By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more

Member postings for Gareth Jones

Here is a list of all the postings Gareth Jones has made in our forums. Click on a thread name to jump to the thread.

Thread: Spektrum DX5E transmitter problems
15/07/2017 20:51:37

I have been using Spektrum equipment for about 8 years, have carried out the binding process, probably hundreds of time, I did not need to read the instructions each time I did it. You fit a bind plug in the receiver, power it up, hold the trainer switch up, turn on the transmitter power, wait till the light is solid in the receiver and then let go of the trainer switch - its bound. You can then remove the bind plug from the receiver. However, on reading this old PDF file I saw a note at the bottom of the binding instructions it said:-

NOTE Continuing to hold the trainer switch during the binding process will prevent failsafe positions being learned by the receiver.

Bloody hell I thought, all these years I have been doing it wrong. As soon as the lights start flashing on the transmitter you should release the trainer switch.

Armed with this knowledge I went back and rebound all four models by the proper process, with the throttle in the mid, off position. I removed the bind plug from the receiver and then turned the transmitter off. In every case the failsafe now worked correctly and the motor stopped. However I still had the problem that when I turned the transmitter back on, the receiver might or might not link. Well at least I had fixed one problem, so, after I had rebound the pink transmitter and its receiver correctly, I started to investigate the failure to link. A bit more internet investigation of this problem gave me a clue as to where the problem might lie.

Next - the ON OFF switch

15/07/2017 20:34:10

By now I was convinced there was a problem with the green transmitter so I brought all four models linked to it, into the cottage. The transmitter was switched on and all 4 models switched on, one after the other. After a bit of messing around I had all four models linked and operating satisfactorily, simultaneously. I wandered around the room, pointing the transmitter aerial in different directions - no problems. I turned each of the models off and back on and they linked, immediately or after a couple of seconds. I repeated this process turning multiple models off and back on - no problems.

I turned the transmitter off, all four models ran at full speed in reverse, the default failsafe was obviously set. I turned the transmitter back on, nothing happened. I repeated this and all four models linked again and worked satisfactorily. I went through this process several times, enough to convince me that the receivers were definitely not becoming 'unbound', just failing to link when the transmitter was turned back on.

I then embarked on a bit of internet research and made the first breakthrough, when I found an old PDF of the transmitter/receiver binding instructions.

Next part the first breakthrough.

15/07/2017 20:08:02

About a month ago my wife and I began preparing for the Manx MBC Manannan event and for the fun competition, we needed to operate two boats simultaneously and planned to do this with the two DX5E transmitters. We were taking 4 boats bound to one of these transmitters (known as the green one because the tops of the control sticks are painted green) and 1 boat bound to the pink transmitter (because it's sticks are painted pink.) The reason for painting the sticks was that in our club, DX5E transmitters used to be very popular and there were several occasions when members picked up the wrong one and failed to control their own boat, with amusing if not damaging consequences. Hence, along with several other club members we personalised our transmitters.

On practicing for the fun competition the night before we left for the Isle of Man, the receiver in the boat operated by the green transmitter failed to link. After repeated switching on and off and rebinding I eventually got the receiver to link but a short time after putting the boat in the water the failsafe operated and the boat reversed at high speed into the pond side. Fortunately it was a robust model (a Springer tug) and if you have seen the Manx MBC fun competition you would know why a robust model is required. This problem recurred on the next trial but it was too late to do any further investigation. In the Isle of Man the problem recurred after a period of satisfactory operation and, at the end of my entry in the steering competition, my Mountfleet steam drifter embarrassingly set off backwards at full speed and rammed the far side of the pond. Fortunately there was little damage as the boat was to be entered in the scale kit class the following day.

On the second day of the competition I found it was impossible to get my entry in the 'on the water scale' to link to the green transmitter and had to withdraw it. At the end of the day, with a lot of last minute switching and rebinding we got both our entries to work for the fun competition. The frustration these problems caused led me to start a more methodical investigation in our cottage the following day.

