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Futaba 6J 6-channel 2.4GHz Computer Radio System Review

Futaba's newest transmitter release is the 6J, a six channel computer radio packed with high end features.

Splash

Channels: 6
Frequency: 2.4ghz S-FHSS
Frame Rate: 6.8ms
Manufactured By: Futaba
Receiver: R2006GS
MSRP: $219.99

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?).

Features

System features

•15-model memory

•4-character model naming

•Simple 1-lever/3-button programming

•Data reset

•Airplane & heli software

•FHSS/S-FHSS modes

•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)

•Throttle cut

•Trainer system (cord required)

•Throttle position, mix & low battery warnings

•Up/down & model timer

•Range check mode

•R2006GS S-FHSS Receiver

Airplane Features

•2 programmable mixes, plus:

•(2) 5-point throttle curves

•(2) 5-point pitch curves

•Flaperon w/differential rate

•Flap trim (2 rates)

•V-tail mixing

•Elevon mixing

Heli Features

•(2) 5-point throttle curves

•(3) 5-point pitch curves

•Throttle hold

•Hover pitch

•Gyro mixing

•Revo mixing

•4 swash plate types (H1, H3, HR3 & H3 w/AFR)

•Swash AFR (ail/ele/pitch)

•Throttle mix

•Electronic swash ring

•Throttle delay

•Pitch delay

In The Box

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.

Instruction Manual

Transmitter

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.

Receiver

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.

Helicopter Setup

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.

Airplane Setup

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.

Fail-safe

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!

Flying

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.

Conclusion

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.



Pluses:
Big LCD Screen
High End Features
Program Flexibility
Great Balance and Feel
Minuses:
No Backlit Screen
No Rechargeable Battery Included

Last edited by Angela H; Jun 21, 2011 at 06:21 AM..

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Old Jun 21, 2011, 06:55 AM
Registered User
IL
Joined Mar 2006
6 Posts
The display is so ugly...
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 07:47 AM
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pryor808's Avatar
United States, NY, Medford
Joined Oct 2008
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They cheesed out on the display for sure...
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 08:04 AM
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United States, SC, West Columbia
Joined Oct 2009
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+1....
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 08:29 AM
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United States, FL, Miramar
Joined Dec 2007
1,232 Posts
Perfect for all my foamies.

Doug.
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 09:24 AM
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vienquach's Avatar
Chicago, IL
Joined Nov 2009
2,988 Posts
The screen is big, but the display is not very interesting.
How does it compare to the DX6i ? I've been using the Aurora 9, just tried the DX6i several days ago and seem to like it a lot (price, feel, feature, and after market Rx).

Vien
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 10:12 AM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
1,431 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by elgxl View Post
The display is so ugly...
Quote:
Originally Posted by pryor808 View Post
They cheesed out on the display for sure...
Its clear, and shows everything you need to know...
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 10:13 AM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
1,431 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by vienquach View Post
The screen is big, but the display is not very interesting.
How does it compare to the DX6i ? I've been using the Aurora 9, just tried the DX6i several days ago and seem to like it a lot (price, feel, feature, and after market Rx).

Vien
I don't have a DX6i to compare it to, so I can't commment.
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 11:00 AM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
1,431 Posts
If you like the look of this radio, and would like a chance to win one for yourself, check out Crackroll.com for details!

http://www.crackroll.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3106
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 02:56 PM
Registered User
United States, NC, Dobson
Joined Jan 2007
1,217 Posts
For the price it's looks great. And like CSpaced said it tells you all you need to set it up. I don't look at the screen while flying anyways.
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 06:47 PM
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vienquach's Avatar
Chicago, IL
Joined Nov 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by outback_2007 View Post
For the price it's looks great. And like CSpaced said it tells you all you need to set it up. I don't look at the screen while flying anyways.
Sometimes I do ... for voltage telemetry. Didn't need it, but turned out to be useful when flying 3D electric.
How does it feel (sticks, hand holding) comparing to the 8FG? Would be nice if someone could share a photo of the 6j standing next to the 8FG.

Vien
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Old Jun 21, 2011, 06:49 PM
Registered User
United States, FL, Miami
Joined Aug 2009
955 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by vienquach View Post
The screen is big, but the display is not very interesting.
How does it compare to the DX6i ? I've been using the Aurora 9, just tried the DX6i several days ago and seem to like it a lot (price, feel, feature, and after market Rx).

Vien
Feature wise the pros over the DX6i are:

+Better Heli programming with the Eswash ring and the pitch/throttle mix delays and hover pitch.
+5 more models for a total of 15
+A variable position knob
+Slightly better airplane mixes with throttle and pitch curves (although you could use heli programming on the dx6i to achieve the same thing, albeit in a crippled way)
+6.8ms frame rate in S-FHSS mode.

Cons for the 6J compared to the DX6i are:

-the 6J embarrassingly bad display for something made in 2011, the DX6i atleast has a dot matrix display.
-the DX6i has servo monitor, something Futaba loves to neglect in their low end radios, including the 7C.
-the biggest minus of them all, the DX6i has receivers ranging from $4.99 and up, including great BNF planes and helicopters, the 6J has 2 or 3 receivers from tower hobbies and thats it, although as shown with the new Futaba 18MZ, they might make more radios FHSS compatible.
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 01:55 AM
Registered User
Romania, Dolj, Craiova
Joined Sep 2007
14,272 Posts
The reference to compare is not DX6i, but Hitec Optic 6.
It remains the most advanced 6ch radio, featuring two lateral sliders, and advanced mixes allowing you to use it for a full house glider, like crow/butterfly, yes, with 6 channels ! or ailvator, for a serious acrobat with splitted elevator.
Also, Optic 6 is modular, allowing use it with your RF system of choice, either FM or GHz.
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 08:34 AM
That's so classic you.
Generic Member's Avatar
United States, NC, Stokesdale
Joined Jul 2006
344 Posts
Very thurough review! Excellent job!
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Old Jun 22, 2011, 09:57 AM
Dave Segal
Philadelphia PA USA
Joined Jun 2001
545 Posts
Where Does it Fit?

I don't understand how this system relates to the 7C systems. And what niche does it serve that is not covered by the existing FASST systems. Have I missed something here?
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