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Replacement for FF9...


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Hello all,

 

I need some condensed advice...

 

Yesterday I had an incident during a maiden flight. A new model took off OK, and whilst needing some aileron trim, appeared to be flying OK. After 10 seconds and during a gentle left turn, it rolled right and went in. I had no control after the right roll, but when collecting the damaged model, the gear appeared to be working. Amazingly, I got away very lightly and the model is now repaired, but I am understandable twitchy about trying again without knowing the cause.

 

This is not a post-mortem thread, but as I suspect this may be due to a faulty receiver, I realise my gear is old, mismatched and had it had telemetry, I may not be still pondering what happened. (I appreciate that I may still not know, but I could rule out a number of things).

 

So, where I to invest, what should I go for? I'd rather not go with Spectrum. We have happy users at our club, but also unhappy ones, so I'd prefer to steer clear. I currently have an FF9 with a futaba module, and at any one time use 8 or 9 receivers. I'm happy to limit it to that as I have no room for more models than that! I like the FF9 and although it does much of what I want, I can see a number of things I'd make use of in more modern sets.

 

Money is far from unlimited, and receiver cost must be considered. I like the idea of the RX16S, but don't really know which receivers I should match with it that will give me SOME telemetry options. I had heard on here though that it may feel lower quality than my FF9. If so, significantly so, or are there better options? As we all know, going and trying isn't really an option these days, so it will be a case of taking advice, doing some research, and diving off the high board...

 

What do you think? 

 

Just a recap; I'm looking for recommendations for transmitters AND suitable receivers.

 

Go!

 

Graham

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Thanks for the replies gents, but I don't really want to do a post-mortem. 

 

The incident has highlighted the potential benefits of more modern gear, and I have been thinking of upgrading for a while. I'm not upgrading because I suspect a catastrophic failure. It MAY be that one part of the system is or did malfunction, but that's a separate discussion!

 

I'm really more interested in what is out there, and what people are using and enjoying. I'm finding it a minefield to navigate options, receivers, telemetry, non-EU supported protocols etc. I'd ideally like to buy a transmitter, some receivers, learn how to use it, and go fly!

 

Graham

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Hi Graham I had a similar problem with a Ff6 and turned out to be the pot in the tx stick . Maybe be a thought to try Mike ?? at radio model repair shop and have a through check over  or  like you say a new one 

Good luck with a search  just had a thought how about Radiomaster system talked about on this forum

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Radiomaster TX16S is a brilliant piece of kit. Obviously, at this price-point, it doesn't feel as well built as a Futaba (indeed it doesn't feel as nice as a Taranis X9D) but...... it's got 16 channels, the MPM allows you to use pretty much any receiver, it has space for more models than I'll ever need, supports SBUS, and telemetry.  I currently have mine bound to :

 

Old Spektrum DSM2 receivers

Old Spektrum DSMX receivers

Spektrum DSMX SAFE receivers

Orange DSM2 receivers

Parkfly FrSky compatible D8 receivers - about £10 each

FrSky 4 channel receivers - about £20 each

FrSky 6 channel receivers - about £25 each

FrSky 8 channel receivers - about £35 each

Radiomaster 8 channel receivers - £20 each

Futaba S-FHSS receiver on a small indoor heli.

 

Never had an issue with any of these and use prop electric, prop glow, prop petrol, electric edf .

 

It is OpenTX which is a bit of a learning curve (feels like a cliff for a few weeks!), and if you want touch capability of the large bright colour screen, you'll need to change to EdgeTX - I haven't and don't miss touch screen tbh.  And programming it can be done via the very capable Companion PC programme.  There are also a seemingly endless number of YouTube videos to help if needed.

 

I originally bought mine as a backup for my Taranis, but actually prefer it so my Taranis is now the backup! 

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I am currently flying a futaba FF9 on 35mhz and a futaba t8j on fhss 2.4 and a spektrum dx6i for my heli. Both futaba's (and my previous two) have been rock solid and my only complaint about the t8j is its lack of servo slow functionality. 

 

If futaba offered a radio with servo slow with the integral antenna of the 8 and 10j i would buy it. 

 

I personally wouldnt touch any of these new brands of radio like frsky as i simply dont trust them. Everyone jumped on the spektrum bandwagon but they are not without their faults. My dx6 is quite maintenance intensive considering how little i use it. 

 

I have only suffered one radio failure in 30 years of flying futaba gear. When frsky matches that level of reliability i will consider it. until then, not so much. 

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I don't know what you budget will stretch to but have you looked at the frsky X20 with its menu driven operating system (ETHOS) much easier to get a grips with than openTx will have to use the newer Rx's which start at £22 for 4/6 channel rx's . I have the Horus x12s upgraded to access very happy (still on opentx).

