M-F 9a-9p Pacific
Email us a picture of yourself and your "pride and joy" with a quotable quote and/or letter of your Electrotek RC product experience and we'll post it for all to see!
The InvisiSwitch which you mailed to Mansfield UK arrived without any problems, is installed in my yacht and (at least indoors) works without a glitch. I am both grateful and delighted. It saves an awful lot of hassle.
Many thanks and Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year,
Electrotek I want to thank you for saving my $1,000.00 R/C Great Planes Piper Pawnee 40. I just got this plane ready to fly and it just so happened it is a crop duster. Well they have a red light on top the cowl so I thought I would look for a light to put on it. At my local hobby shop I saw your GEM 2000 and thought this would fit perfect and it did. I didn't know it had all the features until after I installed it and then read the directions.
Ready for maiden flight and got all set up, ready to fly turned everything on started the motor all looked good, light flashing and looked very nice, put the plane on the ground and was ready for take off. THEN I noticed NO FLASHING! I shut the engine down and started looking around, first checked the battery it was ok. Still no flash and low glow so one at a time I disconnected each servo and sure enough it started flashing. I looked at the servo lead and somehow I had cut the rubber on the pos and neg and they could touch each other.
I can’t believe how lucky I was to find such a great product as the Gem 2000 and it was by luck. I have a 25 % yak, 60 cub, 60 twist, 40 tango and a 40 hot stick and I will never fly them again without a gem on them. Thank you again for offering this item to us! I will spread the word on the forums about your great product. This plane is a real head turner, check out you LED GEM on top!
In the past it has been battery problems. The batteries were about 9-12 months old. This time I had my plane on charge all nite, so in the morning I was ready to go. Once I got to the field and got the plane ready to fly, I did my radio check and all was good. As I started walking up to my plane, I noticed the GEM 2000 was not flashing like it is suposed to.... I have a Radio South digital volt meter in the plane. The voltage was reading right but the GEM was saying "NO... something is not right!"
So I took the plane off the flight line and put it on the table, started looking, and found 2 problems. The first was this... on the motor mount there are 4/40 bolts that hold the engine mount to the firewall. I had a washer on the bolt. The washer was sticking out past the head of the bolt (I think this was a #2 washer) and was in the way of the throttle arm on my OS 91. As I would power up, the arm would hit this washer causing a bad bind on the servo, then it would go past the washer and all would be OK. Then on power down, the same thing. So after seeing this, I removed the washer and all was good with that.
The Radio South volt meter was saying voltage good, but the GEM was still saying "NO". The next check I did was to move all the sticks on the radio and the GEM was steady green, so I put a load check on the battery and it did NOT pass! The volt meter is a good pice of equiptment for telling you the voltage, but the GEM 2000 does it all!
Thank you Bob and Gudrun for the products that y'all sell. They have saved my plane again. I have 12 planes that I fly and they ALL have the GEM 2000 in them. This is the cheapest insurance that an R/C modeler can have and it works every time.
I would like to tell you that I feel your product has already saved one of my planes. I installed it in my Extra 300 S. I had been using an ESV as part of my normal preflight and subsequent flights. On this day I was on flight number 5 for the day when I noticed on a low pass the light on this system appeared steady instead of flashing. I landed the plane and found the light to be steady. After an inspection I found that a servo had stalled because a plastic gear broke off several teeth and jammed. This excessive electrical load, because this was my fifth flight, could have cost me the plane.
Lake St. Louis, MO
I consider myself an average R/C'er enjoying the building and flying of model airplanes. I make it a point to visit local hobby shops when traveling for business. It was coincidental this trip for I had brought an older copy of a radio control magazine with me on the ride to my destination which reviewed the "Gem 2000-Electronic Guardian." Noticing this little electronic gadget behind the counter of the shop I visited and having just read what it was designed to do I could not resist purchasing three of them. A "no brainier," one for each of my prized possessions. Installation was simple and the even pulsing red LED built my confidence of no problems. The directions supplied with the GEM 2000 stated, "making R/C'ing time at the field more worry-free, enjoyable, and safer." However, my testimonial does not have a happy landing. If I would of paid a little closer attention to the instructions and monitoring status I would have noticed that I was experiencing "servo jitters" with the GEM 2000 installed. The directions specifically stated - Rx filter system problem. A no/go! Not realizing what I had I leaped off and after the second pass I lost elevator control and crashed with no collateral damage to property, just my pride.
Adding to this chain of events, I had purchased 3 GEM's, and I had sent off the supplied "GEM card" entitling me to an additional free GEM 2000 direct from Electrotek. I received a personal phone call over a week after sending off the card from an Electrotek representative asking me how I liked their product, what they were installed on, new products coming out and the unconditional lifetime warranty. I mentioned my incident to him and we talked for over 30 minutes - was his dime. My knowledge increased 100-fold of what the "GEM" does and what it was telling me prior to takeoff. I should have stayed on the ground and corrected this indication. I was planning on sending the radio and receiver off for evaluation prior to the phone call. Well, I have gotten the radio and receiver back from the repair facility. The receiver's ceramic xtal filter was defective. This was like putting "salt on an open wound." The GEM 2000 was telling me I have a xtal malfunction and did not listen to it. I have been flying now with GEMs installed for a few months. I have the instructions memorized and know anything out of the ordinary, as an erratic pulsing LED or "the jitters," is a no-go. I'm very confident using this product and without reservations highly recommend it use. I just wish I had paid closer attention to the instructions the first time.
A Very Confident GEM 2000 User
Don't get lost in the night! Hover in any position with Electrotek lights.
Notice the skid light can be seen from the ground even before it gets dark.
I feel your GEM 2000 has already saved an airplane and it hasn't even left the ground! After talking with you yesterday I changed receivers and found that my "glitching" was indeed as you had suggested, due to the receiver. Today it's on the way to a repair facility. Although unrelated to a battery check, the GEM lived up to its name and identified a faulty receiver. What is wonderful is that the glitching did not occur until I plugged in the GEM. Then, under load the receiver glitched. I don't think I would have discovered this without the GEM plugged into the receiver.
