How To Select Your First Radio

Discussion in 'Giant RC Plane Forum' started by AEAJR, Dec 2, 2012.

Help Support Team Flying Circus by donating:

  1. Dec 2, 2012 #1

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    How To Select Your First Radio
    by Ed Anderson

    If you go through the beginner section on any of the major forums you will see this question, or some version of it over and over again. And you will see it in the advanced flying sections too. That’s because the radio is the single most important tool you will use to fly your model aircraft. Without the radio control system there is no radio control flying. So, how to choose?

    If you are totally new, never flown, and if you are going to learn without using a buddy box, I usually recommend an RTF, ready to fly package that includes the airplane, radio, all the electronics already installed in the plane. It usually includes the battery and charger too. This eliminates so many decisions and considerations and points of confusion. This lets the pilot focus on learning to fly. Which RTF? That is a question for another discussion but there are lots of good ones out there. They all come with a radio that should be adequate to the task of flying that plane. And the value of the radio, in that package, is typically so small that even if you never use it for anything else, that’s OK.

    Once you have your basic flying skills down, NOW we can start to discuss what you want and need in a radio that will carry you forward. You will have more time to read and talk to other pilots so you will have begun to learn about the aspects of RC flying. You will be better prepared to understand the information below and to address the questions we will ask as we try to guide you.


    Standard vs. Computer Radios

    A standard radio is one without model memories and usually very little, if any mixing capabilities. The Spektrum DX5e or the Hitec Laser 4 would be examples of standard radios. Standard radios are fine when you get them in RTFs or if you plan to have a dedicated radio for each plane. Otherwise get a computer radio that has model memories. Enough on that topic.


    Brands vs. Off Brands

    There a lots of good radios out there. The major brands in North America are Futaba, JR, Spektrum, Hitec and Airtronics. All others have relatively small market shares, but that doesn’t mean they are bad. The major brands are all safe bets and all have great service. You will find those who love one over the other and those who hate one vs. the other. But in the end, they all have good products. If you go outside these brands you may get a great radio too but the level of service and support may not be up to the standards of the brands. So if you go outside the brands, consider where you will get help if you need it. Going “off brand” can be quite easy if your friend has one or if you a member of a forum with lots of users of this radio.


    Budget

    How much are you willing to spend? As you shop for radios notice that radios often come packaged with other stuff. That might be receivers, servos, cables, switches, etc. When you evaluate the price of one radio vs. another you MUST take into account what is included in the package. A $150 radio is not cheaper than a $180 radio package that comes with a $50 receiver.

    The more you can spend, the more capable radio you can buy and the less important the rest of the questions become. Once you get over $400 for one of the band name radios, they all pretty much can do what you are likely to need to do to fly almost anything, as long as they have enough channels. You will get all kinds of opinions from advanced pilots as to what is better for what, but they are talking shades of gray here. If you can spend $400 or more on a major brand radio, then buy whatever you like or whatever your friend has or what you see in the champion pilots flying in the radio ads.

    If you don’t have $400 for a radio, then you have to be more selective. But you can still get a very capable radio for under $200. You just have to be a little more specific as we start finding limitations. Of course these limitation may not matter to you so don’t feel you are buying junk. Just maybe you are not buying a lot of stuff you don’t need.

    When discussing budget, state a number. Asking for an inexpensive radio means nothing. When considering my needs, I consider $250, for the radio alone, an inexpensive radio. How about you? No matter what it is, start with a number. Does you budget include a receiver? Servos? State a number and then define it.

    Naturally there are lots of used radios. Buying used radio is like buying a used car, it may be great or it may be a dog. When you buy used you take a risk. As long as you accept that, you can consider used.

    Last, forget about the “best” radio or the one that will last you the rest of your flying career. There is no best and we all tend to want to trade up after a while. But even a basic 6 channel computer radio can serve you for decades of flying fun if your needs are basic. I have friends who have been flying for decades, who are instructors and who are flying radios that they love but that would not meet my needs at all.


