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Product Use - FAQ

  1. I'm looking for an easy way to compare your radio systems to see which one best meets my needs. Can you help?

  2. My transmitter has a PPM and PCM function. Which function should I use?

  3. What is the difference between the FM and PCM packages of the airplane/heli radios?

  4. What does it mean when you list a radio or receiver as PCM 1024?

  5. Can I use an AM receiver with my FM transmitter, or vice versa?

  6. Are there any receivers which are specific to one radio?

  7. I have an 8 channel receiver but it only has 8 slots. How do I use 8 servos and plug in my receiver battery?

  8. Can my old AM radio be converted to FM?

  9. What advantages do I gain by using PCM rather than FM? I heard PCM has better range? What is fail-safe?

  10. How does the range of a ground AM system compare to a ground FM, ground PCM, and air-converted-to-ground FM/PCM system?

  11. My old Futaba radio used the TF module. Can I replace this with the current TP or TK modules?

  12. Can I use a transmitter crystal in the receiver or vice versa?

  13. Can I use a single conversion receiver with a transmitter which shipped with a dual conversion receiver?

  14. Using Aftermarket Modules.

  15. Why are there different modules for the 9Z and the 8U? Can I use my 9Z module in my 8?

  16. My airplane is on PCM. Can I use a trainer cord with it?

  17. Function/mixer trainer capability.

  18. Trainer cord compatibility.

  19. The kit I am building calls for metal pushrods from the rudder and elevator to the servos. Am I going to have problems with the antenna running through the tail of my fuselage with these metal pushrods?

  20. Can I use my Futaba transmitter and trainer cord with other brands of radios to instruct?

  21. My older radio uses a different trainer plug than the current radios. Can I use it with simulators, etc? Can I get a cord to use it with the current radios?

  22. How do I range test my R/C system?

  23. My model's servos shake or 'jitter' whenever I get my transmitter really close to the model, especially if my antenna is up. What's wrong?

  24. How should I clean my transmitter's antenna?

  25. Can a small car receiver be retuned to 72MHz for glider use?

  26. Can Fiberglass be used as an RF shield?

  27. Is it ok to let my antenna touch the pushrods, servo leads, etc?

  28. How much does xxx (servo, receiver, etc) weigh?

  29. Is there any risk to using cellular phones in close proximity with my radio?

  30. I notice that the PMIX functions in my radio have a choice of 'link on' or 'link off'. I read my book but don't understand what this is or what it does. Do I need this on or off in my mix?

  31. I fly on channel xx. A quarter wave antenna for that freq. would be xx", not the full length. Would I be better off using that trans. antenna length instead of it fully extended?

  32. Using the PA2 with PCM transmitter fail-safe.

  33. I would like to have tank-style control of my 2 stick radio, with spring returns to center on both sticks. Can you do this for me?

  34. How does a mechanical speed control work? What advantage do I gain with an electronic one?

  35. Can you tell me what the maximum stalled current is on (insert name here) servo is?

  36. I own a 6X (or 8U or 9Z or 9C) airplane radio. I want to use it with helicopters. How do I get it changed?

  37. I am wondering about the amp draw on my receiver. I am using eight S9351's, three S9352's and one S9252's, each in its separate channel. What effect will these have on my receiver and can it handle the load?

  38. I was out flying this afternoon and sometime during the fifth flight, my LCD display just went black. I have a Futaba 6XAS radio. There was almost no wind, no clouds, and very high humidity. After the radio was placed in the shade, the LCD display came back and worked fine. Anyone else ever had this happen?

  39. I want to cycle my transmitter, but I understand the radio is protected with a diode. I don't want to void my warranty or remove this protection in any manner, but I still want to cycle the battery. What can I do?

  40. Can you tell me the polarity of the charge plug on all of your Futaba transmitter chargers?

  41. Can I use a receiver with a different number of channels than my transmitter (ex: 4ch Rx with 8ch Tx)? What about with the synthesized transmitter module/synthesized receiver of the 9Z?

  1. I have a brand new Futaba system with NiCD transmitter battery. How long do I charge it the first time? how about after I have used it?

  2. Are your batteries charged or discharged when new?

  3. Must I plug the receiver battery into the labeled battery slot?

  4. My new model calls for the servos to be mounted on the exterior of my aircraft (sticking out of the wing or tail.) Is this okay? Will the fuel and dirt damage my servos?

  5. How do I use the charger that came with my radio? How long do I charge for? Does it turn off when the batteries are fully charged?

  6. What is battery cycling? How important is it? How often do I have to do it?

  7. Can I use 6v (5 cell) receiver packs with my Futaba receiver/servos? Will I get increased performance from my equipment? Are there any drawbacks to using 6 volts?

  8. If my receiver is PCM, do I need a PCM module or PCM crystal for my transmitter? Do I need PCM crystals for it?

  9. My new NiMH batteries don't seem to be charging to their full capacity. What's wrong?

  10. When my transmitter is off, my servos act crazy. What's wrong?

  11. I am building a large scale aircraft and it will require 18"+ extensions. Do I need voltage suppressiors, noise suppressors, chokes or other items?

  12. How do I know what airplane/heli radio to buy to fit my needs?

  13. I used to own product X. I can't find it on your web site now. Do you still make it? If not, will you produce it again?

  14. I am building a small model. Should I leave the antenna hanging out the back of the plane or wrap/fold/cut it?

  15. What is the difference between a "G" or "J" connector? What about other brands of servos? Can I use them with my Futaba system?

  16. What servo do I need for my (insert application here)?

  17. Can I purchase a reversed servo? or can you reverse an existing servo?

  18. What gauge wire are standard servo leads and extensions?

  19. What is a 'retract servo'? How is it different from a standard servo? Should I use it with mechanical or pneumatic retracts?

  20. My expensive, ball bearing servos 'buzz', 'humm' or 'chatter', especially when I first turn on the receiver. My standard servos never did this. What's wrong? What do I need to do?

