Spektrum DX8e 8-Channel Transmitter - RCGroups Review

The new DX8e from Spektrum may just be the perfect choice for the average pilot that doesn't want to break the bank for a full-featured transmitter.

Splash

Spektrum DX8e 8-Channel Transmitter - The Ultimate BNF Radio

Product:Spektrum DX8e
Channels:8
Flight Modes:4
Model Memory:250
Modes:User Selectable Mode 1-4
Proportional Inputs:5
Trainer Mode:Wireless Only
Battery:4x AA Included
Telemetry:Integrated
Price:$199.99
Available from:horizonhobby.com
PDF Manual:Click Here

While the Spektrum DX6 and more recently the DX6e have been a longstanding winner for a new pilots' first radio, the saying goes "Buy the best radio you can afford." Horizon Hobby just released their DX8e, which for the same price as the DX6G3 and only about $50 more than the DX6e gets you 2 more channels to play with and a nice set of features that can setup a large majority of pilots for success for quite some time. Now for just under $200, the DX8e gives you lots of great features you'll need, without having to pay for some of them you may not. Is the DX8e for you? Let's take a closer look.

A Quick Tour Around the DX8e

Advertised Features

  • Airplane, Helicopter, Sailplane and Multirotor programming
  • Smooth quad-bearing gimbals with multi-point front-access adjustments
  • Ultra-simple Patent-Pending gimbal mode-change switch
  • VTX control lets you change video channels directly from the DX8e
  • Digital Switch adaptability
  • Integrated FPV racing lap timer function
  • AS3X® technology gain adjustments without a PC
  • Multirotor flight mode setup
  • 9 airplane wing types and 6 tail types
  • 7 swashplate types
  • 4 sailplane wing types and 3 tail types
  • 7-point throttle curves for airplanes and helicopters
  • 7-point pitch and tail curves for helicopters

A Closer Look

First Impressions

The actual case design of the DX8e is black and simple, using the same basic case as its' smaller sibling the DX6e. The single antennae is encased in a durable enclosure that pivots about 70 degrees upwards, useful for maintaining better signal quality at longer ranges. The stick gimbals are smooth and have a good feel all around. I was a little surprised not to see a neckstrap in the box. They are widely used by pilots, and including a branded one would seemingly be cheap advertising for Spektrum. The DX8e includes 4 AA batteries to power the transmitter. While the included batteries worked perfectly fine, they didn't last very long. I might recommend you invest in rechargable Eneloop AA cells, or the Spektrum Lithium 2000mAh battery made for this and other Spektrum Radios (SPMA9602) for $34.99. The LCD screen appears to be the same as the rest of their offerings, which all thankfully now include a backlight. The contrast on the screen is adjustable, and is quite readable in bright daylight. Like the DX6e, but unlike most of the rest of the Spektrum family, the power switch is instead a momentary switch that's pressed for power on and held down for 4 seconds to power off. I think I personally prefer the ease of a normal switch, but both get the job done just fine.

Ergonomics

The DX8e ultimately feels quite good in the hands. The contoured grips on the back corners conform to the curl of my fingertips nicely and makes for a comfy hold, despite being plastic instead of rubber. It is a little light for my preference, but that's easily fixed if desired. The gimbal sticks are easily adjusted to whatever length suits you. Something I'm happy to see Spektrum working into all of their new transmitters, is front-accessible tension & ratchet adjustments. The days are gone when you have to actually take your radio case apart to engage the throttle ratchet or tighten the springs. Now, the tension screws are easily accessible via small holes around the circumference of the gimbals. However, make sure you have an appropriately size Phillips screwdriver, as they can be easy to strip if not careful. It would be nice in the future to make these allen-head bolts so we don't have to worry.

Your Mode, Your Way

Spektrum is now including a patent pending gimbal mode-change switch, allowing super easy conversion of your transmitter from the 'traditional' mode 2, to anything else with just the flip of a switch on the back of the transmitter. The slider switch is protected by a hinged cover and slider-lock that prevents you from changing spring configurations accidentally. The available modes are: Normal Throttle for Modes 2 and 4 (Air, Heli and Sailplane Model Types) Spring-Centered Throttle for Modes 2 and 4 (Multirotor Model Type) Spring-Centered Throttle for Modes 1 and 3 (Multirotor Model Type) Normal Throttle for Modes 1 and 3 (Air, Heli and Sailplane Model Types).

Plenty of Aircraft Options

The Spektrum DX8e has programming modes devoted to virtually any type of aircraft you'll be flying - Airplane, Helicopter, Sailplane and Multirotor. Air plane options include a couple of wing & tail types that aren't available on the DX6e such as 'Single Aileron / Dual Flap' and 'Dual Aileron / Dual Flap'. Also for airplanes you'll get a 7-point throttle curve, 3 preset mixes and 10 programmable mixes.

