Horizon Hobby Spektrum NX10 10-Channel Transmitter

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Written by Jay Smith
Horizon Hobby Spektrum NX10 10-Channel Transmitter
As seen in the April 2021 issue of Model Aviation.
Review

Bonus Video

the spektrum
The Spektrum NX10 is at the top of the NX line of transmitters and includes some nice features only found on this model.

MODEL AVIATION SHARES many commonalities with full-scale aviation, but one obvious difference is that we do not pilot our aircraft from the cockpit. Although FPV flying offers the perspective of being onboard, our connection and tactile feel for piloting an RC aircraft come from our transmitter.

When selecting a lifeline to our models, it is important to consider our current needs and the features that we find important. Before making the investment, it also behooves us to consider what our future needs might be for a transmitter and whether they are met. Ultimately, spending a little extra now will be a wiser investment than purchasing a transmitter and upgrading to another within a couple of years to add more channels or features.

Spektrum introduced model aviators to frequency freedom with its original DX6 2.4 GHz transmitter that was meant for park flyer aircraft. I purchased one upon its release and used it at the 2008 Southeast Electric Flight Festival (SEFF) to fly my aircraft with slightly more than 100 others at the same time (99 pilots completed the attempt). We set a Guinness World Record that could have not been achieved without this technology.

when connected
When connected to Wi-Fi, the blue indicator lets you know that you are connected and you are presented with the options shown. The lightning symbol under the Wi-Fi indicator is illuminated when charging.

Throughout the years, the protocol was upgraded from DSM, to DSM2, to DSMX, while other features, such as Model Match (ensuring you’re not on the wrong model memory) and spoken notifications were added to the DX line.

When you purchase a Spektrum transmitter, you also gain admittance into an ecosystem of aircraft known as Bind-N-Fly (BNF). These aircraft arrive with a preinstalled receiver that will bind to your Spektrum transmitter and, in most cases, also have a supporting programming template that can be imported so that you don’t even have to program your transmitter for your new model. It gets you into the air quickly and helps ensure success with your new model.

Model programming templates for BNF aircraft—including desired switch assignments, rates, curves, and other details—are already saved into the NX10 transmitter. They don’t have to be downloaded, and new models will be added with transmitter updates.

If you are migrating from a DX-series transmitter to the NX series, you can transfer your saved model templates to your new transmitter; however, you cannot transfer saved model templates from an NX radio to a DX transmitter.

Most DX-series transmitters have been refreshed and replaced with the NX designation and are available in six-, eight-, and 10-channel offerings.

The NX series brings innovations, such as Wi-Fi connectivity for easy product registration, model downloads, and firmware updates. They are Smart technology-compatible out of the box and include an integrated serial port for supporting third-party modules. The NX series also offers a folding diversity antenna, with the second antenna being behind the nameplate.

The three transmitters that currently comprise the NX line offer the same ergonomic feel and features because they all use the same case, with more knobs and switches as you add channels. They are also equipped with a USB port for charging and data transfer and for use with any simulator that supports USB game controllers, including the RealFlight RC flight simulator, so that you can practice using your actual transmitter.

When considering which NX transmitter is right for you, the NX10 provides a few perks beyond extra channels that are not found in the two other models, including a 1S 6,000 mAh transmitter battery, which has three times the capacity of the battery supplied with six- and eight-channel transmitters. You also step up to Hall effect sensor gimbals, which will last far longer because they consist of a magnet and a magnetic angle sensor to prevent parts wear, a powered serial port, a magnetic USB cable, and a micro USB adapter for USB charging.

After unpacking the transmitter and charging it, I connected it to my Wi-Fi, registered the transmitter, and then attempted to update it to version V3.03.03 directly from the transmitter. I made three attempts and each time the transmitter locked up and needed to reboot.

on the rear of the transmitter
On the rear of the transmitter are the headphone jack, powered serial port, micro USB charging and data port, and battery cover. The transmitter has a hard mounting point if using an external radio frequency system such as Crossfire. On the bottom of the transmitter is the micro SD memory card slot.
the function list provides
The Function List provides settings related to a specific model after you have made your selections in the system setup.
model programming templates
Model programming templates for BNF aircraft are already stored within the memory of the transmitter, and the list of aircraft is updated when you update the transmitter.
the author likes
The author likes the red, black, and gold color option, but there are several from which to choose or you can create custom screen colors.
the system setup
The System Setup menu provides settings for your model such as the type of aircraft, wing type, and flight mode setup.

The release notes for the update state that one of the issues it resolves is when downloading an update via Wi-Fi. "We now name it to prevent getting stuck after a failed download." The file is named "AirWare_V.VV.VV_SPMTX.SAX" (V is the version number). I used a 32 GB micro SD card, downloaded the update from the Spektrum RC website, and updated the radio using the SD card. I believe this will ensure that I don’t have issues with future updates; however, I have been unable to test that theory because the company hasn’t released any additional updates.

Horizon Hobby is updating all in-house stock of the NX8 and NX10 transmitters to resolve this and ensure that customers shouldn’t have any issues. A video has been posted to the SpektrumRC YouTube channel explaining how to update it using the included USB cable for those who received the transmitter upon release and need assistance.

Another option to process the update would have been to use the micro USB cable provided with the transmitter. If you do purchase a micro SD card, Spektrum recommends using one that is 32 GB or smaller in size.

Using and programming the NX10 is intuitive. Anyone familiar with the DX line of radios will be able to easily use it, even without glancing at the manual. Reading the manual can be done with the included paper copy or digitally from the Horizon Hobby product page.

Navigation of the transmitter’s program menus is done via the roller-wheel scrolling interface along with the Clear, Back, and Function buttons. The Clear button is used to return a selected value on a screen to the default setting. The Back button allows you to go to the previous screen, and the Function button will open My List, which provides quick access to a short list of commonly used menu items that you create. You can also press Clear and Back buttons together to access the Model Select screen, and if you press and hold the scroll wheel while powering on the transmitter, it will access the System Setup list.

A couple of features new to the NX line that I enjoy are the Palette Utilities and Function bar ticker tape. Palette Utilities allows customization of the colors on the NX10 from the predefined color options listed under Global Customized, or you can select Personalize to create your own RGB color scheme.

The Function Bar on the NX10 offers a ticker tape to show telemetry values and My List. When the NX10 transmitter is showing the normal display (home screen), the system shows the telemetry scrolling across the bottom of the screen. Select Function Bar on the Function List to access the setup screen.

Select the Ticker Tape Setup or the My List Setup for configuration. This provides handy information scrolling across the bottom of the transmitter screen. The NX transmitter is comfortable to use either with or without the included strap. The stick tension out of the box is good, but the tension, travel, and mode can be easily adjusted from the front of the transmitter.

Setting up and using the voice alerts keeps your eye to the sky, while the transmitter shares telemetry information and other settings or conditions that you want to keep tabs on. Even simple things, such as a timer to let you know how long you have been flying or how soon you should land being spoken to you, are appreciated. A headphone jack allows you to monitor voice alerts without bothering other pilots.

When you are done flying, the antenna folds conveniently to the front for compact storage and transport. It also helps prevent accidental powering on by partially blocking the power button.

Conclusion

The new NX line of transmitters brings additional features and innovations to the popular DX series of transmitters. Using your NX transmitter to fly your favorite flight simulator programs or to take advantage of the built-in Wi-Fi to connect to a network and perform updates are nice features in a transmitter that can handle your needs. If you are using Smart batteries and ESCs, you will be ready to take advantage of the latest technology right out of the box.

If you are in the market for a new transmitter, the NX6, NX8, and NX10 are worth looking into.

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