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Old 09-30-2021, 01:33 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Spektrum versus Mikado

I currently am using a Spektrum IX12 transmitter (moved up from a DX8 recently) and beastx flybarless units. Have never had any problems with this setup as I also fly a lot of planes. When I go to heli events it seems that the dominant radio is the Mikado V-Bar. Is there a reason for this? What is the preferred flybarless units when running the V-Bar? Price is more than double for a V-Bar Touch vs a IX12. Would love to hear some of your guys opinions. Please no brand bashing.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:12 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The reason they're popular is two fold, in my opinion:
1. It's incredibly convenient to be able to adjust parameters on the radio (as I'm sure you know if you have an IX12), and in Mikado's case, it's fully integrated, so it's a joy to use. There is no choosing channels, no setting travel adjusts, sub-trims, reversing, installing scripts, or anything else. It just works, right away.

2. The Vbar also flies really well on default settings. I'm sure much of its popularity stems from them being very comfortable for a lot of pilots. That's what made me switch to Vbar 10 years ago from BeastX. The default settings just flew nicer than Beast X. I'm sure I could have made the Beast X just as good, but that was beyond both my piloting and set up skills at the time.

Vbar radios are usually only used to fly helicopters. You can fly fixed wing and quads (or even other flybarless systems), but it's far more common to have another radio to fly things other than helicopters if Vbar is your preferred radio. Literally every Vbar control owner I know personally (about 10 or 11 people) has another radio to use for fixed wing, quads, or anything else.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:29 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I used Spektrum for all the FBL units I experienced: BeastX, iKon/Brain, 3Digi, Spirit until I migrated to NEO/VControl.

I started out with Blade so it was only natural to get a DX6 as my first radio. Then I got a second hand DX9 that I absolutely loved. Great ergonomics and it worked day in, day out.

I liked Spektrum for the price and for the fact that if I got the itch for a Blade even after moving on to kit helis, I could do it. I bought a Blade Nano S2.

I had heard of the plentiful complaints about the quality of Spektrum. About range issues, brownout issues, poor new products, etc. I never really cared. For me it was working perfectly.

By the end of my time with Spektrum I was flying Spirit. I had integration and telemetry so the ability to program from the radio and to get battery capacity versus a plain timer which are the plus points of a NEO/VControl were there. So I was not really missing out much.

However, there is a but (there is always a but).

I personally need to trust my equipment. And I lost confidence in Spektrum. My Goblin 570, the pride of my fleet, fell off the air due to a bug on the 4651T telemetry receiver. As I understand it, the bug has been fixed on newer firmware revisions but what I keep seeing over and over again with anything from Horizon Hobby is that they usually don't get their products right the first time. The ix12 you have took a few firmware upgrades to fix the complaints that people had. So I was not willing to be a beta tester for them. I am not willing to sacrifice my equipment.

NEO/VControl is a platform that has been solid and stable for a long time. The Touch had also its share of issues but they come out with a new major product or revision once in a blue moon. I got the "Classic" VControl, unchanged and stable for quite some time, and I have now bought into the cool features the platform has to offer.

Again, with Spirit (and iKon/Brain and the latest Spektrum FBL) integration and telemetry have bridged the gap with VControl, but there are still a few things that I have come to like on the NEO platform.

One REALLY cool feature is that you don't have to select a model. The radio will detect a pre-bound unit as soon as it's powered up. It's one of those features I say "why doesn't everyone else do it this way also?"

Setup is also a breeze, once you get the hang of it. On any other FBL unit you have to select each servo independently when leveling your swash. On the NEO you level each axis: collective, aileron and elevator. It makes a lot of sense and I personally prefer it. It also automatically sets your tail compensation direction properly from the get-go. I used to always reference the animations on the iKon/Brain software even after moving to Spirit to ensure on first spool up the heli didn't rotate on its axis and destroy itself. Not anymore. Also, you can use the "tail optimization" to have the FBL automatically set the "strength" of the tail on each side automatically so it piros at the same speed on both directions. There are probably more features but finally one more. Piro compensation is awesome out of the box. I helped a friend with a BeastX and we had to do quite a bit of work to get it to piro flat correctly. The NEO just did it perfectly with zero intervention on my end.