  21. My servos work backwards on my new model. What's wrong?

  22. What is a coreless motor?

  23. My S9251 servo does not work with my (insert anything other than GY601 here). Why?

  24. Proper Servo Mounting

  25. Why are S3003/S3004 servos not to be used in helis?

  26. What can I do to ensure long life of my digital servos?

  27. What do servo-related terms like exponential, ATV, AFR, AST, D/R, ATL, EPA and triple rates mean?

  28. My switch stopped working, and when I checked it, I found the black wire all corroded. The copper part looked dark and was brittle. What happened?

  29. How should I store my models' radio systems...charged? trickle charging? discharged?

  30. I have an older R127DF receiver that is not marked Hi or Low band, how can I tell which one I have?

  31. Please explain Hi and Low band to me? I am not sure what the difference is between them.

  32. I fly with my throttle and rudder on the left stick but have seen other people fly with their throttle on the right stick. They say this is Mode 1, can you tell me what the other modes are?

  33. If I remove my transmitter battery will I lose all my data? Does my radio have a lithium battery to store all my programming, or how is this data stored? Do I need to service this memory in any way?

  34. My father has a pacemaker and while he would love to come to the field with me, I worry about the effects of the transmitter might have to the pacemaker. Is it dangerous for him to be around R/C transmitters?

  35. I have a radio that has issues with weak spring tension on the gimbals. What can be done to fix this problem?

  36. I have a flight simulator and need a cord to connect my Futaba transmitter to the computer. Do you have one?

  37. I live in ( insert country here) and was wondering if you could help me decide what radio channel to purchase for my new Futaba radio?

  38. I am having a problem trying to use my non-Futaba digital servos with the R6014FS receiver; I think my receiver is bad. Should I send it in?

  39. I emailed a question to your product support address. How soon will I get an answer?

  40. What servos should I use with HRS and Normal Response mode?

I did not find the answer to my question here. How do I get further assistance?


I'm looking for an easy way to compare your radio systems to see which one best meets my needs. Can you help?

Please refer to our Radio System Feature Comparison Chart which lists all of our radio systems and all of their features.


My transmitter has a PPM and PCM function. Which function should I use?

If you have an FM receiver, your transmitter must be set on PPM. If you have a PCM receiver, your transmitter must be set on PCM.


What is the difference between the FM and PCM packages of the airplane/heli radios?

The primary difference between an FM and PCM package of, for example, the 8U Supers is that the PCM version comes with a PCM receiver. If you plan to use PCM right away, this provides you a cost savings by getting the PCM receiver now. If you're thinking of using PCM in the future but don't want to buy it now, you can purchase the FM system, then later purchase a PCM receiver and switch modulation types in your TX model memory and you're ready to fly PCM! You can even have different models stored in your radio where some are FM and others are PCM.


What does it mean when you list a radio or receiver as PCM 1024?

The original PCM radio systems had a servo resolution that was 512 points on the 60 degree rotation. The newer equipment offers 1024 points, or a resolution two times better than the previous 512. Depending upon what model of PCM transmitter you own, it will be able to use EITHER 512 OR 1024, not both. So you need to know which type your radio uses. To make this easy, Futaba labels the face of the 1024-type transmitters and receivers with "1024".


Can I use an AM receiver with my FM transmitter, or vice versa?

No, you cannot mix modulations.


Are there any receivers which are specific to one radio?

Yes, the 5 NLP and the R105ip were compatible only with each other. This is a unique situation and no other Futaba receivers fall into this category.


I have an 8 channel receiver but it only has 8 slots. How do I use 8 servos and plug in my receiver battery?

Use a Y-harness to plug the battery power lead and any servo lead into the receiver in any servo channel. Power can be applied in any of the slots in the receiver.


Can my old AM radio be converted to FM?

No, radio systems cannot be modified from AM to FM unless it is a modular radio. In the case of a modular radio the module can be replaced with a module in the other band.


What advantages do I gain by using PCM rather than FM? I heard PCM has better range? What is fail-safe?

There is no range increase in going to PCM; however, there is marked improvement in noise reduction, and in safe performance during the time noise is received. Basically, PCM takes your radio's FM signal and 'scrambles' it. Then the PCM receiver descrambles it and utilizes it. Random noise from other items are not going to be mistakenly read as proper servo instructions as can happen with an FM.

Also, PCM does not transmit position signals for each servo in each pulse. Rather it submits movement commands and occasional position confirmation commands. This way, if a stray signal DID tangle up with your existing command string it is not likely to affect all channels because many channels commands are not currently being sent.

Fail-safe: If your PCM receives interference, it maintains the last task it was doing until a preset time you program in your radio. If it continuously receives interference past the preset time it then obeys the commands you set in the transmitter (for example on giant scale gas planes we set fail-safe to shut down the kill switch and throttle and leave all other surfaces in the same position).

The transmitter periodically sends commands to the receiver that are to be used in the event of a fail-safe situation. When the receiver determines a fail-safe situation is occurring, it obeys these stored commands. In a battery fail-safe situation it obeys only the throttle command but obeys regular transmitter commands for all other channels. It continues to analyze the transmitter's commands for throttle, and when the transmitter command is the one set as the 'reset' for the fail-safe is received then it releases the fail-safe hold on throttle.


How does the range of a ground AM system compare to a ground FM, ground PCM, and air-converted-to-ground FM/PCM system?

The ground PCM systems will typically give you a slight increase in range over the ground FM systems. An FM system will give you approximately 20% more range than an AM system. An air system converted to ground will give you the farthest possible range, typically approximately 10% farther than a system built for ground use (for example).

Please note that we cannot give you exact range figures as they vary drastically based on your area, geography, interference.


My old Futaba radio used the TF module. Can I replace this with the current TP or TK modules?

No, the newer modules are not compatible with the old 8SGAP and similar transmitters that used the TF module.


Can I use a transmitter crystal in the receiver or vice versa?

No, these are not interchangable.


Can I use a single conversion receiver with a transmitter which shipped with a dual conversion receiver?

As long as the Tx and Rx both have the proper crystals yes, they will operate together. However, you may see a decreased range when compared to using a matched set.


I am thinking of purchasing an aftermarket Tx module for my module radio. Is this okay to do? Does this affect my warranty?

1. There are many aftermarket items that fit specific needs and are terrific products to use. Unfortunately, the use of a non-stock Tx module in Futaba modular radios (current systems include 8U series, 9Z series, 3PJ series) is not one of these circumstances.