Thanks again for your guidance in identifying this problem
Grand Rapids, MI
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly describe my history with the GEM 2000.While at a rather large Helicopter Fun Fly I had the opportunity to ask an expert pilot if he used an on board battery monitor and his reply was "yes". I had always used an expanded volt meter that put about a 250ma load on the receiver pack for safety checks after landing. Upon returning, I asked other people on the Internet and did some research to find the best product to suit my needs. I remembered that a friend of mine that I met at a Fun Fly had an onboard battery monitor that I could see from over 200 ft. This was the perfect solution to me because I did not want to have to hover or land to check battery condition. He told me that he was using the GEM 2000 and it monitored directly from the receiver, which gives an actual in flight condition on the status of the receiver pack.
I ordered one after reading the review on "RC Online". Three days later, the package arrived at my doorstep. Upon opening it up, I discovered how small and light weight it was. The leads were long enough to make it real convenient for location purposes, and there was even some Velcro to mount it with. Since I fuel and start my helicopter on the left side, I made a wooden bracket to mount the remote LED just aft of my fuel tank.
I was excited about the first try with it and put the heli in the air! About 1/2 a tank later, on a fast flyby I noticed the LED had quit flashing and was a constant bright red. I thought to myself.." I know the batteries have been charged...must be something wrong". I landed, pulled out my ESV for a quick check and guess what? Batteries were at 4.7 volts! Well, I pulled another receiver pack out and strapped it in and went to finish the tank. 1/4 tank later while flying inverted, I noticed the LED was glowing red again! I knew these batteries were charged as I just charged them earlier in the week. Landed, and checked with the ESV and again, 4.7 volts! Needless to say, I quit flying for the day and quickly realized that if I had not of installed the GEM 2000, I probably would have been picking up pieces of my pride and joy.
I now have owned the GEM 2000 for over a year and could not count and tell you how many times that it has "saved" my helicopter. I completely rely on it when flying and know that there is a certain safety margin built in. When the LED glows red, I land, and replace the pack with a fresh one. It has been very durable and maintenance free. Helicopters are probably the toughest environment for any electrical component due to the rigid frames that do not absorb vibrations.
I have been flying RC helicopters for over 10 years and can say with out a doubt that the GEM 2000 is worth more to me than it's weight in gold! As any serious RC helicopter pilot has done, I have spent a small fortune on high quality equipment to help place the odds in my favor to prevent a crash and the GEM 2000, while very inexpensive, represents one of the best investments I have made to date! In my book, it is not just an accessory, but a necessity. Thank You for inventing and sharing the GEM 2000 with this wonderful hobby.
Very Sincerely Yours,
I have been using the Gem2000 for several months now and I love this thing. The Gem 2000 is a major improvement over the original BVM units. Its smaller, lighter, and has a lot more features. This year at the sailplane nationals I won a first place in senior 2-meter, second in senior Handlaunch, and second in senior unlimited. I was using the Gem 2000 in both my 2-meter and unlimited sailplanes! Thanks for a wonderful product!
eight-time winner of World and National Sailplane Championships
Early on an event opening day, Mike got in a couple of great flights that demonstrated the awesome performance of his BVM Mig 15 turbine jet. On Saturday, after hearing talk about the GEM 2000 from other pilots, Mike stopped by the Electrotek RC booth and bought a couple. Not having the time to actually install the "GEM" before his next scheduled flight, he decided to plug it in for the pre-flight. What a fortuitous decision that turned out to be. When he turned on the Rx switch the "GEM" immediately indicated a problem which turned out to be an aileron servo and had he flown he said he would of lost his expensive jet. Mike later came back to thank us for such a great product.
You're welcome Mike. Keep 'em flyin' and happy landings.
Having flown RC airplanes, about a year ago I decided to try my hand at RC helicopters. The helicopter set up and the additional dimensions to flying provided me with plenty of challenges. After learning lessons of cheap helis and equipment, I resolved to keep equipment failures to a minimum by getting good instruction, keeping my set ups simple, and flying with excellent equipment.
Towards that goal, I decided that my second helicopter (X-Cell) would be a top of the line machine. I spent hours visiting with several pilots, getting my heli and components set up just right for a flawless maiden voyage. I expected success, but didn't know it would only last a few seconds. My first two attempts at flying this heli resulted in brutal crashes. Range checks and ammeters did not warn me of the disappointment I would experience that weekend.
Unable to resolve the cause of these crashes, I sent my radio to the manufacturer for evaluation and eventually determined that an intermittent short from a $36.00 receiver battery had caused me hundreds of dollars in replacement parts. My quest for enjoyment had turned sour.
Having reviewed and inquired about many different diagnostic add-ons, I was not enthusiastic to learn another manual or decipher series of barely visible tiny lights and codes before flying again. I knew I could not continue to fly with any confidence without a device that would check the integrity of my radio and electrical system prior to flight.
Then I was recommended the "GEM 2000". The unofficial "abridged instructions"...IF THE GEM IS NOT BLINKING STEADILY, DON'T FLY. How's that for simplicity? That, I can handle. I read the manual later after the first time the GEM saved my heli. I was impressed to learn of all the checks and monitoring that the GEM makes for you. I would never fly without seeing that reassuring red (now available in different colors!?) blinking light.
The Gem has prevented me from crashing by alerting me to system failure on at least three occasions. I consider that to be money well spent.
John W. Lyon
I started using the GEM 2000 a couple years ago. After a lot of flights on my "Laser" I was checking everything and when I checked the GEM 2000 I found it was red and not blinking. So, I turned off the "Laser" and removed the battery pack. I put it on the cycler when I got home and recharged. If I had made another flight I would have lost my plane.
