Sunday, 21 October 2007

The Good, the Good and the Ugly

During the last few months, I have been lucky enough to test three radios for Radio Control Model World - the Multiplex Cockpit SX, the Spektrum DX-7, and Futaba 6EX 2.4. Each quite different, but all significant in their own way.

The first of these, the Multiplex Cockpit SX, is Multiplex's latest baby. Packed with clever and useful touches, the SX offers quick and elegant programming, synthesiser, channel check, excellent ergonomics, and good support for 6-servo gliders. I'm a great fan of this radio, and personally use it for all my sailplane and e-heli needs (the only exceptions are my F3F sailplanes which still use my MPX 4000, and my i/c models which use an old Futaba FF7 - I don't mind if it gets oily!). The Cockpit SX also offers very good value for money.

It's not all sweetness though; Multiplex inexplicably allowed a significant number of sets to leave the factory gates with sticking aileron trims. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot - c'mon Multiplex!

Next up: the Spektrum DX-7. This is a fine quality system, as you might expect from a JR-manufactured unit. The DSM-2 radio link felt very solid - if my life depended on a radio, this is the one I'd buy. However, the JR-inherited programming interface is showing its age, and the need for two receivers makes it awkward to install in smaller models. Bear in mind though that I primarily fly gliders - those who fly sport-power models may find the DX-7 is the answer to their prayers.

After the DX-7, I high hopes for the Futaba EX6 2.4 GHz. With a respected brand name behind it, it promised much. Sadly, the reality was a disappointment. The FASST radio link works fine, but the rest of the system simply doesn't cut the mustard for a 6-channel radio with a quality brand sticker. You can't adjust the stick tension, the 'flap' function is switched rather than proportional, the stick neutrals were sloppy on my unit, and strangely, there is no 'subtrim' menu - servo centre adjustment can only be done using the trims. The one saving grace is the FASST receiver which is easier to install and operate than the Spektrum's dual-box solution. Oh, and the 6EX is cheap for a 2.4 GHz set. One has to hope that Futaba's mid-range systems will be of better quality, however.


Anonymous said...

So many issues, so many choices. But I won't be buying anything until the Tx has sensible,instant, safe and memorised mechanical trims like my Field Force 6 Tx.

Any hope of a module?

Colin Stevens

Mike said...

XPS are doing modules for the Evo in the US. I'm not aware that MPX have endorsed the conversion.