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Which entry level computer radio?

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Old 03-11-2002, 03:16 PM
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PieGuy-RCU
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

I'm looking to step up into a computer radio. (I'm using a hitec 4 chanel now
) I don't want to spend a ton of money. I started looking at the Hitec flash 5 for $165.00 that's what got me started looking. I'm also looking at Airtronics sport $229.00, Jr 631 $204.00, Jr 652 $254.00 and Futaba 6xas $229.00. For the $ the Flash has what I need for now. Any body had any problems with any of these radios? Thanks
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Old 03-11-2002, 05:00 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

The Flash 5x is a great radio. I highly recommend.
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Old 03-11-2002, 06:36 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

I got one and I love it.

Excelent bang for the buck. If you're into Sunday/Sport type flying it can't be beat. If you plan on getting into scale or warbirds you'll need at least six channels and the Flash 5x might not be the right one.

Take your time here and think of where you're headed in the hobby. Buy the radio that fits your long range plans and you'll be happier in the long run. This is sort of like that commercial; Pay me now or pay me later....
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Old 03-11-2002, 07:26 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

The Flash 5 also has a three position retract switch so you could couple it with flaps using a Y harness. Sorta like have a sixth channel.
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Old 03-11-2002, 07:45 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

For around a $100 more you can get the Eclispe 7 without the spectra Module but with a single module and then purchase the spectra at a later date.

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Old 03-11-2002, 11:21 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

I've had a Flash 5 for over a year now. It came with422 servos and a 555 receiver. I have it set up for four aircraft now, a .25 powered NotForSale, an FMA Razor, A Wattage Impress and a Great Planes Slowpoke. I like the digital trims and the radio is a quality set. I have two Prisms also but the Flash seems to be a better radio. I'm thinking of getting another. It's not difficult to program.
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Old 03-12-2002, 12:45 AM
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Default Computer radio

You might also take a look at the Multiplex Cockpit MM, 7 channels, 11 readymade mixers, dual rates, digital trims, expo.
Sell s for $229.-
I know it's off the beaten track, but maybe you want to look at it : www.multiplexrc.com/tx_cockpit.htm

Michael
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Old 03-12-2002, 04:33 AM
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uciflylow
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

My vote goes to the new JR662. After I descovered expo. I can't live with out it.
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Old 03-12-2002, 04:42 AM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

One of the reasons I went to the Hitec radios was the expo control. I fly a lot of small .25 powered models and electrics and they're too twitchy without it. I don't use dual rates. I have elevons set up on my Razor and the Flash makes it easy.
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Old 03-12-2002, 02:04 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

uciflylow
What is expo?
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Old 03-12-2002, 02:32 PM
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Default Expo

Exponential control means that the movement of the control surfaces is not directly proportional to the movement of the control stick. On the contrary, without expo, the control surface moves as much as the stick, i.e. when you move the stick halfway through its travel, the control surface will do the same. With expo, which usually is adjustable from 0-100 %, you can adjust this so that for example during the first 50% of control stick movement you get only 25% control surface movement, and the other 75% in the rest of the stick travel.
Expo is often used on models which are sensitive to control inputs, to smoothen out the flying, without having to make very small stick movements.

Hope I didn't confuse you too much...

Michael
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:12 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

Look for something with expo, and a timer. Not all computer 6s are created equal with regards to those 2 things. Easy of programing is important too. If it's easy to switch things around, you're more likely to try new ideas. Right out at the field, without digging a manual out. How it fits in your hand is something to consider too.

