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Acoms 2-channel stick radio evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3503

In the UK, Acoms pretty much had the radio gear market sewn up in the 1980s – the way I remember it, for 99% of the tens of thousands of youngsters buying an RC car, it had to be a Tamiya, and thanks to the price being the lowest, 99% of them would have been bought with a Acoms radio gear.

Later on, prices tended to fluctuate more, and Futaba got more of a look in, then in the ‘noughties, every man & his whippet seemed to produce cheap 2-channel radio gear. In the midst of that, Acoms seemed to stop caring – the "Techniplus without a number", although functionally fine, looked & felt cheap & nasty. This was followed by the Technisport - the first foray into 2.4 Ghz – which excluded many people (including me) by being of the steerwheel type. It looked like things were back on track with a stick version, but availability of Acoms sets dried up & died during 2015 :(

The production dates I’ve given below are very imprecise, and the “suitable cars” even more so – shops could well have had stocks of the old model hanging around for some time after a new model was released, some Tamiya cars have had very long production runs. Given how expensive radio gear was in the beginning, many radios would have been used with much later cars.





Note: with the exception of the Mk.II, Mk.III and Mk.V, the mark number is not an official Acoms designation and is only used here for discussion and comparison purposes.

AP-227 (retrospectively known as the mk 1)
Date: November 1978** until early 1982?
Realistically, 58003 Tyrell P34 on, firm on 58009 Toyota Celica**, to 58027 Ford F150 Ranger XLT ?
Case: Injection moulded in green plastic, black plastic insert for sticks, lower portion shows 27mhz frequencies/colours, neck strap fixing points but no carrying handle. Battery cover is interchangeable with the mk2
Made in: Japan
Power Output: 500mw
Power indicator: red light when on, goes off again when voltage drops below 7v
Antenna: 9 section telescopic, 9mm OD, M3 internal thread (interchangeable with the mk2)
Stick Adjustment: length adjustable by sliding plastic sleeve on metal shaft (not clear if this was an intentional feature), trim levers
Servo reversing: by removing back of case & rotating stick assembly
Power Source: Six AA cells
Receiver: ARA-227 (Green, large case, servo/battery sockets onboard)
Receiver Antenna length: (ARA-227): 995mm
Servos: Two ASA-227 (fat plug with retainer & reversed +ve/-ve wires, large curved green case with square output shaft) or AS-1*
Box design/contents: Flat card box; dark green with black panels? (confirmation needed). Polystyrene clamshell containing transmitter, reciever, two servos, fittings including round servo horns & spare stick ends, crystals, 4xAA battery holder & switch, TX antenna pennant (colour matched to crystals), and basic nylon cord lanyard (again, colour matched)
Overall: not practical for use IMO – most will have succumbed to the blue/green battery contact “mould” by now, but could look good on your shelf.
Note: The antenna and battery cover are interchangeable with the mk 2














AP-227 Mk2
Date: Mid 1981 until late 1983?
58024 Sand Rover to 58041 The Frog ?
TX: Manual lists it as having part number "ATB-227", but this does not appear on the TX itself. Does this imply that the Mk.I set is ATA-227, Mk.III ATC-227, etc?
Case: Injection moulded in slightly darker green plastic, updated black plastic insert for sticks with round, painted bezels, lower portion shows 27mhz frequencies/colours, neck strap fixing points & T-bar carrying handle. Battery cover is interchangeable with the mk1
Made in: Japan
Power Output: 500mw
Power indicator: vertically scrolling analogue voltage indicator with green, amber & red sections
Antenna: 9 section telescopic, 9mm OD, M3 internal thread (interchangeable with the mk1)
Stick Adjustment: length adjustable by sliding plastic sleeve on metal shaft (not clear if this was an intentional feature), trim levers
Servo reversing: by removing back of case & rotating stick assembly
Power Source: Six AA cells
Receiver: ARB-227 (nearly identical to ARA-227: green, large case, servo/battery sockets onboard)
Receiver Antenna length: 965mm (unless anyone knows better)
Servos: ASA-227, AS-1 (teardrop shape on top, splined output shaft, still “wrong” pinout), AS-1S (no visible difference, so an internal upgrade?)
Box: Dark green with orange & white lettering & plan photo of TX. Contents list as Mk.I
Overall: fundamentally the mk2 is a facelifted mk1, carrying handle & analogue voltage indicator are useful improvements.

















