Workshop Tips: Secure Servos

Apr 09, 2012 7 Comments by

Model Airplane News readers are an innovative bunch, and they’re always coming up with ways to make their models better while saving time and money. Here are a few two workshop secrets for ensuring secure servos, every time!

Secure servo connections
When you install servos in a wing or fuselage and use long servo extension leads, the connector between the two can come lose during flight due to vibration! A simple safeguard is to slip a length of heat-shrink tubing over the connectors and apply heat with a hot air covering gun. This will make a secure connection that’s easy to remove with a sharp X-Acto knife later on.

Kevin Bennett, email

Servo Tape Tips

A friend of mine lost his plane recently because his elevator servo came loose during flight. The servo tape came loose! When I use double-side foam servo tape (I use 3M attachment tape,) I always clean the servo case with some rubbing alcohol and then apply some clear tape to the case before applying the foam tape. For a proper bond, I also make sure the surface I stick the servo to is also clean. If your servo case is dirty and has left-over foam tape adhesive in it, be sure to clean it before reinstalling the servo. I have found the “Crayon Away” (available at Wal-Mart,) works great for removing that leftover tape residue.

Phillip Draper, Columbus, OH

From the Magazine

About the author

Senior Technical Editor About Me: I have a lifelong passion for all things scale, and I love to design, build and fly scale RC airplanes. With 20 plus years as part of the Air Age family of magazines, I love producing Model Airplane News and Electric Flight.

7 Responses to “Workshop Tips: Secure Servos”

  1. FHH says:

    Even better are the EMS or other brand clip-on devices to secure the connection between a servo and extension.
    Variations for different brands

    And there are several others.

    With these you can quickly secure your connections that you put together and take apart every trip to the field…. and any “permanent” connections.


    For “servo mounting tape”… use 3M automotive trim tape It is far stronger than the older white foam tapes and the adhesive comes off of the servo when you want it off. No chemicals needed.

    Sticks extremely well to plastics (servos and iron-on covering) or to wood that has been painted with glue or epoxy. Does not stick well to bare wood. (but no tape really does well at that) You can trust this tape for 20 years.

  2. Scott Anderson says:

    I have been using heat shrink to lock the connections between servos and extensions for years. It is simple and CHEAP compared to purchasing removable connector locks.
    As a benefit it makes pulling the wires and connection through a wing easier since it streamlines the ends of the connectors so they do not SNAG on a rib, or dig into the foam!

    Thanks for the article!

  3. Mike says:

    Helps to have the servo sides and bottom blocked in with simple balsa sq longeron to assist in stopping the twisting motion so it’s not reliant on the tape only.

  4. Dean says:

    My aileron wiring is all SOLDERED, then
    heat shrinked around each wire, and then one final
    heat-shrink tube arouund the entire connection.

    The inability to properly solder is a severe handicap in this hobby. I continue to be amazed at those who persevere, not having any soldering skills.

    Connections (contacts) are the worst when it comes to reliability, especially in this high-vibration environment.

    If you must, consider applying ProGold contact cleaner to your pins and receptacles, work them back and forth several times to enhance seating.

    If the contacts feel loose, don’t fly! Crimp them or do something to be sure the contacts are tight and ohm-free.

    Take it from an Electronics Engineer with plenty of hands-on prototype circuit fab experience.

  5. StressLess says:

    Even cheaper and easier than heat-shrink, EMS clips or soldering is dental floss. Use dental floss to tie a loop around the two connectors end to end so they don’t come apart. Need extra security, tie two pieces of dental floss around the connectors.

  6. Jim Slaughter says:

    My rule of thumb is to NOT use servo tape! Sorry guys, but I believe in safety. I screw those puppies down even if I have to make a mount of some sort.

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