    Trainer Port

    Will you be working with an instructor using a buddy box? If so, what radios will work with your instructor’s radio? Buying a cool radio then not being able to get flying instructions really doesn’t work well.


    Types of Aircraft

    Computer radios typically have some level of software for airplanes and most include some type of helicopter software too. This software can go from basic to advanced and usually the more advanced the software the higher the price of the radio. Many do not include specific software for sailplanes/gliders which are the same thing for the purposes of this discussion. That does not mean that you can’t use them to fly gliders. Gliders are just specialized forms of airplanes. What it means is that the radio’s software will not include the special mixes that many gliders pilots want. So, if you plan to fly gliders you may wish to look for a radio that includes glider mixes.

    There are also quad copters, aerial photography and first person view as other forms of flying. They may require special software of they may require extra channels. Before you buy a radio, talk to people who do this kind of flying. It would be very disappointing to buy a radio only to find it can’t fly the aircraft you just purchased.


    How Many Channels?

    While there are some interesting four and five channel computer radios, I am going to recommend you get a computer radios with six or more channels. I don't see any real benefit for having less than six channels, as the cost difference is small and the benefits of 6 or more channels is high. Even if you are flying a rudder elevator glider or electric airplane today, next year you may be adding ailerons and flaps and landing gear. So get a radio that can handle at least that, and that would be 6 channels.

    Why would you ever need more? Here is a typical channel breakdown, regardless of whether you are flying electric, glow, gas or gliders, giant scale or highly detailed scale models. Jets, advanced Helis, first person view may have other needs, but it still comes down to channels.

    Rudder – 1 or 2
    Elevator - 1 or 2
    Ailerons - 1 to 4
    Spoilers - 1 or 2
    Flaps - 1 to 2
    Tow hook - 1
    Landing gear - 1
    Motor – 1 to 2
    Smoke, lights, Other – 1 to ?

    That makes 4, 5, 6, up to 18 channels depending on what kind of aircraft you have and how you set it up. So how many do you need?

    In my opinion, most sport flyers will be well served for a long time with a 6 channel entry to mid level sport computer radio but more channels could come in handy in the future. If you are planning to become a more serious competition pilot, plan to fly giant scale, full house sailplanes, jets or are very interested in having cameras, lights, smoke or other things on your plane, that you can control from the radio, 6 may not be enough.


    Basic Features

    Most currently available new computer radios offer the following features. Regardless of what you are flying, I highly recommend your radio have these features.

    * Model Memories (at least 10)
    * Low Battery Warning
    * Trims on the channels controlled by the stick(s).
    * Timer – highly recommended but not required
    * End Point Adjustment/Adjustable Travel Volume
    * Subtrim
    * Dual Rates and/or Exponential on ailerons and elevator.
    If you are flying 3D you want it on the rudder too.
    * Elevon/delta wing and V-tail mixes

    If it doesn’t have these, don’t buy it!


    Model Memories

    How many planes do you plan to own and fly? Twenty years ago, when everyone was building kits, when electronics were costly, you might have 2 planes flying and maybe 3 in the hanger without servos, receiver or a motor. Oh, there were always guys with 30 planes, but if you had 3 models flyable then 3 model memories were plenty. Today, I would consider 10 the minimum. Planes are cheap, electronics are cheap and “bind and fly” types are so easy to pick up and take flying. Some radios will now let you save models to a memory card or to download them to your computer. If you can save aircraft profiles outside the radio, 10 model memories are probably plenty to hold what you are currently actively flying. If you can’t save them then I would consider 10 an absolute minimum. More is always better.


    Type of flying and surface mixes

    After model memories, surface mixes are one of the great features that computer radios bring to the game. Input to one control can move 2 or more servos in a coordinated fashion to create the kind of surface control you need. I use some mixes that move 5 servos at once. This can reduce the pilot's workload while providing very consistent behavior. In some cases these mixes can be overridden during the flight or can be turned on and off.

