RCU Review: Airtronics RDS8000 2.4GHz FHSS Radio

RCU Review: Airtronics RDS8000 2.4GHz FHSS Radio
 RCU Review: Airtronics RDS8000 2.4GHz FHSS Radio More On This Product
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Review by: Ken Isaac (RCKen) | Email me
Introduction
Specifications
First Look
Installation
Programming
At The Field
Summary
Contact Info
Distributed exclusively by: Throughout the history of RC flying there have been changes to the
radio equipment that has made dramatic and drastic changes in the way
we participated in this hobby. Some of the most notable changes have
been adding more than one channel, reed control, fully proportional
control, FM signal, narrow band frequency selection, and full digital
signals. But the latest advance in our equipment almost overshadows
all of those previous changes combined. The latest advance in our radio
equipment is 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum radios. So what makes this so
special? The most important aspect that this brings to the table is the
fact that Spread Spectrum radios can be operated in the presence of
other radios without the risk of interference. The fear of having two
radios on at once, which in the past would result in a crash of the
plane, is gone forever now. Frequency boards are a thing of the past
with this new technology. So now pilots can fly with confidence that
somebody accidentally turning on a transmitter won't crash their plane.
Airtronics had entered the 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum playing field with
Airtronics had entered the 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum playing field with
an 8-channel offering that is capable of controlling both airplanes and
helicopters. Instead of "re-inventing the wheel" by building a radio from
scratch Airtronics has adapted their very popular 8 channel RD 8000
radio to the new 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum technology. So all of the
easy to use and familiar user programming is still there for those
Airtronics faithful who have grown to love these rock solid radios.
Airtronics chose to use the Frequency Hopping Spread Spectrum
(FHSS) technology in their radio. This means that the receiver for this
radio has only one unit which has two antenna leads that need to be
placed 90 degrees to each other to provide the signal diversity needed
for these radios. Airtronics felt that this setup gave the best
performance while still remaining easy to install for the pilot.
I have to confess that I have been an "Airtronics Man" from the start. I
learned to fly on an Airtronics radio and have used them for the
majority of the last 12 years. I have always liked the reliability of
Airtronics radios, and I feel that the servos from Airtronics are some of
the best out there these days. So when I heard that Airtronics was
releasing a 2.4 Ghz radio I have to admit that I was secretly hoping
that I would get the chance to do this review. So when this radio was
offered to me to review it was a "no-brainer" to have them send it to
me!w I will admit that when the "Big Brown Airplane Truck" (a.k.a. the
UPS truck) dropped the radio off I was like a kid at Christmas time. I
couldn't wait to get home and open up my "present" and play with it. Global Hobby Distributors
18480 Bandilier Circle
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Voice: (714)963-0329
Fax: (714)964-6236
Service@globalhobby.net
www.globalhobby.com
Sleek styling
Appeals to a wide
variaty of pilots
Simple programming
Affordable cost
Dedicated Throttle cut
button
3 Character Model
Naming is limiting
Trainer "button"
No Expo and Dual
Rate on Rudder
Ni-cad TX battery
might be a bit small
for long flying days
So with this in mind, let's dive in and take a look at the Airtronics RDS
8000 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum radio?..
Airtronics RDS8000 2.4GHz FHSS Radio
Price: $229.99
The RDS8000 is a full-featured 8-channel system, packed with capabilities for all types of aircraft. A
top-quality digital radio, the RDS8000 is noted for its ease-of-operation and programming. Helicopter,
fixed wing aircraft and sailplane pilots will all benefit when using the standard features of the RDS8000. Whether flying a basic model or one that requires advanced features, the RDS8000 can do it all! One of
the key features of the RDS8000 is the ability to use both basic or advanced program menu. The RDS8000 makes programming easier by allowing you to turn off any programming screen not
required. Because it uses Airtronics' FHSS 2.4GHz communications technology you never have to worry
about an 'open frequency'. Fly any time with confidence.
The new 92824 8ch 2.4 GHz Receiver is a perfect match for the RDS8000 transmitter. Once binding is
complete, it is almost impossible to interrupt the communication between them.
Does not include servos or receiver battery. Specifications Transmitter Type: 8 Channel, Dual Stick w/proprietary Microprocessor
Dimensions: W: 7.5" x H: 8.0" x D: 2.5"
Weight: 1 lb, 11 oz.
Power Output: 90 m Watts
Frequencies: 2.4 GHz
Power Supply: 9.6 volt, NiCd
Current Drain:180 MA
Temperature Range: 0° to 160° F
Pulse Width: 1.5 ms (nominal)
Radio Features
Basic Features Model Type selection 10 Model Memory Data Reset Stop Watch Digital Trims Servo Reversing on all channels LCD Transmitter Voltage Meter High Capacity Transmitter NiCds Adjustable Stick Tension and Length Dual Rate on Elevator and Aileron channels (Plus
Rudder on Helicopter) Center Adjustment on all channels Large Screen Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) End Point Adjustment on all channels Advanced Aircraft Features Advanced Helicopter Features
Exponential Stop Watch Exponential Servo Reversing Fail Safe Dual Rate Elev, Ail and Rud Throttle Cut Servo Centering Model Naming (3 Letters) End Point Adjustment 2 Compensation Mixers Throttle Curve (5 Point) in all Flight modes Integral System Timer Revo Mix (3 Point) in all Flight Modes Trim Step 4 Flight Modes Switch Reversing Gyro Sensitivity Adjustment in all Flight
Modes Data Copy Pitch Curve (5 Point) in all Flight Modes 4 Modulation Modes Model Select Click Model Type Battery Fail Safe Data Reset Dynamic Trim Memory Basic ON/OFF Swash Plate Type Option Menu Aileron Differential Trim Memory Landing Differential Trim Authority (STEP) for digital trim Crow Model Naming (3 Letters) Dual Rate Alarm Failsafe / Hold Menu Options Receiver Battery Failsafe Flap to Elevator Mix Low Battery Alarm Throttle to Elevator Mix Integral System Timer Rudder to Aileron Mix Data Copy Aileron to Rudder Mix Flaperon Mix Rudder to Elevator Mix Spoilron Mix Elevator to Flap Mix Elevon Mix Switch Reversing V-Tail Mix 2 Compensation Mixers Throttle Cut 4 Modulation Modes Click Delta Mix Dual Elevator Mix Airtronics 8CH 2.4GHz FHSS Receiver
The first look at the RDS 8000 packaging reveals a very artistic black box that is very stylish with the
