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Transmitter question

#1
I am looking at entry level transmitters.

There are ways to get used Spektrum DX6i units, there are the new Spektrum DXe units, and the Turnigy TGY-i6 units.

These are the entry level price point transmitters I have found without venturing into oddball knockoff type brands from BANGOOD, etc.

Is there anything wrong with going with the DX6i even though it's been discontinued?

It seems the DXe has more model memory options than the TGY-i6, but programming is a bit more difficult.

You guys that are more experienced around here, can you give me some guidance. The first radio is likely to be the only one for a while.

Thanks! GWXR
 

mrjdstewart

Well-known member
#2
if you are serious about betting into the hobby, spend your money now on the Tx. it will be well worth your while and save you a lot of heart aches and troubles later as your skills begin to advance.

i would have no problem getting the Dx6i, it is a great intro Tx that has all the features that you need. i would not get the Dxe simply due to programing issues and it's inability to easily switch from one model to the next. i would stay away from the TGY-i6 as it's a pain in the butt to use and much cheaper quality than the spektrums.

good luck,

me :cool:
 

FDS

Well-known member
#4
You don’t need to buy Spektrum to fly. There are no “knockoff” brands, just products at different price brackets.
A $60 TX like the Flysky FSI6 will get you flying and be perfectly acceptable for several years, many can be modded to run 10 channels as well.
Flite Test used to get heavy sponsorship from Horizon Hobby who make Spektrum radios.
If you want to fly Horizon Hobby pre built planes you can do that with several non Spektrum radios that cost less than $100. If you want to buddy box with another Spektrum user then you would need a Spektrum radio.
Some a a little trickier to set up but remember the DX6i is older, limited to 6 channels and has limited model memory and mixes.
There’s a great thread in the Transmitters sub forum, read that before you buy. Do NOT RUSH your TX choice!
See link below.
 
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Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#6
The TGY ia6 or the FlySky Ia6 are the transmitters of choice for those I teach to fly. The range is quite good, the price is excellent, the dual antenna arrangement almost eliminates LOS events, the controls are quite simple and easy to use and finally safety features like Failsafe are GLOBAL settings and so individual setup variations and mistakes are almost unknown.

As an instructor I am required to ensure that safety is the highest priority and that cost for beginners is as low as is possible without sacrificing safety! Currently for me that is FlySky iA6.

In addition since migrating to the Ia6 my own crashes have almost come to an end. The price of a large number of Rxs from FlySky Vs using Spektrum/Lemon/orange means that I have saved hundreds just on Rxs alone.

The upgrade path to more capable systems is straight forward with support for AFHDSS being part of the multiprotocol radio systems.

If you are starting out and want a simple to use radio system for a very good price then the Ia6 is hard to beat.

I have tried many radio systems in recent times and did venture down the Spektrum path before finding the FlySky. After using my Flysky for over 2 years, I went and bought a second unit to teach with/on, (a year ago now).

My experience of course!

Have fun!
 

mrjdstewart

Well-known member
#7
... The price of a large number of Rxs from FlySky Vs using Spektrum/Lemon/orange means that I have saved hundreds just on Rxs alone....

My experience of course!

Have fun!
Spektrum and Lemon yes, but i run nothing but Orange Rx's and they used to average about $6 a piece. unfortunately our little tiff with China has doubled that price so who knows what's gonna happen in the future.

as for the Tx's. yes the Turnigy/FlySky is a cheap entry level Tx but when compared to ANY Spektrum Tx it's kinda like going from a Kia to a Mercedes in refinement and quality. in car speak that "upgrade" would costs thousands, here we are talking about $100 at most. in my humble opinion well worth it if you can.

me :cool:
 

Hoomi

Well-known member
#8
I'm running Tactic radios - have been for the nearly two years I've been flying now, and haven't had any problems with them. They're more budget-friendly than Spektrum, though compatible with very few BNF planes. 6 channel receivers run about $20 from Tower Hobbies.

It wasn't so much a specific decision to use Tactic, as the first couple of RTF planes I bought came with Tactic systems, so when I wanted to upgrade to a better transmitter, I just went with the TTX660 from Tactic, which has multi-model memory. All my planes now are bound to the TTX660. If I'd upgraded to a Spektrum, I would have needed to also change out all the receivers.
 

Merv

Well-known member
#9
Discussing brands of Tx’s is a bit like discussing brands of cars, everyone has a reason why the one they use is the best. The truth is all hobby grade Tx’s work very well, and they all have a learning curve. If you have others to fly with, get the brand they use, Hopefully they will help you learn the system. If you get a different brand, both of you will be learning. Regarding cost, you should also consider the cost of the Rx, you will likely buy several of them.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#10
Spektrum and Lemon yes, but i run nothing but Orange Rx's and they used to average about $6 a piece. unfortunately our little tiff with China has doubled that price so who knows what's gonna happen in the future.

as for the Tx's. yes the Turnigy/FlySky is a cheap entry level Tx but when compared to ANY Spektrum Tx it's kinda like going from a Kia to a Mercedes in refinement and quality. in car speak that "upgrade" would costs thousands, here we are talking about $100 at most. in my humble opinion well worth it if you can.

me :cool:
Lets agree to disagree because you are set on the spektrum and I have dropped the spectrum from training because I was legally bound to go with the demonstrated best and most safe setup for beginners as part of my training. So far at our field and within our club no one has had a FlySky Tx or Rx failure whereas spektrum does not have a similar honour!

As for the KIA to Mercedes argument they are both used as taxis in their respective countries! So one taxi is better than another:unsure:.

Today I collected yet another plane for repair from a spektrum user!

Here spektrum users seem to suffer from "Interference" which is most likely just a LOS event and I use my radios across the full field and beyond without an issue. Mind you being a radio and electronics trade person I know how to set up the planes and antenna locations better than most!

If you have had a bad experience with flysky then it is sad for you but to put down a radio system that others find very good, based upon your bad experience is insanity! If you have not ever flown and used a properly setup FlySky system then it is you that is missing out.

I fly and use Spektrum as well as flysky and a number of other brands that you may not have even heard of, (because I repair planes and even radio systems for other club members as well as maiden some of their new builds and purchases for them). and I will repeat that for beginners I will still recommend and teach on FlySky until something better in performance and bang for buck comes along. I personally refuse to be bound to any one brand of radio system because tech is developing far too fast for such a head in the sand approach!

Lets call it a tie!

Have fun!
 
#12
WOW! Didn't know I was stirring up an argument akin to Mac vs PC LOL!

Lots of great information here. I am still researching, but for now I am certain I'll be staying with FT Foam Board, or BNF foamies.

I will probably eventually return to my CL roots and build a balsa plane, but that'll be a LONG while coming. Currently don't have a place for that kind of production.
 
#13
Admittedly, I am a little biased for Spektrum. I have a number of their xmitters. Very little trouble. In the years I have been using them I've only one malfunction, just recently. I will now get to see what their customer service is like. I suspect everything will be fine.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#14
Admittedly, I am a little biased for Spektrum. I have a number of their xmitters. Very little trouble. In the years I have been using them I've only one malfunction, just recently. I will now get to see what their customer service is like. I suspect everything will be fine.
I also was also going to jump heavily into Spektrum a while ago and my club was 99% spectrum with zero FlySky, As a new committee member I took on safety and began looking into the crashes our club members experienced, (there was a post made on this forum). Sadly about 50% of the crashes were radio related including sudden control reversal and LOS issues.

After the investigations, (well, of the crashes up to that time), I put my Spektrum plans and radio aside and looked for a radio system that had antenna diversity on BOTH the Transmitter and the Receiver and it had to be at a good price for beginners! I assessed a number of different radio systems and SkyFly Ia6 2A has only a minute possibility of a LOS condition and then only with an unrealistic Tx to Rx antenna setup orientation. So until there is better I teach on FlySky.

