What is the best value 6+ channel radio available under $200 - RC Groups
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Oct 03, 2011, 06:51 PM
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RC_Crazy23's Avatar

What is the best value 6+ channel radio available under $200

I'm looking to get a radio system I'll use for many years to come. The radio system has to be reliable and user friendly with the least amount of problems.
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Oct 03, 2011, 07:37 PM
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hi there
ive been a futaba fan for years
it all depends on what floats ya boat
ive had a few 6 and 7 channel units
but have recently noticed that the futaba 8 channel tx
has had a software update which bring it upto 14 channels out the box
gonna cost you a bit more than the $200 you want to spend but if that dont do ya for a good few years dont know what will
i was looking at a 10c until i found out about the 8
thats deffinatly my next radio
hope this helps
Oct 03, 2011, 09:44 PM
Surface, Air & Water Rc Toys..
freechip's Avatar
To answer your thread title the DX6i is a no brainer. 6ch 200$ and under. Nice features full range radio and all the fun of Bind & Fly.
Oct 03, 2011, 10:17 PM
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HiTec Optic 6 is a well made rock solid radio,i've had mine for years trouble free.
Oct 03, 2011, 11:59 PM
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RC_Crazy23's Avatar
Sorry, I'm asking newb questions. The DX6i looks great and just got done reading some reviews on it. But if more channels serve me a purpose as my skills progress through the years....perhaps getting a radio with more channels be beneficial.

Do most of you guys use 6 channel radios or 7,8,9,10 channel radios? Wouldn't having 6 channels be enough for (1)throttle, (2)rudder, (3)aileron, (4)elevator, (5)if you have flaps. What would be the use of 7...8...9..10 channels? My guess is for extra flaps, fpv, use for heli flying etc... is that correct?
Oct 04, 2011, 02:58 AM
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This hobby has no limits. Some of us abandoned in the last year the older PPM still used by 99% of the market in favor of digital links allowing countless channels.
So, if you specified "many years to come" never think about "x channels are enough" !

Next, and this is an axiom, don't request to demonstrate: any radio is better than a Spektrum ! Also, "many years to come" does not play nicely with their DSM2 system which they must cease to sell somewhere middle of next year.

This said, I consider the best an used 8-9ch radio with modular system, allowing you to plug any RF system you like in the future. For me this is Futaba T9C with Frsky RF, JR 930x is better, but don't fits the bill.
From the current 6ch radios the best is Hitec Optic 6 ( NOT Optic Sport !)
Oct 04, 2011, 03:37 AM
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"Best" is very subjective. Some are better suited for some things than others. Most have their loyal fans and devoted detractors. All the leading RF solutions work extremely well and offer better security than the old FM ones ever did so don't get drawn into the debates about "X is better than Y and your plane will drop from the sky if you choose Z".

This hobby is changing very quickly indeed. The landscape of the hobby today is nothing like it was 2 years ago and in 2 years it will be very different again. In the old days the advice was "buy the best/most advanced radio you can afford, it will last you a long time".

IMO better advice today, especially for anyone uncertain of their needs or preferences and looking to moderate their investment, is to spend as little as possible to get started with a workable 2.4GHz computer Tx likely to meet your needs for a year or two.

Do you "need" more than 6 channels? That will depend on what you choose to fly/drive/operate. You only need four channels for basic aircraft control and six (electric) or seven (fuel) for helis, but can easily use ten or twelve in larger more complex models or for scale models. Typically though, Tx with more channels have more features and many times people buy them for the features and programming flexibility, not the extra channels.

You can buy the highly functional modular 9ch FlySky 9X (aka FS9X, Turnigy 9X, Eurgle 9X and others) Tx with 2.4Ghz module + 8ch Rx for about $70 delivered with extra Rx costing about $10 to $15 each. Being module-based you can upgrade the RF technology with a new module when the need arises. It is not top quality but they are hugely popular and the vast majority of users have no problems. Some do find they have poor soldering, a faulty switch or a bad pot. All easily fixed. The stock firmware is OK for most users but there is also a vigorous OpenSource scene with fantastic replacement firmware that gives this Tx programming features on par with most $400+ Tx. It is a great choice for someone who likes to tinker and a fair choice for being able to get into the hobby at minimal cost with a small risk that you get a dud unit. You can buy it for about $100 from a US vendor who will provide local warranty backup and so alleviate those kinds of concerns.