Note on the AP-427

A 4-channel set & therefore not really within the remit of this thread, however it is noteworthy for having the same colour scheme as the Mk.1 and Mk.II sets, but having the same design cues as (and sharing some components with) the Mk.III set.
Production dates unclear as yet, but it seems likely it was introduced around the same time as the first Tamiya 3-speed truck (November 1981) and carried on through the same period as the Mk.III and "Mk.IV" sets.

Servos: 2X AS-2 (same green "teardrop" top case and the splined output as the AS-1 & AS-1S "correct" (Futaba) wire order and slimmer plugs, black print on alloy panel) + 1X AS-3 (as AS-2 but with reversed rotation and GREEN print).

Receiver: ARA-427








AP227 Mk3 Techniplus
Date: early 1984 to late 1987 (or possibly August 1985 to Autumn 1989 (**))
58043 The Grasshopper to 58065 Clod Buster ?
Case: Injection moulded in dark grey plastic, lighter grey inserts for sticks with round bezels, no neck strap fixing points, same T-bar carrying handle as mk2
Made in: Japan or Hong Kong
Power Output: 500mw ?
Power indicator: sweep analogue voltage indicator with numbered coloured sections: red (0-4), amber(4-6) & green (6-8)
Antenna: 7 section telescopic, 7 mm OD, M3 external thread
Stick Adjustment: Fixed length sticks, trim tabs
Servo reversing: by removing screws on front of case & inverting stick assembly
Power Source: Eight AA cells
Receiver: ARC-227 (smaller black case, conventional socket ... but on flying leads), ARD-227 (possibly just a BEC prototype/advertising mockup - I've ertianly never seen one outside promotional material for the Fox), ARE-227 (same as ARC, but with BEC)
Note: ARC-229 also seen, same as ARC-227 but on 29mhz band.
Receiver Antenna length: ?
Servos: two AS-5, AS-5S or AS-7 (conventional size/layout plugs, black angular case, splined output shaft, white or black plastic gears)
Box: Two distinct versions, first blue with black panels, later BEC equipped units grey to black fade. Contents list as Mk.I and Mk.II except lanyard omitted & insert changes to polystyrene insert with simple lid.
Overall: a completely new & better looking case, and lot more practical and reliable than a mk1 or mk2, but still no quick servo reverse option; also moves to eight batteries.

Note on the ARD-227 RX:
This was a prototype that appeared only in some marketing information about the Tamiya Fox. From memory it was very similar to the ARC-227 but with a prominent BEC logoAny further information on the ARD-227 RX is welcome :)















***











AP227F Technidrive aka mk. 4
Date: Late 1987 to Autumn 1989? see note on mk.3, above
58050 Wild One to 58077 Mud Blaster ?
Case: Strangely brown colour with fake hex heads moulded in around stick bezels; dark grey lower section & “aluminium” painted rounded T-bar carrying handle, neck strap fixing points
Made in: Japan
Power Output: 500mw?
Power indicator: vertically scrolling analogue voltage indicator with numbers + green, amber & red sections
Antenna: 7 section telescopic, 7mm OD, M3 external thread
Stick Adjustment: fixed length sticks, trim tabs, 70/30 throttle split lever
Servo reversing: Yes, by switch
Power Source: 8 AA batteries, also fitted with NiCad Charging jack
Receiver: AR-227FE (from box photo); AR-227F (as AR-227FE but without BEC) (two versions with different antenna lengths)
Receiver Antenna length: AR-227FE: 449mm AF-227F: 545mm and 977mm versions
Servos: AS-7, AS-11
Box: 2 tone mid & light brown with white lettering. Later versions had metal effect "BEC" stickers added. Contents list as Mk.III
Overall: The first Acoms transmitter with all the modern features; still very useable & commands probably the highest prices of all Acoms sets.


















AP-27 MKV Techniplus (Chrome)
Date: Autumn 1989** to 1993?
58060 Monster Beetle to ?
Case: principally black plastic, but with large chromed front panel reminiscent of cheap 1970’s hi-fi incorporating both sticks, power switch & power indicator, chrome steel carry handle. Spookily, the battery cover is interchangeable with the Futaba Attack R FT-T2NBR (which also has a chrome front & a near identical battery voltage indicator).
Made in: Malaysia
Power Output: 500mw?
Power indicator: sweep analogue voltage “OUT PUT” indicator (note the space) with numbered coloured sections: red (0-5), silver (5-10)
Antenna: 7 section telescopic, 7mm OD, M3 external thread
Stick Adjustment: fixed length sticks, trim tabs, 70/30 throttle split lever
Servo reversing: Yes, by switch
Power Source: eight AA batteries, also fitted with NiCad Charging jack
Receiver: AR-227FE (from box photo), AR-227F? (as AR-227F but without BEC)
Receiver Antenna length: AR-227FE: 449mm AF-227F: 545mm
Servos: AS-7 (from box photo), possibly also AS-11?
Box: Grey to Black fade with white lettering. Contents list as Mk.IV, except pennant omitted
Overall: No new features from mk4. Design owes more to the mark 3 than mark 4, but the chrome was an anachronism even when new – Hi-fi for example had turned black way before then – and suffers with age/use/poor storage. Still a very useable unit though.


















