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HomeAircraftHelicopterRadio - Futaba FASST › Futaba premium radio and service bad for customer loyalty
08-09-2009 04:15 PM  8 years agoPost 1
ThomStilwill

rrNovice

Plainville, CT - USA

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I bought a Futaba 12z radio last fall, had the typical nightmare time trying to set my fleet up (I assume Futaba won't let the UI programmers that do such a great job on the 9C,10C etc, work in the premium radio department) Then when I was mostly done with the setup, the radio dropped to 0% battery and alarmed continuously. Checked the battery, not the problem, tries a fresh battery, not the problem. Sent it back to Futaba for repair, got it back two perfect weekends later. Tried it for one day, same problem.

So now I'm out at the peak of the season with my 'premium radio' in the shop for who knows how many more times. This radio replaced my 2 9Cs which never gave me a problem and were easy to program and cost 1/4 of the 12z.

Now having been through the Futaba service system before and having gotten screwed then I decided to find an easy to program, well supported premium radio.

Over the last 2 decades I must have influenced 4 dozen new and old flyers alike to purchase Futaba gear. From now on I have to recommend JR.

Futaba - go buy a JR 12x and see what I mean. Oh yeah and add a year on your warranty and don't leave your customers in the dark as to whether they are covered or not so you can screw then out of a diagnostic fee, just look it up and tell me if I'm covered.

Thom Stilwill
new JR customer

P.S. I'll be selling a very lightly used 12z (fresh from the shop) and a whole bunch of receivers in about 3-4 weeks.

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08-10-2009 05:07 PM  8 years agoPost 2
ThomStilwill

rrNovice

Plainville, CT - USA

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Response to my complaint in the RCUniverse Futaba Support Forum
All,

I am hoping this will inform other 12z transmitter owners about a bug in the radio's programming that will cause your radio's zero battery voltage alarm to fire up and stay on. Futaba didn't like my opinion in thier direct support forum, so I expect this will get deleted too. Hope you see this before that happens.

I originally placed this in the Futaba Direct Support Forum where apparently my voicing my opinion about Futaba's Support is not allowed. Read the response below. So here's the jist of it.

My new 12z drops to 0 volts after 1-2 flights - fresh battery, second fresh battery tested same result
Sent it in, Futaba Service replace a handfull of parts and sent it back with a clean bill of health.
Got the radio back, went flying and experienced the same results.

Called Futaba, spoke to a gruff, unpolite technician who said at first to send it back in, then after requesting a manager to speak to and being denied, told me that the issue only showed uu in 1 model due to the way it was programmed. I asked what specifically was programmed that cases the zero volt battery alarm, and he said "something I programmed", as if it werer my fault. He also informed me that Futaba knew about this and is working on a fix.

I will not be staying with this brand due to it's support department actions and treatment of it's customers as well as not feeling safe about the state of the radio with the current 'Mystery' bug.

Futaba - Feel free to delete any negative publicity, as per your SOP.

=============================================================

We deleted your post in the Futaba Support Forum due to the tone and content of the posting.

About your recent service: We just received a note from Futaba that the transmitter does have a software 'bug' that causes the battery indicator and alarm to go off when you have programmed the transmitter a certain way. They will correct this and issue an update soon. If you modify your programming slightly for the time being to not cause the low voltage reading and alarm, then your transmitter will operate properly and safely. As soon as a programming update is available, there will be a general announcement, as there usually is.

We regret that you felt so strongly after your recent service experience, but a slight modification of your transmitter's programming to eliminate the cause of the alarm will give you safe flying until Futaba releases the update.

_____________________________

Bill Baxter, Manager Hobby Services/Futaba Service/North America
3002 N. Apollo Dr. Ste. 1 Champaign, IL 61822 USA
Service Phone: 217 398-0007
Email: hobbyservices@hobbico.com

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08-10-2009 07:16 PM  8 years agoPost 3
duke666

rrKey Veteran

Hampshire, UK

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Thanks for the info. It would be nice if they told us the certain programming which causes this condition. I was looking at replacing and upgrading my elderly 10C I've had since starting in this Hobby but I shall now be looking at the JR12X.