Given you are in the USA, from the major brands the Spektrum DX6i or Hitec Optic 6 (not Sport) offer good value. The Optic 6 has probably the most flexible programming in the class but perhaps not the sexiest presentation. Spektrum-compatible Rx are available for under $10, Spektrum-brand ones for around $35 on up. Hitec Rx start around $30 on up.

The Airtronics 6SG has some fans but I have not played with one myself. I am not sure if it really competes in terms of features with the DX6i or Optic 6.

IMO the Futaba line is very confused at the moment and they have chosen to create incompatible lines of Tx and Rx, low-end and higher-end. Personally I don't like any of their 6ch Tx and wouldn't consider anything less than the 7C. The 8FG is excellent value but much more expensive. Futaba Rx are expensive, over $50 but there are compatible ones for about $35.

An interesting compromise might be the soon-to-be-released (been that way for a few months) XPS-16. This intriguing 16-channel Tx is specified with very cool features, rich programming, exceptionally low latency and an RRP of $250 with Rx starting around $30. XPS are still having FCC troubles but there is some chance this new Tx will be available around Christmas time. It is certainly intended to compete in terms of features and performance with the $400+ class, some would say the $1000+ class.
Oct 04, 2011, 06:26 AM
Surface, Air & Water Rc Toys..
freechip's Avatar
You don't buy a radio for the amount of channels it has but for the options and features it has that you need and may need for future use.

What you do is buy the MOST radio you can today and you will save later on cause you won't have to buy another.
Oct 04, 2011, 07:48 AM
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For this reason 9X is the most radio available today, because you (or your friend the open source programmer) can virtually add anything not existing even in $$$$ radios.
What is wrong with 9x is the hardware... I know many broken switches and a throttle pot in the first year of usage. Would be nice to have the 9x board in a Futaba 9C case
Oct 04, 2011, 10:00 AM
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RC_Crazy23's Avatar
Is spektrum not open source? I went with Android over the evil apple, because it's open source. Now getting back to Tx...I can't come to the conclusion for what Tx I want. I've narrowed it down to two of the most talked about Tx on this forum....might draw from a hat. The two radios I have in mind are very similar, but one is cheaper and the more expensive one have nice atlimeter/telemetry that plugs right into the Rx whereas the lower costing device doesn't have this add on ability. I don't know what to do....
Oct 04, 2011, 10:34 AM
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If the cheapest is 9X, then you didn't dig enough, fitted with Frsky system you have altimeter on the radio screen. All for less than $200: $40 radio + $50 telemetry Frsky module and receiver + $25 sensors hub and pressure/altitude/vario sensor.
There is also a variation of Frsky setup, about $100, allowing you to have telemetry on its own display on any radio, even your existing FM.
Any other brand radio offering these features is at least $400.

And no, Spektrum and any other big brand radio is as closed as a windows could be
Flysky 9X as radio hardware / firmware, and Frsky as RF solution featuring telemetry protocol, are the most notable actors of OS RC scene.
XPS promise the same, but their past grain of salt is too big to swallow without seeing something
Oct 04, 2011, 12:17 PM
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If you want OpenSource then the FS9X is the only choice. There are at least three different OpenSource replacement firmware projects for it with I think the most popular being ER9X.

XPS-16 will NOT be OpenSource but is intending to offer a client API so that "applets" can be created. However, as Renatoa says, XPS make many claims but you cannot trust any of them until the product actually ships and is validated in users' hands, sometimes years later than first predicted. I think the XPS-16 will probably ship and will probably be an interesting Tx, but I wouldn't bet any money on it
Oct 04, 2011, 01:50 PM
Suspended Account
Originally Posted by RC_Crazy23
I'm looking to get a radio system I'll use for many years to come. The radio system has to be reliable and user friendly with the least amount of problems.
If you are looking for many years of use, don't limit to 6ch radio.
6ch radios are normally entry level with limited software program which you will quickly outgrow.

More channels means better radios loaded with more programs. It is a marketing strategy. A higher price means a better radio.

There is one exception to this rule. Turnigy/FlySky 9X, an advanced computer 9ch radio, costs only $53. It is only possible in China, where else?
Oct 05, 2011, 01:29 AM
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RC_Crazy23's Avatar
Decisions Decisions...might have to wait and see what's in store for the holiday season.
Oct 06, 2011, 06:02 AM
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9x radio with Frsky telemetry modules and er9x software! under 100 bucks.

er9x software is fantastic! my $200 plus radios are collecting dust.

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