RCU Review: Futaba 6EXA 6-Channel FM

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    Contributed by: Greg Covey | Published: August 2005 | Views: 190117 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Futaba 6EXA

    Review by: Greg Covey


    Manufacturer Info

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

    Ease of Assembly


    Flexible combinations
    Excellent manual
    Easy to program
    Reliable performance

    Stock 600mAh NiCd


    The new 6-channel 6EX series of radio systems from Futaba bridges the gap between a basic radio for starting out and all the functions that a more experienced pilot wants later. It’s so easy to program, anyone can do it. Futaba 6EX radios have safety features such as Fail Safe, Throttle Cut and audible alarms provide levels of protection as you gain confidence in your flying skills. You can store memories for up to six models, with four-character naming.

    If you’re into airplanes, the 6EXA Super is your system. It has adjustable mixing rate and direction for V-tail and elevon, adjustable flaperon rates and much more.

    If you’re a helicopter pilot, take a look at the 6EXH. Among its many features is 5-point adjustment with 2 curves on both Throttle and Pitch, multiple swash plate styles and rate selection on both gyro and revo mixing. Both radios are available on FM or PCM, with transmitter batteries and charger included. So whether you’re contemplating a radio for your first trainer or looking to pilot a daring aerobat or collective-pitch heli, the Futaba 6EX is the system that keeps pace with you while you’re moving up.

    Contents and Features

    Radio Package Name: 6EXAS
    Price: $199.98 retail
    6EXAS "Super Airplane" Package Includes:

    • One Futaba 6EXA Super Computer Radio system
    • R127DF FM Dual Conversion Receiver
    • Four S3151 Digital ball bearing servos
    • One bag servo mounting hardware
    • NR-4J Receiver battery
    • NT8F600B Transmitter battery
    • FBC-19B (4) Charger
    • SWH-13 Switch Harness
    • ANT-5 Transmitter Antenna
    • Servo Extension


    • Six model memory with four character model naming
    • PCM/PPM selectable
    • Standard programming features include all channel servo reversing, End point adjustment (EPA) on all channels, dual rates, exponential, flaperon, V-tail, elevon, and wing type selection
    • Transmitter controls include Throttle Cut Switch-stops engine when flipped twice within one second, Trainer Switch-controls link between instructor and student transmitters, Retract Switch-controls operation of retractable landing gear or other feature
    • Dual Rate Switch-reduces servo travel and switches' exponential curve
    • Flap dial control allows fine tuning of flap servo to slow airplane when coming in for a landing
    • Adjustable flaperon rates
    • Adjustable stick length
    • Trainer box capable

    6EXAS Super Airplane Package
    All the package contents are protected by a custom styrofoam box

    Note on PCM vs. PPM:

    PCM modulation combined with excellent double-conversion receivers provides the highest possible transmission security. PCM is recommended most often for R/C helicopters but the more affordable PPM receivers are typically used for all other applications and still provide excellent performance.

    The 24 page manual is complete with photos and diagrams

    My review package was the Futaba 6EXA Super 6 channel FM Computer Radio System that comes with four S3151 standard size digital ball bearing servos. This system is designed for the first time airplane modeler that prefers a computer style radio but also comes with high-performance digital servos that can be used in any advanced R/C model. Note that the Futaba 6EXA radio system can be purchased with a variety of different servo models to best suit your initial needs. The radio has PCM capabilities but contains no helicopter programming. Select the 6EXH package for helicopter applications. The standard dual conversion R127DF receiver in my 6EXA package uses normal PPM (Pulse Position Modulation) modulation not PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) modulation which is preferred for high-end applications.

    The 24 page manual is complete with photos and diagrams that cover every aspect of setting up an R/C application. I found the manual to be quite through and organized.

    The transmitter and receiver batteries were charged at the same time with the supplied wall charger while I read the manual.
    The 6EXA Super airplane system features a dial that lets you fine-tune the flaps for slowing your model when coming in for a landing.
    The Throttle Hold switch on the 6EXH heli radio makes it easier to master the thrilling autorotation maneuver.
    Both systems boast a Data Input Lever that makes it easy to set end points and rates for all six channels.

    Programming the 6EXAP Radio:

    Entering the programming mode seemed natural to me by simply pressing both the MODE and SELECT keys simultaneously for one second without the need to power cycle the radio
    When the transmitter is initially turned on, the model memory number, model memory name, modulation type and transmitter battery voltage are displayed on the LCD screen.
    Normal operation mode displays the model name "UCAN", modulation type "PPM", model number "1", and battery voltage "10.8v"

    Although everything is well covered in the manual, I'll skip the radio installation guidelines and talk about some of the key programming features of the 6EXA radio. For a complete Flowchart and Programming Guide of the of the 6EXA, go here.

