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The spektrum DX6e and simulators, my take

#1
Well I got my new DX6e today and got a chance to play with it this evening. Right out of the gate I am going to say I am not overly impressed, at least not for simulator use.

On the good side the controls are better than an xbox controller. Smoother, slower and more range of motion so you have better control of the planes. The few that I got to fly, more on that later. Like planes that were really touchy with the xbox controller were easier to manage with the "real" transmitter, which is a good thing and I guess the most important really.

Now for the down sides. First and foremost it takes batteries. Mine takes 4 AA's and they didn't last all that long. By the time I fiddled with it checking out all the menus and setting it up then trying to actually get it to work right with RF8 the batteries were about dead. I am using the spektrum wireless usb dongle not a any kind of a cable that plugs in. Heck my transmitter doesn't even have a place to plug in a cable. The trainer mode is wireless on this model, so no buddy cord or anything like that. Even in the manual it shows how to bind it to a plane and shows you attaching a cable to the reciever to do it. Um, there is no place on this thing to plug in any cables lol. So not sure how that is going to work when I actually do get a plane. I will have to look into that I guess.

So since it uses this wireless dongle you press a button on the dongle then plug it into your computer. Then you hit the bind button on the controller and turn it on. It binds up pretty quick and the computer sees it as a controller. The problem is it sees it as a fairly normal game pad or joystick and wants you to set it up and calibrate that way. Well that isn't really how these things work I guess. This is a 6 channel transmitter and 4 of those channels are used by the sticks. That leaves you with 2 channels left right. Well then how come this thing has 7 freakin' switches and one button on it!? You can only use two of them from what I can tell. You have to just choose which ones you want to use and configure the menu to use those. The rest show up as dissabled, or as it says "inhibit". Two of them are 3 position switches and the rest are just normal two position toggle switches.

It gets even better becaues windows and the simulators don't see the switches as "buttons" it sees them as "axis". Trust me, the software wants to see buttons for some of the stuff to work. You can kind of get around it, but you don't have as many options as you would if they were buttons. However on the three position switches one of the positions shows up as button one. However it also controls an axis. So lets say you use one of the three position switches for you flaps. Some planes have three postion flaps. Up, down and full down. So when you go to full down it is also activating button one. I was trying to use some old bomber model and every time I would lower the flaps all the way the bomb doors would open lol.

I did trick it buy using button one for the gear. So when I lower the flaps all the way the gear will come down with it. So you also have to take off with the flaps fully down too. Which I guess is how you would be doing it anyway, if you are landing or taking off the flaps are probably down. If you were normal, I tend to lad with the flaps up a lot of the time if the plane is slow enough and glides well enough. And from what I can tell regardless of which three position switch you use it is always going to be button one. There is no way to use button 2, 3 or so on. I could be wrong on that, my batteries died before I could fully test that out.

Maybe this would work work better with a different transmitter and an actual cable made for that sim, I would hope so. I would say if you are getting RF8 don't get it off from steam and just get the bundle that comes with the transmitter, it will probably work better. And it is powered by the usb port so that isn't an issue either.

I wouldn't say the battery life is horrible. Especially since these things are designed to fly planes with fairly limited flight times and the transmitter will be turned off between flights. I think I got maybe 4 hours out of it before it died. And I doubt the batteries it comes with are the best you can get by far. But for using it on a simulator where you might, or at least I do anyway fly for hours at a time it just isn't going to cut it. It took me longer than I would say is normal to set this up because I was trying different things and changing things and re testing it. This is the first time I have ever used one these transmitters so there was a learning curve for me. By the time I got a handle on it the batteries were dead and didn't actually get to fly any planes with it lol. But even so, with a four hour battery life I could eat that up in one day of playing with my sim. So I guess I will be getting a rechargable batteries and a good charge, or a battery pack or two for it.

I will admit openly though for all my whining I am NOT using this transimmter for its intended purpose. It was designed to to work with a simulator and be used for hours at a time. I simply didn't take the battery thing into account when I made the decision to buy it. Lessons learned I guess. For an actual RC plane transmitter it is very good at its price point. At least that is what the guys at the local club told me today.

And then there is always the possibility I simply don't know what the heck I am doing and am talking out of my butt. Wouldn't be the first time lol.