Based upon FCC regulation 95.645(b), and the advice of our lawyers and the AMA who have analyzed and discussed this issue with the FCC, we must indicate that we believe that any non-Futaba module to be against FCC regulation to use in a Futaba transmitter.

The regulation reads, in subsection (b):

95.645 Control accessibility. "(b) An R/C transmitter which incorporates plug-in frequency determining modules which are charged by the user must be certified with the modules. Each module must contain all of the frequency determining circuitry including the oscillator. Plug-in crystals are not considered modules and must not be accessible to the user."

As such, we cannot support this type of use in any manner or we would be violating FCC regulation as well. Therefore we cannot service a radio which is using any aftermarket Tx module, and its use voids the radio's warranty. Please also note that making modifications to your radio system may void your insurance coverage, so we strongly recommend against doing so.

2. If you are asking about 2.4GHz modules, the aftermarket 2.4 GHz modules are not illegal. They are legal because they contain the ENTIRE output circuitry, including antenna, which the aftermarket 72 MHz modules do not.


Why are there different modules for the 9Z and the 8U? Can I use my 9Z module in my 8?

The TK module, which is designed specifically for the 9V and 9Z models, is not intended as a replacement for the TP module. The TP module, which is used in the 5U, 7U and 8U radios, may NOT be used in the 9 channel radios in place of the TK module.

The FUTL8900 TK-FSS 9Z SYNTHESIZED TX MOD is a synthesized frequency module compatible only with the 9Z.

The FUTL8910 9C/9CS SYNTHESIZED TX MOD is the synthesized frequency module that is for the 5U, 7U, 8U, and 9C series of transmitters.

There is no synthesized frequency module compatible with the 9V transmitter.


My airplane is on PCM. Can I use a trainer cord with it?

Yes. The master radio, the one that the instructor is using, can be either FM or PCM. The student radio, however, MUST be set to FM.


I read somewhere the 8U super has 'FUNCTION' trainer capability and the 9Z has a trainer function called 'mixer'. What does this mean? How does it differ from other radios?

On radios which do not offer the FUNC (function use) training option, or on the 8U super (when in NORMAL mode) or a 9C, when you hold the trainer button the student radio is totally in control. Its throws, rates, servo directions, etc, MUST be set exactly to the aircraft it is flying. And the student radio does not get to take advantage of any of the programming in the master radio (flaperons, mixes, servo throws, etc).

Now, if the master radio were an 8U Super or a 9C, and you set the trainer programming to FUNC (which means use the master's functions), then none of the student radio's servo direction, throws, mode settings, may be anything other than the default settings. The student radio is acting just as a joystick while running the programming from the 8. Therefore, the student would be able to take advantage of any mixes, control throw settings, dual rates, and even the mode setting of the master radio. If the master radio has 70% ATV, for example, and the student radio is set to 70% ATV, the student will actually only have 70% of the 70% of travel, or less than 50% of the servo's total throw.

To clarify, the 6X Super and the 8U pre-Super editions are computer radios but do not offer this function. They do not have the programming required for it to act as a true master where the student radio performs solely as a 'joystick' for the master radio, keeping the master's mode settings, dual rates, trims, mixes, etc. The 8U Super or a 9C offers this level of programming, but the 6X does not.

The 9Z does not either; instead, it offers a different option where the instructor can have the option to make corrections for the student without taking the aircraft completely back from the student. This is called "MIX" mode.

The 8U Super, 9C and 9Z also offer the option for the master radio to maintain control of any channel(s), which the 6X Super does not have.


Trainer cord compatibility.

For information about which Futaba systems which are compatible with the current Futaba trainer cords, please see our Trainer Cord Compatibility page.


The kit I am building calls for metal pushrods from the rudder and elevator to the servos. Am I going to have problems with the antenna running through the tail of my fuselage with these metal pushrods?

You've asked an excellent question! Metal pushrods are a standard of this industry and are not a problem whatsoever, SO LONG AS you do not get your antenna intertwined with the metal pushrods or with servo leads. If you cannot run your antenna on the outside of your aircraft, run your antenna through a plastic pushrod outer or paper tube to keep it away from the metal pushrods and any servo leads you may have extending through your aircraft.


Can I use my Futaba transmitter and trainer cord with other brands of radios to instruct?

The Futaba trainer cord can be used with HiTec radios as the "student's" radio. If using HiTec radios as a "teacher" radio, use the HiTec cord. Other brands of radios are not supported or compatible with the Futaba trainer systems.


My older radio uses a different trainer plug than the current radios. Can I use it with simulators, etc? Can I get a cord to use it with the current radios?

Unfortunately, no. There is not an adapter cord available.


My model's servos shake or 'jitter' whenever I get my transmitter really close to the model, especially if my antenna is up. What's wrong?

This is a behavior commonly known as 'swamping'. Basically, your transmitter is overpowering your receiver because it is so close. Try collapsing your antenna, and keep your transmitter at least 2 feet away from your model. If this behavior occurs when you are more than 2 feet away or especially during range checking, DO NOT FLY. Check your full radio installation and send your equipment for service if no problem is found.


How should I clean my transmitter's antenna?

We recommend cleaning the antenna periodically with denatured alcohol. DO NOT use any petroleum based products or products such as WD40.


Can a small car receiver be retuned to 72MHz for glider use?

Yes, the R113ip, PCM 3-channel 1.69x1.13x.63" receiver can be retuned to 72MHz for glider use. The cost to do so is $25 plus $7.99 shipping including crystal exchange.


Can fiberglass be used as an RF shield?

No. Fiberglass is immune, or transparent to RF. In fact, many antenna housings and mounts are made of fiberglass.


Is it ok to let my antenna touch the pushrods, servo leads, etc?

No. It is important not to let the antenna touch the pushrods, servo leads, etc. It is particularly important not to allow the antenna to make contact with anything metallic in the aircraft. We recommend running the antenna through its own pushrods tube to isolate it safely.


How much does xxx (servo, receiver, etc) weigh?

The measurements and weights of most of our products are given on the pages for those specific items.


Is there any risk to using cellular phones in close proximity with my radio?

