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Tactic TTX650 Transmitter for Tactic SLT 2.4 Receivers Review

This new transmitter had me at "20 model memory and works with planes and helicopters equipped with Tactic SLT 2.4 GHz receivers," but it offers so much more than that!

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Introduction

Tactic TTX650 Transmitter
Channels:6
Frequencies:2.403-2.480GHz
Modulation:FHSS spread-spectrum SLT
Receiver:NOT INCLUDED: operates with Tactic SLT receivers
Batteries:4 AA Alkaline batteries included
Gimbals:Quad-bearing gimbals
Model Memory:20 model memory
Programming:Programming for Airplanes & Helicopters
Mixes:4 Programmable and 8 pre-programmed mixes
Programming Method:Intuitive with push button programming
Manufacturer:Hobbico
Available From:Fine Hobby Stores Everywhere
Price:$149.97

My Heer Force of Flyzone Tx-R planes, both micro and select scale, with Tactic SLT receivers has been growing and now even includes a couple of helicopters with Tactic SLT receivers.

Using the same one model memory, Tactic TTX600, transmitter worked fine with my first couple of planes but the helicopters required channel reversing. A couple of the planes had some necessary trim tab adjustments that I had to remember to set for proper control. I used some of my other transmitters and the AnyLink modules and wires but I was really wishing for a multi-model memory Tactic transmitter. I even talked about how much sense one would make with some of my flying buddies.

Then, at the Hamburg Toy Fair in Germany, they announced the Tactic TTX650 transmitter and its 20 model memory. At the same time Flyzone showed even more planes to be released this year with Tactic SLT (Secure Link Technology) receivers. I knew I had to have one of these transmitters. Information on it soon appeared on the Tactic website that made me want it immediately.

My review includes doing some serious range testing of this transmitter with several of my Tactic SLT receiver equipped planes. WARNING: These Tactic SLT equipped Tx-R planes are habit forming! Many of you will want this great performing transmitter for those planes. The good news is that it is affordable, and you get a lot for your money. The transmitter is aimed at the intermediate pilot but I think all pilots, including experts will be happy to have one!

Additionally, Tactic is selling their TR624 six channel receivers for $19.99, and Tower Hobbies sells them for $19.99 each or 3 for $49.99. Although no receivers came with the transmitter it is nice that they are so affordable and readily available. At that price for six channel receivers this transmitter is not just for the Tx-R equipped planes!

Basics

Basics

  • 6 channel transmitter'
  • Frequencies: 2.4GHz
  • Modulation: Spread Spectrum
  • Requires 2.4GHz SLT receiver

PROMOTED FEATURES

  • 20 model memory
  • Easy to use push button programming
  • Dual Rates for aileron, elevator and rudder
  • Digital Trims with slow/fast adjustment
  • Reversing on all channels
  • End point adjustment on all channels
  • Sub-trim adjustment on all channels
  • Exponential for ailerons, elevator and rudder
  • Large easy-to-read graphing LCD screen
  • Multiple timers
  • Ball Bearing Gimbals
  • Low-voltage alarm
  • Adjustable stick lengths
  • Ergonomic case design
  • External antenna that rotates and folds
  • Wireless trainer system compatible
  • Charging jack for "OPTIONAL" NiCd/NiMH batteries
  • 4 alkaline batteries

.

Kit Contents

KIT CONTENTS

  • TTX650 Transmitter
  • Instruction Manual
  • 4 AA batteries
  • Throttle Ratchet and mounting screws

Transmitter Functions

  • Model Select
  • Model Management
  • Trim Settings
  • CH5 and CH6 assignments
  • Channel assignments
  • Wireless trainer functions
  • Warnings
  • Servo Reversing (all channels)
  • Travel Limits (all channels)
  • Sub-Trims (all channels)
  • Dual Rates (aileron, elevator, rudder)
  • Exponential (aileron, elevator, rudder)

(I am not going to discuss the last five items other than to say they are easy to access on the transmitter and were easy to program. If you have any questions just read the manual which is on the Tactic website.)