The Futaba T10j is about the same price but rx's and telemtry sensors cost more .

both makes have good reliability.

there are others to but it can get a bit confusing

 

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Thanks all, much appreciated:

 

GG: do you use any telemetry and i so which of these receivers support it?

 

Jon; I do agree. I've used Futaba since the 90s and trust it. The problem I have is that my models don't cost a great deal and futaba receivers do! Before everyone wades in, I know false economies when I see them, and that's what I'm trying to avoid. But I can't ignore the bang for buck of the new kids on the block.

 

Flight1; it's all on the table. It's a question of what the different options give me. What protocols does the X20 use please?

 

Ken: Tempted. It appears to offer a lot for the cash, but I have Jon's comments in mind! That shouldn't but does influence. At some point, a new manufacturer is at the start of those 30 fault free years, but...

 

Graham

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Another plus here for the Radiomaster Tx16. I use a Jumper T16 which is similar.

I agree it does not match the quality feel of the Futaba / Spektrum but to get similar systems and features you are looking at the £600 region.

True the programming is different but it is definitely worth the time.

If you have Futaba 2.4GHz receivers that are NOT Faast then chances are they will work with the Radiomaster which means you can change receivers as and when you can afford or have time to change over.

I have now had my transmitter a couple of years in constant heavy use (I fly almost every weekend and both days and evenings when I get the chance in spring - autumn and in most weathers), I have had one radio failure in that time due to a loose receiver antennae.

The RM can use all sorts of receivers so your options are wide open.

What do you want out of telemetry, gyros, channels and what use - electric, IC, gliders?? These will dictate the receiver / components to use.

Edited by Andy Gates
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Graham. I'm another TX16 convert, I bought it a a backup incase my beloved Hitec Aurora 9 ever keels over as they don't make them or a replacement any more. The Radiomaster has so far been excellent and will work most receivers on the market and with telemetry if the Rx supports it. I'm still getting to grips with open tx but I'm getting there having now installed Edge Tx that gives me touch screen.

Although the Tx does not look expensive it actually looks well made inside and the hall effect gimbals are very smooth, lots of switch and knob choices and I prefer touch screen programming.

Recommended.

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Lifelong JR user, like others, never had radio issues, however for a number of years I have had a FRSKY module and FRSKY RXs, as before never a radio issue. Not seen many reported issues either and from the many newcomers adopting newer brands, seeing nothing that would put me off. Would be looking to hold one of the sets before I bought, feel is a big thing for me.

 

Numerous flyers I know have gone for the new brands, plenty of em long time flyers, they know what they're about and ain't short of money, they bought not because of "Cheap" but because the product is Good.

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Thanks Andy, Outrunner.

 

A few testimonials goes a long way. I too fly a lot. Through the summer, i usually get 10-15 flights a week. I know the beating a transmitter gets! My recent issue may or may not be due to a dubious FrSky receiver (I'm not going to point any fingers), but my FF9 has been rock solid. Sadly, my receivers ARE FASST as it's the only genuine futaba module for the FF9. No matter though; time for a change anyway.

 

Regarding my usage, I generally use 5-7 channels maybe 8. Like Jon, i'd love servo slowing, but otherwise I'd like to make use of flight modes, 3 rates, some voice reminders so I can remember which rates i prefer on which model... Regarding telemetry, I really only NEED battery voltage, but RSSI makes sense.

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3 hours ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

I am currently flying a futaba FF9 on 35mhz and a futaba t8j on fhss 2.4 and a spektrum dx6i for my heli. Both futaba's (and my previous two) have been rock solid and my only complaint about the t8j is its lack of servo slow functionality. 

 

If futaba offered a radio with servo slow with the integral antenna of the 8 and 10j i would buy it. 

 

I personally wouldnt touch any of these new brands of radio like frsky as i simply dont trust them. Everyone jumped on the spektrum bandwagon but they are not without their faults. My dx6 is quite maintenance intensive considering how little i use it. 

 

I have only suffered one radio failure in 30 years of flying futaba gear. When frsky matches that level of reliability i will consider it. until then, not so much. 

 

I too have only had one failure - Multiplex.  Had no issues with Futaba, Spektrum, Sanwa, McGregor, JR, Skyleader, FrSky, Radiomaster...........

 

Re usage, now I am retired, I fly most mornings when it's not raining/too windy.  I'll fly a dozen times per day - mainly because I start early and have nobody to talk to most of the time!

Edited by GrumpyGnome
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OK, the RM will cover your requirements plus some.

 

Servo slow and delay easily possible by the Tx, I use this for flap lowering on a Twin Otter and also use both for range check via a logical switch (2 switches in a particular combination to operate a surface at a fixed speed while I walk away from the secured plane with the Tx).

