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Written by Greg Gimlick
Graupner mz-16 2.4 GHz HoTT Transmitter
As seen in the April 2020 issue of Model Aviation.


Bonus Video


quality radio at a reasonable price

01. The top left of the transmitter has two digital trim buttons, a dial, two 3-position switches, and two 2-position switches with a momentary third position setting.

quality radio at a reasonable price

02. The top right of the transmitter has three 3-position switches, two digital trim buttons, a dial, and a 2-position switch. There are also two dials available on the front of the radio to the left of these.

quality radio at a reasonable price

03. This is a front view of the radio with the model screen displayed and folding antenna extended.

Access additional content by visiting www.ModelAviation.com/bonuscontent.

GRAUPNER HAS BEEN a leading name in radios for years. It was once considered to be primarily a European radio, where it garnered a large market share, but it’s been established in the US for a long time and its market share is growing.

Recent changes within the Graupner line include true channel designations, dual radio frequency (RF), an MP3 module, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and a host of other features. The gorgeous, big, color touch screen was reason enough to attract me.

The mz-16 is a full-featured, high-end radio that is available to regular modelers at less than highend prices. It certainly isn’t inexpensive but compared with others on the market with similar features, it’s in line and comes with the Graupner reputation of quality and service.

A true 16-channel transmitter and a line of telemetry capable receivers, some incorporating flight controllers, brings a professional-level radio with features that seem to go on forever.

First Impressions

I was kind of like a kid at Christmas waiting for the delivery driver to bring my new radio. I had been following the press release information about the mz-16 and jumped on the newest version when it was available. It arrived solidly packed in a foam box to protect it, and everything was included to get going—even a real, printed manual! Oh, how I love a real, printed manual!

I pulled the radio from the box and immediately had to try the gimbals. I had heard some complaints that they weren’t hall-effect gimbals, but since one of the best radio gimbals I ever used wasn’t hall effect, that didn’t influence my buying decision. I was right not to be concerned because these machined, aluminum, quad-bearing gimbals feel great! They are smooth, with no discernable lack of centering or stumbles, through the full range of motion.

The sticks are easily adjustable for length, and tensions are modified by screws in the back without needing to open the radio. The grip and balance felt good to me although it’s heavier than my other radio. A preinstalled neck strap balancer bracket rotates to the side for easy access to the power switch. Nicely done.

I’m a neck strap user, so I connected the included strap and checked it for balance. It was good for me. I spent some time getting the feel of the stick and switch positions.

My hands are large and I found everything comfortable with the regularly used switches in easy reach. Varying lengths and feel made them easy to differentiate by touch.

I plugged the radio in to charge while I sat down with the manual for some quality time. The battery is a 1S 4,000 mAh LiPo that should provide good run time, but there is plenty of room in the battery compartment if a larger one is desired.

Widgets, Decks, and HoTT

Terminology often trips us up as we look at one radio or another. Manufacturers try to distinguish themselves from the crowd by labeling their features in a unique way. It can be confusing at first, but with a little explanation, things become clear.

I can’t emphasize enough to look at the professional tutorial videos by Graupner. These are extremely well done, and time spent watching them while you wait for your radio to arrive will be time well spent. I felt like I knew the radio by the time it got here. The videos also familiarize you with the terminology.

  • HoTT stands for Hopping Telemetry Transmission. It uses frequency-hopping spread spectrum technology (FHSS) and incorporates real-time telemetry. Keep in mind that this is not compatible with any other radio claiming to use FHSS protocol.
  • Decks: Think of decks as screens. Each model has six decks that can be assigned to either individual models or globally. In other words, you have six screens to customize however you want.
  • Widgets: Each deck displays presentation blocks filled by information or actions. These can be selected and arranged to suit you. They can vary by size when you define how many presentation blocks each one occupies. Timers can occupy enough blocks to be easily visible at a glance; others can use fewer blocks if the information doesn’t need to stand out. You can designate one to be receiver voltage from telemetry and even customize it to change colors when it drops below a certain level. This is real-time information at a glance.

You can design your decks and widgets for each individual application or have a custom layout for each model. I’ve adjusted mine as I got used to the radio and how I want them for various models. There is a great Graupner tutorial on editing widgets and decks.

First Time Out of the Box

When you first unbox your radio, it will take you through a logical sequence of items to define according to your country, language, etc. This is a quick process, but an important one because you’ll define your default measurements, temperature scale, voice language, stick mode, etc. These will be global unless you define something different for a particular model or group type.

The mz-16 can bind two receivers for any model. That allows up to 16 total channels, and each is user definable. Binding can be by group or global. If you globally bind receivers, be aware that they will respond to any model chosen, so there is no guarantee if you have the wrong model selected, the receiver will ignore it. I recommend binding each receiver to the individual model (group) you’ll be using, so if you’re in the wrong model, it won’t talk to the receiver. When using two receivers in the same airplane, they must be bound in the group.

Help is at hand by clicking on the little question mark icon anytime you need it. You can also add your own help notes to a deck later by using something such as Paint and saving it as a BMP image.

the mz 16 arrives with two manuals
The mz-16 arrives with two manuals, a charge/USB cord, a neck strap, receiver, and a USB adapter cord for updates.

Customize Your Programming

As you set up a model, you’ll find there are the usual stock templates available and default decks with widgets generally used by most people. From there it’s an open slate if you want to define custom decks and widgets. You could conceivably have a different set of decks and widgets for every model you program. After I determine which widgets I depend on and define the deck, I use them for multiple setups.

