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New radio wanted - Futaba or Spectrum?

Old 05-05-2017, 02:17 AM
  #1  
Bald Paul
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Default New radio wanted - Futaba or Spectrum?

I know asking Futaba vs. Spectrum is a lot like Nikon vs. Canon, or Ford vs. Chevy, but....

My old Futaba 6ch FASST system, while still fine for use, lacks some of the features the newer radios have. I intend to stick with a 6 channel radio, but all of the new Futaba 6CH radios are FHSS, and not compatible with my FASST receivers. I really don't want to, nor can I afford to, drop $550 on a Futaba 14 channel radio, which is the least expensive FASST system they now sell. I can buy a lot of new Rx's for that amount of money.

I had a Spectrum in the past, before I got my current Futaba radio. I liked it, and the features, but on more than one occasion the system lost bind. Luckily, twice it happened prior to takeoff, but once it happened mid flight and did not end well. Since it occurred with multiple Rx units, I sent the radio back to Spectrum, who assured me it was fine. That's when I bought the Futaba. I just didn't trust the Spectrum any more.

I've done some poking around on the web, and it seems Spectrum has improved their technology as far as signal reception, and I haven't read any reports of loss of binding.

If I get a new radio, I'll have to change out the Rx in my planes anyway. So, the question is, do I go with the Futaba 6J, or Spectrum DX6 or DX6e (what is the difference between the 6 and 6e anyway?)

If you have either of the radios mentioned, please tell me what you like / dislike / wish they had.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:49 AM
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either. Today's electronics seem to be so similar that it really just boils down to user preference in my opinion.

I had an issue with my old JR 9303 and sent it in as you did. They didn't claim anything was wrong but replaced the antenna assembly anyway. (not admitting anything was wrong with it). I had lost confidence also and bought the Futaba 14SG. I love it and it is an awesome radio but... Having regained confidence in my 9303 over time I like them both. I now feel confident using either on any of my planes. I like the Spektrum for all the bind and fly stuff and would get a DX8 or 9 when my 9303 reaches it end of life span.

The Futaba is great and I love the feel of the sticks, and the programmability it has. If you don't want to spend that kind of money then the Spektrum is the way to go for sure.

I just got back from SEFF where a couple hunded pilots were flying "mostly" Spektrum and did not hear if any issues over the 11 days we were there that were radio related.
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:05 AM
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dahawk
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I had a Futaba 6Ex and it was fine however virtually everyone at my club flew Spectrum. It was like being in another country and you're the only one who can speak English. Many things reversed or different. E.G. Expo is a neg value. Throttle channel is #3, etc.Model memory very limited. Uber expensive rx's.

Then Spektrum comes out with the Dx9. Voice prompts, 250 model memory, wireless buddy boxing, etc.

I was smitten. I have not looked back. They filled out the line with the 6,7,8 and 18. And now the 20.

Who needs 18-20 channels ? Wow. I don't go over 6 too often but having a couple extra channels provides a little more flexibility. Let's say you have throttle, aileron, elevator, rudder, retracts, flaps. That's 6 right there. But maybe you want to have each aileron on its own channel or you want to add lighting . Nice to have.

Futaba makes good stuff no doubt. Taranus is up and coming if your into programming. Spektrum is like the Ford F150 - a workhorse.

Pick your poison!

Hawk

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Old 05-05-2017, 03:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
I know asking Futaba vs. Spectrum is a lot like Nikon vs. Canon, or Ford vs. Chevy, but....

My old Futaba 6ch FASST system, while still fine for use, lacks some of the features the newer radios have. I intend to stick with a 6 channel radio, but all of the new Futaba 6CH radios are FHSS, and not compatible with my FASST receivers. I really don't want to, nor can I afford to, drop $550 on a Futaba 14 channel radio, which is the least expensive FASST system they now sell. I can buy a lot of new Rx's for that amount of money.

I had a Spectrum in the past, before I got my current Futaba radio. I liked it, and the features, but on more than one occasion the system lost bind. Luckily, twice it happened prior to takeoff, but once it happened mid flight and did not end well. Since it occurred with multiple Rx units, I sent the radio back to Spectrum, who assured me it was fine. That's when I bought the Futaba. I just didn't trust the Spectrum any more.

I've done some poking around on the web, and it seems Spectrum has improved their technology as far as signal reception, and I haven't read any reports of loss of binding.

If I get a new radio, I'll have to change out the Rx in my planes anyway. So, the question is, do I go with the Futaba 6J, or Spectrum DX6 or DX6e (what is the difference between the 6 and 6e anyway?)