Your best bet is to visit a local shop and give them all a try. Play around, and see which works best for you. For me, it was an Airtronics RD6000. Awsome radio, and much more versatile than the others. At the time, it was the only one with a 5-point pitch/throttle curve. The others only had 3.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:21 PM
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uciflylow
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

Like MTT said! It let's you take something like a fun fly plane where the alerons move 2 inches each way, the elevator 1 1/2 inch. Set the radio up regular and you will be darthing around the sky! Just touch the stick and bam to the left and bam to the right bobing up and down at each breath of your finger! Change to dual rates, on low rates the plane flys great but you don't have full deflection of your flight surfaces. You have to remember to flip swithces on and off.
Enter EXPO. now you can have a smooth flying plane around the middle of the sticks, no swithces to flip and you always have full deflection on the flight surfaces at extreem stick movement.
The only planes I use dual rates on any more are planes that I want to fly easy on landing, read here Planes That Snap at too much elevator. I just use low rates to land and then I don't have to worry about slowing down too much on landing.
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Old 03-12-2002, 03:49 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

The Flash 5x accommodates everything mentioned so far.
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Old 03-12-2002, 05:34 PM
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Default Expo and dual rate

@uciflylow : I agree with you about dual and expo. I always found it a bit contradictonary, having both on a radio, although lots of them have both, like the MPX Cockpit and the mc 3030.
I figure that when having expo available, you really don't need dual rates. With your expo set up correctly, all you need is move the stick more to get those big deflections, and as long as you don't yank on the stick, you have the reduced throws, according to how much expo you dialed in.

Michael

P.S. The Multiplex Cockpit also accomodates everything mentioned so far, expo, dual rates, servo reversing and mid point adjustment, and if I remember correctly, it has 2 timers.
It also has digital trims, although these are controversial.
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Old 03-12-2002, 05:49 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

What is the price tag on the Multiplex?
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Old 03-12-2002, 05:49 PM
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Default Take a look at the Futaba 6XAS...

I am partial to the Futaba 6XAS - with exponential AND dual rates on rudder, as well as ailerons and elevator, it's worth looking into...

Does the new 662 have the dual rates/expo on rudder? I know the 652 didn't - bought one, sold it immediately just for that reason....

Dual rates on rudder are great, with a tail-dragger, for take-offs, and I use both the expo AND dual rates on the rudder...makes life a lot easier on me...
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Old 03-12-2002, 07:26 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

@sawyer692: The MPX Cockpit MM starts at from $229.- for the TX only. In Germany you can buy it with only 4 channels, but here in the US they sell only the fully expanded (7channels) version.

See it at www.multiplexrc.com/tx_cockpit.htm

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Old 03-13-2002, 09:28 AM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

MTT – There are reasons why the Tx offers both dual rates and expo. Although it looks like they do much the same job, if you push the Tx to earn its keep and make life easier for you then d/r and expo are used to do very different jobs hence the need for both. Obviously expo is a rate switch at partial stick movement, and though a rate switch operates through all movement it is best used as if it is a rate at full stick only. Now we can see that expo and d/r offer rates at opposite ends of the stick movement.

For example, when doing complicated rolling manoeuvres such as slow rolls, rolling circles and rolling loops, it is unbelievably difficult to hold in a constant small amount of aileron while also moving the elevator fore and aft and trying to think about the rudder as well. So you set the rate switch to let you move the aileron right over to the end stop and hold it there and then that thumb only has to think about the elevator. You can’t use expo for this. Therefore treat the d/r switch as a way of controlling full stick deflection rather than a way of softening the neutral and entire stick movement. You could use ele d/r to give the correct size loop at full deflection and then back to high rate for the spin at full stick deflection, this makes your manoeuvres more consistent than trying to adjust your thumb position each time as you go along, which you would have to do if using expo.

Expo allows you to tame a wild fun-fly for the few seconds that you need level flight, without having to switch rates in and out. When hovering (or trying to hover!) or do some other 3d manouvers, over-controlling is a major problem so expo helps smooth it out while still keeping full movement for those odd moments when you do need massive amounts of rudder or ele to catch the model from drifting too far out of shape. If you are flying pattern aerobatics, it allows you to keep full movement during manoeuvres yet have a desensitised neutral so that during the turnaround or a loop for instance, you can make very gentle and subtle alterations to heading or alignment without the model obviously twitching. Clearly you can’t be switching rates on and off all the time in these circumstances.