    In the list below, where two surfaces are listed, the first is the master and the second follows, sometimes called the slave channel. The following list is what I would consider the minimum set I would want in even an entry level radio. They may be named mixes or they may be able to be created by “user mixes”.

    * Flapperon - requires two aileron servos on separate channels
    * Aileron to rudder mix (coordinated turns)
    * Flap to elevator mixing for landing and glide path control.
    * At least 1 user defined mix

    You should find these on even the most entry level computer radio. If it doesn’t have these, I would recommend you don’t buy it.

    For many pilots this is all they will ever need. But if you plan to get into full house sailplanes, competition pattern flying or other advanced forms of flying you may need other mixes. Talk to friends and people on the forums to ask them what mixes they use. Some are only available in those much more expensive radios so don’t put them on your required list unless you have the budget and REALLY need it. Remember, people flew RC aircraft for decades with 4 channel radios without any surface mixing, and so can you.


    Receiver Selection

    Without the receiver, the radio is useless, so receiver selection is important. If you are flying larger planes you may have lots of room for the receiver, but if you are flying small planes, the size and weight of the receiver can be critical. Putting a 1 ounce receiver in a 6 ounce plane just doesn’t make sense and it likely won’t fit. If you are into indoor flying or micro planes you want them really small and light. Some brands offer “bricks” that are ultra light packages that combine the receiver with the ESC and perhaps servos. If this is your interest, make sure your radio brand has these available.

    If you have a 6 channel radio you can use a receiver that has more than 6 channels. Sometimes we use those extra slots for things that the radio does not control, like plane finders. So having receivers available with more slots than your radio can control might be useful.

    Most 2.4 GHz radios have very specific protocols that are used for the radio to talk to the receiver. In many cases you must buy the same brand of receiver as radio. And in some cases there are different protocols within the brand. For example, Futaba has FASST and FHSS radios in their line. The receivers are specific to the protocol. So a Futaba FHSS radio can’t fly a Futaba FASST receiver even though they are both Futaba 2.4 GHz systems.

    In the 72 MHz days it was common to find “compatible” receivers. For example, you could buy a Hitec or Berg receiver to use with your, Futaba, JR or Airtronics radio. That went away with the dawn of 2.4 GHz, but compatible receivers are now becoming available. Today there are compatible receivers for Spektrum/JR DSM2, Futaba FASST and Hitec AFHSS 2.4 GHz radios. There may be others as well. If the cost of receivers is important to you, and you would consider compatibles, then this may help influence your choice of radios.


    Bind and Fly/TX-R/others

    In the old days, 10 years ago, you purchased a plane and put a receive in it that worked with your radio. Today you can buy planes that are all set to go including servos, and receiver. That is great, but you have to have a matching radio in order to fly them. Horizon Hobby has a huge line of BnF, Bind and Fly planes. If you have a Spektrum or JR DSM2 or DSMX radio you can just buy these planes, bind them to your radio and go fly. Hobbico has come out with the transmitter ready, TX-R, planes. In this case they sell an external module, the AnyLink, that will work with many radios. Once you have an AnyLink module can fly any of their TX-R planes.

    If BnF or TX-R matters to you, then you want a radio that will work with these aircraft. Not everyone cares, but if you do, take this into consideration.


    Other Features

    There are all kinds of special features appearing on radios. Telemetry, touch screens, the ability to update the software over the internet and so on. How important are these? You decide. Talk to those who love them and those who laugh at them, then make your decision.


    The Best and the Last

    People ask which is the best radio. There is no best. The best is the one that you can’t afford or that will be released 6 months after you buy the one you bought. So don’t worry about the best, concern yourself with what will work for you, your budget and your flying style. All of the major brands are good. And there are many “off brands” that are pretty good as well.