Now, I will be fair. Spirit was a great unit. Very capable and also a very good out-of-the-box model defaults. I was actually looking to migrate to Jeti but came across the VControl and ended up migrating FBL platform entirely. And I will also be fair to Spektrum. They have brought many people into the hobby and keep doing so with their entry-level Blades. And they are fighting the fight with their latest "forward programming" which is just a fancy name for integration on any other FBL. The ix12 after firmware revisions is also a cool radio.

But, I have had a very good experience moving to NEO and I do understand why everyone likes it. I had no need to migrate away, though, as I had very good features already but I HAVE to trust my equipment.

This is my experience of course. Tried to be as fair as possible.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I will disagree on one point. I was sold the idea that the NEO "just works". That defaults are perfect right out of the box. This was NOT my experience. Sure, versus BeastX it will be far better. But against Spirit, that thing gave me a lot of confidence to bridge the gap between sim practice and reality. Very little was needed to make it fly the way I expected it to fly.

Not so with NEO. I was VERY frustrated at the beginning and started my setup from scratch a couple of times. It took a good friend and amazing pilot to guide me through settings. And it also took listening a couple times to the NEO setup episode of Heli Heads.

After I finally got it flying right, I liked it. It's a bit on the aggressive side but I ended up liking it after tweaking it for my taste. As I said, with Spirit I already had integration so the tuning from the radio piece was not new. In today's world, that gap has closed significantly. But, it was not a seamless overall tuning experience.

I am nowhere near a proficient pilot, so it's not like I was trying to squeeze every ounce of performance. I just wanted it to feel like I expected to. It took me some learning to understand the parameters I needed to tweak to get it to fly like I expected. Then I started looking at the other points I like over other FBL units.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigpops View Post
The reason they're popular is two fold, in my opinion:
1. It's incredibly convenient to be able to adjust parameters on the radio (as I'm sure you know if you have an IX12), and in Mikado's case, it's fully integrated, so it's a joy to use. There is no choosing channels, no setting travel adjusts, sub-trims, reversing, installing scripts, or anything else. It just works, right away.

2. The Vbar also flies really well on default settings. I'm sure much of its popularity stems from them being very comfortable for a lot of pilots. That's what made me switch to Vbar 10 years ago from BeastX. The default settings just flew nicer than Beast X. I'm sure I could have made the Beast X just as good, but that was beyond both my piloting and set up skills at the time.

Vbar radios are usually only used to fly helicopters. You can fly fixed wing and quads (or even other flybarless systems), but it's far more common to have another radio to fly things other than helicopters if Vbar is your preferred radio. Literally every Vbar control owner I know personally (about 10 or 11 people) has another radio to use for fixed wing, quads, or anything else.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:45 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by smoothie View Post
Would love to hear some of your guys opinions. Please no brand bashing.
That is wishful thinking - I'll give it about a page and half before the inevitable occurs
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Because it looks cool and all top pilots fly them!!

Ok just kidding

Really, it's a dedicated FBL controller TX.
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Old 09-30-2021, 02:57 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I've never flown BeastX, so I can't comment on the comparison directly but I will share my "I switched" story.

Up until a few months ago I was flying all my helis using an IX12 connected to iKon/Brain. I really liked all the features and the telemetry and that I could use one TX for everything. However, I never really got comfortable with how some of my helicopters flew. My Oxy 3 was perfect with stock settings, but my Oxy 5 felt like it was fighting me all the time. For two years I tried to tune the iKon and it just never felt right.

Mid-summer I got the chance to buy a used Vcontrol from a local friend so I decided to give it a try. I picked up a Neo and installed it in the Oxy 5. Setting up my first Vbar was a little frustrating--it's very different than I was used to but when I got it done the difference was amazing. It was like going from riding a wild bull to a line-hugging sports car. It still took a little tuning to get the tail wag out of it but now it flies amazing.

So I have a couple of suggestions. The Vcontrol Touch is sexy, but you don't need it. Get an original Vcontrol, or just connect a Neo to a spektrum RX and use the radio you have. That will let you try it out before you go all-in.

