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RC Radios, Transmitters, Receivers, Servos, gyros Discussion all about rc radios, transmitters, receivers, servos, etc.

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Old 02-11-2006, 10:56 AM   #1
AEAJR
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Cool Don't buy a standard radio!

STANDARD RADIOS vs. COMPUTER RADIOS

I think you will find the economics of computer radios have changed in the
last 2-3 years. This is partially due to the advance in electronics and
partly because people are buying that second, third plane much sooner. We
have flyers in our club who have been flying less than 6 months who have 3
planes already. The cost has dropped so much, and the availability of ARFs
and high quality kits have made it cheaper and simpler to get the next plane.
There is little to hold them back.

I recommend new pilots go directly to the computer radios. If they start with
an RTF, then they use that radio to fly that plane. When they buy the second
plane, they get the computer radio.

A quality electric ARF parkflyer or simple to build kit, with the motor, can
cost as little as $40. A flight pack for that plane can be as low as $70.
You can put it in the air over a weekend.

An ARF 2 meter sailplane can be $90. The electronics to put that in the air
can be around $70 and can be completed in a couple of evenings.

In the glow and gas powered world these low costs and rapid adoption of second
and third planes might be different. I can't say.

BACK TO RADIOS

Just as computers have wiped out the typewriter, so the computer radio is
making the standard radio obsolete. Today, nobody buys a kid a typewriter
to type his school papers. They get a computer.


I have come to the conclusion that the only reason to buy
a standard radio is lack of confidence that you plan to go forward, or
the standard radio came as part of an RTF package.

Here is a quick look at some key points.

Economics - Let's compare - Tower Hobbies catalogue

Hitec Laser 4, std Radioand 4 standard servos - $120
Futaba 4 EXA computer radio, receiver, 4 standard servos $149
Hitec Flash 5SX computer radio, receiver, 4 std servos $156

Difference is $29-59

Looking at the Flash, you get 5 model memories so you can instantly switch to
any of 5 models without having to reset anything. If we ignore servos and
receiver, the Flash covers your next four planes for about $9 each. With the
standard radio you need to reset for each plane, carefully keep all planes
tuned identically, or buy a radio for each plane so you can tune it to the
plane and keep the settings. That would cost about $60 per plane for each
standard radio, or an additional $240. And with the flash you only have to
charge one radio and bring one radio regardless of which plane, or how many
different planes you wish to fly.

That's $36 extra for one radio that handles 5 planes or an added $240 to have
each plane's settings retained with a standard radio. And the Flash 5SX does
a whole lot more than just provide model memories. This is an excellent first
radio.

Big savings and enhanced flexability with the 6 channel computer radio!

In the Tower hobbies catalogue:

Standard Radio - 6 channels
Futaba SkySport 6 with 4 S304 servos and receiver for $149
Computer Radio - 6 channels
Futaba 6EXAS 6 Ch computer radio-same servos & receiver $179

For $30 the 6EXAS gives you 6 model memories and a whole pile of features
the SkySport standard radio can't touch, and you divide the cost over 6
model memories. The computer is cheaper and more convenient.

What else can these entry level computer radios do?

Split Ailerons/flapperons: -

You can install two aileron servos and connect each to a separate channel on
the computer radio. This makes it very easy to trim each servo to get each
aileron just right.

You can set up aileron differential, if you wish, to improve effectiveness
while reducing drag. Very popular on sailplanes.

Or let's say you have a plane with ailerons but no flaps. You fly the plane
normally. Then flip a switch and turn the ailerons into flapperons. Now you
can use your ailerons as flaps during landings. Flaps on a 4 channel plane
that doesn't have flaps. You can just as easily set them up as spoilers, which
are commonly used on sailplanes during landings.

Cool!

Coordinated turns - Mix rudder into your ailerons so you have a coordinated
turn. On a standard radio you have to do this manually. With the computer
radio you can do it manually too, or you can focus on the plane while the
radio handles the coordination for you. You can override the mix and add or
reduce rudder at any time.

Exponential, dual rates, model memories, channel mixing, digital trims and
lots more. Some of these features can be very helpful in getting new pilots
in the air.

Are computer radio hard to use?

No! In fact if you want, you can just use it as a standard 2, 3 or 4 channel
radio until you want to use the other features.

Take a look at this thread, starting at post 49. This guy talks about using
flaps as ailerons for flying and flaps for landing on a R/E/F sailplane.
Pretty cool idea. Can't do that with a standard radio!
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showthread.php?t=289216&page=4&pp=15

So, for an extra $30 over a standard 6 channel radio, you get
a radio that handles multiple models and lets you do things that the standard
radios can't do. Go up a another $25-50 to the Hitec Optic 6 or Futaba 7C and
it is amazing what you can do and now you get 8-10 model memories.