If you have either of the radios mentioned, please tell me what you like / dislike / wish they had.
Here's a comparison chart for Spektrum....:

https://www.spektrumrc.com/Content/M...Comparison.pdf
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:46 AM
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Bad Paul : have you thought about the TATIC 850, its a fine radio has red back light on the screen and real easy to program even for a dumbbell like me. And you can get one Brand New for $179.00 or maybe even cheaper. Its got all the Bells and whistles except it doesn't talk to you. Now the Down side of the Tatic is you are suppose to use the Tatic Receivers which are about 29 bucks for a 6 channel but I hear tell at the flying field that you can use those Lemon receivers with no problem. Also tatic makes a 650 trans. if you just want to stick with 6 channels and its a little cheaper than the 850 which is 8 channels, Anyway I think its worth looking into. Good luck with your choice fdnyjery
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:52 PM
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Originally Posted by dahawk View Post
I had a Futaba 6Ex and it was fine however virtually everyone at my club flew Spectrum. It was like being in another country and you're the only one who can speak English. Many things reversed or different. E.G. Expo is a neg value. Throttle channel is #3, etc.Model memory very limited. Uber expensive rx's.

Hawk
I feel the same way at times with my Futaba. It seems like everyone else at the club field is using Spectrum.

The 6ch receivers (Futaba FHSS and Spectrum) are all around the same price point. However, looking over the specs, the Spectrum (specifically the DX6 model) has more features than the Futaba 6JA. The additional cost of the Spectrum may just be worth it. I also like the idea of firmware upgrades via the memory card.

Birthday is coming up (a big one - 65) and the missus is bugging me already for hints as to what I want as my gift. Hmmmmmmm.
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by fdnyjery View Post
Bad Paul : have you thought about the TATIC 850, its a fine radio has red back light on the screen and real easy to program even for a dumbbell like me. And you can get one Brand New for $179.00 or maybe even cheaper. Its got all the Bells and whistles except it doesn't talk to you. Now the Down side of the Tatic is you are suppose to use the Tatic Receivers which are about 29 bucks for a 6 channel but I hear tell at the flying field that you can use those Lemon receivers with no problem. Also tatic makes a 650 trans. if you just want to stick with 6 channels and its a little cheaper than the 850 which is 8 channels, Anyway I think its worth looking into. Good luck with your choice fdnyjery
I've read that the Lemon / Orange receivers are not FCC certified, and the AMA won't cover you if you crash while using them. Some clubs are already banning their use over the liability issue.

http://www.sjrc-society.com/radio-eq...oval-required/
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Old 05-05-2017, 03:27 PM
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Most people know my preference !!

If I was buying today ......... it would be Taranis and FrSky module / Rx's ....

But so far even my 9x's and 9xr's do more than Spektrum / Futaba in the 8ch market.

At a fraction of the cost.

Don't forget also that these 'budget' radios also accept FASST modules - so you have the extended programming but can still use your old Rx gear ...

Nigel
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Old 05-05-2017, 04:25 PM
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Bad Paul thanks for the info on lemon receivers. All as I can say is that some of the guys I know use them all the time and they have never had a problem . I also understand about the fcc. Like I said thanks for the info. I do have a question for you ?After looking at your clubs list of unacceptable transmitters and receivers, I see that the Tatic Transmitter's and Receivers are nowhere to be found on your clubs acceptable. I would just like to say as far as I know they are acceptable for all and they are very popular here in Florida. They have been reviewed by several of the RC mags. So for the price of the Tatic 850 and you are getting 2 more channels ,total 8
I think you should check it out ,it looks like its just what you are looking for Bad Paul.
Blue Skies fdnyjery
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Old 05-05-2017, 05:06 PM
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The FrSky Taranis X9D is a very capable transmitter.......however, combined with a decent compatible RX (X8R)......the cost is no longer "a fraction" of the cost for a Spektrum DX8 2g........ !

When deciding on a TX/RX combo for our "work" flight systems, we went with the Spektrum. We field tested the FrSky, Futaba, JR and Spektrum. Went with Spektrum due to our hobby experience with such, reliability, customer service, ease of programing, replacement cost and durability.

Another consideration was the high quality of RX and telemetry flexibility packages that work seamlessly with the Spektrum, all FCC, FAA and AMA approved and sanctioned. JR's and Futaba are as well, and we really did not need the handful of additional assorted programmable functions FrSky offers, and our insurance carrier would not accept FrSky.

Just my opinion, for a step-up in "hobby" grade or better transmitter, the Spektrum DX8 2g, is well worth the money and confidence factor aspect......at work we have two, and two DX9's........have yet to find a need for more than 8 or 9 channels on any of our craft, telemetry or camera set-ups.
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Old 05-05-2017, 06:10 PM
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Cost comparisons are always difficult between so-called Brand Names and the "others' ...

