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Having Hard Time Selecting New Radio

Old 12-18-2011, 05:13 PM
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Big Johnny
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Default Having Hard Time Selecting New Radio

My Financial Advisor A.K.A my beautiful wife has told me I could buy a new radio if it didn't cost over $350.00. I have always been a Futaba man but I'm having a hard time deciding between The Futaba 7C 2.4 and the Spektum DX7S. What do ya'll think? I know they are both excellent radios, but wonder which is the best bang for the buck, because it will be a long time before I get another new radio. Believe it or not since starting flying in 1989 I have never bought a new radio, I have bought them second handed, from club members and such.
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Old 12-18-2011, 05:54 PM
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upnet
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Don't worry about "bang for the buck". Which one has the features you want? Like you said....you have been a Futaba man. Is there something the DX 7s does that the Futaba won't? Which one feels better in your hands?
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:00 PM
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Have you considered a DX8. You would benefit from the logging facility and the ability to store model memories on sd card so you could use the radio for every model you fly.
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:01 PM
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The DX7s works with the HK orange receivers for 6 bucks each - no brainer I think

I just got the 7s and really like it so far.

Wolfe
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Old 12-18-2011, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by squidger View Post
Have you considered a DX8. You would benefit from the logging facility and the ability to store model memories on sd card so you could use the radio for every model you fly.
All of the Spectrum radios from DX6i up have memory banks so that multiple models can be flown with the same radio, (granted the DX8 has a removable card). The DX7s also has telemetry like the DX8, so function wise, the DX8 really doesn't offer much more.

If I was given the choice for any TX, I would choose the DX7s.
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:13 PM
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I have the DX7 and really like it. Much better than the Dx6I that I had before.
I think it's all I will need in the near future.
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Old 12-18-2011, 09:52 PM
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well the best "bang for the buck" has to be the Futaba 8fg, which can be upgraded to a full 14 channel radio with just a free software download, plus you have the security of the FASST 2.4Ghz system plus as you are already used to Futaba, you will it easy to program


Simon

I have the Futaba 10cg btw...but then the 8fg was not out when I bought my 10cg
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Big Johnny View Post
My Financial Advisor A.K.A my beautiful wife has told me I could buy a new radio if it didn't cost over $350.00. I have always been a Futaba man but I'm having a hard time deciding between The Futaba 7C 2.4 and the Spektum DX7S. What do ya'll think? I know they are both excellent radios, but wonder which is the best bang for the buck, because it will be a long time before I get another new radio. Believe it or not since starting flying in 1989 I have never bought a new radio, I have bought them second handed, from club members and such.
I've got two DX7 transmitters and 7 AR7000 receivers. Outside of a new battery for the DX7 transmitter after four years of service, can't complain.

If you're flying several models, the Spektrum/JR 2.4 Ghz systems have what's called "Model Match", a security system that makes it completely impossible to take off with the wrong model programmed into your transmitter. (Think reversed ailerons with the wrong model!)

Also think the newer DX7s transmitters have the DSMX system that is sort of a combination of the original spread spectrum and frequency hopping type of coding.

As for the club I'm in, about 90% of the members that have gone to 2.4 Ghz are using the Spektrum/JR systems. One member had an expensive Futaba system for a $$$$ wet turbine model. The model went in, total loss. Sent it to Futaba, they indicated no problems, got it back, I checked it. That transmitter shut down all by it self on my workbench. Twice. That was on a fully charged battery known to be in good condition.

