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Alternative to Spektrum

Can of worms opened

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Tom Sharp 218/06/2017 23:51:00
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Edited By Tom Sharp 2 on 18/06/2017 23:52:56

Martin McIntosh18/06/2017 23:54:42
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Well, you may have no trouble Dave but I do not as yet use Companion since I need to learn how to make changes at the field without lugging a laptop with me. Great system but most of the terms used are totally alien to some of us old gits. Recently had to re-load the audio because it failed on the count down timer for no reason at all.

Most of my models require rather complex programs.

Dave Bran19/06/2017 06:57:22
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Posted by Dave Hopkin on 18/06/2017 23:31:43:
Posted by Martin McIntosh on 18/06/2017 23:23:53:

I see lots of support here for Taranis. Very flexible and great if you have a degree in computer programming, but the average aged flyer would be bamboozled by it. I know, I have one.

That is a preposterous position.... yes its different but entirely logical - If you down load the Companion onto the PC and use the new model wizard a three year old could set up a model in three or four minutes

While agreeing (slightly less aggressively which is unusual!!) with Dave H, I think I should also record:-

1. I'm no spring chicken either (and certainly not just "chicken"!). Been retired over 17 years, though I "work" with groups of 11-17 year olds using RC twice a week to promote engineering in a 1300 pupil boys school.

2. Other than Backup, I have never used Companion to programme models on the Taranis OR Horus. I do it ALL on the Tx. No computers taken to the field here. My Taranis is held pre-Euro Status and has not been on a computer for years. Currently it has 57 models (of the 60 memories) loaded to it. It has a Futaba FASST module permanently inserted to fly older models.

3. My Taranis is a Batch 2 with NO hardware changes. It's standard gimbals are as good as anything else I have (after easy adjustment). Nothing has broken, nothing is sloppy, I'm an engineer, if it isn't broken I don't fix it, so "Horus" type hall effect gimbals are IMO simply not required.

4. "Complex" models? Most models have Flapperon and Spoileron switch protected and on a slider. Many have multi servo wings with switched in linking of flaps/ailerons/brakes for stunt/crow/camber/butterfly, etc, etc. Retracts, etc as well. Flight modes? (you should see my Libelle program, I had to use three switches!)

5. I'm now also into "race" Quads, with all their requirements catered for quite easily. The MAJORITY of quad flyers by long experience use Taranis.

I liken this to trimming. I had a great friend, now departed, who's every flight seemed to be spent tweaking trim. He also mixed Knife Edge, Flaps to Elevator, etc, etc,etc, all of which came in for constant adjustments. I just flew the damn thing as hard as I could. IMO that's what you have sticks for.

Enjoy your flying.

Dave Hopkin19/06/2017 08:18:09
3600 forum posts
291 photos
Posted by Martin McIntosh on 18/06/2017 23:54:42:

Well, you may have no trouble Dave but I do not as yet use Companion since I need to learn how to make changes at the field without lugging a laptop with me. Great system but most of the terms used are totally alien to some of us old gits. Recently had to re-load the audio because it failed on the count down timer for no reason at all.

Most of my models require rather complex programs.

And those complex models are far easier to program then in most other systems - even without companion, once you forget how other systems program it becomes easy, very easy.....

Bob Cotsford19/06/2017 09:05:08
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The reason I suggested Chris download Companion was so that he could get a taste of the OpenTX programming used on the Taranis and available on the Horus without actually putting his hand in his pocket and committing to an FrSky purchase.

Once you get your head around OpenTX logic on Companion everything translates directly to the transmitter screens and options. If you can set up a model on Companion you can do so on the tx, no need to lug a laptop around.

That said, some people prefer menu driven systems even given their limitations, and the option to wander into an LMS to feel the goods means a lot to some even if it does cost more. It's a free country, all choices are valid.

devil

Edited By Bob Cotsford on 19/06/2017 09:06:03

Tony Kenny19/06/2017 09:46:15
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92 forum posts
36 photos

Admittedly, I've not tried other brands, but I use Tactic gear. This wasn't by choice, it just happened to be included with the RTF model I bough first. I upgraded to the TTX650 so that I had a pair that were compatible to buddy up with the club instructor.

Never had any problems with it, the menus are straight forward enough and manuals are clear and concise.

The only "issue" I could say is that the gear is difficult to source and has to be shipped in from abroad so can take a while to arrive if you need spares or additional RX. Would be great to have a UK specialist stockist, although I did see one at Weston Park, "lad" something-or-other.

