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Old Feb 10, 2013, 06:10 AM
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Joined Jan 2013
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Help!
Radio choice

Cheers.

I want to get a new radio and after searching the forums and reading some posts i feel more confused than before to be honest and would really appreciate some help.

At the moment i fly an E-flite Apprentice 15e with a Spektrum DX5e but i want to move over to sailplanes.
The plan is to first get a new radio and fly some more with the Apprentice but try out flying with camber and reflex as well as introduce myself to some basic programming with mixing in rudder-movement when i use the ailerons etc.
Next step will be to get a sailplane-trainer. Probably a Radian Pro because i want to be able to try out stuff like crow before moving on to a kit. I have read it sails worse than the old Radian but i figure that it is not as important since it has a motor so i can regain height as it floats downwards.
Last step (or at least the last step that i have thought about) is to get a kit, i had something like the Astra (http://www.soaringusa.com/Astra.html) in mind.
So basically my aim is to end up with an electric sailplane that has ailerons, flaps and rudder/elevator in the form of a V-tail. The radio i will buy now should be able to accommodate this plane and not just my current Apprentice or my sailplane-trainer (whichever that might be, i guess i will make a new post further down the road asking about that choice as well).

At first i was kind of wearing blinders and just looked at upgrading to a new Spektrum but this forum has taught me that there are other radio-manufacturers which really is making my choice so much harder.
I have looked at the Futaba 8FG, JR's x9503 and the Airtronics SD-10G primarily. The question is which too choose and why...

I have never programmed a radio (for flying that is, i used to drive nitro cars but those were "a little" easier to program i think) so i really have no idea what features to look for or which radios can and can't do different things. The reasons i have looked at the mentioned radios are that people have mentioned them as "good radios" in other threads plus the fact that i like how they look. ;)

Any help is greatly appreciated.
//Faap
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 06:50 AM
Balsa addiction since age 3
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Upstate NY
Joined May 2005
1,200 Posts
What to choose...

1) Does it fit your hands - ergonomics ok - some transmitters are bigger than others or smaller. Pick them up, look at them and see if they "fit" you.

2) What are other people flying? do you need to buddy box with them or not? Is it important to be able have them set up your model for you? If so, you want a transmitter they are used to...

3) How available are receivers and how expensive? If you need one on the weekend, does your local hobby shop have one? Do you care if it is $20 or $80?

4) How important is bind n fly to you? If so, Spektrum is your solution

5) What functions do you need? Simple 3 channel sailplane can be flown with just about anything. More complex planes - crow, full trailing edge flaps require a LOT more capability than a 3 channel radio can handle for example. The V-tail you mention I believe can be handled by any of the radios you mention. For planes with flaps, you WILL want the ability to mix elevator in to compensate. I would suggest you want the same with motor application (I put on dual rates as a function of throttle for my electric sailplanes and do pitch compensation).

6) Are you comfortable taking the back off of your transmitter and fiddling with it? Do you jail break or root your phone? Do you have an open source router or run Linux at home. Then check my blog for a non-conventional solution

7) I have not used any of the units you mention - hopefully owners of those radios will provide you feedback.

Scott
(A radio agnostic flyer)
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:12 AM
LSF303 / AMA Life Member
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USA, IL, Wheeling
Joined Jan 2003
3,018 Posts
If you want a Radian Pro to try full trailing edge camber, crow and the like, you will need a minimum 7 channel radio and will have to separate all servos from the Y cords.

Choose a radio that is popular in your area and is well supported by your LHS and fellow pilots. Personal, hands-on help is FAR superior to asking questions about programming on an internet forum.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:17 AM
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Originally Posted by ScottSails View Post
What to choose...
1) I have no way of picking any up except for a couple of Spektrums my mates use to fly their helicopters with.

2) Other people are flying helicopters. I am the only one interested in planes it seems.

3) There is no local shop. Price is obviously not completely irrelevant but if i can't afford the things i want i would rather save up some money than buy something i won't be completely happy with.

4) BnF is not important. I do not mind changing the receiver when, or if, i buy my sailplane-trainer and AFAIK kits are sold completely empty of all electronics.