Of course, a lot of wattflyer readers will say the samething about the Spektrum/JR systems, so best bet is to check what systems your local model clubs are using, and go from there.
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Old 12-18-2011, 11:56 PM
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Well if we are going to start a going on about losing the link to the model while in flight, we have had 7 models go in at our club, all on spektrum, not one Tx problem with any of the futaba tx here, in fact we are fast becoming a futaba only club as spektrum seem to have so many "loss of signal in flight" over here, not sure why but their systems dont seem as secure?
I feel the FASST frequency hopping system of Futaba has always been a more secure idea imho.

but I do agree its best to see what people are getting on well with at your club, if problems on one set more than the other, than go for the problem less one.

i
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Old 12-19-2011, 07:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Focus View Post
All of the Spectrum radios from DX6i up have memory banks so that multiple models can be flown with the same radio, (granted the DX8 has a removable card). The DX7s also has telemetry like the DX8, so function wise, the DX8 really doesn't offer much more.

If I was given the choice for any TX, I would choose the DX7s.

Didnt know the DX7s had telemetry. I know they all allow you to fly several model memories but the DX6i limits you to 10 and the DX7 to 20 whereas with an sd card you can effectively have hundreds of memories stored on your PC so will never need another TX.
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:33 AM
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Originally Posted by SimonV6 View Post
Well if we are going to start a going on about losing the link to the model while in flight, we have had 7 models go in at our club, all on spektrum, not one Tx problem with any of the futaba tx here, in fact we are fast becoming a futaba only club as spektrum seem to have so many "loss of signal in flight" over here, not sure why but their systems dont seem as secure?
That's always the problem with these questions, you get a lot of stories but few hard facts. But that's an odd one. In my bit of the UK Midlands I've not seen many problems with Futaba 2.4GHz gear but that's partly because the Spektrums outnumber them about 50:1. In fact I've seen very few Futaba 2.4GHz TXs at all because the Futaba stuff just is so much more expensive and no-one here is having any problems with their Spektrum gear so Spektrum/JR is what most people are happily using.

OTOH I only have a lowly DX6i so I don't know a lot about the pricier stuff .

Steve
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Old 12-19-2011, 09:41 AM
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i recently bought the spektrum dx8 after being a futaba and then jr man since earlier last century

apart from the other good points above, i would also concur that the price of orange rx from hobbyking mean it is cheap (read under $20) to kit a microflyer with rx / lipo / micro-sevo combo
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Old 12-19-2011, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by slipstick View Post
OTOH I only have a lowly DX6i so I don't know a lot about the pricier stuff .

Steve

LOL
Last summer, a guy at a local electric fun fly was flying a 4KW electric very scale model running about 4 KW with complete success. His ONLY radio system is the "Lowly DX6i" with Spektrum AR7000 receivers. He was also flying a number of other electric models.

As for reliability of radios, three guys in my club had crashes in the past year because of the linear BEC's in the ESC's overheating and shutting down. IMHO, those linear BEC's should only be used in models with no more than two series LiPo cells. Period.

Much better to go to those switching uBEC's such as Castle Creations 10 amp uBEC, or the Castle Creations ICE series of ESC's that among other suppliers use switching uBEC's.

Take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=63779
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:11 PM
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I like Spektrum's support and they way Spektrum tries harder to make users manuals and instruction sheets understandable. All hobby grade stuff is subject to problems and Spektrum's quick turnaround servicing is also important. Spektrum's variety and range of sizes/weights in receivers is the best.
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Old 12-21-2011, 05:27 PM
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Hi Johny
Best advice is above - try the trannies, see which one you like. From 72 meg days, I was Futaba and Hitec, and prefered the Hitec stuff from those two. Now have Futaba 6 channel and Spektrum 7 channel - sorry, can't recall their string of letters, but its the current protocol, albeit not the flashiest one.

First off, if was buying now, would look deeply at Hitec first - it wasn't around when I went 2.4.

Futaba - like that their RXs are small, and don't come in two parts for full range. Spektrum parkies are tiny, but their 'full range' receivers have two parts. You can get the cheap rip-off RXs from HK for Spektrum - I have two - but they ain't going in a real model. Nutball, yes. Something complicated I designed around 600W and going places - no way!

Service on the two I have - good on the occasions, one each, I have needed iot.