Airplane Functions

  • Wing Type (normal, V-tail, Delta, Single Aileron, Dual Aileron, Aileron + Flap, 2 Ailerons + Flap)
  • Throttle Curve
  • Throttle Cut
  • Aileron Differential
  • Aileron/Flap adjustment
  • Aileron Mixer
  • Elevator Mixer
  • Air Brake Mixer
  • Flap Mixer

Helicopter Functions

  • Swash Type (1 servo, 2 servo 180 degrees, 3 servos 120 degrees, 3 servos 140 degrees)
  • Throttle Cut
  • Throttle Hold
  • Throttle Curve
  • Pitch Curve
  • Gyro Mixing
  • Swash Mixing
  • Swash Limiter
  • Throttle Mixing
  • Rudder Mixing

Secure Link Technology

The Tactic SLT receivers and this Tactic TTX650 transmitter feature SLT which is Secure Link Technology. SLT tunes the receiver to the transmitter with a touch, creating a strong, exclusive link between that transmitter and that receiver. Each TTX650 transmitter's signal is coded to make it as unique as a person's fingerprints. All I have to do to get that link is to bind the receiver to my transmitter with a push of a button on the receiver. The receiver learns to recognize that signal in an instant. It is an infallible way for the receiver to seek out and lock on to my transmitter and no other transmitter even at a crowded flying site. This link is permanent and unbreakable! The Secure Link Technology is accessible, affordable, effective and easy to use.

When I bind my SLT receiver to my TTX650 transmitter, my receiver will only respond to my transmitter. I can bind any number of receivers to my transmitter, and they will be instantaneously bonded in a permanent and unbreakable bond. Or as my friend says, "Bind, and that's it!"

This technology hit the market in 2009 with the TTX404 transmitter and has proven itself to be robust, reliable and effective. That is why it is the radio system selected for the Transmitter Ready planes from Flyzone.

What is the Range?

Range is a function of the the signal being transmitted and the sensitivity of the receiver in receiving the signal. I did a minor test of the range of the micro planes with the Tactic 2.4 GHz compatible receiver boards and some major testing of the full size Tactic SLT 6 channel TR624 receivers with my TTX650 transmitter. I flew my Flyzone Micro SE5a from home plate to the outfield fence and flew around the local ballpark, much further than I usually fly my micro planes. I had no glitches during the test flights. The maximum range was 310 feet out (Center field) and 50 to 100 feet up.

For the TR624 6 channel receivers I tested three receivers in three planes: my friend's Calypso electric sailplane, my Beaver and my new Mini Switch. I tested all three with the recommended 100 foot range check per the instruction manual, and then I flew them as high I dared to fly in good blue sky conditions.

I momentarily lost sight of the Mini Switch at one point, but it was the smallest of my test planes. Fortunately, I had a young spotter with me, and he helped talk me down and back to the field. The Calypso specked out but was in sight. The larger Beaver was flown both high and as far out as we dared. I had no loss of signal or problems with control. However, I could only guess at the actual distances which I place at a half mile plus with the Calypso and the Beaver; so I did some ground based range testing. The plane was held five feet off of the ground, and the transmitter was driven first a quarter of mile away and then a full half mile away from the planes. This test was done with my Beaver on one windy nasty day and with my Mini Switch on a nice early morning. I had complete control with both at a half mile here in the flat Stockton area. Again, that was with the plane and transmitter only five feet above the ground. Close proximity to the ground is considered a range limiter so I have complete confidence of having a 1/2 mile plus range at my local field. I could see the Beaver at a half mile (barely) but not the Mini Switch. The picture below was taken 1/2 mile down from the tanks where the planes were held for this test. (This was taken after the test, and there is no one in the picture.) Since I use this transmitter with park flyers and not with my unlimited sailplanes I consider the TTX650 to have a proven range beyond what I need for my parkflyer flying.

The TTX650 Has Tactic's Wireless Trainer System

Tactic has a wireless trainer system. The system is not new but the TTX650 gave me my first chance to try it. It works only with other Tactic transmitters, and you can use the TTX404 or the TTX600. I used my TTX600 transmitter with my new TTX650 and used the TTX650 as the Teacher transmitter and the TTX600 as the Student transmitter. I set up both transmitters identically as concerns servo reversing, trim settings and sub-trim settings then connected them wirelessly by following the instruction manual.

The process was as follows: 1) Bind the Teacher TTX650 transmitter receiver with the receiver of the plane to be flown. Then turn both off. 2) I selected switch F to be the control switch on my TTX650 so I pulled it to the trainer on position and turned on the TTX650 transmitter. 3) The screen on my TTX650 read "SEARCHING" 4) I moved the Student TTX600 transmitter next to my TTX650 (within 3 feet is the requirement) 5) I turned on the Student TTX600 transmitter and the "SEARCHING" disappeared from the screen 6) The trainer system had linked. If a "No signal" had appeared on the screen it would indicate they hadn't linked and to try again. 7) Leaving both transmitters on with the throttle at the lowest setting I powered up the receiver and we made sure the Student transmitter had proper control of all channels. 8) The link lasts as long as the two transmitters remain turned on. After the flight and landing with the plane's receiver powered off the transmitters are turned off and the link is broken. To use the wireless trainer process again just follow the steps next time you want to use the system.

