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Old Dec 21, 2011, 08:48 AM
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First 2.4GHz - what to get??

Hi All,

ok, so i've kinda searched the forum here, but found not much in the way of answers to cover my question so i thought to ask it here...

I've recently bought the missus (after months of nagging to fly my planes!) a Thunder Tiger "Ready" Mk3 .40 glow trainer to start her out in the wonderful world of RC. But now i need a Tx/Rx and servo set to match. Nothing fancy, just a 6ch Tx/Rx set and servos...and cheap too. Oh, and I'm based in the UK if that changes things...

I've got plenty of Tx/Rx combos, but they're all 35MHz sets that i've not yet gotten around to selling or upgrading to 2.4GHz yet.... anyway, rather than give her one of those, I thought it best to keep with the times and get her an all new 2.4GHz set on the cheap - something along the lines of the FlySky / Turnigy models or the J Perkins 'Planet 5'.

Dose anybody here have and rate these as 'starter' 2.4GHz units for .40 glow trainers??? The only reason i'm tending towards the cheaper versions at the moment is they seem to have all the features at a fraction of the cost..but what are they really like...obviously with a .40, range is really going to be a major buying consideration...

any help appreciated,

Thanks,
EGNX_Flyer
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Old Dec 21, 2011, 11:40 AM
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United States, CA, Fontana
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Take a look at the Futaba 6J

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...1p?&I=FUTK6000

There's also the Airtronics SD-6G

http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXAEKX&P=0

and the Spectrum DX6i

http://www.horizonhobby.com/products...vo-md2-SPM6610


I won't buy any of the off-brand radios because there is basically no service available for them. Not sure if that is different in the UK.
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Old Dec 21, 2011, 03:19 PM
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Panorama City, CA
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Buy Turnigy 9X. You don't need after service.

You can buy another 9X with money you spend to ship your radio to service center.
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Old Dec 21, 2011, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by John Kim View Post
Buy Turnigy 9X. You don't need after service.

You can buy another 9X with money you spend to ship your radio to service center.
Is the 9x a nine channel version, might be a bit over kill for a simple trainer tx? Are there any UK distributors?
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Old Dec 21, 2011, 05:44 PM
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Since you are asking the question I assume you don't hang out on this forum that much. And therefore I think there needs to be some very frank information to balance John Kim's perpetually rosy outlook on the 9x-series of radios (except when he has problems and then it's all doom and gloom and buyer beware coming out of his mouth). I own 2 9xs and I really like them, but they are not perfect nor for everyone. So here are a few points about the 9xs.

Pro
  • They are affordable (under $100 USD when you take into consideration shipping)
  • They are 8 channels (9 internally, but only 8 can be used)
  • Stock firmware is enough to fly 4-channel trainer planes quite well
  • Stock 2.4 GHz system is frequency hopping and has good park flyer range
  • You can get pretty good help with them on this forum
  • Super capable radio, especially with third-party firmware, it can do anything the high-end radios can

Cons
  • Firmware is somewhat clunky and awkward compared to Futaba, JR, and Spektrum
  • No manual comes with the radio, but a decent one can be found online at http://www.ky-model.com/copterx/cx-ct9a_manual.pdf (url may or may not work anymore). You might want to read it before you even consider buying it. You have to know how to program it in order to use this radio.
  • Build quality of the radio ranges from poor to half-way good. You will have to inspect your radio for bad solder joints.
  • Plan to buy two radios, one as a backup and spare parts for the other
  • There are not local distributors. They all ship from China.
  • If you want to really compare it to the big name radios you have to change the firmware to a third-party firmware like er9x.
  • No warranty for all intents and purposes.
If you are a tinker, this radio is awesome.

Otherwise, I honestly think you will want to look at the brand-name radios.

Or if you don't mind soldering, you can pick up an older used computer radio and convert it to 2.4 GHz using a DIY kit (talked about every week here on this forum). I have older JR computer radios (love them!) and I converted them to FrSKy 2.4 GHz. Basically means I now have the equivalent of a DX7 for $40.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by caseih View Post
Since you are asking the question I assume you don't hang out on this forum that much. And therefore I think there needs to be some very frank information to balance John Kim's perpetually rosy outlook on the 9x-series of radios (except when he has problems and then it's all doom and gloom and buyer beware coming out of his mouth). I own 2 9xs and I really like them, but they are not perfect nor for everyone. So here are a few points about the 9xs.