Duke

OOOPPS............

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08-10-2009 09:53 PM  8 years agoPost 4
LaurenceGough

rrElite Veteran

UK

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Welcome to the better world of JR!

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08-15-2009 04:04 AM  8 years agoPost 5
ThomStilwill

rrNovice

Plainville, CT - USA

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I am really glad someone is reading my posts, for one reason because I think this type of thing should be transparent, instead of being censored on the other boards for example, and for another, I hope someone can learn from my mistakes and save themselves the trouble that I have had.

I pass along everything I can to make it easier for the next chap.

Happy flying guys,

Thom

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08-25-2009 03:46 AM  8 years agoPost 6
pseudonym

rrApprentice

Edmonton, Alberta

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Wish I had read this before I bought my 10CHP. They included an "Instruction Manual" that.. well.. I have seen better documentation of two person open source opperations. If I had even the slightest clue that the docs were this bad, I would never have bought the thing. I am seriously considering taking it back.

unspelling the world one misprint at a time.

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08-25-2009 09:32 PM  8 years agoPost 7
bbaxter

rrApprentice

Central Illinois

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The Futaba Service Center is now aware of this problem after being informed by one of our customers, Thom Stilwill, who posts above. Further, we have notified Futaba Japan. They are working on the problem and anticipate that the next upgrade will solve this software glitch. Since the 12Z has been out, we have seen only this one complaint about this problem. We would like to thank Mr. Stilwill for notifying us of this bug.

If you own a 12Z transmitter, this bug occurs in only the airplane program. If the mix is done in either Heli or Glider programs it does not cause the alarm to sound. Also, the 12FG and 14MZ do not have this bug, nor does any other Futaba transmitter. Please note, this issue does not affect the power output, it simply gives you the error beep and the battery percentage flashes 0% constantly, it will not cause your transmitter to shut down.

This issue only occurs when the following steps are used to set up this mix. Variations of this mix, such as Link In or Out, STK+STK mode, or setting this mix to activate on a stick will prevent this from happening. The mix is set up as follows:

In a blank Mix you will start by setting Mode as Line
Leave Position as 0 (zero)
Point can be anywhere
Leave all Rates at 0 (zero)
Offset will be 0 (zero)
Note: As you are setting this up, please leave your throttle stick at the bottom of its throw.

2nd page:
Master will be set to Throttle, with link out (-)
Slave will be set to Camber, with link out (-)
Trim and Stick to Stick mode will both be Off.
Fine tuning will be Null and Rate will be 0%

On the last page:
ACT set to ON
Switch, leave Null so that it is always ON
Speed in and out should both be 0 (zero)
Master should be left as Slave
And there are no Start and Stop times set.

With this mix as it is, move your throttle stick. Within 1 to 2 seconds, your battery percentage rate will drop to 0% and the warning beeps will sound.

Any of the following changes to this mixing scenario will eliminate the error:

1. You can change the LINK function on the second page to either Link in (+) or OFF.

2. Change the Stick to Stick mixing to ON

3. Activate this mix with a switch or slider of your choice. But remember, that once you activate the switch or slider, then move your throttle stick from the full down position, your radio will give you the false battery level reading.

The bug in the 12Z software does exist, but can be very easily avoided using the above workarounds. Once Futaba has the software corrected, an update will become available. Updates will be found here:

http://www.futaba-rc.com/downloads.html

The 12Z transmitter has been available since 2006. This rather odd combination of mixing combinations seems to be the only thing that could cause this error. We apologize for the inconvenience, but due the ability of this radio to be upgraded without being returned for service, the fix will be easily accomplished with the next upgrade.

If you have any other questions or comment please call us at Product Support or contact the Futaba Service Center:

Futaba Service Center North America
3002 N. Apollo Dr. Suite 1
Champaign IL 61822
USA

Phone: (217) 398-0007
Fax: (217) 398-7721
Email: service@futaba-rc.com
Web: http://www.futaba-rc.com/index.html

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08-26-2009 03:09 AM  8 years agoPost 8
Thomas L Erb

rrKey Veteran

Alliance ohio

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Hi Thom! just curious what were you trying to do with this mix scenario?
Glad they found the bug and have at "temporary patch". this is what i love about my 12z is that it is update-able with out having to ever send it back to HS. It still goes in for a checkup every year but at a time of my chosing.

