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May 12, 2019, 11:59 AM
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Thread OP
Discussion

Which radio system for glider F5J


Looking for new radio system for new glider. I have not flown for about 6 years all my radio equipment is the 72 MHz which still functions fine, but I want to use new equipment.

Which radio systems are easy to program? It seems most pilots are gravitating towards either FrSky or Graupner radio systems. Any input would be appreciated.
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May 12, 2019, 04:02 PM
PaulG

My experience


There are many good systems out there. I fly Jeti, expensive but I find it very easy to program once you get used to it. There have been some questions about range but I have never had any problems here in Australia. FrSky is inexpensive and has a good reputation for range. It looks a bit Mickey Mouse but seems to work well. You can do anything with it but you have to learn to program, there are no built in mixes you have to either start from scratch or import a ready written template for F5J. There are a number of good templates out there. I have bought Taranis twice and each time failed to grasp the system. If you are a bit of a programmer, this may be for you. Many top pilots fly Futaba. Futaba is reliable, capable (with the right transmitter) has no range problems as far as I know. Receivers are expensive and (at least in the cheaper transmitters) have a fixed function output (ie output one is a certain function and always remains so, in other radios you can choose which function each receiver output serves. This means that with Futaba you may have to use a receiver with more channels outputs than you need. Th do not think this applies to F5J though as you only need 7 channels for a full house. Futaba also has the Sbus system where wiring can be simplified by sending the servo position information down a single wire. The individual servos know which signal to use. FrSky can also use Sbus. Jeti has a similar system but it is not as developed as far as I know.
Graupner is an old established German company that was sold to an Asian company some years ago. I know a number of people who use Graupner, the system seems to be a bit of a learning curve but people who use it seem to like it. It is relatively inexpensive.
Spektrum is probably the most popular system in the world. It uses multiple receivers to cover every base in reception so plumbing everything in can be tricky but Spektrum users manage this even in skinny fuselages. I gave up on them 10 years ago when I lost several Spektrum equipped models. I believe that the problems have been solved for a long time. Spektrum is less expensive than Jeti or Futaba but more expensive than FrSky. I believe that programming is fairly straight forward.
Whatever system you buy you will have to learn the program, this is always a bit of a struggle but usually easy when you have learned it. It took me about 3-4 weeks of playing with the Jeti before I got the hang of the hang of it. Its manual is quite good, FrSky relies on the internet for videos and information, almost nothing comes with it. I found Futaba manuals straight forwards but in the end decided to stick with Jeti.
Best thing is to have a mate who likes a system and let him teach you how to use that system. I don't think that you can say that there is a "Best" system. You pays your money and you takes your choice.
The different systems often call the same things by different names, such as Flight Modes in one and Flight Condition in another, this can cause confusion.
May 12, 2019, 05:15 PM
W0X0F
IBWALT's Avatar

What Radio?


Well Pigly's info is very good and detailed and you won't go wrong following his advise. But I would like to add a couple of things that might help even more.

FrSky is a good radio that is priced right but the programming comes with a steep curve. Yes there are templates on the web that you can use to fly your plane but they are more than complex and if you don't understand OpenTx and something goes wrong at the field your SOL. But with that said there is an excellent source of OpenTx knowledge on the web at OpenTx University http://open-txu.org/. You can learn it but it's not easy but when your through there is nothing you can't do with it. Then there is the FrSky OS or the stock OS that comes with the FrSky radio. It used to be not that sailplane friendly but it's been some time since I looked at it and I think that its changed some. So you can have the FrSky radio without OpenTx.

The best advise I can give you is to do your homework before buying. Then look and see what the other pilots at your field are using. Then buy what they are using. When you run into trouble they are right there to help.

Whatever you do, don't buy a radio that no one at your field is using. You'll thank me later.
May 12, 2019, 08:19 PM
Team Canada F5J, Team Graupner
Jean Dorais's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Sailplane
Looking for new radio system for new glider. I have not flown for about 6 years all my radio equipment is the 72 MHz which still functions fine, but I want to use new equipment.

