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New Spektrum NX range

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A quick intro....

David Davis 224/11/2020 11:35:28
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47 forum posts
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I have only ever had four radios:

  1. A Sanwa Conquest 6.
  2. A Futaba FF6 with six model memories! "Helluva thing!" according to my late friend Frank Wall.
  3. A Spektrum DX6i which was followed by a Spektrum DX9 when I was feeling flush having sold most of my possessions prior to retiring to France. I kept the DX6i. I do a fair bit of instructing so the DX6i was kept as a slave.

I had no problems with the Sanwa at all, indeed I bought two or three second hand transmitters and took more than one transmitter with me to the flying field in those pre computer days.

I had similar reliable performance from the Futaba until one day I over-tightened the aerial and unwittingly broke a small wire inside the transmitter which resulted in a flyaway. Fortunately the model was repairable and as the transmitter was by now rather old, I decided to replace it with a Spektrum DX6i which was what everybody else in the club was using.

Now before I proceed I must explain that I have little knowledge of information technology, neither do I have much interest in the subject so if I get the terminology I will have to beg your indulgence. The DX6i's rudder trim switch packed up within a few months. Apparently it was a case of, "They all do that sir." The trim switch was replaced by Horizon Hobbies' English workshop by return of post and free of charge. Then the roller packed up. As the DX6i is a fairly simple transmitter I bought an after-market steel roller and replaced the original myself.

The DX9 functioned admirably as one would expect a fairly expensive transmitter to do, then one day although the backlit panel lit up the orange lines which are the logo of Spektrum didn't and there was no signal from the transmitter. The DX6i was pressed into service and the DX9 was sent off for repair.

Unfortunately by this time Horizon Hobbies had closed all of its customer service departments except the one in Basbuttel Germany. The transmitter was sent to Germany and I waited weeks for it to be repaired. They refused to answer my emails or phone calls even when I wrote to them in German. In the end they sent the transmitter to headquarters in the USA where it was turned round within two days. It was then posted back to Germany before being posted back to me in France. I suspect that the German repair facilities were over worked because they had not recruited sufficient staff to deal with the predictable increase in work. I flew La Coupe Des Barons using the DX6i.

Then last year, I was flying my SLEC Fun Fly. The model had come out of a shallow dive and was climbing gently at no great speed when the engine cut. I tried to put in down elevator to maintain flying speed but there was no response. The model stalled and was damaged beyond economical repair in the subsequent crash.A clubmate, observing the flight, confirmed that I had lost signal. Feeling the need to get back on the horse I flew my Junior 60. I learned to fly on that very model. It's very stable and slow flying but after a few minutes it went into a spiral dive and crashed some distance away. I have been flying since 1988 and am capable of flying a vintage model so two crashes in consequtive flights led me to the belief that something was wrong with the transmitter. Not wishing to risk another model or go again through the German experience again, I sent the transmitter to Logic RC and a major component, motherboard(?) was replaced very quickly. The DX6i was pressed into service again in the interim.

For over a year the roller on the DX9 has not functioned correctly. I thought of replacing it with another aftermarket steel roller but the transmitter is much more complex than the DX6i. As we are not allowed to fly in the lockdown I sent my transmitter to Logic RC for repiar. John Norris has detected a faulty scroll wheel. I have asked him to replace it.

Given my experience with Spektrum, when the time comes to replace the DX9 I am not likely to replace it with another Spektrum transmitter.

FrSky and Taranis seem to require a "steep learning curve" in order to be able programme them which is no good for a computer phobe like me. I was leaning towards a Multiplex Cockpit because I'm impressed by the reliability of German products, but even they can fail to function according to Grumpy Gnome. That leaves Futaba.

In my club, of the small band of reguar flyers about half of us use Spektrum radios and the others use Futaba. We've recently gained a new member, a man in his sixties who has just given up flying micro lights. He sold his aeroplane easily and equipped himself with a foamy Piper Cub and the latest 12 channel (?) Futaba radio. It took the club experts four consecutive club-days before they could programme the radio so that the novice could fly his model, but as the club's leading pilot said, "It's not the equipment which is at fault, it's us for not keeping up with developments."