artwork. When the box is opened up I want to give everybody a small warning as many may be shocked
with what they find, or more importantly what they won't find. When the box is removed the
foam-packing container will be a little "empty". And indeed, when everything is removed you will find
the RDS Transmitter, 92824 2.4 Ghz receiver, an on/off charge switch harness, the wall charger, an
alternate set of switch labels, and the instruction manual. Most notably missing will be the servos and a
receiver battery. I must admit that at first this was a little shocking for me. What I mean is that I grew
up in this hobby when you opened up a radio box and everything you needed was in there. And now I
look at this Airtronics RDS 8000 box and it seems like there should be more there. I had a talk with
Mike Greenshields at Global Hobby (distributors for Airtronics) and read some posts by Airtronics staff
here on RCU and it suddenly became clear as to what they are doing here. And when you think about, it
is actually quite a stroke of genius on Airtronics' part. In this day and age of this hobby there is so much
diversity in what pilots are doing. 10-15 years ago there weren't many choices in servos and batteries so
manufacturers could package them together and be fairly certain that they were going to be used by the
pilot. But today in many cases a pilot will buy a radio and immediately discard the servos and battery
because they just don't suit his flying style. In addition, with many electric planes out there today the
radio will be powered from the ESC (Electronic Speed Control), which is driven by the main battery for
the motor, and in cases such as this the pilot doesn't even require a battery to be shipped with the
radio. Many radios out there these days will get labeled as a certain type of radio simply because of the
servos that are included with it. For instance, a radio that ships with "standard" servos might gain a
reputation as a beginner's radio and have more serious pilots pass it over when considering a new radio.
Airtronics took a hard look at this and made the decision to simply sell the base radio, and allow the
pilot to tailor it to their needs with their own choice of servos and battery. After I thought about this
some I decided that Airtronics might have just hit on a fantastic idea for marketing radios. I wouldn't be
surprised if we don't see more manufacturers doing the same in the years to come.
The Manual
I have always thought that Airtronics did an excellent job writing their manuals, and the manual for the
RDS 8000 is no different. The manual is an 84-page document written in black and white. All of the
diagrams in the manual are clear and easy to read. To document the programming of the radio the
manual steps through all of the programming and gives a good description of each function. The manual
separately explains helicopter and airplane programming. The manual also has a few "extras" that I thought were very nice touches. The manual includes a
description of the procedure needed to change the radio from Mode 2 to Mode 1, or vice versa. Also
included are programming "cheat sheets" that can be used to record the settings for each model that is
set up in the radio. This is something that I have always done on my own in order to keep track of what
the radio settings are for a given plane. I find this can really come in handy when you "decommission" a
plane, but decide to get it back in the air at a later date. Since I save all of my programming sheets I
can quickly re-setup the plane using the cheat sheet. This also comes in handy when setting up new
planes as you can use it to see how you have set up items on other planes. While the manual only has
one set of templates, it's an easy matter to run off copies to use for your setups.
The Transmitter
While the RDS 8000 shares the same programming and case from the RD 8000 channel radio Airtronics
has made one major change to the exterior of the radio. Gone is all of the chrome that "decorated" the
outside of the older RD 8000. I must admit that I really like this change as it gives the RDS 8000 a
rugged utilitarian look. It gives it a "just get the job done" look! The transmitter is a dual-stick radio that
can be set for either Mode 1 or Mode 2 operation. The height of the sticks can easily be adjusted for the
comfort of the user. For those who haven't dealt with a 2.4 Ghz radio one of the biggest changes will be
the antenna. Gone is the long antenna that needed to be extended while the radio is in use. A short
rubber covered antenna is now used. What is most important to note here is the position that the
antenna needs to be in while in use. The antenna needs to be folded so that it points "up", perpendicular
to the radio when held level, while the plane is in use. Some problems have been reported by 2.4 Ghz
users of all brands when the antenna is left pointing straight out, which has resulted in the temporary
loss of control of the aircraft. While it's not anything wrong with the radio I will point out that there is
one thing that new users to 2.4 Ghz radios should be ready for. That is the "balance" of the radio.
Without the big antenna of older radios the balance of the radio feels a little bit different when first
used, but it doesn't take too long to get used to the new feel of these radios.
The display for the radio is for the most part a very well designed part of the radio. When in use it
displays all the important information in clear and easy to read format. It also doubles as a stopwatch or
countdown timer to use in timing your flights. But this brings up one of my biggest complaints about this
radio (which actually goes back to the older RD 6000 and RD 8000 radios). When naming radios in the
display is limited to 3 characters to display the name of the plane. I find this very limiting and at times a
bit confusing. With my previous Airtronics radios with the same naming limitations I have resorted to
making "crib notes" to keep track of which plane is assigned in the radio, and then I keep this in my
flight box. I really wish that Airtronics would correct this and give us more characters to name our
planes with.
Looking towards the middle of the radio you will find a loop with which to connect a neck strap to if you
use one. The RDS 8000 is equipped with a trim tab for the 4 major axis of control on the sticks of the
radio, which are throttle, rudder, elevator, and ailerons. The trims are digital, which means that each
time the trim tab is moved you will get one "click" of travel from that control. The amount of travel with
each click is programmable in the radio, so you can set it to what suits you best. The RDS 8000 is
equipped with trim memory so the radio will remember the trim settings for each plane that is
programmed to it. Looking at the right side of the radio we find 4 controls located above the right stick.