Andrew Ray19/06/2017 09:49:36
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611 forum posts
19 photos

Sounds like Fast Lad Performance.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator19/06/2017 20:11:01
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Posted by Dave Hopkin on 19/06/2017 08:18:09:
Posted by Martin McIntosh on 18/06/2017 23:54:42:

Well, you may have no trouble Dave but I do not as yet use Companion since I need to learn how to make changes at the field without lugging a laptop with me. Great system but most of the terms used are totally alien to some of us old gits. Recently had to re-load the audio because it failed on the count down timer for no reason at all.

Most of my models require rather complex programs.

And those complex models are far easier to program then in most other systems - even without companion, once you forget how other systems program it becomes easy, very easy.....

I think Dave hits the nail firmly on the head here. In my experience most people who find OpenTx difficult do so because they seem to have trouble "letting go" of their pre-conceptions.

OpenTx is not like a menu driven system - it is fundamentally and conceptually different. If you approach it just as another Tx you will struggle - because it simply won't respond to you in the way you are expecting. But, if you are prepared to just take a step back, accept this is something different that you will have to learn from the ground up, then you will make very rapid progress. Nearly everyone I know who had taken that approach has not only been successful in mastering OpenTx, what is much more they will tell you that once you "get it" it's actually very much easier than any menu driven system in many cases - and the more complex the set up you are trying to achieve, the bigger the advantage (in terms of ease of doing it) OpenTx has. And no, none of them have degrees in computer programming!

If you think about it for a moment we can understand why OpenTx is easier with complex set-ups than a more conventional menu driven system. With the latter you have to work entirely within what the system designer gives you in terms of menu options. A lot of ingenuity is often required to get the system to do something that the designer may not have envisaged it ever doing. This is often difficult and requires counter intuitive thinking sometimes. In contrast OpenTx makes no such assumptions about what you want to do - what it effectively gives you are building blocks you'd need for any system - you can assemble these (together with decision making logic structures) to create the system you want - not the system the Tx designer thought you wanted! So there is a lot less "working around" artificial limitations and the fact that "it just wasn't designed to do that".

BEB

Martin McIntosh19/06/2017 20:36:56
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Thats fine Dave, and I am aware of what it can do, but if someone has just bought one then where do they start? Lots of info on the finer points of setting the thing up but there seems to be very little for a newbie. So many options for the Rx/Tx s/w which will vary from when an item was bought. My set is now on pre EU (global) but not sure if I bought another Rx if it would work. Probably not without backward programming it which can be quite a headache for some of us.

This stuff is basically good, but somebody needs to do an article in the mag. again to get people off on the right foot.

By the way, the left hand button panel on mine recently fell off inside due to poor construction.

Dave Hopkin19/06/2017 21:45:13
3600 forum posts
291 photos
Posted by Martin McIntosh on 19/06/2017 20:36:56:

Thats fine Dave, and I am aware of what it can do, but if someone has just bought one then where do they start? Lots of info on the finer points of setting the thing up but there seems to be very little for a newbie. So many options for the Rx/Tx s/w which will vary from when an item was bought. My set is now on pre EU (global) but not sure if I bought another Rx if it would work. Probably not without backward programming it which can be quite a headache for some of us.

I would suggest right here........................ **LINK**

Far more tuition available than many other makes of system...................

Colin Leighfield19/06/2017 22:19:59
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5233 forum posts
2030 photos

I had a great day's flying yesterday (in spite of the heat)! Flew my HK Grasshopper, Phoenix 2000 and contra-prop Super Marauder, all fitted with Spektrum gear and as usual, without any problems at all. All I care about with radio kit is that it works and that I don't need to be an i/t anorak to understand it. Sometimes it's better to be a bit dim!

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator19/06/2017 22:44:30
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I am not an anorak - I'm just someone prepared to read the manual - yeap novel I kmow!

BEB

Devcon119/06/2017 23:16:15
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1030 forum posts
350 photos

Didn't the mag do a series of articles on OpenTX ? There are some very easy to watch, informative vids on the Painless360 YouTube channel.

Don Fry19/06/2017 23:44:25
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1654 forum posts
24 photos

I've always found Spektrum to be a reasonable radio system. When you get stuck, BEB normally knows the answers.

Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator20/06/2017 04:19:11
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Posted by Donald Fry on 19/06/2017 23:44:25:

I've always found Spektrum to be a reasonable radio system. When you get stuck, BEB normally knows the answers.

LOL! But not for Spekky Donald!