I still fly Brain on my Protos because it's honestly fine and I don't want to mess with it. So a lot is really going to depend on how it reacts with you and your heli.
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Old 09-30-2021, 03:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Just to be clear, and concise:

You buy a Vcontrol radio if you want to fly Vbar FBL.

Others are possible, but is is a workaround that bypasses 99% of the reason you'd choose Vcontrol in the first place.

Personally, I started flying vbar in '07 or so and never looked back (thought I did try other FBL along the way, I never strayed far from Vbar). When Vcontrol came along it was a no-brainer as all of the things you used to have to do by hooking up to a computer with USB cable (or bluetooth, later) are now done directly in the radio, even in flight.

Vcontrol isn't really a radio in the conventional sense that you can use whatever other system with it that you like (and still retain all of the functionality). It is designed to run Vbar FBL. That's why you don't see many plane pilots using them.
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Old 09-30-2021, 04:02 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Yeah I can't imagine buying a vcontrol or vtouch and not using vbar.

The beauty is how they are made to work together seamlessly.



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Old 09-30-2021, 07:21 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I own both, have an older 9303 spektrum with beast x and a vbar touch. Both fly great but the ease of tuning the vbar wins hands down. I prefer the 9303 radio because i have been flying one for a long time, had the 72 MHz version prior, I'm getting used to the feel of the control though.
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Old 09-30-2021, 09:29 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I have a friend who had 3 vcontrols had issues with packet error loses which causes a lockout like in the old PCM days. He quit flying the vcontrol when it finally crashed his heli in flight with that same error, failsafe and fell from the sky. All new equip bought by him. Ive searched around and see there is more than a few threads on this issue. Saw one guy whos brand new logo 700 was totalled on its maiden due to that error, that was hard to see the pics ouch.
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Old 09-30-2021, 10:13 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Since you are also flying a lot of planes, I would not change until you feel that the iX12 cannot give you the level of control you want for them. When it all boils down to it, the iX12 is extremely capable as an airplane transmitter and can handle a lot more than the average pilot would ever need. I fly many types of helicopters but only have a few airplanes. The cost for me to switch systems would be in the thousands as I have way too many at this point to change economically. I don't call selling stuff at 25% of cost proper money management. For many with four or five, it is not as hard a pill to swallow changing those even two a month.

The last is the hardest and that is the learning curve of a completely new system and if you are not completely tech oriented, you can be overwhelmed off the start which is the last place you want to be overwhelmed. Since you have been using the BeastX system, you know it but changing everything at once can be a bit daunting. Maybe on the next helicopter build, try the Neo gyro out and see how it compares before diving into the deep end. Another suggestion would be to try the FC6250HX on your next build if you want to see how a fully integrated system works from Spektrum and if you pick up the new ESC to go along with it, you can set that up from the transmitter as well. Hope this helps.

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Old 10-01-2021, 01:27 AM   #13 (permalink)
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There is a huge misconception that VBC/VBCt cannot be used for planes. The system works for all kind of planes, from basic 4 channel to complicated jets with multiple channels. You can even route a single Neo’s output via SBus into a powerbox and fly large scale aircraft. The possibilities is endless and you won’t need an expensive gyro add on as it has it built in.

The only negative is the small bind and fly planes where it makes no economic sense to use the Vbar system
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Old 10-01-2021, 03:33 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vinger View Post
There is a huge misconception that VBC/VBCt cannot be used for planes. The system works for all kind of planes, from basic 4 channel to complicated jets with multiple channels. You can even route a single Neoís output via SBus into a powerbox and fly large scale aircraft. The possibilities is endless and you wonít need an expensive gyro add on as it has it built in.

The only negative is the small bind and fly planes where it makes no economic sense to use the Vbar system
Ok, I'll bite. Please explain to me how vBar handles a complicated plane. I'd like to know how it copes with:
  • Throttle trim to adjust idle on multiple engines
  • Servo balancing (multiple servos, one control surface)
  • V-tail planes
  • Sequenced timed servos for scale retracts + doors
  • Butterfly mixes on proportional throttle for gliders
  • Aileron differential tuning
  • Simple flap to elevator tuning, ideally across multiple flap positions
  • Vario for detecting rise or sink rate

I can do all of that from a £70 Jeti receiver, or a £30 Spektrum receiver.