    Some people want to buy the radio that will last them a lifetime. Well, even and entry level computer radio can fulfill that, if your requirements never exceed the capability of the radio. But the fact is that we all get the bug to upgrade. So my suggestion is to look at something you feel will last you 3 to 5 years. Who knows what you will want in a radio 5 years from now. Ten years ago we did not have 2.4 GHz radios or radios that could be upgraded over the internet. So forget the forever radio. In the world of computers and electronics, 5 years is forever.

    Now that we have covered the basics it is time for you to ask questions. Read the advertisements, look at the boxes, talk to friends and ask your questions. We are all here to help.

    Ask away!

    If you have tips or recommendations, or don't agree with my comments, feel free to post your thougths.
     
    Tired Old Man likes this.
  2. Dec 2, 2012 #2

    Tired Old Man

    Tired Old Man

    Tired Old Man

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    11,321
    Likes Received:
    410
    Keep up the good work!

    There's bound to be some debate in details but the meat of that post is USDA Grade A juicy.
     
  3. Jan 6, 2013 #3

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    No discussion. I guess this is too entry level for the people on this board.
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  4. Jan 6, 2013 #4

    Chad H

    Chad H

    Chad H

    Passin` Gas

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    2
    Great post.

    I tell anyone that is getting into, or thinking of getting into the hobby to buy the best radio/TX they can afford, no matter the brand, before they even think of buying a model or other gear.

    Have one good TX with multiple model capabilities, one TX battery to up keep and keep track of, and one radio that you are familiar with for set up and model matching.

    As the radio equipment is the heart of the hobby, and with out it you are just collecting expensive static models.

    I have one friend, who has been in the hobby since the 1960`s, who refuses to buy one mid range, or high end radio. This fellow literately has dozens of models completed, dozens on the go, dozens of kits, and dozens and dozens of engines and motors.

    Yet he refuses to buy one good TX. He flies with no less than five individual transmitters. A few are old 72mhz and are in poor shape. A couple are new six channel 2.4, and are not up to the capabilities of his flying or model set ups.

    I have in the last three years, watched this fellow crash at least as many models, do to the wrong model matched with the wrong set up, or what ever. He himself is confused, never mind me. And this fellow is very well to do, retired from a good high paying job in the six figure mark.

    Another close friend, who I got into the hobby about six years ago, has become a full blown addict to it. I mean completely addicted. It is all he lives and breathes. Dozens of models are suspended in his garage, both in the basement of it and the first floor building room. He has thousands and thousands of dollars invested in model engine collecting, both new gas, glow and electric, also with many antique ignition ones. The third floor/attic of the garage is stuffed with kits, wood and model magazines.

    But he too, like the other fellow above, has no less than six or seven TX`s, both 72 and 2.4, all lower end, and each with it`s own battery and chargers to keep track of. Never mind about a dozen or more models ready to go with RX`s and battery packs that match which ever TX they go with. Each model has notes attached on the inside which TX it goes with. Where he charges his TX`s looks like a club fun fly transmitter compound.

    I am just boggled at the reasoning behind this. The models and engines I think are always so much of a attraction, the funds always go towards them first, instead of a good high end TX.

    A great majority of these models too are very expensive, some are large, and you would think he would want to have the best radio gear that is out there not only for the safety of others, but the risk of losing his cherished models.

    I just do not get some guys, and I bet a few others on here know some one like this also. For our club only has about 14 members, two of which are these two..........lol.
     
  5. Jan 6, 2013 #5

    Steve Graham

    Steve Graham

    Steve Graham

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2009
    Messages:
    322
    Likes Received:
    34
    Hi Ed,

    Great primer. I will probably direct a few people to this in the future. I especially liked your ability to stay away from the retarded arguments so many seem to relish when it comes to brands. See the recent Spektrum vs Futaba on FG's. As I was reading that thread, some of which involved the members here, it was like a GD train wreck that I just couldn't look away from. Entertaining but of very little value to your target audience.

