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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Isn't the GEM 2000 just a "fancy" battery monitor"?

No. The GEM 2000 is multi-tasking. It has several other functions in addition to real time load monitoring. Read the full specs...


Q: Does the GEM 2000 cause problems?

No. The GEM 2000 is a passive device that provides detection/early warning only. It plugs directly into the Rx's pos/neg rails only with no signal wire. It does not directly interfere with Rx operations. For durability, the power lead is 22AWG 'heavy' wire instead of standard 26AWG. It takes a lot of abuse. A shorted-out LED wire does nothing at all but extinguish the light.


Q: If a range problem occurs in-flight, will the GEM 2000 cause a crash?

No. Range problems are causal by several things. Mis-matched Tx/Rx frequency crystals (alignment) coil separation, coil breaks etc. Age, wear and tear, heat, cold, rough landings, crashes etc. are all causative factors. The most common problem is minor alignment which is easily solved by having a qualified person 'tune' your system.


Q: If a filtering system fails in-flight suddenly, will the GEM 2000 cause a crash?

No. The Rx filtering system has several ceramic chips and the simultaneous destruction of them all is usually the result of severe crashes, not in-flight maneuvers. Winning the Lottery is more likely than the in-flight complete destruction of an Rx filtering system. Less than a total filter system failure won't noticeably affect flight and landing.


Q: Is the GEM 2000 compatible with all radio systems and RC frequency bands?

Yes. Including 50 MHz Ham, 75 MHz ground, 35 MHz (outside USA) etc.


Q: I have an "ESV" (expanded scale voltmeter), so what is the advantage of having the Gem 2000?

There are many advantages that make it superior to an ESV:

1. Automatic and continual information during operation

2. Convenience - nothing to remember to plug in

3. Simplicity - nothing to really think about or interpret

4. Onboard systems used for real-time precise information on dynamic "load", unlike arbitrary 300-500 mA external "ESV" load plugged into charge jack when Rx is off

5. The GEM 2000 troubleshoots many areas of systems operation, not just the battery pack

6. In-flight loads, because of drag, considerably increase current drain as much as 25-50%. The GEM 2000 is easily seen in-flight and will continually advise you of real time Battery Pack, Rx, Servos and Switch Harness status.

7. If an Rx switch or servo problem occurs while airborne, the GEM 2000 will detect and alert you usually before you're aware of it.

8. Considerable in-flight safety margin built in

9. The GEM 2000 will make your RC'ing less stressful and far more enjoyable because of real "Peace of Mind", rather than a "false sense of security" often given by the "ESV".


Q: If I install GEMs on all my models, do I really need an "ESV"?

No. An "ESV" is only useful to verify the battery pack's condition with a small (300-500 mAh) load when the Rx is off! This often leads to a false sense of security. The GEM 2000 is continual and shows real-time conditions because it checks the actual onboard systems condition when the Rx is on and operating. Keep in mind the GEM 2000 performs many functions that an "ESV" simply cannot. However, we recommend you have an "ESV" in your flight box. At times it is very useful.


Q: What causes tuning circuit range problems?

The short answer is time, heat, impact, vibration, and shock can, and will, inevitably cause the tuning coils to become misaligned or damaged causing range reduction due to lack of peak efficiency. Coils are wound with a precise number of turns, length and separation distances. Any or all of the aforementioned conditions can cause coil problems. Tuning circuits must be kept finely tuned for peak efficiency and maximum range. Consider having your RX tuned annually and also after sudden, hard impacts.


Q: I just have "trainer" type models (sport .15-.60 size). Isn't the GEM 2000 only for the expensive type of models?

Absolutely not! It's designed for the safety of all RC'ers and their models, regardless of whether you've invested $300 or $3000+ in the sport. It's all relative anyway, isn't it?


Q: I have a brand new radio system. Do I really need the GEM 2000?

Yes. Why, you ask? Because manufacturers make mistakes regardless of how good their quality control checks are. These mistakes often result in system problems and failures. That's why even top-quality name brand products always come with some sort of warranty or guarantee, isn't it?


Q: What if I decide I don't like the GEM 2000, then what?

No problem. You can use the GEM 2000 for 4 months absolutely risk-free. If you decide you'd rather RC without it, we'll give you a 100% refund of your investment.


Q: What if I have a "dumb thumbs" crash and the GEM 2000 breaks, what then?

Not to worry. The GEM 2000 comes to you with an unconditional lifetime replacement guarantee. If for any reason (bar none) it stops working, send it to Electrotek RC along with $5.00 for shipping and handling and it will be replaced!


Q: Can the GEM 2000 cause an Rx problem or failure?

No, it cannot. It can only indicate and advise if a problem has occurred or the occurrence of a problem is eminent.


Q: Are filter system malfunctions common?

Yes. Unfortunately, all too common. There is no such thing as an area (including flying fields) that is free from RFI (radio frequency interference). There are several ceramic filters in the Rx. The ceramic material is brittle and is relatively fragile and prone to cracking or breaking from sudden jolts or impacts and even vibration. Even one damaged filter can cause a crash because of RFI from many sources such as microwave repeaters, wireless phones, pagers, and radio transmission towers miles away. Unfortunately, industrial communication devices are allowed by the FCC to operate in the 72 MHz band, the same as airborne RC. The GEM 2000 indicates the fault with a slight jittering of the servo(s). Should this problem occur in the air, it will not discernibly affect flying or cause loss of control.


Q: What does the Rx filtering system do and just how important is it to safe flying?