Helicopter programming also offers some additional options from the DX6e, including 7 additional swashplate types. You'll also find 5 flight modes, throttle hold settings, cyclic-to-throttle mixes, 7-point throttle/pitch/tail curves, and 10 programmable mixes.

For your sailplanes, the DX8e has 4 wing types, 3 tail types, camber system & presets, 5 flight modes, 4 preset mixes and 10 programmable mixes.

Finally for multirotors, you'll find channel input options, checklist & warnings, and simplified flight mode setups.

Tell-emetry Me More!

Finally, R/C telemetry is becoming more and more mainstream! With telemetry enabled Spektrum receivers, you can get live data readouts right on the screen of your DX8e for things like battery voltage, signal quality and motor temperature. Some of the telemetry options will require additional sensors, allowing you to monitor exactly what types of telemetry you need. For electric craft, you may want to watch your battery voltage and speed...but for gas planes, RPM sensors and and engine temperature information would be important data to monitor. I fully expect that more telemetry sensors will start to be built into the receivers, as well as seeing a wider variety of sensor options available.

Are 8 Channels Really Necessary?

While a beginner pilot can easily fly entry-level on 4 or 6 channels, most will soon progress to aircraft that have additional features like flaps, lights, retracts, and even bomb drops. In bigger models, it's common to have individual servos for each elevator half, flap and aileron. While you can sometimes use a Y-connector, it limits your flexibility for fine tuning your trims and programming special mixes like flaperons and spoilerons. And then with turbine jets and scale birds, several more channels are needed for brakes and scale features. As you can see, it doesn't take much to quickly get up (and sometimes over) 8 channels needed! It's always better to have more channels than you need, than not enough!

Review Video

Summary

The new Spektrum DX8e is an excellent choice for pretty much any level pilot. In the same case as the DX6e, the 8e gives you 2 more channels and more switches and knobs as well as increased software functionality for only $50 more. 8 channels allows you to easily fly the E-Flite warbirds, along with 95% of other any other aircraft out there. While it may not have plush rubber grips, metal styling or a lithium battery...Spektrum has thrown in all of the channels and functionality that you really need, not to mention the support and reliability that Horizon Hobby is known for, in a very affordable package. If you're looking for your first transmitter, if you're looking to upgrade your 4 or 6 channel, or maybe if you're looking for a viable backup transmitter, I highly recommend you check out the new DX8e from Spektrum and Horizon Hobby!

Hits

  • 8 channels
  • Backlit screen
  • 250 model memory
  • Great price
  • Wireless trainer link
  • Front accessible gimbal adjustments

Misses

  • Too light in my opinion
  • Lithuim Ion battery not included
  • Neckstrap not included

Last edited by Nikolei Zinsli; Sep 04, 2018 at 10:34 PM..
Thread Tools
Sep 26, 2018, 08:29 PM
Sagitta Fanboy
All those misses are basically in the 'Buy the DX8G2' category.

There's a reason why the DX8e is cheaper than the DX8G2. It's lighter built, doesn't include the LiIon pack & wall wart or the neckstrap and lacks some internal hardware (voice, redundant antennas & trainer port)
Sep 27, 2018, 12:16 AM
Modeling Retread
I assume this is just a slight upgrade of the DX6E, adding two channels of control. The AT6 pictured probably tells the tale. Horizon is producing more warbirds with SAFE sellect as an option. If you set up for differential ailerons, you need 7 channels.

I have a DX6E, it replaced an aging DX7 Acro gen 1. It was my introduction to Airware, which was a real improvement over the original software.
Latest blog entry: Sad Pilgramidge
Sep 27, 2018, 10:29 AM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by GRW3
I assume this is just a slight upgrade of the DX6E, adding two channels of control. The AT6 pictured probably tells the tale. Horizon is producing more warbirds with SAFE sellect as an option. If you set up for differential ailerons, you need 7 channels.

I have a DX6E, it replaced an aging DX7 Acro gen 1. It was my introduction to Airware, which was a real improvement over the original software.
It's basically the DX8 software on the DX6e hardware, with the DX8 switch/knob configuration. It gets a number of extra software features compared to the DX6e (basically the same as the DX8G2 on v1.21, minus the missing voice capabilities)

The driver isn't differential ailerons, it's offering flaps, gear & SAFE on the same plane, which requires 7 channels.