Tom

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08-26-2009 04:46 PM  8 years agoPost 9
bkervaski

rrElite Veteran

Birmingham, AL, USA

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I find the 12Z, 12FG, and 14MZ's UI superior to any other radio and have never had problems of any kind, I love my 12Z! My experience with Futaba support has been responsive and fast.

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08-26-2009 06:00 PM  8 years agoPost 10
rexxigpilot

rrProfessor

Florida

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I also really like my 12Z. But rude customer service is a most unfortunate experience. There's probably nothing worse a manufacturer or rep can do than to erroneously blame the user!

I had a terrible experience recently with the folks at Ace Hobby regarding the crappy RL53 carb. Much of their erroneous blaming occurred right here on RR.

I feel your pain there ThomStilwill. I think Futaba still has the best equipment though. In my books the dissatisfaction with bad customer services can be overridden by a great product. Just my 2 cents.

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08-26-2009 06:20 PM  8 years agoPost 11
lfalsetto

rrKey Veteran

COLORADO

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Sorry to hear about this bug, I personally have two 12Z's I love them, I do have a wish list for future programming,

1. The ability to program my radio from my PC via a usb or on the Compacflash.

2. Model recognition similar to the Spektrum, So if you have the wrong model selected it will not link to the receiver, This should be easy.

3. Programmable beeps on the throttle and Idle up selections

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08-26-2009 06:45 PM  8 years agoPost 12
Chris Bergen

rrElite Veteran

cassopolis, MI USA

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Model recognition similar to the Spektrum, So if you have the wrong model selected it will not continue to fly, This should be easy.
You already have that!! It will not continue to fly....For LONG!!

Chris D. Bergen

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08-27-2009 07:24 PM  8 years agoPost 13
Thi-rex

rrApprentice

Michigan

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Futaba Rude Customer Service
I called their customer service # a couple times, locate somewhere in Illinois, and the technician talked to me like I owed him something. I mean, are these guys paid for their technical work? If YES then Futaba better tell them to be nicer or at least hire a receptionist!!!

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08-27-2009 07:43 PM  8 years agoPost 14
pseudonym

rrApprentice

Edmonton, Alberta

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I imagine that the most common calls that they get are in regards to the god awful documentation they provide. If you were asked the same silly question a million times a day, questions that should be answered by normal documentation, you might be a little bitter and unimpressed yourself.

I actually just had a email conversation regarding the overhead costs of support including a cost benifit anaylsis. Hopefully that will make it's way up the chain and someone with some clout will read it. But somehow, I doubt it =(.

~m

Here is the thread: http://www.rcuniverse.com/forum/m_9042306/tm.htm

unspelling the world one misprint at a time.

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08-28-2009 04:39 PM  8 years agoPost 15
Skaluf

rrVeteran

Champaign, IL

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10C
pseudonym
I'm sorry to hear you are having trouble with the 10C. Let me see I can help you with the Throttle Cut programing. Learning a new radio can be confusing at best.

The first thing you need to do is turn the mix on, this means you need to change it from INH (inhibit) to what will probably be OFF depending on what switch you have selected. Next go down to the bottom of the page and select the switch you want to use to cut the throttle. Most of us use F (spring loaded). You'll want to set it up so that it turns ON when you pull the switch towards you. If it operates the other direction change the POSI (position) direction to DOWN.

Next, determine where along the stick travel you want the CUT to be active. This sets where it starts to be active to the bottom of the stick travel. So, if you set the value at 50% (mid stick), the cut will only work when the throttle stick is below 1/2 stick. This value is set in the THRO (Throttle) value. You can simply move the stick to the position you want to use and hold down the dial-n-key button, it will then automatically set the value for you based on the stick position.

Finally, power up your machine. While pulling the cut switch to the ON position select the RATE menu and change the value to move the servo to the postion you need to kill your engine. That should do it. Let me know if you have any trouble, I'll try to monitor this forum for a couple of days to make sure you get it working.