There are two separate parts to this question—frequency transmission interference vs. computer processor interference.

FREQUENCY: While most fields do not recommend the use of cell phones for liability reasons, there should never be a frequency problem between cell phones and radio systems. The FCC makes sure that neither cell phones, nor R/C frequencies are close enough in range to interfere with each other and they enforce this policy actively. We have many fliers in high cell phone use areas, who have never encountered frequency problems related to cell phones, but once again, with the volume of cell phones today, and for safety sake, it is best not to fly during a large amount of cell phone use in the area of the flying field.

PROCESSOR: There have been a few reported cases of modelers seeming to encounter strange programming issues with their computer radios when used in the vicinity of an operating cell phone. We have never seen this nor can we replicate it; however, when it comes to safety we always recommend the modeler err on the side of caution and avoid use of your radio equipment in close proximity with a cellular phone which is turned on.

It is always best to take all possible precautions to avoid a situation that could potentially harm someone. Therefore, we recommend limiting the proximity of powered-on cellular phones to at least 1000 feet from any radio in operation.


I notice that the PMIX functions in my radio have a choice of 'link on' or 'link off'. I read my book but don't understand what this is or what it does. Do I need this on or off in my mix?

Whether link is on or not will depend on your mix and what you're using it for. Basically, what link does is tells the radio to look at the channel your mix is causing to move, and says 'is there any other mix related to this servo already?' If link is ON then the radio will also obey this other mix. If the link is OFF then the radio ignores any other mixes calling this servo. In MOST cases you will want the link to be ON because your mix is making two servos operate in unison to do a particular job, but you may not wish to have this occur in some other cases.

Now that sounds confusing, but lets look at 2 examples.

1) Throttle to flap mix on an aircraft with flaperons. The flap channel, channel 6, already has a mix associated with it, the mix that makes the 2 servos operate together to perform as flaps. If you did a throttle to flap mix in this situation with the link off, only the channel 6 servo will move. With link ON the 2nd servo, channel 1 servo, will now also move in response to the flap command.

2) An aircraft with an elevator to flap mix and a rudder to elevator mix. When you operate elevator, you want the flaps to move; however, when you move rudder you want it to compensate with elevator BUT NOT also operate the flaps with elevator as well. So, when you set up the rudder to elevator mix, you want link OFF so that it doesn't call the second mix.

Another example would be an aircraft with flaps to ailerons mix and a mix that's elevator to flap. The flaps to ailerons (flaperons) mix is giving you crow behavior when you use the flaps. You'll want the elevator mix just to call the flaps, not call the ailerons (flaperons) as well, because you're trying to do tight loops but need the tips of the plane to stay stable, so you don't want the ailerons to come up in that circumstance. In that case you would leave link OFF on the elevator to flaps mix so that mix did not acknowledge the prior mix.


I fly on channel xx. A quarter wave antenna for that freq. would be xx", not the full length. Would I be better off using that trans. antenna length instead of it fully extended?

Each Futaba transmitter has been tuned so that it will get the maximum output with the antenna provided. The FCC certification was made with that antenna. The tuning circuitry in the transmitter makes allowances for any differences in the actual length of the transmitter antenna, and the theoretical, "ideal" length. You should fly your models with the transmitter antenna fully extended. If you shorten it, you will suffer a considerable decrease in range.


Can I use the PA2 in conjunction with fail-safe on my PCM transmitter to help protect my airplane in the event of interference?

Absolutely! This is an excellent safety idea. The fail-safe feature, if set to continue the last command, will often keep your model in the loop or straight flight it was last doing, but unfortunately, sometimes it will keep your model in a precarious situation you didn't want it locked into. By using the PA2 in combination with preset positions on the fail-safe settings, you can help ensure your model will go to level flight at slow but safe airspeeds and hopefully safely ride out the interference.

To set up the fail-safe for this combination, we recommend the following:

First, please remember that you must be using a PCM RX and be in PCM programming. Your PCM must have programmable fail safe setups.

Second, fly the aircraft and turn the gain up on the PA2 until you find the maximum setting it can be at before the plane starts to 'hunt' or 'waggle' because the gain is set to high. Have your spotter notice where the dial is set at that time.

Now, land the aircraft and set up the programming so that the PA2 is brought up to that maximum gain setting, throttle is set at a safe high idle for flight, and all other surfaces go to neutral.

For example, doing so on the 8U super is as follows:

  1. Press the 2 basic keys
  2. Scroll up (top left button) until you get to F/S for fail-safe.
  3. Tthe screen reads AIL NORM.
  4. Press the - key to change this to the current stick/trim position, and press the set keys (right end keys)
  5. Cursor over to elevator (top center key)
  6. Press the - key and set keys to store
  7. Cursor over to throttle, press - key, position your throttle stick to where you want it, roughly 1/4 stick, and press the set keys (recommendation: fly the model first, and find the lowest throttle setting it can safely fly at. Set the fail-safe to this for minimum fuel usage and minimum distance traveled during a short lock out.)
  8. Cursor over to rudder, press the - key, and the set keys
  9. Cursor over to gear and, if you have anything working from this channel, set it to a trimmed hands off position and press the set keys
  10. Cursor over to flap. if you are using flaperons, you must also set this to 0 or one aileron will remain in its last position while the other returns to neutral. press the - key and set key.
  11. Cursor over to channel 7, assuming this is where your PA2 gain is plugged in. Press - key and then turn the channel 7 knob back to the same position you had it in when you were in flight with maximum possible gain. press the set keys.

Before you fly, test this combination on the ground. Have a helper hold the (not running) aircraft off the ground in a non-level attitude. Put in some aileron inputs as if you were going to roll it even further, not correct it. Now turn the TX off. Your RX will maintain the last inputs given for a set amount of time, then will go to your fail-safe. The ailerons, elevator and rudder should go to neutral very briefly, then the PA2 should correct your elevator and aileron. Try having the helper move the plane around, and be sure the PA2 is correcting it properly.

Also check that the throttle is about where you would like it to be on the ground with the helper securely holding the aircraft in case the engine races.

Once you're confident its all functioning as you desired, happy flying!