Which radio systems are easy to program? It seems most pilots are gravitating towards either FrSky or Graupner radio systems. Any input would be appreciated.
As others have said: try and find a radio in your price range that others at the field either a) fly or b) have good knowledge of. My other bit of advice is buy the most radio you can afford ie: don't save $50 and get a 6ch. instead of the 8ch. Ask me how I know!

I've recently converted to Jeti (DS-16) from Futaba (T14-SG) for flying F5J (Go Team Canada!), but also own Spektrum (Dx7S and Dx6) for flying bind-n-fly stuff. Each brand has its quirks and features... It will take time to learn them all. The Futaba T14 forum here on RC Groups has been fantastic, as has the Jeti forum- I've never had to look at the Spektrum forum as everything I do is VERY basic with those radio's. I have many friends who fly FrSky (including a fellow Team Canada F5J pilot) and they absolutely love them...but when I looked at OpenTx, I knew 100% it wasn't going to be for me!

Hope this helps add a little to the other replies to your question... good luck and let us know what you decide to get for your F5J fun!

Jean
May 13, 2019, 12:06 AM
Registered User
I’d highlight something all the others said: see what others at your field are flying and consider getting the same brand. They will then be able to help you more easily. If you’re the only one with a “fill in the blank here” brand, then you’ll be on your own.

Like you, I returned to the hobby a few years ago and had to upgrade all my 72 MHz equipment. It had been JR which I really liked, but all the members of the local field were Futaba so that was what I bought (14SG). Now that I’ve retired and moved to a different area, I find that I am practically the only glider pilot in a club that is almost exclusively Spectrum. Given that I’m already ‘by myself’, and willing to put up with the pain of changing TX brands, I recently switched to a Jeti DS-16. My primary reason for changing was due to the form factor and the metal gimbals (versus plastic).

As others have said; there is no ‘best’ radio. All the major brands will work fine, it’s more a question of whether they work fine for your style. Unfortunately, you won’t learn that from the forums

Welcome back! And good luck!
-Keith
May 13, 2019, 02:40 AM
Registered User
scirocco's Avatar
I fly most of my gliders on Futaba 8FG, and non gliders about 1/3 on Futaba and 2/3 on Spektrum DX9. And a few leftovers on Frsky Taranis. So I'm more functionality focussed than brand.
For gliders I like Futaba because they have very small full range relatively economical receivers with just 4 ports: 2 or 3 assignable channels plus 2 or 1 Sbus ports. I then use Frsky or Corona Sbus decoders to run 4 standard servos per decoder, which keeps servo cost within my budget compared to buying Futaba Sbus servos.

I've just come back from an F5J comp where a whole mix of brands was in use flying 4m gliders to near the limits of visibility - no one had range problems.

I think one of the most important things in a radio used for F5J is the ability to handle multiple flight conditions, eg start, normal, thermal, speed, landing. Each condition has its own trim settings, and in the Futaba 8FG and Spektrum Dx9, start can be given priority over any other condition - so hitting my motor switch starts the motor and puts all the control surfaces in launch position, regardless of the position of other condition controls. So an emergency go around from full crow braking to trimmed for full power is just one switch movement.

Telemetry or stability control built into the receiver should not be a consideration if F5J is the main purpose because other than monitoring receiver voltage and signal strength, such features are banned in FAI F5J.
May 13, 2019, 06:18 AM
Jesper Frickmann
jfrickmann's Avatar
On FrSky you can also use other people's programs instead of learning everything from scratch. Here is my SoarOTX F5J program. There is still a learning curve for how to get everything downloaded and installed, but if you read the installation instructions, it's not too hard.

Jesper

P.S. SoarOTX only runs on Taranis and Xlite, transmitters, not Horus.
May 13, 2019, 01:24 PM
Registered User
Speaking from personal experience Frsky offers the most value and powerful programming. Literally you can make your radio do anything but the learning curve is steep. You need to invest a few hours to get it all figured out.