Next part, the investigation

15/07/2017 17:35:39

In the light of a well known contributor's problems in binding receivers to a transmitter I thought I would enlighten the readership with my own experiences with some Spektrum equipment over the last few weeks.

We have two DX5E transmitters and a DX6i computer set. The DX5Es are now about 8 years old and for completeness, both operate on the DSM2 protocol, although I don't think that is relevant to our experience.

Over the past few years we have had two distinct problems with the DX5E sets. After a period of storage, we often found that the receivers and transmitters failed to link when they were switched on. My assumption had been that for some reason, they had become 'unbound'. Usually, rebinding them would restore operation but often multiple attempts at binding were required. All our receivers are genuine Spektrum items, a mixture of DSM2 and DSMX types but all should be compatible.

The second problem began to emerge when we started to use the MR200 marine receivers which seem to be on a slightly different protocol, neither DSM2 or DSMX but should still be compatible. When the receiver and boat were powered up with the transmitter already on, the motor would run briefly at full throttle in reverse. I was convinced this was something to do with the failsafe system. The instructions were to bind the receiver with the throttle in the required position for the receiver to adopt that as the failsafe and not assume the default of fully back. In an aircraft, fully back would normally be off, but in a typical model boat set up with the throttle spring loaded to mid position, fully back will give full reverse as the failsafe. Despite repeatedly following the instructions and setting the throttle to the mid position when binding, the failsafe always gave me full speed in reverse.

The story will be continued after tea.

Edited By Gareth Jones on 15/07/2017 17:37:35

Thread: tea clippers
16/06/2017 08:13:10


I think we only paid about £15 for the David MacGregor book secondhand. It has a huge amount of information on a vast number of tea clippers but I would not pay 400 dollars for it.

If it's of any help I could scan the relevant Ariel drawings for you as she was different from Cutty Sark. If you want me to do this send me your email address by private message on the forum.



Thread: Binding DX7 to Orange R615X
15/06/2017 21:31:39

Another strange thing has just happened, all the text and pictures on the site have just got bigger. Is it something I have done inadvertently or has it happened for everyone?


15/06/2017 21:02:19


Maybe I am too late with this advice, but here goes anyway. I have had lots of problems binding Spektrum DX5E and DX6i transmitters to various Spektrum receivers. I usually manage it in the end but often only after many failed attempts. I also occasionally find units have lost their bind after a period laid up in the shed but I have never had this problem when in use.

I did ask Spektrums advice and one point they said was important was that the transmitter and receiver need to be at least 10 feet apart while binding. I dont know the engineering logic for this but since I followed the advice I seem to experience fewer problems.

I share Dave's frustration with the continually changing system standards, although some of it has been imposed by changing legislation. I still use Spektrum but have now started using my Futaba T6EX FASST transmitter with FrSky TFR4 receivers. They work well and bind instantly.


Thread: Picture dimensions
07/06/2017 08:14:58


I use 600 x 800 and they are usually in the range 250-350 kb.


Edited By Gareth Jones on 07/06/2017 08:15:19

Thread: tea clippers
02/06/2017 20:17:48

Hi Hutch,

The keel/stand on Ariel is made from 30 mm wide 2 mm thick steel strip and the V shaped end supports are 41 cm apart. When resting on the stand there is 11 cm clearance between the bottom of the hull and the ground.

If you have any questions or want any more information or detailed photographs of Elizabeth's model feel free to ask.

When you get your copy of the plans just bear in mind the scaling oddity I found with our copy. Its mentioned in the last posting on the first page in the link below.