I thank the GEM 2000. It saved my plane.
Well it finally happened. Today I and my aspiring student pilot friend Mike Parker drove 150 miles over to Alamogordo to attend a Fun-Fly and ended up NOT flying because the GEM 2000 told me so! Thank you for your product that alerted me to a potential loss of received signal level and my .60 size Ugly Stik clone. I cannot discount the fact and feel secure that I have acted responsibly as a RC pilot by using your product.
Last Friday, May 18th I installed a new FMA Fortress 2000 8-ch FM receiver and the system checked out OK. I flew the plane Friday, May 19th and all was OK. I flew again Saturday, May 20th and again the system checked out OK, however today May 21st at the Fun-Fly while doing my distance check the servos started jiggling and the ground distance check became severely limited to about 50 feet. Upon arriving home I again did a distance check with the same system and it was still severely limited to 50 feet. I unplugged the GEM 2000 from the system and the servos stopped jiggling which falsely leads me to believe that the system is OK. I replace the FMA receiver with a JR 600, 6 ch. Receiver, plugged in the GEM 2000 and the airplane system is back to normal with a better than 150 foot ground check!
Mike built a SIG LTD 40 as his first plane and asked me to test fly it about three weeks ago. I did the ground check and all appeared normal, I took off and on the first downwind leg the plane fell off on a wing and spiraled into the ground much to everyone's surprise. A post flight inspection showed the radio range to be very limited even with the transmitter antenna fully extended. The radio was sent back to the manufacturer and the airplane is being repaired. The point is, had he used the GEM 2000 all this grief of re-building a fine airplane could have been spared. He will be purchasing a GEM 2000 in the near future and will always have an on-board system analyst working for him as I do also.
We both agree that a portable GEM 2000 would be nice to have to check the other flyers RC system as a courtesy.
Frank E. Burchardt
I want to congratulate your company for this fine product. I had recently crashed 2 of my RC Aircraft, both of the models had many flights and were stable aircraft's. I was using channel 11 on the planes. I would transfer the receiver from on plane to the other as I had only 1 useable radio.
When I crashed the 1st plane the craft appeared to go out of control. I had the radio checked out the next day and was told it's in good working order. I went to the field the next day to fly (using channel 11 again) had 2 good flights and then crashed that plane also - it appeared to go out of control.
I removed the radio equipment and took it to another radio "EXPERT." I told him what happened. He gave the radio a clean bill of health, batteries, servo's, receiver and transmitter. While I was at the radio repair area the technician told me about your [GEM 2000] and I purchased one, took it home and installed it in a plane to fly the next day. I went to the field the next morning and had a good flight. A few of the fellow members and I sat around and had quite a BS session.
My plane was in the field Ramada. I fueled up and was going to fly again. I switched on the system and the GEM 2000 LIGHT DID NOT FLASH. I removed the battery and it checked out with ample power for several flights. I went home, put the model on the test bench used the same equipment that I had at the field turned on the receiver, lo and behold the GEM 2000 flashed telling me it's OK to fly. This made me confused why it did not show power to fly at the field but an hour later it was OK. My flying buddy came up with a possible cause: "HEAT." We took the plane to the field the next morning and the flashing LED said to me "BATTERIES" OK. We moved the plane into the direct sun for about 20 minutes, turned on the receiver, NO FLASHING LED. We put the plane in the air-conditioned van for 1/2 hour turned on the receiver and the GEM 2000 STARTED FLASHING.
What happened was as long as the radio receiver was reasonably cool it was OK but when the temperature was up, the receiver PC board would warp causing a break in the electrical flow in the system. We found the area where the system was opening, had it soldered and is now OK.
I fly in Arizona and at times it gets very warm when the plane is in the direct sun. I have a 6-channel Futaba radio system that is 2 years-old and is very reliable.
Your product saved me from crashing my 3rd plane. If I had a [GEM 2000] prior to crashing two of my planes, I would have possibly not crashed them. Your GEM 2000 is not only useful on telling if your charge is OK but helped find a radio problem that 2 radio technicians did not find.
Thanks again for a fine product.
Bob, I wanted to give you a big "thumbs up" on the Gem 2000! I can't imagine any piece of sophisticated analytical equipment being easier to install or understand. Enclosed are photos of my Hanger 9, 100" span, 1/4 scale Piper Cub I finished and reviewed for the September/October issue of R/C Excellence Magazine. This is the largest airplane I've built thus far, and felt that adding an extra margin of safety would be not only wise, but also necessary. What I learned in the process was the Gem 2000 is not only a "wise" addition but an "appropriate" one as well, for all sizes of model aircraft. The insurance value of the Gem 2000 far exceeds its price. I have a much greater comfort level flying with the Gem 2000!
Thanks again, and you can count on my continued support!
RC Excellence Magazine
Last November, I went to fly my FW-190. It had been on the charger all night and I checked the battery before I left and it looked good. I drove out to Arizona Model Aviators club field and set the plane up. About one-hour passed, I turned on the flight pack in preparation to start the motor and noticed the GEM 2000 light was not flashing. I broke out the meter and discovered the pack had a bad cell. Because of this bad cell the voltage had bled off in one hour. Being complacent, I typically in the past would not meter a plane before its first flight.
With out the GEM 2000, I would have lost my FW-190. It is an inexpensive insurance policy that has paid for itself. I have put [GEM 2000's] on all five of my aircraft.
Thanks for your time.
I normally do not make a purchase spontaneously, however in the case of the [GEM 2000] I did just that when Ron Capo of U. S. Hobby, Moonachie, NJ called it to my attention and I recognized the potential of the device.
At start I installed the unit in my Stinger 40 and in short became addicted to checking my radio gear before each flight as it is so simple and convenient that with just a look, it's systems go. There are no meters to pick up or terminals to plug into. I find it does develop a feeling of confidence and peace of mind, which helps to improve my flying.