Horizon intends to pair this with the AR636, which is actually a 7ish channel receiver with 6 servo outputs. With an 8ch TX, RX mode and gain (if available) can live on ch 7 & 8, while TAER, gear & flaps occupy the servo outputs.
Sep 27, 2018, 01:01 PM
Modeling Retread
When you do the software update on an AR636A, it self identifies as a 9 ch receiver. So as long as you don't need to plug servos, like SAFE, there is space to work.
Latest blog entry: Sad Pilgramidge
Sep 27, 2018, 01:07 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
Where is this "self-identification" you speak of?

Andy
Sep 27, 2018, 02:18 PM
Modeling Retread
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndyKunz
Where is this "self-identification" you speak of?

Andy
Andy, I connected an AR636A I recovered from a defunct E-flite P47 up to the updating software. At some point in the process it identified it as a 9ch receiver. I noted it but was not surprised, I just assumed the basic chip served a lot of purposes, maybe all the AS3X receivers up to the 9ch one. I can't tell you the exact step because I was mostly interested in getting it updated so I could use it in my Slow Ride.
Latest blog entry: Sad Pilgramidge
Sep 27, 2018, 02:36 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
OK, you misunderstood what you were seeing.

The receiver will accept inputs like Flight Mode on more channels than the number of outputs it controls. It's still a 6-channel receiver - it has 6 outputs. The PC software allows you to access channels above the number of outputs. That doesn't mean the receiver "self-identifies" as anything. It means the PC gives you access to using a non-output channel as an input for some internal function.

Just like receivers of yore, it accepts all the channels it is given and then has a synchronization mechanism to know when channel 1 is coming again. In the old days this was an idle time on the RF; today it is in a data packet.

All Spektrum receivers will accept 20 channels of input, but they will ignore some (most?) of them.

Andy
Sep 29, 2018, 02:08 PM
Registered User

Dx8e


I have the DX6E does upgrading to the DX8E give me any more choices besides and extra 2-channels?
Sep 29, 2018, 02:10 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
A few other extra features, not many. Compare the DX6 to the DX8 and the same feature differences are between the DX6e vs DX8e.

Andy
Sep 30, 2018, 12:19 PM
Registered User
Can you link telemetry to any type of audible notification (buzz or beep). There is no Voice on this radio to announce telemetry items of interest. Screen viewing while flying is not workable for me anyway.

If the telemetry feed saved in logs on the TX also, for post flight review through some method?
Sep 30, 2018, 01:29 PM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blade Crasher
Can you link telemetry to any type of audible notification (buzz or beep). There is no Voice on this radio to announce telemetry items of interest. Screen viewing while flying is not workable for me anyway.

If the telemetry feed saved in logs on the TX also, for post flight review through some method?
No haptic (buzz) either and no software support for using beeps for telemetry in the Airware software. So no.

Telemetry info should be logged to the SD card, if present, just like all other logging.
Sep 30, 2018, 01:32 PM
AndyKunz's Avatar
You can get telemetry alarms as Tone or nothing.

Andy
Oct 11, 2018, 12:00 PM
Registered User
RJD1234's Avatar
Couple of other issues. When charging there is no indicator light and when charge is complete. Text on screen is small and can be challenging for older guys. Software upgrades are somewhat difficult. Had to call HH for help.
Oct 11, 2018, 12:45 PM
Sagitta Fanboy
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJD1234
Couple of other issues. When charging there is no indicator light and when charge is complete. Text on screen is small and can be challenging for older guys. Software upgrades are somewhat difficult. Had to call HH for help.
1. That's inherent to the setup, there's no integration between the battery and the TX, the charger is integrated into the battery and the wall wart is just a power supply. Same exact unit is used from the DX6e through the DX8G2.

2. The display & text size is the same from the DX6e through the $1399 DX20. It's decently sized, but can be an issue for some. The iX12 solves this issue with it's larger, higher-resolution display and Accessibility options.

3. Software upgrades are pretty simple in my experience. About the best in the business actually. Can understand how they might be confusing for non-technical users though, but that's unfortunately inherent to manual software upgrades. The iX12 solves that as well, by using Google Play store to push updates.


Quick Reply
Message:

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Category Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
News New! Spektrum DX8e 8-Channel Transmitter Jim T. Graham Radios 131 Nov 01, 2018 08:56 AM
Review Horizon Hobby Spektrum DX6e - RCGroups Review kingsflyer Radios 72 May 12, 2018 10:07 AM
Review Tactic TTX660 Transmitter - RCGroups.com Review Nikolei Zinsli Radios 2 Mar 09, 2018 08:26 AM
Article RCGroups Podcast 66 - Reviews, Transmitters and More! Jim T. Graham Electric Plane Talk 0 Jan 15, 2018 01:36 PM
Review The DRAK 5.8GHz Video Transmitter - RCGroups Review Matt Gunn FPV Talk 34 Jan 19, 2017 12:26 PM