    Since I own several of the older Futaba Super-8 transmitters that are no longer sold, entering the programming mode seemed natural to me by simply pressing both the MODE and SELECT keys simultaneously for one second. I never liked other manufacturer radios that required the user to first power off the radio before entering programming mode. Once you are in the program mode, the MODE key is used to scroll through each of the ten functions (or eleven in PCM mode) and the SELECT key is used to view the settings within each function. The Up/Down DATA INPUT lever on the right of the LCD panel is used to increase or decrease the value of the item displayed to make a change.

    When the transmitter is initially turned on, the model memory number, model memory name, modulation type and transmitter battery voltage are displayed on the LCD screen. In the LCD image above on the right, the radio is in normal operation mode (not programming mode) and I have changed the current model number 1 (lower left number) from the default label of "MDL 1" to "UCAN" for my Great Planes U-Can-Do 3D plane. The upper right corner displays the default modulation type setting of PPM and the large numbers in the lower right are the transmitter battery voltage.

    When the voltage goes below 8.5 volts, a battery icon appears just below the PPM display to flash a low-battery alarm warning. In addition to the flashing icon warning, a continuous beep is sounds to remind you that you have approximately 4 minutes left of transmitter power so it is urgent that you land your plane immediately.


    The built-in Trainer Jack allows an instuctor to safely teach you to fly.
    To utilize the trainer function of the 6EXA, the appropriate trainer cord (available separately) and a second Futaba transmitter (usually provided by your flight instructor or R/C club) will be required. When two radios are connected with the trainer cord, they are both capable of operating the model, but it's usually best for the instructor to hold the radio that has been setup for the plane to be flown (as it is already programmed to fly the model). When the instructor holds the trainer switch on his radio, the student will have control. When the instructor wishes to regain control he simply releases the switch. Then he will have immediate, full control.
    Stock 9.6v
    600mAh NiCd pack
    Battery Hop-up:
    HydriMax Ultra 9.6v 1650mAh NiMH pack

    Once the one year warranty has expired, you might want to consider a HydriMax NiMH battery hop-up for your Futaba computer radio. Although it is a tight fit in the 6EXA case, the 1650mAh NiMH pack provides almost triple the transmitter runtime between charges over the stock 600mAh NiCd pack.

    The supplied radio wall charger will take twice as long to charge the HyrdriMax pack but I have found it very convenient to fly all day without needing to recharge my multi-model computer radios. I often recharge my transmitters with a peak charger on a low setting of 500mA.

    Futaba NT8F600B 9.6V 600mAh Transmitter NiCd

    HydriMax Ultra 9.6V, 1650mAh AA Flat Battery


    If this is your first computer radio, you should be confident that it is designed to make initial setup and field-tuning of your airplane easier and more accurate than would be if you had choosen a non-computer radio. Although this is a beginner or sport system, I recommend reading the manual for best use and safe operation. Even if you simply scan over some of the sections in the manual, you will remember that the topic or feature is there when you are ready to use it.

    The manual is loaded with information for first time users on how to properly install servos and linkages. Although I did not see a discharge time specification for the amount of flying time, it has been my experience that when using a computer radio to fly up to 6 airplanes, upgrading the battery to a Hobbico Hydrimax is a good investment.

    The 6EXAP has a built-in trainer function that utilizes a trainer cord (sold seperately) to connect a second Futaba transmitter so that a flight instructor can safely take control, if needed. Other functions in the 6EXAP include a throttle-cut button feature to shut off the engine, flap control lever for limiting the maximum flap deflection, adjustable-length control sticks, and stick flight mode changing from Modes 1, 2, 3, or 4.

    The feel of the Futaba 6EXAP transmitter in my hands is a great fit and the user interface has been simplified for use as an entry-level computer radio. I would highly recommend the 6EXAP for any R/Cer looking to control up to six airplanes ranging from simple trainers to more complex 3D or scale warbirds. The 6EXAP computer radio will make your models easier to fly than they would with a non-computer radio. Once you have flown with the benefits of system features like exponential function, multi-model programming, mixing, and stored trim settings that eliminate the worry of accidentally moving a slider trim control, you'll be glad that you selected the new Futaba 6EXAP.

    For a complete comparison of the Futaba family of transmitter features, check out the Radio System Feature Comparison Chart. For an electronic copy of the Futaba 6EXA Manual in PDF, go here.

    Dealer Information

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

    Hobbico HydriMax
    Distributed Exclusively by:
    Great Planes Model Distributors
    P.O. Box 9021
    Champaign, IL 61826-9021

    Comments on RCU Review: Futaba 6EXA 6-Channel FM

    Posted by: nilesh619rai on 12/11/2010
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    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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