Muddying the waters: the French mk.III, mk.IV & mk.V****

The French do everything a bit differently with frequencies, so perhaps it's not surprising that one of the T2M (Techniques Moderned Du Modelisme) 26MHz sets messes with the idea of neat "mark" numbers:

T2M AP-26 Mk.iii: TX as per "regular" mk.III with alternative label section & stick gimbals are moulded in same colour as main part of case. Servos & RX TBC.

T2M AP-26 Mk.IV: as per T2M AP-26 mk.III but with the addition of servo reverse switches. The RX appears to be as the the ARC-227 with the flying leads, and the servos are AS-7s (both with different labelling) *****

T2M AP-26 Mk.V: TX as "regular" chrome mk.V with differrent label section, RX apparently has the model ref. ARC26 but looks very much like the AR-227FE; relabelled AS-7 servos (or AS-11 servos, presumably also relabelled). Box design very much as 27mhz variety, but principally in French.





















Techniplus AP-201* Alpha mk. VI ?
Date: 1994 – 1999?
Case: Dark grey plastic, visually dominated by the carry handle & power indicator array.
Made in: Malaysia*
Power Output: 500mw*
Power indicator: 5 LED design, red, amber & 3 green
Antenna: 7 sections, 7mm OD, 3mm outer thread in bottom*
Stick Adjustment: trim tabs, 70/30 throttle split lever
Servo reversing: Yes, by switch
Power Source: eight AA batteries, also fitted with NiCad Charging jack
Receiver: AR-201 (BEC, allowed input is 6,0V to 8,4V)*
Receiver Antenna length:
Servos: AS-12 (confirmed*, also on box) / AS-14?
Box: Same grey to black fade as Mk.V, white & orange lettering + green/blue "Alpha". Contents list as Mk.V
Overall: Last of the “powerful” transmitters, the following "mk.7" and "mk.8" are rated at 100mW.

*







AP-202 Techniplus mk. VII?
Date: 2000-2005?
Case: Dark grey with black stick areas, carry handle still the dominant part of the styling
Made in: China
Power Output: 100mw (from manual)
Power indicator: 3 LEDs – red, amber, green
Antenna: 7 section telescopic, 7mm OD, M3 external thread
Stick Adjustment: Fixed length sticks, trim tabs, 70/30 throttle split lever
Servo reversing: Yes, by switch
Power Source: eight AA batteries, also fitted with NiCad Charging jack
Receiver: AR-2/27 (27mhz) or AR-2/40 (40mhz)
Receiver Antenna length: ?
Servos: ?
Box: Black & red diagonally split. This first issue have "Asahi RADIO" text and Asahi logo. Contents list as Mk.V and Mk.VI, but with single sided pressed card fibre insert.
Overall: First of the CE marked Acoms transmitters & therefore reduced power output (100mW vs 500mW). Also available as a 40mhz set
Note: also see mk.VII "A", below











Ownership changed from Asahi Communications/Corporation to CCP Co., Ltd



Techniplus (no other identifiers) mk. VIII?
Date: 2006-2010
Case: Black plastic
Made in: China
Power Output: 100mw (from manual)
Power indicator: single red LED
Antenna: 7 section telescopic, 7mm OD, M3 external thread
Stick Adjustment: Fixed length sticks, trim tabs, 70/30 throttle split lever
Servo reversing: Yes, by switch
Power Source: eight AA batteries, also fitted with NiCad Charging jack
Receiver: AR-2/27
Receiver Antenna length: (AR-2/27): 489mm
Servos: AS-16 or AS-17
Box: Black with red fade. Contents list as Mk.VII
Overall: Has all the features you need on a basic 27mhz set, but design & colour are uninspiring. Looks & feels cheap.















AP-202 Techniplus mk. VII "A"?
Date: 2011-2015
As the AP-202 "mk.VII" in all regards apart from a new owner/manufacturer. These later versions have the Asahi logo & text on the box covered by "WITH NEW RECEIVER" and "Think Happy" (really) instead.










