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>> Home > Forum > Electrical Related > Help with vintage rc.
Help with vintage rc.
Author Message
Colin H.
(Fleet Admiral!)

Forum Posts: 464
11th Feb 2019 14:19  
>> Permalink

Hi there fellow boaters, I have just acquired a vintage model fitted with a futaba digimax 4 reciever.
What is the chance of it working with any other type of transmitter, or do I need to buy a vintage digimax 4 transmitter.
Does it have interchangeable crystals.
I could change all the electrics but would prefer to keep it original.
Any help would be appreciated, thanks Colin.

Attached Files - Click To View Large

Fair winds and calm waters,

Forum Posts: 101
11th Feb 2019 15:27  
>> Permalink

I think the Digimax had interchangeable crystals - but didn't it also have 4-wire servos? If so, you will need a full Digimax set....

In general, it is not a good idea to use Vintage equipment unless you know what you are doing. The kit will be old, could need maintenance or repair (which may not be easy to source) and will have less range, reliability and interference rejection capability than modern sets. It will be 27Mhz. You may have to repair the electronics yourself.

If you source a transmitter which SHOULD work with it, but doesn't, you will need expert attention to determine what is wrong - again, this will be hard to find. I assume that you do not know if that receiver works at the moment....

Running vintage radios is rather like running vintage cars. They look great when they are operating properly, but need a lot of work to maintain, and do not perform as well as modern kit.

One source of help might be the Single Channel and Vintage RC group here - . They have specialists in old equipment...


Forum Posts: 17
11th Feb 2019 16:33  
>> Permalink

hi there I am in agreement with DodgyGeezer about the reliability of vintage radio gear. I believe the Digi4 servos were Linear movement, rather than rotary as in modern day servos and yes some of the old versions were 4 wire; with male plugs at the end. One of the main downfalls of these old sets was thing called 'black wire' its where the negative side wire in the electrical wiring system actually turns black and corrodes. The only way to repair it is to actually renew the wiring and once you have it in one part of your radio system, it inevitably works its way through the whole of your radio system.

The transmitters do turn up on that popular auction site. I have often fancied purchasing one just to play around with it - but I wouldn't trust one operating a precious model on the lake, because I can remember the 27 mghz radio gear being very prone to interference from the slightest thing.👍



Forum Posts: 101
11th Feb 2019 17:31  
>> Permalink

I wouldn't want to stop people running old kit - far from it! I have a single-channel 1962 Macgregor with a Kinematic which I use occasionally - when there's no other 27Mhz around. But you need to be aware of the issues.

With this sort of kit (and even worse for valve systems) you will find that summer is for sailing, and winter is for repairing. Here is the start of a thread on RC Groups with myself and Taurus Flyer sorting out a capacitor problem on the TX - which meant reverse engineering both the Rx and TX....

One example of problems you may encounter is that the caps in old kit tend to die, particularly if the equipment has not been used for many years. Electrolytics, in particular, suffer. See

You can sometimes reform the electrolytics by turning the TX and Rx on and leaving them powered up for a day or so. It's tricks like this that you need to be aware of if you are going to run vintage equipment....

(Fleet Admiral!)

Forum Posts: 2547
11th Feb 2019 22:14  
>> Permalink

Good point Dodgy,👍
which I also emphasised about a year or so ago in a similar discussion about vintage kit.
I still have some 35 year old kit, Sanwa and McGregor which is still going strong. Still works so why chuck it away?
Apart from that my 2.4Gig gear is no use for subs!
So my 20 odd year old 40Meg set gets pressed into service for my Type 1A U Boat. Still have a few 27Meg sets JFF😉
Cheers, Doug😎

Young at heart - slightly older in other places 😉 Cheers Doug