On a higher end plane, you also want a ton of other capabilities. How many of these does vControl do?
  • Multiple redundant receivers
  • Multiple redundant battery supplies
  • Gyro support for complex control surface configurations, including flaps, flaperons, standard tail, vtail, twin motors with differential thrust for rudder control

I'm not saying vControl is bad, for helis it's a superb setup. But anybody saying it's good for planes probably doesn't have any experience with a huge portion of the fixed wing market. Planes are extremely diverse with huge amounts of variance in how they're controlled, how many servos they need, and what features are needed. It's a far, far more complex market than helis.

And then there's price:
- VBar NEO: £240
- vControl Touch: £959

- Spektrum AR637T: £72
- Spektrum DX8G2: £242

I can literally buy a Spektrum radio and gyro stabilised receiver for about the price of a single NEO. And that receiver has a ton of features the Neo doesn't:
  • Flight pack voltage telemetry (up to 12S)
  • Vario
  • Gyro on, off, rate mode, heading hold, self-level, bank limiting. All freely selectable.
  • Support for flaps, flaperons, etc.
  • Support for trimming the model with the gyro off (with trims not affecting gyro function).

And you also program all that from the radio. Much as I'm not a fan of Spektrum, and prefer my Jeti, even a cheap Spektrum receiver is far superior to a vControl for planes, as well as being well under a third of the price.
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Old 10-01-2021, 08:07 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myxiplx View Post
Ok, I'll bite. Please explain to me how vBar handles a complicated plane. I'd like to know how it copes with:
  • Throttle trim to adjust idle on multiple engines
  • Servo balancing (multiple servos, one control surface)
  • V-tail planes
  • Sequenced timed servos for scale retracts + doors
  • Butterfly mixes on proportional throttle for gliders
  • Aileron differential tuning
  • Simple flap to elevator tuning, ideally across multiple flap positions
  • Vario for detecting rise or sink rate

I can do all of that from a £70 Jeti receiver, or a £30 Spektrum receiver.

On a higher end plane, you also want a ton of other capabilities. How many of these does vControl do?
  • Multiple redundant receivers
  • Multiple redundant battery supplies
  • Gyro support for complex control surface configurations, including flaps, flaperons, standard tail, vtail, twin motors with differential thrust for rudder control

I'm not saying vControl is bad, for helis it's a superb setup. But anybody saying it's good for planes probably doesn't have any experience with a huge portion of the fixed wing market. Planes are extremely diverse with huge amounts of variance in how they're controlled, how many servos they need, and what features are needed. It's a far, far more complex market than helis.

And then there's price:
- VBar NEO: £240
- vControl Touch: £959

- Spektrum AR637T: £72
- Spektrum DX8G2: £242

I can literally buy a Spektrum radio and gyro stabilised receiver for about the price of a single NEO. And that receiver has a ton of features the Neo doesn't:
  • Flight pack voltage telemetry (up to 12S)
  • Vario
  • Gyro on, off, rate mode, heading hold, self-level, bank limiting. All freely selectable.
  • Support for flaps, flaperons, etc.
  • Support for trimming the model with the gyro off (with trims not affecting gyro function).

And you also program all that from the radio. Much as I'm not a fan of Spektrum, and prefer my Jeti, even a cheap Spektrum receiver is far superior to a vControl for planes, as well as being well under a third of the price.
All the above can be done. Macrocells is the key functions to use. No more old school mixes and linkages setups in the radio. Macrocells are powerful string of cells that are freely programmable to produce any outcome you want. The Neo computes them automatically to sort the timeline of the functions without any user input required.

Delay certain functions, centre nose wheel before retracting, all types of flaps, flaperons, crow brakes, elevons and rudervators can be programmed.

The beauty of the system is that all cells are checked and executed in a single frame inside the Neo, no delays or some functions only every second frame transmitted as with old school radios where mixing etc is all in the TX.

