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Old 10-19-2012, 07:43 AM   #1
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Smile New pilot looking for decent controller

Hello everyone,

I'm planning to buy this plane

Spirit RC trainer Airplane RTF from Banana Hobby

It has everything I've always wanted as a trainer. I have flown before but figure that if I am to stay with this industry I would want to pick up a decent low price controller. Which one do you recommend and why? I thinking about a controller that you will never really throw away because of the quality and ability to grow with me as a new pilot.
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:57 AM   #2
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The Spirit is 'RTF' (ready to Fly) so comes with a transmitter and receiver and everything else.

If you want to buy a better transmitter then why waste money on an RTF that comes with a transmitter that you will never use?

I'm confused


Buying a good transmitter is always a good investment if you plan on being in the hobby for some time. However you really need to specify a budget and what sort of planes you would ultimately like to fly because there is a massive range in cost and specification.
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Old 10-19-2012, 10:29 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
The Spirit is 'RTF' (ready to Fly) so comes with a transmitter and receiver and everything else.

If you want to buy a better transmitter then why waste money on an RTF that comes with a transmitter that you will never use?

I'm confused


Buying a good transmitter is always a good investment if you plan on being in the hobby for some time. However you really need to specify a budget and what sort of planes you would ultimately like to fly because there is a massive range in cost and specification.

LOL.... sorry about that... I guess the right question would be.... What brand of controller is the most durable with the most bang for your buck with good quality receivers? My price range max is $500. I may want to fly heli copters too... Please let me know, thank you.
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Old 10-19-2012, 01:40 PM   #4
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For $500 you could get a Spektrum DX8 set up which is a very nice and has a high specification. It's also got telemetry so the plane can send back data such as battery voltage and receiver voltage and motor temperature RPM and airspeed which is displayed on the transmitter screen. This is I think unique at the price point.

Spektrum also has the advantage of being the radio system found in some of the most popular micro and parkflyer models, so you can use your Tx to fly the likes of Parkzone ultra-micro models. You can also get very cheap 'Spektrum Compatible' receivers. The DX8 is suitable for pretty much any fixed wing plane or helicopter that doesnt require more than 8 channels (very few planes need as many as 8 to be honest)

I got myself a DX8 a few months ago and heve been delighted with it.

Futaba is very good gear too but generally is a bit higher priced compared to Spektrum for similar spec.
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Old 10-19-2012, 02:15 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
For $500 you could get a Spektrum DX8 set up which is a very nice and has a high specification. It's also got telemetry so the plane can send back data such as battery voltage and receiver voltage and motor temperature RPM and airspeed which is displayed on the transmitter screen. This is I think unique at the price point.

Spektrum also has the advantage of being the radio system found in some of the most popular micro and parkflyer models, so you can use your Tx to fly the likes of Parkzone ultra-micro models. You can also get very cheap 'Spektrum Compatible' receivers. The DX8 is suitable for pretty much any fixed wing plane or helicopter that doesnt require more than 8 channels (very few planes need as many as 8 to be honest)

I got myself a DX8 a few months ago and heve been delighted with it.

Futaba is very good gear too but generally is a bit higher priced compared to Spektrum for similar spec.
Before I am accused of knocking Spekie ... this question is not a prelude to recc'd another radio. It is an honest question and has good reason ... (later)

As a standard package - what do you get with DX8 .. and how much to upgrade with sensors etc. to deliver what you quote in your post ? Average ball-park figures or sellers prices you know as example ?

Hopefully we are talking latest X freq system - not the old 2 style ?

Very interested for my own interest.

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Old 10-19-2012, 06:45 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
Before I am accused of knocking Spekie ... this question is not a prelude to recc'd another radio. It is an honest question and has good reason ... (later)

As a standard package - what do you get with DX8 .. and how much to upgrade with sensors etc. to deliver what you quote in your post ? Average ball-park figures or sellers prices you know as example ?

Hopefully we are talking latest X freq system - not the old 2 style ?

Very interested for my own interest.