Edited By Gareth Jones on 02/06/2017 20:18:41

Thread: TEV Wahine 1/35 Build
30/05/2017 10:36:58

Hi Richard,

I think you may have a valid concern about the effect of temperature on the styrene plating. When I was painting the hull of Spider J it was done outside and after I had sprayed it matt black and left it in the sun to dry between coats I could see the plating lifting in bubbles and buckles. Whether this was due to trapped air bubbles or just expansion of the styrene, I don't know. I guess either effect would be made worse since the black hull would soak up the heat more effectively. The temperature at the time was probably no more than 25 degrees which is not often achieved and rarely exceeded where I live in East Yorkshire. When the hull was put back in the shade the plating resumed its normal shape without any apparent permanent damage. However I would not like to risk too many cycles of that sort of environment.

I am not planning to change the model now. The plating is stuck on with epoxy resin and it would be a pain to take off and even more of a pain to put some alternative plating on. The scale of Spider J is 1:16 so the plating lines and rivets are an integral part of the model and should be clearly visible. I don't think it will be a long term problem while sailing but I will be careful if the model is outside on display at a show or regatta and try and make sure I pick a suitable spot out of the sun or use some sort of sunshade. Unfortunately I don't know the answer to the problem. Maybe your model will be less susceptible if it is painted in lighter colours. Work is going to resume on Spider J now Serica is virtually complete. I will let you know if I see any signs of the plating lifting again.



Thread: tea clippers
26/05/2017 09:51:56

Hi Hutch,

There is an article on my wife's model of Ariel in the January 2017 edition of Model Boats magazine. The original model was built to the plans referred to by Colin above, but these are a very much simplified representation of the original vessel. Elizabeth used David MacGregor's book The Tea Clippers as a reference during the restoration/conversion of the model.

Here is a picture of the finished article

ariel 4.jpg


Thread: A class yacht - Serica II
23/05/2017 15:39:45


I could fit the vane gear when the rudder is being operated by the radio controlled servo. The rudder linkage would then back drive the vane gear (when I get round to making the linkage which will probably be next week). I am not sure this would really show you how a vane gear works. If you want a proper demonstration come along to the CADMA show in Doncaster on the 3rd/4th June and I can show you more effectively.


21/05/2017 19:58:04

After a few weeks delay caused by the weather and a brilliant holiday on South Uist, Serica took to the water today, approximately 60 years after the hull was started by Arthur Levison. She only has her interim set of sails at present but they are good enough for test purposes. She sailed very well and was surprisingly manoeuverable given that she was designed to sail in a straight line. After a successful trial in the pond at Goole we will unleash her in a bigger pond this week, now we know everything works OK. Hopefully the full sized sails will arrive in time for the CADMA show in Doncaster, two weeks this weekend.

serica 76.jpg

serica 77.jpg


Thread: Tug Motors
26/04/2017 10:24:46

I never realised these things existed or were so, relatively, cheap. You learn something new every day.  Excellent information Malcolm.  It's not that I am ever likely to use one but you never know, if I ever take up Paul's Thor challenge.


Edited By Gareth Jones on 26/04/2017 10:26:32

Thread: A class yacht - Serica II
24/04/2017 20:28:03

No idea Bob. Serica is an A class and the rating formula sets the relationship of displacement, sail area and waterline length. There are also constraints on sail height, draught and freeboard. Some of the more open classes such as Marbleheads and 10 Raters nowadays have very deep keels and are able to carry very high narrow sets of sails that sometime look a bit out of proportion to the length of the hull.

The set of sails fitted to Serica at present are only an interim suit for rigging and shakedown sailing. The 'proper' set has about 20% more area and is about 4 or 5 inches higher than the sails in the picture


Thread: Painting large models
24/04/2017 20:19:55

The paintshop has been tried out three times now with Elizabeth's 10 rater project getting a coat of white, followed by a coat of blue and today some lacquer. After the first trial which was without any forced ventilation we have run the dust extractor with the suction hose poking out into the spray area and it is reasonably effective. The lighting was good but spraying the lacquer was less successful as it was difficult to see how much was applied with the result that there were a few runs. Prior to lacquering the yachts name was added using Crafty Computer paper's clear transfer paper, printed using Word and an inkjet printer. Here are a couple of pictures showing the result, the first is directly after applying the navy blue to the hull bottom.

paintshop 4.jpg

The second is after the hull had been rubbed down and the name applied, prior to lacquering.

paintshop 5.jpg

Conclusions so far are that the curtain idea is a viable option and there is minimal drifting of paint behind the hanging dust sheets. However lighting could be better, and I am not sure what I can do about that other than a radical change to the workshop lighting. Ventilation is tolerable with the dust extractor going and the door open for a quick escape afterwards. Elizabeth says she is never doing another yacht this big as a restoration project for someone else.