My complements for developing such a fine product.
former Vice President AMA District II, 1998 AMA National Field Coordinator
Thank you for my magnetic switches I received yesterday. I will be using them on my two Micro Magic Sailing Yachts which I sail in Emerald Lakes on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.
I am a member of Paradise Radio Yacht Club and sail with 12 other Micro Magics. The club has IOM and 10 R with 50 members.
Thanks for the prompt service.
As you are aware of I'm sure, there are dozens of so-called battery systems/management devices available to the R/C pilot today. Some of these work some don't. Some are very complicated to read. Multiple lights/devices, some vague. When I read an article on your product, it caught my attention. One of the many features I like is the GEM 2000 uses. The complete electrical system for its management process, not just one or two items like most others out there. The LED is like a beacon, very, very, visible from a long distance away. I have been flying R/C for 2 years (helicopters) and look forward to putting the GEM 2000 to the test. Another thing that impressed me is the last line on the instruction/spec. paper that comes with the GEM 2000, "We at Electrotek appreciate you as a customer and pledge to provide you with quality R/C products as long as you're an R/C modeler. Customer service and satisfaction is our #1 goal". The trouble with the majority of businesses today is after they have your money that's where customer service and satisfaction stop! When someone in today's business is willing to put an Unconditional Lifetime Warranty on their product and is willing to back it up . . it shows that product is built for longevity! More manufacturers need to follow your protocol! Keep up that attitude and you will be a very successful business.
Peace of Mind... that's what your little GEM has given me since I installed mine. This product gives me something less to worry about and I appreciate the comfort that it gives. I've been flying with the GEM 2000 for about 3 months.
Falls Church, VA
I recently bought your GEM 2000 Monitor for my Ergo 30 helicopter. On my second flight after installing the GEM 2000, I brought the heli into a hover approximately 10 feet from the ground and started rotating the heli around just giving it a quick look before going into forward flight. As I swung the heli back to tail in position, I noticed the light switch from a steady blink, to a solid red light. I immediately landed the helicopter and shut it down. After retrieving it from the field I checked my battery with my digital meter and to my surprise the battery was down below the safe flight level. I am sure that if it had not been for that "light" I would have flown around the field and possibly lost control of the helicopter and crashed it, or worse, injured someone. I am now convinced that the GEM 2000 is definitely one piece of equipment that will always be onboard my helicopters from now on. This thing is a true piece of safety equipment!
Clinton Township, MI
This is the second GEM 2000 Electronic Guardian I've bought for my second helicopter and it works just as good as the first one. Many of my fellow pilots have seen me use it and when I explain the advantages of it, they seem to always show up to the field the next time with one installed in theirs as well! It's interesting to see all those red blinking lights in the air when pilots now fly. As a matter of fact, everyone at the club is impressed with the GEM 2000's reliability, we all take notice of other pilots lights as we fly, giving the pilot a comfortable feeling that he knows others will see the light and warn him as well, if there's trouble.
We had one situation on the field, where a pilot was concentrating so hard on his 3d routine, that he hadn't noticed that his light stopped blinking. One of the other pilot's spotters saw this and quickly ran over to the pilots spotter and told him. The pilot immediately landed his helicopter and possibly saved it from damage or injury to other spectators. The GEM 2000 definitely is now standard equipment on my helicopters as well as any helicopters I build in the future, good job!
Thanks for making a product that truly does what it's designed to do.
Clinton Township, MI
I recently purchased your GEM 2000 for my JR radio system and installed it in my Nexus Helicopter. What a neat unit! After reading all the literature, my confidence level has increased considerably and I find I get that extra flight or two every day without fear of having not enough power or experiencing any radio component failures.
Thank you for a great product and also for the best warranty in the hobby industry.
The gem 2000 "Electronic Guardian" is the most valuable accessory I've added to an RC airplane. One quick glance assures me that my onboard electronics are functioning properly and that it's' safe to fly. No more messing around with the ESV between flights which only simulates the load on the system at best. It is also a great reminder when I forget to turn off the receiver. This is truly a great little unit and that intense little LED sure attracts attention at the flying field.
The GEM 2000 is probably the most useful and innovative R/C product I've acquired since entering the hobby five years ago. I continuously monitors my onboard electronics, and gives me a level of confidence I never experienced with my now obsolete ESV. While it is very sophisticated in function, it takes only minutes to install. From now on, you won't see me at the flying field without one.
I am 13 years old and I love your product. I am in the AMA and I am joined to the L.I.A.R.S. RC club in Belport and I am flying a Hanger 9 Superstick 40 ARF and every time I land I can't check my voltage. I was looking in all my local hobby stores in Selden at Action Hobbies, Larry's Hobbies and Hurricane Hobbies, then a new hobby store opened up which was called Tom's Hobbies. When I went into Tom's Hobbies I asked him if he had any voltage meters and he said no were are out of stock at the time but we have a new product. He showed me the product, it was your product. Then my mouth started to water and I had to buy it. I put it onto my airplane and it worked beautiful. I love this product so much I will try to make my own website advertising your product and all the hobby dealers that sell them. I will put decals on all of my airplanes advertising your beautiful product and I wish you good luck and hope many people will buy it.
Since installing the GEM 2000 in my X-cel helicopter I have never had to miss a flight for ANY onboard electrical problems. While in the air a slow fly by and peek into the canopy always showed that under flying conditions the helicopter's electrical system was functioning properly.
Wouldn't it be nice if your device could give "fuel remaining: information as well ????
The GEM 2000 has withstood the effects of a few "hard Landings" (makes me feel better when I say it that way). The operation of the device is as simple as the installation.
I have since purchased a second GEM 2000 for my X-cel SE and am experiencing the same great results.
