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Old Oct 05, 2008, 07:43 PM
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Opinions on best 7-ch 2.4 GHz radio for full-house sailplanes

I am in a position to get a 2.4 GHz radio system, and I would like opinions on which 7-channel model is best-suited to full-house sailplanes. I have not seen a discussion on this point, but if a similar thread already exists, I’d appreciate a link.

You can address any points that you like. Comments on points like the ease of programming important sailplane mixes, complications with dual-receiver systems in narrow fuses, etc., are especially appreciated.

FF
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Old Oct 05, 2008, 08:39 PM
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I think that you will find that 7 channel radios do not have the sailplane specific programing that one typically wants to get the full performance out of a full-house sailplane. The JR 9303 has excellent programming and the Futaba 9C Super is a lower cost alternative without quite the same level of programability. Many sailplane pilots prefer the switch configuration of a helicopter radio.

You can save a few $ if you buy a used radio. The module based 9303 can easily be set to use 2.4GHz.
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Old Oct 05, 2008, 08:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Flyer
I am in a position to get a 2.4 GHz radio system, and I would like opinions on which 7-channel model is best-suited to full-house sailplanes. I have not seen a discussion on this point, but if a similar thread already exists, I’d appreciate a link.

You can address any points that you like. Comments on points like the ease of programming important sailplane mixes, complications with dual-receiver systems in narrow fuses, etc., are especially appreciated.

FF

For a full-house, neither of the current 7channel 2.4 radios is optimal. Between the Spektrum DX7 and the Futaba 7C FASST, I'd have to say that the Futaba 7C is the winner, as it contains more mixes.

However, if you're stuck on a 7channel radio budget, the smart move would be to purchase the Airtronics RDS8000 FHSS 2.4 radio. Right now they're going for around $229.00 and include TWO recievers. The RDS8000 FHSS is capable of full wing camber changes and three flight modes. Not as many options as a 'real' full house radio like a JR9303, Futaba 10C or Airtronics Stylus, but still more capable than either the current Futaba or Spektrum offerings.

The added bonus is that Airtronics is working on a modern / multi channel 2.4GHz radio to replace their Stylus. If you buy the RDS8000 FHSS, you'lll already have two compatible Rx's and can either keep the RDS8000 or sell it once the new radio comes out.

For the record, I own the Futaba 7C FASST and am currently debating upgrading to the Futaba 10C or waiting for the new Airtronics advanced FHSS radio, as I'm looking to get into full-house sailplanes myself.

-Sean
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 08:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Flyer
I am in a position to get a 2.4 GHz radio system, and I would like opinions on which 7-channel model is best-suited to full-house sailplanes. I have not seen a discussion on this point, but if a similar thread already exists, I’d appreciate a link.

You can address any points that you like. Comments on points like the ease of programming important sailplane mixes, complications with dual-receiver systems in narrow fuses, etc., are especially appreciated.

FF
1) why are you focused on 7 channels?

2) What is your budget?

3) What sailplane are you planing to fly?

4) Are you flying for sport or competition?

Here are some resources that may be helpful:

The Eastern Soaring League's Novice Lounge
http://forums.flyesl.com/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=14

> Choosing a Sailplane Radio - What to Consider
http://forums.flyesl.com/topic.asp?TOPIC_ID=223


Note, you have asked two questions here:

One is about Sailplane Radios

The second is about 2.4 GHz.

Since all the 2.4 GHz standards are incompatible with each other which ever radio you chosse will likely set the 2.4 GHz standard you will be following for the forseeable future. So you need to look at things like sizes of receivers available, prices of receivers, etc.

The Spektrum/JR, Futaba and Airtroncis 2.4 GHz systems all work, so that is not the issue.

What else do you fly?

Will this radio be stricly for sailplanes or will you fly other things with it?

Will any of the fuselages be carbon?

Do you fly small or micro planes?

All things to be considered if this radio is to be used for more than one model.
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 09:03 AM
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FF,

For some reason I think you currently fly a Hi-tec radio, right? If it is a hi-tec module based radio, you can currently pick up a Spektrum module (Futaba version) and a 7 ch AR7000 receiver for your Hitec for $110. This would get you the benefit of 2.4 ghz at a fairly nominal price and then you could save up later for a more advanced programable radio.

There have been a lot of discussions on the DX7 and full house (6 servo) sailplanes. In a nut shell DX7 can be made to work, but involves a lot of manual programming of mixes and still might lack a few bits of functionality even after that.

Ryan
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 09:43 AM
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Ryan is right about the module being a quick, low/cost way to get into Spektrum 2.4 GHz, if you decide you want to follow the Spektrum stanadard. Note that the Spektrum module is not "certified" in any Hitec radio, but Hitec support says it works fine and I think I have read reports from Hitec users of trouble free operation. Just don't expect Hitec to trouble shot or fix it.

I provided a link above to an discussion on how to pick "sailplane" radios. It starts from the point of view that you can fly a full house sailplane radio on a standard 4 channel radio. Flaps, ailerons, Elevator and Rudder can all be handled from a standard 4 channel radio like a Hitec Laser. So, what do your REALLY need vs. what would you like to have in terms of features for flying a full house sailplane. And how many channels do you need to accomplish what you want? That is covered too.

Read the article. Then you will be better equipped to make a decision on a sailplane radio.
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 08:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdwoebke
... For some reason I think you currently fly a Hi-tec radio, right? ...
I actually fly with an old 6-ch Futaba. Any similar options for those?
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 08:24 PM
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Ed,

Thanks for the links and the useful questions.

I am not planning to compete in any serious way. A 7-Ch radio would given me reasonable control over the 6 servos, more at least that my current 6 ch Tx does. My budget for the Tx itself is about < $300 or so.

