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Spektrum’s DX9 Wireless Trainer System
Complex inside, super simple for us
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Posted – 8-20-2015
When I decided to get the Spektrum DX9 Black Edition one of the first “issues” I came across was forum posts claiming that the wireless trainer system incorporated within the DX9 (also the DX7 black and DX18) was complicated and difficult to use. Not having seen the system yet myself it was easy to imagine something as complex sounding as a wireless trainer system being tough to use. However, having now used the DX9 Wireless Trainer System it is apparent that the forum wizards may have overstated the complexity. I know, “breaking news”.
I should note that the Spektrum DX9 Black Edition still has the jack (on the back panel) for the traditional trainer cord so you can still do it that way if necessary. Remember that both radios must have identical programming as has always been the case when using a trainer cord.
Another important point is that the Spektrum DX9 Black Edition must always be the Master radio no matter which wireless option you choose. A big part of the magic in the DX9 Wireless Trainer System is that it acts like a receiver when binding the other radio to it. I’m sure that what actually makes this happen is really complicated but we only need to know that it works, not how it works.
The wireless trainer system in the master radio mimics a receiver. You actually bind the slave radio to the master just as you would to a plane. You do have to create a basic plane in the model list of the slave radio that saves the binding data so you do not have to re bind the radios every time you get together. Then in the future to work with the student again you select their model in the master memory and then with their slave radio on that same model they simply turn it on just as you would with a plane to which the radio was bound.
The Programmable Master mode is just like the corded trainer system in that both radios must have identical programming. The big difference over the cord is that this mode lets you assign specific controls to the trainer. This can be handy with a student that needs to focus on a few of the controls before trying to manage all of them. I have had students in the past that would have benefited if I could have eliminated the throttle from their early lessons. Now we can do just that.
Pilot Link Master mode also eliminates the cord and allows the instructor to decide what functions the student gets. I like this mode, especially with complicated models that might have things like flaps, retracts and other systems because no programming of the slave radio needed. You create a model in the slave radio’s memory and bind that model to the master transmitter and you are good to go.
You can make the connection in just a minute or two and there is no tweaking needed at the slave adjustments made on the master radio are passed to the slave radio. The Pilot Link Master mode makes lots of sense in a bunch of situations, one being when you want to let others fly your personal planes.
You have the option of using a toggle switch to control when the student has the plane rather than the trainer button. However you can also enable the Master Override feature that I think is really a slick idea. You still use the switch to give control of the plane to the student but now when a save is needed you just start flying the plane with the master radio. As soon as you move a stick the Master Override instantly switches control back to the master transmitter. After the save you have to cycle the trainer switch to give control back to the student.
At the Field
I first tried the wireless trainer system when a fellow club member needed help with a foamy P51 he had purchased. This kind of plane makes a lousy trainer so I was going to need quick access to the P51 if it was to survive. Since he also had a Spektrum DX9 I just created a blank plane in the memory of my radio and bound that to his radio just as we would do with a receiver. I would hold his transmitter as it was the Master and he held my DX9 which is in the slave mode. It literally took less than two minutes to have the system ready for flight.
I had enabled the Master Override to be sure I could take control of his plane quickly and that did work exactly as they say. Move either control stick on the Master radio and it instantly takes over control of the plane. No switches to release or click to get control. Once I took control I did have to cycle the switch I assigned for the trainer system to give him control of the plane again.
The only down side to the Master Override system is that you can accidentally take over the plane. With the old corded trainers I used to hold a switch to give the student control but I would be “flying along with them” on my radio. I caught myself doing that with this system and accidentally took over control of the plane. It’s a small issue that the teacher needs to get used to, especially if you have been using the traditional trainer cord methods.
Spektrum’s DX9 Wireless Trainer System is a major advancement that makes teaching someone to fly a bunch easier and with the Master Override, even safer for the plane. The simplicity of setting up the radios means you have more time for actual teaching. The instructor can also let the student get closer to the ground when practicing things like landings with the Master Override.
The Spektrum’s DX9 Wireless Trainer System is limited to most Spektrum radios and some early JR’s but with the popularity of this brand the Wireless Trainer System will make life much easier for a large group of students and instructors.
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