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Replacement for FF9...


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  • 4 months later...

Update:

A brand spank-me new TX16 mk2 with the fancy CNC gimbals arrived today.

 

First impressions:

  • It feels decent quality. It doesn't seem a cheap option after a vintage albeit high end in its day, Futaba.
  • The switches feel good
  • I like the operating system. Once I'd got some basics under my belt by watching a tutorial, it seems pretty logical. I actually think it's simplified what is inevitably a complicated situation and there is a lot of logic to the inputs/ mixers/ outputs strategy.
  • I also like the global settings so I can easily set things like a volume control and the voice alerts for the rates switches.

It's certainly nothing like as intimidating as I may have been led to believe. It is a step up in complexity from an old Futaba, but by no means beyond anyone with a bit of patience and an open mind.

 

So far, so good. I shall report when I have been to the coal face, so to speak...

 

Thanks to everyone for their helpful advice and comments. And particular help to Mike at HobbyRC for his helpful and impartial advice.

 

Graham

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Good choice. 

 

Assuming it's loaded with OpenTX, once you have your head around it, you may want to upgrade it to EdgeTX and liberate touch-screen capability, amongst other things. Painless exercise if you don't have dozens of models on the Tx.....

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2 hours ago, GrumpyGnome said:

Good choice. 

 

Assuming it's loaded with OpenTX, once you have your head around it, you may want to upgrade it to EdgeTX and liberate touch-screen capability, amongst other things. Painless exercise if you don't have dozens of models on the Tx.....

My understanding is that the latest Radiomaster TX16s Mk11 comes with EdgeTx already on it. ?

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It does indeed.

 

Big advantage of the touch screen is you get a virtual keyboard so entering model names is not the laborious task it is with a scroll wheel.

 

I have set up my Regianne RE2005 which is a full chips and rice model with retracts and flaps. Nothing too difficult. I love the inclusion of servo delays and slowing. Perfect on the flaps, and can be set to be slower down than up.

 

I've set up global conditions for my standard switch plan, so each model set up is now easy. I'll make a few templates for sports models and warbirds and that will speed up set up no end.

 

The little things are often the things you notice. As I have poor reading vision, the usual way to check my flight timer is to hold the transmitter high so it's in line with my model, and then squint under my specs and hope I manage to focus before I hit something! Now I have set up the momentary switch to read out the remaining time. Why didn't we think of this before?

 

?

 

One slight issue is the throttle stick is set to smooth resistance, which is OK, but the resistance is not enough to stop the stick creeping downwards. I think it's an easy fix but does mean I have to open the case. Everything else on the new CNC gimbals is adjustable from the front...

 

Graham

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8 hours ago, Graham Davies 3 said:

I have that too, but I like to know where I am in the timer cycle. It's a comfort blanket thing...

That's a good idea, for when I miss the automatic countdown, being on a switch will be a comfort as at present if I start thinking (worrying) about the timer then my flying skills drop, and the landings turn into hasty arrivals. 

 

Steve

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27 minutes ago, GrumpyGnome said:

I have a callout at each minute; plus the 'current' value on a momentary switch....

Similar, I have beeps each minute and call out on the momentary switch.

 

Only problem is it takes the old girl in my TX a fair while to read out the time! Minutes have passed before she's finished. I suspect she'd been hitting the Gin...

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On 17/01/2022 at 17:37, 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 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 just noticed this rather "interesting" post which I didn't pick up when this thread originally surfaced! Reading it I couldn't help wondering...