I would advise against the Futaba 6, it was the first one of this bunch to be made and was great then (years ago) but each new one that came out from JR then Airtronics and finally Mpx was much better. I have owned the Futaba and JR, and I would not touch the Futaba now. The Mpx Cockpit should be the winner by a long, long way, but it has one thing missing which I think is a fatal flaw – it has no freely definable mixers. I have never used a pre-defined mixer but used the free ones all the time especially to make knife edge mixes, throttle/rudder mixes, loop tracking mixes and so on. If you are going to spend money on a computer Tx, do not save a few $ and end up with the lowest spec because within 2 years you will have hit its limits and have to spend money all over again to get a better Tx.

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Old 03-13-2002, 12:43 PM
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Default DR anf Expo

@HarryC : Your explanation about DR and Expo makes sense, hadn't thought about it that way !
And I agree with you about the Cockpits drawback being the lack of user definable mixers, although for me the reason for switching from the Cockpit to the 3030 was the lack of the crow mixer and the number of channels available. (I fly full house sailplanes )

Michael
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Old 03-13-2002, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Which entry level computer radio?

Originally posted by PieGuy
I'm looking to step up into a computer radio. (I'm using a hitec 4 chanel now
) I don't want to spend a ton of money. I started looking at the Hitec flash 5 for $165.00 that's what got me started looking. I'm also looking at Airtronics sport $229.00, Jr 631 $204.00, Jr 652 $254.00 and Futaba 6xas $229.00. For the $ the Flash has what I need for now. Any body had any problems with any of these radios? Thanks
Let's see.

I have one of the old Flash 5 radios (not the 5X!) - I use it as a Futaba trainer box. This is the two-model-memory version with digital trims. It works well enough, but I have two peeves with it.
- 1. Mixes cannot be switched; they are either on or off for the entire flight.
- 2. The radio does not automatically store your trim changes; you have to remember to store them before you switch the radio off.
Hopefully they have addressed these items with the 5X.


JR 631 - I had one of these back when they called the 622; this was my first computer radio. Feature set is identical to the old radio except for 1 extra model memory and the replacement of the horrid (!) buttons they used on the front panel.

JR 652 - Also strongly related to the old 622. It still has those sealed buttons under the front panel. JR has discontinued it - replaced by the 662. Similar radio with digital trims and different buttons on the front panel.

Futaba 6XAS - One of the fellows I fly with has one of these. Its a fine radio. It seems to me to be a bit non-intuitive regarding programming (i may be biased here as I'm used to JR's way of doing things). One *real* issue I have with it - models are identified by number, not by name. If you have a few planes its too easy to forget which model is what number.

Airtronics RD6000 sport - I have no personal experience with this radio, but I've read quite a bit about it. It certainly is the price/feature leader! Beginning heli pilots seem to like this one (and the Super) a lot as it gives a lot of the features found on 8-channel radios for less cost. One other thing thats nice is the fact that you can switch between PPM and PPM-inverted - you'll be able to use your existing receivers.

One thing I have to mention - have you considered picking up an 8-channel radio from the swapshop? Yes, a used one. I've seen several JR 8103 transmitters sold for $220 or less in recent days. You may not get servos or receivers up front, but you generally won't find yourself wanting (or needing) to upgrade radios again in a year. Also, if you're looking at the higher-end gear you generally aren't going to get someone's abused junk.

The last "new" radio I bought was the first radio I bought! An Airt VG6. Every radio since that one I have bought used. The only bad one I got this way was an old Fut 5-ch box I bought for training purposes; all the others have been fine.

In order of purchase (used):
  • JR Century VII - still have it! On loan to a neighbor for use with his R/C flight sim.
  • JR 622 - sold it to one of my students.
  • JR 347 - died of corrosion while in storage!
  • JR PCM-10 - sold to a modeler in FL.
  • JR 8103 - sold to a local modeler.
  • JR 10sx2 (aero) - sold to a modeler in MI.
  • JR F400EX (buddy box)
  • JR 10sx2 (heli) - sold to a modeler in NY.
  • ancient Futaba 5-channel (for training... was screwed up. gave it away as a parts spare 'cos it only cost me $20 bucks )
  • Hitec Flash 5 (buddy box)
  • JR 8103DT - sold to a modeler in IN.
  • JR 421EX (came with a plane) - still have it!
  • Airt. Stylus (for my sailplanes)
  • 10X (heli)
  • 10X (aero)

