RCU Review: Spektrum DX8
 RCU Review: Spektrum DX8 More On This Product
Research Airplanes Research Boats Research Cars Research Helicopters Research Engines & Motors Research Radio Equipment Contributed by: Michael Parsons | Published: May 2011 | Views: 58414 |
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Horizon Hobby, Inc.
ATTN: Spektrum
4105 Fieldstone Road
Champaign, IL 61822
Main Phone: (217) 352-1913
Toll-Free: (800) 338-4639
Support: (877) 504-0233
Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639
The DX8 is the next in line after the ever popular DX7 from Spektrum. The DX8 is an 8
channel radio that offers a breakthrough with real-time Telemetry. Not only does this
radio talk to the receiver, but it listens as well to provide the user with option feedback
about what is going on in the model. Temperatures, battery voltage, RPM, it has it all.
Combine rich features with well balanced comfort and you have a highly anticipated 8
channel radio presented in Spektrum fashion. Letâ??s dive in and take a closer look at
this sport level radio. Welcome to the DX8. SD Card expansion for
endless amount of model
memory
Backlit display is large and
clear
Vibration and Audible
feedback for warnings and
notifications
Visual programming
references
Well balanced and
comfortable
Assignable switch functions
Manual is concise Smooth surfaced control
sticks that are lacking
before seen texture on
earlier Spektrum radios.
Would have liked to have
seen the 4K mah Lithium
battery included in place of
the NIMH pack provided. DX8
Product Specifications
Retail Price: $429.99 # of Channels:8
Modulation:DSM2/DSMX
Band:2.4GHz
Receiver:AR8000
Features:Airplane and Heli
Model Memory:30
Modes: Selectable 1,2,3 or 4 Key Features
High-speed 11ms frame rate with
2048 resolution
30-model internal memory
Large 128 x 64 backlit screen
Includes TM1000 Full Range Telemetry
Module providing real-time Flight Log
data, receiver voltage, flight pack
voltage, RPM and temperature
Includes AR8000 8-channel
High-Speed Receiver
Electronic E-ring electronically
prevents overdriving the cyclic servos
Spektrum Data Interface provides
expanded model memory, model
sharing, and firmware update
capability with the included SD card
8 Wing Types and 5 Tail Types are
available for nearly all aircraft types
Active gain and governor trim allows
for in-flight adjustment of the gyro
gain and RPM
Programmable Flap System with Flap
Delay and elevator compensation
Programmable Telemetry Warnings
provides both tone and/or vibration
alerts
4 Swashplate Types
SimpleScrollâ?¢ roller provides easy
menu navigation
User-assigned switch function
Programmable Throttle Cut Function
Exclusive AirWareâ?¢ Software offers
advanced features that are easy to use
Refined ergonomics with no-slip
comfort grips
Programmable timer with throttle
timer startup
Quad bearing gimbals Spektrum has made many improvements to the Dx8 since the release of the DX7 in 2007. The DX7
has been my primary transmitter until now and upon taking hold of the
DX8, the differences in aesthetics were immediately noticeable. The radio
feels sturdier and much larger in your hands than previous models
without any weight gain. The rubberized side and rear grips are carried
over from the DX6i model making the radio both comfortable and allow a
firm hold even with one hand. Also noticeable is the neck strap mount is
moved to center providing a more balanced
â??hangâ?? when using the neck strap. This was a common problem
early on for many radios and all too many throttles have been engaged
unwillingly due to stomach rub. Hanging from the neck strap, the radio
bottom rests perfectly flat. Precautions still need to be taken, however
this was a welcomed change. One area that jumped out at me immediately was the control sticks. If
you are a thumb flyer like I am, the sticks feature serrated ends and are
very responsive to the touch. If you are a pinch flyer meaning you pinch
the control sticks through thumb and pointer finger, you might find you
have hard time due to the smoothness of the sticks. They are polished to
an almost glass finish and although have grooves that encompass them,
I found it difficult to maintain accuracy. I would have liked to see a more
textured exterior. However they can be changed out easily, or roughed
up using a Dremel or ordinary sandpaper.
