying new nicads for a Tx may not be cost effective and might be money better spent on new Tx. Anything stored in a loft for a long time might suffer extremes of hot and cold and therfore condensation might have affected the electronics and connectors.. Reliability of radio gear is top priority and most of us don't take chances with radio because it is relatively cheap now.

sgwlm12/02/2019 12:49:32
110 forum posts
84 photos

Hello Peter,

welcome back to a brilliant hobby,

20+years on, you will find it is now cheaper to do this hobby, and such a wide choice.

go along to your local club, have a chat with them, maybe get flying if they have a plane and buddy box, so you can get some stick time while you decide all of your options.

Nigel R12/02/2019 12:53:53
2932 forum posts
470 photos

Welcome back.

Lots is the same, and lots has changed.

As said, radio kit is relatively cheap now, if you are not 100% on its condition then I would say replace.

Get to a local club, see what most of the guys are using. It may be easiest to fit in with the commonly used brands to start with,

Richard. W.12/02/2019 14:12:24
63 forum posts

Hello, Peter.

I'm in a similar situation in that I recently returned to the hobby after a 10 year break.. All my stuff had also been stored in the loft for that time.

It's 35mhz and was almost new when I put it into storage so I was reluctant to just change it all to 2.4 simply because that's what most people use today.

After joining my local club, the general advice was to keep using it until I feel I want to change. Of course there are one or two members who said I must change "Because everyone uses 2.4 nowadays".......BUT..... Just because 2.4 is today's choice, it doesn't mean that 35mhz doesn't work any more.

Remember that many of the people in your club will have used 35mhz themselves before switching, so will be perfectly able to assist you if needed.

Aside from the advantage of not having to wait for a peg anymore, there is now plenty of top quality 35mhz equipment being sold for peanuts, so for my pennyworth I'd suggest you replace all the battery packs (TX and RX) then do a quick check to make sure everything powers up and operates as it should........And go fly!

Cuban812/02/2019 15:17:58
2573 forum posts
12 photos

Depends on how well the gear has been stored. Tucked away in a drawer in a centrally heated spare bedroom or whatever and chances are it'll have survived reasonably well, However, certain electronic components do deteriorate with age,no matter where the gear's been stored - tuning drifts, pots get noisy, switches corrode etc - and old nicads are a complete no-no. If it's been in your loft or a cold and humid garage for twenty years then I'd not use it, just in case.

In the two clubs that I belong to, so 200+ members, most of us have 35 gear tucked away but I can confidently say that nobody uses it anymore. Even the few 2.4 conversions seemed to have gone as well.

Look in the current RCM&E, some nice new and modern kit for well under a hundred quid, if your budget's tight.

Don Fry12/02/2019 15:54:14
3728 forum posts
42 photos

My sixpence worth, test the batteries properly. They will probably be scrap. If scrap, a modern NiMh battery to suit is not big money. The aircraft flight switches will be scrap. Test the kit properly. If it passes proper tests, it's good to use. Be aware some transmitters of that age have a secondary battery, which was the power supply for a computer memory or similar. If that's flat it's basically scrap.

If you need to ask how to test properly, you need to find some one who does not need to ask, to give you a hand. It's not something you can ideally do via a forum, too many variables.

But I bet your kit is OK.

You haven't disclosed your experience level, or indeed what kit you have.

sgwlm12/02/2019 16:01:51
110 forum posts
84 photos


if you do choose to use your 35meg gear, check for black wire corrosion,

gangster12/02/2019 17:06:57
929 forum posts
16 photos

Nothing has changed in the last few decades with regards suitability of the Radio gear with regards the normal sport model. 20 year old gear would be just as suitable as it was. Modellers are still flying their favourite old radios from the last couple of decades. In many cases the build quality was better in the past The big question is how well had it survived storage and as already mentioned was the battery left in black lead corrosion can also effect pcbs and switches. As already stated yes some can be converted to 2.4 using FRSky modules which are real cheap to buy as are the receivers but are very good indeed. I guess the question on everybody’s mind is what TX is it I use old gear on my glow models but o have recently converted it to 2.4 for two reasons one is it’s easier to carry a running ic plane to the strip ( this is not an invitation to wake up the self appointed safety police) secondly I don’t believe the frisky modules will be available for ever and I might regret missing the opportunity I intend to keep that old TX for the foreseeable future it’s way better than anything available in that market position made today