There are two switches and a control button on the face of the radio and one toggle switch located on
the top of the radio. The toggle switch on top activates the flaps when in Airplane mode, and activates
flight modes when set to Helicopter mode. On the face of the radio the inner most switch is set to the
Aux 2 channel which is programmable in the radio. The middle switch is set for Aileron Dual Rates when
in Airplane mode and for C-Mix 1 & 2 when in Helicopter mode. The last control on this side of the radio
is a throttle cut button. I like this feature, as it is a dedicated control that doesn't have to be
programmed. In other radio brands the throttle cut must be assigned to a radio switch and then
programmed, but on the RDS 8000 it has its own button and the only programming required is to set
the amount of travel that occurs when the control is activated. Moving to the left side of the radio we
find a similar set of switches. The top switch controls retracts when in Airplane mode and Flight mode 3
when in Helicopter mode. On the front of the radio the inner most switch controls the Aux 1 channel
when in Airplane mode and C-Mix 1 & 2 when in Helicopter mode. Also located here is a trainer button,
which is used to pass control to an attached buddy box when training a student to fly. This button is a
weak spot, which I really felt could be better. Since I do a lot of instruction of students I have spent a
lot of time with my fingers on trainer buttons and switches. I have found that trainer buttons are very
uncomfortable and quickly make my fingers, or thumb, cramp up while using them. I would have much
rather seen a dedicated switch instead of a button. Moving to the bottom portion of the radio we get to the controls used for programming the radio. At the
left side of the control panel is a LED which is used when binding the receiver to the transmitter, and
below that is the bind button which is used to place the radio in bind mode. In the middle of the control
panel are 4 buttons, which are used to navigate the programming menu as well as change the settings
for items within the menus. On the right side of the panel are four buttons, which are also used to make
selections while programming the radio. Located to the right of the control panel is the on/off switch for
the radio.
Turning the radio over we find the battery compartment. The RDS 8000 is equipped with a 600 Mah
Ni-cad battery pack. I felt that the battery provided could have been a little bit bigger. In this day and
age of battery technology having a battery that has a higher capacity would be a nice touch that can
help extend a pilot's flying at the field. Located to the left of the battery compartment is the trainer cord
connection, which is used when hooking a buddy box up when training a student to fly. The trainer
connection is the standard Airtronics 5-pin connection that has been used for many years. The Receiver
Currently Airtronics only has one receiver available for the RDS 8000, which is the 92824 receiver. This
is an 8 channel receiver which measures 1.8"x 1.1"x 0.60", and weighs in at a tiny .53 oz. The antenna
of the receiver is two "wires" that extend from the receiver. The black part of the wire is the coaxial
leads that connect the antenna to the receiver, and the actual antennas are the clear portions of these
wires. As I will describe later in this review, these antennas need to be installed so that they are
positioned 90 degrees to each other to provide better signal pickup. The servo/battery connections are
the standard "Z" connectors found on many brands of servos on the market today. The receiver can be
used with any standard servos on the market, although using Futaba servos will require shaving off the
alignment tab located on the servo plug. The standard channels for this receiver are throttle, rudder,
ailerons, elevators, gear, flaps, and two auxiliary channels. If all 8 channels are used for controlling
servos a Y-harness will be needed in order to connect the battery to the receiver, with a servo plugged
into one side of the Y-harness and the battery plugged into the other side. The RDS 8000 also ships with
a standard on/off charge switch harness. This allows the receiver battery to be charged while in the plane.
While the stock receiver is quite small Airtronics currently has even smaller receivers in the works. These
new receivers will be more suited for park and foamie flyers. So the RDS 8000 will be able to suit all of
your flying needs with a full line of 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum receivers. In addition, the standard 92824
receiver shown here is one of the most affordable 8-channel 2.4 Ghz Spread Spectrum receivers on the
market today. It is priced at $79.99 which is a great bargain.
To put the RDS8000 through it's paces I chose my tried and true Kaos 60 built from RCM planes. This
plane has become a bit of a test bed for reviews such as this because it's one of my favorite planes and
therefore I know very well how it handles. This knowledge of the planes allows me to know what the
product being reviewed adds to, or subtracts from, the plane. In the above pictures you can see the
"before" and "after" pictures of my installation. The only noticeable difference between the two, of
course, is the antenna on the old 72 Mhz radio is missing in the second picture because the RDS8000
2.4 Ghz radio doesn't use that long antenna.
As noted earlier in this review the antennas for the receiver consist of two coaxial wires with the actual
antennas on the end of each wire. The clear plastic portions are the actual antennas. The only
consideration that needs to be followed when mounting these antennas is that they need to be placed so
that they are oriented 90 degrees from each other. After a little bit of experimenting I found that the
easiest way to mount them in the fuselage was to cut two small pieces of clear antenna tubing and
attach them with CA to the top of the fuselage. By using this tubing it makes if very easy to maintain
the 90 degrees orientation of each antenna. After slipping each antenna into the mounting tube I used a
small piece of blue painters tape to hold them in place so they will not slip out during flight. Since the
actual receiver portion is quite small (1.8" x 1.1" x 0.60") it was very easy to install in the fuselage. And
with the length of the coaxial wires it gives a little bit of flexibility in where to place the receiver. As you
can see in my photo I packed the receiver in foam just forward of the servos in my Kaos. The weight of
the receiver is quite low (0.53oz) and shouldn't affect the CG of planes that it's installed in. The key to how the 2.4 Ghz radios work without interfering with each other lies in "binding" the receiver
to the transmitter. The transmitter cannot control the receiver until the binding process has been
accomplished. The transmitter and receiver will be bound together when they are received so performing
the binding process should not need to be done on a new radio system. But if a new receiver is added to
the transmitter, or in the unlikely event that a receiver loses its binding, the binding process will have to
be done by the operator. It is a very easy task to accomplish and can be done in a matter of a few
seconds. Because the receiver was already bound to the transmitter I did not have to do this for my
radio, but I want to explain the process here to show how simple it is to do. The Binding process is a
simple four-step procedure: Place the throttle stick in the idle position and ensure that the flight mode switches are set in the
Normal (N) position.
Turn on the transmitter. The Bind LED on the transmitter will light up.
While holding down the BIND key on the receiver turn the receiver on. The Bind LED will flash
slowly. With the Bind LED flashing slowly let go of the BIND key.
With the Bind LED flashing slowly on the receiver press the BIND key on the transmitter. The Bind
LED on the receiver will flash rapidly and then will turn to a solid light. The solid LED on the
receiver indicates that the receiver has been properly bound to the transmitter.