Will you need this on the first plane? No, but they can be helpful.

Differential can be very helpful to a new pilot. Most radios that
come with RTF packages, and most standard radios don't have all these
features. You don't have to use them right away, but it is great to know that
you don't have to buy ANOTHER radio when you realize you would like to have
them. The price difference over a standard radio is now so small that for
all but the very few, the computer radio is now the economic entry level radio
of choice.

If you get into even semi serious aerobatics or sailplanes, a computer radio
is a huge benefit and for some things, almost a requirement to bring the plane
to its full potential. Even the pilot of a 3-4 channel parkflyer, or someone
flying a simple R/E sailplane with spoilers or flaps benefits from a computer
radio.

There is only one reason to buy a standard radio these days. "I don't know if
I will like RC flying so I want to spend as little as possible". Or the
standard radio came in an RTF package like an Multiplex Easy Star RTF, a Great
Planes Spirit Select RTF or a NextStar Glow RTF.

I have used Hitec and Futaba as examples here because I know those lines best,
but JR, Airtronics, Polk and others have entry level computer radios that are
a much better value than any standard radio. In many cases these entry level
computer radios will serve the needs of the pilot for many years to come.

Get a computer radio, save a bundle of money, get a bundle
of features and really have fun with your RC flying.

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Old 02-11-2006, 04:59 PM   #2
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I'm all for computer radios.

Actually IMHO the only radio for most people flying planes or helicopters to buy right now only comes in computer form. There's a clue about the choice between non-computer and computer radios!

It's the Spektrum DX6. Unless you have some disqualifying need such as way over the hill range or more than 6-channels or such, today IMHO it's the only raidio to consider.

Of course, YMMV.
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Old 02-11-2006, 05:29 PM   #3
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DX6 is a great choice for small helis, as well as electric planes and gliders under 60 inch wing spans. It would be one of my first recommendations.

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Old 02-11-2006, 07:45 PM   #4
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Thumbs up

AEAJR,

Could'nt agree with you more. I have been flying with an Airtrony Infinty 660 for 10 years, just had the lithium cell replaced last winter. I'm in the "pre-buy" stage for a new radio, so am waiting to see how soon everybody has a Spread Spectrum system. The DX6 lacks at least one item that is essential to me, if they release the XP6102 w/spektrum RF module, that's another story
Now, if I stay on 72 Mz, only Airtronics and Hitec are in the running, since they offer shift select for PPM FM. I think the "big guys" are missing the boat on this one. I'll accept fazing out my old FM RX's to go 2.4GHz, but not if I buy another 72Mz system
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Old 02-11-2006, 08:50 PM   #5
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What is missing on the DX6?

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Old 02-11-2006, 10:50 PM   #6
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Exclamation

I don't believe it has expo or /d/r on the rudder I also fly larger glow powered planes and my electric flying is with 2M sailplanes, and planning to go larger.
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:00 AM   #7
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I think I heard you can create DR with a use definable mix.

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Old 02-12-2006, 04:27 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
DX6 is a great choice for small helis....
I'm flying a BCP now and I'd love to get the DX6 for it, but If I'm going to spend money on a radio, I'd like it to be something I can use in the future as well. Why is that the DX6 wouldnt be o for a larger heli, say .50-.60 ?

Thanks

Charlie
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Old 02-12-2006, 03:31 PM   #9
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They are concerned about the signal blocking characteristics of the larger glow motors. Although, on a Heli, isn't the receiver below all the motor equipment and gear stuff?

Might be an issue in inverted flight.

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Old 03-22-2006, 05:33 AM   #10
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I read a thread not sure if it was here that you can put the dx6 output board and ant into a JR 6102 and get all the extra features of the 6102 while keeping the dual channel of the dx6

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Old 03-22-2006, 06:04 AM   #11
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Cool

I would not include that here. That is a sort of a modification of two radios and I would include that in a thread about what radio to buy.

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Old 03-22-2006, 02:13 PM   #12
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Hi Ed,

I see your opinions on radios are getting stronger. (by the changed title of the text)

I couldn't agree with you more. I have a DX6, an Optic 6, and a Laser 4. The Laser hasn't even been used yet.

However, I should point out that a cheap but clean used analog radio from ebay might be a GREAT way to get into RC. For example, one would buy this, a trainer--> USB cord for use with FMS and one is all set for some real learning, without the expense & frustration of crashing.

Now, when the person is done learning on FMS, they have a functioning radio to use with his/her first plane.

I bought my Laser 4 as a buddy box and possibly to lend out to prospective RC pilots. We'll see how that works.

"The sun, with all those planets revolving around it and dependent on it, can still ripen a bunch of grapes as if it had nothing else in the universe to do."

-Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo
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Old 03-22-2006, 02:41 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Vendetta View Post
I'm flying a BCP now and I'd love to get the DX6 for it, but If I'm going to spend money on a radio, I'd like it to be something I can use in the future as well. Why is that the DX6 wouldnt be o for a larger heli, say .50-.60 ?

Thanks
It only has a 3 point throttle curve, I'm not a heli flyer, but from what I understand you'd want more points in most cases.

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Old 04-27-2006, 04:15 AM   #14
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Hitec has announced that they plan to release a 2.4 GHZ module for their radios that take a channel module. These include the Optic 6, Eclipse 7 and the Prism 7X.

The module will also be tested and available for Futaba modular radios, such as the 9C.

Cool!

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Old 04-27-2006, 04:26 AM   #15
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Ed,

I like the idea of the 2.4ghz and have been looking at the spektrum. Based on this announcement from Hitec would you recommend waiting?

I want to get the most bang for my buck so to speak and there are so many choices it is a tough decision to make.

Bill
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Old 04-27-2006, 04:32 AM   #16
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If you are a dedicated parkflyer pilot with no interest in sailplanes or glow planes, then go ahead and get the DX6. Great radio for electrics.

I have a Futaba 9C and a Hitec Prism 7X, so I will wait.

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Old 04-27-2006, 04:33 AM   #17
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Thanks Ed, I'll take advice from you anyday!

LHS here I come...
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Old 04-27-2006, 01:17 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by pilotpete2 View Post
I don't believe it has expo or /d/r on the rudder I also fly larger glow powered planes and my electric flying is with 2M sailplanes, and planning to go larger.
It does have expo and you can DR the rudder
here's a link to the manual for those intrested

http://www.horizonhobby.com/ProdInfo...DX6_Maunal.pdf

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Old 04-27-2006, 05:09 PM   #19
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Hi Skiman,
Thanks for the link, I see how you get d/r on rudder, but no mention of expo, no biggie for the use the radio is intended for, while I have not been a park flyer, that changed about 30 min. ago when the Big Brown Airplane truck stopped by with a nice new slow stick, and other goodies, I have an Esskay 400XT on order from HL, so I bought the "glider" version with no power plant, 21 bucks at Tower, sweet. So's now I cana join da slow sticka Famiglia That'sa pronounced fam-eel-ya, to youse dat are Italian challanged, hey you eata the pizza, then you sez it right, OK, soundsa nice don't it.
Ed,
I'm with you on waiting for the new module based system, especially if you fly large slimers and electrics, oop's forgot where I'm posting, I've outed myself:o. I really look forward to seeing the upcoming 9 ch. from Hitec.
And now kids, tune in again next week for the next exciting chapter of RADIO WARS, and remember to drink your Olvaltine!
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Old 04-27-2006, 06:00 PM   #20
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I sure hope they come out with a new version with all the bells and whistles with full range now that would be a real break through

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Old 04-27-2006, 06:39 PM   #21
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I would expect the long range, full features, lots of channels 2.4 GHZ stuff will be out by end of year either as complete radios, or as plug in modules to current radios.

9 Channel Futaba 9C on 2.4 GHZ flying a 4 meter sailpalane 1 mile out .... Cool!

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Old 01-25-2008, 03:46 AM   #22
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Well, I followed a link from another board to this discussion. I am a noob pilot, about to maiden my first 4ch plane. I only got into the hobby a month or so ago. My first plane is a 2ch thrust vector steered twin motor push glider that cost me 30 bucks. That was just for me to have something to fly with, and learn orientation while I waited for the real thing to be finished building.

For my first real radio however I chose a 4ch 72Mhz standard radio. The Esky EK2 0404. And it was a matter of cost. I did not know if I would stay in the Hobby, and I paid 38$ for it. a computer radio would cost me about 3 times as much where I am. And not knowing if I would stay in the hobby, I could not justify it.

What I did thogh was to make sure the 100 bucks saved went into quality electronics in the plane. A good brushless motor, ESC and batteries, that can be reused.

Then I can always upgrade later to a 6 ch or more computer radio later. But I have to admit that I have some remorse over my choice. As I am heavily into photography, and I now I want to do aerial photography for fun, once I learn to fly...and need a fifth channel to steer a servo to act as shutter release.

Well, at least I think my radio is good enough to learn on. And the wife did not go as ballistic as she would do had I come home with a 100 dollar higher bill...but if you do not get a computer radio...at least make sure it has 6 channels....you may want to use the extra 2 channels, even if you only need 4 to fly your plane.
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Old 01-25-2008, 04:32 AM   #23
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================
Futaba 6EXAS - $150
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXNZC1**&P=7
3 micro servos----------------------------------$14 each $42
1 micro receiver + crystal for small electrics -------- $70
Misc other stuff in the package --------------------- $13

Total for components $130

Cost for radio, charger, battery = $20 for a 6 channel
entry level computer radio - WOW!
====================================
Maybe you like Airtronics better

Airtronics VG 6000 $146
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXEUY5**&P=7

2 micro servos ------------------------------- $23 each $46
1 Micro receiver + crystal ------------------------------ $50
1 Electronic Speed Control ---------------------------- $25
Misc stuff --------------------------------------------- $14

$135 for the above - you are going to need them anyway!

