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HomeRC & PowerAircraftHelicopterRadio - Servo - Gyro - Gov - Batt › What has changed in the servo world in the last 10 years?
03-14-2014 12:03 PM  4 years agoPost 1
wjvail

rrKey Veteran

Meridian, Mississippi

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OK. This is a post I've been considering for a few years.

I've been buying servos for about 45 years now. For most of that time there has been only a few choices from a few suppliers - Futaba, JR, Airtronics, and Hitec come to mind. There were a few lesser players like FMA and DAD but for the most part, if you were looking for a new set of servos, you were most likely looking at the spec's for servos from these suppliers.

Lately, there has been an almost endless number of servo suppliers with names I don't recognize.

Where did all these come from?:
MKS
BK
Savox
JRX
Align
Torq
Xpert
Blue Bird
Spektrum
Turnigy
ProTec
.
.
.

Many of these seem to be rebranded, nearly identical, servos.

What changed in the manufacturing and marketing of servos? What happened in the last 10 years to bring so many choices? Did the Foxconn of servos open up in Taiwan and start producing servos for any and everyone? Did I miss that press release?

How do you pick a servo these days?

Bill

"Well, Nothing bad can happen now."

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03-14-2014 12:16 PM  4 years agoPost 2
Craigdieslemac

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Valdosta, Ga USA

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Specs are what made me buy my Torq's.. The fact that I have never had an issue with them means I have 2 700's and 1 800 and they all have Torq's. It is confusing though, all the brands. I would imagine they are all just as good as the others... Kind of like a Ford/Chevy thing. I am so stuck on Torq's I modified a set to fit in my Diabolo S, which was specifically designed around Futaba 451's. The 451's are proven and reliable servos, but I, like most people, go with what you know.. I have never used 451's, and have had great success with Torq's, so I did what I could to use what I know.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam

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03-14-2014 12:33 PM  4 years agoPost 3
Retired2011

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Lee's Summit, MO

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How do you pick a servo these days?
It's a lot like helis...so many good choice now days.

I think you just have stick with the major brands, and choose what you get a good feeling about.

I varied from the recommended Futaba 451s also, but mostly because a great deal on a nearly new set of JRs, from a trusted source, became available first.

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03-14-2014 12:42 PM  4 years agoPost 4
MikeSherman

rrVeteran

Racine, WI

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I blindly choose my electronics based on how flashy their marketing campaign is.....

I still only go with name brand companies - mostly for their experience in the market and how they handle warranty claims. Servos do go bad and now when you spend $150 on one you are a bit hesistant to bin it.

-Mike

Team QuickUK Pilot
Team Heliproz

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03-14-2014 05:40 PM  4 years agoPost 5
Justin Stuart (RIP)

rrMaster

Plano, Texas

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Since heli servos get trashed pretty easily in a crash, I pick servos based upon the warranty and repair options.

Avant RC
Scorpion Power Systems
Thunder Power RC
Kontronik Drives

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03-14-2014 07:24 PM  4 years agoPost 6
AWittleWabbit

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O.C., CA

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Choice is good to a point.
I'm glad there are more players but I hope they don't gut the sales of established players who innovate. Out of the new player list shown, I've been very happy with MKS. The others, I haven't tried.

Heli-itis sufferer.

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03-17-2014 08:00 AM  4 years agoPost 7
slickporsche

rrVeteran

American/Philippines

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Servo world
As someone else told you, fly what you have in the past had the best luck with. The real culprit here is "3D" it has demanded things such as servos that many cannot afford. 3D = drastic , deliberate, destruction.

China is where most servos are made, and branded for whom ever buys them in large quantities. We (the world) taught them how to do it all, by moving our factories there and educating them in our best universities.

Have you yet heard of the "FR SKY Taranis" radio? Reported as a stroke of genius, and built with very high quality parts and a high quality build. It is also compatible with JR, and Futaba, and their S-Buss , and includes telemetry. But, guess what? It is very reasonably priced.

Of course, as consumers , we control where things are made, by our buying habits. Yes, there are high quality items made in China, just by Airtronics/Sanwa, Futaba, High tech, or JR Radio Control. Did I say Taiwan? No I did not.