 

Flight modes - 8 available. I use flight modes for my Tx to have rates for the Trainer Tx so I control the rates. It means that as soon as I release the student switch I get the control back with full rates.

With training setup - master carries all the rates, trims, expo so the student is a dumb terminal - it just sends stick positions. This means I am able to switch training machines without having to program each model into the student Tx - I just have one model set as a trainer. I use a FF9CP as a student Tx with a FrSky module fitted.

 

I fly gliders too so I have receivers with altitude sensing which I can call out as well as battery voltages (sometimes I use 2 batteries in a plane and I can call and/or display both packs)

 

With GPS sensor added you can get heights, speed and a route plot via something like Google Earth, helpful to prove flying within boundaries. With training I can use the logging to allow the student to visually see their flight at a later date on their own PC at their leisure.

 

Receives are available with gyro similar to Spektrums AS3X, again programmable.

 

Another feature not mentioned much is a check sheet.

When you power up the Tx it checks the switches are set in preset positions (model defined), then moves onto a check sheet screen where you can add a note for what switches do what or any notes relevant to the model. At this point there is no radio transmission, once cleared of the check sheet the radio goes live.

 

Model numbers are unlimited, they can be catagorised to your whim (mine are IC, electric,gliders, test) and you can add photos of your planes to be displayed as part of the model memory.

 

Receivers can be numbered which prevents flying a model on the wrong model memory (yep done that in the past).

 

I would suggest you download Open Tx companion which will help you get to grips with programming the radio - no purchase necessary.

 

The only downside I can think of is that the sticks are further up the case, which makes it a little uncomfortable to use inside a Tx mit.

 

Sorry to be so wordy.

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Thanks Andy, that's really helpful.

 

I really like the idea of the check sheet. Having notes is really helpful. It helps to know how I prefer to set my rates for take off etc...

 

How do I know which receivers can operate simple telemetry? I just read that some futaba receivers have external battery voltage telemetry built in, but I am suspecting taht most will need some sensor, or at least harness connected to the receiver. Sorry to ask simple questions, but you only know once you know!

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Some of the FrSky receivers have an input (normally A2) which you wire to a +ve supply from the lipo up to 3S.

 

Best way is via a lipo sensor which plugs into the balance cable of the lipo and the S.port of the receiver.

This will give display and /or call of pack voltage but can be set to display individual cell voltages on the Tx screen.

 

FYI sensors can be daisy chained, for instance you can have a lipo sensor connected to the receiver, and a current sensor connected to the lipo sensor.

They can be used to give a virtual sensor (calculated from the V & A sensors) of watt consumption which can be called or displayed.

You could also have a GPS sensor connected to the current sensor.

 

I will give an example I have in use.

 

I have a 8 channel receiver with a vario / height sensor as integral part of the receiver (barometric not GPS) with a lipo sensor and a current sensor in a Pitts biplane.

Height is useful to stop me going over our 400 foot height limit, the lipo sensor to allow me to see how much power I have left. Both results are on a repeating 10 second call, selected on one switch (off, height, battery voltage).

The current sensor I have fitted as the motor / prop combination is capable of pulling 120A but I have only fitted a 60A ESC with a 80A burst capability (it does not need to use 60A). I have set an alarm which sounds at 60 A and a different alarm for 80 A.

 

All the above info together with RSSI, stick positions are recorded by the Tx at 1 second intervals (set by me) during the flight, all telemetry zeroed prior to take off using one of the 6 buttons at the top, throttle cut is on switch C whenever the switch is NOT in the down position, and in the up position the throttle is cut and the telemetry is stopped.

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Another thing I should mention but may not be needed in your setup is that receivers can be daisy chained too, this can give you another 8 channels (16 in total) or can be set up as a second receiver as a satellite to improve reception - never used either function yet.

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5 hours ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

I personally wouldnt touch any of these new brands of radio like frsky as i simply dont trust them. Everyone jumped on the spektrum bandwagon but they are not without their faults. My dx6 is quite maintenance intensive considering how little i use it. 

I've been using FrSky modules, radios and receivers for over 10 years, and all have been reliable, so I'm not sure why you don't trust them. My main Tx I use for flying is a Taranis X9D+. I've been using that for over 7 years and still working fine. Some 'planes are using D8 receivers that are quite a bit older than that.

 

I have about 11 FrSky transmitters (I do firmware development for them and get sent them!). All are working. I would still recommend FrSky, particularly if bought from the UK FrSky dealer (T9HobbySport), as you get the full dealer backup if there are any problems (all radios might have a problem whatever the make). Telemetry sensors are relatively low cost, if required, and are easy to connect.