Techniplus AP2402 2.4ghz, mk. IX?
Date: 2011 - 2015
Case: Black plastic with large satin metal look section, large badge reminiscent of "mk 8"
Made in: China
Power Output: not stated
Power indicator: single red LED, flashes at 4.5v, off at 4v
Antenna: fixed 52mm length 2.4ghz mast with 3-position angle adjustment
Stick Adjustment: Fixed length sticks, on/off/on momentary trim tabs, 70/30 throttle split lever
Servo reversing: Yes, by switch
Power Source: four AA cells (6v)
Receiver: GR-24 - no BEC
Receiver Antenna length: very short!
Servos: single AS-17 / none
Box: Construction changes to light corrugated card box; Black & white with red lines. Contents now just TX, RX & manual.
Overall: Look and feel are a huge improvement over the previous "mk 8". Prices are a lot higher than the current 27mhz offerings - but 2.4ghz technology means no crystal swapping, glitching, or long RX antennas. Reverting to two sticks also means appeal to old-timers like me (unlike the first Acoms 2.4ghz set - the steerwheel & trigger "Technisport").
The omission of BEC is a backwards step - it can't be used with the Tamiya TEU101BK / 104BK ESCs without an additional UBEC unit.















photos/additional info from Larbut (*), Peter Ellis (**), dreadly (***), Gumpie22B (****), stingray-63 (*****)




edit February 2014 Price Guide

All transmitters should be working, have the battery plate and an unbroken antenna. Value range depends on condition - the higher end should have no wear to the paint highlights.

Complete sets should have a transmitter as above, receiver, servos, servo horns, 4x battery box & switch; the box & poly foam inserts may be a little warped or tatty;
For the high end of the range, I would expect the instructions, baggies, lanyard & the pennant (where provided new) to be present, with the box in very good order.

All values are in GBP.

Receivers: 5 to 10 depending on condition
Servos: c. 7 each for the older ones, dropping to 5 for newer
Crystals: 3-5 per pair, up to 8 brand new

TX only:
mk.I 5-10
mk.II 6-12
Mk.III 8-15
Technidrive 12-25
"Mk.V" (Chrome) 5-15
Alpha 10-20
AP-202 ("mk.VII") 6-10
"Mk.VIII" 5-8

Boxed complete set, used: (genuinely unused & still in baggies, prices climbing so add up to 100% for the best examples; incomplete deduct up to 50%)
mk.I 30-40
mk.II 35-45
Mk.III 35-45
Technidrive 40-45
"Mk.V" (Chrome) 30-40
Alpha 40-50
AP-202 ("mk.VII" and mk.vII-A) 25-30
"Mk.VIII" & "7-A" 20-30
"Mk. IX" (2.4ghz) 30



Update February 2016 - Change(s) of Ownership, the mk.VII "A" .. and the end of Acoms?

Mk.VII (AP-202) - all boxes are marked as Acoms, but only some have an Asahi (Asahi Communisations = Acoms) logo, on later boxes any mention of Asahi is gone, mostly changed to "Think Happy". Looking at the corresponding manuals, both show Acoms, but the back page shows the manufacturer has changed from Asahi Corporation to CCP Co., Ltd (3-1-8, Sakae-cho, Kawaguchi, Saitama, 332-8521, Japan).

Looking at the "Mk.VIII", all boxes (I think) have the "Think Happy" logo & the manuals all show CCP Co., Ltd as the owner/manufacturer.

On the "Mk.IX" 2.4GHz stick sets, all are also "Think Happy" logo'd & show CCP Co., Ltd as the owner/manufacturer.

Note: I looked at both the CCP website (www.ccp-jp.com/) and that of the Bandai/Namco group (www.bandainamco.co.jp/) but both are quite impenetrable, even with Google translate

Given the above, I've revised the chronology to include a note on the "Mark VII-A" and put in end dates of 2015 on that and the "Mk.IX" 2.4ghz offering, during which supplies of both seemed to dry up entirely.

I can only speculate as to the reasons for the apparent end of Acoms, but it does seem a shame to me - the AP-202 27mhz ("mk.VII-A") sets were both cheap and competant, and while the 2.4ghz sets had some flaws (audio only trim adjustment, looks, and to a certain extent, price), nostalgia for the brand alone would I think have guaranteed a place for it. :(
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Last edit: by Jonny Retro.

Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3506

Jon, another great post with loads of information!
It makes me want to dig out all the transmitters I have on the loft and see if I have them all :-)

This qualifies for another award!

-Lars
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Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3507

larbut wrote: Jon, another great post with loads of information!
It makes me want to dig out all the transmitters I have on the loft and see if I have them all :-)

This qualifies for another award!

-Lars


If you've got one of the 5-LED "Alpha"s & can take a photo of it that would be great - I'm sure I've got three of them, but can't find one ... I was almost tempted to buy one I saw of eBay earlier for the sake of completeness, but as it came with a car & was up at

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Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3509

I found my old manuals for some Acoms sets:

The Techniplus Alpha is part no. AP-201.
500mW is confirmed.
Servos are AS-12's
Receiver is AR-201 which has BEC system (allowed input is 6,0V to 8,4V)
Antenna is 7 sections, 7mm OD, 3mm outer thread in bottom.
Made in Malaysia



I also have the manuals for AP-227 Mk II and for the 4/5 channel AP-435FM / AP 535FM

AP-227 Mk.II
:
Transmitter part no: ATB-227
Receiver (part no. ARB-227) is NON BEC.
My manual only mentions AS-1 servos.

That's it :-)

-Lars
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Last edit: by larbut. Reason: added more data for the AP-201

Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3510

Jonny Retro wrote:
If you've got one of the 5-LED "Alpha"s & can take a photo of it that would be great - I'm sure I've got three of them, but can't find one ... I was almost tempted to buy one I saw of eBay earlier for the sake of completeness, but as it came with a car & was up at

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Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3517

Thanks Lars, have edited & credited :)

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Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3519

brillent lar most usefull i have all but the first control but never seen such a detailed approch to explainning good for you and long live 27 mhz there is only me at club with a long airel and i dont have to worry about the crystals being the same as there is only me on 27 if it works why change it is my moto B)

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Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 7 months ago #3672

minor updates:

... added photos of AR-2/27 & AR-227FE RXs, AS-7, AS-11, AS-16 & AS-17 servos (still have lots more servos & RXs to dig out, photograph & post ...);

... also spotted several "new" Techniplus AP-202 (mk. VII?) online today... spooky;

... have also just ordered a Techniplus 2.4ghz (mk IX?) set :)

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Re: Acoms 2-channel 27mhz transmitter evolution 9 years 6 months ago #3680

darc wrote: brillent lar most usefull i have all but the first control but never seen such a detailed approch to explainning good for you and long live 27 mhz there is only me at club with a long airel and i dont have to worry about the crystals being the same as there is only me on 27 if it works why change it is my moto B)


Sorry darc, but I'm getting increasingly seduced by the dark side - 2.4ghz ... no long metal antennas to get bent or stick in your eye, no crystals to faff about with, less interference issues, no need for a long whippy antenna on the car ...

2.4 ghz appeared, what, 3 years ago? At first it was way too expensive for me, 18 months ago you could get really cheap (but nasty) units, or decent, not too expensive units that needed modifying (so I have some Planet T5 setups), & now with the latest Techniplus units I think we've reached the mass market point ...

Having said that, personally I'll only put 2.4ghz sets in my "bashers" - which are almosty universally not boxart, and where practicality is more important to me than having the correct period radio; and in new cars - where a 2.4ghz set _is_ the correct period radio :D

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Re: Acoms 2-channel stick radio evolution 9 years 6 months ago #3707

List of TX/Servo/RX part numbers:

TXs:
AP-227 (retrospectively known as the Mk.1)
AP-227 Mk.II on set, manual lists it as the ATB-227
AP-227 Techniplus Mk.III
AP-227F Technidrive (aka Mk.IV)
AP-27 Techniplus Mk.V
AP-201 Techniplus Alpha (mk.VI)
AP-202 Techniplus (mk.VII?)
Techniplus (mk.VIII?)
Techniplus AP2402


Servos:
ASA-227
AS-1
AS-1S definitely exists, but appears to be identical to AS-1?
AS-2
AS-3 reverse version of AS-2 for 4-channel radios & Tamiya 3-speed trucks
AS-5
AS-5S definitely exists, but appears to be identical to AS-5?
AS-7
AS-11
AS-12
AS-14
AS-15 does exist, photo/info wanted
AS-16
AS-17

No evidence that AS-4, AS-6, AS-8, AS-9, AS-10, AS-13 exist


RXs:
ARA-227
ARB-227
ARC-227
ARD-227 ?
ARE-227
AR-227F
AR-227FE
AR-201
AR-2/27 / AR-2/40
GR-24

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