  • When is a brand no longer "new" in your mind Jon? Frsky have been going for 12 years and (though there have been a few hiccups along the way, as with every brand since 2.4GHz came into use) have got an excellent reputation for reliability. Indeed the inbuilt (and extremely affordable) telemetry saved a number of my models in my early days with 2.4, as it identified sub-optimal antenna placements I had used when I was mistakenly applying the same thinking as with 35MHz. Had I been using Futaba I would have crashed those models as they would not have had RSSI telemetry onboard.
  • Futaba themselves made a pretty nasty mistake in 2008/9 where FASST TXs were going out the door with the same 0000000 GUID (see post 387), meaning they could interfere with any other Futaba TX with the same issue.
  • Did you not break your own rule in buying the DX6? Spektrum have definitely not been around 30 years!
  • Had Futaba been around 30 years when you started using them? I believe they began producing hobby RC sets in the early 60s, so it must have been rather close...?

 

Edited by MattyB
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When is a brand no longer new..that is a good question and to be fair i do not have an answer. As for the rest, i still fly futaba 35mhz on some models and the rest are futaba fhss. Swapping the rx's on converted models was a 2 minute swap with next to no thought given to the antenna placement. 90 degrees apart, 2 plastic straws as guides and it was job done. I have never had a problem and consider all the telemetry stuff as, mostly, useless fluff that distracts the pilot. Knowing rx voltage is handy though but i have made it 30 years without it. I have also seen the various issues some have had with it and the rnd seems incomplete. 

 

i remember the exchange program for 6ex's as i was working for slough rc at the time. A bit of a mess to be sure but as you say, each manufacturer gets it wrong from time to time and it is hardly a pattern. 

 

My dx6i came with a blade helicopter i bought. Using it has only reinforced my views. Its nowhere near as reliable as i would like. 

 

How old do you think i am?? i was only born in 1985. There are Laser engines that are older than i am! Anyway my Dad used futaba (6 channel challenger) and i inherited it once he upgraded to an FF6. I used it for a long while and then also upgraded to an FF6. The casing on that eventually fell apart as i kept dropping it, so i got an FF9 2nd hand at a blackbushe show, and then an 8j new. All of these radios still work and having only suffered one radio failure (mechanical failure of an RX) in that entire time i have great confidence in them. My Dx6i..ehh not so much. 

 

While i am sure my assessment is mostly subjective and lacks factual data, the data that would be needed to make an accurate reliability assessment is not available. Given that i will stick to a brand i have known all the way through my flying career as it has never let me down. 

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I think both these positions are valid, and are options because we have the luxury of choice.

 

Jon, I can totally understand your position. If it ain't broke, etc. But also you've had years of reinforcing experiences to firm up your confidence. I too came from a Futaba (challenger, then FF7 and finally FF9 with the futaba 2.4GHz module) route and remember viewing Hitec with the same suspicion back in the 80s. 

 

However, things change. The Futaba transmitter was fine, it was the receivers that caused me bigger issues, and some were self inflicted and therefore should not influence anyone else's position. Basically, I had to stop trying to save money because it was costing me a fortune!

 

Second hand Receivers. Not a wise idea. In fairness, I am not sure any of the problems I've had were definitely the receiver's fault

Unbranded receivers. One that you can't set the failsafe on (or at least not that I can tell), and one that has random jitters on one channel...

 

Cheap ESCs. The ESCs are OK, the BECs are not... I'm quite sure this has resulted in several incidents.

 

So I've created for myself a chain of uncertainty, and that erodes your confidence.

 

I had two choices, buy a load of new, DECENT flight packs, or start again. Given the cost of genuine Futaba FASST receivers, I decided to start again. 

 

Whilst we don't NEED the extra features in more modern gear, and for some they will certainly be an unwelcome distraction, progress does provide options. After all, we don't NEED electric windows in our cars (never mind all the other trinkets), but do you really want to wind your own windows? ?

 

For me though the biggest issue was trying to find out if any of the new gear would suit me. My club is tiny and therefore there are limited chances to see the gear in action, my local model shop has no real choice and there is a limited trade attendance at the few shows I can get to! I therefore had to jump off the high board and find out if I floated...

 

Thanks to the helpful advice from everyone on here, so far so good, and with the lessons learned above I can feel confidence returning.

