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Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver
Rock solid dependability, compact and versatile
Text and photos by Tom Hintz
Posted – 2-26-2015
All of my larger planes are equipped with Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receivers because they have been reliable from the day I installed the first one. When I decided to build the ¼-scale Bill Hempel L-4 Grasshopper it was a no-brainer to use a Spektrum DX8 transmitter and the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver.
The Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver is a full range, high-speed 8-channel receiver that uses DSM2®/DSMX® modulation and operates on the 2.4GHz band. It has an 11 millisecond frame rate that assures quick stick input to servo output that is smoothed by a 2048 resolution. An operating voltage range of 3.5 to 9.6V makes it drop-in compatible with most aircraft electrical layouts. To make fitting it into your plane the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver is just 1.35” (34.3mm) long by 1.27” (32.3mm) wide and 0.45” (11.4mm) tall and weighs just 0.33-oz (9.4 g).
The Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver comes with a DSMX Remote (satellite) Receiver (#spm9645) that goes a long way to insuring your transmitter maintains contact with the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver at all reasonable ranges. You get 6” cord that connects the satellite receiver to the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver.
The Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver opens the door to telemetry such as flight logging, engine temperature, receiver voltage, variometer, airspeed indicator, G-force indicator, a GPS module and many others. This is candy-land for the tech-entranced among us. I have just started playing with Telemetry and will present more on that later.
While there really is no trick to installing the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver you do have to remember to bind it with the satellite receiver plugged in. Make sure that when you install the satellite receiver its antenna is oriented differently than the one on the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver. After that you just plug in servos as with any other receiver.
When setting up larger planes that use powerful servos I like the additional safety of the Smart-Fly PowerExpander Sport Plus system. This outfit feeds the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver a clean, consistent 5.0 volts but powers the servos independently from the receiver with full battery voltage to eliminate possible voltage drops when I do things like a snap roll where I put five of those big servos at full throw at once. While the Bill Hempel ¼-scale L-4 Grasshopper isn’t a 3D machine I intend to use all of its flight envelope which makes the using the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver with the Smart-Fly PowerExpander Sport Plus power management system a good safety plan.
In the Air
The good news about the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver is that I don’t have much to say about it other than it works perfect all of the time in all three planes I have them in. I have never had a noticeable brownout, dropped signal or glitch while flying a Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX receiver. The Bill Hempel ¼-scale L-4 Grasshopper will make the fourth Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver that I have in the air.
I recently had an Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver refuse to start up after a few flights but traced that issue to a broken wire in the satellite receiver cord. That plane had well over 100 flights on it and I think the wire just gave up due to fatigue. I installed a new cable and tried to do a better job of routing it to give it more support and the plane and Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver have been fine ever since.
Spektrum™ is a leader in the RC world and their AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver is just one example of why they enjoy that stature. When I flew a bit over 25 years ago radio failure was just something that happened now and then. Since then Spektrum™ has vastly improved reliability to the point that outright radio failure is exceptionally rare. If the builder does not do something wrong pieces like the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver just keeps on performing perfectly.
Because of the competitive marketplace buying the best isn’t as expensive as you might think. The Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver with the satellite receiver is selling for $129.99 (2-26-2015) which to me is not bad at all for the convenience and reliability. I like equipment that I can essentially install and forget. I do make sure all of the plugs remain fully inserted and that nothing has come loose but after that the Spektrum™AR8000 8-Channel DSMX Receiver just keeps on working so I can keep on flying. After all, that’s what it is all about.
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