Nigel
Nigel,
The DX8 has only ever been produced in DSMX format, it was never available in DSM2 only; though it is capable of supporting both formats, for instances when you might be using an older receiver.

(for the OP's info) I'm in the UK so cant speak with direct experience of US prices but usually allowing for exchange rate and UK tax a 1.3 x multiplier works.

I got a real bargain with my DX8 I got the full package, Tx three Rx's and the telemetry unit plus battery charger etc. for 200, so that's about $260. Typical discounted retail price for that same package in the UK is 300 which would translate to about $390, so plenty of change from $500

The Futaba Tx at a similar price point would be the T8J, which is a fine transmitter but doesn't support telemetry and you don't get three Rx's. I don't think it has quite the same programming options as the DX8 either but I stand to be corrected on that because I've never actually used one.
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Old 10-19-2012, 07:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by ChuenouXiao View Post
Hello everyone,

I'm planning to buy this plane

Spirit RC trainer Airplane RTF from Banana Hobby

It has everything I've always wanted as a trainer. I have flown before but figure that if I am to stay with this industry I would want to pick up a decent low price controller. Which one do you recommend and why? I thinking about a controller that you will never really throw away because of the quality and ability to grow with me as a new pilot.
Add me to the list of Spektrum 2.4 Ghz radio users. I've had two DX7's for 5 years, one as a backup that was never needed. This summer I picked up a DX8 with three receivers, and am extremely happy with them.

Nice thing about the Spektrum line of radios, different versions of the transmitters are compatible with different versions of the receivers. Not always true with other brands.

Then you have the "Model Match" feature that absolutely prevents you from trying to fly with the wrong model programmed into your transmitter.

Plus, check with other treads in wattflyer, you can't beat Horizon Hobbys warranty.

This is also true with several of my club members and Horizon Hobby. Take a look:
http://www.wattflyer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=65573

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Old 10-19-2012, 08:15 PM   #8
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I too recommend Spektrum to beginners. The reason being is they have so many wonderful Bind and Fly airplanes that are so attractive to the beginning crowd.

So I would say if you want a quality unit the DX7s is bottom and the DX18 (above your budget) is tops. The DX8 as mentioned above is very nice.

Hitec, Futaba and Airtronics also all make excellent systems that work well.

All support their products too - Hitec and Spektrum being the top of the list. That too is important for the first time pilot.

By the way none of them are "durable" they are delicate. If you have a tendency to drop - all of those will break. A nice case helps protect but the switches are very venerable.

Mike
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Old 10-19-2012, 08:48 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by ChuenouXiao View Post
LOL.... sorry about that... I guess the right question would be.... What brand of controller is the most durable with the most bang for your buck with good quality receivers? My price range max is $500. I may want to fly heli copters too... Please let me know, thank you.
Think of this as cars. What brand is the most durable with the most bang for your buck with a reputation for reliability? Could be a Camaro, a Ford 150 pick-up, a Chrysler Mini Van or maybe a Harley Davidson motor cycle. What else do you want it to do?

You are getting great input from the posts above. And the most valuable input you got was a question about budget and what you plan to fly.

You answered with a budget of $500. That would include at least one receiver, I would think.

What are you planning to fly?

Electric airplanes - of course
Helicopters? you said maybe.
how about gliders?


The Spektrum DX7s and DX8 are very good choices for many of the reasons given above. For most electric and glow airplanes as well as most Helis they would also be great. One is a 7 channel radio and the other 8 channels. These are very popular radios. I will let the Spektrum users tell you more.


DX8 - with one receiver
http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...servos-SPM8800
DX7s - with 3 receivers
http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...s-md2-SPM7800C



There are 5 major brands:

Spektrum
JR
Futaba
Hitec
Airtronics

Then there are a host of "off brands". Some are good, some are not. But the availability of service and support can vary a lot.

Most radios of at least 6 channels can handle most airplanes and helis, but if you plan to fly full house gliders/sailplanes (R/E/A/Flaps) either as pure gliders or as electric launched gliders, neither of the above radios include sailplane mixes. You can use them to fly sailplanes but they don't have the pre defined mixes sailplane pilots like. You can use a Camaro to haul dirt but the Ford F150 pick-up does it better.

