Spektrum DX6i Transmitter Meets All Your Flying Needs
2.4 GHz Spektrum DX6i - affordable, capable and easy to program
The advent of 2.4 GHz spread spectrum technology has transformed flying radio control model aircraft. The Spektrum DX6i transmitter is a great example of affordable, state of the art computer based radio control equipment.
With spread spectrum, no longer do you have to worry about someone inadvertently turning on their radio and causing a crash due to the two transmitters jamming each other on the same frequency, as with the 72 MHz transmitters of the past. Spread spectrum 2.4 GHz technology binds your transmitter and receivers, and eliminates interference from any other transmitter.
The Spektrum DX6i is a perfect choice for the beginner to intermediate RC pilot. The DX6i is reasonably priced, with a street cost of around $150. The six channel DX6i has a wide range of control features that will suit the majority of RC flyers.
Perhaps the first feature that will appeal to modelers is the transmitter’s 10 model memory. Using receivers that employ DSM2 technology, you can program the DX6i to control up to ten different receivers, with each of the ten models having a unique set of control adjustments programmed into the DX6i’s computer memory. All of my designs (here, here and here) were successfully loaded and flown with the Spektrum transmitter.
The Spektrum DX6i transmitter has numerous useful features in addition to the 10 model memory. A new capability includes ModelMatch technology whereby the DX6i transmitter will work only if the airplane model selected in the transmitter matches the receiver.
More pilots that you can imagine, without ModelMatch, try to fly model airplane “B” with airplane “A” parameters selected on the transmitter. This will just about always result in a model airplane crash due to differing transmitter control programs. ModelMatch neatly fixes this problem forever.
Additional options with the Spektrum DX6i transmitter include adjustment menus tailored to either a fixed wing airplane or a helicopter; a large black and white display screen with a unique roller bar input device that greatly simplifies programming; dual rates and expo adjustments for the ailerons, elevator and rudder; two channel mixing menus that allow you to mix any channel with any other one; flap settings and a timer.
The DX6i provides a wide range of useful features that will suit the needs of most model pilots without overwhelming the user with obscure or little used features.
An important technical feature of any 2.4 GHz radio system is the use of binding. Binding simply means that a transmitter is “bound” or electronically connected to a specific receiver. Once bound, that receiver will not recognize nor process control signals from any other transmitter.
With binding you never have to worry about anyone else turning on their transmitter and causing interference to your system. This is truly a remarkable development in the RC hobby, and allows lots of models to be airborne at the same time at E-Fest and other shows.
Binding instructions for the DX6i transmitter vary between various receiver brands. The manual covers binding instructions for a typical Spektrum receiver. Other receivers, such as the one used on the ultra micro 4-Site acrobatic airplane have easy to follow binding instructions in the airplane's manual.
The included Spektrum DX6i manual contains a lot of useful information. But the manual is not especially well organized or clearly presented for the first time user. Do not let the manual discourage you from learning how to program and use the transmitter. The manual remains a great reference resource as you become familiar with the transmitter.
Following are a few useful insights that will save you a lot of time as you program your own models into the DX6i’s computer memory. The input menus are actually quite logical once you understand how they are organized.
The best way to learn the menus is to practice with the unique roller bar data input system. Do not try and learn all these items in one session. Take your time over several practice programming runs, and you will soon gain a complete understanding of the DX6i’s programming system.
You can understand most of the terms on the Spektrum DX6i transmitter menus, as they are written with complete words or phrases. Two terms that are not obvious are INH for “inhibit” and ACT for “activate”.
There are two separate “lists” for data input on the DX6i. The first is the “Setup List” which contains the various inputs that are done just once for a specific model. The Setup List will program items such as using the airplane or helicopter setup options, adding a model name to one of the ten model memory positions, or setting the control surface throw direction.
The second list is the “Adjust List” that permits inputs that will likely need to be done several times for that specific model. The Adjust List can, among other functions, control the dual rate and exponential percentages, change the sub trim, and alter the control travel adjustment settings. Programming the DX6i transmitter is much easier once you understand the concepts behind the Set Up and Adjust lists.
As I mentioned earlier, the programming of the transmitter becomes more intuitive once you play around with the controls, roller bar and menus. When you first turn on the transmitter, the main screen will show the trims, voltage and model name.
As the manual describes, you can enter the Set Up list by pressing and holding the roller down as you turn on the transmitter. The model types are a bit confusing, as the fixed wing airplane is called “Acro” and the helicopter function is “heli.”
Once the Set Up list is programmed, you will spend most of your time working with the Adjust List. Again, pay attention to the display. Each time you move the roller, a new Adjust List feature comes up. Look carefully, and you’ll see a number to the right.
For example, Model Select will be a 1. Dual Rate and Expo will be a 2, Travel Adjust will be a 3, and so forth as you move the roller to the right. If you wish to adjust that particular feature, just push the roller bar. After you do this a few times, it becomes second nature.
In summary, the Spektrum DX6i transmitter is a superb piece of hardware that will meet the needs of the vast majority of RC pilots. With the advantage of having one transmitter for up to ten receivers, the value proposition of the DX6i cannot be beat.
Author: Gordon McKay