Very Truly Yours,
I would just like to write a brief note of appreciation for the GEM 2000. I have been using 3 of them on various helicopters I fly for the past two years. I have the beacon light mounted so that it is easy to see. What an assurance it is to have something like this that gives a continuous indication of how things are going on the heli's as they are being flown. This is definitely a little "gem".
Once again, thank you so much.
Rand L. Patchett
Thank you for a product that takes some of the risk out of our hobby and gives a pilot/owner peace of mind when flying an expensive quarter scale model. I build and fly large-scale warbirds that are fairly expensive investments in both time and money. I have been looking for a product that would give me a level of confidence that my airborne system is in good working order. The GEM 2000 Electronic Guardian which monitors the entire flight system, does just that.
There aren't too many guarantees' in life or in this hobby, however, when the Electronic Guardian is flashing red, you are guaranteed that your electronic airborne system is in working order and that your system is a go.
Thank you for an innovative product that does what it's advertised to do.
William Krummel Jr.
Bought the Gem 2000 at the suggestion of Karen Saunders, who works at S & L RC City, of Niceville, Fl. I installed it in a Great Planes Ultra Sport 40. Everything checked out fine at home, later at the field the steady red led light was on which says NO GO...checked the batteries, range check all good, almost said heck with it I'll fly, then remembered my own words, "trust your instruments". You see I am a retired airline pilot and instructor Boeing 727 and 747. Went home and re-read instructions, still a little confused ... called Electrotek, talked to Bob Johnson, he was most helpful, spent several minutes talking me thru aircraft and radio checks and determined I had a stalled servo, (no servo chatter), but the throttle servo was indeed stalled.
I am skeptical about some of the new fangled gadgets, but the Gem 2000 works! I plan to buy more.... IT'S LIKE BUYING INSURANCE.
I just wanted to give you some feedback on your Gem2000 RC monitor. I installed 2 of them in less than 10 minutes. They are some of the most fantastic items that I have ever used. I bought one regular model and one remote, both with the new bright green LED. I just wish that I had gotten 2 remotes instead. That remote model is so versatile. I know that so often all that we here in our "day to day" is what is wrong or broken, so for a change -- Thanks for a great product that was simple to understand, install and use!
by Shane Zettelmier
Check this out! Electrotek make a product called the Gem2000, and it's much more than just a voltage monitor, it also monitors your whole electronics system for shorts, radio interference, and more. With the electronic system status displayed by the pattern of a super bright blinking light, that was designed to be seen from RC helicopters and air planes, and you can see the condition of your system from hundreds of feet away. Now they've decided to add a new twist for us T-Maxx guys. They've added a lighting kit into the monitoring unit. They have kits available with 5, 7, or 9 lights.
he kit comes with 2 white and 2 red for head and tail lights, and the larger kits come with your choice of white, blue, or amber lights to use for fog, interior, or roll bar lights. You can order extra lights in extra colors, and can get the green too. The lights come 2 to a cord, and have a deans mini connectors so it's super easy to make extensions, swap lights, or have multiple bodies with different lights that can work off of a single monitor unit.
The kit comes with the monitoring unit, lights, metal fixtures, Velcro mount, extra wire, and shrink tubing to extend the wires for custom applications. The main unit that plugs into your receiver, via an open plug or Y cable connector. The 'Y' connectors are pretty easy to find, I was able to find a 'y' connector at my local hobby shop, and see them wherever they have lots of servos and airplane parts.
The lights are super bright, and you can easily see them from several hundred feet away, yet don't take much power at all. I left my battery box (5 AA cell Nimi's) with the lights on for about 3 or 4 hours and it was still fine, with plenty of charge to go out and run the maxx the next day without recharging.
I decided to setup a new Ford Excursion running body with a set of the new lights. Instead of using the supplied fixtures, I decided to try and make the lights look like they were more like the real trucks. I wrapped the LED in clear plastic, and glued it to the headlight area of the body, which I masked off and did not paint when I made the body. You can use clear silicone or shoe-goo, and after it's dry, paint it over with some black paint so the light only comes out through the body, and not the interior. Because I used the plastic, It'll be easy to get the lights out when I've trashed that body.
IMPRESSIONS: You will not believe how bright these are. They are LED's and use very little power, but are super bright, about the same as a 2xAA mag-light bulb.
LIKES AND DISLIKES: I like the deans mini connectors it gives it a lot of options for how it can be set up! The lights are super bright and clear.
by Bill Grove
This month I have a review that I am very glad to give. I received this item in the mail and was very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the packaging and the presentation of the product on the package. Even though this product is not very large in size it does a big job very well indeed. I expected some problems with the device at the start but had absolutely none. The product is the battery/voltage monitoring system from Electrotek. The device is very small and compact. It is also very easy to mount in your aircraft due to its small size.
WEIGHT: 8.42 grams with chrome led holder.
Current Drain: .0057 amps (5.7 mA)
LED Intensity: 3000 mcd plus
10,000 hour life expectancy
Simple plug and play operation
This product passed every test I could conceive of. I started by setting up a precision power supply to check the adjustment setting and to ascertain the cut off points. 25 out of 25 times the GEM 2000 started blinking at 5.95 + .01 volts. This is well within the claimed specifications of the manufacturer and as steady as some mil-spec devices. The system went steady light at 5.935 volts every time I tried (25 tests). I put the LED in a darkened room and turned on the system. What a mistake! The LED is so bright under this condition it is hard to look at. I than installed the unit in one of my aircraft and put it out in bright 95-degree sunlight. I had absolutely no problem seeing the LED in direct sunlight from 5 feet away as long as I was within about 20 to 30 degrees either side of dead center to the LED.
I took the aircraft to the flying field and flew the aircraft through the roughest flight I could including hard touch and goes with no discernible effect on the GEM 2000 nor did I notice any adverse radio problems from adding the device into the circuit. The LED is visible from the ground but you have to look hard to see it when you are flying. The GEM 2000 will and does detect switch faults, including vibration induced failures, bad cells in the battery pack under real time load conditions, will give an indication if you have a servo stall and will tell you if the battery needs recharging. I will continue to fly this unit and will not fly another R/C aircraft without this device installed in the aircraft.