Switches can be defined to do whatever you want them to do. Servo assignments can also be freely assigned. Do you love flight modes (phases)? You have multiple modes you can define for each model. Take a look at the list of things you can define to suit your needs:

  • Eight selectable flight modes
  • Eight wing types, six delta-wing types (total 14), and three tail types
  • Multiengine control (four)
  • Six user-designable widgets dashboards (model specific or global)
  • Text to speech with voice data file editor
  • Five phase-dependent assignable trim settings and five trim types
  • Four phase-dependent configurable timers (Start/Stop, Lap, Lap Trigger, Lap Toggle)
  • Four phase-dependent quad rate and exponential settings
  • 12 phase-dependent multipoint user mixers
  • Four dual-differential cross mixers
  • Three-channel sequencers
  • Three-channel ring limiters
  • 16 user-assignable digital switches
  • Six assignable combination switches
  • Eight assignable logical switches
  • Eight assignable control switches
  • Four snap roll mixes
  • Eight wing and tail mixes and crow/butterfly function
  • Nine user-assignable and configurable system-voice notifications
  • Eight user-assignable and configurable voice notifications
  • 12 user-assignable and configurable control voice notifications
  • Eight sensor-activated switches
  • Eight user-assignable and configurable voice notifications

If you can’t find the combination of things you want, you’re not looking! In fact, you can go so far as to define a flight mode that will have functions activate only when a certain combination of switches is in defined positions.

If you’re a helicopter flier or just prefer adjustable throttle curves over a linear mode, you’re in luck. You aren’t bound by a standard five-point curve if you don’t want; you can add points to the curve for your throttle or pitch by simply tapping on the line where you want another point. Awesome!

Bonus Features

I consider these bonuses because they are either personal preferences or option modules added for specific reasons. The MP3 module allows you to practice to whatever music you’re choreographing a routine to without the need for a big sound system. Just use the radio to play the music.

For selfish reasons, I chose to get the optional Bluetooth module. I have significant hearing loss and wear hearing aids. With the Bluetooth module, I can pipe the voice responses directly to my hearing aids and not turn the volume up so loud that it disturbs other fliers on the flightline.

This will work with any Bluetooth headphones or earbuds. I can still hear everything going on around me, but the subtle voice commands from the radio are also easily heard and nobody else has to listen to them.

Volume control can be assigned to one of the sliders or knobs and adjusted anytime while flying. This is far better than having to go into some menu to find a way to adjust the sound. Voice commands can also be edited and defined as needed.

Controlling functions can be defined to an abundance of options using 5 × 3 position switches, 2 × 3 position/toggle switches, a 1 × 2 position switch, four proportional knobs, 2 × lever controls, and eight assignable digital buttons.

Updates can be done via Wi-Fi or through the USB connection on the back using your computer. When connected to the computer, it acts like a mass storage device and you can access a wealth of information from the radio.

External modules for Crossfire, etc. are connected to the port on the back of the radio and further defined within the programming for the appropriate system.

At A Glance

at a glance

Specifications

Band: 2.4000 to 2.4835 GHz dual RF

Channels: 16

Frame rate: 10ms or 20ms

Model memory: 999

Modes: Selectable 1 through 4

Modulation: FHSS

Display: 4.3-inch TFT color and touch screen

Range: Full (5,000 meters)

Rate positions: Three position

Receiver: GR-18 nine-channel receiver and flight controller

Resolution: 4096 pixels

SD card: 16 GB internal SD card

Telemetry: Integrated

Bluetooth: Optional accessory ($49.99)

Wi-Fi: Built in

Transmitter battery: 4.2-volt, 4,000 mAh LiPo

Trainer function: Wireless or wired

Firmware upgrade: WLAN, USB terminal

Weight: 39 ounces

Dimensions: 7.68 × 2.56 × 8.27 inches Price: $749.99

pluses logo

Pluses

  • Incredible color touch screen.
  • Extensive programmability and customization.
  • Tech support with a phone call.
  • Help files readily available on every deck (screen).
  • Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability.
  • All of the stick adjustments can be done without opening the radio.

Minuses

minuses

  • Receivers don’t all bind with the same method.
  • Gyro setup can be confusing.

manufacturer distributor

Manufacturer/Distributor Graupner

(855) 572-4746

www.graupnerusa.com

the back of the radio has battery access
The back of the radio has battery access, a USB port along with an access panel for the headphones, and com, data, and DSC ports.

the battery is a single
The battery is a single 4,000 mAh LiPo cell. A 9,000 mAh pack is an option.

this is the basic menu where most users will make standard adjustments
this is the basic menu where most users will make standard adjustments. Selecting a tab on the right side of the screen will bring up other menus for special functions.

the binding deck shows how many receivers are bound for that model
the binding deck shows how many receivers are bound for that model and which group they are assigned to. Clicking the "range check" widget will put it in that mode for 99 seconds. RF defaults can also be changed here for each model.

the final gyro settings are done in the special settings menu and can be confusing
the final gyro settings are done in the Special Settings menu and can be confusing. Help is available online and through the help screens.

Conclusion

I’m a happy camper. Choosing a new radio is always a nerve-racking affair, but this choice has worked out well. I stumbled a few times with programming a gyro, called tech support at Graupner USA, and Doug talked me through the process in a few seconds. There is great help online and an active user community that is willing to tackle any problems you might bump into.

The radio is heavier than the one I was used to, but I find it comfortable. The extensive range of programmability is fantastic, although somewhat intimidating at first. I highly recommend that you watch the Graupner tutorials before you begin using the radio. I felt familiar with the radio before it even arrived because of them. With reasonably priced receiver/gyro combinations and great technical support, combined with Graupner’s reputation for quality, I think I made the right choice.

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