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03-17-2014 03:44 PM  4 years agoPost 8
Four Stroker

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Atlanta

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You are about my age Bill. Servos were originally discrete analog and center tapped power. There there was the bridge output innovation. Then analog IC's. Servos got real good then JR came out with digital servos. Better yet for reasons I won't go into. Then brushless servos came out. Should (quality permitting) last forever. The next big step in servos is to get rid of the damn feedback pot. Several attempts have been made with induction, capacitance, and Hall Effect. What we need is an encoded optical disk.

I don't consider a one wire bus that big of an innovation.

Bill remembers when a premium servo was 20 in-oz and 0.9 seconds/90 degrees. But we had linear servos.

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03-17-2014 03:51 PM  4 years agoPost 9
Justin Stuart (RIP)

rrMaster

Plano, Texas

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I have heard some reports that the brushless servos are actually wearing out quite quickly. Does anyone else hear the news about this? Something about the holding torque decreasing over time.

Avant RC
Scorpion Power Systems
Thunder Power RC
Kontronik Drives

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03-17-2014 09:11 PM  4 years agoPost 10
Four Stroker

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Atlanta

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Well my BLS254's wear out very quickly but that is the bearings. Not really a technological challenge. You would think a $100+ servo would have ball bearings on the motor. Any news from other brands ?

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03-18-2014 02:53 PM  4 years agoPost 11
wjvail

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Meridian, Mississippi

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Bill remembers when a premium servo was 20 in-oz and 0.9 seconds/90 degrees. But we had linear servos.
In fact I do remember those days. As the old saying goes "The good ol' days weren't that good."

When I started, not only were there only a few servo manufacturers, but servos were not interchangeable between brands. If you had a Futaba radio, you were obligated to buy Futaba servos. Never mind that Pro Line had just come out with new killer servos. They wouldn't work with Futaba. You could have a drawer full of Kraft servos. They wouldn't plug into a EK Logictrol receiver.

I still occasionally fly my V1 X-Cell with a Futaba mechanical rate gyro and S5101 servos. That is vintage 1986 and when my helicoptering began. The S5101 servos were an upgrade then and somewhat more expensive. They were the standard(ish) .24 sec/60deg but the "high torque" 55.6in*oz heli version.

I remember a time when more torque implied (stupid) big servos. http://www.servodatabase.com/servo/futaba/s3302

And torque and speed are only a few qualities of a servo. Everything from reliability, to dead band, to the gear train has also improved.

Servos today are not only 5 time faster, they produce 5 times more torque. That's progress and I expected that. What I didn't expect is the explosion of new suppliers. For the first 30 years the number of suppliers was comparatively static. Only recently have I noticed an almost steady stream of servos with really good specs from suppliers I've never heard of.

To be clear, I'm not complaining! I just wonder where all these new servos are coming from.

Bill

"Well, Nothing bad can happen now."

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03-18-2014 03:05 PM  4 years agoPost 12
Four Stroker

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Atlanta

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I'll bet that there are no more than 3 servo manufacturers world wide. In the good ole days there was only one servo motor - Mitsumi. And that replaced the Mighty Midget used in all of the huge reed and analog linear servos.

But I have been waiting for potless premium servos since 1967.

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03-18-2014 03:30 PM  4 years agoPost 13
wjvail

rrKey Veteran

Meridian, Mississippi

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But I have been waiting for potless premium servos since 1967.
I wonder if longevity is a good goal for a servo supplier? Think about it really. Where is the profit in inventing something that never needs replacing? And as a consumer, I wonder if it's worth paying much more for a potless servo? Would you pay twice as much for a "forever" servo. Specifications for servos are changing so quickly that I never wear out a set of servos before something much better has replaced them. For instance, all of my comparatively new BLS servos are still functioning fine and they are not HV/S-Bus servos. They have been superseded before the pots got dirty. Go back a few more years and the handfuls of 9252s I've got sitting around here would not be installed in a new Synergy build no matter how little use they've had.

