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Newbies: Advice for buying a radio and receiver

#1
In starting out, you're probably primarily looking for value for money, I know I am! What can you get that gives you the most features for the lowest cost.

Well I've done a lot, and I mean a LOT of research into my new hobby (girlfriend says 'fad'), and it was how I found Flitetest.com. Awesome show, and great guys; I’ve learnt a lot in a very short time.

So I’m new to this hobby, only flown on a buddy box once. I don’t know how long I’ll be in the hobby or how much I’ll enjoy it, so don’t want to pay out a lot initially, but what I didn’t want was the lowest end $23 combo that I would grow out of in a weekend, but also didn’t want to pay several hundred dollars either.

Looking around I saw the Spectrum DX6i mentioned a lot (also in videos on Flitetest), so almost bought it second hand as a radio that I could grow into, that had programming capability etc.

Then I read about the Turnigy 9X. 9 channels for WAY cheaper than the DX6i’s 6 channels? eh? Then I read some more and it was like day and night… I immediately forgot about the DX6i and knew this was what I wanted: Open Source software, massive community and massive features and programming capabilities. I watched some youtube videos (including the Flitetest one where Josh gives Josh his first radio) on programming them, uploading new firmware etc. and it was good.

But then I read about the newer Turnigy 9XR and realised that the 9XR came with the inbuilt port for updating firmware, a backlight, was way cooler looking, had more knobs… but then I realised that it didn’t come with the module and receiver, and that the 9X did have those included! Argghhh!

I made a spreadsheet and worked out the costs of what I wanted to do with it eventually (FrSky telemetry), adding a programmable board, and finally opted for the 9XR with FrSky XJT combo pack with module and X8R. I could have gone with a cheaper option on the FrSky, but it wasn’t that much more expensive and it doesn't need an additional hub for the sensors (apparently), so I thought ‘what the heck’.

I have only read good things about the FrSky stuff, and like the fail-safe settings, and great signal strength. There are a lot of houses around the fields where I’ll be flying, so losing signal would suck! I like that I can set it to do a spiral of death over the field and not fly off into the housing estate across the way should I ever lose signal!

I haven’t had the USB programmer cable (bought separately) arrive yet so am using the stock firmware which is fine for what I need. I have managed to configure it for 5 channels, (throttle, rudder, elevator, aileron x2) for my foam board trainer and it works!, read about elevon mixing for my other plane (FT Versa Wing) and also with a USB adapter from Hobbyking used the JR trainer port to connect to the computer to practice on simulators (RC Desk Pilot with the FT Versa Wing model!).

Just waiting for some good weather to go fly (and crash) my new scratch-build Swappable Trainer, and FT Versa Wing.

My advice to other newbies: I think the 9XR with a FrSky module and receiver is a great value combo that you can grow with. If I was buying slightly cheaper I would buy the Turnigy 9X with its included module and receiver, and if I had a bit more money I would buy the FrSky Taranis which gets rave reviews. Get a simulator and fly on it loads; I've become really comfortable now flying towards me, landing, taking off, flying in high winds, they're ace.

Cheers,
Tim.
 
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Jaxx

Posted a thousand or more times
#2
Very good advice Tim. It's hard to believe you're new to the hobby. You have definitely done your research. You have also made a very good choice. Once you get flying, I believe you will be stick with this hobby for a long time. It's a blast!
 
#3
Thanks Jaxx. I just updated the firmware on my 9XR last night to OpenTX; bit of a head-scratcher for a while (even though I work in IT), so I might post another how-to for step-by-step to updating firmware on the 9XR for beginners.

Cheers,
Tim.
 

Jaxx

Posted a thousand or more times
#5
That's an awesome little radio. It is an incredible value, and the receivers are compatible with the 9X.
 
#7
+1 for the FlySky FS-T6...

It can be had for 55 USD and the 3 channel Flysky gound receivers work great with it (They are like 8 USD a pop).

I can't wait 'til the weather is better here in Toronto so I can try out my planes.
 
#8
Pardon my ignorance but If I get the Turnigy I won't be able to use the transmitter with any of Horizon's Blade series. I want to get into helicopters some day, I want to make sure the radio I buy will bind with helis I want.