 

While the RM TX16S uses the multi-protocol module, such modules are available for FrSky radios (even for the X20 if you add erskyTx as a "dual boot" alternative to ETHOS).

 

One important thing about the multi-protocol module (MPM) is there is no manufacturer control of the "unique Identifier" for the Tx. This means more than one MPM could be using the same ID, and any ID used could also clash with the original manufacturer of any protocol being used (except Spektrum as that uses an ID from the RF chip).

From my experience with the MPM (I have 7 I think), the output power when using the CC2500 RF chip (used by FrSky amongst others) is lower than original manufacturers.

 

Mike

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Thanks Mike, good to get another viewpoint.

 

Couple of things;

Unique identifier. I am presuming this is a 'possible' event, not a 'likely and widespread' one? Otherwise this is a potential game killer for MPMs! How real is this possibility? I understand that as a developer, you can't un-know what you've learned, but has this caused a problem, or is it a rare event?

 

Lower output power: Again, what does this mean in real world term?

 

The odd thing is that I don't actually NEED multi-protocols. If there's only one built into a transmitter and I can get receivers for it, that'll do me...

 

I am presuming if FrSky transmitters use openTX, any of the functions in Andy's mails are equally possible? Are they also available with the proprietary OS (ETHOS?)?

 

Final question; what is your Frsky recommended transmitter, and does it have a more 'premium feel' than what I'm hearing of the TX16? 

 

Graham

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I can answer some of those Graham.

 

FrSky will use either OpenTx or their version of it, or their newer stuff will use Ethos as operating systems.

FrSky protocols in use will be ACCST or ACCESS for the newer stuff.

Some of the receivers can be reprogrammed by downloading alternative firmware and reprogramming via connecting the receiver to the Tx.

If you were to buy receivers from the USA, then the firmware would need changing to the EU version - very easy once you are used to it.

 

Yes, I believe that FrSky units will be able to do all the above things I have mentioned as long as the hardware is there.

 

I did try a Taranis X9D Plus prior to my Jumper purchase, while the quality did feel more like a FF9 - for some reason it did not seem to sit right in my hands - probably a personal issue.

 

Lower output power has not effected any of my flying yet. I have had a glider up to 2500 feet (almost specked out) without issues. I doubt if many people will be flying at the reported 1km range without visual or orientation issues.

 

For me, the MPM gives me the choice to use other receivers, I am not tied to one manufacturer.

If FrSky were to go bust for instance, I can still use other receivers.

Lets face it, right now it is an uncertain world.

Most model shops in my area are gone, so are some of the big chains I was so used to seeing on the High Street.

 

Closer to the subject, Hitec I believe have now stopped making transmitters but still make receivers (yes MPM supports them too).

Futaba (non FAAST), Lemon, Orange, Spektrum, Jeti I believe can all be used so there is a degree of future proofing in the MPM.

 

I am not trying to sway you here, just giving you my personal reasoning.

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11 minutes ago, Andy Gates said:

.............................

Closer to the subject, Hitec I believe have now stopped making transmitters but still make receivers (yes MPM supports them too).

Futaba (non FAAST), Lemon, Orange, Spektrum, Jeti I believe can all be used so there is a degree of future proofing in the MPM.

........................

I don't think Jeti is supported by MPM. I can't see it on the list of supported protocols anyway.

 

Dick

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Here is the latest list... DIY-Multiprotocol-TX-Module/Protocols_Details.md at master · pascallanger/DIY-Multiprotocol-TX-Module · GitHub

 

You asked earlier about telemetry sensors. I only use this lightly - a number of my receivers will provide built-in telemetry of the receiver packs, and I have a couple of LiPo voltage sensors providing real time pack information - better than just a timer.  Plus a number also provide signal strength info.

 

You also mentioned checklists.  As well as the functions mentioned above, you can add voice alerts to anything you want so all me models are set up to check switches when switched on, and once they pass this initial test, the transmitter calls out the relevant information, e.g. "flaps up", "undercarriage down" etc.  I also have these voice commands on a momentary switch so flicking that tells me all the info I need.

 

You also have the ability to mix just about any channel with anything, including telemetry values in fact, if you can think of it, OpenTX will be able to do it.

 

The vast amount of this functionality is provided by OpenTX so is available on many transmitters. 

 

I chose the Radiomaster over, for example the Jumper equivalent, as I found less negative reviews and comments.  And you can't beat the value for money.

 

In the year I've had mine, I've had over 1000 flights on planes and helis, with absolutely zero issues, so don't dismiss them just because they are new and cheap.

 

More expensive options are available, but often use a proprietary version of OpenTX, or the 'next gen' ETHOS.  There is a smaller user base, and slightly less support, but don't let that put you off. 

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