P-38 - The Ultimate EPO Lightning

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Transmitter help

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  • Transmitter help

    I have been out of the hobby for 12 years . I would like to get back in to it .I would like to know if anybody could recommend a good transmitter that is easy to program. Thanks

  • #2
    Hi Gun Dawg 34, welcome to Hobby Squawk!

    What radio did you fly in 2005?

    There are several key radio brands out there now. Some brands like Spectrum have multiple radios at different price points so you can choose your point of entry, like, 5 channel, 6 channel, 8 channel, 9 channel, 18 channel, and Spektrum radios are also compatible with Horizon's wide array of BNF planes. Some brands like FrSky have fewer radios, but higher overall channel counts, like 16 and 32, with creature comforts including color screens and built in RSSI telemetry (signal strength). Futaba, with whom you're probably familiar, is still around with dependable systems. Airtronics, though, and a couple other brands have either stopped or slowed their new product pipeline. Brands like Detrum offer low cost without high end options, if you're less interested in features and most interested in low price and support from Motion RC. Brands like Jeti and Mikado offer great radios at the higher end, but you have to ask yourself what radio your local club flies... with any modern computer radio system, it would be an advantage if you had a radio that your buddies also had. It makes learning the radio that much easier, plus you can buddy box with them. Conversely, if you're the only guy with that special radio.. you're on your own.

    Altogether, the radio transmitter is the most essential tool in your RC kit. I'd recommend researching, comparing, and ultimately investing in a future-proof radio system that you can grow with, since you're starting from scratch in what is basically 2018. Take it from the guy who has flown over 20 different radios from at least 11 different brands... you don't want to relearn multiple menu programming pathways unnecessarily.

    In terms of difficulty, learning curve corresponds to feature set. Basic radios will be easier. As far as which brand is easier, it depends on what your reference point is. People who start with Spektrum swear it's easier than FrSky. People who start with FrSky swear it's easier than Spektrum. The same could be said about the other radio brands out there. My point is, don't let any brand's perceived complexity dissuade you. Decide on a feature set and a price ceiling, then get to comparing!

    My current daily drivers are an FrSky X10 (16 channels), a Spektrum DX9 (9 channels), and a Futaba 10J (10 channels).

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    • #3
      In 2005 I had two Jr radios one 4 channel and one 9 channel. Also one Futaba 4 channel radio. I don't remember the exact model numbers. Thank you very much for taking the time to send me your reply.

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      • #4
        Learn from our mistakes, err, my mistakes. Out of the hobby 30+ years, have an ancient futaba fps-4 channel and expert 7 channel. Started seeing these magnificent scale electric warbirds and jets offered by Motion, watched all the videos with pilot Ryan and captain Mike (as always) and was totally drawn in! Anyway, DO NOT make the mistake of buying the Tactic 6 channel, because the next plane youíll want to buy is the Horizon Opterra, and that requires a Spectrum radio, and donít get the Spectrum DX6, because two months later youíll wish youíd got the 8 or 9 channel. Donít do that. Thatíd be stupid.

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        • #5
          Both Tactic and Spectrum are fairly easy to program, with patience. And lots of questions to the squawk and the help button when on their site.

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          • #6
            I think the point above (don't go tactic 4 ch and don't go 6 ch) was to get 8 or 9 channels (or more) from the start so yo don't have to keep buying radios to get the number of channels you want/need for future aircraft.
            FF gliders and rubber power since 1966, CL 1970-1990, RC since 1975.

            current planes from 1/2 oz to 22 lbs

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            • #7
              Thanks for your help

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              • #8
                My pleasure.

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                • #9
                  G'day Gun Dawg,
                  I can totally recommend the Futaba 8J as that is my daily drive but if I had of waited six more weeks, the 10J would have been on the market and this is what I would have purchased.
                  Relatively light, a good feel in the hands and very easy to program. And the 10J has telemetry as well.
                  I have not had any problems with my 8J at all.
                  Regards and respect
                  Daryl

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                  • #10
                    I do recommend Spectrum and an 8-9 channel radio. Futaba back in the day was number one radio overall. But with them making a dictionary to go threw put them in the back burners. Spectrum has hundreds of threads and youtube vids on just about anything. If you like e-flite planes they are all spectrum radios only. So add that to your thoughts as well.

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                    • #11
                      Spektrum, Spektrum, Spektrum! By the way, this is the correct spelling. Doc

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                      • #12
                        Spektrum, like the doc said!

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                        • #13
                          G'day GD,
                          One thing I should add to the conversation.
                          If you are going to join a club (recommended) or are in a club, have a look along the flight line and chose a transmitter that is popular among those who you will be rubbing shoulders with.
                          Reason, they can help you if you if you find yourself in need of assistance with the transmitter.
                          Stay away from being the only kid on the block with a fancy do da, rip torn transmitter that no ones knows about because if you do not know, we do not know either.
                          You might look impressive with the multi featured, thousand switch transmitter in your hands but it comes to nought if you can not fly because no one on the field knows anything your transmitter to help you.
                          Futaba have greatly simplified their transmitters of late as they were trying to out tech others with all the whiz bangery and complex looking programming frightening people with over complicated programming steps.
                          Regards and respect
                          Daryl

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                          • #14
                            I agree with wrongroad, probably one of the most popular is the spektrum radios. I'm wanting to move over to frsky. I have my reasons for this, but my dx8 had served me well with over 13.5 hours of use according to the timer. It just died on me. So it's time for a change is what I figure.

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                            • #15
                              13.5 hr is low for a transmitter to just up and die.
                              They should work for thousands of hours.

                              There is one Futaba F8UAP still in occasional use in our club. It was made in 1990 and had seen 2 to 6 hours of use per week from then until 2008. 3000 hours of operation would be a conservative estimate.

                              Normal use, the gimbals or switches should be the first things to fail.

                              I'd estimate over 2000 hours of use on my first DX-18 before its roller switch failed. (I installed a $15 upgrade roller and it works again) I replaced the battery simply because it was more than 5 years old and I just don't trust LiPos that old.

                              DX-8 should operate over 6 hours per charge with the original battery. (much more with the optional LiPo battery)

                              I've never looked for a total operation timer on the Spektrum (or any other) computer radio. Possibly your time exceeded its display limit.
                              FF gliders and rubber power since 1966, CL 1970-1990, RC since 1975.

                              current planes from 1/2 oz to 22 lbs

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