*The pilots must stay within 15 feet of each other while using the system. I keep my student within five feet of me and haven't tested that range.

*The Student transmitter can be set up so the student only gets limited control functions on his transmitter. I haven't found a need to limit functions with a plane but have used the limited function capability with a helicopter (I was using an airplane program as it was a simple fixed pitch helicopter.). This can be a very helpful limitation on giving a student control. I started with just throttle so they could focus on hover. Then throttle and rudder so they could hover and spin. Then I added elevator so they could fly forward and back. I have found this helpful in the past on a flight simulator and now with one student in actual flight.

Pilot Can Set Transmitter To Operate in Mode I or Mode II

I fly Mode II, as do most North American pilots. However I do have friends from both Asia and Europe that fly Mode I who occasionally come to Northern California. I can now let them fly my planes with just a little programming and work inside the transmitter. This is not a feature I will use much but it is the first time the option has been available to me other than on a "toy quality" or very high end transmitter.

Functions Can Be Reassigned to Different Channels

The Tactic Transmitter comes with the channels in the same standard format that I have used for years with Futaba radio systems: ailerons on channel 1, elevator on channel 2, throttle on channel 3, rudder on channel 4, landing gear on channel 5 and flaps on channel 6. Expensive transmitters have allowed us to reassign channels for some time. To my knowledge this is the first transmitter in this price range that has this feature. For the pilot who has always flown JR, they can program the transmitter to reflect what they are used to with throttle on channel 1, ailerons channel 2, elevator channel 3 etc.

This feature is only available for use in airplane programming mode. It cannot be used in helicopter mode. I don't personally plan to use this feature but I did test it out by programming to change one channel, and I was able to do it. But again it is a feature not previously seen in this price range and some pilots will appreciate it.

Battery Saver Function

If I forget to turn off my transmitter after a flight and set down my transmitter still on it will sound an alarm after 10 minutes. If I do nothing in response to that alarm the transmitter will turn itself off and save battery power. To avoid this I only have to move any stick on the transmitter during that ten minute period, and it will stay on for another ten minutes. As an RC sailplane pilot I can only remember a handful of occasions where I have had my sailplane circling in a thermal and not touched my transmitter sticks for a period of five or so minutes and only once for over ten minutes. I have no concern that the transmitter will ever turn itself off while I have a plane in the air. I do appreciate that it will shut itself off after ten minutes if I forget to turn it off. Unfortunately, this is a function that I accidently tested during this review and it worked as described when I unintentionally and accidently left the transmitter on for ten minutes after landing and turning off the plane's battery. DOH!

Ease of Programming

So far I have programmed five airplane models and two helicopters into my TTX650. I have only had to check the instruction manual a couple of times. The six buttons and the graphic screen work well and are easy to operate. There are a lot of features available but they are pretty much the ones I have been using for years with my high end transmitters. Some of the more complicated and confusing features of my high end transmitters are not available. The bells and whistles that are available are pretty much the ones I use on a frequent basis. After programming in two models it was almost second nature to program in the third and fourth planes. The questions that did come up were explained in a well written instruction manual. The manual is short and sweet in instructing and lets me program quickly and confidently! Well done!

Transmitter Feel

The feel of a transmitter is a very subjective thing. The TTX650 fits my hands very nicely. The gimbals have ball bearings and are very smooth. The sticks are adjustable but come just right for my thumbs as I fly with my thumbs on top of the main sticks. The switches are in easy reach for me and it is a comfortable transmitter to hold even for hour long sailplane flights (only one so far with my friends Calypso.)

Conclusion

This is one heck of a transmitter, especially for the price! It had more features than I expected it would have. The timer has saved my batteries once so far when I failed to turn it off after landing. If there are new developments in control or programming I can upgrade it with an adapter (does not come with the transmitter) that will connect the TTX650 to my computer's USB port and new firmware that would be downloaded from the Tactic website. I will get some Nicads for my TTX650 in the near future and use my Futaba charger with the built in plug. It is a very solid system as I have used the SLT technology for several years in multiple planes with their TXX600 transmitter and have never had a glitch. I was planning to use this as a dedicated transmitter for my Tx-R planes from Flyzone but I have picked up some more receivers and so it will be used with other parkflyers as well. Tactic can be justifiably proud of this new programmable transmitter. It offers so much more than just the 20 model memory that captured my attention originally. I give it my highest endorsement for use with parkflyers or any six channel or less plane/aircraft that will be flown within a half mile of the pilot.