Another feature that I was not happy with, (from a safety point of view), is/was the programming of failsafe. On the Spektrum radios I have tested the failsafe is set on bind PER Rx and this means that a mistake in stick position during bind can program in undesired failsafe behaviour. On the FlySky, Failsafe is setup via the menu in the Tx and applied Globally to all Rxs bound to the transmitter. Once setup safely and properly in the Tx, it is set safely for every plane you bind. I recently received yet another Spektrum outfitted plane for Repair simply because the pilot got distracted and turned off his transmitter. The plane roared to life and tore through the pit area crashing and grinding its way through other planes until it came to rest against an immovable object. Beginners are more likely to make mistakes than others and so yet again to keep them and other users safe I use , recommend and teach with the FlySky.

On my Flysky radio I can turn off the transmitter upon landing and the plane will not respond to anything and will be perfectly safe until I turn the Tx on again. A reliably set failsafe can reduce flyaways as well. My club has had about 5 flyaways in the past 4 years and they were all running Spektrum radio systems. No FlySky fitted plane has had a flyaway and only one has actually crashed and the jury is out on whether it was caused by the extremely high wind at the time or a momentary LOS. Evidence is leaning towards the venturi effect between trees at winds around 40mph.

With new Spektrum users at my local club i strongly recommend the use of the satellite Rxs to allow the positioning of the antennas away from the wiring and other metal structures in their models and those who listen have found a great reduction in their number of crashes.

SPEKTRUM is a very good radio system but it is falling behind in the latest tech. FlySky Ia6 2A also has a number of failings also but it has the safety features that make life easier and crashes less frequent, (once the pilot knows how to fly that is)! Those Spektrum users I teach take longer and have more crashes than those who elect to use FlySky. My latest batch of FlySky students are almost ready to solo and they have not yet experienced a LOS or even a single crash on the planes they purchased as recommended and they also have flown a number of my FB planes without incident.

I started my posts on this matter to set the record right for the FlySky and not to tear down Spektrum or any other radio system. This hobby is becoming serious to governments around the world and actually the radios we use need to be brought up to latest tech and to have the proper safety features to make our hobby safer and more fun! I am in the hobby for a GOOD TIME and (HOPEFULLY) A LONG TIME.

Single antenna radio systems are great for quadcopters, cars and boats but dangerous for use with planes especially if used with single antenna receivers!

Have fun!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#15
So...Let me give you my two cents, which, admittedly, is worth that or maybe less.

The brands of transmitters are Mac vs. PC, Ford vs. Chevy, BMW vs. Mercedes, iOS vs. Android - you get the picture. Each transmitter has its pluses and minuses, and in a lot of respects, you get what you pay for. Now, when I say that, you may get some features you want, but at the lack of others - or, you may get a bunch of features, but no support other than a YouTube video, or you may not get a warranty, or you may get cheaper parts (I remember looking at a cheaper Taranis radio when I was first looking at transmitters, and the sticks felt REALLY mushy, with no ability to adjust it - it was also $50 cheaper than the other radios that I was looking at, so that savings showed in the controls).

Another example to watch out for is how many models they can store. I currently have 18 models in my storage - 3 different quads of varying sizes, 2 USB computer connections, a Sea Duck, trainer settings for the Apprentice, an FT Mustang, and multiple different BNF planes that I've bought. With the DX6i, it's got a limitation of 10 models. That, for me, was a pretty big reason not to go with it and step up to a DX6, when I first got into the hobby - I KNEW I was going to have a fleet of aircraft to work with. Is it a problem for you? Maybe, maybe not - that's up to you to make that call.

There are other issues to consider as well with the radios - what TYPES of planes are you going to fly? Are you planning on flying a warbird with retractable landing gear, flaps, and bomb bay door releases? If so, you'll need a channel for each of those things, in addition to your standard throttle, rudder, elevator, and ailerons. If you're going to fly big gliders, you may need even more channels, for things like airbrakes, tow release, and telemetry. That's material to be aware of REGARDLESS of brand.

Now, if you are planning to buy bind n' fly (BNF) planes, know that a good portion of them are using DSMX. This means you need either a Spektrum radio or one that's compatible with DSMX, OR you'll need to change out the receiver to use a different receiver compatible with your transmitter. There may also be some radios out there that say they'll support DSMX, but they have an asterisk on it - you'll need an additional module that attaches to the radio to offer that functionality, and will be an additional cost.

The last thing I would bring up is support. I fly Spektrum because at my field, most of the people who are there fly Spektrum. It's somewhat of a "jump on the bandwagon" feel, but it's not for the reasons you think - I did it because if I have a problem with setup or configuration, odds are, someone at my field has run into it and can help me troubleshoot my settings. That may vary depending on where you're at - if you're flying in say, South Indiana, you may find that the guys there fly Futaba. Or you may fly down in Florida and you find the guys there all use Graupner. I mention all of this because if you decide to buy a radio that nobody's really heard of, you may be stuck getting support from a YouTube video, or worse, from a manual that was written by a programmer into Chinese, then translated from Chinese to English by someone for whom English is a second language. And of course, if something breaks and the manufacturer is in China, you may have to send it back to them on your dime - which, with current tariffs and shipping scrutiny, could end up being as much or more than the transmitter.

So...What do I think you should get out of those choices? I like the DX6i - it's easy to program, it has DSMX, it's a solid radio that a LOT of people have dealt with, and it'll be relatively inexpensive, lasting you for several years. Disadvantages are that it's limited to 10 models in memory vs. the "virtually unlimited" model memory on a DXe, but the DXe is something of a pain to get programmed since you have to use a programming cable or optional Bluetooth programming module. Also, the DXe does not play well with quadcopters, so I am hesitant to recommend it for that very reason.

Hope this helps!
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#16
And to build on what @sprzout said, where you are comfortable getting support from should be a big part of picking what transmitter to go with. I've got a software development background and enjoy building and troubleshooting electronics so I chose to go with FrSky radios with OpenTX software - mostly for the software. OpenTX makes almost everything configurable and able to be tweaked and changed and expanded as much as you like - and because it's an open source software package, it has new feature releases a couple times per year, lots of community support and activity, and no brand protocol lock ins.

For me the idea of a transmitter that I can't open up and change and customize on both hardware and software level just isn't something I want to spend money on. Which is why I haven't bought into FrSky's new Access protocol either, but that's a different soap box.
 

Hai-Lee

Old and Bold RC PILOT
#17
And to build on what @sprzout said, where you are comfortable getting support from should be a big part of picking what transmitter to go with. I've got a software development background and enjoy building and troubleshooting electronics so I chose to go with FrSky radios with OpenTX software - mostly for the software. OpenTX makes almost everything configurable and able to be tweaked and changed and expanded as much as you like - and because it's an open source software package, it has new feature releases a couple times per year, lots of community support and activity, and no brand protocol lock ins.

For me the idea of a transmitter that I can't open up and change and customize on both hardware and software level just isn't something I want to spend money on. Which is why I haven't bought into FrSky's new Access protocol either, but that's a different soap box.
I expect my next radio to be open source as well but the programming is still a little too steep a curve for a newbie!

My issue is more about safety features and proper antenna design for Tx and Rx. My background is Electronics and communications with a large lump of computer networking and wireless!

Have fun!
 

sprzout

Knower of useless information
Mentor
#18
And to build on what @sprzout said, where you are comfortable getting support from should be a big part of picking what transmitter to go with. I've got a software development background and enjoy building and troubleshooting electronics so I chose to go with FrSky radios with OpenTX software - mostly for the software. OpenTX makes almost everything configurable and able to be tweaked and changed and expanded as much as you like - and because it's an open source software package, it has new feature releases a couple times per year, lots of community support and activity, and no brand protocol lock ins.

