Goolwa Radio Yachting Group

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Goolwa RC Yachting

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South Australian Radio Yachting Association

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Modifications to Radios

Rudders Chain Plates Mast fitting for shrouds forestay Mainsheet fairlead Water proofing the hatch Improving Ballast Replacing Shrouds 'B' rig sails Radio Setup Clew/Tack Adjustment Improved sheeting system Gooseneck repair

While not strictly a modification as such, it is worth looking at setting up your radio in a fairly standard way to assist you in the control of your vessel.

  1. Use a mode 2 radio.
    In mode 2 the the radio is arranged so that the steering (rudder) is controlled by the right knob and the ''throttle' control which is used for the sail winch is on the left knob. Almost all radio yacht sailors use a mode 2 radio!

  2. Most commonly used movements
    When sailing away from you moving the steering knob (right hand knob) to the right should steer the yacht to the right.  This is the most logical way to steer a vessel - similar to a car where the movement of the knob equates to the top of the steering wheel.
    Raising the sail control knob (left knob) lets the sails out and pulling the knob down pulls the sails in.  Again this is the most logical arrangement as a pulling action on the knob equates to a pulling action on the sails sheets.
    95% or more of radio yachts are set up in this way!  It has significant advantages when everyone is the same as swapping yachts to test sail setting and comparing sail arrangements between yachts becomes easy without having to relearn a new set of movements. (Hint:  It is good practice to set up your sail winch/sheets such that the trim knob for the sail movement is in the full down position rather in the middle where it is most commonly placed for other uses.  This allows you to have a known reference spot and your sheets should be adjusted to be fully in when the main knob is full down.  This makes it easy then to let the sheets out a known amount as the wind increases without looking at the physical position of the trim knob as full down is right in and so many clicks up allows the sheets to be eased.)

While our brain is a wonderful thing and can learn to cope with any arrangement of movements experience has shown the above arrangement to be the most easily learned.

What to do if radio is mode 1?
Many simple radios can be swapped from mode 1 to mode 2 by changing the spring and ratchet action in the transmitter.  This does require careful manipulation of the mechanisms with small springs and screws so work on a clean surface where little springs can't go too far.  If you already have a mode 1 radio and use it for other purposes then buy another radio.  These are incredibly cheap from places like Hobby King etc and it simply makes no sense not to have a dedicated sailing radio.

What to do if movements are back to front
If the sails move out when the knob is pulled down or if the yacht steers to the right when the knob is moved to the left then the direction has to be reversed.  The simplest way to fix the steering may simply be to swap the arm on the rudder servo to the opposite side so the connecting rod moves diagonally to the steering arm on the rudder shaft.  If this is too difficult as the arm may catch on the yacht structure then the reversal has to be done in the radio transmitter.
All radios have a process to reverse the motion of each function.  In the simplest radios there is a sliding switch for each function which reverses the motion.  In advanced radios there is a built in interface where this can be done.  In the computer programmable Hobby King radios, this action needs changing via a simple computer program while the radio is connected to the computer.  There are quite a few members who have the cable (cost about $3.00 from Hobby King) and the programs required are available from the Hobby King web site.  Two small programs are required. 

Programming a Hobby King radio (HK-T6A V2 6 channel radio)
This requires the cable and two files from Hobby King to be loaded on your computer.  It assumes a PC with windows XP, Vista or Win 7 operating system tho I'm not sure if it works on a 64 bit system.  I would suggest you right click the links below and click on 'Save File As' so files are copied to your computer.  Put them somewhere relevant so you don't lose them
 USB driver and its readme file
T6Config program and its readme file

Having saved them to your computer, run the USB driver exe file by double clicking it in Windows Explorer.  This will extract the files to a default folder. Now run the extracted exe file.  Read the readme file for reference.
Now extract and run the T6Config program exe file and read the readme file for reference.  This will create a shortcut on the desktop and certainly within the programs

Now the USB cable can be plugged in and connected to the transmitter.  Wait while the drivers you have just loaded are assigned to the USB cable - wait!! it may take a while. It should have indicated what com port it is set up for usually com3 or 4.   Once completed, you should turn the transmitter on and open the T6config program.  Now ensure the com port is set to the correct one using the 'setting' button.  Click the get user button and wiggle the sticks on the transmitter.  If all is well the black lines should move corresponding to the various sticks movements.  If no movement occurs then try unplugging the cable from the computer, turn off the T6config program and reconnect.  If still no joy then check the com port again.  If it won't connect and stay on the correct com port then there may be a device in your computer causing a conflict - most commonly a modem.  Go into 'device manager' in 'system' found in the 'Control Panel' and disable the modem and try again.  If this fixes the problem then you have the option of leaving it disabled or disabling it prior to using the T6config program (after all who uses a modem these days?).  Once the program is working OK then the receiver in your yacht can be turned on as well and any changes you make in the program are immediately reflected in the movement of the sails and rudder.

The servo reversing option is misspelt in the program as 'Revserve'.  Using this option tho, each control function may be reversed.  The other useful buttons are the End Point and Sub Trim.  Its a good idea to open the DR (dual rates) and set all values to 100 as this negates any effect the switches might have on the operation of your model

Once you are happy with the settings then its a good idea to save them using the Save button.  You will be prompted for a file name - I just add a description in front of what is suggested eg BenPhantom .........

Hope this helps.  If not I have the program set up on my laptop and can fix the radio on a Monday.

Ben Morris

page last edited on 06/12/2011