I always recommend Jeti to folks that hate wonky programming. The transmitters are expensive but the receivers are reasonably priced. The programming has a good balance of menu driven features, easy to understand templates, and flexibility. There are free mixes, conditional/logical switches, flexibility of programming, etc. etc. but its all there and does not have to be "created from the ground up."
Last edited by Bmwjoon; May 13, 2019 at 01:32 PM.
May 14, 2019, 08:57 AM
Registered User
Thread OP
Thank you all for your input. This gives me some direction to follow.
May 14, 2019, 04:05 PM
Registered User
Dyno Don's Avatar

Radio Choices


As you have already read ,Lots fo choices out there.
Most all the choices are good, and there is a fine line between "Better" & "Best"
If you are the kind of guy that can easily absorb the instructional manual any one will work just fine for you.
If not,, get something that others can help you set-up and go enjoy yourself flying.
Nothing worst than getting to the field and not being able to a-just your controls and nobody knows your radio either..LOL
Dyno Don
May 17, 2019, 01:22 AM
Have Fun and Just Fly!
l shems's Avatar
Jespers soarOTX templates and scripts are very good and free.

www.justfly.solutions offers yet another solution, but it comes at a small fee.

It offers a GUI for your model setup which turns an opentx radio in a more or less normal radio, without losing it specific advantages.

Guido
May 17, 2019, 07:08 PM
Sagitta Fanboy
I'm an FrSky user for all my Soaring needs, with a Horus X12S and a Taranis X9D+ (the latter with the hall effect gimbal upgrade)

I use Mike Shellim's templates for F3J and F5J type builds, I even have a modified version for RES designs. They are available on rc-soar.com and come with a complete walkthough guide that makes setup a cinch despite the complexity.

I'm a big fan of templates, it's simply not possible on any system to do a simple setup for a 4 servo wing, we expect far too much functionality from our gliders. Templates make this far simpler if they are available. I do suggest Sherman Knight's templates as a starting point for Spektrum users.
May 21, 2019, 11:51 AM
Team Canada F5J, Team Graupner
Jean Dorais's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bmwjoon
Speaking from personal experience Frsky offers the most value and powerful programming. Literally you can make your radio do anything but the learning curve is steep. You need to invest a few hours to get it all figured out.

I always recommend Jeti to folks that hate wonky programming. The transmitters are expensive but the receivers are reasonably priced. The programming has a good balance of menu driven features, easy to understand templates, and flexibility. There are free mixes, conditional/logical switches, flexibility of programming, etc. etc. but its all there and does not have to be "created from the ground up."
As an aside...my recent experience of moving from Futaba (T14-SG)to Jeti (DS-16) has been less than perfect. I have been losing signal on both Rx (main; R9 and satellite R3) at 200-250m distance and Low Q (packets are garbage). Tried multiple R9's and R3's, same issue. This is MY experience with Jeti, not starting a debate on whether they are good or bad, just sharing my experiences so far this season.

I have reverted back to Futaba so I can actually fly without the nagging fear of possibly losing $3000 or more of glider on each launch.

Jean
May 21, 2019, 01:31 PM
Registered User
Jean, I have been flying Jeti DS-16 with REX 7ch receivers no far no incident in Shadow-2 full CF fuse (ALES/F5J style flying). Knock on wood it continues. In fact I did a dumb thing initially & taped the antenna in such a way it blew flat to the fuse & somewhat hidden under the (CF) wing. After seeing the logs I corrected that right away & it immediately went to full strength within my typical eyesight range & now I just check logs once in a while. But I also tend to fly at the same site except for trip to Helena last summer.

However some of the Jeti range/signal issue stories I have been hearing about have not gone unnoticed. I bought into Jeti more for programming & hardware reasons & around that time (2017) the negative experiences seemed about same level or less as one can find about any system. Maybe less but also not as predominant in NAm vs Europe.

I've flown Futaba a couple decades, then JR/Spectrum same period. Got tired of the DSM flavor of the month & then JR / Spektrum separation so thought I'd try something new. I haven't done any firmware updates, last RX was purchased in 2018. I think I have 4 of them running now.

Can you elaborate on your experience. Was it an ordinary installation? Did you return to Jeti for service review? Did the logs look fine & then it would just bug out? Was it a distance thing or maybe low elevation + longer range issue? Do you have a pic of your antenna routing?
May 23, 2019, 05:20 AM
Team Canada F5J, Team Graupner
Jean Dorais's Avatar
I will answer you directly, do not want to hijack this thread.

Jean


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