I would like to have tank-style control of my 2 stick radio, with spring returns to center on both sticks. Can you do this for me?

We may be able to modify your radio in this manner for you, please contact Futaba Support at 217-398-8970 or by email at support@futaba-rc.com to find out if your radio can be modified.


How does a mechanical speed control work? What advantage do I gain with an electronic one?

A mechanical speed control works via resistors. The speed control functions by resisting the current sent to the motor at three levels. Driving slow on the first speed causes the resistor to absorb a lot of current. The resistor will heat up as it discharges this energy. If you spend most of your driving at slow speeds, you run the risk of burning out your resistor.

An electric speed control (ESC) works under a different principle. There are no resistors. You also have the benefit of fully porportional speed. Since ESCs do not waste current through releasing heat from a resistor, you will get extended running time from your batteries.

Note that you will need to be sure the electronic speed control can handle the motor you intend to use. If the motor you use has less winds than the specifications of your speed control, you may damage the speed control, the motor, and potentially your car.


I own a 6X (or 8U or 9Z or 9C) airplane radio. I want to use it with helicopters. How do I get it changed?

You don't have to have it changed at all. All you have to do is pick an unused model memory location and then change from "acro" (airplane) to "heli" in the model type selection. Please follow these steps: (Note: The steps are essentially identical for the 8 and 9; please refer to your manual for additional assistance.):

  1. Turn on your 6XA. Push both T6XA mode buttons. (If you have not selected the model you want to change to heli, select the correct model now.)
  2. Push the down mode button until you get to PARA.
  3. Push the cursor button 4 times until the window now says heli and the word SET is blinking.
  4. Press the data input buttons together TWICE. "Set" will stop blinking, and your new model is now in heli mode.

Can I use a receiver with a different number of channels than my transmitter (ex: 4ch Rx with 8ch Tx)? What about with the synthesized transmitter module/synthesized receiver of the 9Z?

Yes. As long as the receiver compatible with the transmitter (for example FM to FM), you can use a receiver with less channels than, the same number as or more channels than the transmitter. Of course, you won't be able to use features which use, for example, servo 5, if you have a 4-channel receiver in use.

Specifically, the 9Z is compatible with all current generation Futaba-compatible dual conversion FM and PCM1024 receivers, including the R127DF, R148DP, etc. The synthesized module may be used with a non-synthesized receiver, and the synthesized receivers may be used with non-synthesized modules and even with other transmitters such as the 6X and 8U.


I want to cycle my transmitter, but I understand the radio is protected with a diode. I don't want to void my warranty or remove this protection in any manner, but I still want to cycle the battery. What can I do?

The first suggestion we have would be to send your radio into our Service Center to have our "Polyswitch" installed. This can be done on any radio other than the 9Z series, or the 9C (which already has this intalled).

Please check our Service Center for information on the costs of having this done, and our new Service Center address.

Transmitter batteries need to be cycled rarely, so you may be able to simply unplug the Tx pack from the board inside the radio to do so. But if your particular radio's battery jack is difficult to access or you are cycling frequently, you may want to consider cutting the battery lead inside the battery compartment, soldering a male J connector onto the battery portion of the lead and the female J connector onto the transmitter portion of the lead. (An inexpensive servo extension can easily be cut, stripped and soldered in place for this task.) NOTE: Great Planes/Futaba accepts no responsibility for incidental damage to your transmitter, battery, or personal injury as a result of this modification or of failure to properly solder the wiring.


Can you tell me the polarity of the charge plug on all of your Futaba transmitter chargers? Plug polarity

Futaba manufactures their transmitter charge plugs with center pin as positive and the sleeve as negative.


I have a brand new Futaba system with NiCD transmitter battery. How long do I charge it the first time? How about after I have used it?

Charge your system 12-15 hours on the system charger for a full charge. If the system is partially charged, you will not damage the batteries by letting it charge the full time.


Are your batteries charged or discharged when new?

All rechargable batteries are shipped in a discharged state for safety. Please charge your batteries fully and properly per the instructions prior to attempting to operate your model.


Must I plug the receiver battery into the labeled battery slot?

No. The receiver can have power input through any of the channel slots. Also, if you are using an 8-channel receiver which has just 8 slots, you can y-harness the battery with any of the 8 servos plugging into any of the 8 slots and it will operate normally.


My new model calls for the servos to be mounted on the exterior of my aircraft (sticking out of the wing or tail.) Is this okay? Will the fuel and dirt damage my servos?

Most current-generation servos are sealed well enough, so that a small amount of dirt, fuel, and such are not a concern unless you have reason to anticipate dead stick gear up or similar landings, in which case you might damage your servos with ground contact. Otherwise, external exposed servos are very common and easy to service/inspect, and are quite common in today's larger ARFs. However, it is always a good practice to wipe your exposed servos down after each flying session to prevent degradation of the plastic or problems with the output shaft.


How do I use the charger that came with my radio? How long do I charge for? Does it turn off when the batteries are fully charged?

The wall charger included with your radio is a 'C/10' charger. It will continue to charge at its given rate until unplugged. You should charge the first time approximately 16 hours to ensure a full charge, then an overnight charge is sufficient, as the charger charges at approximately 1/10th the rate of the standard packed batteries for 10 hours. Do not just leave your equipment on the charger indefinitely as this is bad for the batteries and poses a fire risk. Note that charging higher capacity batteries on the wall charger will require longer times to reach peak.


What is battery cycling? How important is it? How often do I have to do it?

Battery cycling is the use of some type of loading device (ideally a calibrated charger with a discharge function) to drain the current from a battery pack until it approaches the lowest safe voltage for the pack, then recharging the pack back up to its peak capacity again. Often 3 complete cycles are done to help 'condition' a battery, ensure that it is capable of holding a complete charge, and to help maintain/increase the life and reliability of the battery pack. Cycling does not need to be done frequently.


Can I use 6v (5 cell) receiver packs with my Futaba receiver/servos? Will I get increased performance from my equipment? Are there any drawbacks to using 6 volts?

All Futaba systems are designed to operate on either 4.8 volts (NiCD 4 cells) or 6 volts (Alkaline 4 cells OR NiCD 5 cells), except certain servos which are specifically labeled for use at one voltage or the other only. Some manufacturer's systems are not designed for and do not operate well on 6 volt, but most Futaba equipment handles the increased power input and provides increased performance, speed and torque.