Regards,

Steve Kaluf
Futaba Marketing
Hobbico

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08-28-2009 06:24 PM  8 years agoPost 16
pseudonym

rrApprentice

Edmonton, Alberta

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Thanks for the responce Steve, and I really do appreciate the help. I had already figured it out thanks to an absolutly amazing video series located here:

http://helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=111266

He is a bit long winded at times, but well worth watching. Futaba/Hobbyco should be licencing the videos from him.. or paying him somehow. Certainly the profit they made from my radio is entirely their responcibility as the videos prevented me from taking the set back for a refund.

I have to say again, I really do appreciate the help, but in reality, I want to be able to do it myself. That means having the documentation avalible so that I can solve my own problems. I really don't want to have to go onto a forum and ask questions for every problem that I have.

Now, about four people at Futaba have answered my question. Or at least I have recived four responces. All four could have been headed off by simply putting the line INH = Inhibited somewhere in the manual. Simply having a editor look at the document would have solved the typo on pg 41 and having a index and a command reference would make it so you would have to answer these boneheaded questions alot less frequently. That saves Hobbico money and makes your job alot less frustrating.

You charge $800 for this device, and it is a "sport" model. Apparently it is even worse when you look at the "Pro" models. The reason that I went with a premium product is that, as a rule, premium products are expensive because the vendor has taken the time to document them throughly and spent the money to insure that the documentation is professional and complete. I even took the time to point out how much money you were loosing by not having a maual avalible. Please, answer the point that I am making, don't just repeat information that has already been posted ealier. It makes it seem like you aren't reading the entire thread.

~matt

unspelling the world one misprint at a time.

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08-28-2009 06:54 PM  8 years agoPost 17
DougV

rrVeteran

Miramar, Florida - USA (Ft. Lauderdale)

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Now, about four people at Futaba have answered my question. Or at least I have recived four responces. All four could have been headed off by simply putting the line INH = Inhibited somewhere in the manual.
Matt,
From the Glossary section of the 10CG manual:
"INH: makes a feature inactive/unable to be used. When a function is inhibited, it cannot be used even if the assigned switch is ON"

Doug.

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08-28-2009 07:06 PM  8 years agoPost 18
wc_wickedclown (RIP)

rrProfessor

long beach calif

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RCUniverse Futaba Support Forum is horrible
they delete post for some of the dumbiest reasons,

they deleted my post because someone asked about setting up a radio
to a sim in my post , i answered his question trying to help the guy
and they deleted my post instead of delete the guys post that was in the wrong place in the first place, so i deleted my account
and made a youtube video telling the world how horrible that form is
and they cant delete my youtube.

RCUniverse Futaba Support Forum makes futaba look really bad.

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08-28-2009 08:17 PM  8 years agoPost 19
Ace Dude

rrProfessor

USA

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I even took the time to point out how much money you were loosing by not having a maual avalible.
Amazing! You wouldn't happen to have next week's winning lottery numbers now, would you?

  

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08-30-2009 04:34 AM  8 years agoPost 20
ThomStilwill

rrNovice

Plainville, CT - USA

My Posts: All  Forum  Topic

Thomas L Erb -

I was trying to use the right slider for camber. The model was set to airplane, 2 ailerons, 1 elevator. Nothing really that out of the ordinary. And the bug happens when you run the slider up and down a couple times. Nothing like a zero battery warning to make you not want to risk your aircraft.

I've been using Futaba gear for over 2 decades and all their manuals are almost useless. The 9z was the biggest POS to program and I "upgraded" to a 9c which I was very happy with. I've help several local flyers with their 10c and it's a nice radio, but not worth double the 9C.

I also shut down my account with RCUniverse. I had 2 separate posts either edited or deleted because it was bad publicity for Futaba. Futaba needs to pull their collective heads out and understand that their own service department is the worst publicity they could have.

My own company practices extreme transparency, if a mistake is made by anybody, all cards are placed on the table and no one is ever censored.

Happy flying,

Thom

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