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Switching Brand

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Tony Kenny20/06/2019 09:12:33
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282 forum posts
62 photos

Morning all,

Im going to be opening a can of worms here, but its time for me to switch my brand of radio so I'd like to hear some views on which way to swing.

Wy current brand is Tactic which was supplied with my first ever trainer so I was locked into that brand from the outset. However, I've found it difficult to source Tactic rx here in the UK and I've had a couple of dodgy ones so my confidence it the brand isn't high enough for me as I expand my fleet to model that require more channels and will cost more to replace after a radio malfunction!

Initially I'm looking for 8 channels, but may be able to stretch the budget to 12 as a form of future proofing, depending on hon large the gap is. I've also heard systems with open source software which, as a developer' is of particular interest!

Spektrum is a brand that I hear about most often, but I'm also concerned about brand lock in again. Although we also hear about 'compatible' or cloned components, I'm a bit wary of those as there probably no guarantee that they really are 100% compatible or even of a reliable quality.

How safe is it generally to purchase used equipment?

So, let's open the floodgates and see which way I should go!

thanks in advance!

Tony

Steve Balaam20/06/2019 09:28:12
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106 forum posts

Take a look at the Jumper T16 or FRSky X10s . Both have OpenTX the Jumper has a MultiProtocol RF capability

so you may be able to use your existing RXs. MultiProtocol RF units are available to fit the FRsky TXs and other TXs that have a JR style plug in RF module.

Peter Christy20/06/2019 09:57:55
1587 forum posts

FrSky is generally regarded as a good buy, offering a lot of bangs for the buck! They do a range of transmitters from dirt cheap to top of the range, but without the top of the range price! The receivers are cheap and reliable.

The only downside is that the OpenTx software used is not the most user friendly. It is extremely flexible, but with that flexibility comes a degree of complexity.

However, it depends what you are trying to do. For a basic model, its no more difficult than anything else. It only gets complicated when you start trying to do complex mixing for - say - helicopters or complex glider wings with flaperons,spoilers, etc. Even then, its not really difficult, just different to what you will have been used to, probably.

I've been using in for about 7 years now, and its been every bit as reliable as the JR I previously used - but MUCH cheaper!

Oh, and as Steve points out, nearly all FrSky transmitters have JR compatible module bays, so you can use any receiver you can get a module for!

--

Pete

ken anderson.20/06/2019 10:39:58
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8454 forum posts
773 photos

hello tony, my thoughts are,go for one of the "names"....don't pay too much and have fun with it...whatever brand you go with, will probably be old hat in a few years....

ken anderson...ne..1...old hat dept.

JCFlippen20/06/2019 10:51:53
19 forum posts

The number of channels is just a marketing tool in my opinion. Unless you are going to fly jets or other complex aircraft 8 channels is surely enough. Having said that the Jumper 16 or Taranis 9XD would seem good. Open Tx needs a particular thought process to master it - I'm on the edge having had my Taranis X9D basics sorted out for me! I have a Spektrum that was easy to set up. You pays your money as they say.

Peter Miller20/06/2019 10:56:06
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10271 forum posts
1226 photos
10 articles

I always wonder how people can use 12 channels. We have club members with 12 channel Txs. They have never managed to use more that 6. I can see possibly using 7. In my case that would be to make the pilot gesticulate extremely rude gestures as I couldn't think of anything else.

Peter Christy20/06/2019 11:07:13
1587 forum posts
Posted by Peter Miller on 20/06/2019 10:56:06:

I always wonder how people can use 12 channels. We have club members with 12 channel Txs. They have never managed to use more that 6. I can see possibly using 7. In my case that would be to make the pilot gesticulate extremely rude gestures as I couldn't think of anything else.

Now that would be worth watching!

laugh

--

Pete

Foxfan20/06/2019 11:08:04
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841 forum posts
6 photos

How rich are you, Tony?

If I had the money I would buy Jeti Duplex, put it in a frame and put it on my wall where the telly used to be, then I'd get something cheaper to use <G>

I have worked with many Czech people. They are SO clever! And have style, as witness the perfection of the Jeti R/C system. I could watch the youtube of the 5 axis mill making the aluminium case all day! And even I, a complete computer phobe can understand their youtube on programming. I firmly believe you would never need another R/C set, but as Peter says, what DO people use 12 or 14 or even 16 channels for?