Please note that while 6 volts provides you more torque and speed from your servos, it also provides you a significantly shorter run time for the same milliamp hours of capacity and may shorten the life of your servos proportionally. This sounds confusing, so it may help to compare the current in the battery to water in a bucket. If you have four small holes in the bucket, the water will come out at a certain rate. Add a fifth hole the same size, and you're supplying more water (increasing the current and therefore making the servos stronger AND faster); however, the bucket empties 25% sooner than when it only had four holes.


If my receiver is PCM, do I need a PCM module or PCM crystal for my transmitter? Do I need PCM crystals for it?

PCM, Pulse Code Modulation, is just a modulation TYPE, and is transmitted on the FM band utilizing dual conversion FM crystals. Basically, the transmitter takes the regular data and encodes it into special pulses. Then the receiver reads this pulse encoded data, makes sure it looks like the right kind of data and isnt interference, then decodes it and obeys it just like an FM receiver would.

There are no PCM modules or PCM crystals. Your transmitter can only talk to a PCM receiver if (a) the transmitter has PCM capabilties and is set to transmit in this 'language'; and (b) the receiver is the proper channel, and PCM brand and type (for example 512 resolution vs 1024 resolution) as the transmitter.


My new NiMH batteries don't seem to be charging to their full capacity. What's wrong?

When charging NiMH battery packs, assuming you are using a proper charger it can take several charge and discharge cycles before the battery packs will hold their full rated charge. You should find that the capacity of the NiMH battery packs will increase their capacity as they are run through several cycles.

If, after several charge/discharge cycles, the packs still don't form up and hold their full capacity, you may have bad packs, and they should be sent to us for checkout/replacement.


When my transmitter is off, my servos act crazy. What's wrong?

In AM and FM radio systems, if the receiver is not getting clean data from a transmitter then the servos will respond relatively randomly. Only a PCM system (or a system with a fail-safe unit installed) will hold the last known position.

For this reason, ALWAYS turn your transmitter on first, then receiver, And when turning off, always turn off receiver first then transmitter.


I am building a large scale aircraft and it will require 18"+ extensions. Do I need voltage suppressiors, noise suppressors, chokes or other items?

In general there is no need for noise suppressors in current generation Futaba equipment. Older equipment and some other brand's current equipment do require this; however, Futaba does not.

Twisting your servo extensions lightly and gently is a good idea, as it helps minimize the combination of the electrical fields from the 3 leads.

Heavier gauge extensions are an excellent idea and are highly recommended, as much for the distance as for the high draw of high-torque, high-speed, ball bearing servos.

If you see radio interference in your gasoline aircraft's operation, look first to the gasoline engine's installation. All ignition equipment, including an electronic kill switch, must be mounted at least 12", and preferably 14", away from all radio equipment, including throttle servos, etc. Ignition kill switch should always be on opposite side of fuselage from radio kill switch. All pushrods going to anything related to the engine must be non-conductive (just nonmetal clevises is not sufficient).


How do I know what airplane/heli radio to buy to fit my needs?

Please refer to our radio system compatibility chart.


I used to own product X. I can't find it on your web site now. Do you still make it? If not, will you produce it again?

If the product you are seeking is anything other than an accessory or repair parts for another item, then unless a product is brand new, if it is not listed on our web site then the product is no longer produced. Unfortunately, we cannot answer whether or not a product will be reproduced in the future.


I am building a small model. Should I leave the antenna hanging out the back of the plane or wrap/fold/cut it?

Never shorten your antenna by cutting down its physical length or by folding it back upon itself. Always allow the antenna to extend its full length, even if it means having a 'tail' hanging out the back of your model. You might also consider running it out the wingtip rather than down the fuselage.


What is the difference between a "G" or "J" connector? What about other brands of servos? Can I use them with my Futaba system?

Most older Futaba radio systems use a "G" plug. It's called a G plug because, well, it looks kind of like a G, with a 90 degree hook at the exposed metal pins. These were replaced with J plugs in roughly 1991. The J plugs are just a straight down plug which has a small key on one end to keep you from accidentally plugging in your servos backward. This is an important safety feature unique to Futaba, as plugging in a servo backwards may do damage not only to the servo but also potentially to the receiver. Many other manufacturers now also use a very similar plug, but without the safety tab. Hobbico's U (universal connector), JR's, Hitec's S, and Airtronics Z plugs are all compatible for use in Futaba radios. Futaba J servos are likewise compatible with all these other brands of receiver IF you shave off the safety key.


What servo do I need for my (insert application here)?

Please consult the manufacturer of your model. They have extensively tested the model and know how much torque, speed and what size servos are most appropriate for that application. Once they've given you those specifics, please visit our servo chart to select a servo which fits your model's specific needs and your budget.


Can I purchase a reversed servo? or can you reverse an existing servo?

Unfortunately, no. Futaba servos cannot be reversed because of the surface mount technology used. However, there are servo-reversing servo leads, extensions, y-harnesses, etc, available from a variety of companies or you can purchase new FUTM4150 SR-10 DUAL SERVO REVERSER from your local hobby store or mail order company. If you are using PCM, be sure the unit you buy is compatible, as some are not.


What gauge wire are standard servo leads and extensions?

Standard servo leads and extensions are 26 gauge wire.


What is a 'retract servo'? How is it different from a standard servo? Should I use it with mechanical or pneumatic retracts?

A retract servo is specifically used for mechanical retracts. It is a non-proportional servo which only moves 180 degrees. That is to say this servo is either "off" (gear up and fully locked) or "on" (gear down and fully locked). No ATV, EPA, or AST adjustments can be made on these servos because they are not proportional. The linkage must be set up properly to allow this servo to operate at its full range and do its job—securing your model's landing gear in a gear-up or gear-down position.


My expensive, ball bearing servos 'buzz', 'humm' or 'chatter', especially when I first turn on the receiver. My standard servos never did this. What's wrong? What do I need to do?

We often receive calls from customers who will mention that they notice "servo chatter" in their ball bearinged servos.