Complexity? several of my models are tailless with elevon control. Even the very basic Futaba does fine for me. Do you really need to be able to mix every control on the model, plus tell you how fast every model on the field is flying and have it find you the nearest coffee shop?

Only snag with the Futaba for me would have hit if it was the only set I owned - I have the FASST 6 channel and it's a bit tight on model memories, even though I don't have a lot of models. If you believe in buying every new ready-made you're told to, you would soon fill its memory capacity. Spektrum is better here if you furiously collect models.

So - get you to a hobby shop and waggle some tranny sticks! It's not a small investment, do all you can get it right. As always, research and think lots, spend once and get it right.

Good luck!

D
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Old 12-21-2011, 06:05 PM
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Thats good advice. But not all Spektrum full range receivers are two part. The ar500 and ar600 are full range and are single receivers. You can plug a sattelite receiver into full range receivers to give more peace of mind but I have to say I have never had a problem with Spektrum. Am currently flying 12 aircraft and 4 Helis with Spektrum receivers (mostly ar500) and the only one with a sattelite receiver is my Belt CP heli as that was bought at the same time as my Spektrum radio and I got a sattelite receiver in the package. Have flown models till they spec out and never gone out of range.
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:28 PM
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That's good to know. When I bought mine, a couple of years back now and thankfully after they changed their encoding protocol, the only 'standard range' receiver was the two piece one with the 'satellite' RX.

Wish I could keep up with all the 'names' - marketing seems to have gone from regular names to long alphanumeric strings.

Oddly enough, I only have one with the satellite too...

D
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Old 12-21-2011, 07:39 PM
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Another fan of Spektrum/JR. JR9303 for a transmitter, about to buy a second one and move all the sailplanes onto it.

I have 34 Spektrum RX's (according to the spreadsheet anyway )

6100's, 6200's, (1) 600, 7000's, (1) 9100 in the 36% plane. (1) JR921 in the P-47

(3) HK Oraage clones, like someone mentioned above - only in the cheap planes
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Old 12-21-2011, 08:38 PM
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I guess somebody has to make the case for Futaba. All the things you read about brown outs and things temporarily dropping out don't apply to Futaba. They are simply more reliable and, yes, the receivers are full range - line of sight. I don't know if Futaba makes an air receiver that isn't. At least I haven't seen one. I would assume that the ground receivers are probably not full range.

The FASST system uses a broad spectrum of about 100 frequencies for spread spectrum switching. The older Spektrum gear only uses 2 frequencies. That's OK as long as nothing else is nearby at one of the randomly selected frequencies. The new DX8 and DX7C have finally caught up to Futaba in this respect.

The pro flyers usually fly with Futaba or JR gear. A minority use Spektrum. I believe the reasons are range and reliability. The Futabas cost a little more but are worth every penny for these reasons. Yes, there are FRSky and Orange RX compatible receivers too if you like that.

But to answer your question. Of course it's hard to choose a radio when everyone recommends what they themselves use. Good luck.
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:34 PM
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FASST hasn't been without it's problems either. All of the European 6EX, 7C and TM7 modules were recalled by Futaba to fix GUID issues, and about the same time Hobbico offered the free "upgrades".

Real world - the failure rate for either system on a per unit basis is still a very low number.

Back to the OP's original issue - I agree with something that was stated above - you need to get some "hands on" time with as many transmitters as you can. There's one train of thought that says "buy the final radio NOW", but many folks simply can't do that financially - or don't know what the final radio needs to do. User support is an often overlooked consideration. When I had problems with a mix on my previous TX (Futaba 9C - great radio BTW), I could post the question online, and by the time I got home, I'd have half a dozen different solutions. I've seen that same level of "user based" support for my 9303, and certainly seen it for the DX-7. One thing I like about the 9303/9503 series is the JR PC Data Transfer software, as I can back up all my memories, settings, etc (have 30 models in the TX, about 45 in the PC). Also nice to be able to email a file to folks that have a similar model and that software.

