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Old 11-03-2010, 12:22 PM   #1
redbird300
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Exclamation The dark side of the DX8

Take care, this is NOT a full review this time, anyone who wants to know the full set of features of a DX8 can read this on the Spektrum site and loads of other places, no use in spreading duplicate info. Discussing the large set of programming features is also partially useless, as Spektrum is adding features as we speak, by means of the firmware updates.

I just wanted to point out some matters and details that might be less obvious, together with some personal impressions. Might not be complete, as I use it only a limited time. So, for what it’s worth, here we go:

Allow me to say first that this radio is a large improvement over the DX6 and even the DX7, but I will mainly be limiting myself to some negative points this time, that’s what’s most people will find interesting, and will keep the review as unbiased as possible. Don’t let this fool you into thinking that this is a bad TX, it’s definitely a great piece of equipment as such, IMO. Beats my DX7 hands down by kilometers (hey, I only do metric sizes, lol).

Contents of the box:

- Rather complete, including some telemetry sensors (voltage and temperature, but not the RPM sensor which is a shame), an international charger for the TX, even a decent neck strap, AR8000 RX, the telemetry module, printed manuals, and more small stuff.

Ergonomics:

- There are so many switches that two of them are positioned at the top-back of the body (“GEAR” at the left and “MIX/HOLD” at the right) which could be easily hit accidentally. And these are very long switches. Wouldn’t advice to program a function like throttle hold on these. I personally use the “Aux2” switch at the front for that, which is at the same place on my DX7. A piece of red shrink wrap around the switch indicates the “danger”.
- Balance is better than the DX7, but still not perfectly level (if you like it that way) once you hang it around your neck, as I found out. On the DX7, I need a hook about 5 cm long (horizontal distance from the eye on the body of the TX to the hook of the neckstrap) for my neckstrap to make it balance to my liking. The DX8 needs about a 2 cm long hook. I tried first by adding some extra weight at the metal bar, but I found out that this would require over a 100 grams of dead weight, which I considered too much to be convenient. BTW, the custom made hook (Erwin of course) in the pic is the one I used on the DX7, I only need the inner hole now for the DX8, should cut it off and round the end.






- Stick tension screws: it is nice to be able to reach the tension screws from the outside on this TX, but you need to pull away the two rubber grips at the back to reach the screws, which weakens the glue that holds them, wonder how many time you can do this before the glue doesn’t stick anymore. Luckily, there are also some rubber pins that hold these grips to the body. Furthermore, one needs to pay attention to keep the sticks in the right vertical position (only for throttle and elevator) to reach the screws, or you might hit the springs themselves at the interior, which can jump loose (yes, it happened to me, needed to open up the TX and put them back into place, which is a major pain).
- Stick diameter: these are the usual small diameter sticks, as on most transmitters. If you would like some thicker sticks, it is good to know that the DX6i and Futaba sticks will work, not the sticks for a DX7, these have a larger thread, I tried it. Ordered some ”Rotorworkz bling sticks” for Fuaba/DX6i on Ebay for the DX8.

Updates:

- This needs registering the DX8 at the Spektrum site, you can also unregister it in case you wanna sell it for example. The firmware updates will only work on your DX8, they seem to be protected by means of your serial number. At least for now. I discovered that there are some black holes in their database, my serial number was unknown for example, and there are more DX8 owners suffering this. Andy Kunz from the Spektrum dev team also tells us this on public forums. A simple email to the manufacturer solved it in a few days. Great and quick service.
- Actual version is 1.04. That was version 1.00 when I bought it, all this in just a few weeks. Some is added functionality, but also some glitches and software bugs are eliminated. It will need a few more updates before it’s completely mature and 100% perfect, I guess.

Battery:

- It’s a (slow charging) 4.8V/2000mAh Ni-MH, with a 7.4V/4000mAH lipo option available from Spektrum. Due to the flat and square form factor, you’ll have a very hard time finding another one that will fit. But that might change over time. Nice thing is that the voltage indicators and alarms can correctly handle both type of packs.

Exporting settings:

As Jerry pointed out before, a great feature is that you can export any or all of your profiles with the settings to a text file, and exchange it with another DX8 or back it up. Unfortunately for visual use, this text file is rather unformatted text, all information is like on one very long line. Thinking about making a small conversion tool that would add the formatting, for easier reading, or printing it in an easy to read format for reference. Here is how it looks like saved on the SD card, just a part of the file from my Beam E4:





Well, that’s about all the more or less negative points I found until now, I know that it’s not much, but as I said, it’s a great TX for the money IMO, extremely easy to program and use, and with an overwhelming set of useful features and possibilities in this category. If more ideas come up I’ll post them here. Enjoy.
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Old 11-03-2010, 12:51 PM   #2
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For a negative review, that's actually a pretty flattering report , Raf .

To add to it: the database black hole seems spreading across the universe. I have just returned the DX8 that had a faulty battery charging circuit to the LHS in New Zealand and they have exchanged for a new one, no problem . Un-registered the first on Spektrum site, no problem. Tried to register a new one: "you have entered a serial number which is not valid" So had to e-mail to them and the status is waiting for the answer.

So obviously I tried to load 1.04 firmware from the 1st Tx onto the 2nd one just to see what it does. No dice, it just keeps rebooting, must be going through decryption algorithm using the serial number.

Still, a great radio. Much more intuitive to program than my Futaba 8FG. Scroll wheel beats the touch disc, too, IMO, but you can tell that they WERE pressured at HH by the appearance of 8FG and probably beat the cr*p out of their engineering staff to accelerate the release of DX8, hence all kinds of bugs.