Always check your linkages and set ups for binding, servos fighting each other on the same working surface, and bad extensions to be sure that there's no problems in your physical system.

Assuming there is no binding or other issues, buzzing is a common and harmless occurrence, and indicates that your servo is "checking" itself for true center. There will many times be an audible "buzz" from their servos, even when there is no noticeable movement. And this is also harmless, as when the plane is airborne, the wind over the control surfaces, and thus load on the servo itself, will correct this small amount of vibration and noise.

Many times if a modeler is using a 6 Volt receiver battery, or a completely fully charged battery, they will notice buzzing, but, when the voltage drops slightly with some amount of load, the movement and noise subside. This is commonly known as 'a hot charge' and again is perfectly normal and will subside under loads and particularly in flight.


My servos work backwards on my new model. What's wrong?

There are two possible answers to this question:

1. Moving control A activates the wrong servo. In this case, please unplug all servos from your receiver, check your model's and radio's instructions, and reinstall. Note that some manufacturers use different designations for which slot controls which channel so when in doubt follow your radio's manual.

2. When you move control A the servo goes the wrong direction. For example, moving your rudder stick right causes the rudder to move left. This is an installation or set up problem with your model. If your radio has servo reversing switches or computer radio programming, reverse the direction of that servo. If it does not, you will need to purchase a reversed servo, a servo reversing lead, or change your linkage so the pushrod works from the opposite side of the arm so that the linkage operates properly.


What is a coreless motor?

In a conventional servo, the motor has a steel core armature wrapped in wire that spins inside the magnets. In a coreless design, the armature uses a thin wire mesh that forms a cup that spins around the outside of the magnet eliminating the heavy steel core. This design results in smoother operation and faster response time.


My S9251 servo does not work with my (insert anything other than GY601 here). Why?

The S9251 servo utilizes an unusually narrow (760 nanosecond) pulse drive, which at the time of this writing is supplied only by the GY601 gyro. The digitally enhanced microprocessors of GY601 and S9251 cut about 1/2 of the response time from transmitter input to servo reaction. DO NOT attempt to use S9251 in any application except those listed on the product's web site or manual.


Proper Servo Mounting:

The proper way to mount a servo is as follows:

  1. Insert a rubber grommet into each of the four servo holes.
  2. Insert a metal eyelet from the bottom side of the rubber grommet. This way the wide portion of the eyelet will be in contact with the servo tray when mounted.
  3. Test fit the servo in the tray, and enlarge the openings so the servo will not touch the tray. The rubber grommets will isolate the servo from the hard vibration of the airplane's structure.
  4. Position the servo, then mark the location of the mounting holes. Drill pilot holes with a 1/16" bit at each mark.
  5. Use the servo screws supplied with your radio to mount the servo(s) in the servo tray. Tighten the screws until they just touch the top of the metal eyelet.

Why are S3003/S3004 servos not to be used in helis?

Both the S3003 and S3004 use a direct drive potentiometer. What that means is the output gear is connected directly to the potentiometer. Since the output gear is connected directly to the pot it is very possible that vibration will damage the pot. This is why we do not recommend these servos to be used in helis. Helis generate a very high frequency vibration due to the high rpm of the engine and the close proximity of the engine to the servos.


What can I do to ensure long life of my digital servos?

The number one concern is tight linkages which have absolutely no binding, stiffness, or friction. Because digital servos are always working to hold in position at full strength, if the servo has a point it has to fight in the linkage it will literally burn itself out 'hunting' to try to hold its position. Slop at the neutral position is a very common problem where a standard servo wouldn't notice it but a digital servo will work very hard to try to hold the rod in position and will drain your batteries more quickly and eventually burn up the motor.


What do servo-related terms like exponential, ATV, AFR, AST, D/R, ATL, EPA and triple rates mean?

All of these terms are computer radio features that are used to adjust how the model performs without having to make physical installation/linkage changes. In many cases, you can not get a mechanical linkage to give you a small enough (or large enough) amount of travel for the model to fly its best. These functions let you adjust those travels for optimum performance/safest flight.

ATV has developed into a slang term meaning how far the servos move at their extremes.

EPA is a specific type of ATV in which each end is adjustable separately. For example, the throttle servo can be adjusted at idle separately from high end.

AST is basically ATV where you get just one setting that affects both ends of the travel. If you turn it down to 90% both right aileron and left aileron will move only 90% of the total distance the servo is able to move on its own.

D/R is the common abbreviation for dual rate. What dual rate means is that you have one rate or total distance the servo/surface will travel...lets say it is 1/2" on an elevator. A 50% dual rate would mean that when you throw the switch, the servo moves exactly half as far per stick position as it did on the first rate. So the elevator stick all the way up is now on 1/4" travel instead of 1/2". Similarly, at half stick it is now 1/8" instead of 1/4".

Triple rates is just an extension of dual rates where 3 separate travels are available in flight. Triple rates are normally only used by top level aerobatic competitive pilots to have one setting, say, for take off/landing, one for normal flight, and one for complex aerobatics.

AFR is a very specific function in the 9Z which is basically the same as "high rate" on most dual rate setups. It is a second adjustment for how far the servos move when given normal stick commands (as opposed to commands from mixes, etc) separate from the ATV. The 9Z separates dual rates into AFR and DR. to allow more flexible setup of all 8 channels' high rate travels. For details: http://www.futabarc.com/faq/faq-9z-q111.html

ATL: ATL is actually a trim function. What it means is that the throttle trim affects only the bottom half of the throttle stick. This way adjusting your idle does not affect your wide open engine performance.

For more details on these and other specific terms, please see: http://www.futabarc.com/glossary.html
My switch stopped working, and when I checked it, I found the black wire all corroded. The copper part looked dark and was brittle. What happened?

This is a case of what's been called "Black Wire Corrosion". Over time, the negative lead from the battery pack, through the switch harness, to the receiver will corrode until the copper wire becomes dark, almost black, and brittle. It no longer has the bright "coppery" look, and is no longer flexible.

The cause is storage of the system in a damp environment with the battery installed. The effect of the wire being connected to the battery pack, and the environmental moisture, will cause an electrical effect to promote corrosion of the wire. The corrosion usually starts at the battery pack and works its way towards the switch harness.