 

Graham

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23 minutes ago, Graham Davies 3 said:

For me though the biggest issue was trying to find out if any of the new gear would suit me. My club is tiny and therefore there are limited chances to see the gear in action, my local model shop has no real choice and there is a limited trade attendance at the few shows I can get to! I therefore had to jump off the high board and find out if I floated...

 

Sadly that's exactly the same position I was in.  In my previous club, Futaba was pretty universal but out of my budget.  In my current club, Spektrum is far and away the most popular - and will likely remain so as it enables easy buddy boxing! Also probably impacted by the attitude to any other brand...."Spektrum is the best - the rest are rubbish".  I just don't like the way they seem to have moved up-market (i.e. increased cost!) and are becoming very Apple-like in wanting to lock you into an entire Horizon Hobby world.

 

So, I've only ever handled three radios before I bought them:

  • McGregor single channel
  • McGregor three channel
  • Skyleader 4 channel.

All the others (about a dozen) have been bought mail order (using old fashioned telephony) or on t'internet. Haven't hated any of them tbh......

 

I doubt I use more than 10% of my Radiomaster's capabilities, but all that capability is there if I want to invest the time. And, it's not difficult to learn the basics, whatever the scare stories.

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1 hour ago, GrumpyGnome said:

I doubt I use more than 10% of my Radiomaster's capabilities, but all that capability is there if I want to invest the time. And, it's not difficult to learn the basics, whatever the scare stories.

Totally agree GG. I set up my regianne yesterday and somehow managed to copy a basic 4channel model over the top of it and wipe the lot out! It took me about 5 minutes to restore it, so it's hardly a difficult operating system. 

 

But it is indeed immensely powerful. I now have slowly operating flaps. Can't do that with the old FF9!

 

I particularly like the checklist. Previously I had to remember which rates I preferred with which models. I know I could set them all to preferred rates in low, but it's unnecessary faff. The checklist lets me decide on the starting switch positions, and the transmitter will remind me if anything is in the wrong place. Marvellous...

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There is one point i should clarify. 

 

My concern regarding reliability stems in no small part from the models i generally fly. They are either kit built scale or heavily modified YT models that are both very costly to replace and/or represent a year or more of effort to build if lost to a failure. There is also the fact that i do not want a 10kg 80+inch warbird falling on someone due to a mechanical problem. I think it would be a bad day for all should that happen so i choose to go a route that i believe will guarantee me the reliability i need and not take chances on unknown products. 

 

Graham your points about cheap ESC's and other accessories also feed my distrust. If its cheap, i have to ask why. What is missing? what didnt you do? This also stems from my other interests like pc gaming. Yes all the gear comes from china, but cheap computer power supplies?...no. £30 vs £80 for a unit with the 'same' specs is tempting, but if the ripple voltage is whack or the cooling no good you risk frying your entire machine. Especially as they often lie about the specs on the label. 

 

As for the price of futaba, they did shoot themselves in the foot a little with faast as it was more expensive. It was a more capable technology, but more costly to make. fhss redressed that somewhat and i do not think that £45 for an 8ch rx is a bad deal. I think 8ch 35mhz PCM rx's were about £70? and that was 15-20 years ago. I know rx's are more now, but everything is. I am more annoyed they dropped the 148 as its pushed the futaba cheap servo price up by 50%. Yes its better than the 148 in terms of spec, but a tutor 40 or a cub hardly needs a digital servo and more torque than the 148 so its not actually better, just more expensive. They also stopped making their HD switch and that really has me miffed as i am yet to find a suitable replacement. 

 

 

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19 minutes ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

i do not want a 10kg 80+inch warbird falling on someone due to a mechanical problem.

 

Somewhat sure the most recent fatality in the UK was involving a popular sport mode with a 0.40 up front, and a stray pedestrian - not that that detail alters your point.

 

21 minutes ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

They also stopped making their HD switch and that really has me miffed as i am yet to find a suitable replacement. 

