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Digital servos - are they really worth paying extra for?

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Percy Verance23/04/2013 19:54:02
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As thread title.

I have a Hangar 9 Pulse XT 40 fitted with 5 Futaba 3152 digital jobs. Been flying the model for 3+ years and absolutely love it's flying characteristics. What I'm unable to discern though is just how much is down to the servos, and how much is the model. I also have a Great Planes 1/4 scale Extra 300S, also fitted with a hanful of Futaba digitals, and despite having the super dooper specialist £70 rudder servo, it doesn't feel particularly "special". So, the upshot of this (for me at least) is that the jury is still out on digi servos. Ok, I know the theory dictates they must be better, but I'm not that convinced.

Your experiences gents please.........

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 23/04/2013 19:55:44

ben goodfellow 123/04/2013 20:32:38
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i dont use anything but savox micro/mini servos in my smaller planes from the first flight i used them i could see and feel the difference and they are not as expensive as you think . i seen some one flying a 50cc petrol job with 3003 on everytthing which is just plane danerous . for what you can get a good high torgue digital for it def worth it

Percy Verance23/04/2013 20:42:41
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Well Ben, he certainly wouldn't be flying a 50cc petrol job with 3003's on our field.........

The Savox range of servos looks good, although not everyone seems to sell them. They appear to have gained quite a sound reputation in the relatively short time they've been on the market. I'll be looking for 2 good quality metal geared jobs to go in the wing of my DH 60 Moth soon, and I may just go the Savox route.

 

Edited By Percy Verance on 23/04/2013 20:57:56

ben goodfellow 123/04/2013 21:26:28
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well on my experience with savox you cant go far wrong ave about 20 of them. I will def buy more of them

Tim Mackey23/04/2013 21:58:06
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In the old days LOL, we used to have nothing else but standard servos such as Futaba 148s, and we all flew models as big or bigger than that with them. And I might add, the standard radio supply battery in the model was a simple 4 cell 500mahr pack. Gawd these kids today eh LOL

Mark R23/04/2013 22:16:34
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Savox definitely get my vote. Put a pair on my Acro Wot for aileron use, and wow the roll rate is amazing and unlike some digitals they dont seem to spend all the time on the ground 'buzzing' or hunting for centre.

But then again i have also used 3001/3003 on all my other models upto 4 stroke 90. Never had stripped gears or any crashes due to failure. Plenty of crashes due to dumb thumbs tho!! Can you get digital thumbs yet?

Area 5123/04/2013 22:24:51
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Posted by Tim Mackey on 23/04/2013 21:58:06:

In the old days LOL, we used to have nothing else but standard servos such as Futaba 148s, and we all flew models as big or bigger than that with them. And I might add, the standard radio supply battery in the model was a simple 4 cell 500mahr pack. Gawd these kids today eh LOL

Wow! Tim, your last comments made me smile out loud!

Try FD16m on my first set of Futaba 6M, these were red or black for left and right movement!

plus a luxury of a linear servo to.. I was reading (drooling actually) over an old mag from 1975 over the weekend, some lovely old kits etc. I could nt afford the ones I really want then.. so to be reading this about Digi now caught my attention.. would have loved a 3001 or 148 when I started out..

Would only use Digi if the control surface demanded this precision and strength...

Allan Bennett24/04/2013 08:10:21
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I don't see why analogue servos should be "dangerous" compared with same-size digital ones. I use digitals on my helis on the channels that are controlled by gyros (i.e. all channels on my flybarless, and rudder only on my flybarred) because of their faster reaction time. But everywhere else I use suitably-sized analogue ones.

Digital servos, I believe, react faster and hold their position more accurately than analogue ones. But we're probably talking about nano-seconds and minute movements so, personally, I don't see that they're worth the extra money for a Sunday-afternoon club flyer like me.

Chris Bott - Moderator24/04/2013 08:30:04
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We must never forget that the faster reactions, higher accuracy and better holding power come at a price. That price is in battery consumption. With digis, if we don't pay proper attention to selection and care of receiver battery, switch and wiring, then we can cause problems and have an installation that is actually more dangerous.