I do not have a specific sailplane model in mind. In fact, the initial motivation is for a large-ish “power-on” plane that will be flown in traffic with other planes. That plane will not require a complicated radio, so my focus is mainly on a Tx that will be readily adaptable to a sport-flown full-house (e-)sailplane. I envision gradually switching my sailplane fleet over to the 2.4 GHz system.

That is a good point on the matter of getting locked-into a given system for a long time. And for that reason it might well be a good idea to think seriously about a 9 or 10 ch system right up-front....

FF
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 08:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FrogChief
...For the record, I own the Futaba 7C FASST and am currently debating upgrading...
Sean - Out of curiosity, how has that 7 ch Tx worked-out for you? What are you flying with it? - FF
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Old Oct 06, 2008, 08:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Flyer
I actually fly with an old 6-ch Futaba. Any similar options for those?
Is that Futaba a module based radio? If so, then check the Spektrum modules, there could be one that fits that transmitter that is $110 for a module and one AR7000.

The kicker I see with the AR7000, is you probably want to some day do a 6 servo and throttle model. You might want to do things like assingn the throttle to a switch (or have throttle on throttle stick then a switch that turns throttle stick into flap control), work flaps proportionally with throttle, have the entire wing camber or reflex all at once on a switch (aka thermal mode and go fast to get out of sink mode), have a landing mix (ailerons up , flaps down), have the flaps work as ailerons, and aileron to rudder mixing. DX7 will do some of this, perhaps a lot of this, but you end up using the free mixes and you might run out of free mixes trying to do all of teh above.

Ryan
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Old Oct 07, 2008, 12:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Flyer
Ed,

Thanks for the links and the useful questions.

I am not planning to compete in any serious way. A 7-Ch radio would given me reasonable control over the 6 servos, more at least that my current 6 ch Tx does. My budget for the Tx itself is about < $300 or so.

I do not have a specific sailplane model in mind. In fact, the initial motivation is for a large-ish “power-on” plane that will be flown in traffic with other planes. That plane will not require a complicated radio, so my focus is mainly on a Tx that will be readily adaptable to a sport-flown full-house (e-)sailplane. I envision gradually switching my sailplane fleet over to the 2.4 GHz system.

That is a good point on the matter of getting locked-into a given system for a long time. And for that reason it might well be a good idea to think seriously about a 9 or 10 ch system right up-front....

FF
OK, based on your post:

About $300 for the TX. Receiver and servos are not included in that.

Sport flying of a full house. So you don't need every bell and whistle

My lock in comment was not about a particular radio but a particular 2.4 GHz system. You could start with a Spekrum Dx7 and upgrade to a JR X9303 and use all the same receivers. The 9303 is a super great sailplane radio.

However if you were to start with a DX7,then go to a Futaba 10X, none of the receivers that you used with the DX7 would work with the Futaba. You would have to keep the DX7 for those, or replace them all with Futaba receivers, which would be quite costly if you have a large fleet.

Based on your comments, you don't NEED a sailplane radio. You just need a computer radio with some basic mixes. Any of the ones I will mention would do. If your friends have one of these, get the same one they have, assuming they like it.

The Spektrum DX7 or the Futaba 7C FASST would be fine. As stated, the Airtronics RD8000 2.4 would also be fine. All would easily fit into your budget and your stated plans.

A used Futaba 9C with a Spektrum module would also be a good choice and would be within your budget.

I have a Futaba 9C Super with a Spektrum Module for my slope gliders and some of my electrics. My other gliders and electrics are still on 72. Too expensive to replace all the receivers all at once.
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Old Oct 07, 2008, 12:36 AM
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The best 7ch is a 9ch.

I'm a Spektrum convert. The Futaba works fine of course, but I went Spektrum before Futaba got off the dime...

One thing about the Spek modules: You give up some valuble capabilities. Namely, the ModelMatch (invaluable!), and the ServoSync. Unless you're forced to... Why pay several hundred for modules & receivers only to get 1/3 the system? Anything less than a native 2.4 system is a compromise IMO.

With 6 "free" mixes, the DX-7 handles most sport applications just fine, but if you really want to get into some complex mixing...the X9303 is the better bet.

Some have "Done" CROW with a DX-7, but the set up is mind-boggling, and in no way intuitive.

Additionally...far & away, Spektrum has the widest assortment of receivers for use with any of the DSM2 Transmitters. Nobody else has nearly as wide an offering.

Everyone has their own preferences of course, but I'm glad I "Spek'd"
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Old Oct 07, 2008, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forest Flyer
Sean - Out of curiosity, how has that 7 ch Tx worked-out for you? What are you flying with it? - FF
The 7C FASST has worked great for me. Awesome range and plenty of options. I currently fly RES sailplanes with it. However I'm using a throttle to elevator mix on my Marauder with 3 flight modes programmed in.

For my Chrysalis, I'm using two mixes with 3 flight modes as well.

The 7C will do a full house just fine except for ONE thing. You will have a hell of a time seting up full wing camber on a full-house bird. Other than that you've got everything you need: 3-position flight mode switch, flap / throttle mixing, Aileron differential, vtail differential, etc. It's got everything basically except full wing camber control.

-Sean
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Old Oct 07, 2008, 01:46 AM
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So it's really no better off than the DX-7.

X9303. Problem solved.
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Old Oct 07, 2008, 02:21 AM
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Originally Posted by CV580drvr
So it's really no better off than the DX-7.

X9303. Problem solved.
9303 is pretty high latency though. Fastest and most 'pure' high-end 2.4GHz sailplane radio at the moment is the Futaba 10C FASST. Shoot...currently, the 10C is the only high-end 2nd-gen 2.4GHz radio in existance (ie. not based off of a previous design.)
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