    There is one thing that probably has the largest sway when I'm recommending a radio for a potential student. If I'm going to be training someone I want to be able to put them on the trainer cord and with these modern radios that means they need to have the same brand as I fly. That means I find myself recommending an entry level that they can get cheap. A short time later they will have spent the time at the field talking to other pilots and are more than likely better prepared to make an informed choice.

    The group here on the Circus does tend to be a more experienced and opinionated crowd.
     
  6. Jan 6, 2013 #6

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    Good input guys. Thanks.

    If you feel this will benefit someone, please direct them to the article. That is why I wrote it. Posting it on this forum means it is open to people asking questions and sharing experiences.


    Now, time for me to ask questions.

    Since this is TeamFlyingCircus.com, I think of this forum being more about aerobatics, pattern and the like. So, what features are important to someone who is getting into this type of flying.

    I fly mostly sailplanes and I have a certain list of things I suggest pilots consider. What do you aerobats consider important, beyond what I have included in my article. What features would you advise a new pilot who is planning to focus on aerobatics, pattern and the like?
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
  7. Jan 7, 2013 #7

    Mithrandir

    Mithrandir

    Mithrandir

    Circus Staff Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    10,348
    Likes Received:
    178
    or buy an 8FG Super and not NEED to upgrade for 5 or 10 years......

    (Seriously... a bad arse system... 12 prop channels, 2 digital....
     
  8. Jan 7, 2013 #8

    BillFromPerth

    BillFromPerth

    BillFromPerth

    Live to Fly

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    5
    Great post however this is what i reccomend to new commers, alot of people tell them to just start out with a cheap basic radio and engine etc. wich is fine however i would reccmend this.
    Radio go look at the different brands see what features they all have and choose a budget for a radio I normally reccomend if budjet allows it go for a radio with atleast 6 chanells tyhat way it will last for a few yers without having to upgrade for an extra channel or 2,
    I also reccomend a decent motor say like an os or similar if going nitro 2 reasons 1 reliability and 2 it will be fine to use in future planes not just a trainer.
    as for an airframe i normally leave that up to them to choose 1 that they prefer but i normally reccomend a few that i know are good for training.
    I also reccomend they go buy a decent build kit wether a trainer or a sportmodel etc to help them with building skills for future repairs etc.
    when i first got in the hobby i started with a 7chan radio a second hand trainer with a ballraces os 45 fsr and also got a build up trainer kit to learn building skills.
    Only mistake i made was buying a dodgy second hand radio.
     
  9. Jan 7, 2013 #9

    Chad H

    Chad H

    Chad H

    Passin` Gas

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2010
    Messages:
    883
    Likes Received:
    2
    I got another close friend of mine into the hobby last spring.

    I advised him to purchase a good mid range radio that would support his needs for at least the next four modeling seasons if he likes the hobby and wants to advance farther.

    This way, if he was not interested in the hobby after giving it a go, he could recoup the majority of his money he spent on the TX as a 6 month old mid range TX is very desirable and a easy sell, over a cheap bottom end radio.

    As it turned out he loves the hobby, and has far surpassed where I thought he would be by fall, and is very happy he did not waste his money on a budget radio.

    I told him to skip the whole glow-tard hassle (fuel, fuel pump, glow driver, battery for glow driver, starter, flight box ect), and just buy a good multi pack charger ( http://www.hitecrcd.com/products/chargers-setup-equipment/x4-ac-plus.html )
    After starting him off on a PZ Wildcat ($130), he then advanced to a lowing 32 sized low fixed wing electric model with gear (used with a AXI 32 for $100), he is now flying inverted, landing, taking off, loops rolls, split S`s, hammer heads ect. ect.

    Now he wants to advance to a 3D ship this spring, and is glad he has a radio that has the features his has (auto dual aileron and dual ele set up, timer on throttle advance, more than 6 channels ect.)

    I recommended him the Spektrum DX8, and he loves it and glad he got it instead of a 6.
    And after I used it, I loved it too, and would recommend it as a first and very affordable TX to anyone.