The main point about FrSky is that they have been leaders in the interference rejection field of RC with their ACCST format .... they also have FASST .... you can even get a DSM module to fit ... so in fact anyone moving to Taranis is actually NOT required to install different gear to their models. You can keep your Futaba / FlySky -Turnigy / Spektrum / Futaba or FrSky gear installed ... in fact you can even have DUAL format on the Taranis ....
And FrSky equipment has the lowest voltage threshold of any radio before 'brownouts' ... I've actually still had Rx lock on two near discharged NiMh cells !! OK - servo response will be very poor ... but try that with Spektrum or Futaba !

I appreciate that people think that Service back-up is a selling point ... but is it really ?

Personally - I consider repair back-up is over-rated as I do not trust a radio once it fails .. sorry but having been victim of so-called brand name service a number of times - you can keep it. I lost a beautiful Royal P51 Mustang because of service item. I can afford to Bench a 9xr if it fails ...

But radio brand is a personal bias matter and nothing else. They all basically do the job. Pal of mine who is one of the best 3D guys I know has been doing this with 60cc Gasoline jobs on a 9X with FrsKy ... he now has his 120cc 3D job on a Taranis and he's swapping over his models to the Taranis ...

Nigel
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Old 05-05-2017, 06:33 PM
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One word: telemetry.

Once you've used it, you'll never want another radio without it. Frsky has good inexpensive telemetry so I've gone to Taranis and X6R receivers that use a cheap sender for battery voltage.

I run all my old Spekrum receivers with the Taranis as well. I have a model that uses 12 channels and has one X8R and a DSM2 receiver for the camera and the Taranis can run both simultaneously.
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Old 05-05-2017, 09:22 PM
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My two-cents worth, I like to KISS (keep it simple stupid). Futaba is just like Apple, nothing special about them, just expensive and proprietary. Anything you buy that is compatible is few and far between and expensive.

Spektrum is owned by Horizon Hobbies and despite some of their short fallings on some products, their customer service is second to none. There hundreds of manufactures that make compatible receivers, servos, and whatnots cheap.
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:20 AM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
I know asking Futaba vs. Spectrum is a lot like Nikon vs. Canon, or Ford vs. Chevy, but....

My old Futaba 6ch FASST system, while still fine for use, lacks some of the features the newer radios have. I intend to stick with a 6 channel radio, but all of the new Futaba 6CH radios are FHSS, and not compatible with my FASST receivers. I really don't want to, nor can I afford to, drop $550 on a Futaba 14 channel radio, which is the least expensive FASST system they now sell. I can buy a lot of new Rx's for that amount of money.

I had a Spectrum in the past, before I got my current Futaba radio. I liked it, and the features, but on more than one occasion the system lost bind. Luckily, twice it happened prior to takeoff, but once it happened mid flight and did not end well. Since it occurred with multiple Rx units, I sent the radio back to Spectrum, who assured me it was fine. That's when I bought the Futaba. I just didn't trust the Spectrum any more.

I've done some poking around on the web, and it seems Spectrum has improved their technology as far as signal reception, and I haven't read any reports of loss of binding.

If I get a new radio, I'll have to change out the Rx in my planes anyway. So, the question is, do I go with the Futaba 6J, or Spectrum DX6 or DX6e (what is the difference between the 6 and 6e anyway?)

If you have either of the radios mentioned, please tell me what you like / dislike / wish they had.
Just go to any large RC flyin. and note what brand radios are being used. It will likely be mostly Spectrum. My RC club is 95% Spektrum. And a number of them have dumthumbed a model, pulled the receiver out of whats left to HH for repair, and got a brand new receiver back. No charge.

As far as transmitter/receiver compatibility, virtually every Spektrum transmitter ever mfg'd is compatible with every Spektrum receiver ever made.

As far as Spektrum receivers having loss of command that seems to disappear when the receiver is powered by a two cell 2500 mah A123 (or LiFe) receiver battery pack.

Or a very robust ESC BEC such as the Castle Creations BECs.
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by kyleservicetech View Post

As far as Spektrum receivers having loss of command that seems to disappear when the receiver is powered by a two cell 2500 mah A123 (or LiFe) receiver battery pack.

Or a very robust ESC BEC such as the Castle Creations BECs.
Interesting. Do the issues manifest themselves when people stretch the limits on the ESC/BEC as far as number of servos used? I always allow a 150% rule when choosing an ESC. If I'm using 4 servos, I always make sure the ESC BEC can handle 6-8. If it's even questionable, I'll use a separate Rx pack.