If it were me, and I was not looking to buy my "last" radio - I'd have to say DX7, if for no other reason that it's not the "new kid on the block" anymore and there are lots of them available used. Another factor to consider might me - what are your buddies using? It's nice to have help if you run into programming issues. I tried that logic when I bought the 9303, thinking my BIL and other buddies would be a resoource, unfortunately I turned out to be the only one willing to learn how to program (and am still learning)
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Old 12-21-2011, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by fmw View Post
I guess somebody has to make the case for Futaba. All the things you read about brown outs and things temporarily dropping out don't apply to Futaba. They are simply more reliable and, yes, the receivers are full range - line of sight. I don't know if Futaba makes an air receiver that isn't. At least I haven't seen one. I would assume that the ground receivers are probably not full range.
.
After sending in all my Spektrum AR7000 receivers for software updates several years ago for that "Brownout" issue, I put several of them on my Tektronix 100 Mhz scope to see what's what.

The testing included electronically switching between 4.8 Volts DC to a variable 5 Volt DC supply. These AR7000 receivers rebooted at 3.2 Volts DC, plus or minus a few millivolts. And, when they were switched back to the 4.8 Volt DC supply, they rebooted in about 3/4 second or so. The AR7000 software flashes the receiver LED to warn you that the receiver has had its input voltage drop below minimums.

One of my models uses 7 Hitec 645MG servos. I've measured peak currents on those 7 servos at 14 AMPERES, with the peak indicating function of my $350.00 Fluke 87V digital multimeter. That 14 Amp peak current was found by just moving the two transmitter sticks in circles for a few seconds. The accuracy of that 87V meter is better than 0.1% on DC current.

I've done testing with a brand new five cell "AA" type receiver battery with a 14 Amp load. That setup was found in a club members $$$$ wet turbine model. Told the club member not to ever fly again with that receiver battery, and showed him why. (His "AA" battery dropped below 3.2 volts in less than 1/2 second at 12 Amps.)

So, IMHO, if you've had the "Brownout" happen to your Spektrum (Or any other brand receiver for that matter), its not a problem with the receiver, its a problem with an inadequate DC battery supply for the receiver and servos.

This "Brownout" issue can be a problem with any microcontroller controlled device. They all have minimum voltage requirements before shutting down. It's just a matter of how fast the little microcontroller reboots after the brownout. These microcontrollers will reboot in milliseconds after a brownout. Problem is with the 2.4 Ghz frequencies, the receiver has to re-locate the transmitter signal to reconnect to the proper transmitter. That rebooting time is partially controlled by the software that runs the little chip.
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Old 03-17-2012, 05:11 AM
  #22  
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I have the Spektrum DX7 and would probably not buy another one unless they made the programming easier. Do all the transmitters have such poorly written manuals?
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by NoResults View Post
I have the Spektrum DX7 and would probably not buy another one unless they made the programming easier. Do all the transmitters have such poorly written manuals?
Don't know about other radios, but my DX7's have well written manuals. You can do a lot of stuff after reading it cover to cover about 5 or 6 times.
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Old 03-17-2012, 06:22 AM
  #24  
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practice makes better

but there's a bit of experimentation required

setting up the V tail needed to be "flaperons" to work, and some plugging combinations before it did my bidding
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Old 03-17-2012, 10:00 AM
  #25  
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Whats best radio / car / motorbike / boat / etc. etc. etc.

Bias, brand loyalty, oft-repeated garbage hearsay, friend of a friend of a friend knew a guy who's radio did xxxx ......

Each to their own and long may that continue. Me ? I'm flying my FlySky 9x with FrSky Rx quite happily, I have all the programming I need. I have money still in pocket to go have a beer with my mates.

I can get extra Rx's for about $15 ... I can do telemetry if I spend just a few $'s more.

I'll leave y'all with your higher priced "quality gear" ....
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