Cheers,

Martin

Cuban820/06/2019 11:41:41
2771 forum posts
13 photos

I'd never consider buying used radio gear given the way I've seen some people treat their equipment .......covered in oil, left out or used in the rain, regularly dropped on the floor, tossed in the back of the car to rattle around with all the other boot contents, to name but a few misdemeanors  I've observed that can befall poor, unloved trannies and that's without even looking at the way some airborne equipment suffers!

The only exception would be if I knew the seller well and I was aware of how considerately the gear was used, or better still it was NIB and simply unwanted.. Just thinking about it, I don't recall ever buying any second hand modelling goods, except for a NIB OS 120FS that I got for a song on BMFA. .....................Oh yes, and a really good quality heli pitch gauge years ago, that I still use and a little indoor leccy model.

Number of channels? I'd say buy as many as you can afford within reason; don't skimp a few quid now and go with say a six channel outfit, because after a while you'll be needing eight or even nine if your taste in models goes to slightly more complex scale types or larger warbirds. Twelve channels does seem a tad excessive for the models that most club fliers will be operating - so unless you plan to really move up quickly to more exotic multi channel stuff, you risk your expensive set becoming obsolete before using its capability to the full.

I've used Futaba (35 meg) between 1975 and 2012 and Spektrum up to now. Both are excellent brands despite what some might tell you. Spektrum having a more user friendly interface and programming layout IMO. FrSky although excellent equipment only seems to be used by a small number of what I'd describe as tech savvy clubmates and doesn't really seem to be making the inroads it once promised, at least in the clubs that I fly with. Quite a few of their modules and RXs used with branded gear though.

For what it's worth IMHO, see what deals you can get on either new Spektum or Futaba gear.

 

Edited By Cuban8 on 20/06/2019 11:45:07

Max Z20/06/2019 11:44:13
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527 forum posts
238 photos

It may be good to think about the number of servo's (or esc's) you want to be able to adjust individually, since that is really the number of "channels" you need. It is all too easy to think of the number of functions you want to control, like aileron, rudder, throttle etc.

As an example, a twin brushless motor model will require 2 channels to adjust each esc individually, but it is using only one function (Throttle). I am happy with my Multiplex system which makes that distinction in assigning servo's (rather than channels) to a function, and does the same for a control element (I understand Open TX does the same), but it is not very widespread in the UK I believe, so it will be difficult to muster any personal assistance in programming.

Anyway, I do not know what your ambitions are, but realise that a motorized glider with ailerons, flaps and spoilers, rudder and elevator already occupies 9 channels, exceeding the 8 you mentioned( and you will be short of channels for a retractable wheel or Peter M's gesturing pilot cheeky)

 

Cheers,

Max.

Edited By Max Z on 20/06/2019 12:19:17

Cuban820/06/2019 11:48:38
2771 forum posts
13 photos
Posted by Max Z on 20/06/2019 11:44:13:

It may be good to think about the number of servo's (or esc's) you want to be able to adjust individually, since that is really the number of "channels" you need. It is all too easy to think of the number of functions you want to control, like aileron, rudder, throttle etc.

Cheers,

Max.

Quite right, I always use twin elevator servos on larger models to give (hopefully) a degree of redundancy should one fail. So that's one extra channel needed for starters.

I believe my DX8 G2 has the ability to assign any function to a channel, but I've never needed that so far other than for simple mixing.

 

 

Edited By Cuban8 on 20/06/2019 11:53:48

Mike Blandford20/06/2019 11:53:46
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534 forum posts
22 photos

In my case I'm using FrSky S8R (stabilising) receivers. These use channel 9 for stabilising gain control, channels 10 and 11 to select mode (normal, stab. auto-level, knife edge and hover), and channel 12 for starting the self-check/ limit setting function. So that's 4 channels needed before any flying controls. Then, on my Mosquito, I have 2 ailerons, 2 throttles, flaps, retracts, elevator and rudder, so 12 in all!

Regarding FrSky transmitters, you may use erskyTx firmware as well as openTx, indeed, the recently released X9Lite is supplied with the choice between the two. erskyTx is generally easier to use, but not really any less powerful than openTx. They were both "forked" from er9x.

Mike

Colin Carpenter20/06/2019 11:55:10
566 forum posts
35 photos

One for Spectrum ! Use orange and lemon Rx no problems ! Dx9 most used radio in 51 years ! Off to the Anderson in the garden now ! Tin hats everyone ! Colin

Jason-I20/06/2019 11:55:27
263 forum posts
37 photos
Posted by Peter Miller on 20/06/2019 10:56:06:

I always wonder how people can use 12 channels. We have club members with 12 channel Txs. They have never managed to use more that 6. I can see possibly using 7. In my case that would be to make the pilot gesticulate extremely rude gestures as I couldn't think of anything else.

