RCU Review: Futaba WTR 7 FASST™ Wireless Trainer System

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    Contributed by: Mike Buzzeo | Published: January 2010 | Views: 37547 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    RCUniverse.com Review of Futaba Wireless Trainer System

    Review by: Mike Buzzeo (MinnFlyer) Email Me

    Mike Buzzeo

    Email Me

    Distributed Exclusively in the U.S.A., Canada and Mexico by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    • Easy Setup
    • Can work with two FASST? systems, or one FASST? and one 72MHz (w/ Square Trainer Cord Plug)
    • 30ft working distance from student to instructor
    • No signal loss or lag

    • None

    Although I spend about 80% of my waking hours at the computer, I'm really not a technology groupie. So, while many of my friends run out and buy the latest and greatest gadgets, I would rather wait and get the things that I actually find useful. I also like to wait until they get the bugs out of any new technology before laying out the cash. That being said, I also know a good thing when I see it.

    Now, it just so happens that my friend Geoff recently asked me to teach his 8 year old son, Jon to fly next season. Jon's a great kid and since he accompanies us to the field most of the time anyway, I agreed.

    Then I started going through my mental check list. "Let's see, I know I still have an old buddy cord, but it's one of the round ones - I'll have to dig out some of my older transmitters." Then, lo and behold, Futaba asked me if I would take a look at their new "wireless buddy box system". I didn't even have to think about it.

    No more cord? That's the best news I've heard since wireless TV remotes! Sign me up!

    Name: WTR 7 FASST Wireless Trainer System
    Price: $99.98
    Operation Range: 30' (9.1m)
    Size: 0.89 x 1.59 x 0.52" (22.5 x 40.3 x 13.1mm)
    Weight: 0.29oz (8.1g)

    My first reaction to the new WTR-7 was one of surprise. I didn't expect it to be so small. But it makes sense really, when you boil it down to its essence, it's not much more than a 2.4GHz FASST receiver.

    So, what have we got? The box contains the WTR-7, a cord, a small screwdriver and a swatch of "Hook & Loop" material.

    Before you get nervous, a screwdriver is not needed as there are no adjustments to make. It is only thrown in to give you something to push the binding button with (lest you try to stick something in there that might do damage). In other words, it seems to me that Futaba only included it as a means of "Idiot-Proofing" the system.

    The way this system works is so simple that even I understand it. You bind the WTR-7 to the transmitter that the student will be using and then plug it into the trainer port on the instructor's box. The "Buddy Box" now sends a 2.4GHz signal directly to the trainer cord input on the instructor's transmitter.

    Obviously, the transmitter being used as the buddy box must be a Futaba FASST system; however, the instructor's transmitter can be on any frequency (including 72MHz) as long as it has a rectangular trainer cord input.

    To bind the WTR-7 to the buddy box, you start by plugging it into the buddy box itself. This allows the WTR-7 to be powered up without having another transmitter powered up in the immediate area. Now the binding process is just as easy as binding any FASST receiver; just turn on the transmitter, and (using the provided screwdriver) push the binding button. After a few seconds you will get a green LED and the receiver is bound.

    At this point, the WTR-7 is removed from the student's transmitter and plugged into the instructor's box. That's it! All you need to do now is coordinate your trims as you would with any buddy system and you're ready to fly.

    I initially used my Futaba 10CAG as the Instructor's transmitter and the system worked perfectly as expected. Then I got to thinking... If you've ever noticed, most of the time you use a buddy box, the instructor is holding the STUDENT's transmitter (Since that is the one which is on the same frequency as his plane). There aren't too many students who are using a 10CAG, but it just so happens that I had recently put a Tactic 72MHz radio in an old Goldberg Eagle 400 electric, so I plugged the WTR-7 into the Tactic transmitter, turned on the Eagle, and it still worked great.

    It's not often that I get this lucky, but I was just finishing up when Geoff called. He said that there was supposed to be a break in the weather that afternoon and he had a few products to video tape. I told him to make sure that Jon came along, and I put everything on charge.

    Geoff's information was correct and that afternoon it got dead calm - COLD, but dead calm. After a brief going-over of the system and a good range check, it was time to fly. Jon doesn't have much real stick time, but he has spent many hours on his dad's simulator, so he picked it up in no time.

    The WTR-7 worked flawlessly. I was even having a little fun walking around as Jon flew. Unfortunately, the cold was getting to our fingers quickly, so we kept it to one short flight, but it was plain to see that when the weather breaks this spring, Jon and I will make good use of this nice little tool.

    The WTR-7 is just the next logical step in this fast-paced world of technology that we live in (or is that FASST-paced?). The system works perfectly, it is easy to set up, easy to install, and it eliminates the cord that has bound instructor to student for so many years.

    This is all I needed - one MORE reason to look forward to spring!

    Futaba Corporation of America
    Distributed by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021; Champaign, IL 61826-9021
    Website: www.futaba-rc.com

    Comments on RCU Review: Futaba WTR 7 FASST™ Wireless Trainer System

    Posted by: TruBlu02 on 02/03/2010
    How cool is this?! I have always hated having the buddy cord attached to my buddy box and my Main transmitter. Such a simple idea but a great one!
    Posted by: walkermsg on 03/27/2010
    How does the instructor take back control of the plane ?
    Posted by: MinnFlyer on 03/27/2010
    The same way he would with a cord. He just lets go of the switch
    Posted by: Pla on 04/13/2010
    This is cool. I think even bigger benefit would be if it works with simulators - so I can sit on the couch with no wires to the PC. Can you confirm it works with simulators (Phoenix Sim, Real Flight, ...)?
    Posted by: Scota4570 on 09/06/2010

    Posted by: Scota4570 on 09/06/2010

    Posted by: Scota4570 on 09/06/2010
    Can this trainer box be used with a computer radio? The wired one can not? I own one and it is useless with my 6exa. If you do ANY programming on the main radio, the buddy box will not work. If you use two aileron servos, the box is useless. If you reverse a servo it will not work. The article shows a 6EXA or similar computer radio. I think that is misleading and disingenuous. These buddy boxes only work with the most basic set up on your radio. You might as well skip it and get a basic 4-channel radio to use with the box. The sad part is that the problem is the result of poor planning and engineering. The link should be stick to stick with the box only substituting the buddy sticks for the main radio. This would make the box work regardless of the programming on the parent radio. Futaba buddy boxes are useless for most modern radio set ups.
    Posted by: skywarrior on 07/15/2013
    Page: 1
    The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.

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