Setting up the radio for my Kaos was very simple. It took me a total of about 10 minutes to dial in all
the settings I needed for this plane. Since this plane has become a test bed of sorts I have all the
control throws, dual rates, throttle settings, and other settings all recorded to aid in doing setups such
as this. I was able to duplicate this setup quite quickly with the RDS8000. The simple structure of the
programming menus on the RDS8000 are very intuitive and make it easy to quickly setup even the most
complicated plane setups.
And that is that. The installation of the receiver is quite simple and can literally be accomplished in
minutes. There are no surprises in mounting the receiver or in mounting the antenna leads.
The programming menus for the RDS 8000 is very easy to understand and navigate. All of the menus
are laid out in a drop down list style that is sorted by channel. Under each channel the options for that
channel are laid out in order. Navigating the menu is a simple matter of using the directional arrows
located on the control panel on the front of the radio to scroll the the various menu options. When the
item you desire to change is located use the "Inc" and "Dec" buttons to change the settings for that
item. Listed below are the menu items as they appear on the menu screen of the radio. I have laid them out
here in this fashion to show just how easy it is to move through the menus.
Aircraft Setup Menus
RX
Channel
RX
Channel
Aircraft Basic Menu Structure
RU
G
P/F
EL
AL
TH
7
8
Elevator
Aileron
Throttle
Rudder
Gear
Flaps
Channel 7
Channel 8
STW
REV
D/R
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
D/R
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
M-SL
TYP
RST
BASIC
EL
AL
TH
8
etc
Elevator
Aileron
Throttle
Rudder
Gear
Flaps
Channel 7
Channel 8
STW
TRM
REV
D/R
EXP
CNT
EPA
E>F
STW
TRM
REV
D/R
EXP
CNT
EPA
A>R
STW
TRM
REV
CNT
EPA
T>E
T-Cut
STW
TRM
REV
CNT
EPA
R>A
R>E
STW
REV
EPA
STW
TRM
REV
CNT
EPA
F>E
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
Aircraft Advanced Menu Structure
RU
G
P/F
7
Guide to Abbreviations STW (Stopwatch) - Used as a stopwatch or
to countdown to a preset time. SLV 1 & 2 - C-Mix Slave Channel E>E 1 & 2 - C-Mix mixing percentage D/R (Dual Rate) - Adjusts servo throw.
Available on Elevator and Aileron. T-CUT (Throttle Cut) - You can set the point
where the throttle can be cut using the
throttle cut-off button. TRM (Trim) - The LCD provides an indicator
of the value, as well as the direction of the
trim. EXP (Exponential) - Changes the linear
movement of the servo to the relation of the
stick movement. Can be set Positive or
Negative. EPA (End Point Adjustment) - Limits the total
movement of a servo in each direction. M-SL (Model Select) - Select models 1~10. TYP (Type of Model) - Model Type Aircraft or
Helicopter. INT (Integral Timer) - Used to show how
long the transmitter has been in use. Can be
reset to zero. RST (Reset) - Clears all setup data in any
model to factory default settings. CLK (Click) - A beep sound can be heard
every time you press a transmitter key.
Options Active or Inoperative. NAM (Name) - You can use up to 3
characters to name your model. SW-R (Switch Reverse) - You can reverse
the default direction of all control switches. STW
M-SEL
NAM
MAS1
SLV1
E>E1
MAS2
SLV2
E>E2
STW
MAS 1& 2 - C-Mix Master Channel REV (Reverse) - Reverses the servo
operating direction. CNT (Center) - Changes servo neutral
position. etc
C-MIX (Compensation Mixing) - Ability to
mix a master channel to another slave
channel with a CMix Switch. E>F (Elevator to Flap Mixing) - Ability to mix
Elevator to Flap. INT
STEP
TYP
SW-R
CPY
R>A (Rudder to Aileron Mixing) - Ability to
mix Rudder to Ailerons. R>E (Rudder to Elevator Mixing) - Ability to
mix Ruder to Elevator. F>E (Flap to Elevator Mixing) - Ability to mix
Flap to Elevator. RST
CLK
SPOIR (Spoilerons) - For sailplanes. Both
ailerons will act as spoilers as the throttle
stick is used. Flape
AI-DIF (Aileron Differential) - Changes the
total amount of throw up and down to both
aileron servos independently to help stop a
bad yaw. Spoir
L-DIF (Landing Differential) - Allows Aileron
control to remain effective when Crow or
Spoilers are used (Sailplane) CR:LA (Crow Left Aileron) - Crow is used to
slow the sailplane down. Ailerons go up
when flaps go down. Left and Right Ailerons
are adjustable CPY (Copy) - Copy one model to another. CR:RA (Crow Right Aileron) - Advanced
program allows you to turn off or on function
displays. FLAPE (Flaperons) - Activates 2 channels to
be used for Ailerons. OPT (Option Menu) - Sets the amount of
movement a servo will move with one beep
Delta
V-Tail
D-EL
AI-DIF
L-DIF
CR:LA
of the trim. CR:LA
CR:RA
V-TAIL (Rudder and Elevator) - Used for
V-Tail models. D-EL ( DUAL ELEVATOR ) - Activates 2
channels to be used for dual elevator servos Ch 1 left servo
Ch 7 Right servo D/A-A (Dual Rate Alarm) - Alerts you when a
Dual Rate switch is on. Options On or Off. BASIC (ON/OFF) - Turn Basic menu on or
off. DELTA (Elevons) - Ailerons operate as
ailerons and as well as Elevators. Used for
flying wings. A>R (Aileron to Rudder Mixing) - Ability to
mix Ailerons to Rudder. D/R-A
BASIC
T>E (Throttle to Elevator) - Ability to mix the
elevator to the throttle. OPT
STW - Stopwatch
C-MIX - Compensation Mix The RDS8000 has two compensation mixers
available to handle advanced mixing needs. These
are in addition to the predefined mixers.