6) I would prefer to only open my radio to change the resistance of the levers and sticks. I will check your blog out nonetheless though.

5) Here comes a problem.

I do not know what i need since i am new to this hobby. I read about crow and flaps and camber and flight mode and whatever and i think i know what most means but honestly i do not know. For example i have no idea what "full trailing edge flaps" is.

But as i said, my aim is to fly a sailplane that has a motor (i want to have a motor since i imagine my flight times will be awfully short without it), ailerons, flaps, rudder and elevator (V-tail) and i want a radio that can handle these things.
I do not know how people set up their flight modes but i was thinking i would like to set it up something like this: (if this is, for some reason, a completely stupid way of doing things, please help a brother out and explain why)
Launch-mode on a two-way lever, overriding the "regular" flight modes.
"Regular" flight modes on a three-way lever with;
a) camber connected to a slider
b) reflex connected to a slider
c) neutral
Landing-mode, overriding all of the above, activated as i pull the "throttle" towards me, deploying crow.

Apart from that i want to be able to mix channels together so my flaps and rudder help the ailerons while turning, my elevator helps me fly true when i deploy camber or reflex, etc.

Excuse me if i mix up the terms, as i said i am a newbie. I hope my point comes across though and in case i misunderstood any terms or indeed the whole concept, do not hesitate to point out where i am wrong.

//Faap
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:21 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottSails View Post

1) Does it fit your hands - ergonomics ok - some transmitters are bigger than others or smaller. Pick them up, look at them and see if they "fit" you.
This is one the reasons I like the Hitec A9 and Optic 6. They are a bit smaller than others and fit me well. I fly with thumbs and no neck strap as I have for 40 years, just my way of doing things. Size wouldn't matter so much if you did use the pinch method with straps or a tray. The A9 is easy to programme and will do most any sailplane functions you're likey to want to do. They are not bad in price, a TX can be had for about 250.00 US if you shop around. I bought mine from a dealer on fleabay NIB . Rxs run from 45.00US to 95.00US reatil depending on the model and number of channels. Range on all the Rxs is excellent having flown all of them to extreme sight distances. Just my opinons, surely you will get others to confuse you further.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:22 AM
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Originally Posted by tkallev View Post
If you want a Radian Pro to try full trailing edge camber, crow and the like, you will need a minimum 7 channel radio and will have to separate all servos from the Y cords.

Choose a radio that is popular in your area and is well supported by your LHS and fellow pilots. Personal, hands-on help is FAR superior to asking questions about programming on an internet forum.
I think you are absolutely right but the issue for me is that i unfortunately have no fellow pilots. I guess LHS is Local Hobby Store? There is none of those either.

//Faap
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:27 AM
LSF303 / AMA Life Member
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USA, IL, Wheeling
Joined Jan 2003
3,018 Posts
You can do all that easily with a JR x9503 or 11X or 12X. 5 flight modes available.

A Spektrum DX18 will give you up to 10 flight modes for sailplanes.

Airtronics SD-10G will do everything you ask and I'm sure there are Futaba models that will do so also.

Every radio has its proponents and detractors, you will see that here soon, Spektrum/JR bashing is especially prevelant, mostly by Futaba pilots. That's actually funny, since the JR and Futaba people are across town from each other in Champaign, IL and most fly and golf with each other

Trailing edge camber is often controlled on a slider, but I have found over the years that once I have various camber settings dialed in, it's better to have them set on a flight mode switch ... most often pilots set up camber for far too much travel (drag) and overuse of the slider results in poor performance. My sliders are deactivated as soon as the flight modes are set.

Dedicated sailplane programming will be very helpful when you have no one else to turn to, making it all up on your own is destined to frustrate.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 07:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Leadchucker View Post
[...]
Just my opinons, surely you will get others to confuse you further.

Haha, yeah it is confusing alright!

Thanks for the alternative input anyways, i will check them out as well.

//Faap
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by tkallev View Post
You can do all that easily with a JR x9503 or 11X or 12X. 5 flight modes available.