But again, upgrading the firmware is easy and painless (once you get through the black hole thing), so what do we care about software bugs: they'll fix them. In 1 week that had the first DX8 I have flashed it twice
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:21 PM   #3
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About the exported settings, this is how the beginning of the same file looks when formatted a bit manually with some simple text editor like Notepad:



And here is how it looks when you paste the text in MS-Word, problem is that a 2 page file becomes a 21 page file:



Admit that both are more readable, should be easy to make a small tool that would do it automatically for you. Even a macro for example could do the job in fact.
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:44 PM   #4
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Maybe something for your Helisoftware?
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Old 11-03-2010, 01:46 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tomstoy2 View Post
Maybe something for your Helisoftware?
Yes, another project. I need to write a program to keep track of my project list, lol.
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Old 11-03-2010, 02:57 PM   #6
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Great report Raf, Just as we have come to expect from you. As you say, not much point describing all the features and benefits, they can be found easily enough at the hands of Spektrum. I agree with Jerry, pretty flattering for a report that is pointing out the drawbacks. Nothing that I have now read will put me off though. The only thing holding me back is that I already have a Tx which serves me well enough, and I cannot really justify another one to myself, just for the 'Nice to have' features.

Soon enough though, the pressure of NOT having one, will just get to me, and it will end up being on my must have list. At least if I do get one, it will save me the problem of not being able to fly, next time I have to send a Tx off for repair.

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Old 11-03-2010, 03:05 PM   #7
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Maybe if you left it out in the snow this time?

I know how you feel. I'd like one but then again the dx7 is just fine and why not give it some time first?
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sutty View Post
The only thing holding me back is that I already have a Tx which serves me well enough, and I cannot really justify another one to myself, just for the 'Nice to have' features
Wait a second, Sut. You mean "nice to have" is NOT enough reason to buy it?????
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:17 PM   #9
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lol, nice one Tom. That's not impossible though. I very nearly left it out again on Monday, and it rained overnight! Went in with all the bits I could carry, and then thought, where's my Tx, did I turn it off? Not sure if I did or not, cos the damned thing is still outside, phew, glad I thought about that.


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Old 11-03-2010, 03:21 PM   #10
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lol Jerry, well normally yes, but I'm trying to stick to a reasonable heli budget at the moment. It's all too easy to just go, oh what the hell, you can afford it, get it, and before you know it you have purchased an all singing, all dancing, state of the art, FBL 700.

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Old 11-03-2010, 03:21 PM   #11
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I think you need a spare IN CASE you'll leave your old Tx out in the rain, it's not all that far-fetched
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:24 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sutty View Post
lol Jerry, well normally yes, but I'm trying to stick to a reasonable heli budget at the moment. It's all too easy to just go, oh what the hell, you can afford it, get it, and before you know it you have purchased an all singing, all dancing, state of the art, FBL 700.

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There is a slight but quite real danger of that, yes...

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Old 11-03-2010, 03:26 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sutty View Post
lol Jerry, well normally yes, but I'm trying to stick to a reasonable heli budget at the moment. It's all too easy to just go, oh what the hell, you can afford it, get it, and before you know it you have purchased an all singing, all dancing, state of the art, FBL 700.

Cheers

Sut
Well, simply stick to 600s, that's how I deal with it, lol.
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Old 11-03-2010, 03:32 PM   #14
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Default Dark side: continued

After 24 hrs they haven't answered the e-mail about a black hole sucking up my DX8 serial number, so I decided to give a call their customer support. After 45 min I'm still on hold listening to their recorded messages, will give them 5 more min and hang up, have go to work
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:16 PM   #15
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Just as I was about to hang up they answered the phone and after 15 min cust svce guy asked me to email him a photo of a DX8 S/N screen, which I did, he received it and said that it would take a couple of days to sort out.

The original email still unanswered, so I think your experience Sut was not unique in this respect . Still, could've been worse, I guess...
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Old 11-03-2010, 04:50 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jperkosk View Post
Just as I was about to hang up they answered the phone and after 15 min cust svce guy asked me to email him a photo of a DX8 S/N screen, which I did, he received it and said that it would take a couple of days to sort out.

The original email still unanswered, so I think your experience Sut was not unique in this respect . Still, could've been worse, I guess...
Jerry, I only emailed them, never phoned, got a first answer after only a single day. They said it should work because they took care of it, but it didn't. Emailed again, no reply for a few days, but it worked after that. Never heard from them again after my second email, but I don't mind, they did the job, and that's what really counts.
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Old 11-04-2010, 02:41 PM   #17
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Default DX8 S/N sucked up by a black hole

HH has fixed the problem!!!
Well, sort of, as it turns out there was no problem to solve other than my eyesight and possibly the eyesight of the tech support guy who took the call , but the IT department of HH has caught it and pointed it out, they must have kids there with better eyesight!

Last letter of the first group of the S/N of my DX8 turns out to be an "i" instead of "j", so it's HRQi instead of HRQj , and with that subtle change no problem with registration or firmware download



Told them they needed higher res LCD if they wanted to reduce the avalanche of customer support requests related to DX8 registration, just not to sound like an old half-blind man
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:03 PM   #18
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Ha, the tail on the Q merges into the i. No wonder you got it wrong, it deffo looks like a j.

Glad it is solved.


Cheers

Sut
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:19 PM   #19
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Blind basterd!
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Old 11-04-2010, 04:44 PM   #20
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-lol
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