Best RC Transmitter to purchase

Here's an area where you can ask any kind of question about RC models and find a whole lot of useful information to help you get started.

Best RC Transmitter to purchase

Postby MandurahRC » Fri Mar 04, 2011 1:46 pm

Hi all
being fairly new to rc have a few cars and now just moving up from coaxial heli to 450 size . after seeing some of Bruces reviews on some of the newer 2.4ghz brands i am still uncertain as to which brand / model , 6 or 7 ch to purchase as this will be a common transmitter for more toys to follow, so which one ?
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2011 12:47 pm

Re: Best RC Transmitter to purchase

Postby RCModelReviews » Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:53 pm

Your choice will depend on your budget and a few other needs.

If money is the most important factor then the Turnigy 9X (an 8-channel radio) is hard to beat. You just can't get anything else close to this level of capability for $55 -- end of story!

However, if you need more than the 9X can deliver then you have to look at the various "brand name" radios.

These days that means Spektrum, Futaba, Airtronics, Hitec or JR.

If this radio is going to have to last you a while then you might be better off going to 8-9 channels right from the start. It's not that you might need all those channels but generally speaking, the 8/9 channel systems offer much more powerful mixing and other features not always present in the 6/7 channel sets.

Each has its own strengths and weaknesses and ultimately it boils down to a personal choice.

What you need to determine is what you will be looking for in a radio.

Do you need:

- support for dual-elevator servos (not all low-end radios have this)
- good support for glider mixes (crow-braking, etc)
- flight modes (handy to have on some models)
- downloadable software upgrades (becoming increasingly important)
- fully programmable failsafe
- power-down range-test capabilities
- telemetry
- etc, etc.

But perhaps just as important is the way the radio feels in your hands.

I really wanted to buy myself a JR11X because I *love* that styling. Then I actually held one in my hands.

Boy, I'm glad I didn't fork out big money for one of those radios without holding one first. It just didn't fit my hands and I discovered that in the process of designing a "sexy" transmitter, they neglected some of the most important basics -- such as comfort and being able to reach the supplementary controls while flying the model. Suffice to say, despite its many other great strengths, the ergonomics of the JR11X killed it for me. I won't be buying one.

Now that Spektrum has seen the light and dumped DSM2 in favor of an agile system then I have no hesitation in recommending their systems as one option. Be careful though -- there are probably still a lot of "old stock" DSM2 Spektrum systems out there that won't support DSMX without being returned to Horizon for "upgrade" (which may or may not cost $).

The Hitec Aurora 9 is getting very positive reviews from those who have them and I must say that I'm very impressed with the one I have here. It ticks most of the boxes and is hard to fault -- but again, it's not a good fit for my hands (which are average sized).

Futaba's 8FG is a very nice radio and now they've upgraded it (via software downloads) so you get lots of extra channels for free (12 or 14 I think).

The DX8 is a popular radio but again -- doesn't suit my hands and I find the lack of sliders on the side of the case to be a really significant omission for anyone who wants proportional flaps or to use retracts without having to take their fingers off the sticks to activate them. I also don't like the DX8's styling -- but that's purely a matter of "taste" and one man's meat is another's poison. I know lots of people who *love* the looks of the DX8.

I have been trying to do a "shootout" series on RC transmitters but have found most manufacturers very reluctant to get involved. Only Hitec has so far had enough confidence in their product to submit one for review -- and I can see why.

However, I am slowly getting my hands on the other radios and reviewing them so I can publish the whole series side-by-side.

In the meantime remember this: any radio you have is always better than any other radio you don't have., just the facts.
User avatar
Posts: 2120
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 3:40 am

Re: Best RC Transmitter to purchase

Postby Toumal » Mon Mar 07, 2011 10:17 pm

My advice: Pick a radio that runs (or supports via module) 2.4GHz FHSS. That means pretty much anything other than DSM2 and Walkera.

Then find a few radios that look good for you and that you can afford. After that, go download the pdf manual and look at the menu structure. Does it look logical to you? Can you imagine setting up a new airplane for it? If the menu sucks and the operation looks byzantine (hint: "press and hold MENU button to go back" is a bad sign) then steer clear. Don't be too fooled by pretty graphics, instead look at how you'd set up a plane and see if that makes sense to you ;)
User avatar
Posts: 48
Joined: Tue May 04, 2010 9:51 am

Re: Best RC Transmitter to purchase

Postby Flash1940 » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:36 am

A quick question for you Bruce.....Have you always flown Mode I ???....Maybe one or two more.....Have you ever flown single-stick? Are you a self-taught pilot?

User avatar
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:48 pm
Location: Paris, Kentucky.....Central Kentucky USA

Re: Best RC Transmitter to purchase

Postby BB-Q » Thu May 19, 2011 7:29 am

Just thought I'd confirm the 8FG has 14 channels (12 proportional and two switched) as a free software upgrade. I ditched DSM2 in favour of this set when they had them on offer at £250. Of course there's the bonus of the Frsky rxs meaning that you don't have to pay Futabas scary prices.
It's a very very powerful radio too, with just about every programming option you can think of and a few I hadn't thought of! Any channel can be assigned to any control and there are also 4 "virtual" channels to help with the more complex mixes.
There's also the added bonus of being able to gang two rxs together to obtain those 14 channels, which can give you redundancy if the channels are shared across the control surfaces.
If I had a gripe it would be the Ipod-esque scroll wheel and the overall looks of the tx. But then, none of that matters when you're flying it as you should be looking at your aircraft and not your tx!
I also found the programming impossible to start with but I had only ever known a DX& and it's totally different. Now I'm getting the hang of it I don't find a problem. Don't let this last negative put you off- I'm just a humble mechanic and old fart and no genius when it comes to programming complex computer radios- I'd heartily recommend it.
User avatar
Posts: 21
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:41 pm
Location: Blackpool, England

Return to For Beginners (if you're just getting started in RC)

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests