|Futaba's newest transmitter release is the 6J, a six channel computer radio packed with high end features. On top of everything else, it boasts a staggering 6.8ms frame rate (compare to the DX8 at 11ms). The fast frame rate is attributed to Futaba's S-FHSS 2.4GHz technology and is unmatched in any other 6 channel system. The 6J is also selectable between S-FHSS and FHSS technology, opening up the possibility of also using the 3 and 4 channel receivers previously available for use with the 4Y and 4PL. It's important to note that this radio is not compatible with FAAST, although rumour has it that Futaba's upcoming flagship, the 18MZ, will be compatible with all of Futaba's 2.4GHz technologies (possible upgrade path?).|
•4-character model naming
•Simple 1-lever/3-button programming
•Airplane & heli software
•Mode 1-4 selectable
•127-segment, 40 x 40 LCD
•Digital trims/trim memory
•Endpoint adjustment (EPA), sub-trims & servo reversing
•Dual rates & exponential (ail/ele/rud)
•Fail-safe (all channels; in S-FHSS mode only)
•Trainer system (cord required)
•Throttle position, mix & low battery warnings
•Up/down & model timer
•Range check mode
•R2006GS S-FHSS Receiver
•2 programmable mixes, plus:
•(2) 5-point throttle curves
•(2) 5-point pitch curves
•Flaperon w/differential rate
•Flap trim (2 rates)
•(2) 5-point throttle curves
•(3) 5-point pitch curves
•4 swash plate types (H1, H3, HR3 & H3 w/AFR)
•Swash AFR (ail/ele/pitch)
•Electronic swash ring
|The box comes stocked with Futaba's usual goodies. Besides the 6J Transmitter and the R2006GS receiver, you also get a nicely illustrated instruction manual, neck strap, small plastic screwdriver and a switch harness. The instruction manual is laid out in such a way that makes it very easy to follow and understand.|
|The 6J follows the same design format as most of Futaba's recent releases. It has the same sleek look and is definitely identifiable with the Futaba brand. From the top down, the tranmistter features a two way toggle switch on the top of the left shoulder which also features a third momentary position for use with trainers. The right shoulder switch is a two way toggle that can be used for throttle hold or activating a program mix. There are two front shoulder toggle switches, each two position, that can be used for dual rates. The switches are labelled A through D and can be assigned to different functions (I'll cover those further in the review). The most obvious addition the 6J has over its 6EX counterpart is a rotary knob that is front and center on the radio which is assigned to channel 6 and can be used for a number of things such has hover pitch trim on helis or scale like flaps or retracts on an airplane. The absence of an antenna is also obvious, the 6J has an internal antenna but still has full range.|
|The gimbals are smooth, though as with most entry level radios there are no bearings. The neck strap loop is positioned to perfectly balance the radio, and the battery door flares out rearward providing a steady footprint when you stand the radio up. The LCD screen is a good 40x40, about twice the size of the 6EX, and is flanked by five menu navigation buttons and a throttle cut button. On the far right of the screen is a large power switch, tucked out of the way to avoid accidentally turning it off. On the side of the radio is a standard Futaba charging jack, and the back of the transmitter contains the trainer plug and battery door.|
|The first thing I wanted to do was to remove the ratchet from the throttle stick. I prefer a smooth throttle stick, and Futaba provides an extra ratchet spring for just such an occasion. The process involves opening up the back of the radio, removing the old ratchet to install the new one, and then closing it back up again. The new ratchet is completely smooth, but still provides enough resistance to keep a good feel to it. The process is illustrated well in the manual, and only takes a few minutes to complete.|
|The battery compartment holds four "AA" sized batteries, and an optional 6v 1700 mAh NiMH pack is available. Battery installation was very easy; just remove the door, and drop them in. You will also see the battery plug, which can be pulled out when you want to install an aftermarket battery. Also visible in the photo is the standard Futaba training jack.|
|The R2006GS receiver is a full range 6 channel receiver. It weighs in at a mere 0.3oz's, and is just shy of a 1.75" in length. It has two short antennas, very much like its FAAST cousin. The bind switch and status LED are located on the top of the unit, as are the servo plugs that protrude straight up.|
|I decided to start out with a helicopter on this radio. The model in question is a T-Rex 250, and the receiver fit in place nicely with a little room to spare. I routed the antenna around the side of the heli, and used a small piece of plastic tubing zip tied around the boom support to keep the antenna out of the way (both sides). The receiver was bound to the transmitter out of the box, but I re-bound it anyway.|
|To get into the menu, you have to press and hold the "Mode" button next to the screen. This will take you straight to the model select menu. To navigate you use the function navigation buttons (also labeled "mode" and "end") to scroll forwards - or backwards - through the menus. On the model select screen, you can press the "select" button to name your model up to 4 characters. For this model, I named it "T250". I then wanted to select the model type, as the default is airplane. The model type is accessed through the "para" menu, short for parameter, and the select button is used to scroll through the parameter options while the +/- data button is used to change the options. You also use the parameters menu to select between FHSS and S-FHSS. You can also access the model reset, fail-safe, and throttle cut options here.|
The following options apply to airplane mode as well as heli mode:
REVR - Channel reverse for all six channels
D/R - Dual Rates for channels 1,2,&4. You can also assign them to a switch A or B. When setting the dual rates, you can set them in either direction without having to hold the stick in the direction that you want to set.
EXPO - Exponential settings for channel 1,2,&4. You set them in either direction, same as D/R
EPA - End Point Adjustments for all six channels.
TRIM - Same as adjusting trim with the digital trim buttons.
STRM - Sub Trim.
F/S - Failsafe set up. (more on that below)
TRNR - Trainer mode, which can be configured multiple ways depending on the student transmitter.
TIMR - Timer, you can set your timer and assign it to A,B,D, or throttle in either the up or down position.
The next options are heli specific:
N-TH - This is the 5 point throttle curve for normal mode.
N-PI - This is the 5 point pitch curve for normal mode.
I-Th - This is the 5 point throttle curve for idle up (or stunt) mode. This is where you activate the mix, and you can assign it to either switch A,B, or C.
I-PI - This is the 5 point pitch curve for idle up (or stunt) mode.
HOLD - Throttle Hold on or off and the percentage of throttle to use in hold mode.
H-PI - A seperate 5 point pitch setting specifically for use with throttle hold.
REVO - Revolution mixing (throttle to tail rotor).
GYRO - Remote Gyro gain adjustment as well as switch assignment.
SW-T - Swash to throttle mixing, used to restrict swash movement in idle-up so as to not bog down the engine.
RING - Electronic swash ring, used to restrict the movement of the swash in the "corners" of stick movement to prevent interaction/binding when using elevator and aileron simultaneously.
SWSH - Swash Type. There are four different types, H-1 single servo (mechanical ccpm), HE3 where the aileron and pitch servos control aileron, and the elevator servo controls elevator. H-3 140 degree CCPM, and HR3 120 degree CCPM. This is also the place where you set your swash AFR, where you can set the limits of the individual swash servos.
DELY - Delay, this option lets you set a delay between switch from normal to idle-up mode. If you are using a different pitch curve from normal to idle-up, this will smooth out the transition and get rid of the "jump" when switching between modes.
HOVP - Hover Pitch, allows you to enable/disable the hover pitch knob on the center of the radio. You can set which flight modes you want to use this feature with.
For my T-Rex I used HR3, the 120 degree eCCPM swash type. I used a linear pitch curve for normal and idle-up (0,25,50,75,100). Because I use the same pitch curve in both modes I didn't need to activate the delay feature. I assigned the idle-up mode to switch C, and the throttle hold to switch D. I set an eight minute countdown timer to switch B. My GY520 gyro on this small helicopter needed to be set to 18% in heading hold mode using the gyro menu. I didn't use any other mixing, or the electronic swash ring and actually disabled the hover pitch for this particular model. The hover pitch would be useful for a scale model or possibly someone flying F3C.
|ACRO mode is used for planes, and uses some of the same menu options as heli mode listed above. Below are the airplane specific options.|
The following options apply to airplane mode:
PMX1 & PMX2 - These are program mixes. You can set the master and slave channels, assign a percentage of mix, assign the mix to either A,B, or D, or have it permanently on.
FLPR - Flaperon Mix, allows the use of ailerons as flaps. The flaps are assigned to channel 6 by default, which is the rotary knob on the front of the transmitter, but you can assign them to any other channel.
FLTR - Flap Trim. Used to set the amount of flap travel when using the flap switch.
V-TL - V-Tail mixing. Allows ruddervators to be used as rudders and elevator (such as a Bonanza or V-tail Quickie).
ELVN - Elevon Mixing. Allows you to use elevons as elevators and ailerons (such as a flying wing like the Outlaw).
T-CV - Throttle Curve.
P-CV - Pitch Curve. Used for models with variable pitch propellers.
The program mixes are a nice feature, as you have the option of mixing rudder to aileron and elevator to cancel out any knife edge coupling. Having the standard mixes already programmed (V-Tail, Elevon, Flaperon) means that your pmixes are free for what ever you need. The pitch curve is also a great feature, so you can fine tune your variable pitch prop and get the exact feel that you prefer.
The fail-safe feature is often overlooked by a lot of modellers. In the event of loss of signal between the transmitter and the receiver there are a few options available to us. By default, the fail-safe is set up to hold the last known position of the servos, except for the throttle channel which is brought back to idle. This could prevent your model from flying away into the sunset! The other option is to program the fail-safe to return the servos to a predetermined position. This is the option that I use. When I set up fail-safe on a an airplane, I prefer to have my engine cut off and the control surfaces return to neutral. Due to my style of flying, it is never certain which way up the airplane will be (3D), so trying to command the plane into a gentle descending left turn may yield unwanted results. On a helicopter the same applies. I set it so that the throttle is cut, and the elevator, aileron, and tail return to neutral while the pitch returns to zero. In my mind is better to lose a model to a temporary glitch, than to have an idling motor or rotor hurting someone. These settings are all personal preference.
The 6J also has the added safety feature of bringing the throttle to idle when the receiver battery is getting too low. This would be a good indication to get your model down on the ground fast!
The 6J has a good feel to it. I fly using the "pinch" style, where I hold the sticks with my thumb and index finger. I lengthened the sticks a little to suit my style, they are easily adjustable. My middle fingers can reach the four shoulder switches without any problems, and my ring and pinky fingers easily carry the weight of the radio. With a neck strap the 6J hangs perfectly balanced. I can also use my index fingers to reach the rotary knob in the center, with a little practice. The throttle stick felt nice and smooth with the new ratchet spring, and once I started flying I didn't even think twice about the radio - all the switch placements felt natural and I didn't have to actually look for them.
By default, the battery voltage for the transmitter is displayed. If you press the "select" button it will switch to display the timer. If you find you need to reset the timer, you simply hold down the "-" button for a second and it will reset. As the timer gets down to the last ten seconds, it will beep to remind you that your timer is almost done.
For a six channel system at this price point, it has a lot of high end features that you might not normally expect. The menu is pretty intuitive and easy to navigate, and the transmitter has a good solid feel to it. With a 15 model memory, the 6J has enough features and storage for everything in your hangar up to a 50cc sized airplane or 600/50 sized helicopter (possibly even a 700/90). I've touched on many of the features, but you also have programmable alarms, a power down mode for range checking, and more. Also, if you are looking for a stepping stone until you want to purchase a "top of the line" transmitter, its worth remembering that the Futaba 18MZ will be compatible with your 6J receivers!
The video below is Futaba's promotional video, showing some of the menu options.
Big LCD Screen
High End Features
Great Balance and Feel
No Backlit Screen
No Rechargeable Battery Included
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