Frank Skilbeck12/02/2019 17:46:46
4423 forum posts
101 photos
Posted by Geoff Sleath on 12/02/2019 12:21:40:

The servos will be also be OK (the connectors will be identical to new ones unless they're old Sanwas which were different - ie the positive connection wasn't in the middle.


As were Fleet and don't forget the pretty old Futaba that had exposed pins on the servo leads (Yes I've still got both!).

I still have a few club models on 35 mhz, but all my gliders and other stuff that goes to fly-ins are on 2.4.

Nigel R12/02/2019 18:00:26
2932 forum posts
470 photos

Second Don's post.

We don't know what sort of state your stuff is in.

Former Member12/02/2019 18:24:20
724 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

Don Fry12/02/2019 18:37:47
3728 forum posts
42 photos

Might I suggest lads, we hold this thread, and wait for Peter to come back to us, before we bury him in information.

Peter Yates15/02/2019 12:17:58
7 forum posts
Afternoon all

Firstly, apologies for having not replied sooner. The week has been crackers, and I've not had time to pick my nose until this morning!

Secondly, thanks very much indeed for all the info. Its a lot to digest in one lump, and I realise I have quite some research to do!

Very briefly (only a short tea break!) I last flew aged 13 ish. I had about 10 hours on a buddy box with an instructor on a mid-wing trainer.
I was working towards getting one of the BMFA certificates (can't remember which!) when motorbikes took over from flying!

Up in the loft is all our kit (and caboodle) from when Dad and I were getting geared up for ourselves. Half-finished ARTF models, glow engines and electric gliders, and a Multiplex Smiley are up there.

Dad wants to have a clear out, but I don't want anything thrown away, and if it's useable/upgradeable I will use it rather than chuck it!

I do a lot of air-rifle shooting on a farm, and I'm sure I would get permission to fly there. A club does use a corner of a field, and I would naturally not use their strip - nor fly when they are there - unless I was a member.
At the moment it is toe in the water stuff to see if the bug will return.

Thanks again for all your input!
kc15/02/2019 12:29:27
5926 forum posts
168 photos

Of course if you have 35 mhz don't if there is a club there - just by switching on you may 'shoot' someone down or they you!

Don Fry15/02/2019 12:48:05
3728 forum posts
42 photos

Peter, your best bet is to wander down the club, when they are there, break the ice, and talk. Your problems are, not much experience, kit that needs some experience to test, and a mojo that is untested. Quickest way to kill the mojo is break the kit. And without some hands on help, you will break the kit.

Look for someone who is grey or bald. Comes, flys, goes home, with undamaged models. Has " now here's what we can do"in statements. Not "that will never work"

Piers Bowlan15/02/2019 13:04:14
1804 forum posts
44 photos

I would have thought that most clubs would be open to you flying with them as a guest a couple of times so that you can, 'dip your toe in the water', before joining.

As others have said, renew the batteries in the transmitter, usually six or eight Enerloop low discharge NiMH cells won't cost too much. I second what Ganster says about black wire corrosion. Check all the internal wiring very carefully and if any of the negative wires seem stiff and 'crunchy' it is scrap! Years ago I kept my Fleet Tx in my garage for a couple of years and had to have the main board replaced as the copper had corroded.

Peter Yates15/02/2019 13:23:08
7 forum posts
Don Fry, thats a cracking good reply!
I will be shooting at the farm this weekend hopefully, so I will ask the landowners when the club will next be down there.
You are quite right about the kit, and I've enough things in pieces without breaking up anything else!

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