You can't win! sad

Cuban824/11/2020 12:12:36
3162 forum posts
1 photos

As a returning motorcyclist after far too many years away from a great activity, I can see a lot of similarity in the modern bike world as regards tech to our 'problem' as many might see it. The level of sophistication in even a mid range machine is astonishing and unless one is constantly riding illegally and/or recklessly, is there really a need for traction control, cornering ABS, riding programmes, and quickshifters? I was perfectly able to be in a position to wipe myself out back in the day without all such stuff, and the worry now is that the average rider might be encouraged more easily to go beyond his skill budget because ' the tech will save him'. It won't in the majority of cases.

Radio or motorbike, I think a lot of the tech is there because it can be, and not because the majority of customers would have it as an option if it were offered. Last year's best selling bike? I believe it was  Royal Enfield's Interceptor Retro - as simple as you can get these days, ABS (a good thing) and not much else.

Interestingly, the Open TX thing is mirrored in the bike world by the people that love getting into the programming and mapping of their bike's ECU - predictably with pages and pages of web forums and answers to problems, blown up engines and so on.

 

Edited By Cuban8 on 24/11/2020 12:20:01

GrumpyGnome25/11/2020 07:19:37
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675 forum posts
165 photos

David

Do not be put off OpenTX. It can be as simple or as complex as you want, just needs a little getting used to.

When I decided to make the move from Spektrum (DX7S), I needed to programme a couple of dozen models. Using the inbuilt wizards, I set up a basic 4 channel plane, a flapperon equipped plane and a flying wing. I then copied these for my actual aircraft and tweaked them as needed. I no longer bother and set them up from scratch.

The freedom to be able to use any switch/control for anything, and the amount of power in, for example, mixers would have cost me far more than the Taranis I bought if I had wanted Spektrum or Futaba etc.. I don't have anything fancy on my planes; the most complex is probably my Corsair, and this is:

  • My Taranis speaks "Corsair" if I select it, or switch on whilst it is selected. Helps ensure I have the right model selected
  • An image of a Corsair is on screen. Useful if I have the sound turned off (I have volume controlled by a rotary control so I can avoid annoying people)
  • If any control is incorrect, voice alerts tell me. E.g. the the flaps are down
  • A separate voice warning tells me if the throttle is active or not (this is controlled by a two way switch that activates the throttle stick)
  • Undercarriage up/down has a voice associated
  • Flaps have a voice associated (as I had to replace a flap servo, these are on separate channels allowing me to make sure travel etc is equal, and a mix added
  • Separate ailerons to allow differential
  • The flight timer can be reset with a momentary switch, useful for consecutive flights
  • I have a voice alert counting down the minutes remaining
  • I have the tail wheel mixed to rudder on a separate channel, only active with the undercarriage down.

The only telemetry I have is the inbuilt signal strength warnings.

Programming that lot (ignoring creating the sounds with my wife's voice) took around 20 minutes. Not too daunting. And there is the excellent Companion software that allows you to do it all on a PC and see the effects without lots of Tx button pushing!

It's a bit like a Microsoft package - the vast majority only use a tiny percentage of what it's capable of, but it can do pretty much all you want if you need to.

I am not an OpenTX evangelist, but do think that it's complexity is often exaggerated tbh.

GG

David Davis 225/11/2020 07:25:53
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47 forum posts
26 photos

GG

All that seems frightfully complicated to me!

If I were to buy an OpenTX I would need someone sitting alongside me to show me how to programme it.

PS. Do these transmitters work with Spektrum receivers or would I need to buy replacement receivers as well?

GrumpyGnome25/11/2020 08:45:50
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675 forum posts
165 photos

Not really complicated - honest!

My Taranis has an add on module clipped in the back that allows it to communicate with pretty much anything. I think some other sets, e.g. Radiomaster have multi protocol capability built in.

My current 'fleet' is about 50/50 FrSky receivers and Spektrum (dsm2 and dsx), including safe and asx spekky receivers.

GG

David Davis 225/11/2020 10:37:02
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47 forum posts
26 photos

Well it may not be not be complicated for you but it is for me.

Only one member of our club uses a Taranis transmitter, he's either the best or second best pilot in the club and he finds the programming very easy. Mind you he is a computer engineer.