Pro
  • They are affordable (under $100 USD when you take into consideration shipping)
  • They are 8 channels (9 internally, but only 8 can be used)
  • Stock firmware is enough to fly 4-channel trainer planes quite well
  • Stock 2.4 GHz system is frequency hopping and has good park flyer range
  • You can get pretty good help with them on this forum
  • Super capable radio, especially with third-party firmware, it can do anything the high-end radios can

Cons
  • Firmware is somewhat clunky and awkward compared to Futaba, JR, and Spektrum
  • No manual comes with the radio, but a decent one can be found online at http://www.ky-model.com/copterx/cx-ct9a_manual.pdf (url may or may not work anymore). You might want to read it before you even consider buying it. You have to know how to program it in order to use this radio.
  • Build quality of the radio ranges from poor to half-way good. You will have to inspect your radio for bad solder joints.
  • Plan to buy two radios, one as a backup and spare parts for the other
  • There are not local distributors. They all ship from China.
  • If you want to really compare it to the big name radios you have to change the firmware to a third-party firmware like er9x.
  • No warranty for all intents and purposes.
If you are a tinker, this radio is awesome.

Otherwise, I honestly think you will want to look at the brand-name radios.

Or if you don't mind soldering, you can pick up an older used computer radio and convert it to 2.4 GHz using a DIY kit (talked about every week here on this forum). I have older JR computer radios (love them!) and I converted them to FrSKy 2.4 GHz. Basically means I now have the equivalent of a DX7 for $40.

Wow, a really comprehensive and very informative reply - thanks immensely caseih!!

As it happens, i've been stalking the Turnigy (and related Tx brands e.g. iMax & FlySky) threads very closely since posting this thread and it really doesn't seem all that bad to me. Having worked as a computer technician, soldering joints and the like wont phase me, neither will upgrading/flashing the firmware - i've done that plenty of times with my Android phones and never bricked anything....yet.

So, if i were to get a 9x (or equivalent) i'd most certainly flash it with the Er9X firmware. The PDF link you posted still works, so if i chose this route i'll have that as a manual - a great start since the 9x has no manual in the box.

is there anything else i need to know about the 9X units before i go ahead and make a decision?....for example range? Are we talking its use for strictly park-flyers or will it suit a trainer with the probability of 250ft-500ft range required?

thanks again

Si
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 06:46 AM
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Originally Posted by EGNX_Flyer View Post
Wow, a really comprehensive and very informative reply - thanks immensely caseih!!

As it happens, i've been stalking the Turnigy (and related Tx brands e.g. iMax & FlySky) threads very closely since posting this thread and it really doesn't seem all that bad to me. Having worked as a computer technician, soldering joints and the like wont phase me, neither will upgrading/flashing the firmware - i've done that plenty of times with my Android phones and never bricked anything....yet.

So, if i were to get a 9x (or equivalent) i'd most certainly flash it with the Er9X firmware. The PDF link you posted still works, so if i chose this route i'll have that as a manual - a great start since the 9x has no manual in the box.

is there anything else i need to know about the 9X units before i go ahead and make a decision?....for example range? Are we talking its use for strictly park-flyers or will it suit a trainer with the probability of 250ft-500ft range required?

thanks again

Si
No Failsafe. So if you lose communication wit the plane, it will just fly away. Actually I can't remember which channels do what. I believe the throttle channels drops to zero. It was for this and the telemetry feature that I upgraded 1 of my 9x's to Frsky.
As far as range, I've flown as far as I felt comfortable seeing a 5ft wingspan plane with NO radio related issues with the stock Flysky module(upgraded with Er9x though). In fact I still only own 1 FrSky rx and 4 Flysky rx's. So only 1 plane flies on 1 of my radios.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 06:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Kalikikopa View Post
No Failsafe. So if you lose communication wit the plane, it will just fly away. Actually I can't remember which channels do what. I believe the throttle channels drops to zero. It was for this and the telemetry feature that I upgraded 1 of my 9x's to Frsky.
As far as range, I've flown as far as I felt comfortable seeing a 5ft wingspan plane with NO radio related issues with the stock Flysky module(upgraded with Er9x though). In fact I still only own 1 FrSky rx and 4 Flysky rx's. So only 1 plane flies on 1 of my radios.
No Failsafe - i had noticed this, and wondered about adding it via the Er9X firmware - is this possible, or would it require an upgraded Rx?

as for upgrading the 2.4ghz module, what module does it come fitted with? would it be worth the extra effort for a basic trainer Tx?
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 08:10 AM
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Originally Posted by EGNX_Flyer View Post

I've got plenty of Tx/Rx combos, but they're all 35MHz sets that i've not yet gotten around to selling or upgrading to 2.4GHz yet.... anyway, rather than give her one of those, I thought it best to keep with the times and get her an all new 2.4GHz set on the cheap - something along the lines of the FlySky / Turnigy
The answer seem obvious but there is one question you haven't asked.

You say you have plenty of 35MHz gear already.
You want to do things on the cheap.
She will require training.
After spending money on new gear she may not even like RC or want to continue.

Why not just use what you already have? There's absolutely nothing wrong with 35MHz. That's the obvious answer. No cost, no searching around, no weighing up people's opinions on new gear.

And the question you haven't asked? Is it fair to assume she will be trained using buddy boxing? You may already have a couple of transmitters which you can use instead of buying two new 2.4GHz ones to do this. Even if you have not there are lots of 2nd hand 35MHz transmitters coming on the market now because of the rush to 2.4GHz. Buy one to match up with one you already have.

Simples.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 08:31 AM
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Originally Posted by electrotor View Post
The answer seem obvious but there is one question you haven't asked.

You say you have plenty of 35MHz gear already.
You want to do things on the cheap.
She will require training.
After spending money on new gear she may not even like RC or want to continue.

Why not just use what you already have? There's absolutely nothing wrong with 35MHz. That's the obvious answer. No cost, no searching around, no weighing up people's opinions on new gear.

And the question you haven't asked? Is it fair to assume she will be trained using buddy boxing? You may already have a couple of transmitters which you can use instead of buying two new 2.4GHz ones to do this. Even if you have not there are lots of 2nd hand 35MHz transmitters coming on the market now because of the rush to 2.4GHz. Buy one to match up with one you already have.

Simples.
indeed....certainly something i hadn't considered, however she's been training using my club's trainer (an Irvine 40 Tutor) and buddy box system (DX6i instructor box and DX5e as slave) for around 2 months now, every other weekend and it seems she's hooked.

The only reason i hadn't considered 35MHz is the reliability. I've had minor twitching issues with my 35mhz sets recently and cant figure it out but the guys on 2.4 at the club don't seem to have the same issues - i guess i'm looking to the future for her rather than hand over an old battered 35mhz set.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 08:58 AM
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Originally Posted by EGNX_Flyer View Post
No Failsafe - i had noticed this, and wondered about adding it via the Er9X firmware - is this possible, or would it require an upgraded Rx?

as for upgrading the 2.4ghz module, what module does it come fitted with? would it be worth the extra effort for a basic trainer Tx?
Fail safe is a function of the RF module, not the firmware. FlySky, the module that comes with the 9x, does not provide fail safe. For the best radio link and fail safe and option of telemetry, use FrSky module.

I have two 9x radios with ER9x firmware, using SmartiParts programming board and FrSky module. They are excellent, but this is not a cheap, quick, plug and play solution.other total the cost is getting up towards that of a DX6e and you have to put in a fair bit of time into getting it together. The result is a much more capable radio, but right now all you need is 4 channels.


Another consideration is, I presume, buddy box. The 9x can do it, but may require modification.


I can't help thinking you are making life too complicated by trying to do everything at once. You say you have usable radios on 35. Why not use one of those and take your time sorting out the question of a new radio on 2.4?
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 11:02 AM
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I can't help thinking you are making life too complicated by trying to do everything at once. You say you have usable radios on 35. Why not use one of those and take your time sorting out the question of a new radio on 2.4?
Couldn't agree more.

The impression I certainly got from your first posting was that she hadn't flown at all but now you tell us that she has been flying for months, so perhaps the buddy box idea is no longer required.