The 128x64 backlit screen is simply gorgeous! The screen is crisp and
easily visible in both low and bright light conditions. The screen is
contrast adjustable from 0-20, but I found the default C-10 to be perfect
for indoor or outdoor viewing. Â Overall, the radio feels like a second set of
hands and the gimbles, switches and knobs
are within reach and easilymanipulated with
or without a neck strap. The DX8 has a 30 model memory built into the software, however that
doesnâ??t stop there. The folks at Spektrum have designed in an SD
memory slot and even included a 128 MB SD card with the radio. So now
you can save and store more models on the Memory card. Each exported
model takes up about 10 kb of real estate on the card. Thatâ??s a lot of
models! The SD card isnâ??t just for saving or sharing models however.
It is also used to update the firmware on your DX8 when one becomes
available. Vibrating notifications. I don't know how many times I have flown with my Ipod blaring.
Forgetting to pay attention to what my timer was set at only to notice
that my plan is coming down like it or not. Â Well the DX8 has a solution
for us music lovers. Now both audible and vibrating notifications can be
chosen. You can also set vibrating warnings such as throttle position
over a certain percentage, gear in a specific position as well as
flaps.However I have found the most useful notification to be the
inactivity alarm. If your radio is left in an inactive state for too long, the
DX8 begins to sound an alarm as well as vibrate in conjuction with the
screen telling the user that they have left the radio on. My days of
inadvertantly leaving my radio on and draining the battery are long gone. This feature was definitely
thinking outside the box for Spektrum and a welcomed addition. Internal battery alarms. Whether you are using lithium battery packs or NiMH to power your DX8 makes no difference. You
can now set the battery type as well as the voltage warning to any specific level you would like. Again
with not only audible alarms, but vibrating as well. Spektrum has made many enhancements to the Software of the DX8
over previous models. The devil is in the details. Such as being able to
select a different model without having to power down the radio, holding
the necessary buttons down to enter system setup and reselecting a
different model. Changing models now can be accomplished with the
radio on. Simply pressing the clear and back buttons simultaneously
enters the software into the model select section. Then scroll to select
the model and confirm the selection. The System setup screen is clean, well organized and easy to navigate
using the rolling selector without ever picking up the manual. When you enter the system setup (by
pressing the Clear + Back buttons while powering on) you are presented with the top level of the
programming menu. The options are Model Select>Model Type>Model Name>Wing Type>Switch
Select>Trim Setup>Model Reset>Model Copy>Warnings>Telemetry>Frame Rate>Trainer>System
Settings>Transfer SD card.
Model Select
Entering Model select gives you the choice of 30 in memory models that
you can choose from. These models are default set to Acro (plane)
however can be changed to Heli from the Model Type menu once
selected. The DX8 features ModelMatch which is an embedded code
transferred to the receiver once binding occurs. This protects the model
and owner from attempting to operate one aircraft from another aircrafts
memory. If a wrongly selected model is chosen, the response is no
response at all. The receiver will not connect thus alerting the user there
is a problem. Model Type
The DX8 provides two model types. Airplane and Helicopter. When
setting up a new model, always choose the Model type first. This is due
to additional options provided when choosing Helicopter over Airplane.
The Helicopter mode in the System setup provides you with Swash Type
and F-mode as well as additional Heli setup options in the function mode
menu.
Model Name
The Model Name settings provide you with the option to name your
model with up to 10 characters using Uppercase, lowercase, numbers
and symbols. This model name is presented on the main screen for a
visual representation of the model the radio is operating on.
Wing Type
I fell in love with this visual menu. Here you are provided with a visual
representation of both the wing type and tail type. There are eight different wing types to choose
from as well as five different tail types. The visual aspect makes short order in choosing your setup
as well as getting it right. Switch Select
If you would like to rearrange the switch locations, you can do that here.
For example, if you are not using the F-mode switch and would like to
move the Gear switch forward for easier access, then you simply
program the Gear switch to inhibit and the F-mode to Gear. Likewise, if
you wanted to move your Gear to the right side instead of it's current
location on the left, reprogram it to the AUX 2, AUX 1 or knob switch.
Nothing like having options to fit your preferences.
Trim Setup
This menu item allows the user to adjust the â??Per click of trimâ?? to
adjust the amount of servo movement. I have flown a new model and
found that I donâ??t have enough trim that I need to adjust on that first
flight. It might be due to the model being out of balance laterally or
being nose heavy or tail heavy because I guessed at the CG. Having a
large trim step at the beginning allows me to make adjustments and fine
tune the trim for more precision later. Model Reset
This is exactly what you would think it would be. Selecting this will reset
the selected model to factory settings. Use caution with this menu item.