If gliders/sailplanes is part of your future, then take a look at:

JR 9503 - 9 channels - Compatible with all the Spektrum receivers and adds a rich set of sailplane mixes that sport and contest glider pilots love. Wide selection of receivers and accesories.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...ode-2-JRP2930X

Hitec Aurora 9 - 9 channels - adds a rich set of sailplane mixes that sport and contest glider pilots love. Lower cost receivers than many with a great reputation. Include telemetry. Online software updates.
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LXXCZ5&P=ML

Futaba 8FG - 14 channels - adds a rich set of sailplane mixes that sport and contest glider pilots love. One of the most popular radio brands with a great quality reputation.
http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...&I=LWE129&P=ML

Airtronics SD10G - 10 channels - adds a rich set of sailplane mixes that sport and contest glider pilots love. One of the top brands. Very popular among airplane and glider pilots alike
http://www.hobbypeople.net/index.php...-rx700-rx.html

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:02 AM   #10
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+1 on all the advice given above. If you're flying at a club, might check and see what most of the guy's are using. It's always nice to have ready field advice when you have a glitch or a programming question. For example, in some cases, Futaba and Spektrum have opposite commands. I think you'll find that the choice for the mass market is Spektrum but there are several other top brands mentioned above, all of which are excellent choices. I love my 6EX and the 8FG Super but that's just my preference. Should be able to find a great deal in your price range.

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:17 AM   #11
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I fly Futaba myself, but, that Spektrum DX7s is a heck of a deal at $300 including 3 receivers. The receivers alone sell for about $200.

I don't see how you could go wrong. This is an very popular mid range 7 channel computer radio.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...s-md2-SPM7800C

Unless you are going to get into serious competition in the near future this should handle just about anything you will need for quite a while.

Key Features
  • 20 Model Memory
  • Built-In Telemetry
  • 128MB SD Card (included)
  • Extensive Airplane and Helicopter Programming
  • Throttle-Activated Timer Setting
  • AR8000 High Speed 8 Channel Receiver (included)
  • AR400 4 Channel Receiver (included)
  • AR6115e Microlite 6 Channel Receiver (included)
  • LiPo Battery Compatibility
  • 8 Wing Types
  • 5 Tail Types
  • 3-Position Flaps with Delay and Elevator Compensation
  • Dual Rates and Expo
  • Differential
  • 5-Point Throttle, Pitch and Tail Curves
  • 6 Swash Plate Types
  • 6 Programmable Mixes
  • Control Position Warnings
  • Audio and Vibe Alarm Settings
  • Large 126 x 64 LCD Screen
  • Mode Selection (Modes 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Language Select (English, Italian, French, Spanish or German)
  • 4.8V 2000mAh NiMH Transmitter Battery
  • High-speed 11ms frame rate with 2048 resolution

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Old 10-20-2012, 12:31 AM   #12
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AEAJR,

Drooling over that one. But as you know, it's hard to switch once you have so much invested in Rx's. Plus, for me, it's like learning a new language. If I were just starting, I'd be very tempted to jump on a deal like that! Sweet.
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Old 10-20-2012, 01:04 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
AEAJR,

Drooling over that one. But as you know, it's hard to switch once you have so much invested in Rx's. Plus, for me, it's like learning a new language. If I were just starting, I'd be very tempted to jump on a deal like that! Sweet.
Every radio takes time to learn and fully exploit.

You only have to switch receivers if you are going to get rid of the radio you have when you buy the new one and that is ONLY if you are going to change RF systems. Many pilots keep the old radaio for the stuff it does well and the new one takes on the new stuff.

If our original poster were to outgrow the Spektrum DX7s there are upgrades to the DX8, DX10, DX18, JR 9503, JR 11X and JR 12X. They all fly the same receivers. It would be very had to outgrow that family even if you went professional.

If you wanted access to lower cost recievers there are the Orange DSM2 receivers from HobbyKing.

He can add a Hobbico AnyLink module and fly Tactic receivers and their TX-R planes

Or he can add a FrSky DIY module to it and fly Spektrum and FrSky and AnyLink.

