I have received my first bixler plane in the mail, and now in the process of researching radios. I am wondering what type of radio would be the best to buy? i am also in need of a battery, i was thinking of going with a 2200mAh. Wondering what the flying time would be and if it is getting to heavy? Any help would be great?
Hello Jake! I think 'best radio' depends on your budget and plans.
It is all too common to purchase a transmitter that just barely does what you want only to quickly wish you bought one withe more stuff (channels) in it. Will this Bixler be using an APMx?
If so, check the options of the APMx that you might be using and buy a transmitter accordingly.
If this a trainer and will not be using an APMx, I recommend adding at least 2 channels to the minimum you need; i.e. if you need a 4 channel system, buy a 6.
There are no bad major brand systems that I know of. You will probably get 6 different replies from 6 different flyers. I would stay away from older AM systems (there are plenty cheap on ebay).
Battery size also depends on your plans for the aircraft. Cameras, pan/tilt, etc will put more draw on the power source and accordlingly reduce flight (fright?) time. I would go as light as possible if this is a trainer.
I don't want to have to sell a car to buy a radio but other than that I am pretty flexible when it comes to price, i plan on taking some pictures and I am going to get an APM2 for the plane. As for telemetry I was wondering your opinion on 3D or xbee?? Any advice would be great or if u think I should go a different route?? I would love to put a Pan/tilt in the plane but i feel that I am going to get into a weight issue?
Understood. After shopping around and trolling ebay I ended up with a Spektrum DX6i, no receiver, lightly used by a heli beginner. It was modern (DSMx) and less than I would have paid new. On the other hand, most local hobby shop now have the DX6i combo deal again. It comes with extra receivers for park flyers and most importantly, a warranty.
You will pay more at the L.H.S. but you are also buying into a relationship which is very important in this hobby.
I have no experience, yet, when it comes to telemetry. This changes almost faster than RC technology.
My new trainers are a Bixler type aircraft and another home built aircraft.. and of course the Arducopter for multi-rotor.
Oh, don't neglect a simulator of some type. The DX6i works fine with FMS (and a second program). A simple audio cable connects the Tx with the mic input of the PC. There are already models for the Bixler/Sky Hawk type aircraft to run under FMS.
Now if money were no object... RealFlight 6. Wow.
I would recommend the Futaba 10C.
It's the last of the Futaba 72MHz units which has an advantage of using Tx modules. So you can get the range of a 72MHz system, or you can throw in FrSky 2.4GHz modules and take advantage of all their features.
Sure, it's a little more money, but it should last a lifetime (I have some Futaba Tx that are 30 years old!). And I can't recommend Spektrum at all. Too many problems I hear about. I've always considered the Tx a long-term investment.
I use a $55 Turnigy 9X transmitter. It has more capabilities than anything else out there since you can load open source firmware onto it. It's also far cheaper than anything else out there. You can get several of them for the price of any of the other comparable transmitters.
The only legit gripes I've seen about them is that the pots aren't the best quality and may go bad sooner than a more expensive unit. I've had no problems with mine.
As far as telemetry... just look at the specs. The 3DR radio has more transmit power, better receive sensitivity, way more firmware features, and is cheaper. Should be a no-brainer.
+1 for the Turnigy 9x.
My current radio + mods...
Turnigy 9x ($60) - the stock Turnigy battery holder must be replaced immediately, it's dangerous
1500mAh LiFe battery ($7) - lasts for weeks between charges
FrSky DIY kit ($22 + $25 for a new receiver) - get's 1.5km+ range with failsafe
SmartieParts board with EL backlight ($40) - the LED backlight mods available chew your battery fast
Flashed the radios firmware with er9x (free) - awesome, just awesome
The only fixing I've had to do in over a year of use is retighten the nuts holding two of the switches in. It's an awesome radio and for around $200 (the shipping costs aren't included above) it just can't be beat.
I too really like the 9x. So much that I started a business selling them, along with upgrade and battery kits. (shameless plug, sorry) Whether you get the radio from us or not, I'd be happy to help you get your 9x setup and upgrade the firmware. It really is the best radio for DIY pilots. The 6 channel receiver fits nicely in the Bixler. It comes with an 8 ch, but it is a little big. Ping me if you need any help. -- ParkeFlyer.com --