FUTABA 8FG Super

They’re very few occasions when you are truly astounded by a device only to be put off by the price tag attached to it. Then there are thoughts moments when you find a product which has great value versus the technology implemented into it. The 8fg SUPER is one of these buys which just screams great product! 

Ok I started off very pro Futaba which I am surprised at because I use JR gear in my aircraft. But there is good reason why I am blowing the Horn of Gondor for this TX as we will find out.

 

 

The Gear

The 8FG is not a new TX as we all know and as such going into detail about the fundamentals of the previous transmitter will not be my focus. However this new version comes with huge upgrades integrated into its system. The Transmitter has not changed much except for the gleaming super label above the monitoring lights. The 8FG also features ball-bearing sticks and when used with a high speed receiver, the combination gives the feeling that you are connected to the airplane. The touchpad is similar to what you would find on a modern cell phone or music player. 

I am going to focus on the airplane related programming and the features that I think will be used by most pilots. The 8FG super does have a ton of features for the helicopter and glider pilots, and I will highlight some of those in this review also. 

So what makes this TX so special? ...It’s a native 8channel TX which is capable of 14 channels via “SBUS” (more about that later). But its priced in the range of the 8‘s. Yes that’s write you pay for an 8 channel TX and get a 14 (12+2)! 

Moving forward, the Futaba 8FG radio construction feels solid when you hold it in your hand. The overall size of this radio is nice; it's easy to hold and it's lightweight. It has an LCD screen to handle all the programming chores, which is backlit, making programming in a dimly lit workshop very nice

The radio has a Sensor Touch? Touch pad similar to a touch screen or music device makes it familiar to use. It features height and tension adjustable ball-bearing sticks that feel smooth and precise. The radio's trims are all digital and beep when you pass centre on any trim, and you can set the number of steps (or percentage) per click and the resolution of the PCM systems (transmitting on FM) is naturally, Futaba's FASST 2048 resolution. 

You will find 10 switches and knobs, including 6 three position switches, one single position switch, one momentary switch, two rotary "volume" type knobs and two slider switches on the bottom and sides of the radio. The back of the radio has the trainer cord connection and the charging jack. The bottom of the radio houses the 7.2 VDC 1700 mAh battery and SD Card slot. There is also a tiny switch that would be used if you ever update the software. Who knows what futaba will do next?

The 8FG Super's R6208SB receiver accepts a wide range of batteries, from 4-cell NiCad and NiMH packs to 2S Life and LiPo packs, with no regulator required. PWM (Pulse Width Modulation) channels provide support for up to eight standard analogue or digital servos. Using the S.Bus port, it handles up to 18 channels — and makes incorrect servo-channel hook-ups impossible. The R6208SB also features a high-speed mode that delivers ultra-fast frame rates on channels 1-6. However, High-speed mode is available only on Channels 1-6 and requires the use of digital (including brushless digital) servos. Channels 7 and 8 — which operate only in normal mode — can be equipped with either analogue or digital servos.

 

One Cable to Rule Them All 

In steps “SBUS” ...  So how do you go from 8 to 14(or 18)? The concept behind the S.BUS, as Futaba have labelled  their new  technology, is to do-away with a multitude of individual connections between your servos and your receiver. By using technology that is somewhat similar to a computer LAN, servos can effectively all be wired in parallel so that instead of running multiple extensions into your wings (for instance) in order to control ailerons, flaps and even air brakes, a single extension can control the different servos that perform these functions. Likewise, if you have several servos in the tail of your model, the S.BUS would allow just a single extension to deliver the power and signals to those servos.

There are considerations to take into account when using the new “Futaba” standard...and it will be! The bus-cable must be heavy enough to support the current demands of all the servos that will be attached to it. This means that instead of using three extensions, each capable of delivering 5A, a much heavier extension with 15A capability must be used. 

This extra current-carrying capability is even more important where the S.BUS cable connects to the receiver, since a large model may have as many as 10 hi-torque servos and their combined current-draw could easily exceed 20A or 30A. Connectors capable of this kind of power are neither light nor small. 

Although the implication of S.Bus is that there is reduced complexity, this isn't really the improvement you might think. Although the number of extensions is reduced, there is a need for multiple "hubs" to be used to provide the fan-out to the servos. Also, in order to use a servo in a particular role, it must be programmed with the required channel number. This means customers will need to purchase the "Channel Setting Tool". 

Futaba offers smart hubs that they call an "S.BUS decoder". This will allow the use of existing non-S.BUS servos in conjunction with an S.BUS receiver. 

See the SBUS diagram! 

 

Conclusion 

I really like the direction futaba is going in. Innovation is never easily accepted by many people who have become used to the old ways of doing things. However it’s my opinion that they have really turned the corner here and are ahead of the turn for a change. Off course time will tell how people accept the new direction.

I give Futaba a standing ovation for trying something new or at least implementing something new. 

Great job! 

 

Features: 

  • Expanded with 14 total transmitter channels — 12 proportional and 2 switched
  • Used with an S.Bus system, the included R6208SB 2.4GHz FASST 8/18 Channel S.Bus
  • High-Voltage Receiver has no receiver channel limits
  • The gyro menu supports 3-axis gyros and is perfectly tailored to the CGY750
  • User menu allows pilots to customize and display frequently used functions
  • VPP (Variable Pitch Propeller) compatibility can be set to three conditions for throttle and pitch curve
  • Swash trim can be adjusted from the swash screen
  • Sensor Touch™ programming
  • Factory-defined mixes
  • Low latency and 2048 resolution for fast, accurate Real-Time Response™
  • Accepts 32MG to 2GB SD memory cards (SD memory card not included)

Includes:  

  • 8FG Super 14-channel transmitter
  • R6208SB 8/18-channel receiver (FUTL7668)
  • 7.2V 1700mAh NiMH transmitter battery