RCU Review: Spektrum DX7


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    Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: April 2007 | Views: 106299 | email icon Email this Article | PDFpdf icon
    Spektrum DX-7 Review

     

     


    Horizon Hobby, Inc.
    ATTN: Spektrum
    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822

    Main Phone: (217) 352-1913
    Toll-Free: (800) 338-4639
    Support: (877) 504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639

     
     

    Design

    Feel

    Ease of use

    Manual

    Features

    Price
     
     
     

    Following up on the heels of the ever popular DX-6 aimed at Parkflyer's comes the new DX-7 that gives those with full range needs a 7 channel Spread Spektrum system.

    While the days of 72mhz are not gone, they are decreasing significantly. I was recently at SEFF (Southeastern Flight Festival) and was amazed at the number of DX-6's and DX-7's deployed in the field. Pilots waiting on their frequency pin only had to wait for 5-10 minutes vs. double that last year. All due to the Spektrum Technology.

    For extensive information including videos and even AMA's response to this new technology check out http://www.spektrumrc.com

    At the time of this review, Spektrum and Horizon have already released the Spektrum Modules for the JR and Futaba radios. Also announced was the new Spektrum X9303 2.4 DSM2 and JR 12X. Full steam ahead!

    Key Features

    • 20-model memory
    • Airplane and Heli software
    • Switch assignment
    • P-mixes
    • Digital Trims
    • Includes 4 powerful DS821 digital servos with high-tech resin gears
    • 3-axis dual rate & expo
    • 3-position flap (Airplane)
    • 5-point throttle curve (Heli)
    • 3 flight modes plus hold (Heli)
    • Gyro programming (Heli)
    • CCPM, 2-servo 90 degree, 3-servo 90 degree, & 3-servo 120 degree
    • AR 7000 and satellite receiver
    • Servo Sync and Model Match
    • AR 6000 Compatible

     
     
     


    The DX7 is offered in two different flavors which are Air and Heli. While both will perform the same on either aircraft, it is the switch arrangement that makes them unique.


    The Air package contains:

    • 7 channel DSM2 Transmitter
    • AR 7000 Receiver
    • 1500 mah Nimh transmitter pack
    • Four DS821 servos
    • 110ma charger (to be upgraded in future releases)
    • 4 cell NICad 1100 mah receiver battery
    • Switch Harness
    • Binding plug
    • Manual

    Big Radio Feel

    Gone are the days of waiting on your pin at the flying field. The DX-6 gave us our first look at this revolutionary technology, but the DX-7 adds many more features to wet the appetite. While the DX-6 is good, the DX-7 with more model memory, programmable mixes, ability to have rudder expo as well as dual rates, model match and full range capabilities provides more of that big radio feel.

    It offers a huge benefit at the field with Frequency control, and I find it adds more comfort knowing that with all the RTF aircraft being sold daily, I won't be shot down by someone flying just through the trees in a local neighborhood due to them being on my frequency. This is comforting whether it is a fifty dollar model in the air or a fifteen hundred dollar model. Spektrum is not only protecting me, it is protecting them as well.

    I found it very interesting that Spektrum technology uses two channels to secure itself within the 2.6GHz band. The system will not broadcast it's signal until this has taken place. This ensures that no two Spektrum Radios are locking into the same frequency. It does this every time you power on the radio and is a great safety feature.

    Lack of Interference

    There has been much talk about other 2.4GHz units interfering with the Spektrum signal. Things such as Cordless phones, wireless networks and cell phones. These are not a problem due to the signal scanning mentioned above. If one of the above mentioned devices is using a section of the band, then the DX7 will simply not choose that band. In conjunction with the smart technology the FCC states that all 2.4 devices must abide by FCC rules and incorporate collision avoidance. I have done a considerable amount of testing in my house (and around my neighborhood) were I use both a 2.4GHz router and cordless phone system, not to mention all of my neighbors around me running the same band equipment. The DX7 has not missed a beat and there isn't nearly as much band scanning at your local field or park.

    Physical Attributes

    As I mentioned, the DX7 has that big radio feel. I also use a JR 9303 and often find myself comparing the feel of other radios to it. The DX7 is a bit lighter, but fits in my hands with comfort, just like the 9303. The only difference is the shorter antenna. The antenna houses the transmitting wire for the 2.4 signal and pivots both in a 90 degree and 180 degree at the center. This makes it great for fitting it into my JR case with the 9303.

    The control sticks are fully adjustable for both length and tension. Also if you are using a Air mode, but like the Heli "no ratchet" feel to the throttle stick, that can also be adjusted with little effort. The DX7's digital trims are easy to reach in flight and provide positive feedback on the fly for trimming that model. It even has the confirmation beep when center trim is reached so you don't have to keep your eyes on the radio when trimming your model.

     


    Model Match is a patented technology exclusive to the DX7 and future models. It is about time! We have all done it. Were at the flying field and gabbing with our flying mates. Power everything up and get out on the runway. Only to find out after take off (and crash) that we had the wrong model selected in our Radio. That is a thing of the past with the DX7. With Model Match, the model will not respond if you have the wrong model selected.

    During the bonding process, the DX7 and receiver lock on and an identification is assigned between the two. If that identification does not match on power up, it simply will not respond to any inputs. I can think of a few times that we were hitting the deck due to a pilot having the wrong model chosen and the control surfaces were reversed upon take off. Thanks to Model Match, I can keep my clothes grass and dirt free.

    Another new feature is Servo Sync. Servo Sync resenquences the data bits to mixed control surfaces so that they receive the information simultaneously. This is especially beneficial for mixed control surfaces like dual elevators and CCPM 3 servo heli's. It ensures that all mixed servos are receiving the signal in unison for even, smooth movement. Latency is not a problem here. I have my 74" Extremeflightrc Yak set up with dual servos and it works very well. Great speed and equal travel.
     