Thread: A class yacht - Serica II
24/04/2017 19:56:31

I have never tried making sails Bob, although I have heard of the use of 3D patterns to get an optimum shape. I think its one of those specialist subjects where you need a lot of experience and practice to get good results. Elizabeth has made quite a few sets of cotton sails but, apart from getting the warp and weft in the right direction that's about the limit of our expertise, and she would definitely not let me near her sewing machine.

Serica has progressed yet further over the last few days and is now ready to sail, under radio control, just waiting for some decent weather which looks like the end of this week at the earliest.

I spent most of Friday rigging the sailwinch and the sheets, which is always a bit of a juggling act. The winch itself was built on the bench sometime ago and, using a computer transmitter can be set up to give up to 425 mm linear travel on the control loop under the deck. Using basic geometry, this means that the attachments to the booms needs to be about 37 cm from their pivot points. Generally the jib is the shorter of the two booms and given the pivot point of the jib is about 20% back from the front end, 37 cm back from that would be right at the very aft end of the jib boom. Consequently I usually fix the jib attachment as far back as possible, blutack the deck eye in the required place and then see what travel of the jib I get, usually aiming for about 80-85 degrees either side of the centreline. It is necessary to adjust the sail winch travel on the transmitter to get the correct jib angles and in the case of Serica I found about 400 mm of winch travel was best. It then a matter of repeating the whole exercise on the main boom, but in this case, because it is much longer there is more scope for adjustment. I use a couple of pieces of cardboard marked at 10 and 20 degree intervals, and taped to the deck to give me a better idea of what the boom angles are. After several hours juggling the positions of the boom and deck attachments and the transmitter travel range adjustments I was eventually satisfied it was about as good as I could get. At that point there comes the crucial step of drilling the holes in the deck to fix the eye attachments under each boom for the sheets, not something you want to make a mistake with.

serica 72.jpg

The deck eyes through which the sheets run need to allow the sheet to pass through and turn through 90 degrees with the minimum friction, even under high loads. The ones I have used are really too small so I have ordered some larger replacements and I will fit them when the proper sails arrive.

The radio receiver has been fitted up behind the rudder servo with one of the antennas blutacked to the underside of the deck and the other just sticking out sideways from the receiver.

serica 74.jpg

The receiver battery fits in a small perspex box that I happened to have stashed away because it might come in useful. The box straddles one of the floor beams on the bottom of the hull and is located by a couple of strips of timber and held in place with velcro. There is a hole in each corner to allow any water to drain out in the event that the main hatch leaks.

serica 75.jpg

There are still some jobs to do on the vane mechanism and the sheets that control the sails when vane sailing. However these will have to wait till I get access to the workshop - still occupied by Elizabeths 10 rater restoration, or some calmer weather when I can work outside again. However Serica is looking good for sailing on Friday.

serica 73.jpg


Edited By Gareth Jones on 24/04/2017 19:57:16

21/04/2017 20:04:48

Here is a picture to give you an idea of the size Bob. The standing rigging is now pretty well complete and the temporary set of sails fitted. They are a very scruffy second suit from an unknown A class yacht. They came to us on an old 10 rater some years ago and are about 15% smaller than Serica's 'proper' sails but will do to aid rigging and for initial sailing trials. The next step is the winch installation and sail control sheets but that is held up by the weather at the moment as its a bit too windy to work outside with the booms and sails flapping around.