I read once that if they could cure aging in humans and people could theoretically live forever, people statistically would only live to about 156 years old. The average person would encounter a fatal accident, on average, in the first 156 years. (Yes - It's a morbid calculation). I don't know anything about the assumptions of this calculation or if it's even correct. Still it's an interesting idea right? Where's this going? Similarly, if you could create a servo that theoretically lasted forever, would you really end up with a lifetime servo?

I have seen Magnetic Induction servos but again, not from one of the traditional servo suppliers. Who makes these? ->

http://www.hobby king.com/hobby king/store/__22614__Mi_Digital_Brushless_Magnetic_Induction_MG_HV_Servo_4_00kg_0_034_57g.html

(You'll have to remove the spaces in the link above at the "hobby king"s.)

Bill

"Well, Nothing bad can happen now."

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03-18-2014 04:08 PM  4 years agoPost 14
Four Stroker

rrElite Veteran

Atlanta

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Hitec announced some a while back. No reports.

JR has some MPH servos. No reports. They are on version II. No TEAM endorsement!

The HK Mi servos work. I tested one. I fly with a guy who uses them exclusively. They are not premium servos. They remind me of PCM 512. But they work. The problem he has is the (pot) metal gears strip very easily. But they are cheap.

I have perfectly good Proline servos that I don't use any more. I would not mind retiring servos that are not worn out. I am looking for reliability and performance. The current pots (invented in 1982) last longer than most heli's.

F&M Titan Magnevac was an attempt - core in coil.
Kraft/Heath capacitor servos was an attempt - drift.
Hall Effect is the latest attempt - borrowed from industrial contactless pots technology.

I am afraid innovation in the future will mean connectivity and actual performance has peaked.

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03-19-2014 04:21 PM  4 years agoPost 15
Richardmid1

rrProfessor

Leeds, England

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If you can afford it stick with Futaba or JR.

60% of the time, it works every time!

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03-20-2014 04:20 AM  4 years agoPost 16
Zaneman007

rrElite Veteran

Texas - USA

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Types
What interests me is the type of servo. JR has so many types that I don't know whats going on.

JR has wide voltage servos. What is the difference between a high voltage servo and a wide voltage servo?

And whats the difference between a coreless servo and a brushless servo?

Is there a place that explains them all?

Old Guys Rule!

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03-20-2014 11:46 AM  4 years agoPost 17
Four Stroker

rrElite Veteran

Atlanta

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Brushless, Coreless, Cored(not generally used in heli's - $10 bulk servos)are types of electric motors - in order of cost high to low. It can be debated that coreless is better in performance to brushless due to the lower inertia. But brushless at least sounds better from a reliability point of view. If you gutted one of each and displayed the parts only about 1 in 10 heli pilots could tell you which was which.

HV of course means that it is designed to run on high voltage which is 2S LiFe or LiPo. The motor is different. A HV servo will run on low voltage, maybe 3 volts, with greatly reduced speed and torque and centering.

WV is an interesting concept. For JR it apparently means that the servo feedback loop parameters are adjusted for the detected voltage so that the servo performance is optimized for whatever voltage is present. If you take a traditional servo for 4.8 volts and run it at 8.4 volts, it gets really jumpy and nervous. Wide voltage could mean something else - the same torque, speed, and centering for a wide voltage range. This would not sell since everyone knows that more is better.

Hitec has been announcing and delaying a magic servo for many years now.

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01-24-2015 04:40 PM  3 years agoPost 18
wjvail

rrKey Veteran

Meridian, Mississippi

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Can I resurrect this thread?

Who is OMG servos? Is this a new servo manufacturer or just re-marketing of servos of another name? Among other people, Ron Lund seems to be selling 'em. The specs look good... http://www.rcomg.net/index.php?act=plist&sid=2

And where are BK servos coming from? This line of servos is growing and again the specs seem great. I assume Bert isn't producing them in his garage.

Is there one big factory in Shenzen that makes all the servos in the world to individual specifications for marketing by individuals?

Bill

"Well, Nothing bad can happen now."

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01-24-2015 07:34 PM  3 years agoPost 19
Ace Dude

rrProfessor

USA

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I've always had great luck with JR and Futaba servos so that's all I've used. It recent years I've just been using Futaba brushless servos with great results.

  

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