The Turnigy radio are cheaper, but my mates keep telling me you get what you pay for. They fly Blades use Spektrum radios, they tell me Blades make good helis ,and when I do break them I'll have tons of parts. I don't mind spending money for an investment, however $139 seems dear for a DX6i, especially as I might have to upgrade the transmitter if I get in more aggressive flying.

If I get the Turnigy 9X I can build two swapables kits, be in the air for around $150. You can't beat that value, but I am weary. Is it really that easy and cheap to get into the hobby?
 
#9
Pardon my ignorance but If I get the Turnigy I won't be able to use the transmitter with any of Horizon's Blade series. I want to get into helicopters some day, I want to make sure the radio I buy will bind with helis I want.

The Turnigy radio are cheaper, but my mates keep telling me you get what you pay for. They fly Blades use Spektrum radios, they tell me Blades make good helis ,and when I do break them I'll have tons of parts. I don't mind spending money for an investment, however $139 seems dear for a DX6i, especially as I might have to upgrade the transmitter if I get in more aggressive flying.

If I get the Turnigy 9X I can build two swapables kits, be in the air for around $150. You can't beat that value, but I am weary. Is it really that easy and cheap to get into the hobby?
I think the Blade series are Bind n Fly? You can simply purchase a module that goes in the back of the Turnigy 9X/9XR for this. I may be mistaken here, but I think the 9X module that comes with the 9X could be a Bind n Fly compatible? If not there are very cheap modules for this... look at the OrangeRX series (about $30) I think for a bind n fly. Please correct me someone if I'm wrong about that.

The 9X and 9XR has full programming for Helis, I'm probably going to do some heli stuff at some point too. It can be a very advanced radio once programmed.

If you want to see just how advanced you can get with the OpenTX firmware just look at some of the videos on youtube from 'R. Scott Page'.

Yep, that's what I thought about the hobby initially, expensive. But it doesn't have to be. I think you're about right there, plane (dollar tree foamboard), radio ($50), motor ($10), props ($2 each), ESC (£12), couple of batteries ($8 each). Have you costed in a charger? I have the Accucell-6, it's great.

If you have any more questions feel free to ask, I'm a newbie myself and happy to help.

Cheers,
Tim.
 
#11
I think the Blade series are Bind n Fly? You can simply purchase a module that goes in the back of the Turnigy 9X/9XR for this. I may be mistaken here, but I think the 9X module that comes with the 9X could be a Bind n Fly compatible? If not there are very cheap modules for this... look at the OrangeRX series (about $30) I think for a bind n fly. Please correct me someone if I'm wrong about that.

Cheers,
Tim.
Thanks I did not include the price of a charger but the one you suggested is not that dear. Is this the module you were talking about?http://www.hobbyking.com/hobbyking/store/__40205__OrangeRX_DSMX_DSM2_2_4GHz_DIY_Transmitter_Module.html
 
#12
I think the Blade series are Bind n Fly? You can simply purchase a module that goes in the back of the Turnigy 9X/9XR for this. I may be mistaken here, but I think the 9X module that comes with the 9X could be a Bind n Fly compatible? If not there are very cheap modules for this... look at the OrangeRX series (about $30) I think for a bind n fly. Please correct me someone if I'm wrong about that.

Cheers,
Tim.
Thanks I did not include the price of a charger but the one you suggested is not that dear. Is this the module you were talking about OrangeRx DSMX/DSM?
 
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#13
Thanks I did not include the price of a charger but the one you suggested is not that dear. Is this the module you were talking about OrangeRx DSMX/DSM?
Nope, the one you listed is for transmitters that don't have the 'module' slot in the back. Most transmitters do have the slot (of a handful of different types). The JR style seems to be one of the more popular types.

Here's a fairly recent post about DSM2/DSMX transmitters it: http://www.helifreak.com/showthread.php?t=562039

You need a DSM2/DSMX transmitter module for Horizon's 'Bind n Fly'. When looking for a module to fit the Turnigy 9X/9XR transmitter just look for 'JR' or 'JR compatible' and it will fit.

This is one of the cheapest and most popular options I believe. Do a bit of research just to confirm, but I'm pretty confident that's what people are using.

Cheers,
Tim.
 
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