(BTW - those are radios I've had over a 14-year period)
Save some $$, gain a bunch of capability.
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:03 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

Hello PieGuy, well I am thinking of getting a better Tx also.I am not ready for all the bells and whistles, however the Hitec/RCD Eclipse 7 Ch.
FM Tx w/spectra Module goes for 229.99. I called Hitec and they state that with the Spectra Module I would be able to dial in any of the 50 CH. 72 Mhz Freq. & by changing the Rx's xtal I would be able to go ahead and fly. Also it is capable of either FM/PPM & PCM selectable. and it will use any FM Rx from Hitec/Futaba/Airtronics & JR. That got my attention cause if you find a good deal on any of these Rx the transmitter can dial it in.
Hope they gave me the straight scoop. Maybe someone else has more info on this Tx.

Good luck to both of us.

Lakeviewjim
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Old 03-13-2002, 03:51 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

Originally posted by HarryC

I would advise against the Futaba 6, it was the first one of this bunch to be made and was great then (years ago) but each new one that came out from JR then Airtronics and finally Mpx was much better.Harry
Just Harry's opinion, of course - the Futaba has a long history of making better and better products - they werre the innovative ones with the 7UA's, and the 9VA's, that everyone copied, rather poorly at first. Now the Jr 10's and Futaba 9Z's run in stiff competition, there's a very affordable Futaba 9C out now, that's great, and people are standing in line to buy one, so the 8UA'S can be found 2nd-hand, for a very reasonable price, and you can still find a HUGE amount of 7UA's for sale out there, and they till fetch a good price...

Everyone at our field was flying JR when I got back into the hobby after 4 years layoff...so I bought a JR 652...in MY opinion, not the radio that the 6XA is, and got rid of it immediately, so you see, it swings both ways..

go to your flying field, and ask the better pilots, that fly 'puter radios (don't bother with the newer pilots, that it's their first radio - they can't tell you with experience), which ones they prefer, and why, and have them SHOW you why...then make a decision...we can tell you here all day long what's better and why, but it's ulitmately your decision, and one YOU have to live with. The JR was $50 more than the 6XA, and I sold it for $50 less than I paid for it, had it 4 days...cost me $25 a day, to "use" it, and ended up with something else, anyway!

Yes, the Multiplex are nice radios, and worth looking into as well, but there appear to be a few "hidden' costs associated with them, as every addon, etc, costs. But it can be a very cost-effective way to go, when you DO go to upgrade...

Good luck, hope you find what you are looking for...

My $.02 worth
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Old 03-13-2002, 04:13 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

Don't any of you feel all these complex mixes are taking the skill out of flying? Don't get me wrong, I think computer radios are wonderful, especially for installing servos and not having to worry about direction of travel and so forth. Some of the mixes are getting too sophisticated. For example rudder to aileron mix. How difficult is it to simply move your left thumb 1 centimeter while banking? Expo and dual raters are very usful, as well as flaperons, v tail, elevon, timers, low battery alarms, digital trims, model memory, and other features unavailable on the older non-computer radios. The starter of this thread is looking for a less-expensive entry computer radio. I still lean towards the flash 5. It has all the great features of a computer radio, including 3 pre-set mixes, but it is kept simple. It doesn't take the human out of flying.

Just my opinion, I could be wrong.

Mike
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Old 03-13-2002, 04:20 PM
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Default Which entry level computer radio?

@rcav8or : The Multiplex radios don't come with hidden costs for add-ons. Contrary to Germany, where you can get the TX's unexpanded, and add-on later, Multiplex USA sells only the fully expanded version of the Cockpit (7 channels, and V2.0 software installed), the 3030 (9channels), and the 4000 (12 channels)
Only for the pico line which has max 5 channels, you can buy the bare bones TX.

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