Mikey says: "Try it, you'll like it!" I won't be selling my high end transmitters but this will free up some high end receivers.

I have programmed five airplanes and two helicopters onto my TTX650 so far and all have flown very nicely using this transmitter. I am happy to report I still have 13 open memory slots to use with this transmitter.

Pluses

  • Bearings used with the gimbals
  • Nice ergonomic feel to the transmitter
  • Twenty Model Memory
  • Can be used with Airplanes and Helicopters
  • Programming can be updated at home in the future if needed
  • Easy to program
  • Wireless trainer system
  • Proven SLT technology
  • Battery protection after ten minutes of inactivity

Minuses

  • I don't have any to report

Thanks

My thanks to my friends who assisted with this review, especially Dick Andersen. Also my thanks to Hobbico and Tactic for supplying this transmitter for testing. Finally, my thanks to our editor for her assistance with this review.

Last edited by Michael Heer; May 01, 2013 at 09:16 AM..

Discussion

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Old May 01, 2013, 12:52 PM
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Ken Myers's Avatar
Commerce Township, MI
Joined Aug 2001
4,339 Posts
Nice overall review Mike. I've got one on the way from Hobbico to review as well. You didn't mention that while there is a plug for a firmware upgrade, at this time there is no cable available and no updates yet.

Did the TTX650 require reversing the throttle channel, like a Futaba transmitter does, to power the ESCs correctly? I have a Tactic TTX440 sitting right here beside me and I can see it has its throttle reversed. The 440 is not the TTX 404, but a 4-channel that may have been supplied with a NextStar electric. I'm not sure, as it was given to me.
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Last edited by Ken Myers; May 01, 2013 at 01:05 PM. Reason: Forgot question
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Old May 01, 2013, 01:10 PM
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CSpaced's Avatar
Oak Ridge, NC
Joined Jun 2006
1,431 Posts
Nice review! I'm digging my 650, the switch assignability is a great feature, as are the p-mixes. So far I've flown mine with some small helis, but last weekend I installed a 6 channel receiver into my 2m sailplane, and it performed great! The ONLY thing I wish it had, is some sort of rotary dial or slider.

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Old May 01, 2013, 01:43 PM
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blurted's Avatar
United States, KY
Joined Sep 2011
100 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Myers View Post
Nice overall review Mike. I've got one on the way from Hobbico to review as well. You didn't mention that while there is a plug for a firmware upgrade, at this time there is no cable available and no updates yet.

Did the TTX650 require reversing the throttle channel, like a Futaba transmitter does, to power the ESCs correctly? I have a Tactic TTX440 sitting right here beside me and I can see it has its throttle reversed. The 440 is not the TTX 404, but a 4-channel that may have been supplied with a NextStar electric. I'm not sure, as it was given to me.
I have 15 planes programmed into my TTX650. All of them required the throttle channel to be reversed. There may be an ESC out there that doesn't require it, but I haven't come across one yet.
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Old May 01, 2013, 01:48 PM
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pda4you's Avatar
USA, TX, Trophy Club
Joined May 2002
14,465 Posts
Looks like a really solid system at a budget price. Very nice.

Mike
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Old May 01, 2013, 01:53 PM
Registered User
LI, New York, USA
Joined Mar 2003
23,928 Posts
Very good review. I especially liked the range check and range challenge. 1/2 mile is probalby good enough for everything except cross country sailpalnes. It might go beyond that. You confirmed 1/2 mile but were not limited to 1/2 mile.
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Old May 01, 2013, 02:12 PM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,356 Posts
I only tested to a 1/2 mile it does indeed go further but how much further I don't know. I had to reverse the throttle on all planes so far but not on one of the two helicopters I have flown so far. I specifically discussed what channels I changed for the Mini Switch which was my most tested plane.
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Last edited by Michael Heer; May 01, 2013 at 02:38 PM.
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Old May 01, 2013, 03:31 PM
Registered User
LI, New York, USA
Joined Mar 2003
23,928 Posts
Let's see how the competition looks for this entry level 6 channel compuer radio market from a price point of view. Let's say you are a new pilot. You want to buy a new radio and you plan to have 5 flyable planes where you have to put in a full range 6 channel receiver.