The purpose of a Compensation Mixer is to allow
one transmitter control input to affect two flight
functions. A common mix would be Aileron to
Rudder to achieve coordinated turns without
The RDS8000 offers a built-in timer and allows the moving the rudder stick. However, the RDS8000
pilot to use the stopwatch function in either
provides a predefined mixer for this function.
elapsed time or countdown mode. MAS - Master Channel
REV - Reverse
SLV - Slave Channel
The RDS8000 allows you to electronically REVERSE
the direction of rotation for each of the servos in
use. D/R - Dual Rate
Dual Rate adjustments allow you to switch from
your "standard " control deflection to a reduced
amount of throw by simply flipping a switch. CNT - Center
A>R - Aileron to Rudder
Your RDS8000 allows you to fine-tune the CENTER
or neutral position of all flight control servos. The RDS8000 provides you with the capability to
program your aircraft so that Aileron stick
deflection will also cause the rudder servo to
respond in the same direction, (right aileron=right
rudder). This automatic coordination of rudder with
aileron is useful in many high wing/scale models
that suffer from adverse yaw with aileron
application.
TRM - Trim
T-CUT - Throttle Cut
The RDS8000 offers the Trim Memory Function on
all four of the flight control channels and the Flap
Channel. Trim Memory for Elevator, Aileron,
Throttle, and Rudder is input by the Digital Trim
keys. It can also be set when you use the INC
+/YES or DEC -/NO keys to input trim.
Any trim that you set while your model is in flight
by use of the Digital Trim keys will automatically
be stored in memory for that specific channel and
model. EXP - Exponential
Another useful function provided by the RDS8000
for engine powered models is T-CUT, Throttle Cut.
The RDS8000 has a push button that, when
pushed, overrides the throttle sticks low throttle
position and drives your throttle servo to a lower
position, stopping the engine. E>F - Elevator to Flap Mixing
The RDS8000 allows the pilot to choose two
settings for Exponential throw for each of the
primary flight channels, Elevator, Aileron (and
Rudder in helicopter mode). When you use this function you can cause the flaps
to deploy when the elevator control stick is moved
up or down. This function is most commonly used
for aerobatic models where deploying flaps (or
flaperons), with elevator control can make for
tighter corners on maneuvers such as the square
loop. R>A - Rudder to Aileron Mixing
EPA - End Point Adjustment
The RDS8000 allows you to adjust the "End
Points", or travel limits, for all flight channels. M-SL - Model Select
The RDS8000 has built in memory to store ten
model setups in any combination of model types.
To use or modify one of the model setups you first
must select M-SL in the etc menu. When you use this function you can cause the
ailerons to move left and right when the rudder
control stick is moved left or right. The purpose of
this mixer is to allow one transmitter control input
to affect flight functions. A common use would be
in knife edge flight where you need a small
correction in aileron to prevent roll coupling. R>E - Rudder to Elevator Mixing
Rudder to elevator mixing is used for example when in a
knife edge flight, the aircraft pulls to the belly or canopy
when rudder is added.
TYP - Type of Model
F>E - Flap to Elevator Mixing
This will select the type of model you wish to program,
either HELI or AERO.
INT - Integral Timer
The Integral Timer function of the RDS8000 is
activated each time the transmitter power switch is
turned on, and continues to time up to 99 hours
and 59 seconds at all times when the transmitter is
turned on. RST - Reset
If you want to "UNDO" all of your programmed
parameters at one time, you can use the RST
function. CLK - Click
The RDS8000 transmitter normally is set to emit an
audio tone when ever the programming keys are
pressed, when values are changed and when the
stop watch function is started, stopped or reaches
the final ten seconds of countdown. This feature is used when you deploy the flaps.
Normally when you drop the flaps on a aircraft it
will start to climb. Adding some down elevator will
help reduce it. Adjustment is from (100)~(-100)%. SPOIR - Spoilerons
The RDS8000 has the ability to control different
fixed wing aircraft types, including conventional
single aileron servo or dual aileron servos on
individual channels with differential adjustment and
wings with flaperons/spoilerons. The Spoilron
function is normally used with sailplanes. AI-DIF - Aileron Differential
The RDS8000 has the ability to control several
aircraft'?wing' types, including conventional single
aileron servo, dual aileron servos on individual
channels with electronic differential adjustment
and delta (or "flying wing") configurations with
Elevons. It is only possible to electronically adjust
differential when using TWO CHANNELS for
ailerons, with one servo on each side of the wing
driving that wing's aileron. The AL-DIF (aileron
differential) function only applies to the DELTA and
FLAPE menu functions. L-DIF - Landing Differential
The L-DIF (landing differential) function enables
the ailerons of a sailplane to be effective whenever
both the left and right ailerons are raised when
CROW or SPOIlRON are used in landing. Typical
thermal sailplanes require about twice as much of
up travel than down travel of their ailerons in order
to produce a coordinated turn. The RDS8000 allows
you to set the amount of differential aileron travel
during the landing mode. NAM - Name
CR:LA - Crow Left Aileron
CR:RA - Crow Right Aileron
The RDS8000 provides the capability for you to
designate each of the 10 models you have
programmed by use of a 3 digit name. SW-R - Switch Reverse
In a sailplanes landing mode, the flaps provide a
large amount of both lift and drag. This causes the
plane to fly very slowly and descend gently. On
very light sailplanes the rate of descent may be so
slow that the plane tends to "float right past" the
landing spot. STEP- Step Menu
The SW-R Function allows you to reverse the
action of the six toggle switches located on your
RDS8000 transmitter. The default of the SW-R
Function is in the NOR (normal) position. Any trim that you set while your model is in flight
by use of the Digital Trim keys will automatically
be stored in memory for that specific channel and
model; providing that TRM was previously turned
OFF in the OPTIONS section of the program.
CPY - Copy
OPT - Option Menu
A valuable feature of the RDS8000 is the Data
Copy Function. With this function the entire set of
control parameters for one aircraft can be copied
from one model set-up into another. FLAPE - Flaperons
The Flaperon function can be used to obtain two
separate aileron channels with a servo in each
wing. It can also be used so that the strip ailerons
act as flaps and deploy in a downward direction to
create both lift and drag. In the advanced programming you have the ability
to turn off unused programming screens with the
OPTION MENU SCREEN. This is vary useful and
vary convenient when one of your models only
requires some features. For example one aircraft is
used as a triainer and you do not need to use any
C-MIX, CROW, AI-DIF, DELTA, V-TAIL, you can go
to the OPT screen and turn them off so they will
not display in the normal programming screens. D-EL - Dual Elevator
Your RDS8000 offers a feature that will allow you
to use 2 independent channels so you can use 2
seprate servos for each elevator half. You will be
using Channels 1 and 7 on the receiver to use this
feature.