    If you have every owned a JR computer radio, the programming sequences will seem very familiar. If not, have no fear as the menu system is rather easy, but any gaps can be easily filled in using the detailed manual included. The large LCD display is very nice and offers an advantage over the DX6. The screen supports 7 lines of characters and real time graphs showing differential and expo as changes are made.

    I was pleasantly surprised to see how feature rich the DX7 menu was and maintained items that I was well familiar with being a JR user. Things such as:

    • 8 character Model names
    • Servo Monitor
    • Differential and Expo graphs
    • Timer (both countdown and timer mode)
    • Travel Adjustment
    • 6 programmable mixes

    The System Mode list is entered by powering on the DX7 at the same time the Select and Scroll down buttons are held down. There is a red line on the TX case that draws the select button and scroll button labeled "Access" in the event the sequence is forgotten. From there the menu items are navigated using the left scroll buttons and the select button is used to navigate within that individual function. Changes that need to be made to the function itself is done by using the right "increase" and "decrease" buttons.

    The Air Function mode controls are accessed once the DX7 is already powered on using the same method of simultaneously pressing the select and scroll down button. These of course will be the most common menu that a pilot will utilize.

     

    The AR 7000 receiver is quite a bit different from the AR 6000 and conventional 72MHz receivers. It features not only the main unit, but a satellite receiver for a greater footprint. The system broadcasts on two frequency's to create dual RF path.

    The satellite receiver connects to the main receiver via a 6 inch twisted cable. The main receiver has eight (8) total servo pins. Seven (7) for servos and the eighth (8th) reserved for a battery pack. This eliminates the need for a Y-cable assuming all seven channels are being used.

    The AR7000 and Satellite RX take up very little room. The idea is to orientate the antennas to create a larger footprint to capture the signal. The main RX is placed on the Horizontal horizon, while the satellite RX is placed on the vertical horizon.

     

    What is Binding? Binding is the process of enabling the receiver and radio to recognize each others unique ID so that they only talk to each other. The process is fairly simple and is well outlined in the manual. There is an in depth video should visual instructions be warranted. You can watch that video here.

    Keep that binding plug in a safe place. While all of the binding plugs are basically loop back plugs, you really need to keep them handy. I keep one in my flight box at all times in the event that I need to swap receivers around for any reason. Swapping a receiver to another plane and programming a new memory in the transmitter will require that I rebind to that model number.

    I have tested the AR 6000, AR 7000 and new AR 6100 for binding procedures. They all went without incident and have worked flawlessly in each plane they reside in.

     

    I have put countless flights on the new DX7 and AR 7000/ AR 6100 and each have performed wonderfully. This is everything from a 74" aerobatic to a 34" wingspan jet that tends to be cramped quarters and little space to separate the equipment very far. No problems to date.

    The DX7 feels great in my hands and I have tested it both with and without a neck strap. The balance is very good and I don't get tired from the strap. Likewise without the strap, it is not difficult to hold and operate the switches and trims. I very much like the DX7 and will continue to use it as I replace my 72MHz receivers.

     

    Spektrum has a hit on their hands with the Spektrum DX7 Radio system. It is a solid stable system that now extends out of the parkflyer realm and into the larger aircraft. The beauty is in the software, but the physical aspects can't be overlooked. Things like the Shorter Antenna, Shorter RX wires and wonderful feel of the case make this system a joy to use.

    While 72MHz will probably be around a long while to come, DSM technology is closing the gap and making frequency boards around the world obsolete.


    www.spektrumrc.com

    Distributed by Horizon Hobby, Inc.

    4105 Fieldstone Road
    Champaign, IL 61822

    Support Phone: (877) 504-0233
    Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639

    Website: http://www.horizonhobby.com


     
    Comments on RCU Review: Spektrum DX7

    Posted by: flyherlow on 05/19/2008

    Posted by: flyherlow on 05/19/2008
    I'm seriously thinking of buying the DX7. I have a Futaba 7c fm/ppm and a YAK 54 that has 2 elevator servos. My Futaba can be mixed so the elevator work together but I don't have the programing to be able to trim both servos while in the air. I set out to buy the new Futaba T7c 2.4G which they claim that problem has been rectified. I ran into this Spektrum DX7 which looks real good and the receivers are cheaper that Futaba's. Can anyone tell me with no uncertainty that the DX7 can trim both elevator servos while in the air? That's the only thing keeping me from buy the DX7. I've read a bunch on this DX7 and no where do they claim in the air elevator trimming.
    Posted by: Mike Parsons on 05/19/2008
    Yes, the Elevator trim will effect both servo's at the same time. I would think that any radio capable of mixing would do that, even the Futaba. With the DX7, you choose the assignment of the second elevator servos ie: Aux2-Elevator. The radio renames the channel in the menu to R Elev. So now you have a L Elev and R elev. Any manual trim involving the elevator will adjust both. Each elevator servo can be manually adjusted using the Sub-trim in the menu.
    Posted by: hmorad on 10/10/2009
    i just got a DX7 and it works fine, no latency at all, i wanted to test it so i flew next to a communications tower, and believe it or not, there wasn't a single bit of interference. but the only problem was there isn't a throttle cut. please tell me if there is a solution for this problem. because i can't manually kill an OS .91 SZ
    Posted by: Kody the Bear on 03/05/2010
    Reply for "flyherlow" ; See page 56 of your DX7 manual, and it will explain. Use the mix #5, or #6 with dual servos on your ELE, and the ELE trim will trim both chnls simultaneously.
    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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