A "damp" environment does not necessarily mean that it's particularly humid. Storage in a garage or shed provides enough humidity to allow the corrosion to happen. The wet that gets brought into a garage from your car is enough. It will happen faster if the battery pack is not maintained and allowed to go flat. Keep the battery charged and cycle it regularly to prevent or slow down the corrosion.

The net result of black wire corrosion is to make the battery lead act like a resistor, which will prevent proper current flow from the battery pack to the receiver and servos. In some cases, the resistance can be high enough that during aerobatics, with all servos moving, the voltage at the receiver can drop enough to cause the receiver to quit. The model crashes as a result.

What can make this baffling is the fact that the R/C system may operate normally when tested. That's because the tests don't involve high loads upon the servos, so the voltage drop caused by the resistance of the corroded wire isn't enough to cause the receiver to quit.

Transmitter batteries can also be affected, but usually not as much because transmitters are usually stored in a friendlier environment. They still need to be checked periodically, though. When the corrosion gets bad enough, the transmitter will just not turn on. It's not likely that the transmitter will fail during a flight.

The effects on the corrosion would also be seen on the transmitter's power meter as low output. The battery pack gets blamed, gets replaced, and the problem goes away. That's because a new battery pack comes with new wires. Corrosion may never even be suspected or found in these cases.

There is no cure once black wire corrosion starts. You can only replace the wires. Prevention requires that your equipment be stored in a clean, dry environment, and maintain your batteries. Store them fully-charged and cycle them regularly. If you can't do that, then at least remove the batteries from your models, and store them, along with your transmitters, inside, where the temperature and humidity are fairly stable, compared to a garage or shed.


How should I store my models' radio systems...charged? trickle charging? discharged?

Radio systems should be left charged for short term storage—as much as a month at a time. For longer periods your batteries should be fully discharged, then fully cycled prior to their use again (such as in spring).

Most radio systems should not be left on trickle for extended periods of time. This risks damage to the unit as well as excessive wear on the charger. Many modelers who fly alot set their chargers to trickle for an hour per day or similar. Many others choose to fast charge their radio equipment immediately prior to use to ensure full and proper charge.


I fly with my throttle and rudder on the left stick but have seen other people fly with their throttle on the right stick. They say this is Mode 1, can you tell me what the other modes are?

Mode 2 is most often used in the United States, while Mode 1 is most often used in Europe, there are two other modes that are used overseas and here is a listing of the 4 modes and their actions.

 Left stickRight stick
up/downleft/rightup/downleft/right
Mode 1elevatorrudderthrottleaileron
Mode 2throttlerudderelevatoraileron
Mode 3 elevatoraileronthrottlerudder
Mode 4 throttleaileronelevatorrudder

I emailed a question to your product support address. How soon will I get an answer?

If you emailed our support teams, you should receive an automated response immediately or nearly immediately. (This automated response will inform you our normal response time is by the end of the next business day and provide you other important details to assist you.) If you did not receive a computer generated response within 24 hours, then something was wrong and your email was not received properly or there is something wrong with your reply to address set up in your email account. Please resend the email to us with a note that this is a second copy and please be SURE to provide us your full email address as well as at least one other means of daytime contact (phone, message #, fax, alternate email address).


Can you tell me what the maximum stalled current is on (insert name here) servo is?

Stalled current is going to vary depending on many conditions, but a basic approximation is:

Standard servos= 0.6 amps
1/4 Scale servos= 1.6 amps
Hi Torque servos= 1.6 amps

My father has a pacemaker and while he would love to come to the field with me, I worry about the effects of the transmitter might have to the pacemaker. Is it dangerous for him to be around R/C transmitters?

This question has been asked of us before, and we have been assured that the FCC has never allowed any R/C frequencies close enough to an ICD frequency, to be a problem.

  1. All frequencies and transmitted power information are STRICTLY controlled by the FCC, and each system is "type accepted" prior to legally being sold in the United States. The FCC Acceptance number is printed on each transmitter.
  2. Transmitted frequencies used in radio controlled products are: 6 in the 27 Megahertz band (potentially very limited use), 6 frequencies in the 50 to 53 Megahertz band, channels 11 through 60 in the 72 Megahertz band, and channel 61 through 90 in the 75 Megahertz band. Exact frequencies can be found through one of our web pages or the AMA web site at: http://modelaircraft.org
  3. Transmitted power is limited by the FCC to 0.5 watt for our transmitters, and we can provide the individual model design power level for each transmitter if given the specific model number of that transmitter.

I have a radio that has issues with weak spring tension on the gimbals. What can be done to fix this problem?

Poor centering can be the result of a bad spring, or something else in the gimbal assembly. Your transmitter can be sent to us for service.


I have a flight simulator and need a cord to connect my Futaba transmitter to the computer. Do you have one?

Unfortunately we do not have any information on simulators and PC hook ups and which one will or will not work. You will need to contact the simulator manufacturer for assistance on that.


I was out flying this afternoon and sometime during the fifth flight, my LCD display just went black. I have a Futaba 6XAS radio. There was almost no wind, no clouds, and very high humidity. After the radio was placed in the shade, the LCD display came back and worked fine. Anyone else ever had this happen?

Almost any monochromatic LCD will do this. Try it with a solar calculator and you will see the same thing happen. Some old cell phones had that problem too, although the newer, color LCDs do not wash out like that, but they do begin to get very faint. Electronics can usually withstand the same temperatures humans can. Remember that the electronics inside the plane and transmitter are "enclosed", and the temperature inside can be much higher than the outside air. A good safety precaution is to keep your TX in the shade, and place a towel over your plane, or keep it in the shade between flights, too.


I live in ( insert country here) and was wondering if you could help me decide what radio channel to purchase for my new Futaba radio?

As we are a distributor here in the US, we can only offer support and service on radio systems within our own bands allowed.

For information on the bands allowed in your country, it is recommended that you contact someone in an RC club close to you, check our International Distributors listing, or the chart of International Frequencies that we have provided.


I did not find the answer to my question here. How do I get further assistance?

Back to main FAQ/Contact Info page


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