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Help! Advice for remote selection

#1
I am looking to buy a remote to last me. I know that I want quality equipment, the remote to be compatible with most frequency protocols (possibly with OpenTX, I haven't researched that yet), the possibility of long range addons, and I would prefer the remote to not break the bank (sub-$650) I don't have alot of money to spare in college).
 

ElectriSean

Eternal Student
Mentor
#2
OpenTX isn't a protocol in itself, it is firmware that runs on Taranis (and some other) radios. If you're interested in OpenTX I'd recommend the Taranis X9D special edition. It has a module bay, so you can run any of the multiprotocol modules or Crossfire for long range. It's also well under your budget, and very decent quality.
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#3
Ok, so, what you've asked is kind of loaded. LOL :)

There's quite a few options that will suit your requests so far, but there's other questions you need answered as well to narrow down what you want.

1) Do you have any already existing radio equipment and receivers? Are you looking for compatibility with those receivers, or are you willing to make a switch to replace what you currently have? If you have something currently, you may be able to migrate that up with newer tech, but it may mean locking you into a certain brand (which isn't necessarily a bad thing).

2) What are you looking to fly? Helicopters, fixed wing, quadcopters, gliders with telemetry, warbirds that can do bomb drops and have retractable landing gear? This question will help you determine how many channels you need on your transmitter. Most planes and quads, you can get away with 6 channels, but if you fly warbirds where you're using retractable landing gear, that takes up a channel, flaps take up channels, having a bomb bay door open at the flip of a switch takes up a channel, and the kill switch to stop your motor from running (a necessity, as far as I'm concerned) is also going to require a channel. Elevator, aileron, rudder, and throttle, those all require channels. Whether you get Spektrum, Graupner, FrSky, etc., you don't want to hit a point where you go, "Aww, I need another channel for flaps!" or "Damn, I can't do the bomb drops with this radio, I need to upgrade!"

I'm kind of hitting that right now with my Dx6, but it's only because I want a P-38 Lightning that uses flaps and has retractable landing gear - I really need an 8 channel radio to do it properly, or else I have to mix the switch with flaps and landing gear so that the gear goes up at the same time the flaps go off. There's ways around it, but it'd be nicer to have separate switches!

3) When you say, "I want long range addons", what are you planning to do that you need long range? Most of these systems will allow you to fly well beyond line of sight right out of the box, and honestly, if you're learning to fly, you do NOT want to have that plane flying as far away as possible. If it goes down, you can't see where it went down. If you've got it a mile away and your plane goes down and you KNOW where it went down, you've got a 2 mile walk/drive to recover it - a mile out, and a mile back. In addition, FAA says currently that we need to keep our vehicles within line of sight, whether we are flying under a part 107 license, or a section 336 rule following community based organization rules. I'll be honest that you can probably save some money there by not worrying about it.

4) How much experience do you have with flying? Are you flying with a club, or other people who have radios, or are you trying to teach yourself? Odds are, someone you fly with has hit the same limits as you with trying to set up something, and can help you with configuration if they're familiar with your radio. That's one of the reasons I went with a Spektrum radio vs. FrSky; nearly everyone at both fields I currently fly at has a Spektrum, and can help me with setup and configuration. There are others that are flying with different brands (mostly older radios that they have a bunch of receivers for, and the cost for them to switch just isn't worth it), but for the most part, in my area, Spektrum is the most popular and so I have a resource of the crowd of people to answer me.

5) Do you have the opportunity to actually HANDLE the radios to make your decision? If you can, get your hands on the radios you're considering BEFORE you buy it. The FrSky radio I was looking at vs. my Spektrum Dx6 was $50 cheaper than the Spektrum. However, the sticks felt very mushy, with no real resistance when I was moving them around. I mentioned that to the guys at the hobby shop, who told me i could buy stiffer, upgraded gimbals, and replace them in the current radio. The cost? $50, plus *I* had to do the work myself. If I screwed up, my $150 radio was now toast, and potentially the $50 in gimbals I'd bought were shot as well. Because of that, I opted to just spend the extra $50 and get the Spektrum with the gimbals I liked straight from the factory. That was me; maybe you'll find that you like looser stick feel. Everyone's different; that's why there's more than one flavor of ice cream. :)
 

Snarls

Gravity Tester
Mentor
#4
FrSky Taranis X9D and QX7 are your best options, and both are far below your maximum budget. Both have module bays so you can install different modules to use different protocols. The FrSky protocol itself has many great receiver options so I don't think you'll need many extra modules. Maybe just a Spektrum module for bind and fly aircraft, and a TBS crossfire module for long range. Both the X9D and QX7 have models with hall effect gimbals already installed, or you can get a standard model and install the better hall effect gimbals down the road. The Choice between the X9D and QX7 is mainly based on how many switches and knobs you may want, and whether or not you want a rechargeable battery which the X9D has.

I personally have a Taranis X9D and have never felt another radio was more capable.
 

JimCR120

Got Lobstah?
Site Moderator
#5
Hello Ramscout,

I see from your other posts that you've been in the hobby for over a year and you already have some planes. I would assume from the ones you've mentioned you might then have a tx that came with an RTF kit, yes? If so I would hang on to that as a spare to share or even to travel with as they can be convenient to travel with. If not, you could sell it or gift it once it's replaced. I would suppose whatever you get you would be interested in making it compatible with what you have already.

We do have a Transmitter thread (Which Transmitter You Should Buy) that you should check out. It covers several recommended transmitters with their prices and links including OpenTX stuff.

Be sure to keep asking the questions so you can make an informed decision and then let us know what you end up on.
—Jim