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Your Reviewer

My Credentials
So who's doing this reviewing then?

Well I've been building and flying or driving radio controlled models for over 40 years and during that time I like to think I've built up a reasonable amount of knowledge.

I'm also a qualified electronics engineer who has worked in radio frequency, analog, digital systems and software for more than three decades. In fact I designed and built my first RC set back in 1969.

For the past nine years I've also been involved in the design and manufacture of some rather sophisticated engine technology and UAV flight control systems.

So, chances are I've been there, done that and have a huge pile of tee shirts to prove it.

Right now I'm heavily into 3D flying and enjoy all aspects of the RC hobby. I may be old but I don't feel it.

In the Pipeline

Here's just a little bit of what's to come on this site...

RC explained: Demystifying terms such as PCM, PPM dual conversion, single conversion, full-range etc., this feature will explain it all.

Cheap Chinese Engines: Just how good are those cheap Chinese glow and gas engines that sell for half the price of their "brand-name" equivalent? I put several to the test.

Build your own radio gear?: Back in the old days, building your own RC gear was not uncommon and now the arrival of 2.4GHz has made it practical again.

 

Review: Turnigy 9X Version 2 (Part 4)

A CLOSER LOOK

Dated: 22 June 2010

Performance

The new Version 2.0 system is definitely a frequency hopping system and it appears to use 16 individual "channels" to spread its signal right across the band (as shown in the spectrum analyzer graph below). The output power is also very slightly higher than my old version 1 system.

Spectrum analysis of Turnigy V2 FHSS

When hit with strong interference, the system proved to be adequately resilient, simply becoming more jerky as the band was slowly filled with an interfering signal. While not as resilient as the Hitec, Futaba or FrSky systems, version 2 of the FlySky system is light-years better than the original, that's for sure. I'd also go as far as to say that it's even better than some systems costing twice as much.

Spectrum analysis of the Version 1 DSSS system

When comparing the output of the new FHSS module to the old one (above) it's easy to see that version 2 is using a lot more of the band and that's a very, very good thing.

Servo movement is smooth, perhaps not quite as smooth as version 1 but certainly perfectly good for a radio of this price.

The brownout performance remains very good -- which is no surprise because the electronic design of the receiver is really little changed from before.

As mentioned before, due to poor weather, I've yet to give the radio a proper flight test but that should be done within the next week or two and this review will be suitably updated at that time.

Firmware

I'm about to spend a significant amount of time and effort writing a new short-form manual for the 9X, given that the product comes with no form of documentation at all.

During this period, I'll be testing for bugs and work-arounds related to the firmware so I should have a pretty good idea what now works and what still doesn't.

It's also worth noting that several new sets of firmware are now available for the 9X which significantly expand its power and performance. I'll be covering these in upcoming features as well as detailing how they can be uploaded into the transmitter.

In the meantime, this remains a "review in progress" and I urge you to check back from time to time so as to see what I've discovered and if there are any major problems with Version 2 of the Turnigy9X radio.

It is just a $60 radio after all.

Summary

Although little has changed in the basic radio, the quality of construction seems to have improved somewhat -- although I think the final quality-control checks are still just a bit of a joke. You might get a real bargain with this radio but there's still a chance you'll get a paperweight.

The 2.4GHz side of things is vastly improved over the original system (pending flight tests to confirm that). It's now a frequency hopper at an incredibly low price.

Despite its FHSS technology and feature-set, this radio (with the standard module/receiver) is not recommended for large or fast models however. The lack of failsafe sees to that.

In summary, it's exceptionally good value for $60 -- how the hell can they make them that cheap?

Pro's:

  • It's cheap as beans
  • Uses FHSS technology
  • 8 channels for $60???
  • Heli, glider and acro settings
  • Nice graphic LCD display
  • Built-in 2.4GHz transmitter antenna
  • Adequately smooth servo movement
  • Alternative software available
  • Did I mention that it's really cheap?

Cons:

  • Not a truly JR-compatible module-bay
  • Using third-party modules difficult
  • Quality control still not up to scratch
  • No real warranty to speak of
  • No failsafe with the standard module/receiver
  • Product: Turnigy 9X version 2
  • Purchased from: HobbyKing
  • Overall rating: 4.5/5
  • Value for money: 6/5 (ie: astounding)

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The Blog

Updated: 20 Sep 2012
Here's a blog that will keep you informed just what's going on behind the scenes at RC Model Reviews and also tells you a little more about myself.

How compatible are 2.4GHz RC systems?

23 Mar 2010
How come there's no compatibility between different brands of transmitters and receivers? Why can't you use a cheap Chinese receiver with your Futaba FASST radio?

How to get a product reviewed here

4 Mar 2010
Since this has become a very frequently asked question, I've posted this simple guide to getting your product, or a product you're thinking of buying reviewed here at RCModelReviews

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