For me the idea of a transmitter that I can't open up and change and customize on both hardware and software level just isn't something I want to spend money on. Which is why I haven't bought into FrSky's new Access protocol either, but that's a different soap box.
Yep. The disadvantage to OpenTX, at least for me (mind you, it may be different for you) is that nobody in my club knows anything about it. I would have to be the guy to delve in and figure stuff out on my own, and then I would be the "expert" (although I'd be far from an expert!) should someone else get an OpenTX transmitter. :)

For you, it may be a great radio. You may not have problems with it. For me, I'd rather stay with the simplicity of the Spektrum radios. Do I think it's better than the FrSky? I think the Spektrum radios are the best radios FOR MY PURPOSES AND NEEDS.

I honestly think it's just a point of view, that whole "Android vs. iOS" argument coming up, because I've heard almost the exact same arguments in that field. They both do the same basic functions, but each brand has its bells and whistles that the fandoms pick to defend their choices. :) If you're happy with your choice, so be it. :)
 

rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#19
Yep. The disadvantage to OpenTX, at least for me (mind you, it may be different for you) is that nobody in my club knows anything about it. I would have to be the guy to delve in and figure stuff out on my own, and then I would be the "expert" (although I'd be far from an expert!) should someone else get an OpenTX transmitter. :)
This is a very important consideration! I was the first person in my club to get an OpenTX radio but I was very happy doing all the research and trial and error work online myself - enjoyed it very much! But that's not for everyone - if the idea of needing to research sometimes conflicting and confusing weird logic and accepting that things you try to implement with the radio might not work the first time (or the second time, or the third time...) , then an OpenTX radio is probably not something you will enjoy!

For you, it may be a great radio. You may not have problems with it. For me, I'd rather stay with the simplicity of the Spektrum radios. Do I think it's better than the FrSky? I think the Spektrum radios are the best radios FOR MY PURPOSES AND NEEDS.
Yes - exactly this!!! :D:D:D You've found a system that works for you and that's perfect! (y) For me, I owned one Spektrum transmitter, and after about two months of annoyances at what I felt to be limitations, I took it apart and desoldered the radio chip to make a DSMX module for my Taranis. :geek: That DSMX module is still working great in my Taranis 4 years later and I have never had a radio lockout problem with it except one time I launched a DSM protocol receiver at a FliteFest combat event. When over 100 planes launch at once, and you're using a very very old protocol like DSM issues are to be expected! :eek:

Spektrum radios are not bad compared to Jeti or FrSky or FlySky. Just like ready to fly foam airplanes are not bad compared to FliteTest foam board planes or balsa planes or carbon fiber composite planes. They are just appropriate for different people and different situations.

If budget is a big constraint for you, Spektrum might not be your best choice. If you get frustrated when things don't work right the first time and want to break something rather than spend hours of research and have a favorite multi-meter in your workshop, then OpenTX might not be your best choice. If you can't stand the idea of a lightweight transmitter that isn't a smooth futuristic design then maybe FlySky isn't for you.

Some of the best advice I have heard on choosing transmitters is to see how they feel in your hands - cause no matter how neat it looks, if the tension on the sticks bugs the heck out of you and isn't adjustable, then you aren't going to be happy. If you don't have other flyers nearby or a local hobby store, try finding a flying event in your region and ask people there what they like about their transmitter. Guaranteed you'll get a lot of good info as well as an opportunity to see how a bunch of different models feel.
 
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rockyboy

Skill Collector
Mentor
#20
I expect my next radio to be open source as well but the programming is still a little too steep a curve for a newbie!

My issue is more about safety features and proper antenna design for Tx and Rx. My background is Electronics and communications with a large lump of computer networking and wireless!

Have fun!
I didn't have any issues with the FlySky transmitters and receivers I started in the hobby with, but the lure of endlessly configurable OpenTX software drew me away! :D

But these days I'm getting very interested in what's going on with DeviationTX and Jumper hardware, especially as recent FrSky releases are showing a move towards a closed proprietary protocol in the radio chip that could lock other manufacturers out of building compatible hardware. Not sure the Jumper hardware is up to the reliability/redundancy design level I want yet, but they are focused on cross compatibility and the software sure is getting there quickly with the increased user and developer base!