Another prominent user of Taranis equipment was the late David Bolton who posted as Biggles' Elder Brother on this website. He was Professer of Information Tecnology at Liverpool University so programming came naturally to him.

However, feeling that perhaps I should move with the times I googled FrSky transmitters. I was impressed by the price but found the following description:

The FrSky Taranis X9D Plus 2019 is a re-designed version with additions like an additional momentary switch placed on the top left shoulder making it ergonomically friendly for DLG pilots to activate launch mode, also featuring a program scroll wheel making it even easier to navigate the menus. The upgraded MCU is used in conjunction with a re-designed mainboard that further increases the computing capability and increases the data storage. The upgrades not only improve the running of LUA scripts, it also optimizes overall performance like voice speech outputs.

The 2019 version uses the latest ACCESS communication protocol, as well as the ACCST. It boasts 24 channels with a faster baud rate and lower latency with a high-speed module digital interface. Along with the new spectrum analysis function added to the OpenTX firmware, it is now possible to check the airwaves for RF noise. This version will give you a further improved experience based on the classic Taranis remote control. Additionally, tons of extra upcoming features that ACCESS brings will make this an ideal transmitter for any skill level.

I don't understand a word of it!

I'm not against progress but I'm sure there's a market for a Royal Enfield Interceptor transmitter.

Cuban825/11/2020 11:12:49
3162 forum posts
1 photos

The point is that we're spoilt for choice and whether one wants Opensource to play with or something from the mainstream manufacturers, at least that choice is there at the moment. No right or wrong in my book, and a little research will tell anyone in the market for a new or replacement system, which one will meet their needs. I had a friend give me a walk through his Taranis and yes, it's not hugely difficult at all, but for me I don't need that level of flexibility, but I can understand how it would be an advantage to some. My DX8G2 has all I need and then a load of stuff that I don't.

Trevor Crook25/11/2020 11:39:39
1034 forum posts
71 photos

Been looking through the NX6 info, and it seems to provide a seventh, switched channel, although this may be for controlling SAFE functions only. Anyone any clearer on this?

Capt Kremen25/11/2020 12:05:18
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448 forum posts
190 photos

David you mention in an earlier post that you corresponded with Horizon Hobbies (Spektrum) Germany in German.

Might you consider taking another look at the Multiplex 'Cockpit'? I know you were put off by a bad report but 'one swallow doesn't make a summer' (or vice versa probably!). There are lots of German language reviews / tutorials, (English ones too!) plus a technical forum to answer your questions. Worth another look for a radio you may find fits your desire for a simple radio. You can set the menu to French should you desire too.

Robert Welford25/11/2020 13:10:47
243 forum posts
4 photos

I concur with Capt Kremen's post:

I have used Multiplex radio for a very long time and my experience of 2.4 GHz M-link Mpx radio is that it is bullet proof.

The new Multiplex Cockpit will do everything you want for normal models. I own Cockpit; Pro 16 and Profi 16 transmitters.

HTH Robert

J D 825/11/2020 13:29:36
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1750 forum posts
88 photos

I was flying on the weekend using a Spectrum NX [ not sure if 6 or 8 ] helping a come back after children [ twins now old enough to play on I pads in the car ] member who used to be heli only but now wanted to take up fixed wing.

Setting up and testing his new Wot 4 was easy, much the same as as older Spectrums. Found it nice to use in the hand. Futaba user myself.

Doctor Chinnery25/11/2020 14:43:28
129 forum posts

David - another positive report on the Mpx Cockpit ( in my case the original SX iteration ) I bought mine the year they first became available in the UK, and have never had any problems with mine whatsoever. I bought my Cockpit primarily on the way it feels in my hands and once I got used to the idea that I could alter the way each individual servo responds within the program menu I've never looked back. The feel of the Cockpit Tx is a bit like my old Saab, they both feel as if they were designed around the pilot's hands/the driver's anatomy - everything is where it should be.

GrumpyGnome25/11/2020 14:58:38
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675 forum posts
165 photos

Sorry. I wasn't knocking Multiplex, just stating my experience. I see very very few reports of issues.....