I have NEVER experienced a loss of signal or loss of control caused by a Futaba radio. I've used them for my planes, and used a Futaba when I was racing RC cars (including 1/8th nitro AWD on road monsters). That, and my prior bad experience with Spectrum, is why it's so hard for me to break allegiance to the brand. But, as you stated, the vast majority of radios in use at the club are Spectrums, so they must have something good going for them.
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Old 05-06-2017, 01:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Interesting. Do the issues manifest themselves when people stretch the limits on the ESC/BEC as far as number of servos used? I always allow a 150% rule when choosing an ESC. If I'm using 4 servos, I always make sure the ESC BEC can handle 6-8. If it's even questionable, I'll use a separate Rx pack.

I have NEVER experienced a loss of signal or loss of control caused by a Futaba radio. I've used them for my planes, and used a Futaba when I was racing RC cars (including 1/8th nitro AWD on road monsters). That, and my prior bad experience with Spectrum, is why it's so hard for me to break allegiance to the brand. But, as you stated, the vast majority of radios in use at the club are Spectrums, so they must have something good going for them.
Nowdays, most brand RC radios are pretty good. In the past 5 years or so, no one in my RC club has lost a model due to range or Spektrum issues.

Several years ago, I stopped a fellow club member from doing the maiden flight on his 50 cc gasser that had a single AA size 5 cell nih receiver pack.

That model has a number of high power digital servos. I've created several threads in RCGroups on why Nih packs in giant scale models, or larger models is a bad idea

My RC members have gone to 2 cell A123 packs on their larger models. Zero problems. One thing to watch for in BEC's. IMHO, for models with more than 3 cells, avoid linear BEC's like the plague!
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Old 05-06-2017, 05:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Interesting. Do the issues manifest themselves when people stretch the limits on the ESC/BEC as far as number of servos used? I always allow a 150% rule when choosing an ESC. If I'm using 4 servos, I always make sure the ESC BEC can handle 6-8. If it's even questionable, I'll use a separate Rx pack.

I have NEVER experienced a loss of signal or loss of control caused by a Futaba radio. I've used them for my planes, and used a Futaba when I was racing RC cars (including 1/8th nitro AWD on road monsters). That, and my prior bad experience with Spectrum, is why it's so hard for me to break allegiance to the brand. But, as you stated, the vast majority of radios in use at the club are Spectrums, so they must have something good going for them.
If Futaba had not been so expensive and priority class sensitive, we would have purchased such. But since we require back-up systems for everything we work with, Spektrum "penciled out" better and is much more compatible with our existing telemetry systems. Having two of everything gets real expensive, and it is much more cost effective "on the job" to switch to back-up equipment, ready to go, than spending time working out the problems in the field.........part of my responsibility is to keep the equipment "on stand-by" for every project........having personal experience with DSMX/DSM2 and not so much with FHSS, made the choice easier as well.
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Old 05-06-2017, 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by pizzano View Post
If Futaba had not been so expensive and priority class sensitive, we would have purchased such. But since we require back-up systems for everything we work with, Spektrum "penciled out" better and is much more compatible with our existing telemetry systems. Having two of everything gets real expensive, and it is much more cost effective "on the job" to switch to back-up equipment, ready to go, than spending time working out the problems in the field.........part of my responsibility is to keep the equipment "on stand-by" for every project........having personal experience with DSMX/DSM2 and not so much with FHSS, made the choice easier as well.
Take a look at the Futaba web page on their Sbus installation. Their web page shows 14 servos powered by a single standard servo plug connection to their receiver.

Seems it would be better to plug the batteries into one or two Futaba hubs???
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Old 05-07-2017, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Bald Paul View Post
Interesting. Do the issues manifest themselves when people stretch the limits on the ESC/BEC as far as number of servos used?
Yes it is called Brownouts. HH models are known because they cut corners on the ESC BEC.

3-ways to solve it, all have to do with proper design.

1. Purchase and ESC with a large enough BEC.
2. Use a separate BEC and Battery splitter.
3. Use a RX battery.
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Old 05-07-2017, 06:57 PM
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Originally Posted by dereckbc View Post
Yes it is called Brownouts. HH models are known because they cut corners on the ESC BEC.

3-ways to solve it, all have to do with proper design.

1. Purchase and ESC with a large enough BEC.
2. Use a separate BEC and Battery splitter.
3. Use a RX battery.
You forget one important item .... HH being the seller part of the company that produces Spektrum have to deal with the Spektrum reluctance to lower the voltage threshold of their RX's .....