Activating the Daul Elevator feature will
automaticly disable your AUX-1 channel 7 switch
and will allow channel 7 to be used with the
elevator stick.
You will be able to set the EPA, REV, CENTER and
FAIL safe seperatly for both channels. Use Channel
1 for your left elevator and use channel 7 for your
right elevator. DELTA - Elevons
BASIC - Basic Menu DELTA mix can be used in a flying wing type model By default the BASIC aircraft and helicopter
to provide ELEVON control, where the elevator and programming menu are on. Basic programming
aileron functions are combined. gives you the basic features included in the
RDS8000. By turning BASIC OFF, you are turning
on the ADVANCED aircraft or helicopter
programming menu.
V-TAIL - Rudder and Elevator
D/R-A - Dual Rate Alarm
The RDS8000 transmitter has the ability to control
sailplanes or powered models that utilize a V-Tail
control system. In these aircraft the two tail
controls perform both as elevators and as rudders.
Two servos and two channels (receiver channels
#1 and #4 are required for V-Tail operation). T>E - Throttle to Elevator
The RDS8000 offers an "ALARM" function to warn
you if you turn your transmitter on while a Dual
Rate Switch is activated,
The RDS8000 allows for automatic adjustment of
Elevator trim as you advance or retard the throttle
stick. This is a valuable option as most sailplanes
will need a change in pitch trim when ever flaps are
deployed. By making this adjustment with an
electronic mixer, the pilot does not have to alter
the elevator digital trims each time flaps are used,
and thus does not have to re-trim the elevators for
normal flight. Helicopter Setup Menus
RX
Channel
RX
Channel
Helicopter Basic Menu Structure
RU
G
P/F
EL
AL
TH
7
8
Elevator
Aileron
Throttle
Rudder
Gear
Flaps
Channel 7
Channel 8
STW
REV
D/R
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
D/R
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
CV-PH
CV-P3
CV-P2
CV-P1
CV-PL
STW
REV
D/R
CNT
EPA
RV.H
RV.M
RV.L
STW
REV
GYR
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
CV-PH
CV-P3
CV-P2
CV-P1
CV-PL
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
REV
CNT
EPA
STW
M-SL
TYP
RST
BASIC
EL
AL
8
etc
Elevator
Aileron
Throttle
Rudder
Gear
Flaps
Channel 7
Channel 8
STW
TRM
STW
TRM
STW
TRM
STW
TRM
STW
REV
STW
REV
STW
REV
STW
REV
Helicopter Advanced Menu Structure
TH
RU
G
P/F
7
etc
STW
M-SEL
REV
D/R
EXP
CNT
EPA
REV
D/R
EXP
CNT
EPA
REV
CNT
EPA
CV-PH
CV-P3
CV-P2
CV-P1
CV-PL
REV
D/R
EXP
CNT
EPA
RV-H
RV-M
RV-L
GYR
CNT
EPA
CV-PH
CV-P3
CV-P2
CV-P1
CV-PL
CNT
EPA
CNT
EPA
Guide to Abbreviations STW (Stopwatch) - Used as a stopwatch or
to countdown to a preset time. MAS 1& 2 - C-Mix Master Channel SLV 1 & 2 - C-Mix Slave Channel REV (Reverse) - Reverses the servo
operating direction. E>E 1 & 2 - C-Mix mixing percentage D/R (Dual Rate) - Adjusts servo throw.
Available on Elevator and Aileron. T-CUT (Throttle Cut) - You can set the point
where the throttle can be cut using the
throttle cut-off button. CNT (Center) - Changes servo neutral
position. C-MIX (Compensation Mixing) - Ability to
mix a master channel to another slave
channel with a CMix Switch. TRM (Trim) - The LCD provides an indicator
of the value, as well as the direction of the
trim. E>F (Elevator to Flap Mixing) - Ability to mix
Elevator to Flap. EXP (Exponential) - Changes the linear
movement of the servo to the relation of the
stick movement. Can be set Positive or
Negative. TYP
SW-R
CPY
RST
CLK
R>A (Rudder to Aileron Mixing) - Ability to
mix Rudder to Ailerons. R>E (Rudder to Elevator Mixing) - Ability to
mix Ruder to Elevator. EPA (End Point Adjustment) - Limits the total
movement of a servo in each direction. F>E (Flap to Elevator Mixing) - Ability to mix
Flap to Elevator. M-SL (Model Select) - Select models 1~10. SPOIR (Spoilerons) - For sailplanes. Both
ailerons will act as spoilers as the throttle
stick is used. TYP (Type of Model) - Model Type Aircraft or
Helicopter. INT (Integral Timer) - Used to show how
long the transmitter has been in use. Can be
reset to zero. AI-DIF (Aileron Differential) - Changes the
total amount of throw up and down to both
aileron servos independently to help stop a
bad yaw. RST (Reset) - Clears all setup data in any
model to factory default settings. DTM
SWH
BASIC
OPT
L-DIF (Landing Differential) - Allows Aileron
control to remain effective when Crow or
Spoilers are used (Sailplane) CLK (Click) - A beep sound can be heard
every time you press a transmitter key.
Options Active or Inoperative. CR:LA (Crow Left Aileron) - Crow is used to
slow the sailplane down. Ailerons go up
when flaps go down. Left and Right Ailerons
are adjustable NAM (Name) - You can use up to 3
characters to name your model. SW-R (Switch Reverse) - You can reverse
the default direction of all control switches. CR:RA (Crow Right Aileron) - Advanced
program allows you to turn off or on function
displays. CPY (Copy) - Copy one model to another. FLAPE (Flaperons) - Activates 2 channels to
be used for Ailerons. OPT (Option Menu) - Sets the amount of
movement a servo will move with one beep
of the trim. DELTA (Elevons) - Ailerons operate as
ailerons and as well as Elevators. Used for
flying wings. V-TAIL (Rudder and Elevator) - Used for
V-Tail models. D-EL ( DUAL ELEVATOR ) - Activates 2
channels to be used for dual elevator servos Ch 1 left servo
Ch 7 Right servo D/A-A (Dual Rate Alarm) - Alerts you when a
Dual Rate switch is on. Options On or Off. BASIC (ON/OFF) - Turn Basic menu on or
off. A>R (Aileron to Rudder Mixing) - Ability to
mix Ailerons to Rudder. NAM
MAS1
SLV1
E>E1
MAS2
SLV2
E>E2
STW
INT
STEP
T>E (Throttle to Elevator) - Ability to mix the
elevator to the throttle. Note: Please note that some screen shots below will say "Aero". These functions are identical
to those in the Aero Mode even though this is for heli functions.