serica 71.jpg


16/04/2017 19:01:16

This week I have managed to finish the jib boom, having made the 4 brass fittings that are attached to it. Here are the front two, including the attachment to the deck which will be via a fishing swivel.

serica 65.jpg

I have also made the travellers for the deck horses. These are made from 1/32 brass sheet, the most difficult bit being creating the 3 mm joggle to accommodate the pulleys that allow it to slide freely. Maybe I should invest in some sort of sheet metal folding and bending tools, rather than improvising with a vice, hammer and assorted bits of steel and aluminium strip. I also added some stops to the deck horses as I found the travellers could jam at the extreme ends. I should really have done this before adding the mounting feet. The stops are just coils of brass wire silver soldered on.

serica 66.jpg

serica 67.jpg

I have also finished the rudder controls. The rudder bar is a brass strip, with a boss silver soldered underneath. The boss has two tapped holes to take 3 mm grub screws that will allow the bar to be fastened to the rudder pivot post. The slotted lever that connects the rudder bar to the vane gear will be screwed to the top of the bar. I will also need to make provision for a spring attachment to centre the rudder when vane sailing. This is usually done with with a light spring or piece of elastic attached about 30 mm ahead of the rudder pivot, running forward to a deck eye, with some means of adjusting the tension, and thus centering force, in the spring.

serica 68.jpg

The servo is mounted inside the main hatch and the whole system is quite discrete and can be removed completely when vane sailing.

serica 69.jpg

serica 70.jpg

Pretty well all the major parts are now made to allow the yacht to be sailed under radio control, so, if the weather is good I will start adding the standing rigging tomorrow. One of the problems of having a really big yacht is that there is nowhere indoors high enough to rig it properly.


16/04/2017 17:26:50


I have always been fascinated by mechanisms, it is probably a result of playing with Meccano from a very early age. Some of the most interesting jobs I worked on involved mechanisms of one sort or another, some very intricate and some apparently quite simple but often susceptible to subtle changes in geometry. Problems often only emerged when Fred retired after making the same bits for 20 years and Bert took over, not realising that Fred had never made it to the drawing but had his own subtle way of making it work, which he had never told anybody about.

I am not an expert on model yacht vane mechanisms but they are very clever devices. There are only about 3 or 4 different basic principles but dozens of variations on these themes and it can sometimes be very difficult to work out how they are set and used. They often have three different operating modes with adjustment on gearing and over centre spring tension, which means there is a long learning process and the only way to become proficient is by practice.

Ken Corby was acknowledged as one of the finest vane builders, basing all his models on the principle of the American Fisher gear, with his own improvements, in two different sizes. He built a total of 103 vane gears in the 1950's and 60's, the last three when he was 89 years old.


Edited By Gareth Jones on 16/04/2017 17:28:12

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Boats? Use our magazine locator link to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Boats!

Support Our Partners
Premier March
Restorers Wanted
Tony Green Steam
Pendle Boilers
Shopping Partners
Social Media

'Like' us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter

Pin us on Pinterest

Member Contributions
Distributors of Model Boats for our overseas readers

Make sure you never miss out on the latest news, product reviews and competitions with our free RSS feed

Make your own contribution to the Website

We welcome well written contributions from Website members on almost any aspect of Model Boating with a particular emphasis on practical hints, tips, experience and builds.

In order to maintain a consistent standard and format, all suggestions should first be sent to me by Personal Message for approval in principle. Only a very limited amount of time is available for editing contributions into a suitable format for placing on the website so it is important that the material is well presented, lucid and free from obvious spelling errors. I think it goes without saying that contributions should be illustrated by appropriate photos. I shall be happy to give advice on this.

The Member Contribution area offers space for short informative mini articles which would not normally find a place in Model Boats magazine. It is an opportunity for Website Members to freely share their  expertise and experience but I am afraid that virtue is its own reward as there is no budget to offer more material recompense!

I look forward to receiving your suggestions.

Colin Bishop - Website Editor