The Rx filtering system is designed to make sure your Rx only responds to the precise frequency signal that is sent out by your TX (or any TX operating on the same band). For this reason a properly functioning filter system is absolutely necessary and critical to safe operations.


Q: When the GEM 2000 indicates a tuning circuit problem by reducing the ground range by 50%, isn't this dangerous if the problem suddenly occurs in the air instead?

No. The GEM 2000 does not reduce the Rx range, it only warns that your tuning circuit is already experiencing range reduction and is not operating at peak efficiency.


Q: Will shock or vibration cause a problem with the GEM 2000?

No. It is shock and vibration proof.


Q: What if fuel or water spills on the GEM 2000, will this somehow hurt its operation?

No. The unit is water and fuel resistant, even if the label is removed, so you don't have to worry about where you install it.


Q: I like to support my local hobby shop. Can I buy the GEM 2000 there?

Many hobby shops carry ERC products throughout the U.S.A, Canada and Europe. If your local hobby shop does not carry our products, please refer them to us. If they become an authorized ERC Dealer, you'll receive a power monitor of your choice as a thank you gift for the referral.


Q: What if I have a "Regulator" (or BEC)?

Reading regulated voltage is of no value. However, the rated pack voltage is. The GEM 2000 must be tied into the pack after the switch and before the regulator. Use a "Y" adaptor. If the switch has an integrated regulator within, then "Y" the GEM 2000 directly to the pack before the switch. Add an inline switch to the GEM 2000's power lead.


Q: Can I really see the GEM 2000 while in flight?

Yes, absolutely! We advise a low pass occasionally to make sure the GEM 2000 advises it's safe to continue. On a hovering helicopter you can check the GEM 2000's advisory indication 150-200 ft. away.


Q: How likely is it that the GEM 2000 will save my aircraft (or any R/C model)?

Fact: Sooner or later all R/Cers experience problems in one or more of the 7 onboard systems the GEM 2000 monitors. The GEM 2000's performance and capabilities make it an absolute certainty that it will (not might) save your model(s), probably many times if you continue R/Cing. Your investment in the GEM 2000 will be returned in hard costs and time savings alone many, many times over.


Q: My Buddy said when he plugged in the GEM it caused interference and the servos jittered. He unplugged it and the jittering stopped. What's up?

The jittering stopped but his Rx problem remained! The jittering signified an internal Rx problem with the filters, Xtal or Tuning circuit. The distance/number of servos affected determine the general problem area. So, your buddy still had a problem, all he did by unplugging the GEM was eliminate the warning.


The GEM's LED has nothing to do with warning in these 3 areas of Rx operation. The warning is provided by one or more servos. Here's how this function of the GEM works.... The GEM 2000 generates a very low frequency signal through the air like a radio. The objective is to test the integrity of the Rx's RFI noise rejection circuitry made up of a series of fragile filter chips. If there's a filtering breach, even a minor one, the GEM detects and reports it via the servo train. Why the jitters? It's simply a normal/natural side effect of a low frequency interference (RFI). Various radio frequencies are everywhere you go. There's no escaping them. That's why R/C receivers have a filtering system! When the system breaks down you're wide open to interference from a multitude of sources beyond the 72MHz (USA) and 35MHz (Europe) frequencies designated for airborne R/C models. The GEM's frequency is only 1.666 MHz. This only causes a slight low amplitude signal interference that in turn causes one or more servos to jitter slightly. That's all! This jittering action is so slight, that beyond 3-4 meters distance on the ground they cannot be seen or heard. Flight is not noticeably affected. The jittering intensifies with severe filtering system problems an/or more closely related signals such as industrial communication, which are also licensed to operate on 72 MHz. The GEM 2000 does not make a go or no/go decision. That decision is yours. The GEM merely warns/advises of problems. Any problem can result in disater. Full-scale pilots are trained to trust and rely on their instruments. We advise the same!


Note: Turn on Tx first, then the Rx. If jittering occurs at close range, the problem is either filtering or the Xtal is loose, broken etc. Check Xtal first. If all servos jitter during range check at 70-100 ft. (21.34-30.48 meters), this is a minor tuning problem. If jitering occurs at less the 70 ft. (21.84 meters) or is severe, do not fly. The problem is serious! Solve it first.


Q: Is the GEM 2000 a fail-safe device?

No. Actually, many believe if a fail-safe device activates during flight, a crash often results. Not with the GEM 2000. It warns before problems become serious enough to result in crashing.


Q: Does the GEM work with FM/PCM mode systems?

Yes, but the detection/warning of filter, Xtal and tuning circuit is different from standard FM/PPM mode operation. Here's how and why. PCM incorporates a servo dampening feature. When a PCM receiver is switched on, the servos remain quiet if the Rx is off. With non-PCM systems, the servos will jitter or chatter, usually because the Rx is searching for a signal. Because the servo dampens the GEM, it cannot warn via the servos, even though it still detects the slightest problems with filters, Xtal and tuning. The problem must be of a more severe nature to be warned by the GEM 2000, in which case your system will automatically go into fail-safe mode and literally prevent flight. Your decision is made for you, and rightfully so.


Q: Will the GEM 200 warn me that my Tx is off?

Yes. With most non-PCM systems you'll experience a very noticeable servo chattering to remind you to switch the Rx on. With PCM, NO.


Q: What if I change pack voltages?

The GEM 2000 is user adjustable from 4-10v. Just follow the User's Guide Adjustment procedure section in your original pack, or see the GEM 2000 Instruction Sheet.

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