STOW - Stopwatch
C-MIX - Compensation Mix The RDS8000 has two compensation mixers
available to handle advanced mixing needs. These
are in addition to the predefined mixers.
The purpose of a Compensation Mixer is to allow
one transmitter control input to affect two flight
functions. A common mix would be Aileron to
Rudder to achieve coordinated turns without
The RDS8000 offers a built-in timer and allows the moving the rudder stick. However, the RDS8000
pilot to use the stopwatch function in either
provides a predefined mixer for this function.
elapsed time or countdown mode. MAS - Master Channel
REV - Reverse
SLV - Slave Channel
The RDS8000 allows you to electronically REVERSE
the direction of rotation for each of the servos in
use. D/R - Dual Rate
Dual Rate adjustments allow you to switch from
your "standard " control deflection to a reduced
amount of throw by simply flipping a switch. CNT - Center
DTM - Dynamic Trim Memory
Your RDS8000 allows you to fine-tune the CENTER
or neutral position of all flight control servos. Dynamic Trim Memory (DTM) is an advanced
function that can be used in conjunction with the
Flight Mode. Dynamic Trim Memory allows you to
make trim changes while in any flight mode
WITHOUT affecting any other flight mode or
model. T-CUT - Throttle Cut
TRM - Trim
The RDS8000 offers the Trim Memory Function on
all four of the flight control channels and the Flap
Channel. Trim Memory for Elevator, Aileron,
Throttle, and Rudder is input by the Digital Trim
keys. It can also be set when you use the INC
+/YES or DEC -/NO keys to input trim.
Any trim that you set while your model is in flight
by use of the Digital Trim keys will automatically
Another useful function provided by the RDS8000
for engine powered models is T-CUT, Throttle Cut.
The RDS8000 has a push button that, when
pushed, overrides the throttle sticks low throttle
position and drives your throttle servo to a lower
position, stopping the engine. be stored in memory for that specific channel and
model. EXP - Exponential
SWH - Swash Plate Type
The RDS8000 allows the pilot to choose two
settings for Exponential throw for each of the
primary flight channels, Elevator, Aileron (and
Rudder in helicopter mode). The RDS 8000 allows you to select the SWH
(Swash) mode o operation the main rotor pitch,
which is controlled by the Swash Plate moving up or
down. When the Swash Mode is selected, the
outputs of the Elevator, Aileron, and Pitch servos
are mixed to control the pitch of the helicopter's
main rotor. GYR - Gyro Adjustment
EPA - End Point Adjustment
The RDS8000 allows you to adjust the "End
Points", or travel limits, for all flight channels. The RDS 8000 allows you to set the gyro
sensitivity of your helicopter's gyro if it has the
capability.
Throttle Curves
M-SL - Model Select
The RDS8000 has built in memory to store ten
model setups in any combination of model types.
To use or modify one of the model setups you first
must select M-SL in the etc menu. The throttle curve for each flight mode has five
points that can be adjusted to suit your specific
needs. Within each throttle curve these points are
referred to as PH (high pitch), P3, P2, P1, and PL
(low pitch) RV - Revolution Mixing
TYP - Type of Model
This will select the type of model you wish to
program, either HELI or AERO. INT - Integral Timer
The RDS 8000 provides for setting Revolution
Mixing for each of the 4 Flight Modes. Each Flight
Mode has its own curve for adjusting tail rotor
position in response to the throttle/collective stick
movements.
Pitch Curves (Flight Modes)
The Integral Timer function of the RDS8000 is
activated each time the transmitter power switch is
turned on, and continues to time up to 99 hours
and 59 seconds at all times when the transmitter is
turned on. The RDS 8000 allows you to customize four distinct
flight modes for each helicopter model. The pitch
curve for each flight model has five points that can
be adjusted to suit your specific needs.
BASIC - Basic Menu RST - Reset
If you want to "UNDO" all of your programmed
parameters at one time, you can use the RST
function. CLK - Click
By default the BASIC aircraft and helicopter
programming menu are on. Basic programming
gives you the basic features included in the
RDS8000. By turning BASIC OFF, you are turning
on the ADVANCED aircraft or helicopter
programming menu.
OPT - Option Menu
The RDS8000 transmitter normally is set to emit an
audio tone when ever the programming keys are
pressed, when values are changed and when the
stop watch function is started, stopped or reaches
the final ten seconds of countdown. In the advanced programming you have the ability
to turn off unused programming screens with the
OPTION MENU SCREEN. This is vary useful and
vary convenient when one of your models only
requires some features. For example one aircraft is
used as a triainer and you do not need to use any
C-MIX, CROW, AI-DIF, DELTA, V-TAIL, you can go
to the OPT screen and turn them off so they will
not display in the normal programming screens. NAM - Name
STEP- Step Menu
The RDS8000 provides the capability for you to
designate each of the 10 models you have
programmed by use of a 3 digit name. Any trim that you set while your model is in flight
by use of the Digital Trim keys will automatically
be stored in memory for that specific channel and
model; providing that TRM was previously turned
OFF in the OPTIONS section of the program.
