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Turnigy 9X/9XR vs Spektrum DX4e

#1
I have a super cub LP that I have been learning to fly on and I want to upgrade the radio so I can go brushless. There is a Spektrum DX4e for sale on my local Craigslist but I also found the Turnigy 9X/9XR on HobbyKing for only a little more. Now I hear the Spektrum name more often than Turnigy in regards to radios. Which would be a better buy?

I want to do some FPV and integrate AdruPilot in the future if that helps you guys help me. Any reccomendations for a radio under $100 would be good too. :)
 

Joker 53150

Mmmmmmm, balsa.
Mentor
#3
The DX4e is a butter knife. The 9x/9xr is a Swiss Army Knife with a flame-thrower.

I have two DX4e transmitters, one that came with my Super Cub and another that was sent to replace the faulty one that came with the Super Cub (the power switch was bad - I fixed it and that radio is my spare for Buddy-Boxing). If your only goal is to go brushless you can stay with the DX4e and it will be fine for the Super Cub. If you want to progress to other planes the Turnigy will give you a LOT more flexibility. It can be made to handle just about any plane, although it is much more involved setting it up compared to the DX4e. But once it's set up for each model you can quickly switch from plane to plane without having to flip switches, reset trim, etc.

My DX4e works fine for my Super Cub and a few other small/slow planes, but I'll reach for the 9x whenever possible, including for my Super Cub.
 

Ak Flyer

Fly the wings off
Mentor
#5
Question......What are you upgrading from?

If it's the old 72mhz radio with the long antennae, then neither is going to work for you without major upgrades. Upgrading to the DX4e is confusing me since it's the standard radio with the DSM cub. It's not a huge deal, but you need to replace the esc/receiver brick with a separate esc and receiver just to use the radio. Since you want to go brushless anyway it's nearly irrelevant. Nearly. If you are looking to fly your plane with said radio now you need to have a DSM plane....so......what are you upgrading from?

Oh and the 9x is ten times the radio the DX4e is.
 
#6
I am using the stock 27mhz radio. Its looking like I should buy the 9X/9XR. I came across modules and are confused with them. If I buy the 9XR (which doesnt come with a module AFAIK) what module would I put in it? In the case of the 9X is it good for FPV out of the box? I am going to FPV within LOS so range isn't really a factor since it can probably do a mile or two like most radios.

Lastly for those doing FPV already since it is my end goal, is it even worth going 2.4? If I go 2.4 I understand I would have to run a 5.8ghz or 1.3ghz for video. Or should I look into another 72mhz system? I don't even know where to start with that as all websites i look at seem to sell only 2.4ghz radios.
 
Last edited:

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#7
There's good reason the newly designed transmitters have moved to 2.4Ghz. For control, the 2.4 transmitters can be much more reliable and cooperative than older systems, but a lot of FPV pilots are sticking to the older freqs for control so they can use 2.4 for video.

Picking up a 2.4 transmitter will lock you out of using 2.4 for video -- they won't cooperate, but that alone won't keep you out of FPV. If you use 1.2 (not sure about 1.3, but maybe also) a simple filter on your FPV transmitter make them cooperate. 5.8G/2.4G or 900M/2.4G play nice out of the box.

If you plan to fly at any FPV club or fly-in, they may lock out 2.4 controller to leave the freq open for video. If a good deal on an old used 72 wanders by, it wouldn't hurt to pick it up and get synthesized rx. Otherwise, you'll probably want 2.4 for day-to-day or club/fly-in control.

If you go with a 9XR, the module you pick is up to personal taste. Too many argue about A has let me down or only B is reliable, only to have someone counter with the opposite. Each modulation scheme (DSMX, FASST, etc.) has it's strengths and weaknesses, and every one will let you down under some condition. Doesn't hurt to take your time researching these to make up your own mind. If you go with the 9x, you can delay that decision for a little while, and get a "better" module when you've had a chance to research and decide.
 
#9
There's good reason the newly designed transmitters have moved to 2.4Ghz. For control, the 2.4 transmitters can be much more reliable and cooperative than older systems, but a lot of FPV pilots are sticking to the older freqs for control so they can use 2.4 for video.

Picking up a 2.4 transmitter will lock you out of using 2.4 for video -- they won't cooperate, but that alone won't keep you out of FPV. If you use 1.2 (not sure about 1.3, but maybe also) a simple filter on your FPV transmitter make them cooperate. 5.8G/2.4G or 900M/2.4G play nice out of the box.

If you plan to fly at any FPV club or fly-in, they may lock out 2.4 controller to leave the freq open for video. If a good deal on an old used 72 wanders by, it wouldn't hurt to pick it up and get synthesized rx. Otherwise, you'll probably want 2.4 for day-to-day or club/fly-in control.

If you go with a 9XR, the module you pick is up to personal taste. Too many argue about A has let me down or only B is reliable, only to have someone counter with the opposite. Each modulation scheme (DSMX, FASST, etc.) has it's strengths and weaknesses, and every one will let you down under some condition. Doesn't hurt to take your time researching these to make up your own mind. If you go with the 9x, you can delay that decision for a little while, and get a "better" module when you've had a chance to research and decide.
Thanks for the thorough reply it really helps clarify things. So I am going to get 2.4ghz for sure. I was wonder what the compatibility is of the Turnigy radios with BNF planes? I would like to get some cheaper for-fun planes along with my Bixler/Supercub fpv setup.

Also what exactly is the differences between the 9X and 9XR apart from the 9XR not coming with a module. Is there something that 9XR offers that I would want later but can't do on the 9X? I like the fact that I can just buy the 9X and install it for now while I learn to orient myself with fpv with ample flying time instead of spending time researching things I am not ready for yet. With the 9XR I would still need to continue researching modules and the pros and cons of each (FrSky seems to be a favorite?) and also needing to buy a receiver.

