Saturday, 29 September 2012

Jeti DC-16 - first look

The Jeti DC-16 is rather interesting. It's the first transmitter to be manufactured by Jeti, the styling is different, and it has some novel features. It certainly generated a lot of interest in the hands of my clubmate Dave Woods, at Ivinghoe Beacon.

Dave Woods' fabulous Rumour aerobat controlled by his Jeti DC-16

My tour of Dave's radio was necessarily brief, but I did get a chance to look at some of the basic programming and I've since downloaded and studied the manual. Either way, consider this as an in-depth 'first look', rather than a full review. In what follows I will be concentrating on the features related to F3X flying.

Jeti - background

Jeti are known for their range of Duplex receivers, sensors and rf modules. Until now they haven't offered their own brand transmitter. However, with the DC-16 transmitter Jeti are finally able to offer a complete end-to-end link.

Rather than attempting to compete with the cheap Asian brands, Jeti are aiming the DC-16 squarely at the enthusiast market with a heavyweight specification including 16 channels, CNC-milled case, and advanced programming with fully integrated telemetry.

Jeti DC-16 - first impressions

The DC-16 excudes a certain class - in fact it's got a 'wow' factor which makes other sets seem as exciting as a rainy day in Slough!

Jeti DC-16. The  iPhone-esque box is loaded with features.

The first thing that strikes you is that iPhone-esque case - no plastic mouldings here, instead the carcass is milled from a hefty billet of aluminium. With its long sticks and a wide form factor, the DC-16 is clearly biased towards 'thumb-and-forefinger' flying. Nevertheless, Dave was flying 'thumbs on top' - I guess his thumbs are a bit longer than mine, but at least it shows it's possible. A more compact transmitter (DS-16) is scheduled for release early next year.

As you'd expect with sixteen channels the facia is heavily populated with knobs, switches and levers. Nevertheless Jeti have managed to find room for a large backlit display. And unlike many transmitters, the display is located where it should be - at the top of the case where it can be seen even with a neck strap. You can't alter the angle, however.

With all the real estate taken up, it appears that there was no room to put any sliders. I do feel that this is a bit of an omission. Yes, I'm one of those pilots who love sliders - their 'stickiness' and tactility make them much better than rotary knobs for adjusting things like differential and snapflap. Other top line sets like the Graupner mc32 and Futaba FX40 feature sliders so it's clearly not impossible, even with today's larger displays.

Beneath each stick are four buttons for the electronic trims, these being reminiscent of the Multiplex Royal Evo/Pro. You either love em or hate em - personally I prefer conventionally placed rocker levers.

Programming is via the programming knob at the bottom right, plus five 'soft' buttons immediately under the display.

Note digital trims at lower right

The sticks are beautifully made units - all metal, ball raced, and very smooth indeed. Part of their smoothness is due to the use of frictionless Hall-effect sensors instead of potentiometers. Of course the added benefit is no pot-wear and greater long term accuracy.

For those who like a cleaner look, unused switches can be removed and replaced with blanking grommets (supplied). If I were to nitpick on the styling, it would be the proliferation of logos at the top and the bottom of the case. It's a bit in your face for my taste - a discrete "Jeti DC-16" would surely suffice.

USB socket at top of case for connecting to computer

Auxiliary levers. These have a central detent and are very smooth.

Overall, the transmitter looks very well engineered and assembled. I didn't get a chance to see the internals (it would have involved the removal of several screws), but Dave assures me that the inside is just as nice as the exterior. This is borne out by the videos on the Jeti web site.

Dual RF modules

The rf side is interesting in that the transmitter features two independent modules, each with its own separate antenna. The modules can operate in a variety of modes. For example if you have two transmitters, you can dedicate one module for teacher/pupil communication. This means no cables or dongles are required for buddy box operation. Now, how cool is that?!

Duplex Telemetry

Up to 40 items of telemetry data may be viewed directly on the display. In addition, you can configure voice alarms, so there's no need to constantly monitor the display. Telemetry data can be logged in real time on the tx, and downloaded later to a PC via the USB port.

Another nice feature is that the sensors can be programmed directly from the tx - rather more convenient than Multiplex's system which requires sensors to be programmed using a MultiMate programmer or via a PC.

Dave mentioned that his older ("pre-EX"?) sensors are programmed using an on-screen emulation of a Jeti Box.

Mixers and virtual switches

Mixers come in two flavours:  application-specific mixers e.g. Butterfly; and 'free' mixers. Mixers may be cascaded using Link Master and Link Slave settings. Mixer settings may be global or flight-mode dependent, and may have curves with up to nine points. Virtual switches may be defined based on logical operations on other controls.


I'm a picky guy when it comes to transmitters. If you want to know why, poke your browser here (but  try not to fall asleep).

By all accounts the DC-16 ticks all the boxes for most applications, with assignable control widgets, flexible flight modes, servo/mixer slow, and comprehensive mixing. Lots to satisfy the power boys, but I was interested specifically in the sailplane features. We F3F pilots need more 'stuff'. We want elevator to flap mixing with expo adjustment. We need spoiler compensation with a non-linear curve. We want differential to operate on flaps as well as ailerons. We operate our flaps with grossly asymmetrical movements, yet require full travel from the servos. We may want a reflex camber option. In short, we're a pretty demanding bunch, and no doubt individual pilots can add even more items to their wish list.

Well it seems that built-in provision for these features on the DC-16 is a little patchy, and at the very least some programming of free mixers will be required.

In-flight adjustment is of mixer settings is another grey area with the DC-16. On my MPX 4000, for example, it's possible to adjust camber, differential, snapflap volume, and snapflap exponential - all using easily accessible sliders. With the DC-16, while camber can be adjusted using a side lever, other adjustments would have to be done via the two rotary knobs. I don't yet know how easy it would be to implement these adjustments in terms of programming.

On the positive side, it seems that the firmware is being updated regularly and the manufacturer is responsive to feedback.


Impressions so far: the DC-16 is beautifully made, strong on telemetry, and the Hall-effect sticks are a welcome development. On the downside, the lack of sliders will be a drawback for some pilots.

As regards the sets applicability for F3X applications, my feeling is that the jury is still out, especially if you already have a top line system. While a few pilots are starting to push the boundaries of the DC-16 (using the free mixers), the consensus is that the Multiplex Profi 4000 still has the edge when it comes to programming complex setups with multiple servos in the wing.

If you're tempted by the DC-16, I suggest that you take a look - and ask questions - on the DC-16 thread on RCGroups.

Soaring with style! The DC-16 has a svelte look from this angle. Note optional neck-strap hangers.


English manual
Jeti Model
DC-16 programming video
DC-16 thread on RCGroups
Puffin Models

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