This is a great device and will save aircraft for you, but you have to get one first!!! Contact Electrotek at www.electrotekrc.com or at (530) 873-6230 for further info and to find out where to get your hands on one.
Till next month safe flying,
by George Steiner
GEM 2000 "Electronic Guardian" by Electrotek RC. An airborne battery alarm condition indicator
Through the years of radio control the concern of the onboard battery in the model always has been a high point with the modeler. The usual routine is checking the battery with an ESV meter on the ground during the use of the model depending on how you feel about those NiCds. Many devices have shown up through the years to give an indication of the power left in the battery but never seem to have a matter of convenience to give the message that the battery was OK or in trouble. As time goes by each new device that shows up for this job gets better and better in simplicity.
A new upgraded product from Electrotek, 14667 Lafayette Cir. Magalia, CA 95954 is the on board multi-function battery driving indicator device to give indications with a very bright LED mounted in a very conspicuous place in your model. This LED is not the typical type, but one that can be seen even in the sunlight from some distance away. It has laser bright brilliance that is outstanding.
What are the functions with convenience and reliability when plugged in an unused channel spot in the receiver? It will show first by a flashing LED that the battery is 4.7 volts or higher when using a standard 4 cell battery. Normal starting point with the batteries just off charge would be about 5.2 volts in the green with a standard ESV. When the battery gets down to 4.74 or lower the LED will be lit in a steady state. At this point some calculations have been made that represent that you have about 25% reserve power left. When the LED is of a very low brilliance or out, your battery is no longer alive and well or the connection to it. These are the three basic conditions of the GEM 2000, but it does have other features that can be recognized by the operation of the R/C system. If you have a loose battery connection, bad switch harness, stalled servo or a low capacity battery by operating the system the LED will be in a steady state to a blinking condition or not on at all to further give details of the power to your R/C system in the model. It gives you the true power load of your R/C system while in use rather then a static minor load of an ESV plugged into the charging jack. This is OK but sometimes can be deceiving. This is a considerable strong point for having the GEM 2000 mounted in use in a model with no heavy wiring being involved. Plug it in and use it philosophy. Electrotek has two versions for mounting the GEM 2000. One with the LED being with flexible wiring as shown in Photo #1 that can be mounted remotely and a second version with the LED right on the electronics board. This version can be mounted right into the side of the models fuselage facing outward with the LED in a chrome holder fastened in a convenient location. Simple, effective and convenient.
Some of the specifications for the nitty gritty that it uses less than 6 milliamps drain when plugged into the receiver and power is turned on. The size is Â¾ by 1-1/8" and weight is 8.5 grams when using the chrome LED holder that can be mounted most any place in the model. The construction makeup is of the state of the art design using a programmed microprocessor chip to give accurate set of indication for the values used. The GEM 2000 also can be adjusted for other voltages depending on your requirements. You must have suitable test equipment to make changes on your own, otherwise order the GEM 2000 for a 4 cell or 5 cell is recommended. The unit can also be ordered with most any type of servo connectors depending on your R/C system use. What is this little gem going to cost you? The published retail price at this time is $39.95 (street price under $25.00). Great after market add on device.
by Edward Walker
What is it?
The GEM 2000 is an "electronic guardian". Basically it is an onboard battery monitor that instantly tells you whether everything is OK to fly... as soon as you turn on the model.
Why did I choose this product?
It has been selected for the RCO product showcase because it is an exceptional product that I can offer to you with confidence... the confidence that you will be completely happy with it.
I have come to rely on the GEM2000 in my modeling. I think that every modeler, whether they have airplanes, helicopters, cars or boats would benefit from having one.
The new Electrotek Gem 2000 is an improved version of Electrotek's already impressive BVMII. I have several of these units and I use them with all of my helicopters and my airplanes. I also own some "other brands" of onboard battery monitors, but I no longer use them. Why? Because this one works better.
With the other brands of LED monitors I have, I cannot see them while flying or for that matter, even in normal daylight. To check my batteries with every other type of onboard monitor I have owned, I have had to walk up and "cup" my hand around it to see the LEDs.
I have been using the Electrotek products for quite some time now (a year?.) and it has become one of those "how did I ever live without" items.
Not your average LED...
The reason I really like this unit is because I can easily see it in sunlight. I can even see the GEM2000 in flight! I have had my helicopter hovering 50 feet away and had people come up and say "what is that blinking light?"!! ...I have it mounted in my helicopter. It faces rearward so I can see it during most of my flying (tail in). In my airplanes I usually mount it under the wing. I can even see it during a flyby!
It couldn't be easier...
The unit is simple to install. You simply plug it into any open receiver port, or into a Y-adapter (if all of your receiver sockets are in use). That's it. If you turn your model on, the GEM2000 is instantly in use and you instantly know how your batteries are doing.
Never again will you...
forget to turn the power off. With the GEM2000 I now never forget to turn off my models when done flying. With other battery monitors I have forgotten to turn off my models and not noticed. Have you ever [gone] over to fire up your model and found that it is already on?
With this unit blinking so brightly on your model, you will never leave it on by mistake again. It gets your attention so there is no doubt that your model is on... even in broad daylight.
by Steve Campbell
GEM 2000 Onboard Battery Monitor
I have been wanting to try this gadget ever since I first saw it advertised on RCOnline. The GEM 2000 has a very bright LED mounted directly onto the device's circuit hoard. This is more of a beacon than a traditional LED. It reminds me very much of the old "gumball machine" flashing lights that were mounted on most police cars when I was a kid. Trust me, you won't be able to miss this one, even under a heavily tinted windscreen.: And there are no different light configurations to figure out. If the LED is flashing, you're safe to fly; If it is not, stay on the ground. Easy enough.., but how does it know?
Low amperage is just one of several battery evils that can kill your model. Low voltage is another. Expanded scale voltmeters were devised to check for these two problems. However, unless the ESV puts an actual load on the battery, simulating flight conditions, whatever leading you get is worthless. The manufacturer claims that the GEM 2000 uses the model's entire onboard electrical system for a load. Here's how it works; all electrical energy in all airborne flight pack system (which includes battery, servos, and switch) goes through the receiver. When plugged into a vacant or shared receiver channel, the GEM 2000 now has access to this energy. It can detect a multitude of problems, from a low battery to a binding servo. The latter can be particularly important in a helicopter, because, a push-pull linkage that isn't right can bind up a servo. Sometimes the servo will buzz and let you know, and sometimes not. A binding servo will draw excess current; the GEM 2000 sees this. A damaged circuit trace in your receiver, which will not manifest itself if the battery alone is checked with an ESV (and the servos are at rest), will be detected by the GEM 2000 when the system is put under load. Simply cycling all the servos together creates this load; after the light pack is turned on and the transmitter is on, "stir" both sticks around a bit at the same time. This loads the system much more than a typical ESV, which usually puts no more than a 500 milliamp load on the battery: 'While standard servos draw only about 60 milliamps, the more commonly used super servos or BB scoreless servos can draw well above 100 milliamps each, and all of them working together far exceed what an ESV pulls. The actual load in flight is even higher, due to increased servo demands to propel the machine, maintain lift, and so on. It doesn't take a nuclear physicist to figure out that your basic ESV is not telling you the whole story, particularly if you only check your battery before each flight. Try checking it after a flight, and you'll see what I mean.
From what I have seen, the GEM 2000 is indeed a better mousetrap. When the battery is above 4.8 volts for a four cell or above 6 volts for a five cell, and there are no problems with the energy path (for example, bad switch wire or servo problems), the LED blinks at a steady rate, telling you all is well. When the LED stays lit constantly, you have a battery problem: low voltage or amperage, a bad cell, what have you. If the LED stays dark or goes dark during the load cycle you initiated, something is wrong with your electronics. Bottom line; if the LED is not blinking steadily, you have a problem somewhere that needs to be found and fixed before you fly.
Here's another interesting tidbit. If everything is good to go, but the battery is just running down through normal use, the LED stops blinking and goes steady at 4.74 volts for four-cell batteries, and at 5.94 volts for five-cell batteries. In effect, the device tells you ahead of time that the battery is about to give it up and is providing a 25% or so cushion of available power before it actually does quit. This is one of those "have your cake and eat it to" deals that sounds too good to be true, but it apparently works as advertised.
This device has been in use by plank flyers for quite some time, and several very knowledgeable and respected plank guys (such as George Steiner, known for his electronics expertise) say that the GEM 2000 does indeed deliver on its claims. Now, our helicopters are a much more hostile environment than most airplanes, and I have always been a hit leery of applying plank technology directly to helos. But electricity is electricity; r/c batteries, receivers, and servos work by the same principles regardless of what they're in. So 1 feel comfortable that the GEM 2000 will be as big a boon to us as it has been to the fixed-wing pilots. Here's the real news; this puppy sells for only 25 bucks. Bob Johnston al Eleclrotek (the maker) offers a 120-day buyback policy; use it for 4 months, and if you don't like it, send it back for a full refund. There is also a lifetime replacement warranty, including crash damage. Yes, you read that correctly. Bust up your GEM 2000 in a real mainshaft-bender, regardless of the cause, and Electrotek will repair it free of charge (excepting postage, of course). I would say that is about the best deal going, wouldn't you?
This unit was sent for evaluation to Mike, who forwarded it to me. I have been using it for several weeks, with no drama. I have been determined to run my battery down deliberately just to see if that light stays on, but bad weather and other problems have conspired against me. In desperation, I cycled my flight pack, and tried it just after the Alpha 4 kicked over into charge mode. The LED glowed back at me steadily. So I know that part of it works, anyway! I'm a bit excited about this gadget, because it appears to be the ultimate simple (and practically foolproof) method of knowing for sure if your battery has enough juice for - famous last words - "just one more flight." The GEM 2000 also can tell you if something else in the power loop has puked on you, or is about to. Needless to say, I have cut a check to Electrotek, and will purchase several more of these things for my other models. The unit even comes with a nice cylindrical aluminum housing for mounting in a plank or scale hell fuselage. The GEM 2000 is one of the best values I have seen in a while.
Several months ago I wrote about a device called the BVM-11, from Electrotek, 14667 Lafayette Cir., Magalia, CA 95954. The BVM-11 is a device designed to give the user a visible indication of battery condition in the airplane itself.
I just received a brand new version of this item, renamed the GEM 2000, advertised as an "Onboard Multifunction R/C Electronic Guardian''. The 1-1/8 x 3/4" printed circuit board uses surface mount technology for high reliability, and the LED indicator is significantly brighter (they call it "laser bright") than the Previous unit. It can actually be seen in a flying airplane in bright sunlight, giving an indication that the battery system is working correctly. GEM 2000's can be obtained at local hobby retailers preset to 4.8 volts or 6.0 volts, and they can be set to any trip voltage between 4 volts and 10 volts by the user. The GEM 2000 has three distinct status modes of operation, which coincide with the state of the electrical system onboard your airplane. If the LED is flashing, the battery has at least 30% reserve power. If it is illuminated steadily, the battery is approaching the point at which it needs to be recharged. If the LED is dark, there is a problem with the receiver, switch, wiring, or battery, which should be diagnosed and corrected before flying.
Two versions of mounting the GEM 2000 are available, either directly to the surface, or using a remote LED on an 7" cable. The circuit board can be mounted using double-sided tape or with hook and loop material, both of which are supplied in the package. The LED mounts in either a chrome or a black bezel, and the power cable is plugged into an unused receiver channel. It monitors battery voltage under actual system loads. In the air, the LED indicates battery condition under current flight loads. It is water resistant, weather and fuel proof, has a gold plated connector, and is really easy to install.