Tactic is $169 if you include a receiver. Additional full range 6 channel receiver is $20.
$249 to buy the Tactic 650 and outfit a total of 5 planes with receivers.


JR XG6 is $229 with receiver. Add on 6 channel is receiver is $99
$629 for radio and 5 receivers.


Airtronics SD6G is $199 with receiver. Add on 6 channel RX600 is $65.
$459 to get 5 planes in the air.


Spektrum dropped price of DX6i with receiver by $30 to $179.
Add on 6 channel AR600 receiver is $50 and add-on AR6200 is $70
$379 for radio and 5 receivers.


Hitec Optic 6 Sport with TWO receivers is $199. Add on 6 channel receivers range from $40 to $52.
$329 for Radio and 5 receivers.


Futaba 6J with receiver is $165. Add on 6 channel receiver is $35
$305 for radio and 5 receivers.


Hobbico/Tactic is really setting a very agressive price challenge to the established name brands. And for many pilots this will be all the radio they will need for some time. It won't challenge the high end stuff but the largest part of the market is probably 6 channel entry level computer radios. With a pretty good selection of mixes and 20 model memories, if the link proves secure and robust this could be a real challenger to the others.

Of course all of the others have compatible higher end radios so you can grow within their line. Today the Tactic 650 is the top of the Hobbico line. But I read somewhere that Hitec has announced the intent to include SLT in their next Aurora 9X radio so you might have a growth path there.

One of the things that has helped grow Spektrum's market has been the huge fleet of BnF planes from Horizon Hobby. But with the growing fleet of TX-R planes, missing out on Horizon's BnF fleet might not be that much of a problem anymore.

Isn't competition a wonderful thing?
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Old May 01, 2013, 03:49 PM
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gnats82's Avatar
Augusta, KS USA
Joined Dec 2007
4,558 Posts
Do you know if the stick tension is adjustable, especially the throttle resistance? The tx's I use don't have enough tension there for my comfort, prefer a stronger "detent" on throttle.
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Old May 01, 2013, 05:16 PM
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Ken Myers's Avatar
Commerce Township, MI
Joined Aug 2001
4,339 Posts
The throttle stick tension is adjustable. Actually all stick tensions are adjustable.

The Tactic TTX650 combo with the receiver is $159.99. With three more 6-channel receivers for $49.98.

combo: http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin/wti0161p?&I=LZ1494

receiver: http://www3.towerhobbies.com/cgi-bin...?&I=LXZNR1&P=M

While the total is $209.97 with coupon code 016N3 thats $25 off, so the cost is $184.97. If you wait for free shipping to show up, the transmitter and four receivers can be had for that!
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Last edited by Ken Myers; May 01, 2013 at 05:21 PM. Reason: Forgot something
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Old May 01, 2013, 05:17 PM
no discrimination, I crash all
ncsky's Avatar
United States, NC, Raleigh
Joined Nov 2011
270 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by gnats82 View Post
Do you know if the stick tension is adjustable, especially the throttle resistance? The tx's I use don't have enough tension there for my comfort, prefer a stronger "detent" on throttle.
Yes, stick tension is adjustable.

Great review Michael. I have been using my TTX650 for a few weeks now and really like it. It is definitely a great value for a 6 channel computer 2.4 system.
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Old May 01, 2013, 07:16 PM
Registered User
Bishop, CA
Joined Aug 2006
94 Posts
Dlg?

Is there a way to program a 'momentary switch' for an elevator launch preset?
If so, I'm sold!
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Last edited by gregory smith; May 01, 2013 at 09:33 PM.
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Old May 01, 2013, 10:02 PM
Registered User
LI, New York, USA
Joined Mar 2003
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregory smith View Post
Is there a way to program a 'momentary switch' for an elevator launch preset?
If so, I'm sold!
You flying DLG?

You don't really need a momentary switch. I have mine set on a regular switch. I flip it off when I release.
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Old May 01, 2013, 11:40 PM
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Bishop, CA
Joined Aug 2006
94 Posts
Yes, I see: and I presume you can do this with the Tactic. I haven't managed to do this for my Left Hand with my Hitec Eclipse 7...
I also tried to place an 'embarrassed' emoticon here, unsuccessfully. Oh, the learning curves which stay as steep as we get older!
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Old May 02, 2013, 08:48 AM
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Michael Heer's Avatar
Stockton, Ca. USA
Joined Apr 2001
9,356 Posts
I feel your pain. Mike
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