Radio, charger, battery = $11 for an entry level 6 channel
computer radio. REALLY!
===========================
Maybe you want a little more feature rich radio

Spektrum DX6i. No channels pins to worry about, no channel conflict.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Search/Default.aspx?SearchTerm=DX6&CatId=

$160- Let's see how much the radio costs if you
were to buy the parts separately.

AR6200 micro receiver, no crystal required ------- ----$65
Misc other stuff in the package ------------------------ $15

Total
.................................................. ..........................$80

So you get a pretty feature rich 2.4 GHz radio with 10 model
memories, rechargeable batteries, and charger = $80 -
Not Bad!
=============================

Hitec Optic 6 - $210
http://www.hobby-lobby.com/hitec.htm

2 micro servos -----------------------------$15 each $30
Electron 6 micro receiver + crystal ( my favorite)---- $55
Misc other stuff in the package ---------------------- $20

Total for components $105

Cost for radio, charger Battery = $105 Not bad for a midrange 6 channel
computer radio, including full warranty!

======================================

FREE RADIOS - COME AND GET 'EM!

You are trying to get started on very little budget and can live with
a basic 4 channel standard radio with limited feature set.

Hitec Laser 4 - $115
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXMYL6**&P=7

3 micro servos ------------------------------- $17 each $51
1 Micro receiver + crystal ------------------------------ $40
Switch harness ------------------------------------------ $10
Misc stuff -------------------------------------------------$15

Total for components $116

Cost for radio, charger and battery = $0 FREE
Not bad for a basic 4 channel transmitter with Vtail and elevon mixing.
It also has ATV, servo reverse AND a trainer port! FREE!
==============================
Even lower budget?

You want to fly a 3 channel parkflyer or a 2-3
channel glider. You will definitely have to go used, right?
Let's see.

Hitec Neon 3 channel FM radio, servos and receiver $59.99
http://www2.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXLGF4**&P=7

The package includes 2 HS-55 servos ----------$13 each = $26
Micro 05 receiver with crystal ---------------------------- = $40
Misc Stuff in the package ---------------------------------= $5
Contents of the package, if purchased separately - $71

Neon 3 ( uses regular batteries ) = FREE, and you saved $11
on the rest of the stuff! You can buy the contents and throw the
transmitter away!!!!

=================================================
Now, you can argue $5 or $10 either way with my analysis, but it won't
change much. If you are looking for an entry level 6 channel computer
radio, these packages are a great value, and perhaps even better than used
prices.

Even if your focus is cheap, as opposed to value, you can get a new standard
radio for free in these packages.

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Old 01-25-2008, 04:47 AM   #24
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Default Advice needed

I am going to order the E-Flite P-47 as my second plane. Obviously I will need a transmitter, receiver etc for it. If I was to buy a computer radio then what should I look at? I am interested only in electric at this stage. In the next couple of years can see my self collecting WWII warbirds and maybe even some WWI stuff. What would be a reasonably "future proof" system to look at. I dont want to be at the mercy of some salesman. Some prior knowledge would be much appreciated.
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Old 01-25-2008, 05:06 AM   #25
AEAJR
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You left out THE most important piece of information. Your budget.

There is a list of very good introductory and somewhat more capable computer radios listed above your post.

One consideration is how many models you plan to have as you will want a model memory for each. Some of the radios have four, some have 10 and some have a lot more.

My Futaba 9C can have a virtually unlimited number.

If you can swing $350 for transmitter, receiver and servos, I would recommend the Spektrum DX7.

Spektrum DX7 2.4 GHz full range 7 channel radio - $349
Virtually same as JR 7202 but with 2.4 GHz transmission
http://www.horizonhobby.com/Products...ProdID=SPM2720
20-Model memory, 2.4 GHz full range receiver and 3 micro servos and micro receiver, suitable for small electrics. Some switch assignment, 6 user mixes, 3-axis
dual rate & expo, 3-position flap. While this radio does not have typical
sailplane programming here is a post where one creative individual has made some
creative use of user mixes to develop some of the common sailplane mixes if you ever want to fly sailplanes.
http://www.rcgroups.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6651965&postcount=833

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  WattFlyer RC Electric Flight Forums - Discuss radio control eflight > R/C Electric Topics - General > RC Radios, Transmitters, Receivers, Servos, gyros


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