    It is so easy to set up, has a SD card for software updates and unlimited model memory, dual ball bearings on each axis of the gimbals, telemetry if wanted, user assignable switches (big plus!), easy dual servo and auto mix set up`s (love this one!), receivers that are flight log capable, stick switching for timers (never forget to turn your timer on again!), comes with a charger and NIHM`s, but is Lipo compatable, and Spektum has the biggest selection of affordable receivers on the market, with no less 31 (!!!!!!!) RX`s to choose from.

    At $350 bucks, it`s hard to touch.
     
  10. Jan 7, 2013 #10

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    PRICE VS. VALUE - What that second level radio is probalby the better choice for new pilots.

    I am not a Spektrum user but their radios are so popular that I keep an eye on them.

    Many new pilots look at the DX6i based on price. But I try to get them look beyond price and look at package value.

    DX6i - 1 receiver - $209

    http://www.horizonhobby.com/products/dx6i-dsmx-6-channel-full-range-without-servo-md2-SPM6610

    DX7s packaged with 3 receivers - $299
    http://www.horizonhobby.com/products/dx7s-7ch-radio-with-ar8000-ar6115e-ar400-no-servos-md2-SPM7800C

    So, the short sited will say the DX6i is cheaper. But I point out that the DX7s is a wildly superior value. The receivers alone are worth around $200, making the radio about $100. $100 for a vastly superior radio as compared to the DX6i.

    The Spektrum 7s provides more channels, more features, more model memories and a telemetry option. It also provides for on-line software/firmware updates. To do that you would have to send the DX6i back for an update to fix a bug. If the pilot is focused on basic aircraft, parkflyers, .40 to .60 class glow planes and not likely to get into large or complex birds, that DX6i may be adequate, but the opportunity to expand his model choices is enabled with the higher level radio at a small premium.


    How anyone would buy a DX6i with this DX7s package out there is beyond me.


    Again, I am not pushing Spektrum. I am illustrating the need to look at the package to determine value rather than price.


    Here is a Hitec illustration.


    Hitec Eclipse 7 Pro with 1 receiver - $239
    http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXBCKD&P=7


    Hitec Optic 6 Sport with two receivers - $199
    http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0001p?&I=LXYWL7&P=7

    Optic sport is cheaper than the Eclipse 7 Pro and has an extra receiver. The The Eclipse 7 Pro provides more channels, more features, includes glider programming, more model memories and a telemetry option. It also provides for on-line software/firmware updates. To do that you would have to send the Optic 6 Sport back for an update to fix a bug.

    If the pilot is focused on basic aircraft, parkflyers, .40 to .60 class glow planes and not likely to get into large or complex birds, that Optic 6 Sport may be adequate, but the opportunity to expand is enabled with the higher level radio at a small premium.


    This is the comparison of price vs. value that every new radio buyer has to go through. Naturally in each case you can "inch" up to the next level and the next. But my focus is about going one step above that entry level radio. In most cases it is not a lot more money and it brings a LOT more value to the pilot.


    Notice I have not compared across brands, only within brands. This is about value, not about which brand is better. Similar comparisons can be done for other brands as well. Usually that second level radio is not much more in cost but offers SO MUCH MORE in value.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2013
  11. Jan 8, 2013 #11

    BillFromPerth

    BillFromPerth

    BillFromPerth

    Live to Fly

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2012
    Messages:
    524
    Likes Received:
    5
    There is also the FUTABA 6j amd 8j both verry good radios for their price.
    The thing is though most of the GS flyers that i know were never gounging to buy anything bigger than a 120 size glow plane.
    )Personally i would reccomend 6chan as a minimum preferably 8 if it fits the budjet.
    With my setups i like to run 1 channel per servo even on the smaller stuff so even a 0.60 size warbird with flaps and retracts can have 8 servos.
    I have seen may guys over the years buy basic setups to learn to fly on then withing 6 to 12 months go nad update coz it's inadequate for their needs and most have said i wish i spent the extra in the first place.
     