With the VBC 23 channels are possible, with the VBCt up to 60 channels can be used. Neoís gets daisy chained together for more functions as well as redundancy on the RX sides, so up to four receivers are always working.

Macrocell basics
https://uroehr.de/vtube/cat/macrocells-basics

Some basic examples of aircraft setup

https://uroehr.de/vtube/cat/macrocells-examples

I have personally programmed jets with vector control and 16 channels, sophisticated gliders with crow and airbrakes, etc etc.

As Mikado says, only your imagination is the limit.

Granted a learning curve but as soon as one forgets about old school TX programming then it gets easy and intuitive, finally realizing why this was not before by other radio manufacturers.

Choice of radio will always be a contentious issue with fanboys everywhere, and yes I am a Mikado user that just love the system and itís simplicity.
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Old 10-01-2021, 09:21 AM   #16 (permalink)
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"Convenience"

That is the single word I use to summarize my experience with and why I switched my entire helicopter fleet to VBC Touch/Neo Vlink.
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Old 10-01-2021, 09:50 AM   #17 (permalink)
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@Vinger Fair enough, I stand corrected. That's a lot more capable than I thought on the airplane side. I'm still doubtful that it's quite as feature complete or easy as a traditional radio, but that certainly shows that it's an option to consider if you're primarily a Heli pilot but with some fixed wing models, and definitely worthy of some more research.

Really interesting post, thanks!

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Old 10-01-2021, 10:24 AM   #18 (permalink)
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I honestly think one of the reasons I started the post was out of peer-pressure. haha.
It seems as though everyone at the heli events are holding the Mikado. Everytime people are talking about setups on forums and on podcasts they seem to always be referring to Mikado. I only have 5 helis so changing them over financially would be a dent but not impossible. With the amount of planes I have along with several E-Flite BNF, I will have to keep a Spektrum radio around just to make things easy. Just trying to justify spending $1250+ on a radio...
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Old 10-01-2021, 10:26 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by myxiplx View Post
@Vinger Fair enough, I stand corrected. That's a lot more capable than I thought on the airplane side. I'm still doubtful that it's quite as feature complete or easy as a traditional radio, but that certainly shows that it's an option to consider if you're primarily a Heli pilot but with some fixed wing models, and definitely worthy of some more research.

Really interesting post, thanks!

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I'd argue to say that with macrocells you can probably accomplish anything you dream of.

I'm an idiot with computer tech and made a macro to start my glow ignitor off a switch, allow it to work only in mode one and only at a throttle position below a threshold I picked. Else it kills the ignitor preventing hot starts.
And it was simple and didn't take me long at all with some playing around using servos connected to try various inputs vs outputs.
I used servos cause I'm very visual with learning and need to see movement from and input to an output to "get it".

For a jet guy or super complex aircraft, I can't see bothering with vbar/control.

But for guys like me with simple 3d planes, foamies, sailplanes and ugly, home-cobbled planes it works every well. And setup is so ridiculously fast with the wizard. Only issue is vbar cost at that point. And that is an issue for something like a crappy foamy powered sailplane that costs 60 bucks. Seems goofy although it makes it fly like a dream.
I also stockpile vbars with full software and no rescue when they come here for sale. Some guys sell them cheap of your are fast enough.

I picked up two vcontrols two years ago when touch came out. For 600 bucks I own two like-new vcontrols now. That's not bad at all.


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Old 10-01-2021, 10:29 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smoothie View Post
I honestly think one of the reasons I started the post was out of peer-pressure. haha.

It seems as though everyone at the heli events are holding the Mikado. Everytime people are talking about setups on forums and on podcasts they seem to always be referring to Mikado. I only have 5 helis so changing them over financially would be a dent but not impossible. With the amount of planes I have along with several E-Flite BNF, I will have to keep a Spektrum radio around just to make things easy. Just trying to justify spending $1250+ on a radio...
Buy a non touch vcontrol. They go for 300 to 500 used here. Try out and see. You can sell it in a year for the same amount. They hold their value. It's what I did and man, I'm never going back for the majority of my models except those darn cheaper bnf models, in which yeah, I keep around my old dx7.

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