It will unbind your model, reset the settings and is unrecoverable. Model Copy
In previous radios I have used, this feature
was handy to reorganize models in the
memory to keep plane type grouped or
preserving set up of an aircraft before
experimenting with changes. Warnings
As mentioned earlier, this is where things get interesting. The DX8 has
the ability to warn when switch settings or throttle settings are set to an
unsafe or undesired position when the transmitter is turned on. Not only
will the transmitter display these on the screen, it will also sound an
alarm/vibrate and no transmission will occur until the switch or throttle is
positioned correctly. This is a beautiful failsafe. Frame Rate
This menu item allows the user to select between 11 ms and 22 ms
frame rates. 11 ms is an extremely fast frame rate and is typically used
with digital servos. If analog servos are being utilized the user can
manually adjust this setting to 22ms. Some receivers are designed for
high frame rates and if you find that your analog servos arenâ??t
working properly, the adjustment can be made here. Trainer
The DX8 allows this function to be programmed to three modes. • Programmable Master
This feature allows all or individual channel controls to be
transferred to the slave radio. This is beneficial so that the
student radio can control specific channels to learn those
controls while the master maintains control of the
remaining channels. • Pilot Link Master
This feature allows the student radio to control stick functions. Aileron, Rudder,
Elevator and Throttle only are allowed, while switch settings such as dual rates or expo
are maintained on the master.
• Slave
This sets the DX8 as the slave when using another radio when the master radio has
activated its pilot link. This eliminates the need to match programming between the
Slave and Master. Ie. Reversed servos, trim etc. System Settings
System settings provide general setup options. Such as programming a
user name that will be displayed whenever the radio is turned on. This
provides an easy identification when there are multiple DX8 transmitters
at the field. Ever grabbed the wrong radio? Yeah, me too. This menu also
allows the option of screen contrast, language, mode and transmitter
battery type (Nimh/Lipo)
Transfer SD card
Here is an area that the DX8 really shines. The included 128mb SD card
allows the user to import or export models as well as updating the
radioâ??s firmware. Providing the ability to share models between other
users who also utilize a DX8, backing up model programming before
trying out new settings. At the time of this writing, there was an update to the firmware from
1.04 to 2.01. The update was so easy it was ridiculous. I simply
downloaded the firmware update from www.spektrumrc.com , copied it
to the SD card, reinserted the card and booted the radio on. The DX8
took it from there and automatically updated the firmware to 2.01. Once they system settings are configured next up is setting up the model specific to how you want it.
Turn on the radio and once it has booted up, you will see the model you have chosen. Depress the
roller wheel and you are presented with the Function list. These are Servo Setup> D/R and Expo>
Differential>Throttle Cut> Throttle Curve> Flap System>Mixing> Range Test> Timer> Monitor. Servo Setup
This is used to adjust the Travel, Subtrim, Reverse a servo and adjust
the individual speed of a servo which is great for adjusting the speed of
the gear servo for example to slow it down for a more realistic travel
speed.
D/R and Expo The Dual Rate and Exponential settings are available for the Aileron,
Elevator and Rudder channels. Dual Rate affects the travel of a servo. So
you can have one rate on your control surfaces for Aerobatic flight, while
having another for more precision sequence flying. Expo allows you to
tone down or tone up the sensitivity of the control surfaces in aspect to
the stick position. A positive Expo tones down the sensitivity while a
negative expo increases sensitivity. This has no affect on the travel of the
control surface as regardless of the sensitivity, you will get full range of
motion out of your control surface. Â Differential This setting provides are more precise adjustment. This is only available
if separate servos are being utilized on your aircraft. Some pilots prefer
one aileron to travel farther than the other for example. This can be
utilized to counteract yaw tendancies of a particular aircraft. Throttle Cut
While not used in Electric Aircraft, this is an
essential function to fueled airplanes to kill
the running engine on the ground after flight
and sometimes during flight if the pilot
wishes to practice deadstick landings.
Throttle Curve
This allows the user to change throttle stick output to engine input or
more commonly the Throttle response sensitivity.
Flap System
Here you can program a three level flap system to a switch. They are
Normal, Middle and Landing. In this feature you can also adjust the Flap
servo speed. Mixes
There are eight programmable mixes available with the DX8. Mixes are
great to overcome model specific tendencies such as knife edge
correction.
Range Test
The DX8 incorporates a Range Test feature into the software that
reduces the power of the signal to check to ensure that the radio and
receiver can communicate properly. Standing 30 paces, choose the
Range Test and depress the training button to activate the reduced
power test.
