I have recently joined the forum and spent the last few days immersing myself and undertaking some background reading. This is my first post, but i'm sure it won't be the last..
Hi to everybody!!
I have recently procured an Arducopter 3DR-B kit (everything but batteries and radio comms) and am seeking some advice specifically relating to radio transmitters/receivers.
The radio transmiter/recivers will form a large part of my investment and before I make an uneducated purchase I wondered if you have any advise on do's/dont's?
I am hoping to learn from others oversights or mistakes, are there any venders offerings which should be avoided or aligned to?
I could hedge my bets and buy something with loads of channels but I don't want to splash cash out unnecesarily.
I appreciate this is somewhat vague but I intend to mount a camera and add some telemetry in the future, any thoughts or advice?
I use the Futaba 8FGH super for all my flying. That’s the best deal these days because you get a 14-channel transmitter with an 8-channel receiver. You can expand the receiver to full 14 channels through the Sbus port.
I have flown many brands and chose Futaba FASST because it is the most solid RF link in the industry and has several miles of radio range. Futaba says 3 miles but I have never tested it that far.
Lots of people use the $55 Turnigy 9X. It's probably the most popular transmitter out there and it has the most features since you can load customized open source firmware on it (with a hardware modification).
My opinion is to use a Futaba transmitter (10C would be a good choice) with FrSky 2.4GHz modules installed. The transmitter is an investment. It's your command and control station, and it's actually the only thing you touch while you are flying. Futaba transmitters are solid, they last decades, they feel good, etc.
FrSky Tx/Rx are at least as good as FAAST, are less than 1/4 the cost, and come with telemetry which is very cool.
I'm not a big fan of the Turnigy. I don't think it feels good, the Rx failsafe is crap, and I've heard some things about pots failing, etc. Though, obviously the price is attractive, and the open-source firmware flashing stuff is neat.
I also consistently hear bad things about Spektrum. Probably more complaints about basic Tx-Rx functionality (drop-outs, loss of bind, etc.) than anything else.
I believe Futaba and Graupner to be the best radios out there. Like in everything, you get what you pay for ! I've read all kinds of complains regarding cheap radios, like signal loss at 300mts and so on, and never, but never had I any kind of signal loss with my Futaba T8 FM (you may laugh but I still prefer the good old FM, with more than 2kms range, tested by me with trees in between). This is an old radio yet very reliable, specially in PCM !
I would also recommend the Futaba 8 FG super, I see a lot of customer take these radios over the others due to the number of features and functions offered, they also have the S Bus system. I know they are more expensive but they have so many options you will not be running out of options any time soon!
If you plan on any FPV in the future then you will need a Futaba, as the trainer port on the JR won't accept the extra input signals for a head tracker. I had a good JR but when I started doing FPV had to go out and buy a good Futaba.
One with the modules in the back might be good future proofing, and I still find sometimes that 36MHz (here in Aus) works better than 2,4GHz when you are running 2.4GHz video at high power and 900MHz data at high power, even the Futaba FASST lose range, but the 36MHz does not. But I also use FASST on some autonomous vehicles that only run 900MHz data without a problem.
As the Tx is your link to the vehicle it is a critical piece of gear and you should get the best unit that your budget will allow.