A Spektrum DX18 will give you up to 10 flight modes for sailplanes.

Airtronics SD-10G will do everything you ask and I'm sure there are Futaba models that will do so also.

Every radio has its proponents and detractors, you will see that here soon, Spektrum/JR bashing is especially prevelant, mostly by Futaba pilots. That's actually funny, since the JR and Futaba people are across town from each other in Champaign, IL and most fly and golf with each other

Trailing edge camber is often controlled on a slider, but I have found over the years that once I have various camber settings dialed in, it's better to have them set on a flight mode switch ... most often pilots set up camber for far too much travel (drag) and overuse of the slider results in poor performance. My sliders are deactivated as soon as the flight modes are set.

Dedicated sailplane programming will be very helpful when you have no one else to turn to, making it all up on your own is destined to frustrate.
Right, so as soon as a Futaba 8FG user decides to reply i guess i will know that radio will do the job as well.

About my proposed setup and camber/reflex on sliders i just thought it would feel good to fine-tune the amount of travel but i am obviously taking what you say in consideration. I am grateful for any input.

Apart from your opinions on sliders, was my proposition somewhat in line with how seasoned pilots arrange their flight modes and do their mixing? Is there any obvious feature i ought to get that i have missed?

Another thing i forgot, but imagine all radios have, is to control the engine with a spring loaded button or lever. That, at least, ought to be a standard solution for electric gliders, right?

//Faap
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 08:28 AM
Balsa addiction since age 3
ScottSails's Avatar
Upstate NY
Joined May 2005
1,200 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faap View Post
1)

5) Here comes a problem.

I do not know what i need since i am new to this hobby. I read about crow and flaps and camber and flight mode and whatever and i think i know what most means but honestly i do not know. For example i have no idea what "full trailing edge flaps" is.

But as i said, my aim is to fly a sailplane that has a motor (i want to have a motor since i imagine my flight times will be awfully short without it), ailerons, flaps, rudder and elevator (V-tail) and i want a radio that can handle these things.
I do not know how people set up their flight modes but i was thinking i would like to set it up something like this: (if this is, for some reason, a completely stupid way of doing things, please help a brother out and explain why)
Launch-mode on a two-way lever, overriding the "regular" flight modes.
"Regular" flight modes on a three-way lever with;
a) camber connected to a slider
b) reflex connected to a slider
c) neutral
Landing-mode, overriding all of the above, activated as i pull the "throttle" towards me, deploying crow.

Apart from that i want to be able to mix channels together so my flaps and rudder help the ailerons while turning, my elevator helps me fly true when i deploy camber or reflex, etc.

Excuse me if i mix up the terms, as i said i am a newbie. I hope my point comes across though and in case i misunderstood any terms or indeed the whole concept, do not hesitate to point out where i am wrong.

//Faap
Guess what? We all started out not being familiar with this stuff - no worries there and welcome aboard!. And anyone that thinks they know it all? Well be careful of their suggestions. I have learned a tremendous amount over the last few years as we moved to 2.4GHz and Lipo (great power/weight but also risk of fire/damage, how you charge them, how you store them) technology with brushless motors. I still have more to learn.

Based on your thoughts, I would suggest thinking about an intermediate step - just get enough radio that meets your current needs as you know them. Get fly time and see how much you really like this hobby. I can't tell you the number of radio's that I know got purchased and then were NEVER used. Many hobbyists could start their own hobby shops with their purchases.

Your thoughts:
Launch-mode on a two-way lever, overriding the "regular" flight modes.
"Regular" flight modes on a three-way lever with;
a) camber connected to a slider
b) reflex connected to a slider
c) neutral
Landing-mode, overriding all of the above, activated as i pull the "throttle" towards me, deploying crow.

As was mentioned by others, Camber/Reflex (1 function) on a slider works, but when you get the plane trimmed you may want to put on a switch for consistency. Crow gets tricky to set up as you always need to have up aileron travel when Crow is active - I would suggest staying away from this for a year or two unless you have people nearby that can help

I do not personally use the above approach (throttle on a switch) as I prefer a proportional throttle and generally find myself flying spoiler equipped planes most frequently (no flaps). Some of these electrics have a LOT of power, a switch makes it to easy to activate - instantly (even if you slow start on ESC or use radio to slow command).