The options are becoming amazingly broad. Many pilots have more than one radio or fly more than one RF system.

I have 2 Futaba 9C Supers which are module based. They fly many brands of 72 MHz receivers. In 2.4 GHz I fly Futaba FASST and Orange FASST receivers. I also fly Spektrum DSM2 and Hobbico Tactic AnyLink receivers. FrSky has FASST receivers too.

I could easily add a module for FrSky if I wanted to fly their RF and Telemetry system. So I can fly a whole range of brands of receivers.

I also have a Spektrum DX5e that came with my Radian RTF.

And those Horizon Hobby BnF planes are absolutely irresistable. I, have several HH BnF planes in addition to the high end contest gliders I fly. The Hobbico TX-R line is getting interesting too.

We are not as locked in as we were a few years back.

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Old 10-20-2012, 04:21 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
I fly Futaba myself, but, that Spektrum DX7s is a heck of a deal at $300 including 3 receivers. The receivers alone sell for about $200.

I don't see how you could go wrong. This is an very popular mid range 7 channel computer radio.
http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...s-md2-SPM7800C

Unless you are going to get into serious competition in the near future this should handle just about anything you will need for quite a while.

Key Features
  • 20 Model Memory
  • Built-In Telemetry
  • 128MB SD Card (included)
  • Extensive Airplane and Helicopter Programming
  • Throttle-Activated Timer Setting
  • AR8000 High Speed 8 Channel Receiver (included)
  • AR400 4 Channel Receiver (included)
  • AR6115e Microlite 6 Channel Receiver (included)
  • LiPo Battery Compatibility
  • 8 Wing Types
  • 5 Tail Types
  • 3-Position Flaps with Delay and Elevator Compensation
  • Dual Rates and Expo
  • Differential
  • 5-Point Throttle, Pitch and Tail Curves
  • 6 Swash Plate Types
  • 6 Programmable Mixes
  • Control Position Warnings
  • Audio and Vibe Alarm Settings
  • Large 126 x 64 LCD Screen
  • Mode Selection (Modes 1, 2, 3, 4)
  • Language Select (English, Italian, French, Spanish or German)
  • 4.8V 2000mAh NiMH Transmitter Battery
  • High-speed 11ms frame rate with 2048 resolution

Wow... what's the main difference between DX7 and DX8?
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Old 10-20-2012, 05:17 AM   #15
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Perhaps someone else can provide that analysis. I can't.

What's the difference between a Mustang and a Camaro?


Both radios have way more features than you would have any use for today. So how much do you want to spend? If the $160 difference between them is not an issue for you, get the DX8. Why?

Why not?

Have you clicked on the links provided?

Did you look at the features list? Since you are new to the hobby you probably would not understand the features list anyway. That is why you asked for our help,

Since you have no real specific requirements that would have us recommend one or the other, pick the one that you like. The DX8 has one more channel and more software features. You can't go wrong buying a more capable radio than you need today.

The DX7 is a great value for the money and would be more than most pilots would need.

Both will fly most aircraft.

Neither has sailplane software.

Will you ever use the features of a DX8? Who knows?

Will you ever use all the features of a DX7? Who knows?

Maybe you go to the local hobby shop and hold each one in our hands. Buy the one that feels better to you. Often that is the deciding factor.

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Old 10-20-2012, 06:35 AM   #16
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One rather big difference to many is that the 8 has a back lit screen and the 7 does not.
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Old 10-20-2012, 06:51 AM   #17
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I'd pick up a cheap good used dx6I for about $100, make sure the hobby is right for you before you go all out. Then you can still upgrade to a newer spectrum radio later on and keep the dx6I for your simpler models, or as a good back up.

I personally have been flying fm, and don't miss any of the computer features. More bells and whistles in my opinion.
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Old 10-20-2012, 09:58 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by hayofstacks View Post
I'd pick up a cheap good used dx6I for about $100, make sure the hobby is right for you before you go all out. Then you can still upgrade to a newer spectrum radio later on and keep the dx6I for your simpler models, or as a good back up.