GG

Former Member25/11/2020 14:58:39
2082 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

MattyB25/11/2020 16:25:16
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2418 forum posts
47 photos
Posted by David Davis 2 on 25/11/2020 10:37:02:

Well it may not be not be complicated for you but it is for me.

However, feeling that perhaps I should move with the times I googled FrSky transmitters. I was impressed by the price but found the following description...

...I don't understand a word of it!

I'm not against progress but I'm sure there's a market for a Royal Enfield Interceptor transmitter.

If there were a market for a high physical quality, low tech TX it would be being made. It isn't, and I suspect never will be. It's also telling that most of the manufacturers who lagged behind the feature curve have disappeared from view in the last 10-15 years.

Put it this way... you are suggesting a manufacturer makes an old school basic radio with modern 2.4GHz internals that would only be bought by those who fondly remember the expensive but basic sets from the 70s and 80s. That's a niche demographic within a niche hobby, and this ageing group will refresh their kit way less often and probably expect to pay less for it too, even though it will have similar development costs. Not exactly tempting for manufacturers is it! They'd far rather serve the mass market.

Ever since radio kit went digital it has been driven by the software, and the old constructs that defined the price tiers - channel counts, switches, mixing functionality - no longer really apply. Remember, once you have written the code there is no real cost to a channel or a mixer (even though Futaba and Spektrum would love you to think there is!), and computer power is so cheap a £50 TX can now have functionality that was once the reserve of only the very top end TXs. As a result the differentiators are completely different - telemetry (and it's integration), resiliency/redundancy solutions, serial RXs etc. You may not want all these things - and if you buy such a TX you don't need to use any of them if you don't want - but get used to the fact they will be there in the background whatever you buy.

Trevor Crook25/11/2020 16:30:00
1034 forum posts
71 photos

I watched a couple of YouTube videos on the NX8 today, and on one of them the reviewer stated, and demonstrated, that the scroll wheel was different, and less "touchy" than on her DX6. This addresses a minor issue with the DX8 Gen 1 I have, the scroll wheel sometimes moves just as you press it giving an incorrect menu selection.

As Steve says above, pricing needs to stabilise. At present, the price of an NX8 is $20 more than a DX8. Als Hobbies list it at £60 more.

MattyB25/11/2020 16:31:17
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2418 forum posts
47 photos
Posted by Steve J on 25/11/2020 14:58:39:

IMHO anybody who moves to a certain German manufacturer at the moment is 'brave'.

Agreed. Much as I loved my Evo back in the day I could not recommend Mpx at this time - the RF link is great but do I really believe they can compete even in the medium term? When a £50 Open source TXs that can drive almost any RX out there exist at the bottom end, Frsky and Spek dominating the middle and Jeti and Core (with Mpx's RF) at the top end where do they fit in? The Profi was a dismal flop and they have not released a new TX for a long time. I suspect they may never do so again (remember that they share the same owner as Hitec who pulled out of TXs and RXs completely some time ago.

Edited By MattyB on 25/11/2020 16:32:26

Nigel R25/11/2020 16:43:56
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4396 forum posts
717 photos

MattyB

DD could always pay someone to take a 2.4GHz module and stuff it in an old Fleet case...

"Remember, once you have written the code there is no real cost to a channel or a mixer (even though Futaba and Spektrum would love you to think there is!)"

That's a quote right out of the "software is easy and costs nothing" school of thought.

The protocol needs checking for the channel operation, the menus needs configuring, screen display for the mix, hooks for whatever links it to switches or dials or flight modes need adding, instructions in the manual need writing. Testing it in conjunction with other features. How sure do you want to be that it is fully tested? More sure, more cost. There is always a cost to feature development. If you skimp it, you end up with,say, the DX6i elevon mix, for instance, which only half worked. And if you as an amateur do a mix within the framework provided by opentx, then most of that work still happens, it is just done by the user, whether they are aware of it or not.

In Spektrum's case, Airware is now quite mature. Which is a good thing for us, we need reliability.

Nigel R25/11/2020 16:46:03
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4396 forum posts
717 photos

" have never had any problems with mine whatsoever. "

I have never had any problems with my DX8.

However, both of our statements are quite meaningless in the absence of a complete picture of the reliability of both types.

Former Member25/11/2020 16:56:16
2082 forum posts

[This posting has been removed]

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