  12. Feb 11, 2013 #12

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
     
  13. Apr 14, 2013 #13

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    OK, now, would someone extend this to be about SELECTING YOUR FIRST GIANT SCALE RADIO?

    How does a radio for Giant Scale differ from other radio needs?

    I have heard that more than 8 channels is best. Why?

    Special mixes that pilots of smaller aircraft might not need?

    Or is giant scale just the same as smaller planes, just bigger?
     
  14. Apr 14, 2013 #14

    Revy

    Revy

    Revy

    K, letsgo!!

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2010
    Messages:
    2,012
    Likes Received:
    90
    I thought a DX7 was all I needed. For smaller stuff, it was more than adequate. For bigger planes without a power expander it maxed out on a 50cc class aerobat with split elevators...forget smoke.

    8 or more channels would be my rec for a GS plane.
     
  15. Apr 14, 2013 #15

    BRUTUS

    BRUTUS

    BRUTUS

    Plank Junky Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    8,951
    Likes Received:
    329
    Giant scale planes fly farther away, and so a more robust link is preferred. Plus there are other considerations- ignition system noise, very high current loads, chances of brown out with inadequate power inputs, and many more servos are used.

    Extra channels and mixes are always good. 8ch radio's are good for up to a regular 50cc airframe. 7 channels with good airframe, wing, and tail type selections are bare absolute minimum. For 100cc 9 CH is bare minimum without a choke servo or flaps. Of course, a 7 channel radio could be used with a bigger airplane, but a $250 power expander with servo matching like the Smart Fly EQ10 would be required to get power to the servo's, and match up multiple aileron, rudder, and elevator servo's. OR a Futaba 8FG Super with 14 channel capability will allow you to program and match multiple servo surfaces through the transmitter itself without the need of external servo matching components...
     
  16. Apr 14, 2013 #16

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    Good info guys. Keep it coming!
     
  17. Apr 14, 2013 #17

    BRUTUS

    BRUTUS

    BRUTUS

    Plank Junky Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2008
    Messages:
    8,951
    Likes Received:
    329
    OK- the absolute, #1 most important factor in choosing a radio for giant scale is reliability. It took me years to choose FASST over Spek/ Hitec, and Airtronics. I patiently watched as thousands of planes piled in and one system kept rolling out new versions, while the other didn't. I chose the one that gives me a warm fuzzy!
     
    red7fifty likes this.
  18. Oct 28, 2013 #18

    fsone

    fsone

    fsone

    Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2010
    Messages:
    103
    Likes Received:
    3
    Spektrum is just as reliable for giant scale as Futaba is.Its time to put this old dog to rest.It's time to be productive to helping modelers choose these goods that are more than capable of getting the job done for these individuals.Overall this thread has been very good to help newbies into the hobby.For those who want to get into brand wars put on a smile and get over it!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2013
  19. Oct 28, 2013 #19

    kaveman

    kaveman

    kaveman

    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2008
    Messages:
    1,098
    Likes Received:
    4
    ive gone over to futaba from airtronics and jr I don't like the idea of having to put multiple satelite antennas all over in the plane
     
  20. Oct 29, 2013 #20

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    AEAJR

    Looking for Lift

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2012
    Messages:
    95
    Likes Received:
    6
    Everyone is entitled to their opinions and is free to express them here as long as we don't get into name calling.

    I too started with 72 MHz then to Spektrum then to Futaba. While I had some problems with Spektrum I don't believe there is a basic issue with Spektrum, especially since they went to DSMX. But I was more comfortable with FASST and have had very good experience with FASST. And I too did not want to have to deal with remote receivers. Two Futaba antenna seem to work well.

    But I would not tell someone who wanted Spektrum that they should expect problems. Properly installed Spektrum should deliver reliable service.
     

Share This Page