Timer
No longer is the timer just a timer. It can also be set as a stop watch for
those how long was I aloft flights? There are also settings to only count
when the throttle is above a certain percentage. This allows the timer to
not count when the throttle isnâ??t being used and provides a more
accumulative and accurate count.
Monitor
This is exactly what it sounds like. It provides an overall visual
representation in both numeric and graphical interface to see the servo
positions and travel amount. The built in Telemetry feature to be used with the TM1000 module is a
very exciting addition to the DX line of Transmitters. It provides the user
with real time Data of what is going on in the model. From Battery pack
voltage, RX pack voltage, Temperature and (optional) RPM of both
electric and Fueled engines. Not only can the transmitter talk to the
receiver, but with this additional hardware, it can now listen as well. The
user has more control and knowledge to what is going on in the plane
itself.
Setting up the TM1000 module is straight forward. The TM1000 module is plugged into the Bind/Data
port of a supporting receiver, then power is applied to the receiver (Main battery pack to the Speed
Controller or RX pack). Both the receiver and Telemetry module will blink showing they are in bind
mode. Power on the radio with the Bind/Trainer button depressed and both the receiver and TM1000
unit will bind. Once binding is completed, the roller can be rotated from the main screen to verify Telemetry
information. The Transmitter can be set to display the telemetry information automatically or
manually by utilizing the roller. Also minimum and maximum settings can be programmed for the
units being measured and alarms to sound when these thresholds are breached. This is amazingly
beneficial on many levels; however for electrics this feature allows a user to know when their main
battery pack is reaching a dangerous level in either voltage or temperature thus threatening the
battery pack is reaching a dangerous level in either voltage or temperature thus threatening the
model. Also the Telemetry unit captures RF link performance in frame loss and holds that the receiver
may have experienced. The telemetry module not only displays information about the components, it also displays
information about the model itself. Model Altitude and model speed are also displayed and logged for
review before the transmitter is powered down.
Spektrum has stepped out of the box and blazing a new path with this technology and incorporating
it in the radio itself for real time feedback. The TM1000 is priced retail at $56.99 it is cheap insurance
on any model you value. Spektrum has taken the DX8 to another level. It is an attractive radio that feels so comfortable in my
hands that it becomes a part of the entire flying experience. With the addition of the enhanced
notifications that include vibration, I am sure to not miss another alarm whether it is a timer that has
been set or when I have walked away from my radio and left it powered on. The Telemetry incorporation is ingenious and makes this the most inclusive radio I have put my
hands on. If the radio wasnâ??t impressive enough alone, now being able to see what is going on in
my model from the models perspective as well as the components it uses is invaluable. I have used
separate telemetry units before and while useful, having it all inclusive into the radio means less to
manage and one stop shopping for information that is critical to success. To say I am impressed would be a major understatement. My hats off to Spektrum. www.spektrumrc.com
Distributed by Horizon Hobby, Inc.
4105 Fieldstone Road
Champaign, IL 61822
Support Phone: (877) 504-0233
Sales Phone: (800) 338-4639
Website: http://www.horizonhobby.com Comments on RCU Review: Spektrum DX8
Posted by: Moserkid on 05/18/2011
why did this review get removed and then re posted? Profile Posted by: chuckk2 on 08/09/2011
Profile Worthy of note: The "new" DX8s were released for sale a few weeks ago. The battery connector is a 1.5mmx2 connector, and may be
extremely hard to find, along with the mating connector. The DX8 has a master slave training mode available, which allows the slave to
provide stick inputs only, and uses the programming in the master. Seems ideal for initial training flights. Another training mode allows
selective designation of functions to the slave. The DX8s power plug seems to be a less common size, complicating building an adapter to
allow charging from a vehicle battery or cigar lighter socket. Software was just revised to version 2.03.
Posted by: jimy1321 on 09/05/2011
Profile Posted by: jimy1321 on 09/05/2011
Profile do yourself a favor dont bother ; piled in a seagull 120 seafury cristion eagle .46 , , ultra stick .90 ,extra 300 35e !!!! none of these aircraft
like full left rudder for no apperent reason , wiggin out p.o.s. wish some one would have enlightend me a couple 3 k ago so im enlightning
you this thing is a pile ,
Posted by: STATUS TUNING on 09/07/2012
^^ seems like thumb problems. never had an issue with my dx8 and dx18.
Profile Page: 1 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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