This is a proven factor so many times and I find it amazing that Spektrum have failed to sort it properly. Yes they modified it with the change of DSM2 to DSMX but still higher than most other brands ....
Even JR - their radios split of from Spektrum a while back can beat them at this.

Spektrum still maintains a minimum required voltage to keep BIND lock that is higher than most other radios ....

When was the last time you heard of 'brownout' for Futaba / Hitec / JR / FrSky / FlySky / 9xr ...... just to name a few ....

Its what I call the BMW factor ....

Press upon the public enough marketing hype and they start to believe it ... sales go up. BMW in engine size comparison to competitors is actually slower and less performing .... but the hype creates a "Speed" myth.

Nigel
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Old 05-07-2017, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by solentlife View Post
You forget one important item .... HH being the seller part of the company that produces Spektrum have to deal with the Spektrum reluctance to lower the voltage threshold of their RX's .....

This is a proven factor so many times and I find it amazing that Spektrum have failed to sort it properly. Yes they modified it with the change of DSM2 to DSMX but still higher than most other brands ....
Even JR - their radios split of from Spektrum a while back can beat them at this.

Spektrum still maintains a minimum required voltage to keep BIND lock that is higher than most other radios ....

When was the last time you heard of 'brownout' for Futaba / Hitec / JR / FrSky / FlySky / 9xr ...... just to name a few ....

Its what I call the BMW factor ....

Press upon the public enough marketing hype and they start to believe it ... sales go up. BMW in engine size comparison to competitors is actually slower and less performing .... but the hype creates a "Speed" myth.

Nigel
I have done a lot of testing on brownouts on my dozen or so Spektrum receivers, using my oscilloscope, and a "brownout" rig.

It takes a brownout exceeding one millisecond long to affect the receiver. And, my newer Spektrum receivers recovered on a millisecond or three.

Keep in mind volage sags also limit performance of the servos.

As. for receiver 2.4 Ghz integrated chips, Spektrum uses a chip designed for remote control. Compared to at least one major RC supplier that uses a chip designed for cordless home phones.
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Old 05-08-2017, 12:23 AM
  #22  
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Even though I've only been a Spektrum owner since 2010, and have never experienced malfunction or failure of any "Spekie" TX/RX, the few (2) failures I have personally witnessed were both related to older TX voltage issues.........like those mentioned for the short period of DX6 and DX7 models.

Like mentioned previously in this post subject, today there are several brands of transmitters and receivers that provide "bang for the buck" which perform flawlessly under the correct conditions and application......that said without brand "bias"......the best advise one can receive is that from educated sources who have had personal experience product ownership. It also helps to "know" the source well enough to trust their opinion.

As one would expect, they're are one or two seasoned members here that will "always" chime in on Spektrum issues and make biased observations (comparisons) to their "wonderful" FrSky open source systems or attempt to argue that their "older JR's" are just like a Spektrum.......when in reality, those (that same) member(s) has/have not ever stated they have personally owned (for any length of time or at all) a Spektrum......which, for me, speaks volumes to their personal knowledge of such.....like so many grains of salt, added to stimulate the palate without benefit or value to the substance....!

Surely, none of us are "authorities or master's" on everything related to RC. Therefore, our "opinions" can be assumed just that "opinions". But, at least when an "opinion" is expressed, it is most "helpful" when supported by citation, reference, manuscript or at least proven personal ownership experience.....!

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Old 05-08-2017, 12:29 AM
  #23  
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Yeah
there was one troll last year who really panned Speki equipment, on and on and on.


Turned out the Only flying he ever did was with an RC simulater. He had never even owned an RC radio and had never flown an actual RC model.
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:02 AM
  #24  
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Well, I think I've decided on the Spektrum DX6 (the newest DSMX). Even though I doubt I'll ever need more than the 15 model memory of the Futaba, I like the 20 character model name ability on the Spektrum. I also like the idea of voice alerts. At first I thought it was sort of like the older 'talking cars' (fun for a week or so, then customers were asking us to disable it) but one of the club members was showing me a little bit about how they worked on his radio, and it seems like a good feature.

The Futaba does have a much faster frame rate (6.8ms vs 22ms) but guys at the club who have flown both brands state they can't notice a difference in response. Most of the old Futaba guys have "gone over to the dark side" and haven't looked back.

BTW, those were the only two brands I considered. I looked at others, but the support and service didn't really give me the warm fuzzy feeling I was looking for. I made that mistake years ago when I bought my Sony Betamax deck. :-)
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Old 05-08-2017, 03:43 AM
  #25  
kyleservicetech
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Wisconsin, USA
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Someone check this out
Isn't Spektrum capable of 11 or 22 ms???
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