I think a lot of the HeathKit problems were due to people building them up that were not very good at soldering stuff.
If my fading memory is correct, those servo problems were the result of using that variable capacitor as a feed back for the servo electronics.
I'm sure build quality had a great deal to do with reliability, or lack thereof. I'm a life-long electronics technician, so building the Heathkit was enjoyable.
Yep, it was the feedback capacitor version. Something like a KPS-9 equivalent as I recall. Big, heavy. I eventually replaced all of them with a newer Heathkit servo that had a feed back pot. Something like a KPS-10 equivalent. They were very reliable. Just had to clean the pots every now and then.
Well! I guess I'm not that old after all ( I'm 62). Although I started building plastic model cars in the early '60's, I didn't build my first R/C airplane until I was well into my 20's. With all of the horror stories I've heard over the years, I'm really glad I waited! My hat's off to all of the old heads who persevered through those early years of radio controlled models. You are true pioneers! Thank you, one and all!
I got interested in modeling at a very early age. Dad would take me out to his shop so I could watch him build balsa models and sniff glue with him. I was about 4 years old.
The modeling bug bit deep and by grade school, I was building my own plastic airplanes. Also, I was really into balsa gliders and balsa rubber powered airplanes.
By 6th grade, I was building and flying my own control line models. Started out with Cox .049's and topped out with McCoy .35's. I still have the 52 foot stranded wire control lines and handles. Did a little free flight, too. And I still have the Atwood .051 from my first free flight airplane.
But, I long dreamed about radio control. I just drooled over the thought of it. Then one day in early 1970, I saw an advertisement in a modeling magazine for the new 5-channel Heathkit system. I guess where I was? Vietnam. It was my turn to drive back to our base camp for resupply, so as usual, I stopped by the PX to pick up some items. I had about 30 days left in country, so I was cautiously beginning to think about going home.
So, I wrote my new wife about buying the radio with my last paycheck. She agreed, so I ordered the radio and it arrived at our apartment doorstep about a week after I got home.
That's one of the main reasons I hang onto that radio and take good care of it. I even still have the builder manual, complete with little notations from my wife on the borders of some pages (I guess I got pretty engrossed in the build). Heh!
Heathkit was the bomb back in the mid sixties. I remember watching my Dad build a Stereo Hi-fi. One night the soldering gun slipped and he almost burned his wedding ring in half. Can still hear the cuss words. Ouch!
My very first radio was a Kraft. Square bronze box circa 1979. Bought it after building a Joe Bridi trainer kit with an Enya .40. Took an exit from the hobby for 30 years and re-entered in 2010. This time with a Futaba 6EX. Wow ! Now using a Spektrum DX-9.
Oh yeah, the gold box. I used to drool every time I saw a Kraft radio at our RC field. I wanted one badly, but could not afford it.
And yes, today's radio systems are nothing short of fantastic. I fly two radios now: a Hitec Aurora 9 and a Spektrum DX-9. Both have been 100% reliable and no glitches. The programmability of both is simply amazing.
Speaking of that, I just finished converting my trusty 10-year old Bridi Killer Chaos to electric. Been working on it for about 2 weeks and finished it yesterday, except for the motor lead extensions.
I removed the Super Tigre G.90, long tuned muffler, throttle servo, motor mount, receiver battery and switch harness. The new electric system includes a Rimfire .80 brushless motor with slightly modified medium size motor mount, Castle Talon 90 ESC and Align 6S 5200 mAh LiPo battery.
It was a bit tricky getting everything to fit inside that super skinny fuselage and still get a correct CG, but it turned out real slick. No more mess. No more cylinder and muffler hanging out in the breeze. And above all, the entire, ready-to-fly rig weighs 9 ounces less!
I started with a World Engines Blue Max. It worked but the servos couldn't center at all. There was no support from the seller either. (was there Mick?) Still, I learned to fly with it. Couldn't afford a Skyleader at the time.
Everybody I knew back then were Mode 1 fliers and I still am.