BEB

PS For what it' worth though, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Specktrum gear - it's always given me the impression of being reliable kit. But TBH I think you can say that of pretty well all the major brands now and most of the less well known as well. Integreted electronic packages and modern automated manufacture and test/inspection leads to high reliability generally speaking.

Dave Bran20/06/2017 06:48:26
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1733 forum posts
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Posted by Biggles' Elder Brother - Moderator on 20/06/2017 04:19:11:

I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment of Specktrum gear - it's always given me the impression of being reliable kit.

Given my use of a wide range of gear for extended periods, well beyond a "normal" user, you can ignore the "bought by beginners so they make more mistakes" and all other similar considerations/excuses.

So, which manufacturer has supplied me with the most faulty gear?

Well, overall, actually, FrSky! I have had a number of FASST compatible Rx arrive with very restricted range. I have in the past two years had two faulty Rx in mainstream FrSky types, X6R and X8R, again these have had restricted range. One X6R failed to a range of three metres!! That was the only one that failed in use, the rest were picked up by testing range under FULL range conditions. Those that have passed (except that one) have been 100% and once proven during commissioning I have confidence in the link provided, and I still prefer FrSky overall for what it offers when checked carefully and operated properly. I have more than 50 FrSky Rx. Once tested and proven to weed out the supply problems, the one in use fault is IMO acceptable.

Apart from the GUI issue, Futaba FASST has been 100%. Spektrum has been 100%, heck even the £35 FlySky FS-i6 has been 100%.

HOWEVER, this has been for hard on repeatable clearly identifiable faults.

When it comes to odd glitches and "funny moments" though, Spektrum reins supreme. Or, strictly, does it?

Recently the biggest issue I have had has been with the Blade 130S Helicopter (as have a significant number of others). But then, Blade's install puts the single short aerial Rx/Gyro on one side of the frame easily masked from LOS to Tx and RIGHT up against an ESC that has a ferrite core fitted, almost unheard of with "micro/mini" helicopters. SO, do you blame Spektrum, or Blade?

I fly with five people with Blade Nano CPS micro Helis every week. Unlike the former model, the Nano CP, these CPS are VERY UNRELIABLE models, with a high tendency to freak and go W.O.T. with loss of cyclic control, when Throttle Hold fails to stop them.

Have had this myself when flying, and more than once. Have had it when alone and outdoor away from other RF or building factors.

Also the design of the RX/Gyro allows the tail motor to run under throttle hold conditions!!

Spektrum radio product faults? Well, Yes. But mainstream core system faults? NO.

This is my experience, you can draw your own conclusions from it, or not!

trebor20/06/2017 08:32:20
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1204 forum posts
151 photos

Does anyone know how the expo compares between Spektrum and Frsky ? Would 30% expo be the same on both sets ?

Trevor Crook20/06/2017 09:12:03
478 forum posts
40 photos

I don't think Chris, the OP, has reliability concerns. Like me, he is a long term satisfied Spektrum user. I too am a bit unsettled by Horizon's somewhat chaotic exodus to Germany. However, the product is still available from many UK sources, as well as direct from HH, and although service has been variable, they will hopefully get their act together. Hence I have concluded that there is no reason, at present, to panic and "jump ship". Who is to know whether one of the other manufacturers will drop a bombshell as JR did?

Although the FrSky stuff is interesting, I've not been attracted up to now - although I'm a retired engineer and could cope with the different operating system, I prefer just to set up and go flying. However, that cute and very inexpensive QX7 holds a strange attraction. I'm dabbling with simple FPV and it would provide a cheap route to voice annunciated telemetry (which my 1st gen DX8 can't provide). It will also take an Orange Tx module which provides DSM2 and DSMX protocols should I need a backup for my DX8. Unlike Chris, I tend to fly modestly sized club type models, mostly scale and some with flaps and retracts, but not needing more than 7 channels.

So that's my plan - keep calm and carry on with Spektrum, but probably get an entry level FrSky for dabbling and insurance.

kc20/06/2017 10:14:06
5177 forum posts
159 photos

One of the items that attracted me to Spektrum is ' Model Match' ...... what other systems have a similar function that prevents flying on the wrong model memory?

Trevor Crook20/06/2017 10:47:37
478 forum posts
40 photos

Yes, that's a brilliant safety feature. I think the FrSky systems have a "receiver match" system which is similar. I don't know if model match would work if a Spektrum compatible module is used.

I'm sure the FrSky power users will advise!

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