SW-R - Switch Reverse
CPY - Copy
The SW-R Function allows you to reverse the
action of the six toggle switches located on your
RDS8000 transmitter. The default of the SW-R
Function is in the NOR (normal) position. A valuable feature of the RDS8000 is the Data
Copy Function. With this function the entire set of
control parameters for one aircraft can be copied
from one model set-up into another. After arriving at the field I setup and prepped my plane to fly. Of course we all know that a range check
should be performed on all radios, especially before the first use. On older radios the range check was
performed by walking about 30 paces away from the plane and lowering the antenna, but of course that
is not possible on a 2.4 Ghz radio because the antenna system is different. The RDS 8000 includes a
procedure to reduce the power on the radio in order to perform a range check. This is accomplished by
walking approximately 30 paces away from the plane and turning on the transmitter with the Bind
button depressed. Continue holding the Bind button until the Bind LED goes out and then release the
button. If the LED then resumes a steady blinking the radio was successfully placed in Range Check
Mode. I range checked the radio with no problems found. With the range check completed it was time to fly the plane. I fired the plane up and taxied out to the
runway. A control check was made to ensure all control throws were properly set and then she was
away. After I was in the air I did have to make some slight adjustments to bring the plane into a
hands-off trim condition. But after that the only real thing I can say about my flight was that nothing
happened. And when testing a new technology like this I guess that is about the best thing that can be
said. The radio worked flawlessly with no issues. I took the plane up as high as I could, as well as flew it
as far away that I could safely see the plane in order to see if there were any glitches in the controls,
which there weren't. The radio just worked as it was designed to. I flew a total of 4 flights that day and
all of them were incident free. The receiver handled all control inputs quickly and servos and I had
fantastic control over the plane. While in the air I noticed that I really liked the feel of the radio in my hands. While Airtronics says it's
basically the same as the old RD 8000 radio, I must say that it felt better in my hands than my old
8-channel radio. Whether this is true or not I don't know, but the radio felt really nice in my hands. All of
the controls are right were they "should" be, meaning that I was able to find all of the switches without
having to hunt for them with my fingers. I liked the fact that the radio is equipped with a stopwatch that
can count up or down when used to time flights. As I packed up for the day I had a silly grin on my face, as I knew that I had a new "favorite" radio that would be
making lots of trips to the field in the future. I knew that the first thing I needed to do when I got home was to get online
and order some more receivers for my other planes!
There were several small items that I felt could have been done better on the RDS 8000. Namely
improving the 3-charcter display for naming models, changing the Trainer button to a switch, adding
rudder and expo control to the rudder channel, and putting a larger battery in the transmitter. Now with
those small gripes out of the way let's talk about what I liked about the radio. Basically, everything!! I
think that the RDS 8000 is a great radio that I will be using for quite some time to come. It has enough
flexibility to appeal to even the most advanced pilots, yet it's programming is simple enough for any
pilot, even those just starting out, to figure out. The programming matrix for the radio is set up in such
a way that it can be navigated without consulting a manual. As a long time Airtronics user I was extremely pleased to see Airtronics get into the 2.4 Ghz market.
While they have not been the first to put out a Spread Spectrum radio, the radio that they did put out is
sure to have some heads turning over at "the other brands". Airtronics has obviously set their goal to
provide their usual high quality products adapted to the latest technology to produce what could be an
industry leading radio. Airtronics has taken the time to create a radio system that will appeal to a large group of pilots, but has
kept the price at a level that the wallet is sure to like. The decision to leave servos and a receiver
battery out of the included hardware may prove to be something that the industry will follow on. I think
that it was a great decision on the part of Airtronics to make a move such as this. Airtronics RDS8000 2.4GHz FHSS Radio
Distributed exclusively by: Global Hobby Distributors
18480 Bandilier Circle
Fountain Valley, CA 92708
Voice: (714)963-0329
Fax: (714)964-6236
Service@globalhobby.net
www.globalhobby.com
Airtronics 8CH 2.4GHz FHSS Receiver
Comments on RCU Review: Airtronics RDS8000 2.4GHz FHSS Radio
Posted by: LT-40 on 06/01/2008
Very nice review RCKen! I enjoyed it, and I hope others do also.
Profile Posted by: BelAirBob on 06/01/2008
Profile Looks like you spent a lot of time putting this all together. It was an excellent review. It was too windy to fly my new
Twist 60 today, but I broke in the engine and did the radio set up with my RDS8000. There are very few Airtonic people
at our field, but they were all impressed with the transmitter and how I set up the antennae inside the plane. The
range check feature worked great and went beyond the 30 paces. I agree that the 3 characters and smallish TX battery
are the negatives, but one can get a large capacity battery. Thanks again for all the work belair bob
Posted by: Clay Walters on 06/05/2008
Profile Very nice writeup Ken. I'm less concerned about the size of the TX battery and more concerned that by placing
another brand of battery in the box you void the warranty on the radio. I'll be consulting this review in the future
as the features are explained so clearly and the illustrations are first rate. Thanks again, Clay
Posted by: Turtle_Flyer on 06/08/2008
Profile This could have been perfect. But no expo or DR on the rudder for planes? What were they thinking? That is a basic
programming feature. Posted by: Bill Vargas on 06/11/2008
Profile Having been a former Airtronics user, its nice to see them in the 2.4 arena for aircraft and helicopters,,, its been a long
time coming,,, I wonder how long its gonna take them to catch up with the rest?
Posted by: igalr on 07/05/2008
Profile It is possible to setup DR for rudder . You need to setup a mix on one of the mix buttons so that the rudder will be
mixed to itself R->R then set up 2 values 100% and 50% and here you have DR for the rudder. Posted by: obxflyer on 09/11/2008
Profile Excellent review Ken. I have been a fan of Airtronics for many years and still use a VG4R Vangaurd 4-channel in my
Kadet Senior for training new pilots. I have never had any problems with an Airtronics product. I too have been waiting
for the 2.4 GHz Tx/Rx set from Airtronics. Now with the buy a Tx/ Rx package and get an extra Rx, how can anyone
not buy one? The good just got better. bc
Posted by: ssuzyq on 01/14/2009
Profile Posted by: ssuzyq on 01/14/2009
Is a 6 volt receiver battery ok with this radio?
Profile Posted by: RCKen on 01/14/2009
Absolutely. The receiver is designed to handle a 6 volt battery with no problems. Ken
Profile Page: 1 2 > The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply
generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in
products like the one featured in the review. EMAIL THIS ARTICLE OR CHECK OUT THESE OTHER GREAT REVIEWS!
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