 

I haven't found a decent pre-rolled switch either. That said:

 

https://uk.rs-online.com/web/p/slide-switches/1759703

 

Ten minute solder job to attach one and a half extension leads. Pot the result with a hot melt glue gun.

 

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Nigel,

That's the one that Phil Green recommends and I  have used but it does require good quality soldering and stress reliving of the wiring.

It has, though, been criticised by those who would read the full specification and say it's not exactly right for R/C use but it has been proved by experience to work.

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1 hour ago, Jon - Laser Engines said:

Graham your points about cheap ESC's and other accessories also feed my distrust. If its cheap, i have to ask why. What is missing? what didnt you do? This also stems from my other interests like pc gaming. Yes all the gear comes from china, but cheap computer power supplies?...no. £30 vs £80 for a unit with the 'same' specs is tempting, but if the ripple voltage is whack or the cooling no good you risk frying your entire machine. Especially as they often lie about the specs on the label. 

Totally agree Jon. We're our own worse enemy sometimes, and I'm placing myself firmly in that category.

 

We seek false economies, and it can be very costly. Sadly, it took me a while to learn that lesson...

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15 minutes ago, Andy Stephenson said:

been criticised by those who would read the full specification

 

Done to death before on the forum... my position is that the switch is more than adequate for our needs.

 

Continuous current rating is decent; DC break current is irrelevant (we never switch an active high current load).

 

Not sure the critics understood the difference.

 

18 minutes ago, Andy Stephenson said:

it does require good quality soldering and stress reliving of the wiring.

 

I cannot disagree with that.

 

 

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On 16/06/2022 at 11:31, Jon - Laser Engines said:

When is a brand no longer new..that is a good question and to be fair i do not have an answer. As for the rest, i still fly futaba 35mhz on some models and the rest are futaba fhss. Swapping the rx's on converted models was a 2 minute swap with next to no thought given to the antenna placement. 90 degrees apart, 2 plastic straws as guides and it was job done. I have never had a problem and consider all the telemetry stuff as, mostly, useless fluff that distracts the pilot. Knowing rx voltage is handy though but i have made it 30 years without it. I have also seen the various issues some have had with it and the rnd seems incomplete. 

 

If you fly large conventionally constructed models as you do then yes, RX installation is generally not too difficult or critical. However, that isn't the case if you fly composite models, especially if they have tight installs such as on moulded gliders. In this case telemetry is super useful for evaluating your RF setup. Swapping RX packs is often not that easy and we often fly in the cold on the slope, so knowing battery SOC is also extremely useful. Finally RSSI is also brilliant if you land out with a glider and you can't actually see it - just stick in range check mode and use the RSSI to guide you to the model. None of this is distracting either - it jsut sits there doing it's thing unless signal strength or battery voltage gets low for any reason. It is massively useful though - on my Sebart Miss Wind it saved the model, telling me when an ESC BEC had failed and I was running on the backup power in real time. That's a £600+ saving right there in one flight! 

 

TBH I don't really understand your final comment about R&D; I have literally never seen anyone having any issue with telemetry beyond getting the TX setup initially to interpret the data, which yes can be a little fiddly the very first time you do it. Certainly my Frsky telemetry is fit and forget after intial sensor discovery, and all the users of Jeti and Spektrum that I know say the same too. Never seen anyone on Futaba using telemetry, but I think I know why that is... £££!

 

On 16/06/2022 at 14:34, Jon - Laser Engines said:

My concern regarding reliability stems in no small part from the models i generally fly. They are either kit built scale or heavily modified YT models that are both very costly to replace and/or represent a year or more of effort to build if lost to a failure. There is also the fact that i do not want a 10kg 80+inch warbird falling on someone due to a mechanical problem. I think it would be a bad day for all should that happen so i choose to go a route that i believe will guarantee me the reliability i need and not take chances on unknown products. 