Steve Hargreaves - Moderator24/04/2013 09:40:12
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Chris makes a good point.....just to add to that its worth remembering that what really matters is the ability of the on board battery to supply the necessary current without dragging the supply voltage down too far. In this regard it really is the case that bigger is better. Physically small batteries such as AA cells can struggle to maintain their voltage under the transient loads imposed by powerful servos....dont know

TheFlyingCrust24/04/2013 09:55:27
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Another point. The analog servo's I have all 'jump' when energised on turn-on. If they just happen to be at the limit of throw (say a closed throttle, CROW brakes eyc...) then damage to the servo is a distinct possibility. Whereas the Digital's I have don't 'jump'. I think it was Slopetrashuk who highlighted this issue in a thread on setting failsafes. To date this hasn't been a problem for me - but worth bearing in mind.

Ian

Edited By Rentman on 24/04/2013 09:58:45

NigelH24/04/2013 10:56:42
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Percy, don't forget that the Pulse XT 40 is a very fine model anyway.

Tim Mackey24/04/2013 11:01:41
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Posted by Area 51 on 23/04/2013 22:24:51:
Posted by Tim Mackey on 23/04/2013 21:58:06:

In the old days LOL, we used to have nothing else but standard servos such as Futaba 148s, and we all flew models as big or bigger than that with them. And I might add, the standard radio supply battery in the model was a simple 4 cell 500mahr pack. Gawd these kids today eh LOL

Wow! Tim, your last comments made me smile out loud!

Try FD16m on my first set of Futaba 6M, these were red or black for left and right movement!

plus a luxury of a linear servo to.. I was reading (drooling actually) over an old mag from 1975 over the weekend, some lovely old kits etc. I could nt afford the ones I really want then.. so to be reading this about Digi now caught my attention.. would have loved a 3001 or 148 when I started out..

Would only use Digi if the control surface demanded this precision and strength...

Yes I well remeber the red and blue and linear ( they were v good actually ) servos - I was merely making the point that there is a lot of snake oil around this hobby of ours these days.

The only thing I would add is that the price of a typical bog standard servo back in those days, would probably be able to buy a few really nice powerful, metal /karbonite geared, digitals these days, so its a no brainer really.

Flite0824/04/2013 11:32:57
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Doesnt the use of gyro rx's demand digital servos because of their constant movement

Ben B24/04/2013 11:39:18
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I quite like analog servos because the slower movement makes the plane fly a bit smoother in my expeience. Equally where rapid speed is required nothing beats a digital.

The small Savox servos are cheaper because they're not made to the same standard as the normal size servos. The Savox 0256, for example, are the same as the ones used by Align in one of their smaller choppers (I think the 250) just rebadged.

Tim Mackey24/04/2013 12:30:46
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I think that for the average club flyer, in the typical model, didgitals are completley un-necessary. The very vast majority of flyers would never be able to tell the difference in response /speed time and for anything other than perhaps high performance heli tailends, they are snake oil.

I would say that if you believe that paying £277 a metre for premium speaker cables can really deliver VFM, then go buy expensive digital servos for your models!

Myron Beaumont24/04/2013 13:09:11
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Tim

I fancy a couple of their DC10T speakers----Only £5249 !

bouncebounce crunch24/04/2013 13:33:14
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Never owned or even considered digital servos, I use Hitec and JR and have never had a problem. all of my powered models are 54fs/ 46-2stroke size and below, and my gliders are not speed machines; i must add that i am only an average flyer not a competition guy so the expensive stuff i don't really need.

Tim Mackey24/04/2013 15:05:06
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Posted by Myron Beaumont on 24/04/2013 13:09:11:

Tim

I fancy a couple of their DC10T speakers----Only £5249 !

I'll take 6 please.smile o

Alan Wood24/04/2013 16:08:20
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Basically the only advantage with Digital servos is thier holding power the power to the control surface varies with movement on normal servos but its more constant with digitals. Digital doesn't affect speed, it just tends to the that top spec servos are digital.

Speed and torque are the biggest factors in choosing a servo. I can't speak for others but I can easially tell the speed of a fast servo vs a slower one.

There are so many servos because they all have a time and a place that suits them best.

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