Based on your response to question 6 - Stick with a brand radio (Airtronics, Futaba, Hitec, JR, Spektrum, alphabetical order by the way - no preference). Consider that some of these have the "option" to go with cheaper compatible receivers not made by manufacturer...

I would also suggest you get a lot of stick time with a simple 3 channel (Rudder, Elev, Throttle) glider (maybe add spoilers - so 4 channel) before fiddling with a flap equipped plane.

Best wishes,
Scott
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 09:09 AM
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Joined Aug 2010
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The thing about spectrum is you can buy after market receivers from hobby king. DISCLAIMER I fly Airtronics and though I have a DX5 I have not used the after market recvr.

As for the 8 ch system they sell I have no knowledge but the price is sure low and I read they are great for sailplanes.
I think that I would have been happier with a radio that has more switches and slides that I could assign to any channel and can mix with any channel. I dis get all of the functions that were available for the pro on 6 channels 72 MHz but I had to add a switch to my xmitter. I recently bought an Airtronics 8 ch and it looks like I be modifying that radio too. So if you can afford it go for a t least 10 channels or learn to think out of the box when it comes to programming.

Since this is your first entry into sailplanes I would wait on the radio and buy a Radian Pro like plane. Learn to program your radio and forget crow and reflex. You can do flaps on 4 channels (flaperons) just get a y connector and wire the Radians flaps to its adjacent servo inside the fuse. This will also give you a slightly better roll rate on the Radian. If you have 5 channels you have enough to do almost everything even if its not a programmable radio.
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 09:31 AM
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Joined Jan 2013
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Originally Posted by ScottSails View Post
Based on your thoughts, I would suggest thinking about an intermediate step - just get enough radio that meets your current needs as you know them. Get fly time and see how much you really like this hobby. I can't tell you the number of radio's that I know got purchased and then were NEVER used. Many hobbyists could start their own hobby shops with their purchases.

[...]

I would also suggest you get a lot of stick time with a simple 3 channel (Rudder, Elev, Throttle) glider (maybe add spoilers - so 4 channel) before fiddling with a flap equipped plane.

Best wishes,
Scott
Quote:
Originally Posted by tlar633 View Post
Since this is your first entry into sailplanes I would wait on the radio and buy a Radian Pro like plane. Learn to program your radio and forget crow and reflex. You can do flaps on 4 channels (flaperons) just get a y connector and wire the Radians flaps to its adjacent servo inside the fuse. This will also give you a slightly better roll rate on the Radian. If you have 5 channels you have enough to do almost everything even if its not a programmable radio.
I think i understand what you both are saying...

Instead of progressing with my Apprentice, by introducing camber/reflex, i should just keep my DX5e and get a Radian, or Radian Pro, instead?

//Faap
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 10:43 AM
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The DX5e will definitely fly the 3 channel Radian which actually thermals better than the pro. By the same token since it is a 5 channel you could get throttle (which I would use for flaps) ailerons, rudder and elevator with the switchable channel 5 used as an on-off throttle. Crow and reflex at this point in time are useless for the casual user and by the time you get to the point of actually needing to use them you will have outgrown the Pro and the Radio. So this is a good plan. Learn to thermal save your money then get a 8 to 12 channel if you get into competition or just want to fly more complex ships..
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:24 AM
Balsa addiction since age 3
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Upstate NY
Joined May 2005
1,200 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Faap View Post
I think i understand what you both are saying...

Instead of progressing with my Apprentice, by introducing camber/reflex, i should just keep my DX5e and get a Radian, or Radian Pro, instead?

//Faap
Hard to go wrong with the Radian or similar type plane. Use your radio, see what you really like - save money, focus on the flying or building

Scott
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Old Feb 10, 2013, 11:36 AM
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Originally Posted by tlar633 View Post
...
Quote:
Originally Posted by ScottSails View Post
...
Thanks for the advice guys.

//Faap
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