I personally have been flying fm, and don't miss any of the computer features. More bells and whistles in my opinion.
I fly FM also and have loads of computer features.

BTW, did you notice that the Brand new DX7s is $100 in that package?

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Old 10-20-2012, 10:55 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by JetPlaneFlyer View Post
Nigel,
The DX8 has only ever been produced in DSMX format, it was never available in DSM2 only; though it is capable of supporting both formats, for instances when you might be using an older receiver.

(for the OP's info) I'm in the UK so cant speak with direct experience of US prices but usually allowing for exchange rate and UK tax a 1.3 x multiplier works.

I got a real bargain with my DX8 I got the full package, Tx three Rx's and the telemetry unit plus battery charger etc. for 200, so that's about $260. Typical discounted retail price for that same package in the UK is 300 which would translate to about $390, so plenty of change from $500

The Futaba Tx at a similar price point would be the T8J, which is a fine transmitter but doesn't support telemetry and you don't get three Rx's. I don't think it has quite the same programming options as the DX8 either but I stand to be corrected on that because I've never actually used one.
No probs ... I know about the X ... was just prompting a widening of debate.

For your money did you get the sensors as well to use the telemetry or were they extra ? Reason I ask is that I use FrSky .. I have Telemetry - but I need to buy separate sensors to enable data to be transmittted.

Just clarifying a point that is unclear in both your posts ...

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Old 10-21-2012, 01:42 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
I fly FM also and have loads of computer features.

BTW, did you notice that the Brand new DX7s is $100 in that package?
I did not. I'm on my phone, so loading links takes some real effort. That is a good buy. No wonder the dx6i's have been going so cheap locally.

I am flying old, old fm radio's. Have one or two with computer features, but I really, honestly, do not care for them. Only thing I would miss would be channel mixing, but I no longer use "flaperoins" on any of my models, and went to a y on the aleroins for my two servo models.

The dx6I has a load of feautures that I think are good for a tch savy beginner, but other then that, I think its more trouble then its worth, a majority of the time. I like to fly my planes, I hated expo and dual rates, liked the flight timer and model memory though. However, knock off receivers are now cheaper for spectrum, and a bind and fly plane/helicopter is always tempting.
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Old 10-23-2012, 04:41 AM   #21
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Appreciate your help guys. Thank you so much.... maybe I should start with a dx 6?
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:08 AM   #22
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Let me be absolutely clear on two points.

Don't get a DX6. That is a completely obsolete radio and only available used.

If you are going to stay in the Spektrum line and plan to buy new, the DX7s would be the lowest level radio I would recommend to you today. It makes no sense to buy a new DX6i when the DX7s is a much better value in the package above.

Since the DX7s is essentially the same price as the DX6i and has a lot more capability I don't know why you would go with a DX6i. It would be a clear mistake.

How is that for a clear statement?

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Old 10-23-2012, 05:15 AM   #23
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I just found a new 8FG Super for $315 but it doesn't come with the free rx's. I have drawer full of Frysky Fasst compatible rx's anyway so I'm ready to pull the trigger.

-Hawk
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:16 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by AEAJR View Post
Don't get a DX6. That is a completely obsolete radio and only available used.

If you are going to stay in the Spektrum line and plan to buy new, the DX7s would be the lowest level radio I would recommend to you today. It makes no sense to buy a new DX6i when the DX7s is a much better value in the package above.

Since the DX7s is essentially the same price as the DX6i and has a lot more capability I don't know why you would go with a DX6i. It would be a clear mistake.

Oh ok, wow.... thanks for the info. Why do you like the Futaba line? Do they all have nice tension when moving the sticks around?
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Old 10-23-2012, 05:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
I just found a new 8FG Super for $315 but it doesn't come with the free rx's. I have drawer full of Frysky Fasst compatible rx's anyway so I'm ready to pull the trigger.

-Hawk
Does the FrSky FASSST Rx work with Futaba direct ? or is it like the JR format FrSky that needs the JR compatible FrSky module ?

I ask because FrSky produce a Futaba compatible Tx module as well ....

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