I see that HobbyKing has 900mhz kits readily available but no 1.2ghz. Should I spring for 900mhz? How are people successful with this if US Cellphone bands run near 900mhz?
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#10
m4r,

if you get a DSM2 or DSMX module, they'll work with the spectrum BNF planes.

Unfortunately, I've never played w/ the 9x or 9xr, to know their differences. Check out reviews online -- I've seen a few, but not watched any.

As for 900 interference, no experience w/ video, but looks like the HK kit rides in a notch between GSM-900 uplink and downlink freqs. According to Wikipedia (which is always correct, right?) the US doesn't use GSM-900, only GSM-800 and -1900.

Looks like it should be clear of cell traffic, but fly by church/auditorium/arena, and you might start picking up their microphones (or your video playing over their sound system). I have had experience with 900Mhz audio systems. Good news is, other than the crappy whip antennas that everyone uses, the band works well and is fairly noise free.
 
#11
Does the 9X come with its own proprietary...not sure what to call it...encoding? I understand that DSM and related is under Spektrum while FHSS is Futaba.

Thanks for the info on the 900mhz, looks like it would be okay to try out. Should I go with the 200mw system or 800mw? The 1.5w system probably won't do my radio control interface any good so I am not even considering that.
 

Craftydan

Hostage Taker of Quads
Moderator
Mentor
#12
The 9x appears to have it's own scheme to talk to matching receivers sold at HK (yeah, encoding is not the right term, but the right one escapes me at he moment). If you go that route, make sure you get the transmitter that includes a receiver and consider picking up a second receiver.

As for power levels, not familiar with what range you'd get out of each so don't know how to advise. Keep in mind, you'll need an amateur radio license to transmit anything above 10mW (and some freqs require it for any power level). It isn't hard anymore, but will take a couple of evenings study and a formal test. In the process you'll probably get better answers to many of your questions, so it's not a pointless formality. Do improve your LoS gear , but keep in mind the ham license as you're getting ready to move to FPV.

Once you have your rig set up and running, you will probably want to replace the stock whip antennas. You can make your own cloverleaf antennas to replace them and get significant improvement for cheap, but I'd highly recommend that you *eventually* get a set of the BluBeam cloverleaf antennas made by Video Aerial Systems. Was at a fly-in recently and saw someone replace a different cloverleaf with one of these and saw his range nearly double. Now this was at 5.8, but the improvement was startling.
 
#13
The 9x appears to have it's own scheme to talk to matching receivers sold at HK (yeah, encoding is not the right term, but the right one escapes me at he moment). If you go that route, make sure you get the transmitter that includes a receiver and consider picking up a second receiver.

As for power levels, not familiar with what range you'd get out of each so don't know how to advise. Keep in mind, you'll need an amateur radio license to transmit anything above 10mW (and some freqs require it for any power level). It isn't hard anymore, but will take a couple of evenings study and a formal test. In the process you'll probably get better answers to many of your questions, so it's not a pointless formality. Do improve your LoS gear , but keep in mind the ham license as you're getting ready to move to FPV.

Once you have your rig set up and running, you will probably want to replace the stock whip antennas. You can make your own cloverleaf antennas to replace them and get significant improvement for cheap, but I'd highly recommend that you *eventually* get a set of the BluBeam cloverleaf antennas made by Video Aerial Systems. Was at a fly-in recently and saw someone replace a different cloverleaf with one of these and saw his range nearly double. Now this was at 5.8, but the improvement was startling.
Interesting to know that about the 9X. It appears it might be better to just get the 9XR and put on a Spektrum/FHSS compatible module and receiver. Just don't like all the chrome bits on the 9XR :( but its function over form.

I do know about the HAM radio requirement and plan on getting a license anyway since I am interested in radio theory.

After watching and reading some reviews it seems like the HobbyKing system is pretty good as long as you keep it within LOS distances. The antennas were noted to be not up to par but that polarized antenna should fix it. I am still deciding if I am going to use 900mhz or 5.8ghz. Do you know of any other places that sell reputable FPV systems?
 

IBeHoey

The Warranty Voider
#15
Just don't like all the chrome bits on the 9XR
I hear that. If you're not against the idea of doing a few modifications on your own, the 9X can be modified to do just about everything that the 9XR is capable of, minus the giant plastic handle and chrome. The protocol used in the 9X is FlySky and there are a handful of receivers out there that can be used with it, my favorite being the 6ch HK-T6A-V2. The system's great for small foamies and small LOS flying, but that's about it. Requiring a little work (re-routing the antenna), the 9X can be made modular (like the 9XR) to support JR compatible RF modules. Because of this, you can pretty much fly/use any protocol you like.

All of these features are nice, but IMO, it's the custom opensource firmware that really makes these transmitters shine. The 9XR comes pre-loaded with ER9X, which is just, simply put, awesome. The stock firmware shipped with the 9X, compared to ER9X, is just awful, it really is. Unlike the 9XR, which comes with an already built-in USB programmer, you do have to modify the 9X in order to re-flash it. This mainly involves soldering a few wires to the main PCB (the connections you need to make are already broken out on the board with little soldering pads, simplifying this process) and then interfacing them to an USBasp AVR programmer. Along with the ER9X firmware, there are a few other flavors of firmware you can choose from as well, all of which, just add even more features to these, already awesome, transmitters. :D

Here are some more links of interest:
http://openrcforums.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

http://www.rchacker.com/projects/turnigy-9x/open9x-and-telemetry