 

OK, but there is a big difference between "Unknown" products and "Unknown to me" products. Whilst I don't disagree that Futaba has a great reputation for reliability so do lots of manufacturers now, and they offer a lot more functionality for less money. Frsky have been available for over 12 years; I have personally been flying them for 10 and have never had an RF failure (one RX did report errant telemetry alarms at medium range in a range test, but was from a known faulty batch and was replaced quibble free by T9 under warranty). From my view there would be more risk to going to Futaba or Spektrum at this point as I couldn't afford to kit all my models out with telemetry as std (all but my tiniest parkflyers are at this point).

 

On 16/06/2022 at 14:34, Jon - Laser Engines said:

Graham your points about cheap ESC's and other accessories also feed my distrust. If its cheap, i have to ask why. What is missing? what didnt you do? This also stems from my other interests like pc gaming. Yes all the gear comes from china, but cheap computer power supplies?...no. £30 vs £80 for a unit with the 'same' specs is tempting, but if the ripple voltage is whack or the cooling no good you risk frying your entire machine. Especially as they often lie about the specs on the label. 

 

True, but don't forget by far the dominant reason that brands like Frsky and Radiomaster are cheaper is because they don't do conventional marketing or have a network of distributors all taking their cut. They also haven't had to develop their own transmitter firmware either if they've gone the open sourced (OpenTX/ERSkyTX/EdgeTX) route (though frsky are moving away from this having develped and released their new range based on the ETHOS OS).

 

As a result if you look at the low end TX from Futaba like the 6K and compare it to a similarly priced Frsky QX7 or similar the perceived quality of the case, switches etc seems better to me on the Frsky - put simply a higher percentage of the sticker price is in the physicals of the device. Obviously high end Futabas remain very good in terms of physical quality, but then at those prices they should be - if I was paying that much I'd be going Core or Jeti, as they develop features far more quickly and the software is definitely more flexible.

 

On 16/06/2022 at 14:34, Jon - Laser Engines said:

As for the price of futaba, they did shoot themselves in the foot a little with faast as it was more expensive. It was a more capable technology, but more costly to make. fhss redressed that somewhat and i do not think that £45 for an 8ch rx is a bad deal.

 

If it had telemetry as std I'd agree, but from what I can see they don't, and telemetry accessories are eywatering - £160 for a vario, no thanks!! I have 4 Frsky varios from memory, all still working (one of them must be ~8 years old), and I doubt they came to £100 in total...

Edited by MattyB
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19 minutes ago, MattyB said:

Certainly my Frsky telemetry is fit and forget after intial sensor discovery, and all the users of Jeti and Spektrum that I know say the same too

 

Spektrum telemetry just works IME. Their basic 4 & 6 channel RX now comes with basic signal & RX voltage telemetry, and the mid price 6 channel has a vario. Up to the user to set alarms, but that is not a complex process.

 

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i edited my post too much and so my ' I have also seen the various issues some have had with it and the rnd seems incomplete. ' comment is out of context. It relates to things like Ron's 3 lost models due to the rx not playing well with a cdi unit. They knew it was a problem as the same rx now carries a warning, but it didnt when originally sold and it should never have been a problem in the first place as they should have tested it properly. Also more effort should have been made to recall or replace the defective units, or at least alert owners of the problem. the BMFA could have issued a warning very easily to cover its members had they been told about the problem. Futaba at least held up their hands and admitted they got it wrong with the zero code tx issue. Yes they should have had better factory procedures to prevent such a problem, but they fixed it as quickly as possible and without long delays for customers. We just took back the old tx and gave them a new one. 

 

As a side note, is there a mechanism to issue important notes regarding equipment problems? In full size world the CAA or FAA or similar can issue an airworthiness directive or service bulletin to inform operators of a problem with a given aircraft, a given engine or engine family, a change in a maintenance schedule etc. They then have a set time to comply depending on the severity of the problem. If the BMFA do not have a procedure like this where manufacturers can inform them of an issue so it is broadcast to everyone then that would be very helpful and i am sure would prevent crashes.  

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