I thought that when I purchased my 9 channel tx, however, I am now finding myself short of channels.

For example, my wife brought me an avios bushmule:

**LINK**

It's only a simple foamy (with no retracts), but channels quickly got swallowed up, particularly with differential throttle and aileron. Here's what I need:

1. Left throttle

2. Right throttle

3. Left Aileron

4. Right Aileron

5. Rudder

6. Elevator

7. Flaps

8. Cargo door

9. Throttle reverse

10. Flight controller mode

11. Flight controller master gain

So 9 channels without a flight controller, or 11 channels with the controller.

Now imagine adding FPV with a pan and tilt camera.......

Peter Christy20/06/2019 12:10:41
1587 forum posts
Posted by Jason-I on 20/06/2019 11:55:27:

Now imagine adding FPV with a pan and tilt camera.......

Along with a third arm and hand to operate it all! (With apologies to Douglas Adams, Zaphod Beeblbrox, et al)

cheeky

--

Pete

Allan Bennett20/06/2019 12:15:30
1555 forum posts
39 photos

Another vote for FrSky Taranis. I made the switch from Futaba when I found I couldn't program a throttle-cut on two channels with it (for differential throttle on two motors). With OpenTX on my Taranis it's a doddle but, as others have said, you need a completely different mindset from 'conventional' transmitters for programming it. The associated computer program OpenTX Companion, in my opinion, greatly simplifies the programming, and allows you to simulate before you load it onto the transmitter.

Incidentally, I sold my Futaba receivers on the internet as I replaced them with FrSky ones and, for the most part, made a profit on the exchange!

Don Fry20/06/2019 12:21:41
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4063 forum posts
47 photos

I'm a Spektrum user. Nothing wrong with it, or any of the major brands.

I don't move because it would cost me money for small gain. I've got the kit.

If I moved, I would go to FrSky, good as any, bangs per buck rules. I am aware there is also a strong internet community who will supply aircraft setups, do advice. Bonus for you is you have an IT background.

Max Z20/06/2019 12:26:53
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527 forum posts
238 photos

Otoh, looking at the Multiplex "Wingstabi" (or similar examples from other brands?) there is a tendency to move all the adjustments of individual servo's to the receiver, programmed via your PC or a specialized gadget for field use, and leave only the control functions to be transmitted from the Tx. In which case, an 8 or 9 channel Tx might be sufficient after all. The Rx then takes on the role of a flight controller, with or without stabilization, in the manner already applied to drones and specialized aircraft.

Cheers,

Max.

Edited By Max Z on 20/06/2019 12:31:56

Dwain Dibley.20/06/2019 12:35:49
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1270 forum posts
1265 photos

Have you considered Radio Link. I have just purchased the AT10 12 channels, plus RX, plus SBus capability, plus Telemetry module. £140 .

Rx are relatively cheap @ £20.

D.D.

Nightflyer20/06/2019 12:48:52
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187 forum posts

In terms of rc equipment I have been an ardent user of Futaba since 1976 - so both 27 and 35 and 40 MHz, and the equipment has been extremely reliable over all those years for planes, cars and boats. I still use 27 and 35 but have from start of 2017 used Spektrum for planes (have used Spektrum in cars and model heli's since 2013). To date my DX9 Black has performed fantastically, and from what I have seen of others using lesser variants of Spektrum they are all good. My club used to be Futaba dominant, now it is very much Spektrum with only one or two members using Futaba.

I endorse Cuban8's comments above. Spektrum is easier to use i.e. setup if you are not tech savvy, but Futaba with a little patience will give same result. My own reason for changing was in part driven by club majority ise of Spektrum, and the fact that Futaba has had a history of changing propagation formats over the years meaning you end up buying more receivers (this is in part what has led to a shift and the cost).

Other manufacturers such as Jeti and Taranis etc have their advocates but at the end of the day it depends on what you require of the equipment, how deep your pockets are and to some extent the amount of use it will have.

In ending I do not regret my switch over to Spektrum, but I do have a soft spot for Futaba for all the years of use and reliability (I have a FF8 still in use from 1998 and some even older equipment for cars and boats). Spektrum has now become established and is likely to continue so.

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