I was able to adjust my GEM 2000 to trip at just about any voltage by adjusting the board mounted potentiometer, using a stable power source and an accurate digital voltmeter. I set my GEM 2000 to transition from blinking to steady at 4.7 volts, a little less than the factory set point. Using an ammeter, the steady state current at 5.0 volts was a little more than 9 ma. The average current drain while the LED is blinking is approximately 6 ma, quite close to the self discharge current of the battery itself.
Probably the best feature of the GEM 2000 is the Unconditional Lifetime Warranty. If you ever manage, to damage or destroy one, send it back with $5.00 to cover shipping and handling, and you'll get a new one in return. Also, if you send a letter about your GEM 2000, Electrotek will send you a $2.00 rebate and make you eligible for a monthly and annual drawing for another GEM 2000, and a brand new computer radio system.
The GEM 2000 is available With JR/Hitec, Futaba J, or Airtronics connectors, factory adjusted to either 4.8 or 6.0 volts, at your local R/C hobby retailer. It carries a suggested retail price of $39.95, but actual purchase price may vary. It seems to me that the GEM 2000 is an inexpensive insurance policy for just about any airplane.
Recently, I have come across a new gadget that I really like. It's one of those things that at first may seem frivolous, but it's actually a pretty useful device. Called the "Gem 2000", the device is a small, light (6-9 grams depending on installation) electronic device that drives a very (VERY!) bright LED. It draws just barely more than the NiCd self discharge current, but it lets you know several important things about your on-board system, When the light is flashing, your pack is in a safe state of charge. When it stops flashing, you need to charge before flying. And if it doesn't come on at all, there is a problem with the pack or radio or some part of the electronics or wiring. Al the most basic level, it will definitely give you an obvious indication that the radio is turned on, and make it pretty hard not to notice if you accidentally bump the switch or forget to turn it off. I could tell you more, but there's an add in this issue that has all the details you need. Ii my opinion the unit with the remote LED is the only one that makes sense for our planes. I've been using these in a couple of helis all summer and they work great and really grow on you.
I reviewed a product made by this manufacturer last year. I thought it was the neatest electronic device I had seen or used to that time. I received a call from Bob Johnson at Electrotek, about a week ago, he told me of a new and improved unit that he has designed and wanted me to try out and to do a review on his product. Being that I already used the unit on several aircraft, I was glad to try the new unit.
The new unit is called the GEM 2000, it is a battery monitor and a monitor for other units as well. It will tell you if your switch is on, if the batteries are charged, or the charge left is sufficient to fly your aircraft. All this is done by a flashing LED that is mounted to your aircraft, in a place that it can be seen. The unit is very small, only 29 X 20 mm, so mounting shouldn't be a problem. I like to mount mine in the cockpit. The unit simply plugs into an unused channel on your receiver. Bob sends you all the tech info, so I won't go into a lot of detail. The LED has 3 states; flashing, good to fly, steady don't fly recharge your battery, dark don't fly system failure. Simple, that's why I love this unit. You don't have to take wings off to check your battery, just a simple glance and you can see your batteries condition. You can even see it on a slow close in fly by. The new LED is 500% brighter than the other system!
I highly recommend this product for anyone who values their aircraft!
There are many on-board battery monitors available and more and more they seem to be the choice in place of using Expanded Scale Voltmeters (ESVs) or Digital Volt Meters (DVMs) between flights. Once again, the driver seems to be that people are basically lazy or too impatient to take the time to use their ESV, whereas it takes almost no effort or time to glance at an onboard battery monitor. Helicopter pilots have taken the lead in this area, probably because they tend to fly very long flights and they want to know if they are reaching a critical low voltage near the end of the flight. If they can see the on board monitor while they are flying, they are ahead of the game.
Some months ago, we reviewed the Electrotek BVM II and said we thought its LED was bright enough that you should be able to see it in a fly-by. Since then, they have developed a new model called the GEM 2000 that is smaller and brighter. It is put together very well using surface mount chip technology and comes complete with cables of your choice. Just plug into an unused channel and you are in business. One model has the LED built into the circuit board and the other has a remote LED that you can locate wherever it is convenient. You can buy it set for 4-cell or 5-cell battery packs. It will flash if the voltage is over 4.75 (5.95 for 5-cell) and come on steady at 4.74 (5.94) and below. This provides more than enough margin with a good battery pack. Once again, I must say it, voltage doesn't tell you anything about the state of charge unless you have a good battery, know that it was changed when you started your flying session, and know that it consistently gives you the same voltage discharge curve Then, and only then, should you trust the on-board indicator or the ESV. So you must know the characteristics of your battery. I use a 5-cell pack with a voltage regulator. In the past, I have shown how one could wire in an on-board battery monitor, but this time I decided to try something else. I plugged the GEM 2000 into the receiver as specified and adjusted it to the point where the LED just started to flash. I then ran the pack down and monitored the results. I finally got to a point where the LED would go steady when I worked the servos. I kept going until finally the LED came on steady with just the idle current of the system. At this point, my pack was at 5.7 and the regulator output at 5.68. This is probably still enough margin, although I normally would charge if my pack is down to about 5.9 because I like to have near half my total battery capacity available at all times and I have no trouble with a quick fast-charge when I get to this point.
Many people believe you must have load on the battery when you monitor the voltage and many will argue that the idle current is not enough. I contend that as long as you make your measurements under the same conditions, you will know where you are on the discharge curve. Therefore, I have no trouble using the idle current load for my measurement during my battery check whether it is done with an ESV or an on-board monitor. Just do it the same way every time and be sure you know you have enough left when you get a given voltage or condition such as going from blinking to steady on the GEM 2000.