Also you never indicated that your 35MHz gear is old and battered. Maybe the battering is why you have been having problems, although in most instances radio problems are to do with the installation and general operation.

If you buy her 2.4GHz gear you really should consider something beyond the immediate future. The problem with most 2.4 sets is that the tx/rx combinations are brand specific so you can't later buy an all singing all dancing Futaba set and get it to work with a Yin-Yan special.

Reading between the lines I think that it may be you who is looking for an excuse to buy new gear. You have been rumbled.

As Daedalus66 says, take your time.
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Old Dec 22, 2011, 08:27 PM
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indeed....certainly something i hadn't considered, however she's been training using my club's trainer (an Irvine 40 Tutor) and buddy box system (DX6i instructor box and DX5e as slave) for around 2 months now, every other weekend and it seems she's hooked.

The only reason i hadn't considered 35MHz is the reliability. I've had minor twitching issues with my 35mhz sets recently and cant figure it out but the guys on 2.4 at the club don't seem to have the same issues - i guess i'm looking to the future for her rather than hand over an old battered 35mhz set.
FrSky makes very good do it yourself modules for retrofitting older radios. It's just a matter of clipping the 3 wires that hook to the RF deck in your 35 MHz system and hook those to the FrSky system and you have 2.4 GHz now with frequency hopping, failsafe receivers, etc. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old Dec 23, 2011, 08:03 AM
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Couldn't agree more.......
Reading between the lines I think that it may be you who is looking for an excuse to buy new gear. You have been rumbled.
Thanks for the input electrotor - my apologies for not making the wife's current flying status clear originally... it's because of her training with the clubs kit that she's always asking to use my stuff when we're away from the club field. Hence i've bought her a trainer to build up and just need the radio gear to complete the kit - hence my search for a reasonably basic 2.4ghz 6ch Tx/Rx combo that won't break the bank. I'm sure she's hooked already, but want to stay on the less expensive side if she decides it's not her bag after all - in which case i get all the kit and we're all happy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by caseih View Post
FrSky makes very good do it yourself modules for retrofitting older radios. It's just a matter of clipping the 3 wires that hook to the RF deck in your 35 MHz system and hook those to the FrSky system and you have 2.4 GHz now with frequency hopping, failsafe receivers, etc. Just something to keep in mind.
Thanks for that caseih, i've seen the FrSky 'hack' modules on my usual UK RC e-tailer GiantCod.co.uk going pretty cheaply (14 for the module and around 10 for the Rx) and am certainly tempted to look at acquiring a few of these for my 35mhz units i've not yet upgraded.
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Old Dec 23, 2011, 12:03 PM
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A while back you asked about range on the 2.4 GHz systems. From what I can tell they all are about the same. Which is to say they should be adequate for almost anything you'd want to fly. People are regularly getting 1 km range with unmodified FrSky transmitters and standard receivers. The same with Spektrum and appropriate receiver. Some receivers are short range, others are longer range in Spektrum and Futaba. The standard 8 channel FrSky receivers seem to work well in either case. 35 MHz probably could go 2 miles though.

As far as problems go, since 2.4 GHz requires a digital computer in the receiver to decode the signal, and since the signal is a digital encoding, either it functions well and glitch-free, or not at all. On old analog systems, you get twitching as the system starts to not hear the signal. Kind of like HDTV these days. either it's beautiful or it stutters or drops out completely whereas in the olden days the image just got full of static and whether you could see it depended on how much static you wanted to put up with.

An issue that has brought down many a plane on 2.4 GHz is the dreaded "brown-out." Digital receivers are sensitive to the voltage, and if the BEC can't keep up because of servo load, the receiver will reboot, which takes a half second or longer. Analog receivers seemed to simply degrade in performance as voltage dropped, and when they did cut out, didn't have to "reboot" so you wouldn't notice it quite as bad as modern systems. IF you go with 2.4 GHz you will want to make sure that you have adequate power going to the receiver, either from a good battery pack, switching BEC, or a good ESC w/BEC. On all larger planes I usually run the receiver off its own lipo through a nice switching BEC.

Anyway all this is talked about every day on this radios forum, so I'm probably being redundant. But I hope this helps in some way. 2.4 GHz is really nice all the same.
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